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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Falcon Cannot Hear the Faulconer

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state elections. The biggest off-off-year election is the CA recall. 

 Michael Smolens at The San Diego Union-Tribune:

Kevin Faulconer had been talked up as a potential candidate for governor by California Republican leaders from the moment he was elected mayor of San Diego in 2014.

The GOP and now-former Mayor Faulconer saw an unexpected window of opportunity to win in the deep blue state with the pandemic-fueled recall effort targeting Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Republican organization and money were instrumental in qualifying the recall for the ballot and, for a while, it seemed like the recall campaign and the Faulconer campaign were one in the same. That’s certainly not the case now.

At the moment, Faulconer can’t even claim sole possession of second place among Republican replacement candidates. In three consecutive polls, he has been tied with Rancho Santa Fe businessman John Cox.

They both have more to worry about than each other: Syndicated radio talk show host Larry Elder has led by a comfortable margin in the two voter surveys taken since he announced his candidacy just over three weeks ago.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Trump Pressured DOJ to Repeat the Big Lie

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. Trump and his minions falsely claimed that he won the election, and have kept repeating the Big Lie.


President Donald J. Trump pressed top Justice Department officials late last year to declare that the election was corrupt even though they had found no instances of widespread fraud, so that he and his allies in Congress could use the assertion to try to overturn the results, according to new documents provided to lawmakers and obtained by The New York Times.

The demands were an extraordinary instance of a president interfering with an agency that is typically more independent from the White House to advance his personal agenda. They are also the latest example of Mr. Trump’s wide-ranging campaign during his final weeks in office to delegitimize the election results.

The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27 in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the department had disproved. Mr. Donoghue warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election. Mr. Trump replied that he did not expect that, according to notes Mr. Donoghue took memorializing the conversation.

“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

CA Recall Gets More Interesting

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state elections. The biggest off-off-year election is the CA recall. 

Mark DiCamillo at IGS:
The latest Berkeley IGS Poll finds that the proportion of voters in the overall electorate who favor recalling Governor Gavin Newsom has not changed much over the past year. At present 36% of the state’s registered voters say that if voting in the recall election they would vote Yes to recall the Governor, while 51% would vote No to retain him.

However, the  election  will  be  decided not  by  the  overall  electorate, but by only those  who choose to take partin the recall.And, when the voting preferences of those considered most likely  to  participate  are  examined,the outcome becomes much closer, with  47% favoring Newsom’s recall and 50% favoring his retention.The  main  factor  contributingtothese  very  different distributions is that, if  current  levels of interest and voting intentions persist,turnout is likely to be far higher among Republicans than Democratsand No Party Preference voters. And,since nearly all Republicans favorNewsom’s ouster, a larger proportion of likely voters are voting Yes.

Thehigher GOP turnout is  being  driven  by several  factors. First, Republicans express far greater interest in votingin the recall election than Democrats or No Party Preference voters.  Second,there isa widespread expectation among Democrats and No Party Preference voters that Newsom will defeat the recall which may be fostering greater complacency among recall opponents  than  among  supporters. Third, voters  in  most  jurisdictions  will  see  only  two questions on the recall ballot, the Yes/No vote on the Governor’s recall and who should replace Newsom if he were tobe recalled.  The very limited nature of the two-question ballot contrasts with other statewide elections in which voters are drawn to the polls by numerous state and local  candidate  and  proposition  races. And,when coupled  with  the fact that many more Democrats than  Republicans reportnot  intending  to  cast a  vote onthe question  of  the Governor’s  replacement due  to an absence  ofwell-known  Democratic candidates,this  also appears to be giving GOP voters a greater incentive to participate.

