No Real Big Headline Today, But a Lot of Interesting Stuff

There’s no big story today (we aren’t going to create or pretend there is one when there isn’t.) But, here’s some news you know about:

  • Special congressional election in Kansas today, as voters choose a representative to replace now-CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump won the district by 27 points, but the well-regarded Cook Political Report says Republicans “are expressing alarm that Democrat James Thompson is within striking distance.” President Trump stepped in last minute with what sounds like an ad-libbed robo-call. Ted Cruz showed up too, to support the Republican candidate. More coverage from Rollcall. It would still be a major upset and shock if Dems pull this one out. Dems are considered to have a better shot in a special election April 18 in Georgia to fill the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
  • Filibustering for the filibuster. Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey says when (not if) the Dems take back the majority in the Senate and win the presidency, they will restore the 60-vote filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. You got to give him credit for this principled position, since as he put it, “You don’t want anyone to be able to be confirmed just with a bare majority.” Like, perhaps, Neil Gorsuch? (He was sworn in today.) At the same time, if the Dems are back in control but without the 60 vote majority, wouldn’t the GOP try to block every candidate nominated by a Democratic president? So, this idea might be pretty self-defeating.
  • Remember the border wall? Here’s another fact among many others against Building The Wall. The LA Times reports the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally has dropped dramatically. There was a 64% decline in the number of people apprehended last month, compared to a year earlier. Less than 12,000 were apprehended, a 17 year low.
  • Trump becoming the most unpredictable figure on Korea? As we said yesterday Russia:Syria as China:North Korea. Big difference: North Korea has nuclear weapons. And while North Korea for years has been predictable in its unpredictability, China apparently has new concerns about President Trump’s unpredictability, which may be just what he wants. New York Times
  • Can a President demand tax reform without revealing his personal interests? Interesting think piece in the New York Times about possibly using the President’s promised tax overhaul as a way of finally bringing his own tax returns to the surface.
  • While divides between Republicans and Democrats are as deep and raw as ever, we shouldn’t forget there are deep and ugly rifts within the parties on both sides. Almost every day one comes across a “Bernie would’ve won” story, and Republicans lost their chance to rip apart Obamacare because of brutal infighting. The latest inter-party target seems to be the much-touted measure under which New York became the first state to offer free college tuition for families earning less than $125,000 a year. Slate wasted no time in calling it “pretty lame.” Why? Because if students already receive grant money from elsewhere, the New York State program only zeroes out their tuition, it doesn’t let them keep the extra for living expenses. Also because they opine New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is using it to pad his resume. So what? Isn’t it basically something good and helpful? How do we get past this? Infighting at a time when your very way of life is being threatened seems counterproductive.
  • And finally, the United bumped passenger story. That seems to be all anyone’s talking about right now. And while on the face of it, it doesn’t seem to be a very political story, the Atlantic points out the federal government allows airlines unprecedented legal cover for practices that would be illegal in almost any other type of business. Could this change? Despite a few Dems calling for hearings on the incident, not likely.