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President Trump almost saved us from having to host the World Cup

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While I’m generally only vaguely aware of the comings and goings of professional kickball – or soccer, if you prefer – it’s almost impossible to avoid seeing some headlines about the World Cup when it comes around. That was the case when I noticed a headline at the Washington Post under the byline of Ken Bensinger. It read, “If the U.S. doesn’t get the 2026 World Cup, blame Trump.” This immediately caused a couple of questions to leap to my mind.

First… the United States is being considered to host the World Cup?

And second… you mean there’s a way we could get out of this?

Donald Trump has pulled off some amazing things since taking office, such as massively scaling back damaging regulations, shepherding through the tax cuts, appointing a fine new member to the Supreme Court and potentially starting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But if he could get us off the hook for some massively expensive soccer party that clogs up all the television channels for weeks on end I might just nominate the man for a Nobel prize myself. But how would this work? Bensinger, with visceral Trump hatred dripping from every keystroke, explains.

On Wednesday morning, several hundred representatives of FIFA, the supreme body overseeing global soccer, will be presented with what will surely seem a tempting opportunity for a measure of revenge against the United States — and our swaggering president.

Gathering in a Moscow convention center on the eve of the first match of the 2018 World Cup, they will vote on whether to award the 2026 tournament to Morocco or to a combined bid, shared between Mexico, Canada and the United States…

About the only advantage that Morocco — a nation with a GDP slightly smaller than that of the state of Arizona — seems to have is that it’s on the same time zone as Western Europe, where television viewers would be able to watch World Cup matches in lucrative prime time.

That, and the fact that it’s not the United States.

Sadly, the liberal dream of FIFA “punishing” us for having elected Donald Trump by taking their kickball game elsewhere fell through. Later in the day, the depressing results of the FIFA meeting were released and it looks like the World Cup will be coming here after all. Trump had failed us. (Reuters)

The United States, Mexico and Canada will jointly host the 2026 World Cup, overwhelmingly winning a vote by soccer’s world governing body on Wednesday, even though U.S. President Donald Trump has frayed relations with his neighbors and others during his 18 months in office.

So we’re stuck with the soccer tournament. Canada and Mexico will provide three stadiums each for some of the games, but the United States will have to provide 16. And they’re going to desecrate NFL stadiums to do it, including our stadium in New Jersey where the Jets and Giants play. This is beyond depressing.

I’m at least partly joking about all of this, of course. I don’t begrudge anyone a chance to watch this sport if they enjoy it. I’ll never understand it, though. I’ve made an honest attempt to watch soccer in the past, particularly the last time the United States was in the hunt for the World Cup and everyone was all hyped up about it. I just never “got it.” It’s the same couple of plays over and over again, all involving kicking the ball with your feet or bouncing it off other body parts, seeking to pass it to other players or put it into the net. And the scoring part almost never happens, sometimes leaving them locked in a zero-zero tie until they line up and take some free shots at their goalie. When you compare that to the rich complexity of plays in football, passing, running, the monsters of the midway crashing into other like thunder and making the ground shake… there’s just no comparison.

But hey, congratulations to all you soccer fans. Now you have something to look forward to in 2026. Assuming, of course, that SMOD doesn’t finally arrive before then to save us all.

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Forecast: GOP now more likely to have *at least* 54 Senate seats next year than to lose its majority

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A nifty catch by Philip Klein, eyeballing the latest data from Nate Silver’s model (as of 5:15 p.m. ET). Check it yourself. Democrats momentarily have an 18.4 percent chance of gaining two seats and winning a majority next month. Whereas Republicans have a 9.1 percent chance of gaining three, a 5.5 percent chance of gaining four, a 3.2 percent chance of gaining five, a 1.4 percent of gaining six, a 0.7 percent chance of gaining seven, and a 0.3 percent chance of shooting the lights out and gaining eight (which would leave them one seat shy of a filibuster-proof majority, for what it’s worth). Add those up and you get a 20.2 percent chance of 54 or better.

Which can be summed up in four words: Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Klein on the path to 54:

Though Republicans were always favorites to keep the Senate, their odds have improved in recent weeks, with three states in particular giving them a boost. Republicans are now considered “likely” to keep their seats in Texas and Tennessee and North Dakota seems ready to flip into the Republican column. Barring any other major upsets, victories in those three races would be enough for Republicans to keep the Senate — hence their 81.6 percent chances overall.

To get to 54, the most likely scenario would be that Republicans win the tossup states of Nevada and Missouri, and then surge to victory in Arizona and Florida (two races that are currently tilting Democrat, but well within range of Republican victory). Beyond that, they’d have to start flipping some seats that are currently considered “likely” to remain Democrat, such as Montana and West Virginia.

