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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Stefanik

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections. It also discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good.  Case in point: the infamous Elise Stefanik.

 Brian Huba at Syracuse.com:

This past weekend, Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21) addressed the nation’s baby formula shortage. On her personal Twitter, Stefanik posted, “The White House, House Dems, & usual pedo grifters are so out of touch with the American people that rather than present ANY PLAN or urgency to address the nationwide baby formula crisis, they double down on sending pallets of formula to the southern border.” Not only is this tweet disgraceful (notice the nod to QAnon), it’s also dishonest.

But that’s Stefanik’s long-standing M.O. She routinely uses dog whistles and bold-faced lies to manufacture outrage. It’s the most irresponsible thing an elected official can do, but Stefanik never misses a beat. Or, to quote a longtime constituent I know from New York’s 21st, “Elise has not been productive for our district or state. Has been productive on a national level for herself.”

Earlier this year, Stefanik publicly attacked a school in Mayfield, N.Y., accusing it of putting an educator on leave because that educator expressed anti-mask sentiments on social media. The administration denied this, saying in part, “... the district would not put someone on leave for posting their personal opinion about the mask mandate on social media.” Then Stefanik inserted herself into the story, claiming the teacher was disciplined for posting one of Stefanik’s Facebook posts about the issue. The school called Stefanik’s statement(s) “misleading and inaccurate,” and Stefanik called for the “Resignation of any and all administrators who made this wrongful determination.” Again, there is zero evidence this happened as Stefanik describes.

When the Ukrainian war broke out, Stefanik trashed President Joe Biden. “Joe Biden’s weakness on the world stage has emboldened our foreign adversaries…” She saw the bloodshed as a chance to score cheap political points. A few weeks later, Stefanik penned an op-ed for the New York Post, promising to investigate Hunter Biden to the ends of the Earth when the GOP reclaims the House. In this same op-ed, she referred to the nation’s First Family as the “Biden Crime Family,” not once, twice, but three times. Gutter-ball politics.



Friday, May 20, 2022

Mastriano

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 rebellioncoups, and secession. 

Greg Jaffe at WP:
Two decades before he was Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor, Doug Mastriano warned in a master’s thesis that the United States was vulnerable to a left-wing “Hitlerian Putsch” that would begin with the dismantling of the U.S. military and end with the destruction of the country’s democracy.

The thesis, written in 2001 when Mastriano was a major at the Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College, is highly unusual for its doomsaying and often fearful point of view, and its prediction that only the U.S. military could save the country from the depredations of the country’s morally debauched civilian leaders. The paper is posted on an official Defense Department website and lists Mastriano as the author at a time when he said he received a master’s degree from the school.

In it, Mastriano adopts the point of view of a colonel who is living in 2018 — some 17 years in the future — and has taken refuge in an “isolated cavern” in the George Washington National Forest. The military’s collapse, in his telling, allowed a left-wing leader obsessed with “political correctness” and backed militarily by the United Nations and the European Union to rise to power in a struggle that led to the deaths of millions of Americans.

“Domestically, life was bleak with a rampant drug culture, hedonism and a plethora of ‘alternate’ religions dominating the American youth,” wrote Mastriano in the voice of his fictional colonel. “We were a people without vision or direction.”

Ultimately, Mastriano concluded that the U.S. military was the “only institution to prevent the destruction of the republic.”

The document displays a disgust for anyone who doesn’t hold his view that homosexuality is a form of “aberrant sexual conduct” and presages the worldview that has led Mastriano to blame rampant fraud for Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat and to join a crowd headed toward the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“This thesis proves that Mastriano’s embrace of activity that undermines the U.S. Constitution is no recent corruption,” said Peter Feaver, a former senior White House official in the George W. Bush administration who was written extensively about civil-military relations. “It stems from poisonous views and misunderstandings that he has held for a very long time.”

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Census Miscounts

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

Texas and Florida did not devote enough money to encouraging people to fill out their forms.

Big mistake.

Hansi Lo Wang at NPR:
For the 2020 census, all states were not counted equally well for population numbers used to allocate political representation and federal funding over the next decade, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Thursday.

