The eyes of everyone were on Texas last night, and RJ Matson plays with the big question, which was turnout. While there is some speculation that Ted Cruz could lose his seat in the general election next fall, the primaries were seen more as a general bellwether to indicate how the nation is going as a whole.
Both did well, but the Democrats had a much greater leap in turnout than did the Republicans and Matson may have been speaking metaphorically here, because reports are that, despite the Democrats' historic boost in new turnout, the Republicans still had more voters participating -- about 1.4 million to 1 million -- because they had substantially more potential voters in the first place.
Still, as John Branch notes, it was indeed a wake-up call for Republicans and a warning that they can't simply rely on past performance to tell the tale come November.
Perhaps the next indicator will be to see how many kids walk out of school on March 14. No, the kids aren't all voting age, though many seniors are, and certainly many will walk out and do nothing more. But the numbers will suggest how many kids will be leafleting on the streets, encouraging registrations and, if nothing else, pestering their parents to vote in November.
Of course, the #NeverAgain movement, at least the core group from Parkland, is keeping things focused on gun control, but that certainly suggests greater support for Democrats.
Which will be a significant advantage, assuming that the DCCC doesn't piss off and discourage these fresh young voters by continuing to squabble over whether to run old-line warhorses or fresh new faces.
The national party's attempt in Texas to tamp down progressive Laura Moser not only failed but backfired, energizing her supporters. As Politico reports,
Moser, who raised more than $130,000 after the DCCC’s attacks late last month, is now laying the groundwork for an outsider, Bernie Sanders-style campaign. In a TV ad, Moser urges voters to reject “Washington party bosses [telling] us who to choose,” adding, “we tried that before, and look where it got us.”
Of course, the November elections may be a contest to see which party can self-destruct less. Steve Kelley marks the departure of Hope Hicks with this telling piece, and response to her resignation is yet another case of people who should know how these things work not getting it.
That is, I would expect reporters to understand that a public relations person -- a flak -- tells "white lies" all the time, putting positive spin on everything, even if it means, for instance as here, writing and releasing a statement from the boss that the boss has not made.
Funny story: At one paper where I worked, we reissued a cartoon history of the region, and as part of the booklet, I wrote an introduction "from the publisher." She read it and signed it and out it went.
Several years later, I was in town and discovered that the history had been reprinted and reissued, and that, lo and behold, the new publisher, at least three people removed from the one I'd worked with, apparently felt exactly the same way about the booklet, because there was the completely same introduction with his signature at the end.
The danger for a flak is that one of these bogus statements will go out with some unintentionally offensive passage in it, because, while the person who signed it without reading it will end up taking the public abuse, the person who wrote it will be stretched on the rack for making the boss look bad.
In any case, Hicks stating that she told "white lies" is simply Hicks stating that she did her job, and any commentator who is shocked, shocked over that is either incompetent or dishonest.
Where Hicks screwed up was in crossing the line into black lies by helping craft the dishonest explanation of that meeting in Trump Towers. It's hard to tell the boss he's going too far, but when you help him do it, you're putting yourself in the same hell-bound handcart.
I heard some speculation that she left simply to find a lucrative job in order to pay the massive legal bills that are sure to come, which may well be true, and is yet another reason to suggest that she cooperate with the investigation.
And turning Hope Hicks would certainly make Meuller's job easier, because she's seen a lot more than just the white lies.
Speaking of people well-schooled in white, gray and black lies, Peter Brookes joins the rest of Britain in wondering what on earth could have made former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter deathly ill?
Obviously, they weren't poisoned by the Russians because the Kremlin has denied it. So that's out.
But, boy oh boy, Russian dissidents sure seem prone to accidents and sudden illness.
NPR likes to talk about "driveway moments," when you sit in the car to hear the rest of a story. I had one yesterday, hearing that a Russian spokesman had suggested that maybe Skripal simply had a heart attack.
Well, sure. Simultaneous heart attacks.
Glad I'm not a former double agent. Or in debt to an oligarch.
On a lighter note
If Retail operated in that odd comic world where every Monday everything is reset again, this twist wouldn't mean much, but, because the strip has continuity, Stuart's appointing Cooper to oversee the closure of a nearby store has implications beyond the immediate story arc.
It's possible that Val could have been Stuart's choice, but Cooper, having processed shipments, really does have more operational knowledge. More to the point, however, there's far more comic potential in giving him a taste of management.
Or, at least, as close to normal as things in Monty ever are.
Val sends this one out to Coop