 Observed  IGS  co-director  Eric  Schickler,  “These  results  make  plain  that  the  big  question surrounding  the  recall  will  be  whether  the  Newsom  campaign and  Democratic  activists  are able to get Democratic voters more engaged and interested in voting in September.”
The  poll  also  finds that  Republican broadcaster  Larry  Elder currently leads in  the race  to replace Newsom should the Governor be recalled, although a large 40% of likely voters remain undecided. When presented  with  a  long  list  of  the  candidates  running  in  the  replacement election, Elder is the choice of 18%, followed by fellow Republicans John Cox (10%), Kevin Faulconer(10%),  and  Kevin  Kiley  (5%).  Democrat Kevin  Paffrath  and  Republican  Caitlyn Jenner each receive 3% of the votein this setting. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Insurrection Tuesday

  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.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Hearing 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. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Perdue, Senate Control, and Contingency

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

In "Frankly, We Did Win This Election," Michael Bender wriates (p. 328):

Trump World sent word to Perdue’s campaign on October 29 that the president had agreed to a rally in Rome on November 1, just as the senator had requested. To fit the Georgia stop into the schedule, which already included five rallies on each of the final two days, the Trump campaign scratched one of two North Carolina events that day. But Trump had waited so long to commit to visiting Georgia that Perdue had to drop out of the final debate— which had already been scheduled for that night—with his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, in order to attend the rally with the president.

In November, Perdue had a slight lead over Ossoff, with 49.7 percent of the vote.  In any other state, that result would have been enough to elect him and ensure GOP control of the Senate.  But Georgia requires a runoff when no candidate has an absolute majority.  If Perdue had participated in the debate, he might have picked up just enough votes to reach 50 percent.  In that case, there would still have been a runoff for the other seat. But without Senate control at stake, there would have been far less national Democratic involvement, and Loeffler might have held on.  Thus, Trump's delay in visiting the state may well have denied the GOP a 52-48 majority.  


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Trump Takeover

 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. 

Janet Hook at LAT writes that Trump is trying to control GOP nominations:

But Trump’s heavy hand in GOP primaries carries risks for his party. Some Republicans fear that some of his endorsements — those based not on electability but on candidates’ loyalty to him and his false claim that the 2020 election was stolen — could make it harder for the party to win in swing states.

“If we as Republicans continue to relitigate a past lost election, we will not position ourselves to win in the midterms,” said John Watson, former Georgia Republican Party chairman. “We have the issues on our side if we will just get out of our own way.”

A former NFL star Trump is promoting for a potential Senate run in Georgia — Herschel Walker — is beloved in the state where he started his career as a Heisman Trophy winner. But he is an untested political novice, and it’s been decades since he lived in Georgia.
In North Carolina, Trump is backing Rep. Ted Budd to replace the state’s retiring Republican senator. Budd, a gun store owner, is an ardent defender of the former president but has trailed in early polling and fundraising.

In Arizona, many Republicans believe Gov. Doug Ducey would be the best candidate against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. But Ducey, who has been pummeled by Trump for not doing more to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in the state, has said he won’t run.

Trump derided him on Ducey’s own turf Saturday, recalling in a Phoenix speech his reaction to Ducey’s possible candidacy. Trump said he was asked, “Sir, would you like him to run for the Senate?” and replied, “He’s not getting my endorsement, I can tell you.”


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Republicans, Conservatives, and Vaccines

 Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses conservative and GOP rhetoric about COVID.

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Crime Issue

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses issues such as crime.  In the 2020 congressional elections, Republicans gained seats because some prominent progressives talked about "defunding the police."

Domenico Montanaro at NPR:
Violent crime is on the rise in urban areas across the country.

Many small cities that typically have relatively few murders are seeing significant increases over last year. Killings in Albuquerque, N.M., Austin, Texas, and Pittsburgh, for example, have about doubled so far in 2021, while Portland, Ore., has had five times as many murders compared to last year, according to data compiled by Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst and co-founder of AH Datalytics.

Most cities in the United States, including each of those named above, have a Democratic mayor. After protests last year over police violence against Black Americans — notably the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis — there has been a push from the left to "defund" police departments.


Republicans are already going after Democrats with a three-pronged strategy that includes attacks on crime; the economy, particularly rising inflation and labor shortages; and border security.

In response, Democratic strategists believe Democratic candidates and the White House need to take on the issue of crime directly ... Democratic candidates are being encouraged by the party to tout accomplishments, like securing increased funding for police and schools as part of the COVID-19 relief package that Democrats passed — as well as pushing back against Republican attacks.

