August 27

• No one knows exactly what kind of executive actions President Obama is likely to take on immigration, but Karen Tumulty and Robert Costa report that people in both parties are getting frightened of the potential fallout:

In the past few days, Democratic candidates in nearly every closely fought Senate race have criticized the idea of aggressive action by Obama. Some strategists say privately that it would signal the president has written off the Democrats’ prospects for retaining control of the chamber, deciding to focus on securing his own legacy instead.

Senior Republicans, meanwhile, have their own worries about a “September surprise” on immigration. They know their volatile party’s tendency to erupt at such moments — launching threats of impeachment and government shutdowns — and that the GOP brand is even more tattered than the Democratic one.

There’s that “impeachment” word again, the thing Republicans say is the furthest thing from their minds. But just you wait until Obama announces a new immigration policy.

• Matt Lewis makes the key point about immigration politics here: It’s increasingly difficult for Republicans to organize their positions on the issue largely around opposition to Obama, without being the party of maximum deportations.

• Anti-immigration warrior Steve King says (hopes?) that if Obama does go ahead with executive actions, Republicans may shut down the government.

• The liberal group Democracy for America is up with a pair of new ads — here and here — blasting Maine GOP Senator Susan Collins for pro-rich policies and touting progressive challenger Shenna Bellows’s support for equal pay and a minimum wage hike.

The six-figure buy represents a serious bet on a race Beltway Democrats seem to see as a long-shot at best.

• Yesterday, Benjy Sarlin wrote an in-depth analysis of efforts by Democrats to prepare for 2020, when the next round of redistricting based on that year’s census will take place. The hope is that a strong election will allow them to undo the successful redistricting Republicans managed after their success in 2010 gave them control of many state legislatures. Today, Brian Beutler counsels a kinder, gentler approach:

It’s wise for Democrats to be prepared, and on the same page across states and advocacy groups, should the fantasy scenario play out perfectly. But on a parallel track, if the wave materializes, they should be prepared to use the threat of aggressive, opportunistic redistricting as a source of leverage, to entice Republicans into supporting some kind of non-partisan redistricting system, ideally in every state.

The details would be complex, but the basic offer would be simple: Either agree to mutual, permanent disarmament, and make one of the country’s many undemocratic processes more democratic, or enjoy the wilderness for a decade.

It’s an interesting idea, and if Republicans accepted you could have redistricting that was at least somewhat more fair. But they certainly aren’t going to go along in places where they retain their advantage, and it may even be hard to get some Democrats to create nonpartisan systems where they think they’ll retain control.

• Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal used to be a major advocate of Common Core education standards. Then conservative activists decided that Common Core is the advance guard of a socialist takeover, so Jindal did some quiet reflection that may or may not have included contemplating a list of precinct captains in Iowa, after which he came to the realization that he hates Common Core to the very depths of his being. But hating it isn’t enough, so Jindal is now suing the federal government over the standards.

• Bill Kristol, staking an early claim to be the Michael Phelps of the Chutzpah Olympics, suggests that not only is bombing ISIS not a bad idea, but also “I don’t think there’s much in the way of unanticipated side effects that are going to be bad there.” Words fail me.

• A new Suffolk University poll of Iowa shows the Senate race to be a dead heat between Joni Ernst and Bruce Braley, which is not too different from the Huffpost Pollster average showing Braley ahead by just 1.3 points. More than a few people expected Braley to pull away from Ernst by now, but it hasn’t happened yet.

• The DSCC is up with a new spot hitting North Carolina GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis over the legislature’s deep cuts to education and tax cuts for the rich. A mom says: “I don’t understand his priorities,” in keeping with the Democrats’ strategy of making Tillis’s education cuts the main window onto those priorities through the race’s home stretch.

• Scott Walker is a conservative hero many have touted as a 2016 presidential candidate, but right now he’s fighting for his political life. A new Marquette Law School poll shows him leading challenger Mary Burke by only three points. The Huffpost average has him ahead by less than two.

• Who doesn’t love secret recordings of candidates? The latest to get caught is Mitch McConnell, recorded addressing a Koch brothers-sponsored gathering. Here’s part of what he said:

We can pass the spending bill, and I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill: No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board.

And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage — cost the country 500,000 new jobs; extending unemployment — that’s a great message for retirees; the student loan package the other day; that’s going to make things worse. These people believe in all the wrong things.

So McConnell wants to try to undo the last six years of progressive action, likely causing untold gridlock in the process, and will fight against things like increasing the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits. In other words, pretty much exactly what he says in public, albeit without that salty language. I mean, “gosh darn”? Sheesh Mitch, you kiss your mother with that mouth?

• Jonathan Chait has a good post on the larger meaning for the GOP of Marco Rubio’s confrontation with the DREAMers, including this:

The Dreamers have a simple media strategy: They publicly question Republican leaders wherever they appear, asking them to straightforwardly explain why they propose to have them deported. The confrontations are powerful and immensely awkward for their subjects….The trouble for Republicans is that the political theater created by the Dreamers is not going to stop.

Yes. Put another way, the DREAMers are confronting Republicans with a basic underlying policy and moral question that they can’t run from forever.

• Bill O’Reilly is here to tell you that there’s no such thing as white privilege. He’d also like to tell black people to shape up, pull up their pants and stop with all that rappity-rap music.

• Mitt Romney is leaving the door open to another run for president. I’m not sure whether to be appalled or delighted. As Mitt himself would say, “Ha! Ha! Terrific!”

• At the American Prospect, I interviewed an expert in police training who says that in pretty much every other Western country they train their police far more extensively than we do, which is one reason cops in Europe shoot almost no one, even though they have criminals and crazy people there, just like we do.