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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Political Insanity of Defunding the Police

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, explains that "defunding the police" nearly cost the Democrats their majority in the House.

 Lloyd Green at The Daily Beast:

Squad member Rashida Tlaib unequivocally called for the gutting of the police on Monday. The Detroit congresswoman tweeted: “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”

If the Democrats don’t quickly disavow Tlaib’s tantrum, they had best be prepared for Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Majority Leader McConnell come January 2023. For more than a half-century, crime has retained its potency as a campaign issue. That reality is not about to change.

Republicans rode crime to the White House in 1968, 1988, and 2016. Mean streets and homicides helped propel Richard Nixon, George HW Bush and Donald Trump to the Oval Office. “Mostly peaceful” is oxymoronic. It also scares most people.

As Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat and a key backer of Joe Biden, conceded after the Democrats lost 13 House seats in November’s election: “‘Defund the police’ is killing our party, and we’ve got to stop it.” Apparently, Tlaib couldn’t be bothered with Clyburn’s memo.

 


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Bonkers at Mar-a-Lago

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

Aaron Blake at WP:
As The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey reported Sunday, Trump’s speech reserved the heaviest and newest criticisms for the man who is currently the most powerful Republican in Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Trump hit McConnell for not helping overturn the 2020 election and called him a “dumb son of a b----,” while accusing him of being ungrateful for Trump’s appointment of McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, to his Cabinet.

Audio of the speech reviewed by The Post reveals that Trump at times went even further in going after his foes and revising electoral history, even lodging a suggestive attack involving former first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance.

Below are some key quotes from the speech.

McConnell wasn’t the only one Trump called an ingrate. That was also the verdict for another Republican who declined to toe Trump’s line on the legitimacy of the 2020 election and whom Trump has gone after before: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

But in prosecuting that grievance, Trump made a somewhat uncharacteristic comment about Michelle Obama — of whom he has often steered clear — while also using her husband’s middle name in a suggestive way.
“Oprah Winfrey camped out in Atlanta” in support of Kemp’s 2018 opponent Stacey Abrams, Trump claimed, wrongly saying that Winfrey was there for “months.”

Trump added: “Barack Hussein Obama and the very beautiful Michelle Obama were there for … ”

At this point, the audience laughed uproariously. Michelle Obama’s appearance has often served as a punchline in some portions of the conservative Internet.

“ … they were there for — forever,” Trump concluded.

Trump has a history of disparaging the appearances of women he doesn’t like. It was also an odd attack for another reason: Michelle Obama didn’t actually campaign for Abrams.

...

Trump will often oversell his crowds — his presidency began on that note — but even by those standards, his comments Saturday were amazing.

Trump claimed that the rally he addressed on Jan. 6 before the storming of the Capitol was the largest he had ever spoken to, despite estimates putting the crowd in the thousands.

“There was a rally for — however you want to define it — at the Capitol,” Trump said. “It was the largest crowd that I’d ever spoken to before. Some people say it was over a million people. It was tremendous.”

...

Speaking of ways in which Trump echoed the launch of his political career: He began his 2016 campaign by stating that rapists and murderers were coming across the southern border. And Saturday, with a border crisis emerging early on his successor’s watch, he rekindled that language.

“They’re not sending their best people,” Trump said. “You have murderers. You have rapists. You have drug dealers. You have people that they don’t want because that’s common sense, but that’s the way it is. Many of the people that are coming up are people that those countries don’t want.”

It was remarkably similar to the language Trump used in 2015.




Monday, April 12, 2021

Boehner on the Insurrection

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Trump's Party

 Shane Goldmacher, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin at NYT:
The first spring donor retreat after a defeat for a political party is typically a moment of reflection and renewal as officials chart a new direction forward.

But with former President Donald J. Trump determined to keep his grip on the Republican Party and the party’s base as adhered to him as ever, the coming together of the Republican National Committee’s top donors in South Florida this weekend is less a moment of reset and more a reminder of the continuing tensions and schisms roiling the G.O.P.

The same former president who last month sent the R.N.C. a cease-and-desist letter demanding they stop using his likeness to raise money on Saturday evening served as the party’s fund-raising headliner.

“A tremendous complication” was how Fred Zeidman, a veteran Republican fund-raiser in Texas, described Mr. Trump’s lingering presence on the political scene.

...

“He’s already proven that he wants to have a major say or keep control of the party, and he’s already shown every sign that he’s going to primary everybody that has not been supportive of him,” Mr. Zeidman said. “He complicates everything so much.”

As donors and G.O.P. leaders looked on Saturday night, Mr. Trump quickly cast aside his prepared remarks and returned to his false claims that the election was stolen from him. He referenced “Zuckerberg” and $500 million spent on a “lockbox” from which, he said, every vote was marked, according to remarks described by an attendee. “Biden. Saintly Joe Biden,” he said.

Mr. Trump praised loyalists like Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff, while lashing his enemies — among them Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker; former President Barack Obama, whom he called “Barack Hussein Obama”; Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser; and Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, whom he berated anew for not helping overturn Mr. Biden’s win in the state.

He saved much of his vitriol for Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, calling him a “dumb son of a bitch” and a “stone cold loser,’’ according to the attendee. A “real leader,” he said, would never have accepted the results of that election.

Late in his remarks, Mr. Trump praised the crowd that attended his rally on Jan. 6, admiring how large it was, the attendee said. Mr. Trump added that he wasn’t “talking about the people that went to the Capitol,” though hundreds of the rally attendees left the rally at the Ellipse to go to the Capitol.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

And We're Living Here in Crazytown

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

The state of the GOP is not good. 

