The night before Christmas

There is no polling to report, and I have my head buried too deep in my forthcoming federal election to report anything of substance on my own account. But with the announcement of the election universally anticipated on the weekend for either May 11 or May 18, a new open thread is very much in order, so here it is.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

801 comments on “The night before Christmas”

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  1. This really stinks

    William Barr was invited to meet justice department officials last summer, on the same day he submitted an “unsolicited” memo that heavily criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice by Donald Trump.

    Barr, who was a private attorney at the time, met the officials for lunch three weeks later and was then nominated to serve as Trump’s attorney general about six months later.

    The revelation about the meeting, which was arranged by Steve Engel, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, and which has not previously been publicly disclosed, raises new questions about whether the White House’s decision to hire Barr was influenced by private discussions he had about his legal views on Mueller’s investigation.

  2. Thats why the Herald Scum only printed every other piece of shite in that Galaxy poll because their beloved party are still going down like a lead balloon.They cant move it from 53-47.

  3. Victoria:

    If that’s true then the decision to confirm his appointment is on those supposedly moderate Republicans who hemmed and hawed over his nomination, eventually falling into line.

  4. “LR – Looks like the EU are going to shove a one year extension down Theresa’s throat. The neo-fascist Tories are gonna go bananas.”

    An offer they can’t refuse.

  5. Vic:

    Thanks for the link. The reason I finger the moderate Republicans is because some of them made a public display of prevaricating over his appointment. They knew any nomination of Trump warranted scrutiny, even if he was dubbed the best you could expect from Trump. But still they didn’t do due diligence, and eventually fell in line behind McConnell.

  6. RD

    Labor should have chosen to deal with the Greens rather than the Libs.
    Labor paid a steep electoral price for that howler of a decision.

    I am so sick of this fatuous argument from Greens supporters. FFS, there was no point negotiating with the Greens…they could not deliver the numbers!

  7. Fess

    The moderate Republicans are just as complicit as the rest of the party in aiding and abetting this corrupt President

  8. Yes indeed Victoria. I don’t refer to them as supposedly moderate Republicans for nothing! Jennifer Rubin had a great column in the Washington Post a few weeks back in which she scorched the lot of them, stating they don’t deserve to sit in Congress, and might as well all naff off for all the value they bring to upholding the party’s supposed values and ethos.

    We see the same thing here with Liberals. No wonder independent women are challenging the dinosaurs in their safe seats, obviously wanting to reclaim their party from the reactionary regressives.

  9. Boer War is the Borg… there is no escape, there is no alternative, if you are a genuine candidate of the left it is pointless to run… resistance is futile… right wingers like him will not support you… you are handing government to the Tories…. but wait… wait…. the opposite does not apply. The right do not need the left to turn out in support of their presidential candidates. Double Think or what? Shat a mindless bot!

  10. People like Susan Collins received reputations for being “moderates” because they weren’t total bastards during the Obama years, unlike their colleagues and aren’t frothing at the mouth about gays and whatnot. However, since Trump has come in, their voting record has shown nothing but compliance for the party line – even after expressing “serious concern” eg. the Kavanaugh confirmation.

    I especially single out Collins because she’s been pushing this act to try and stay electable in her state of Maine (incidentally she is up in 2020 and I hope she loses.)

  11. Nath, what amuses me is his ‘passion’, which really makes me laugh, cause what has he got, to be so against the Tories… he is one.

  12. Paul Bongiorno
    ‏Verified account @PaulBongiorno
    1h1 hour ago

    So as soon as I reappear on an RN Breakfast Gerard Henderson solos his media watch dog on them and me. I am assured ABC management thinks he is a loony obsessive – he certainly is.still smarting from being dropped because he is a boring anachronism.

  13. Boer War is the Borg… there is no escape, there is no alternative, if you are a genuine candidate of the left it is pointless to run… resistance is futile…

    One of the funniest claims is that Sanders-hating centrists will boycott the general election and swing the election to Trump if their preferred empty suit (Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker etc) isn’t anointed.

    First, there simply aren’t enough of these sad creatures to make a dent in what will likely be a comfortable Sanders victory against a deeply unpopular incumbent president.

    Second, this coterie of Democrats who hate Sanders with a passion are political junkies. They wouldn’t miss an election for the world. They will turn up and they will vote for Sanders in the general, even if they have to clutch their well-thumbed copy of What Happened a little tighter than usual.

  14. Nicholas

    Second, this coterie of Democrats who hate Sanders with a passion are political junkies. They wouldn’t miss an election for the world. They will turn up and they will vote for Sanders in the general, even if they have to clutch their well-thumbed copy of What Happened a little tighter than usual.

    So you are arguing that the centrists are more astute than the green idiots who have wasted their votes on the likes of Nader and Stein.

  15. Someone whose worldview is based on what his stupol faction discusses over expensive drinks at their favourite small bar and only knowing poverty from what he has read about in books and 19th century treatises he barely understands accuses those who don’t conform to his views as political junkies living in a bubble and clinging to literature. Rich.

