Trump’s Acquittal leads to ‘all is great in the USA’ State of the Union address; Sanders and Buttigieg the Iowa winners

“We must look at the history of this presidency and to the character of this president, or lack of character, and ask: Can we be confident that he will not continue to try to cheat in that very election? Can we be confident that Americans, and not foreign powers, will get to decide, and that the president will shun any further foreign interference in our democratic affairs? And the short, plain, sad, incontestable answer is no, you can’t. … He will not change, and you know it.”

— Adam Schiff

Impeachment: Wednesday’s vote will acquit Trump. Only Romney hasn’t yet said how he’ll vote, but all other Republicans are expected to vote for acquittal. Will Joe Manchin or another Democrat join them?

 

Iowa Primary: Less than 2/3 of the vote is in due to election night snafus. Aside from the debacle of the delayed returns, the basic thrust is that Sanders and Buttigieg emerged the co-winners, Warren ‘not a loser’ (a decent 3rd place), and Biden the big loser, even if he remains ahead of Klobuchar who also was disappointed, as Iowa was her best chance for a good showing in the early states. Projected: that both Warren and Sanders are likely to gain a bit when the tally is complete.

In an early Iowa caucus vote count, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) held a slight popular-vote lead, while former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg led in a measure of state delegates.

With 62 percent of precincts counted, Sanders earned 26 percent of the popular vote; Buttigieg hit 25. By both measures, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was in third place with 20 percent of the vote, and former vice president Joe Biden placed fourth at 13 percent.

The results were released nearly a day after the caucuses were held, thanks to widespread reporting issues. The Iowa Democratic Party blamed inconsistencies in reporting for the delay.

Based on preliminary results, Sanders and Buttigieg top the field in Iowa. But entrance polls show they took very different routes to their strong showings.

Sanders drew heavy support from his hallmark constituencies of younger caucus-goers and strong liberals, while Buttigieg was fueled by steady support across a wide array of voters. Buttigieg’s outsize support in rural areas has also boosted him in the delegate race.

Nearly half of 17-29-year-olds (48 percent) chose Sanders as their initial preference, according to preliminary entrance poll results, more than double the share of any other candidate. Under-30 voters made up 24 percent of caucus-goers this year, up from 18 percent in 2016. Sanders also led with 33 percent support among caucus-goers ages 30 to 44. But he received far less support — 8 percent — among those 45 and older.

Sanders also won big among “very liberal” caucus-goers, with 43 percent backing the senator from Vermont, compared with 28 percent for Warren. Sanders’s support dropped to 19 percent among those calling themselves “somewhat liberal,” and to 12 percent among moderates.

Buttigieg’s support was more steady across various segments of the Democratic electorate. Across age groups, Buttigieg peaked at 24 percent among those ages 45 and older and also won 19 percent support among those under 30. Across ideological groups, Buttigieg won 27 percent of somewhat liberal Democrats and 25 percent of moderates, dipping to 12 percent among those who are very liberal. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/iowa-caucuses-2020-live-updates/2020/02/04/23561bd6-4707-11ea-bc78-8a18f7afcee7_story.html?itid=hp_hp-bignews3_iowa-ticker%3Aprime-time%2Fpromo

 

The Goal: Defeating Trump and evicting enabling Republicans from leadership of the Senate is mandatory if we’re to address global warming and return the country to a sane, safe present and future.

The Alarm remains: Already gob-smacked by the supine behavior of Republican senators, the latest Gallup poll – arguably the most consistently reliable over decades- has Trump at his highest point- 49% approval- of his presidency.

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has risen to 49%, his highest in Gallup polling since he took office in 2017.

The new poll finds 50% of Americans disapproving of Trump, leaving just 1% expressing no opinion. The average percentage not having an opinion on Trump has been 5% throughout his presidency.

Trump’s approval rating has risen because of higher ratings among both Republicans and independents. His 94% approval rating among Republicans is up six percentage points from early January and is three points higher than his previous best among his fellow partisans. The 42% approval rating among independents is up five points, and ties three other polls as his best among that group. Democratic approval is 7%, down slightly from 10%. https://news.gallup.com/poll/284156/trump-job-approval-personal-best.aspx

 

State of the Union: The best ever, says Trump- “the Great American Comeback.”  There’s no need to painstakingly challenge / refute every item. Democrats should pick the most striking, remind that Trump’s word is worth nothing, taunt him wherever possible. For example, reminding him that the economy is in basically in the same condition when Obama exited, that we are in the midst of the 10th year of the Obama Recovery from the Republican economic collapse of 2008.

Heather Long:

Trump goes too far is in touting this economy as the “best ever” or trying to portray the end of the Obama era as dire and himself as the hero flying in on the Trump jet to save the day. He has taken steps such as tax cuts to keep the economy growing and increase competitiveness, but he’s also inflicted pain. His tariffs have hurt U.S. manufacturing and agriculture. And his tax cuts and increased government spending have added substantially to the national debt.

Consider economic growth. Last year, the U.S. economy grew 2.3 percent — about average for this expansion and well below the 4 percent level Trump promised. So far in Trump’s term, growth is averaging 2.5 percent. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/02/04/trump-touts-his-economy-best-ever-data-is-more-mixed/

And:

After keeping her composure for roughly half of Trump’s speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) shook her head as Trump turned to health care — promising to “protect [insurance coverage for] pre-existing conditions.”

She shook her head again as Trump made a more sweeping claim: “We will always protect your Medicare and always protect your Social Security, always.”

Pelosi earlier in the day joined other Democratic leaders calling on the Trump administration to drop its support for a federal lawsuit that threatens the coverage protections in the Affordable Care Act.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/state-of-the-union-impeachment-live-updates/2020/02/04/22ddcdf6-46d6-11ea-ab15-b5df3261b710_story.html?itid=hp_hp-top-table-main_impeachliveall-930a%3Aprime-time%2Fpromo#link-DONI4FVPYY7RVKMQFQ566V6UBM

In touting the country’s economic gains, Trump referenced “increases of 60, 70, 80 and 90 percent and even more” in the value of 401(k) retirement accounts.

Trump often boasts that the value of 401(k) retirement accounts has skyrocketed during his presidency, even though there’s no evidence of such huge gains and the Census Bureau reports only 32 percent of Americans are saving for retirement with such plans.

An analysis by Fidelity Investments showed the average 401(k) balance increased less than 1 percent when comparing the first quarters of 2018 and 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/state-of-the-union-impeachment-live-updates/2020/02/04/22ddcdf6-46d6-11ea-ab15-b5df3261b710_story.html?itid=hp_hp-top-table-main_impeachliveall-930a%3Aprime-time%2Fpromo#link-DONI4FVPYY7RVKMQFQ566V6UBM

 

The Slow Death of Retail: Macy’s latest round of store closings.

Sapna Maheshwari:

Macy’s, the struggling department store chain, is planning another round of store closings and job cuts.

The company said that it would close about 125 of its least productive stores in the next three years and also cut about 2,000 of its corporate and support function positions, according to a statement on Tuesday. The company said it was not clear how many additional jobs would be lost because of the store closures. Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chief executive, first announced the news in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Macy’s, which also owns Bloomingdale’s and the off-price Macy’s Backstage chain, has been working to adjust its enormous brick-and-mortar portfolio to suit the shopping habits of today’s consumers. In 2016, the company announced plans to shutter 100 stores, which it later said would include the elimination of more than 10,000 jobs. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/04/business/macys-store-closings.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage

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