A follow-up survey the bureau conducted to measure the national tally's accuracy found significant net undercount rates in six states: Arkansas (5.04%), Florida (3.48%), Illinois (1.97%), Mississippi (4.11%), Tennessee (4.78%) and Texas (1.92%).

It also uncovered significant net overcount rates in eight states — Delaware (5.45%), Hawaii (6.79%), Massachusetts (2.24%), Minnesota (3.84%), New York (3.44%), Ohio (1.49%), Rhode Island (5.05%) and Utah (2.59%).

For the other 36 states, as well as Washington, D.C., the bureau did not find statistically significant net over- or undercount rates.

Mike Schneider at AP:

Florida's undercount translates into around 750,600 missed residents, and an analysis by Election Data Services shows the Sunshine State needed only around 171,500 more residents to gain an extra seat. The undercount in Texas translates into around 560,000 residents, while the Election Data Services analysis put Texas as needing only 189,000 more residents to gain another congressional seat. Hispanics make up more than a quarter of Florida's population and almost 40% of Texas residents, and critics say the Trump administration's failed efforts to add a citizenship question to the census form may have had a chilling effect on the participation of Hispanics, immigrants and others. It was a different story for states where residents were overcounted, like Minnesota and Rhode Island. Minnesota was allocated the 435th and final congressional seat in the House of Representatives; if Minnesota had counted 26 fewer people, that seat would have gone to New York. Minnesota's 3.8% overcount amounted to around 219,000 residents.


 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Trump on the PA Senate Race

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


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Domestic Terrorism

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 rebellioncoups, and secession. 

President Biden spoke about the "Great Replacement" massacre today in Buffalo:

What happened here is simple and straightforward: terrorism. Terrorism. Domestic terrorism. Violence inflicted in the service of hate and a vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group.

A hate that through the media and politics, the Internet, has radicalized angry, alienated, lost, and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced — that’s the word, “replaced” — by the “other” — by people who don’t look like them and who are therefore, in a perverse ideology that they possess and being fed, lesser beings.

I and all of you reject the lie. I call on all Americans to reject the lie. And I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain, and for profit. (Applause.) Because that’s what it is.

We have now seen too many times the deadly and destructive violence this ideology unleashes.

We heard the chants, “You will not replace us,” in Charlottesville, Virginia. 


Monday, May 16, 2022

Shots Fired

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 rebellioncoups, and secession.   

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Murder and "Great Replacement Theory"

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 rebellioncoups, and secession.  

Ben Collins at NBC:
A manifesto apparently written by the suspect in a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket that killed 10 laid out specific plans to attack Black people and repeatedly cited the “Great Replacement" Theory, the false idea that a cabal is attempting to replace white Americans with non-white people through immigration, interracial marriage and eventually violence.

The manifesto, which appears to be written by 18-year-old Payton Gendron, included a shared birth date and biographical details with the suspect in custody. The PDF was originally posted to Google Docs at 8:55 p.m. Thursday, two days before the shooting, according to file data accessed by NBC News.
...

“Great Replacement" theory has recently received support from traditional power centers of the American right. According to an AP-NORC poll released this week, 1 in 3 U.S. adults believe there is an ongoing effort “to replace U.S.-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains.”

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has repeatedly pushed “replacement” rhetoric on his show. “I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for 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,” Carlson said in April of 2021.


 

Friday, May 13, 2022

The Falcon Cannot Hear the Falconer

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

Michael C. Bender at NYT:
A late surge from Kathy Barnette in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate primary is officially on former President Trump’s radar.

Mr. Trump criticized Ms. Barnette, a conservative author and political commentator, on Thursday and said she was unvetted and unelectable. “Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the general election against the radical left Democrats,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Ms. Barnett’s momentum in the polls has jeopardized Mr. Trump’s second attempt to influence the primary race, which comes to a close on Tuesday. He endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz, a longtime television host, after his first choice for the seat, Sean Parnell, suspended his campaign in November amid a court battle over the custody of his children.

