Mr. Trump's OMB Director, Mick Mulvaney, has received a lot of well-deserved flak for saying he's against redistributing income from rich folks to poor folks and that deficits don't matter when cutting taxes, but you know what strikes me most about his words, as quoted in the link above? How freaking hifalutin he sounds -- when he suggests programs like Social Security and Medicare are "inefficient" and drops phrases like "wealth transfer" into his spiel, he sounds exactly like the smartypants egghead that is the cherished right-wing stereotype of liberals. And we live in a decadent time when folks get rich mainly by constructing elaborate income-redistribution-upward schemes, but we'll set that aside for now. Though Mr. Mulvaney sounds so "wonky" because he thinks right-wing politics plus the appearance of intelligence gives him an edge, Trump votaries still have to work harder to convince themselves that the Trump Administration is just-like-us when Trump mouthpieces sound like they think they're so much smarter than them.
Republicans dodged a bullet in a special House election in Kansas's 4th this past Tuesday, but you wouldn't know it from all the Jeff George Victory Laps they're doing over there, and I don't just mean President Trump, who acts like it wasn't a sign of weakness that Republicans had to drag their President into a special election in freaking Kansas. No, dig the arrogance of the winner, Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes, who really should be parlaying his statewide office into a Senate gig, not a House gig -- "we really showed the pundits tonight"? Without the infusion of huge amounts of Republican money and effort, in a seat Republicans typically win by 30 points, Mr. Estes would have been toast. Democrats, for their part, are learning nothing from the experience. Their only path back to power in Congress is through Berniecrats like Mr. Thompson, just as the Republicans' only path back to power in 2010 was through the Tea Party, but Democrats don't want that, since it'll make sucking up to corporate donors at the altar of "innovation" and "entrepreneurship" harder.
National Democrats are, of course, banking (so to speak!) on a victory in Georgia's 6th, another deep-red Republican district (albeit one which went for Mr. Trump by less than two points) holding a special election. But what is the one thing we're constantly hearing about their nominee, Jon Ossoff? That he's raised a crapload of money, that's what. Because what energizes voters (particularly populist voters) more than hearing a candidate's raised a lot of cash? Democrats will lose this race. How do I know? Because Mr. Ossoff's still running ads saying he'll "work with anybody" and bring "high-tech" jobs to his district and fight wasteful spending. I suppose you win a red district by "sounding like a Republican," but you take it too far if you actually adopt Republican positions, or let Republicans set the terms of the debate. Case in point: his best ad (largely about foreign policy issues) doesn't mention his work exposing ISIS's sex slavery in Iraq. I'd have run that ad first, so that when Republicans fired back with ZOMG HE WORKEDZ FOR TEH AL JAZEERAHZ!!!!, they'd look like the petty fools they are.
"Liberal" media outlets are starting to declare that Mr. Trump's more recent flip-flops represent a "move to the political center." Ah, no: Mr. Trump isn't moving toward the "center," but toward the conventional wisdom of Our Glorious Elites, which isn't the same thing. Where's the center on health care, for example, if you judge by how the majority of Americans feel? Single-payer, that's where. Where's the center on bank regulation in America -- again, judging not by what the media and the political parties say, but what the people say? We might best describe the center as "people want banksters to stop hurting them for personal gain." Clearly our honeymoon with the "liberal" media is over; they've decided Mr. Trump is "normal" now, and they're ready to go back to pushing sensationalist drama and right-wing policy prescriptions for everything 24-7. The good news? It doesn't matter, and they don't matter -- the only people who matter are the American people, and, frankly, Our Glorious Elites need us more than we need them.