Eh, I don’t know if Montana and Indiana, the latter of which he neglected to mention, are all that “likely” to remain Democratic. They’re leaning that way, with both Jon Tester and Joe Donnelly clinging to three-point leads. But Montana hasn’t been polled in three weeks and the latest from Indiana has Donnelly up four but with just 44 percent of the vote. In fact, in none of the four polls dating back to August has Donnelly topped 44, suggesting that a lot of Hoosiers are thinking hard about whether to stick with the incumbent. It’s likely that the GOP will be disappointed somewhere on Election Night — Missouri, Nevada, and Arizona are all leading candidates — but going for one for two on Montana and Indiana seems doable.

Whichever way they do it, if they can get to 54 then Collins and Murkowski might well be nonfactors during the next SCOTUS battle. Flake won’t be in the Senate at all, of course. Trump really might have the arsenal he needs to fill a Ginsburg or Breyer vacancy with a conservative.

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news, also from Silver’s model:

Click the link and add up the different probable outcomes and you’ll see that the GOP has about the same odds of holding the House as Democrats do of winning … at least 54 seats. They’ve got a 10 percent chance of winning at least 60. Gonna be a lot of subpoenas for Pat Cipollone to cope with next year.

There are no new swing-state polls as I write this but keep an eye on the one of Arizona that’s currently in progress (yes, in progress) at the NYT’s site, the Upshot. As I write this at a little after 5 p.m. on the east coast, they’ve compiled a sample of 299 people — not large enough yet to give us confidence in the topline numbers but large enough to make it worth paying attention to. Currently Martha McSally leads Kyrsten Sinema by four points, 49/45. If that holds through the end of the poll, it would be the second straight survey showing McSally ahead after trailing for most of the race. (The previous poll had her up six.) Stay tuned.

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Midterm 2018 TEXAS: Robert (Beto) O’Rourke vs. Ted Cruz

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Texas is Texas.

You don’t mess with Texas!

Texans don’t want a far left US Senator who lies about his background and police records, DUI included, and abuses everything the Lone Star State stands for.

Senator Ted Cruz is up by at least 5 points — but that is not enough.

Cruz is a real conservative and an intellectual giant. He has the highest possible ratings from conservative groups as a sitting US Senator.


We can’t let him down.

His opponent Beto (really Robert) O’Rourke isn’t Hispanic but he is loudly PROGRESSIVE.

He is a phony.

He is a Democratic Socialist and would spell doom for our Republic.

He wants open borders, more rights for criminals, and an end to the petroleum economy.

In Texas?

Trump won Texas by 9 points.

Cruz should win reelection by at least that amount.

Recall Cruz not only voted for Judge Kavanaugh but he articulately defended due process and innocent until proven guilty – the very hallmark of western jurisprudence.

We need him; America needs his voice in the Senate.

There has not been a Democrat to hold statewide office in Texas since 1994!

Keep it that way.

Cruz is a star in national politics and a firm vote for our side. He makes America first! And he is the best advocate for Texas bare none.

Turnout is critical.

Cruz MUST win.

Make this viral in every corner of Texas.

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Pat Robertson: C’mon, we’re not going to blow up a key Middle East alliance over one little murder

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Lefties are marveling that a brand-name Christian conservative would be encouraging followers to look the other way at an assassination, but they’re forgetting Jesus’s parting words at the end of the Sermon on the Mount: “If you want to make an omelette, you’ve got to break a few eggs.”

Wait, am I misremembering? My youthful memories of the gospels are not the best. I think perhaps the savior’s actual parting words were “Velvet glove, iron fist.”

I mean, that at least sounds like Jesus.

Lotta mixed feelings about the evangelical turn towards hard-nosed realpolitik under Trump. On the one hand, the gripe about Christian conservatives used to be that they were forever trying to inject morals into the messy business of politics, made more uncomfortable by the fact that many millions of people disagree with some of their stances on sexual morality and resent their attempts to convert them into policy. Well, good news: Between Robertson’s take on the Khashoggi affair and the complete pass given to Trump on matters like Stormygate, there’s less moralizing than ever.

The bad news? I’m unclear from the clip below on how many murders Pastor Robertson would be willing to tolerate in the name of preserving the alliance and “$100 billion worth of arms sales,” as he notes in passing. Presumably his interest in the latter answers my question: Some of those weapons will be used to continue killing civilians in neighboring Yemen, as he doubtless knows. If Robertson’s willing to condone that in the name of checking Iran, naturally he would condone looking the other way at a lot of things, Khashoggi’s murder just one among them. Christianity’s nice and all but we’ve gotta live in the real world.

I honestly don’t know whether to call him a fraud or to salute him for taking a cold but sober view of the international chessboard.

There may be another reason why he and POTUS’s friends at CBN are rushing to provide cover here, though:

To some extent the Saudis’ problem is Trump’s problem. Right now Trump can afford to ignore the Democrats’ interest in finding out how much his and the Kingdom’s interests overlap. In three months, with the House likely in Democratic hands, it’ll be harder.

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