Ms. Barnette’s sudden rise comes as Dr. Oz has been locked in a contentious primary fight with David McCormick, a former hedge fund executive with deep ties to Mr. Trump’s political orbit. A Fox News Poll on Tuesday showed her at 19 percent, behind Mr. McCormick at 20 percent and Dr. Oz at 22 percent.

Her climb has surprised many watching the Pennsylvania race — including Mr. Trump, who never seriously considered supporting her before he announced his endorsement of Dr. Oz less than five weeks ago, according to two people familiar with the decision who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.


 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Akin Ploy in California

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

In the 2012 Missouri  Senate race, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill ran ads during the GOP primary campaign saying that Todd Akin was "too conservative."  The idea of the "attack ad" was to drive GOP voters to Akin, her weakest potential foe.  It worked.  Other campaigns have tried the same thing.


Insurrection Update May 11

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 rebellioncoups, and secession.  


Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu at Politico:
Donald Trump’s top election-subversion wingmen have stonewalled the Jan. 6 select committee for months, but investigators have found a reliable workaround: their deputies and assistants.

Time and again, the panel has managed to pierce the secrecy of Trump’s inner circle by turning to the aides entrusted with carrying out logistics for their bosses, according to interviews with lawmakers and newly public committee records.

Some of the select panel’s most crucial information has come from Trumpworld staffers, who were often in the room or briefed on sensitive meetings, even if they weren’t central players themselves. It’s a classic investigative strategy that’s paid dividends for select committee investigators, many of whom are seasoned former federal prosecutors.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Akin Ploy, 2022

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

In the 2012 Missouri  Senate race, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill ran ads during the GOP primary campaign saying that Todd Akin was "too conservative."  The idea of the "attack ad" was to drive GOP voters to Akin, her weakest potential foe.  It worked.  Other campaigns have tried the same thing.

Henry J. Gomez and Natasha Korecki at NBC:
Democrats bracing for devastating midterm losses this fall are zeroing in on a strategy that lands them on the battlefield now.

They are investing millions of dollars to meddle in Republican primaries for governor, attempting to elevate their preferred competitors in November or weaken their biggest threats.

Next week's messy GOP fight in Pennsylvania is the most blatant example. State Sen. Doug Mastriano is ahead in recent polls — and his would-be Democratic opponent wouldn’t mind if it stayed that way.

Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general running unopposed in his party's primary for governor, is airing an ad that brandishes Mastriano’s conservative credentials, making sure to say a Mastriano victory is a win "for what Donald Trump stands for." That's all but an endorsement in a GOP primary, but it could hurt later in a race where even some Republicans have doubts about Mastriano's electability.

That a Democrat is behind the ad underscores the lengths to which the party will go to engineer an easier general election in what's expected to be a volatile environment this fall.

"Both public and private polling indicate that Doug Mastriano is poised to become the Republican nominee on May 17 — and our campaign is prepared to start the general election now and make sure Pennsylvanians know his real record," Shapiro spokesperson Will Simons said in a statement to NBC News.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Roe Update

 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.  

Abortion will be a big, divisive issue in the 2022 midterms. 

Republicans are not getting their messaging stragith.

Mychael Schnell at The Hill:

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sunday said a national abortion ban floated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is “inconsistent with what we’ve been fighting for.”

McConnell told USA Today in an interview published on Saturday that a national ban on abortions is “possible,” as the country reacts to a drafted majority opinion from the Supreme Court that shows the bench poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Asked by anchor Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week” if he would oppose a national ban on the medical procedure, Hutchinson said such a move may have “some constitutional issues.”

“I think it’s inconsistent with what we’ve been fighting for four decades, which is that we wanted the Roe v. Wade reversed and the authority to return to the states. And so as a matter of principle, that’s where it should be,” Hutchinson said.

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert at Business Insider:
Blake Masters, a GOP Senate candidate running on an anti-abortion platform in Arizona, is also taking aim at the case that established the right to access birth control on his campaign website.

