4 Senate races…

#1:  Phil Bredesen has made the announcement that he’s not voting for Chuck Schumer for Senate leader.  I’m not really sure how this plays out, in a 50-49 Senate.  Can Schumer organize with a 50-49-1 vote?

It’s a stand in for what he had been planning to differentiate himself from the national Democratic party — before the rape allegations, he was going to come out for the Kavanaugh confirmation.  As it were now, he’s campaigning and saying that it won’t matter if you send him on over, he’s not going to be the man that puts the Democrat in the majority.  Which is interesting, because the likelihood is that if he does win… he very well could be.  (Unless you think the Democrats are going to get to 52?)

A very odd campaign strategy, his.

#2:  Skipping over to the exciting race in Mississippi… which… looks as though it is technically going to be unresolved after the November general election — with two Republicans splitting a majority vote and one Democrat vying… somehow needing to clear that 50 plus one threshold.  George Will has talked this race up, I suppose trying to land somewhere idiosyncratic in his Never Trumper Republicanism.  And Joe Trippi sells it as a possible recurrence of the Alabama senate race, and in doing so downplays the role the teen sexual predator allegations had in tripping Roy Moore up with the splits in the party in Alabama that allowed Doug Jones to win.  (Push back to the comparison also point out that the black voters who came out in Alabama are more urbanly centered, and thus easier to mobilize, than Mississippi’s black populace… but it’s worth pointing out Thad Cochran beat back McDaniel by mobilizing what black Democrats in the primary run-off… as per the state’s odd open primary for anyone who didn’t vote in the other party in the first primary law.)

We now see Trump stumping for the mainline Republican candidate and her focusing her campaign in the area that McDaniel won against his last Republican fight, against the incumbent Thad Cochran.  Seemingly with the idea of beating back McDaniel’s non commitment to her candidacy in the next round.  Given the stakes… a distinct possibility that election day 2018 will produce a 50-49 or maybe even 51-48 balance to the Democrats — where either this race will decide if Schumer or McConnell are the Majority leader or will be a manner to salvage some party victory from a ruinous election cycle… it’s difficult to see how his voters will end up costing Cindy Hyde-Smith the election either with a spite vote for the scary Black Democrat or an apathy not vote… but then again… odd things happen.

#3:  The quest of Ted Cruz to soften his image, and become more likable.  Yes, I know… he played a game of basketball with Jimmy Kimmel.  But beyond that, what he might do is hire a bunch of angry protesters to heckle him during dinner at a restaurant.  That’ll get him some sympathy from even hardened foes.

#4:  And here’s an interesting profile of Joe Manchin, out in West Virginia.   And… sigh… the little people make him tear up so much…

“Some days, I just watch,” Manchin told me in a near whisper. “People riding a lawn mower—I envy ’em so much.” There almost seemed to be a catch in his throat. He appeared thrilled by their industriousness, their unimpeded productivity. “Not a fuckin’ worry in the world,” he continued. “Put the earphones on and let ‘er rip.”

Nothing stopping him from riding lawn mowers… oh, wait.  He lives on a boat.  Never mind.  That’s why he envies lawn mowerers.

Then there’s this…

The other parts of being a senator, though, can sometimes seem tricky. One day last year, I was with Manchin as he rode the subway car beneath the Capitol to vote on the Senate floor. A few minutes earlier, Barack Obama, in one of his final acts as president, had announced that he was commuting Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence for leaking classified information, and one of Manchin’s aides broke the news to the senator. Although Manchin serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, it was clear from the befuddled look on his face that he had no idea who Manning was.

“Bradley—uh, Chelsea—Manning was the Army private that downloaded a bunch of information in Iraq and then gave it to WikiLeaks,” the aide explained.

“That’s treason,” Manchin said, still no closer to knowing what his aide was talking about.

“Yes, sir,” another aide went on. “And while he was in prison, he had a sex-change operation.”

Manchin’s eyes flashed with recognition.

“I thought that was the one that became a girl!” he shouted. “That son of a bitch!” He slammed his fist on the subway car’s seat. “And we’re letting him out now because he’s docile?!”

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