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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Koch v. Trump

Our recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses campaign finance.

Alex Leary at WSJ:
A group funded by billionaire Charles Koch will work to support a Republican presidential nominee other than Donald Trump, concluding in a strategy memo that “we need to turn the page on the past.”

The organization, Americans for Prosperity, has stayed out of the last two presidential cycles but has concluded it needs to engage now as Mr. Trump mounts his third consecutive White House run. The memo released Sunday doesn’t mention the former president by name but is unambiguous in its purpose.

“To write a new chapter for our country, we need to turn the page on the past,” the document reads. “So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter. The American people have shown that they’re ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that.”

A spokesman for Mr. Trump didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


AFP didn’t say how much it would spend but boasts of a large grass-roots and data operation. “The states with some of our strongest and most effective state chapters are the same ones that will play a crucial role in nominating the next Republican presidential candidate,” reads the memo, written by CEO Emily Seidel.

A related super political-action committee, AFP Action, “is prepared to support a candidate in the Republican presidential primary who can lead our country forward, and who can win,” the memo stated.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Balloon Politics

Lloyd Lee at Business Insider:
A balloon US officials are calling a Chinese surveillance tool spent days flying over the continental United States before it was shot down by an F-22 fighter jet on Saturday.

Pentagon leaders advised President Joe Biden against immediately shooting the flying orb out of the sky due to safety concerns for civilians as the high-altitude object was large enough to create a large debris field, a senior defense official who spoke on background told reporters Thursday.

The dayslong spectacle saw many Republicans criticize the Biden administration for what they viewed as a slow response to the foreign object, while some conservative leaders and pundits took the opportunity to pick at confidence under the Biden administration in general as they claimed no other leader such as Donald Trump would have let a Chinese spy balloon fly over the US.

"Would Trump have let China fly a spy balloon over our country?" Rep. Jim Jordan wrote on Twitter. "Would Reagan? JFK? Truman? No, no, and no."

But senior Pentagon officials said on Saturday that suspected Chinese surveillance balloons crossed into the US at least three times during the Trump administration and once earlier in the Biden administration, the Associated Press reported.


In a statement to Fox News, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker claimed that "if press reports are correct, the Biden Administration hoped to hide this incident from the American people."

However, the times when suspected surveillance balloons crossed into the US under the Trump administration were never made public until this past week's incident.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Republicans and Ukraine

 Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses foreign influence and Trump's attack on democracy.  Russia helped Trump through 2020.  As Russia began its latest invasion of Ukraine, Trump lavished praise on Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. 

Susan B. Glasser at The New Yorker:

Support for Biden’s approach to the war is ebbing, particularly among Republicans. The new House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, has warned there will be no “blank check” for Ukraine going forward, and a recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that forty per cent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think the U.S. is providing too much support to Ukraine, up from just nine per cent who thought that last March. Over all, the share of adults in both parties who believe the U.S. is doing too much for Ukraine has gone up nineteen points since the war began, a year ago. On Fox News, Tucker Carlson harps on this theme night after night. In the House, vocal McCarthy supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has decried “the neo-Nazis in Ukraine,” blustered, after the G.O.P. won the House in November, that “not another penny” would go to their cause.

And speaking of bluster, there’s Donald Trump, who has lately grown louder and louder on the subject of a Russian war that he initially praised as an act of “genius” by Vladimir Putin. In recent days, as he opens his official campaign to return to the White House, Trump has trashed Biden’s handling of the war and criticized the decision to send the tanks. He’s labelled Americans “suckers” for providing the bulk of aid to Ukraine. He’s insisted he could negotiate an end to the conflict within twenty-four hours. He calls Biden “weak” while opposing Biden’s efforts to send the weapons that make Ukraine stronger.

In a campaign e-mail this week, Trump even seemed to suggest that the American tanks—which will take many months to reach Ukraine—were somehow already responsible both for destroying Ukrainian cities and putting the world on the brink of nuclear war. “Joe Biden is doing what he said ten months ago would cause World War III, sending American tanks into Ukraine,” the statement quoted Trump as saying. “Such a tragic waste of human life, when you look at all that’s happening there. Those cities are obliterated. First, come the nukes. Then, come the tanks.”

The statement, like a lot of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago stylings, makes no sense if you try to actually understand what he is saying: Does he mean that nukes will be used in Ukraine, or perhaps that they already have been? How is it that the tanks are going to roll in after the nuclear apocalypse? It’s all so confusing. An accompanying video from Trump has the tanks coming first, then the nukes. Whatever.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Slow Start to the 118th

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections.  The 2022 election produced a divided government.  Previous periods of divided government produced landmark legislation such as the National Security Act of 1947.    But this time is different because the margins are so narrow and the partisan divisions are so deep.