"I am 100% pro-life. Roe v. Wade was a horrible decision. It was wrong the day it was decided in 1973, it's wrong today, and it must be reversed. But the fight doesn't stop there," Master's campaign website reads. It goes on to pledge the candidate will "vote only for federal judges who understand that Roe and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided, and that there is no constitutional right to abortion."

Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey established and protected the right to an abortion in 1973 and 1992, respectively. But the Griswold case, decided in 1965, overturned a statewide ban on birth control and protected citizen's rights to privacy against state restrictions on contraceptives.

Masters identifies himself as a Catholic father of three on his campaign site. The Catholic Church has had an official ban on any "artificial" birth control methods, including condoms and diaphragms, since 1930. Since birth control pills were invented in 1960, the church has maintained its stance that the medication should only be used for non-contraceptive reasons.


"I don't support a state law or federal law that would ban or restrict contraception — period," Masters said in a statement emailed to Insider. "And Griswold was wrongly decided. Both are true."

In a Twitter thread criticizing reporting that pointed out his conflicting campaign positions, Masters stated that his problem with the Griswold case was that the Supreme Court justices "wholesale made up a constitutional right to achieve a political outcome."

Saturday, May 7, 2022

JD Vance: Microsite Including Vulnerability Study

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

 Alex Isenstadt reports on a Thiel-funded Super PAC that supports JD Vance.  It quotes GOP operative Luke Thompson, who runs it:

Shortly after Vance launched his campaign last summer, Thompson set up a public website where he published a trove of sensitive documents — from thousands of pages of polling data, to memos assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Vance’s opponents, to a 177-page opposition research book detailing all of the areas where Vance’s opponents might attack him. There were suggested lines for Vance to use on the campaign trail, and even guidance on how the candidate could win Trump’s endorsement.

All of it was out in the open for the world to see. But it had one intended audience: the Vance campaign.

The site — housed on the publishing platform Medium under the username @protectohiovaluesforms — allowed the super PAC to publicly convey information to the Vance campaign without breaking federal laws prohibiting coordination between big-spending outside groups and campaigns. By accessing the website, the lesser-funded Vance campaign was able to capitalize on the resources of the Thiel-funded super PAC.

While organizations from both parties have set up similar websites, the sheer amount of information on the Medium site — and the danger associated with laying so much out in public — set it apart.

“We knew we were going to have less to work with from the start, so we had to take risks and be innovative to keep our donors and supporters engaged,” said Thompson, who worked on the big-spending super PAC that bolstered former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 presidential campaign. “That included risking having all of our research in public. But if we hadn’t taken those risks, we would never be in a position to contend for the lead and for a presidential endorsement.”

Ryan Lizza and Rachel Bade follow up:

As Alex Isenstadt detailed Tuesday in a fascinating tick-tock of the Ohio race, POV set up an unadvertised-but-public Medium account, where it posted a trove of sensitive documents, polling reports, audio and video for Vance to use. Some of the files are boring, such as b-roll footage the Vance camp could include in ads. But the group also posted extensive opposition research reports — on both his primary opponents and Vance himself.

Among the documents, as Alex noted, was a lengthy study of Vance’s vulnerabilities. It is essentially a “how to” guide for attacking Vance, which anyone — including the campaign of general-election opponent Rep. TIM RYAN (D-Ohio) — could access as of early Thursday morning.

They didn’t make it easy to find. Some 1,200 words into a 1,700-word Feb. 6 post on POV’s Medium account, there’s a link suggesting it will take you to some polling. Click it, and it actually takes you to a Dropbox folder with dozens of campaign strategy documents, including PDFs of two versions of a “JD Vance vulnerability analysis.”

What’s in Vance’s oppo book?
...
— Questioning where he really lives: In addition to the Cincy mansion, Vance still owns a home in Washington, D.C., that’s “valued at nearly $900,000.” What’s notable about this is that up through 2018, “Vance was still claiming a homestead exemption on his D.C. home, a tax break only available for principal residences. Questions about Vance’s residency were raised when he considered running for Senate in 2018, with one unnamed Republican operative saying, ‘I don’t know what address he claims in Ohio, but he’s not living there.’”