 Max Boot at WP:

Tucker Carlson, the top-rated host on Fox “News” Channel, has been attracting attention for a while with his vile rhetoric against immigrants. Yet now he’s reached a new low.

...

On Thursday night, Carlson moved even closer to white supremacist ideology by explicitly endorsing the Great Replacement theory, which holds that shadowy elites are orchestrating a plot to replace native-born White people with immigrants of color. The New Zealand shooter’s manifesto was literally headlined “The Great Replacement,” and the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville chanted “Jews will not replace us.”

Carlson knows exactly how toxic the word “replacement” is when used in the context of immigration, but he nevertheless put his imprimatur on it: “Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World. But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.”

 Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck at CNN:

Texas Republican Party chairman Allen West falsely suggested that Texas could secede from the United States and become an independent country, a CNN KFile review of his comments in recent months shows.

In radio interviews after the 2020 presidential election, West suggested Texas could vote to again become a republic, as it was before joining the United States in 1845.
"This is something that was written into the Texas Constitution," the former congressman said in one late December radio broadcast. "Or it was promised to Texas when we became part of the United States of America-- that if we voted and decided, we could go back to being our own republic."
Experts, however, say that Texas cannot legally secede and leave the United States to become its own republic. The annexation resolution West is referring to stipulates that Texas could, in the future, choose to divide itself into five new states, not divide itself from the US and declare independence. West mistook the congressional annexation resolution that made Texas a state for the Texas constitution.

...


Speaking on the Truth and Liberty broadcast on January 4 --two days before the Capitol insurrection which would leave five people dead--West said the US was already engaged in an "ideological civil war."
"I heard one person say, 'but man, this can cause us a civil war,'" the host, Andrew Wommack, argued. "And the other person says, 'well, we've already fought one. Was it worth it? Was it worth it to free the slaves? "Is it worth it to save our Constitution?' You can't judge what's right. Based on how other people are going to respond. You just have to do what's right. And face the consequences."
...

In other interviews, West contended that states could choose not to follow executive orders or even federal laws they deem unconstitutional.
"I think it was North or South Dakota, this constitutional nullification," West said in February 2021. "Because we have to have state legislatures that say, look, if you are signing executive orders that are not constitutionally sound, we're not obligated. We're not going to follow these things. So we want you to go through the right process."

Friday, April 9, 2021

NRCC Fundraising Trick

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

 In 2020, Trump scammed contributors by tricking them into multiple donations that they never intended. At The Bulwark, Tim Miller dissects a sleazy NRCC fundraising email:

Here, the NRCC now claims that it will match the contribution “5x.” Think about that for a moment: The NRCC says that if you give them $1, they’ll add another $5. But if you don’t give them a dollar, what are they going to with their $5? So this is a lie, too (a common one in political fundraising.)

But let’s keep going.

Next up we’re presented with two boxes that are pre-checked. The first makes the donation monthly recurring—the same gimmick that the Times exposed the Trump campaign for running to disastrous results. The second pre-checked box doubles your donation in order to grant you “Trump Patriot Status.”

And if you can believe it, there’s an even worse version of this running on the NRCC’s fundraising page, where they threaten to tell Trump that the reader is a “DEFECTOR” if they uncheck the box for recurring donations:

I’m sure there’s some formal legal difference between the NRCC tricking someone into signing up for a nonexistent social media site—and then having a default box opting them in to both double their pledged amount and make it recurring—and the criminal advance-fee scams made famous by the imaginary Nigerian princes.

But as a moral matter, the difference is awfully hard to suss out.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Republicans: Winning Is Not the Most Important Thing

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.

The state of the GOP is not good. 

Perry Bacon at FiveThirtyEight:

In theory, political parties are principally focused on winning elections, since that is how they gain power to implement their agendas. So why aren’t these activists and elected officials changing gears out of sheer self-preservation? One reason is that they are doing pretty well electorally without such changes. (More on that in a bit.)

But just as importantly, many of the key people and institutions in the Republican Party might prefer a risky and often-losing strategy to one that would really increase their chances of electoral victories. The path to Republicans becoming a majority party in America probably involves the GOP embracing cultural and demographic changes and pushing a more populist economic agenda that is less focused on tax cuts for the wealthy. But some of the most powerful blocs in the GOP are big donors who favor tax cuts, conservative Christian activists who are wary of expanding LGBTQ rights and an “own the libs” bloc exemplified by many Fox News personalities and elected officials such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who are very critical of immigration and the Black Lives Matter movement. The big donors and conservative Christian activists have policy goals that are fairly unpopular but that they are deeply committed to (such as overturning Roe v. Wade) — so they aren’t going to bend for electoral reasons. For the “own the libs” bloc, winning elections isn’t that important anyway — they aren’t really invested in policy or governing and will be fine if Republicans remain out of the White House and in the minority on Capitol Hill.

In short, the Republican Party has an activist base whose interests aren’t that compatible with pursuing a strategy that maximizes winning national elections.

This isn’t a new problem for Republicans. After their losses in both 2008 and 2012, Republicans talked a lot about changing the party, particularly doing more outreach to voters of color, in a way that the GOP has not in the wake of 2020. But that was mostly talk. Republicans didn’t make any real changes after either of those elections either, in part because the party’s base was very resistant.

“I don’t think the Republicans have any desire to assess their favored policies,” said Lawrence Glickman, a historian at Cornell University who studies the conservative movement in the United States.
In a recent column, former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele and ex-Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo wrote, “This crusade against voting rights lays bare the GOP’s greatest political liability: The party remains frozen in time, even as new demographic blocs have begun to gain power.”