* The political realignment that began with the Republican’s Southern Strategy is nearly complete.
New England’s shrinking Republican delegation in Congress is moving toward the brink of political extinction in November with Donald Trump at the top of the party’s ticket.
Only four Republicans remain in New England’s 33-member congressional delegation, and three are in competitive races this fall. The other, four-term Senator Susan Collins of Maine, doesn’t face re-election this year.
The so-called Rockefeller Republicans who once represented the region became a dying breed in the past few decades as the party moved to the right. Trump, with his controversies and bombastic demeanor, has complicated what was already a difficult task of getting re-elected for the region’s party members.
* Yesterday Martin wrote about the ways in which Donald Trump’s campaign is an extension of Mitt Romney’s. I thought about that when I read Ed Kilgore’s take on how the current nominee’s outreach to African Americans was really directed at white people. For example:
Trump’s fundamental pitch to African-Americans was the hoariest of all conservative cross-racial appeals: the “plantation” meme whereby black folk are scolded as suckers for supporting a Democratic Party interested only in their votes and in keeping them dependent on government.
Anyone else remember when Romney gave a speech to the NAACP in 2012? You have to at least give him credit for going there. Trump refuses to do so. But in talking about how he got booed for saying he would repeal Obamacare, Romney said this:
But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff.
* Even Real Clear Politics has Hillary Clinton over the threshold of 270 electoral votes right now. Of their 9 remaining toss-up states, Clinton leads in 7 of them. Blowout anyone?
* For tweet-of-the-day, I nominate this one from Charlie Sykes on the shake-up of staff in the Trump campaign.
Trump's campaign has now entered the Hospice Phase. He knows he's dying and wants to surround himself with his loved ones. #BreitbartCEO
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) August 17, 2016
* Apparently the next great Clinton scandal has arrived: Pillowgate.
Hillary is being propped up by a pillow, and it’s hardly the first time this has happened. In fact, the former secretary of state used to include propping cushions on her list of demands during her lucrative time on the paid celebrity speaking circuit.
According to the Washington Post, for one speech at UCLA, a public university that she graciously offered a discounted rate of $300,000, Hillary demanded that “chairs be outfitted with two long, rectangular pillows — and that two cushions be kept backstage in case the chair was too deep and she needed additional back support.”
* Finally, here is a great story from Iran about the intersection of the arts, history and politics.
In a clandestine cultural breakthrough, a film about Anne Frank and the Holocaust was shown Sunday at a secret screening in Iran, whose Supreme Leader is a well-known Holocaust denier.
The documentary film, Anne Frank: Then and Now, was screened at a provincial theater full of film students and their professors. It didn’t have the approval of the authorities, and out of concern for the Iranians who risked imprisonment – or worse – for showing and attending the film, the names of those involved and the city where it was screened will not be disclosed. But Deadline has obtained photos of the theater verifying the authenticity of the event.
“Before the start of the screening, I did an introduction with an explanation about Anne Frank and the Holocaust,” the film’s Croatian director, Jakov Sedlar, told Deadline. “After the screening, I had a one-hour conversation with the audience. Those students never ever heard about Anne Frank; just two young people knew something about the Holocaust.
“We spoke a lot about the influence of art in today’s world,” he said. “At the end, one of students told me: ‘Thanks for teaching us about something new.’”