— Raising doubts about his anti-opioid nonprofit: To the researchers, one of the most worrying bits of oppo they uncovered concerned his nonprofit, Our Ohio Renewal, which he started to combat the opioid crisis. In a section headlined “Mission vs. Reality,” the researchers conclude: “Despite its stated goals, Our Ohio Renewal spent more than 95 percent of its 2017 fundraising on staff salaries and overhead, and $0 on charitable activities or grants.” They add that the group “appears to have been largely defunct since 2017.”

There’s lots more, and the amount of research is impressive, encompassing court and police records, potentially problematic articles the Yale Law Journal published when Vance was an editor, old Facebook posts about “getting wasted,” and even his time as a contributing writer to prominent anti-Trump conservative DAVID FRUM’s FrumForum (which was new to us, probably because Vance wrote under the name J.D. Hamel).


A

 

Friday, May 6, 2022

Russian Interference Update


Dennis Aftergut at Verdict:
On May 3, the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General reported that in mid-2020, Trump administration officials at DHS delayed and made politically influenced changes in an intelligence study alerting the public to Russian interference in America’s 2020 election. DHS had early knowledge that Russia sought to spread disinformation about Joe Biden’s mental acuity.

The new DHS IG report matters for three key reasons: First, it dramatically illustrates how the former President’s intent to misinform the American people permeated his government departments.

Second, the report reaffirms how Trump aligned with Vladimir Putin in attacking the truth.

Third, the May 3 news reminds us of the importance of inspectors general in our system.

According to the new IG report, in mid-2020, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf intervened multiple times in the review process of a white paper on Russia’s ongoing election interference. By regulation and practice, Wolf had “no formal role in reviewing the product.”

Meanwhile, other Trump appointees at DHS sought to “blunt” the focus on Russia by adding—over the staff author’s reservations—distracting claims of interference by China and Iran. The DHS paper’s initial title, “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Electoral Dynamics,” eventually morphed to “Malign Foreign Influence Actors Denigrating Health of US Presidential Candidates.”

Tuesday’s IG report also describes Wolf reassigning a DHS undersecretary in August 2020. According to the report, at a meeting the previous month, the undersecretary—whom we now know to be whistleblower Mark Zaid—had alleged that Wolf told him that “an intelligence product should be ‘held’ because it ‘made the President look bad.’” (Wolf denies that allegation.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Vance Wins Ohio Primary

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

Jonathan Swan and Lachlan Markay at Axios:

If J.D. Vance follows his Tuesday night victory in Ohio's Senate primary with a general election win in November he'll arrive in a Washington filled with enemies and be seen as arguably the hardest-edged populist nationalist in the Senate GOP.

Why it matters: The Republican establishment privately regards Vance with the same disgust many felt toward Donald Trump when he entered the White House on Jan. 20, 2017.

The big picture: Vance's victory deals a body blow to a small but noticeable resurgence of anti-Trump — or post-Trump — sentiment in the GOP.Republican Trump critics staked their hopes on state senator Matt Dolan, who accused Trump of peddling "lies" about fraud in the 2020 election and blamed him for the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.
But even with four solidly pro-Trump candidates in the race — Vance, Josh Mandel, Mike Gibbons and former Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken — Dolan was unable to marshal a plurality.

 ...

Between the lines: Amid a wave of retirements by more traditional Republican Senators such as Ohio's Rob Portman, Alabama's Richard Shelby and Missouri's Roy Blunt, Vance could be one of a handful of Republicans reshaping the ideological makeup of McConnell's conference.Vance has made statements on the campaign trail that have repulsed establishment Republicans, including members of Senate leadership. Major Republican donors — including the powerful Club for Growth — spent millions trying to defeat him.
He won a crowded GOP primary running on a position that directly opposes most Senate Republicans — including Minority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) — on one of the major issues of the day: the Russia-Ukraine war.