  16. I’d be happier with Sanders if he actually said he was an atheist.

    Also Kyrsten Sinema.

    Like, whatever your beliefs are, cool. But the fact that mainstream US politicians still have to avoid that label at all costs is actually rather sad.

  17. Yeah right. Incidentally, Bernie Sanders also refuses to release his tax returns. What are these Old White Males hiding?

    The White House could attempt to block the release of President Trump’s tax returns to Democrats, senior officials signaled on Thursday, an unprecedented step that might lead to a constitutional challenge and catapult the issue into federal court.

    In an indication of how the standoff might escalate, Trump himself suggested that the Justice Department could become involved — even though Democrats directed their request to the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

    “They’ll speak to my lawyers and they’ll speak to the attorney general,” Trump said during an unrelated event in the Oval Office when asked about the Democrats’ request for six years of his personal and business tax returns.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/white-house-maneuvers-to-block-release-of-trumps-tax-returns/2019/04/04/047b19e0-56f4-11e9-8ef3-fbd41a2ce4d5_story.html?utm_term=.31cd58cfb4c3

  18. So you are arguing that the centrists are more astute than the green idiots who have wasted their votes on the likes of Nader and Stein.

    No, just much less inclined to take a stand on principle: they look down on people who do that.

    They’ll fire their water pistol at Sanders during the primaries, and after that they will vote for him in the general. And when he becomes a popular president, they’ll claim that they supported him all along. They want to fit in. And they love to revise history.

  19. Wow. Isn’t this a low bar.

    Calder Walton
    @calder_walton

    And— purely theoretically of course— being an asset of, or being blackmailed by, a hostile foreign power, would not necessarily rise to the level of conspiracy under criminal law.

    So it’s possible to be an foreign asset but for it not to be treason or a conspiracy.

  20. This is what the ABC has become:

    ABC Q&A
    Can Labor deliver on its pre-election promises despite “a record of financial and economic mismanagement”? via @australian #QandA

  21. Charles says:
    Friday, April 5, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Wow. Isn’t this a low bar.

    Calder Walton
    @calder_walton

    And— purely theoretically of course— being an asset of, or being blackmailed by, a hostile foreign power, would not necessarily rise to the level of conspiracy under criminal law.

    So it’s possible to be an foreign asset but for it not to be treason or a conspiracy.

    It’s referred to as “being played” and being too dumb to realise it.

  22. Well, at least we know where the SMH’s Eryk Bagshaw stands:

    “Average full-time workers to be $1000 a year worse off under Labor”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/average-full-time-workers-to-be-1000-a-year-worse-off-under-labor-20190405-p51b8h.html

    “Average” wage earners on $90,000 per annum and up will be crying into their champagne, according to the “National Centre for Social And Economic Modelling”.

    They don’t care about problems low wage earners may have, and doing so is all Class Warfare by Bill Shorten.

    He really is out to pit one demographic against another.

    Why can’t low wage earners just get higher paying jobs? It’s not Rocket Science to suss out the solution.

    They THEY can look down on lower wage earners themselves (which is not Class Warfare, just legitimate aspiration).

  23. If Bagshaw thinks $90000 is average he needs to get out more.So $45.50 per hour is average. There is no one I know in this area thats anywhere near that figure.

  24. Brendan O’Conner
    @BOConnorMP

    Extraordinary that an abc platform would lift the entire News Ltd anti Labor narrative and loaded assertions so readily. Where’s the independent reporting and balance we’d expect of our national public broadcaster?

  25. The Sanderellas are the Libkins of US politics – they campaign against their could-be allies on the centre-left.

    They exhibit all the same condescension and sanctimony.

    Anyone could be forgiven for thinking they see the centre-left as their real enemies. They certainly conduct themselves that way. The effect of their campaigning is to repel those to whom they will later look for support.

    Successful democratic politics depends on assembling support, not on cracking it in to fragments. But they do not appear to comprehend that. For them, politics seems to consist of humiliating your allies.

    If the Sanderellas continue in this style they will lose. It’s likely they have already lost.

  26. Oh dear, Crankmomma embarrassing herself with lame Ad hominems again. If you are going to make an attempt at least make it effective. Talk about being attacked by a dead sheep.

  27. See, Not So Briefly has revised his lame attacks. Now he refers to Libkins instead of liblings. At least he changes things up from time to time.

  28. Trump quote of the week

    “I’ve been watching things that are unwatchable and I don’t like it”

    Source: Planet America: ABC.

    Yes this man is President of the United States of America.

  29. Some clarity on wages…

    The $84,600 a year [average wage] is not plucked out of thin air. It actually comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ ‘full-time adult average weekly total earnings’.

    According to the ABS, in November last year the average full-time wage, with overtime and penalty rates, was $1628 a week. Multiply that by the number of weeks in a year (52) and you get $84,656.

    Sounds fair enough, right? Wrong.

    First of all, only 68 per cent of workers are full-time workers, according to the ABS. Include the 32 per cent of workers who are part-time, and the average drops dramatically to around $62,000 a year.

