Let’s start this morning in Arizona, where a special election to replace Republican Trent Franks was held last night. The district in question is in Joe Arpaio country. It’s an old, white Republican district where Donald Trump won by 21 points, and Romney won by 25 points.
Republican Debbie Lesko won by 5.2 points.
Yes, the Democrat lost, but the Democrats picked up 16 points in a safe district for Republicans. This is particularly troubling for the GOP because unlike some of the other special elections that have been held in Alabama or Pennsylvania, the Republicans put up a good candidate. There were no scandals. This wasn’t an area where there was a large minority population to turn out. What happened was a lot of old, reliable Republican voters decided to vote … for a Democrat. Why? Two things: 1) Trump, and 2) the Democrat in that election kept the focus on education, and the voters turned out to vote for the Democrat because education is important to them, especially in another state where teachers are about to go on strike.
The lesson for Democrats: Stay focused on the issues, and let the Republicans self-sabotage in trying to appeal to Trump voters.
This is pretty big. I read some pollster say that if Democrats can come within 5 points in this district, they’d probably win the Senate election in Arizona by 13 points. Right now, the Democratic candidate, Kyrsten Sinema, is polling 6 points ahead of her closest Republican competitor (and 28 points ahead of the man that Trump pardoned, Joe Arpaio). In fact, Nate Silver framed the “good news” for Republicans this way: “Before Tuesday night, Democrats had outperformed their partisan baseline by an average of 17 points in Congressional special elections so far this cycle. So the Arizona result [outperforming by 16 points] was only slightly worse for Republicans than previous ones.”
Taking back both the House and the Senate is starting to look very promising on November 6th.
Meanwhile, the Ronny Jackson confirmation has taken a weird turn. Two days after it was reported that Jackson had created a hostile working environment, that he drank excessively on the job, and that he overprescribed medication, there’s been some unexpected pushback from … Obama staffers. Jackson was also the White House physician under Obama, and apparently, the staff and Obama adored him. While there was an Inspector General’s report released on Jackson, the Obama administration apparently put very little stock in it, because Jackson received glowing reviews.
Here are all four of President Barack Obama's staff evaluations of Dr. Ronny Jackson, covering 2014-2016. It kinda looks like the Obama administration didn't put much stock in that 2012 inspector general report. pic.twitter.com/vaZsiRjSSa— David Martosko (@dmartosko) April 24, 2018
And yet, there are also reports that Jackson had too much to drink on a foreign trip once and was found passed out when he was needed and that he once drunkenly banged on a female employee’s door in the middle of the night.
During Obama’s presidency, White House staff needed to reach Dr. Jackson for medical reasons & found him passed out in his hotel room after a night of drinking, Tester aides said. Staff took the medical supplies without waking Dr. Jackson. https://t.co/Pu12hIxHzj— (((JonathanWeisman))) (@jonathanweisman) April 25, 2018
There have also been rumors that Jackson was known as the “candy man” for the way he handed out pills, but that hasn’t been confirmed, and seems like the sort of thing that anonymous sources would leak in order to sully a guy’s reputation.
What’s going on here? I am not sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say that Senators (from both parties, really) are launching an assault on Ronny Jackson’s reputation in an effort to sink his nomination because he’s not qualified. If Republicans rejected Jackson based on his inexperience, Trump might push back. I think they’re smearing his reputation as cover for the fact that they don’t want him running Veteran’s Affairs because he had no business being nominated to that position in the first place.
Again, that’s just a guess, but if that is the case, it’s kind of shitty. Just say: The dude is not qualified instead of saying that he’s a drunken, overprescribing asshole. Unless, of course, he is a drunken, overprescribing asshole. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Finally, I leave you with these words, uttered by Mick Mulvaney the American Banker’s Association: “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
At least he’s being honest about his corruption.