Emily Hoeven at CalMatters:

While Newsom’s challengers spent Wednesday in court battling over ballot designations, the governor was making his own appeal to the court of public opinion. In a likely attempt to soothe voters spooked by a 31% spike in homicides, potentially shorter prison sentences for 76,000 inmates, and viral videos of store robberies, Newsom signed into law a bill to continue classifying organized retail theft as a crime and keep task forces in place. He also appeared to chastise progressive district attorneys, such as George Gascón in Los Angeles and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, by encouraging prosecutors to “take seriously those re-offenses” and “be a little bit more proactive on enforcement and prosecution of those crimes.”

The press conference came a day after high-profile victim advocates — including Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was murdered in 1996 — gathered in Sacramento to denounce Newsom’s criminal justice policies.
  • Joanna Rodriguez, spokesperson for Recall Gavin Newsom Action: “Californians deserve a governor who cares about their safety and the economic impacts of increasing crime all the time — not just when facing the threat of recall.”

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Why Were the 2020 Polls Off the Mark?

 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.  In both elections, however, polls tended to overstate Democratic margins. 

AAPOR report on polling problems in 2020.

 Several proposed explanations can be ruled out as primary sources of polling error in 2020. Our analyses suggest the following. 

  •  Polling error was not caused by late-deciding voters voting for Republican candidates. More voters voted prior to Election Day in 2020 than ever before and the number of undecided voters was relatively small. Only 4% of poll respondents, on average, gave a response other than “Biden” or “Trump” when asked by state-level presidential polls conducted in the final two weeks. Unlike in 2016, respondents deciding in the last week were as likely to support Biden as Trump, according to the National Election Pool exit polls.  
  • Polling error was not caused by a failure to weight by education. A suspected factor in 2016 polling error was the failure to weight by education (Kennedy et al. 2016). In the final two weeks of the 2020 election, 317 state-level presidential polls (representing 72% of all polls conducted during this period) provided information on the statistical adjustments accounting for coverage and nonresponse issues; of these 317 polls, 92% accounted for education level in the final results. 
  • Polling error was not primarily caused by incorrect assumptions about the composition of the electorate in terms of age, race, ethnicity, gender, or education level. There is no evidence that polling error was caused by the underrepresentation or overrepresentation of particular demographics. Reweighting survey data to match the actual outcome reveals only minor changes to demographic-based weights. 
  • Polling error was not primarily caused by respondents’ reluctance to tell interviewers they supported Trump. 7 The overstatement of Democratic support occurred regardless of mode and the overstatement of Democratic support was larger in races that did not involve Trump (i.e., senatorial and gubernatorial contests). 
  • Polling error cannot be explained by error in estimating whether Democratic and Republican respondents voted. Trump supporters and Biden supporters were equally likely to vote after saying they would. This conclusion is based on validating the vote of registration-based samples shared with the Task Force by some AAPOR Transparency Initiative members. 
  • Polling error was not caused by the polls having too few Election Day voters or too many early voters. Among the 23 state-level presidential polls conducted in the final two weeks that reported how respondents said they would vote, the proportion of Election Day voters closely matched the percentage of certified votes cast on Election Day