    According to Treasury, the *median* wage or salary is [much less, at] $55,063 a year.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2018/06/08/average-australian-wages-revealed/

  30. The Spectator Index
    ‏ @spectatorindex
    2m2 minutes ago

    BREAKING: 20 American states have filed a motion to prevent President Trump from diverting money to build border wall.
    0 replies 0 retweets 0 likes

  31. Bit of a random late night thought from the End Game Series: is it correct that in the 2013-2016 parliament the QLD LNP split 16 Libs to 6 Nats? That would have meant Malcolm had 75 seats without the Nats (58 Libs + 1 Country Lib + 16 Qld Libs) the day he took the top job from Abbott. Surely PM Turnbull could have convinced McGowan to give him confidence and supply, or find a loose cannon amongst the 15 Nats to accept the speakership, if Truss and Joyce dared to hold their ground on the coalition agreement past the start of question time. Oh well…

  32. “This is how they are. This is what they do. Young Libs just egged on by sitting members to be really awful bullies and harassers to candidates and supporters.”

    Liberal sources argue the Canberra press gallery is more conservative than Sydney’s media and less inclined to run dirt. Hawker says that is little comfort for Labor, though, when you consider the coverage from the Murdoch press. A veteran of the 2013 campaign, when the Murdoch empire turned entirely against Rudd, Hawker says “you’ve got to ask yourself how effective the Liberal Party, either in NSW or Canberra, would be if it didn’t have the willing collaboration of a large sector of News Corporation, every time they go into an election campaign”.

    Still, Phelps believes the Coalition is headed for defeat in May. He is unsure whether there is any new information that could shift voters.

    “Everything hasn’t been thrown at Shorten,” the Liberal operative says. “There’s more than enough on him already to run a savage attack campaign. The real problem is, is it going to move a single vote? My view is, there’s nothing you can do now which will move a single vote. I don’t know what [the federal party] can do to win the election. Shorten can lose the election by doing something completely off script or stupid, but he’s a machine and it’s unlikely. People have made up their minds about Shorten.”

    The Liberal Party dirt will not be directed exclusively at Shorten, however. One source indicates that, just as Michael Daley’s record on Randwick council came up during the NSW election, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen’s record on Fairfield council as councillor from 1995 to 2004, while Joe Tripodi was state member, will be scoured.

    Labor will be in a position to retaliate, though: there is fertile ground in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s own CV, including his controversial stint at Tourism Australia, as this newspaper has reported.

    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2019/04/06/inside-the-liberal-partys-dirt-unit/15544692007948

  33. Tony Windsor @TonyHWindsor

    Another much needed Royal Commission , makes five in a few years …our governance processes are broken to the extent that policy determination is basically left for @4corners to highlight and Governments job being leased out to Royal Commissions to adjudicate..Murray Darling nxt

  34. @jonkudelka
    9h9 hours ago

    David (Littleproud) is calling for a boycott of the RSPCA just days before an election date is announced. This is going to be a hell of a campaign.

  35. “Look, centrists don’t like Sanders – that isn’t exactly news.

    But centrists are going to vote for Sanders if he is the Democratic nominee.

    So what the centrists want isn’t important.”

    One again, you demonstrate breathtaking naivety Nicholas.

    Every metric you rely upon may be right (but I think you are way overstating Sanders support, but let’s assume you are right) but Sanders is a polarising figure: the arrogant elitism of the leftist groupthink, epitomised by the the BernieBro droogs, making a Sanders ticket extremely vulnerable to a low turn out amongst centrist voters – traditional democrats and indepdents alike.

    Being polarising works for Trump because the republican base is so disciplined: he can throw them some red meat and guarantee that 27-28% of eligible voters will turn up – concentrated in the right places – and seriously threaten to win the electoral college as a consequence.

    As a matter of raw demographics the potential democratic voter base is much bigger than the republicans (and that advantage is growing) but also more diverse: it is far more susceptible to fracturing with potential democrat voters voting for the Greens or an independent, but overwhelmingly simply not voting at all.

    3 years ago Bernie did his bit to make Clinton an even more polarising figure than she ever was. In fact he legitimised the 30 year campaign that Roger Stone ran. His crackpot anti trade “stealing your jobs” mantra helped him play John the Baptist to Trump’s messiah in the rust belt. Centrist democrats have not forgotten or forgiven him. He’s damaged goods and will struggle to get out the vote in the places that matter without the centrists and independents that you despise.

    I don’t hate leftists, only ratbags. Bernie is a ratbag. He can’t unite the people that the democrats need to make common cause so as to flex the demographic advantages that on paper the democrats enjoy into enough votes to win the GE. I’d be very happy if there was a left wing “progressive” candidate who could, but so far one hasn’t emerged. Alas. In the meantime I am hopeful that a more centrist (yet a progressive by anyone’s lights other than yours) emerged, especially if it was on a strong ticket with the “progressive wing”. #Harris-Brown or #Klobuchar-Brown could get it done.

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