Bombs, Shootings, Migrants, & The Senate

The US News Roundup 27/10/2018

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Political violence peaked in the public eye this week, with bomb scares hitting many prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and CNN. Authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc, a Floridian Trump supporter with a long criminal record that included terroristic threats in 2002. While the FBI stressed that these bombs were not hoaxes, they certainly weren’t ever a real threat. It seems as though Sayoc genuinely tried to build and send bombs, and had no clue what he was doing. It didn’t take long for the skeptics to find flaws in the official story, valid or not. The biggest hole is certainly the stamps. The Wasserman-Schultz package was actually a return, as her office was used as the return address. Yet, the package is pictured without the stamps being marked, which should happen as soon as it’s sent out for delivery. Additionally, one package was marked as not having enough stamps, yet the same amount of stamps is on all other shown packages. These questions are valid and should be asked, though I wouldn’t hold my breath for an explanation.

 

Yesterday, a gunman opened fire on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 and wounding six. He reportedly shouted “All Jews must die!” before or during the shooting. Authorities arrested Robert Bowers on the scene, and he has been charged with 29 crimes. Capital punishment is still a possibility in Pennsylvania, though it hasn’t been used since 1999. After the tragedy, political leaders from all over the political spectrum and country, including the President, called for peace and civility in politics.

 

The migrant Caravan from Honduras made plenty of headlines this week, despite minimal changes in their status. They are still somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 people strong, still moving about 20 to 30 miles per day, and still deeply south in Mexico. It could take as few as 40 days, or as many as 60, depending on the pace of the caravan and the resistance of the Mexican authorities. Officially, Mexico is opposed to being the largest migrant highway in the Americas, but stopping 8,000 people is no small task. Mexico would have to deploy their military, and that’s likely a price too high considering that everyone knows these migrants are just passing through. Allegedly other caravans are forming, and could move much quicker, but that has yet to be seen. Additionally, the caravan may see a lot of splintering, as some return home, some apply for asylum, and some choose more dangerous routes. Vice President Pence claims that the president of Honduras told him that the caravan was organized by outside leftist groups, including from Venezuela. There are also rumors of the National Guard being deployed to enforce the border, though the Posse Comitatus Act will serve as a slight obstacle.

 

Just a week out from the election, the last polls trickle in on the Senate races that will shape the U.S.’s upper chamber for the next two years. In Missouri, Josh Hawley lead incumbent Claire McCaskill by four points in a poll by the Missouri Scout. This would be a crucial Republican pickup, as McCaskill is far more liberal than her red-state Democrat peers like Joe Donnelly or Joe Manchin. Speaking of which, Donnelly lead by a single point in a poll commissioned by SurveyUSA, while challenger Mike Braun lead by four points in an internal poll. Libertarian Lucy Brenton had eight points in the first poll, but only three in the second. Democrat Jon Tester was up three points in one poll and nine points in another for the Montana Senate seat, so that seat is likely to remain blue. The Michigan Senate race tightened over the last week, with Stabenow leading by 16 points early in the week, but 7 points in another poll, and only 6 in a final. She faces Republican John James, who is a black veteran businessman (and who gives a helluva speech). In North Dakota, Republicans have all-but-secured a pickup, as challenger Cramer leads Senator Heitkamp by 16 points, according to an NBC Valley News poll. Minnesota’s special election is projected to be relatively close, with Democrat Smith leading by only six points, though it’s hard to imagine the Republican stealing that seat. Ted Cruz lead by six points in the only poll out of Texas this week, run by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune.

 

The most heavily polled race this election has been the Florida Senate race, where Republican Governor Rick Scott faces incumbent Senator Bill Nelson. Nelson led in four of six polls, picking up a good deal of momentum in the last week. He leads by an average of nearly three points from those six polls. While this seat won’t determine the party control of the Senate, it’s not hard to imagine it determining the abortion control of the Senate. If Republicans pick up North Dakota and either Missouri or Indiana, and Democrats recapture Nevada and Arizona, there will be practically no movement on the abortion ideology scale. Thus, a pickup in Florida would be huge for Republicans, especially if Trump gets another pick for the Supreme Court in the next two years.

You can read more from Ian Scar on Think Liberty here.

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