Scott Wong, Sahil Kapur and Frank Thorp V at MSNBC:

One month in, the 118th Congress is off to a spectacularly sluggish start, frustrating some lawmakers and foreshadowing a messy two years of divided government in a presidential election cycle where very little is expected to get done.

Forget making historic laws. It’s not even clear the new Congress can agree to keep the government functional or prevent a self-imposed economic meltdown.

“I have very low expectations,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said in an interview. “I would predict — and I hope I’m wrong — this will prove to be one of the least productive congresses in modern history because of the dysfunctionality of an unstable majority.” 

House Republicans have a mere four-seat majority that empowers just a few rabble-rousers to wreak havoc in the chamber. They spent their first five days squabbling with each other over whether Kevin McCarthy should be speaker. After 15 ballots — the most since 1859 — he finally won the gavel, but not before a physical altercation broke out on the House floor.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Deadlock and Polarization and the Grassroots

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.

From Pew:

As partisan battles over the debt ceiling and other key issues loom and the GOP takes back control of the House of Representatives following last fall’s midterm elections, most Republicans say they want their party’s leaders to take a hard line in their dealings with President Joe Biden and the Democrats.

More than six-in-ten Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican Party (64%) say that Republican congressional leaders should “stand up” to Biden on matters that are important to GOP voters, even if this makes it harder to address critical problems facing the country. About half as many Republicans – 34% – would prefer to see the party’s congressional leaders work with Biden, even if doing so requires them to make concessions that disappoint some GOP voters, a new Pew Research Center survey has found.

Democrats are more likely to say they would support efforts by their leaders to find common ground with the other party. A majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (58%) say that Biden should try as best he can to work with GOP leaders to accomplish things, even at the cost of disappointing some of Biden’s voters. Roughly four-in-ten Democrats (41%) prefer that Biden stand up to Republicans, even if that makes it harder to address the nation’s important problems.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Trump Still Sides with Putin

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses foreign influence and Trump's attack on democracy.  Russia helped Trump through 2020. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Pelosi Attacker Speaks

Our book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.  Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellioncoups, and secession. 

A man broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s California home  and bashed her husband with a hammer

 Annie Grayer and Andi Babineau, CNN:

The man who attacked the husband of Nancy Pelosi in their home last year showed no remorse and continued his dangerous fixation on the former House speaker in a bizarre phone call to a San Francisco reporter on Friday, according to the Bay Area station’s reporting.

David DePape called KTVU’s Amber Lee from the San Francisco County Jail on the same day the attack footage was released, with what he called “an important message for everyone in America.”

Without mentioning Pelosi by name, DePape said he had gathered “names and addresses” of people he believed were “systematically and deliberately” destroying American freedom and liberty and said he wanted to “have a heart-to-heart chat about their bad behavior.”

DePape added that he should have been “better prepared,” adding that he was sorry that he “didn’t get more of them.”

KTVU said their reporter was not allowed to ask follow-up questions of DePape during the phone conversation, which he allowed to be recorded.

The call came on the same day that a California court released video of the attack, audio of the 911 call and his initial police interview after the arrest in which he echoed right-wing extremist views, including MAGA tropes that underscored how he was influenced by dangerous rhetoric and conspiracies.

DePape also told a San Francisco police officer in October that the reason he went to the Pelosis’ San Francisco home was because he believed that the then-speaker was “the leader of the pack” of all the politicians in Washington, DC, “lying on a consistent basis.

DePape claimed in his October interview that Democrats, led by Pelosi, spied on former President Donald Trump in a way that was worse than Watergate, when then-President Richard Nixon was forced to resign after it was discovered his administration tried to cover up a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

“When Trump came into office, what they did went so far beyond spying on a rival campaign. It is just crazy,” DePape said in an audio recording of his interview with a San Francisco police officer in October.

Without evidence, DePape claimed that Democrats were on an “endless f**king crime spree” when it came to Trump.

“Not only were they spying on a rival campaign, they were submitting fake evidence to spy on a rival campaign, covering it up, persecuting the rival campaign,” DePape said of what he believed Democrats were doing to Trump.

DePape said that these actions originated with Hillary Clinton, who unsuccessfully ran against Trump in 2016, and that all Democrats are “criminals.” But he zeroed in on Pelosi as the one who “ran with the lying.”