The State Treasurer’s Winning Margin Is Far Off the Pace Set Just Six Months Ago
Prelude on the plains. By Kansas standards, the state’s treasurer, Republican Ron Estes, just squeaked by Tuesday in a special election for the 4th District House seat vacated by Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Taking 53% of the vote to the Democratic political neophyte challenger James Thompson’s 45%, Estes’s margin of victory was 23 percentage points below Pompeo’s re-election win in November. Thompson ran 15 percentage points ahead of Pompeo’s challenger. The Kansas race, in the home state of the fiercely anti-government billionaire Koch brothers, was widely seen an early test of Trump’s support among voters. Four more states are slated to hold similar special elections in coming weeks.
Easter disarray. How do you screw up Easter? The Trump White House had to put in a rush order for wooden Easter eggs for the annual Easter Egg Roll. It’s unknown whether spokesman Sean Spicer will reprise his role as the Easter bunny. Also unknown: Whether Spicer will be keeping his job after his misstatement—during Passover—about Hitler.
Nothing to worry about. Trump’s EPA, run by industry enabler Scott Pruitt, is shutting down the agency’s climate adaptation program, which helps states and localities adapt to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels. The four staffers who had worked on the program are being reassigned.
War on wolves. Senators are targeting another animal covered by the Endangered Species Act, the gray wolf. The bill, S. 164, would let Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming set their own rules for hunting and trapping wolves. Wyoming wants to let hunters shoot wolves on sight in most of the state. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), would also block court challenges if it becomes law. Wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in 1995.
Social insecurity. Trump is mulling the idea of eliminating or cutting the payroll tax that funds Social Security and part of Medicare. This could pave the way for Trump to cut Social Security benefits that our nation’s elderly and disabled depend upon.