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‘Trumplash’ in New Jersey and Virginia races is an Obama deja vu

From left, China President Xi Jinping, President Donald

From left, China President Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tour the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City in Beijing on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Andy Wong

Cycle of life

President Donald Trump and his party this week absorbed a partisan jolt strikingly similar to what his predecessor, Barack Obama, and his party experienced eight years earlier.

The Virginia governor’s race went decisively to Democrat Ralph Northam and against Republican Ed Gillespie, who assumed the Trumpian mantle after barely winning his primary.

From Asia, Trump denied that Gillespie embraced him — but the Republican National Commitee chairwoman disputed that.

Voters for New Jersey governor rejected the bid of Kim Guadagno to become the GOP successor to Trump campaign ally Chris Christie. Trump backlash analyses logically followed.

All this was just like November 2009 — in reverse.

One year after Obama won his first term, the Virginia governorship went from Democratic to Republican — as did the New Jersey governorship.

Many are discussing what it all may mean for congressional midterm elections next year.

Asian drama

The president arrived Wednesday in China to pomp and fanfare. The heavy stuff would have to do with the rocket-rattling and hostile nuclear ambitions of neighboring North Korea.

Earlier, Trump addressed the South Korean National Assembly, where he gave a warning: “You cannot support, you cannot supply, you cannot accept,” he said.

Trump called on “every nation, including China and Russia,” to further isolate the Pyongyang regime. The question of the moment was whether he could persuade President Xi Jinping to take the desired actions.

Tax push

Back in Washington, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spun GOP electoral losses as a signal that popular action is needed on a tax-cut bill.

“We’ve got to get on with keeping our promise, and one of the chief promises we made when we ran for office ... in 2016 was that we would do tax reform and tax cuts for families, for people, and so we’ve got to get on with that,” Ryan said.

Ryan made his remarks at an event held by the Washington Examiner.

Hard to reconcile

Difficulties abound as the pieces of a possible deal move around. After removal of a kind of excise tax on multinational corporations, a revenue hole of at least $74 billion was reported in the House plan.

Markups in the House Ways and Means Committee were in their third day. Republicans in the Senate, meanwhile, were revisiting provisions in the House proposal and even broached the possibility of delaying corporate tax cuts until 2019.

Gag reflex

The judge in the criminal case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and business partner Rick Gates imposed a gag order, requiring both sides and possible witnesses to avoid statements that could prejudice jurors.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson warned she would issue the order after Manafort defense lawyer Kevin Downing spoke to news media outside the courthouse following arraignment.

What else is going on

  • Obama reported for jury duty in Chicago, but was dismissed a short time later.
  • A “suburban revolt” was how some analysts saw Tuesday’s election results.
  • Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is under federal investigation for his role in advising Trump on regulatory issues that may have affected his own interests.
  • The U.S. economic embargo of Cuba was tightened under orders from Trump officials.
  • Congressional investigators interviewed former Trump aides about the campaign’s move to excise language from the GOP platform that called for arming Ukraine.
  • Medicaid and Obamacare figured among the issues in Tuesday’s off-year elections.

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