The report reaches no definitive conclusions on what went wrong, but offers some plausible hypotheses:
  • At least some of the polling error in 2020 was caused by unit nonresponse. The overstatement of Democratic support could be attributed to unit nonresponse in several ways: between-party nonresponse, that is, too many Democrats and too few Republicans responding to the polls; within-party nonresponse, that is, differences in the Republicans and Democrats who did and did not respond to polls; or issues related to new voters and unaffiliated voters in terms of size (too many or too few) or representativeness (for example, were the new voters who responded to polls more likely to support Biden than new voters who did not respond to the polls?). Any of these unit nonresponse factors could have contributed to the observed polling error. Without knowing how nonrespondents compare to respondents we cannot conclusively identify the primary source of polling error.
  •  Factors that worked well in correcting for nonresponse in previous elections (including demographic composition, partisanship, or 2016 vote) did not render accurate vote estimates for the 2020 election. Poll data provided by some AAPOR Transparency Initiative members were reweighted to match the 2020 certified outcome. It was necessary to increase the percentage of Republicans (or 2016 Trump voters) and decrease the percentage of Democrats (or 2016 Clinton supporters) in the outcome-reweighted sample. In contrast, there are only slight differences between the originally weighted poll data and the outcome-reweighted data in terms of standard demographic categories.
  •  Weighting to a reasonable target for partisanship and past 2016 vote does not fully correct the polling error. Reweighting the polls to reproduce the 2020 outcome requires a much larger margin for Trump in 2016 than actually occurred among respondents who report voting in 2016. The larger 2016 margin for Trump among those who reported voting for Trump in 2016 could be caused by the following: an issue with the weighting targets, i.e., the implied vote share among 2016 voters who voted in 2020 was different from the 2016 actual outcome; or differences in opinion within groups that responded, e.g., the 2016 Trump supporters who responded to polls were more likely to vote for Democrats than those who did not. It is impossible to know which caused the larger 2016 margin.
  •  It is possible that 2020 pre-election polls were not successful in correctly accounting for new voters who participated in the 2020 election. There were many new voters in 2020 and it is unclear whether the proportion of new voters in the polls matched the proportion of actual new voters. It is also unclear whether the new voters who responded to polls had similar opinions to those who did not respond. Given the relative proportion and self-reported voting behavior of these new voters in the data available to the Task Force, this group of voters pushed the overall polling margins in the Democratic direction. Error in polling this group could have produced the observed polling error.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Supporting 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.

Eliza Relman at Business Insider:
President Donald Trump embraced the Capitol rioters and said he and his loyalists wanted the same thing, according to an excerpt of a new book by the Washington Post reporters Carol D. Leonnig and Philip Rucker.

The former president said that his supporters, more than 500 of whom have been criminally charged in connection with the riot on January 6, simply wanted to "show support" for him, according to the book. Many of these supporters also say they believe Trump's baseless claim that the election was "rigged" and "stolen" by Democrats.

"Personally, what I wanted is what they wanted," Trump told Leonnig and Rucker during a March 31 interview at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

"They showed up just to show support because I happen to believe the election was rigged at a level like nothing has ever been rigged before," he added. "There's tremendous proof. There's tremendous proof. Statistically, it wasn't even possible that [Biden] won. Things such as, if you win Florida and Ohio and Iowa, there's never been a loss."
Calvin Woodward, Colleen Long, and David Klepper at AP:
Taken together, the revisionists and their believers are “swimming in a vast sea of nonsense,” said Brendan Buck, a former top aide to onetime House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

That sea’s currents are familiar to historians who study what makes some conspiracy theories and propaganda persuasive.

Once people buy into the lies, there can be no convincing them they aren’t true, said Dolores Albarracin, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of a coming book, “Creating Conspiracy Beliefs: How Our Thoughts are Shaped.”

Despite the well-documented facts about what happened on Jan. 6, believers often dismiss anyone who tries to set them straight by claiming they are either duped or part of the conspiracy, Albarracin said.

“The belief contains a device that protects it,” she said. “Nothing can invalidate the conspiracy theory. Trying to refute the theory proves the theory and signals you as a conspirator.”

DJ Peterson, an expert on authoritarianism and propaganda, is president of Longview Global Advisors, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm, and worked at the Eurasia Group and the RAND Corporation. He said that in an online world awash in information and a real world riven by polarization, “you pick and choose what you want to believe, including sticking your head in the sand.”

CBS survey: finds "among Republicans, there is some shifting sentiment as they disapprove, though not quite as strongly as they used to. This less intense disapproval, among some in the Republican base, comes perhaps on the heels of recent comments about the day from former President Trump and others


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Partisan "Nonpartisan" Races in Orange County

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

Brooke Staggs & Alicia Robinson at the OC Register
In theory, elections for dozens of city, county and regional posts are legally nonpartisan in Orange County, with ballots that don’t include party labels next to candidates’ names.

The reasoning is — or, rather, was — that local races are about local issues. Fixing potholes and keeping clean water flowing to your house are government functions that work best when they’re not subject to the kind of partisan haggling that comes with issues like gun control and abortion rights.