Details: McConnell has pushed President Biden to do more to help Ukraine win the war — more weapons, more money. Vance has said Ukraine is not America's problem. He said on Steve Bannon's podcast shortly before Russia invaded its neighbor: "I don't really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another."

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Roe

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.  

Abortion will be a big, divisive issue in the 2022 midterms.

Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward at Politico:

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO.

The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Monday, May 2, 2022

"J.D. Mandell"

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

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Immigration and the Midterm

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

Annie Karni and Luke Broadwater at NYT:
House Republicans are planning to use an oversight hearing next week to attack the Biden administration on its immigration policies, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times that offers a road map for how the G.O.P. intends to further weaponize an issue that is already a main thrust of their midterm campaign message against Democrats.

The detailed, 60-page guidance memo includes misleading and provocative talking points that seek to portray migrants and refugees as perpetrators of gruesome crimes, especially those involving sexual assault, echoing the language that former President Donald J. Trump used to denigrate immigrants. It also argues that the Biden administration has been lax on illegal immigration, seeking to put Democrats on the defensive on the issue.

It comes as Democrats are growing increasingly concerned that President Biden’s immigration policies, including the recent decision to lift pandemic-era border restrictions next month, could pose a political liability for them ahead of the midterm elections.

The memo — which is marked “CONFIDENTIAL — FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY” — repeatedly insinuates that immigrants could be sex offenders, highlighting a handful of arrests at the southwestern border and of Afghan evacuees. It also misrepresents a Biden administration policy designed to humanely enforce immigration laws as one that would bar law enforcement from surveilling sex offenders near schoolyards.

Lauren Gambino at The Guardian:

Fears over Title 42 are only one element of the Republicans’ messaging. Republicans have sought to tie illegal immigration to other potent themes like voter fraud and crime. Allegations of undocumented migrants voting in large numbers have been repeatedly disproved. Studies have found that migrants commit crime at lower rates than native-born citizens.

Republicans have long used immigration as a political weapon – with mixed results. In 2018, they lost the House in a wave election fueled in part by fury over Trump’s hardline policies that separated migrant children from their parents. The same year they expanded control in the Senate. 
The political winds have reversed. Republicans are heavily favored to take the House, and possibly the Senate. The national mood has soured on Biden and the Democrats as concerns over the economy and inflation deepen.

But even as economic discontent dominates political debate, polling suggests immigration remains a pressing issue, particularly for Republicans. Four in 10 Americans, and nearly 70% of Republicans, say they worry a “great deal” about illegal immigration, according to a Gallup survey.

During a tour of the border in Texas last week, the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, chided a reporter for asking about his false claim that he never urged Trump to resign after the January 6 insurrection – comments captured by an audio recording.

“After all this, that’s what you want to ask?” he said. “I don’t think that’s what the American people are asking. I think they want to know about what’s going to happen here and how we’re going to secure the border.”

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Slugfest in Asian American District

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

Seema Mehta and Anh Do at LAT:
A new Southern California congressional district was created expressly to empower Asian Americans — binding together residents of Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and Indian descent to give those voters a stronger voice in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The race to represent the district, which includes portions of Los Angeles and Orange counties, has turned into a mud-slinging battle rife with accusations of racism, sexism and red-baiting between two Asian American candidates.

Incumbent Rep. Michelle Steel, a Korean American immigrant, has accused her Democratic rival, Jay Chen, of mocking her accent. Chen, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, responded with an op-ed titled “I didn’t mock Michelle Steel’s accent.” Steel has also tried to paint Chen, a Navy Reserve intelligence officer, as sympathetic to China’s authoritarian regime; Chen says she’s red-baiting.

“This district was drawn with the aspirational hope that it would uplift Asians,” said Democratic redistricting expert Paul Mitchell. “There’s nothing to suggest a district that’s heavily Asian like this could have the consequence of a slugfest or a mud fight between different Asian elected officials. That’s clearly unfortunate.”

The new 45th congressional district was created last year by an independent redistricting panel in the once-per-decade, post-census redrawing of political maps. It is more competitive than Steel’s current district and includes the Asian American hubs of Westminster, Cerritos and Artesia.