Donald Trump led the field with support from a whopping 24% of Republican respondents to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted late last week, beating Scott Walker by 11 points. I bet you didn’t think you’d be pulling for Scott Walker in 2015, did you? But the Post seems to have buried the lead in its story on the poll: although Trump polled very well Thursday and Friday, his support plummeted Saturday night, after the media widely reported his remarks about John McCain. It seems Trump has defined some contours of the contemporary Republican Party. You can call Mexicans rapists, but you cannot attack a veteran.
Seven black churches in the South have burned down over the last ten days, although officials in Greeleyville, SC say that the fire at Mount Zion AME last night was probably accidental. It burned down during a storm, and “the accidental burning of churches is not uncommon across the US.” That’s one for Fodor’s. It seems possible that various white people in South Carolina, angry their legislature would have the audacity to take down a flag in response to the murder of nine black people, have set things right by terrorizing more black people. It’s a confident moral system that turns to arson. There’s no money in it. The people who do such things must be inordinately convinced of their own rightness.
Before Dylann Storm Roof almost didn’t kill nine black churchgoers but then did it anyway, he read a list of black-on-white murders compiled by the Council of Conservative Citizens. That group developed out of the now-defunct White Citizens’ Councils, and it is still a white primacy organization. It has also donated a lot of money to Republican politicians, including Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker. The CCC supports the GOP, but not the other way around. Of course, the GOP does oppose affirmative action, and it supports states’ rights and strong limits on immigration and other polices that racists happen to like. But the Republican Party is not racist. It just happens to hold many of the same policy positions as a white primacy organization.
Remember the 113th Congress, whose purpose was to thwart President Obama’s legislative agenda so that Republicans could retake the Senate and get stuff done in the 114th? It tuns out single-party control only works when the GOP is a single party. Over at the Times, Neil Irwin suggests that this week will tell us whether Boehner and McConnell can manage the tea party wing of their caucus, and things aren’t looking good. He points out that the House only avoided a DHS shutdown earlier this month by passing a stopgap bill at the last minute with Democratic votes. Meanwhile, Pelosi and Boehner agreed on a doc fix for Medicare but may not bring their parties along. And a bill to fight human trafficking has been derailed by a redundant anti-abortion amendment, which has in turn left nominated Attorney General Loretta Lynch with the longest wait for confirmation in US history. So next on the list is a federal budget.
Those impartial inquirers over at The Daily Beast have “caught” Joni Ernst, Republican candidate for Iowa’s Senate seat, saying that states can nullify federal laws. Really, she didn’t say that. She said that as a federal legislator, she would not pass the kind of laws that states would consider nullifying. She also said it last September, at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, while standing in front of a drum set. So grain of salt, but here she is:
You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator why should we be passing laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws. We’re right…we’ve gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment’s states’ rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators—as senators or congressman—that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line.
If Ernst wants to pay my exorbitant consulting fee, I can think of a phrase that she uses too much. Also, let’s take a second to talk about nullification, which is a hot topic in American politics for the first time since 1832.