And voters used to go along with that. A generation ago, it would have been unheard of for a resident of, say, Irvine, to ask a council candidate knocking at the door about their party affiliation, said Randall Avila, spokesman for the Republican Party of Orange County.

No more. As Orange County’s demographics have changed, and as Democrats have grown in power in a county once dominated by Republicans, party politics and party affiliation are becoming increasingly big factors in local races.

Arguably, lingering “don’t ask, don’t tell” rules about party affiliation in local races might have helped Republicans in recent years. Even though registered Democrats have outnumbered registered Republicans in the county since 2019, the GOP has held its long-standing majorities in most local jurisdictions. Republicans now hold nearly 55% of county and local seats while Democrats hold just over 33%.

But with party labels increasingly attached to candidates in nonpartisan races, and with county voters leaning leftward, the GOP edge is slipping. Democrats are winning more seats on city councils, school boards, and library, sanitation and other special district boards,

“At the local level last year, we took 20 seats from Republicans,” said Ada Briceño, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County. Those wins, she added, extended into traditionally GOP communities such as San Clemente and Fountain Valley.

Monday, July 19, 2021

California Replacement Ballot

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state elections. The biggest off-off-year election is the CA recall. 

Mackenzie Mays, Jeremy B. White & Camryn Dadey at Politico California Playbook:
Only 41 candidates appeared on the list of “replacement candidates” who faced a Friday deadline to complete paperwork to officially throw their hats in the ring to take on Gov. Gavin Newsom in September. That’s a fraction of the 135 contenders who leaped into the recall that saw Arnold Schwarzenegger beat former Gov. Gray Davis nearly 20 years ago, and it’s a smaller total than many political observers were anticipating for 2021. It amounts to only about half the number of hopefuls who filed statements of intention to run, shrinkage that likely reflects both Newsom’s stabilized political standing and a requirement that candidates share their tax returns.

THE LIST: The list of Newsom replacement hopefuls includes 21 Republicans and is notably bereft of prominent Democratic politicians after Newsom’s campaign — and his solid poll numbers — successfully deterred big names in his party from giving their voters another Democratic option, although Newsom himself won’t be designated a Democrat on ballots. Of the eight Democratic candidates, the one with the largest following is Kevin Paffrath, a YouTuber known as "Meet Kevin.”

On Saturday, there was one big surprise: Conservative talk show host Larry Elder did not appear on the list, which suggests his paperwork did not meet all of the qualifications, but he said later that "I fully expect to be on the final certified list of candidates" that will be released Wednesday. Elder has drawn some buzz and money since becoming one of the last Republicans to jump in. Former Trump administration official Richard Grenell had already revealed before last week’s deadline that he wouldn’t be running.

SHOW US THE MONEY: The Secretary of State’s office on Sunday posted a batch of tax returns — which candidates are required to share if they want to be on the ballot — offering snapshots of candidates’ respective financial situations. Some tidbits: Jenner’s adjusted gross income in 2019 was about $550,000, a sharp drop from about $2.5 million in 2016; also in 2019, Cox collected about $750,000 in rent from his properties and Faulconer gave about $6,600 to charity; and Kiley does his own taxes. We’ll keep digging through the hundreds of pages for newsworthy items. Some more details here from POLITICO California editor Kevin Yamamura , who reports more than half of the gubernatorial entrants earned less than $100,000 in adjusted gross income in 2019.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The GOP and Vaccines

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses GOP rhetoric about COVID.

In Congress, Republicans who once praised the Trump administration for its work facilitating the swift development of the vaccines now wage campaigns of vaccine misinformation, sowing doubts about safety and effectiveness from the Capitol.

And this week, Republican state lawmakers in Tennessee successfully pressured health officials to stop outreach to children for all vaccines. The guidance prohibits sending reminders about the second dose of a Covid vaccine to adolescents who had received one shot and communicating about routine inoculations, like the flu shot.

A wave of opposition to Covid vaccines has risen within the Republican Party, as conservative news outlets produce a steady diet of misinformation about vaccines and some G.O.P. lawmakers invite anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists to testify in statehouses and Congress. With very little resistance from party leaders, these Republican efforts have elevated falsehoods and doubts about vaccinations from the fringes of American life to the center of our political conversation.


Anti-vaccination sentiment isn’t new to Republican voters. During the 2016 Republican presidential primary race, a number of candidates, including Donald J. Trump, repeated debunked theories that vaccines caused autism in children. Around that time, Republican state legislators began opposing laws that would tighten vaccine requirements for children.

But over the past few months, the shift within the party has accelerated, as some supporters of Mr. Trump embrace the belief that the national effort to promote Covid vaccinations is harmful, unconstitutional or perhaps even a sign of a nefarious government plot.
“Think about what those mechanisms could be used for,” Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina said of the Biden administration’s plan to go door-to-door to reach millions of unvaccinated Americans, going on to claim without evidence: “They could then go door-to-door to take your guns. They could go door-to-door to take your Bibles.”

In a report this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation found a growing vaccination divide between Republican and Democratic areas, with nearly 47 percent of people in counties won by President Biden fully vaccinated, compared with 35 percent of people in Trump counties. In a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 47 percent of Republicans said they weren’t likely to get vaccinated, compared with just 6 percent of Democrats.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

No Widespread Fraud in Arizona

Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. Trump and his minions falsely claimed that he won the election, and have kept repeating the Big Lie.

Bob Christie and Christina A. Cassidy at AP:
Arizona county election officials have identified fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud out of more than 3 million ballots cast in last year’s presidential election, further discrediting former President Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen election as his allies continue a disputed ballot review in the state’s most populous county.

An Associated Press investigation found 182 cases where problems were clear enough that officials referred them to investigators for further review. So far, only four cases have led to charges, including those identified in a separate state investigation. No one has been convicted. No person’s vote was counted twice.

While it’s possible more cases could emerge, the numbers illustrate the implausibility of Trump’s claims that fraud and irregularities in Arizona cost him the state’s electorate votes. In final, certified and audited results, Biden won 10,400 more votes than Trump out of 3.4 million cast.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Coup and Secession

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.  Some Republican leaders -- and a measurable number of rank-and-file voters -- are open to violent rebellion, coups, and secession.  

David Frum at The Atlantic:
If a big-enough movement agrees with Trump that [slain insurrectionist Ashli] Babbitt was “wonderful”—if they repeat that the crowd of would-be Nancy Pelosi kidnappers and Mike Pence lynchers was “great”—then we are leaving behind the American system of democratic political competition for a new landscape in which power is determined by the gun.

That’s a landscape for which a lot of pro-Trump writers and thinkers seem to yearn.
You are living in territory controlled by enemy tribes. You, and all like you, must assume the innocence of anyone remotely like yourself who is charged in any confrontation with those tribes and with their authorities—until proven otherwise beyond a shadow of your doubt. Take his side. In other words, you must shield others like yourself by practicing and urging “jury nullification.”
Those words are not taken from The Turner Diaries or some other Aryan Nation tract. They were published by a leading pro-Trump site, the same site where Trump’s former in-house intellectual Michael Anton publishes. They were written by Angelo Codevilla, who wrote the books and articles that defined so much of the Trump creed in 2016. (Codevilla’s 2016 book, The Ruling Class, was introduced by Rush Limbaugh and heavily promoted on Limbaugh’s radio program.)

We are so accustomed to using the word fascist as an epithet that it feels awkward to adjust it for political analysis. We understand that there were and are many varieties of socialism. We forget that there were varieties of fascism as well, and not just those defeated in World War II. Peronism, in Argentina, offers a lot of insights into post-presidential Trumpism.

Corporations, Trade Associations, and 527 Groups

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

 The Center for Political Accountability has a report titled "Conflicted Consequences."

Publicly held U.S. corporations and their trade associations have strategically poured hundreds of millions of dollars into six large Republican and Democratic groups focused on electing governors and attorneys general and flipping control of legislative chambers. These non-profit, tax-exempt groups are called 527 organizations for the section of the Internal Revenue Code that governs them.
In this report, the Center for Political Accountability has followed the money, just as it did in its earlier Collision Course report. Focusing on groups active at the state level, we have mapped where their money came from and how much the groups received. And we have identified outcomes bankrolled by these groups. CPA is the first to undertake this research.
The money trail reveals that three Republican 527 groups targeted their political spending over the past decade from cumulative funds of more than $1.05 billion, with $485 million or almost half (45.8 percent) received from public company and trade association treasuries. This spending helped bring changes in control of state legislatures and the election of governors and attorneys general. In turn it helped drive new agendas that have transformed state and national policy. Among states where these 527s have had a major impact are North Carolina, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas.
In contrast, the Democratic groups’ take during this period was $632 million, a little over half the amount received by the Republican groups. Democrats early in the decade lost significant representation in elected offices at the state level.

The six are: 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021


 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.

Colleen Long and Calvin Woodward at AP:
TRUMP: “I will tell you they know who shot Ashli Babbitt. They’re protecting that person. I have heard also that it was the head of security for a certain high official, a Democrat. And we will see, because it’s going to come out. It’s going to come out.” — on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

THE FACTS: No, the officer who shot and killed Babbitt was not head of security for a Democratic official. He is a police lieutenant on the 2,000-member Capitol Police force that protects the buildings and grounds.

The force guards members of Congress regardless of their party. Democratic and Republican lawmakers do not employ their own security services at the Capitol. All depend on the nonpartisan force as well as on local police officers in some cases. Trump’s linking of the officer to a top Democrat is baseless.

Babbitt was shot by the officer when she tried to climb through a door with the glass smashed out as she and others in the mob pressed to get into the Speaker’s Lobby outside the House chamber. She was unarmed.

Federal prosecutors cleared the officer of any wrongdoing after an investigation into the shooting and did not publicly name him. Capitol Police, concerned for his safety, have also not released his name. The officer’s attorney, Mark Schamel, said his client is facing “many credible death threats” and other “horrific threats” and was forced from his home because of them.

The Associated Press is not naming the officer because of the concerns for his safety.

The fact that the officer was not in uniform at the time has fed into the conspiracy theories that Trump is encouraging. Officers in the security details for high-ranking lawmakers wear plainclothes. But so do other members of the Capitol Police at times. It depends on their assignment.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Monday, July 12, 2021

New Apostolic Reformation

 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.

Stephanie McCrummen at WP:
This is the world of Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White and many more lesser-known but influential religious leaders who prophesied that Trump would win the election and helped organize nationwide prayer rallies in the days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, speaking of an imminent “heavenly strike” and “a Christian populist uprising,” leading many who stormed the Capitol to believe they were taking back the country for God.

Even as mainline Protestant and evangelical denominations continue an overall decline in numbers in a changing America, nondenominational congregations have surged from being virtually nonexistent in the 1980s to accounting for roughly 1 in 10 Americans in 2020, according to long-term academic surveys of religious affiliation. Church leaders tend to attribute the growth to the power of an uncompromised Christianity. Experts seeking a more historical understanding point to a relatively recent development called the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR.

A California-based theologian coined the phrase in the 1990s to describe what he said he had seen as a missionary in Latin America — vast church growth, miracles, and modern-day prophets and apostles endowed with special powers to fight demonic forces. He and others promoted new church models using sociological principles to attract members. They also began advancing a set of beliefs called dominionism, which holds that God commands Christians to assert authority over the “seven mountains” of life — family, religion, education, economy, arts, media and government — after which time Jesus Christ will return and God will reign for eternity.

None of which is new, exactly. Strains of this thinking formed the basis of the Christian right in the 1970s and have fueled the GOP for decades.
What is new is the degree to which Trump elevated a fresh network of NAR-style leaders who in turn elevated him as God’s chosen president, a fusion that has secured the movement as a grass-roots force within the GOP just as the old Christian right is waning. Increasingly, this is the world that the term “evangelical voter” refers to — not white-haired Southern Baptists in wooden pews but the comparatively younger, more diverse, more extreme world of millions drawn to leaders who believe they are igniting a new Great Awakening in America, one whose epicenter is Texas.