Quick Takes

* Recently I noted that the Department of Justice had filed an antitrust lawsuit to stop the merger of Halliburton and Baker Hughes. Today comes this news:

Oilfield services giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes have nixed their merger following opposition from the Obama administration.

The Houston-based energy companies last month pledged to “vigorously contest” the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against Halliburton’s acquisition of Baker Hughes, but the obstacles appeared too significant to surmount.

The demise of a deal previously valued at $34 billion was generally anticipated on Wall Street, where investors had expected government opposition to the tie-up of two of the three largest U.S. oilfield services companies.

Halliburton will pay Baker Hughes a $3.5 billion breakup fee to compensate for the deal’s collapse.

* When Republicans gained a majority in the Senate after the 2014 election, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made some promises about how their party would demonstrate the ability to actually govern. That’s not exactly how things are working out.

Senate Republicans have left town for another recess with their yearlong claim that the Senate is “back to work” an increasingly tough sell to voters.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has worked painstakingly to craft an identity that’s distinct from the raucous presidential contest — one built on stability and passage of legislation the Democrats couldn’t get through when they controlled the Senate.

But the chamber is on pace to work the fewest days in 60 years, the party continues to insist it won’t act on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, and Republicans’ ballyhooed strategy to shepherd all dozen spending bills through the chamber is in serious trouble.

* Here is yet another constituency Donald Trump is alienating.

Donald Trump is the catalyst who could force a decisive break between Miami-Dade County’s influential Cuban-American voters and the Republican Party, a new poll has found.

Local Cuban Americans dislike Trump so much — and are increasingly so accepting of renewed U.S.-Cuba ties pushed by Democratic President Barack Obama — that Trump’s likely presidential nomination might accentuate the voters’ political shift away from the GOP, according to the survey shared with the Miami Herald and conducted by Dario Moreno, a Coral Gables pollster and a Florida International University associate politics professor.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents supported Trump, a number that is still higher than the 31 percent who backed Clinton — but also “the lowest in history that any potential Republican candidate polls among this traditionally loyal demographic,” according to Moreno. He added that the results put likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton within “striking distance” of winning over the influential voting demographic.

* Bill Scher writes that Closed Primaries Did Not Stop Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders is so convinced that his campaign was fatefully hamstrung by “closed” primaries in which independent voters could not participate that he is including the end of closed primaries in his list of convention demands…

Although he has every right to pursue that goal, he’s wasting his time, and squandering his leverage, by focusing on closed primaries. Yes, he was swept in the closed states. But he also lost the open primaries by a 2-to-1 margin.

* Finally, Michael Grunwald recently wrote an article titled, The Selling of Obama: The inside story of how a great communicator lost the narrative.

Obama was hailed as a new Great Communicator during his yes-we-can 2008 campaign, but he’s often had a real failure to communicate in office. The narrative began spinning out of his control in the turbulent opening days of his presidency, and he’s never totally recaptured it. His tenure has often felt like an endless series of media frenzies over messaging snafus—from the fizzled “Recovery Summer” to “you didn’t build that” to the Benghazi furor, which is mostly a furor about talking points.

David Roberts, who writes for Vox, took to twitter in order to disagree. Here is a sample of his response.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .