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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Trump, Pardons, Protests, Racism, and a Confession

 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.  DOJ has charged the head of the Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy.

In the fall, the Claremont Institute claimed:

Contrary to almost universally false news accounts, which have done great damage, John did not ask the Vice President, who was presiding over the Joint Session of Congress where electoral votes were to be counted on January 6, to “overturn” the election or to decide the validity of electoral votes.

Yesterday, Trump admitted that overturning the election was the whole point:


Trump also gave a speech this weekend.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Dark Money Dems

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

The iron law of emulation is at work. Conservative groups have made extensive use of dark money.  lLiberal groups copied their example, and conservatives are copying them back.

Kenneth P. Vogel and Shane Goldmacher at NYT:
Spurred by opposition to then-President Trump, donors and operatives allied with the Democratic Party embraced dark money with fresh zeal, pulling even with and, by some measures, surpassing Republicans in 2020 spending, according to a New York Times analysis of tax filings and other data.

The analysis shows that 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with the Democratic Party spent more than $1.5 billion in 2020 — compared to roughly $900 million spent by a comparable sample of 15 of the most politically active groups aligned with the G.O.P.

A single, cryptically named entity that has served as a clearinghouse of undisclosed cash for the left, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, received mystery donations as large as $50 million and disseminated grants to more than 200 groups, while spending a total of $410 million in 2020 — more than the Democratic National Committee itself

Sixteen Thirty is part of a broader network of progressive nonprofits that donors used to fill specific spaces on the political chessboard.

The groups in the network, which also included Hopewell Fund, New Venture Fund, North Fund and Windward Fund, were administered by a for-profit consulting firm called Arabella Advisors. Taken together, the Arabella network spent a total of nearly $1.2 billion in 2020, including paying Arabella a combined $46.6 million in 2020 in management fees, according to the funds’ tax filings.

And the iron law of emulation:

Honest Elections was housed within a nonprofit called the 85 Fund, a charity that is part of a network formed by Leonard A. Leo, a conservative legal activist, to counter what he saw as the left’s increasing superiority in nonprofit political infrastructure.

Mr. Leo left his position as executive vice president of The Federalist Society last year to become chairman of a company called CRC Advisors, modeled on Arabella. Mr. Leo said in a statement that Arabella and its affiliated nonprofits “have added significant firepower to the left’s political agenda.”

“We believe our enterprise can do the same for the conservative mission,” Mr. Leo said.


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Ranked-Choice Voting in Alaska

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

 Mark Z. Barabak at LAT:

Isolation aside, Alaska has changed its elections in way that may be a model for the rest of the country as the U.S. sinks ever lower into a slough of political nihilism and dysfunction.

Starting this year, candidates will run in a one-of-a-kind system that starts by placing all of them on the same ballot, regardless of party. Then the top four vote-getters advance to the general election, at which voters will rank them in order of preference.

The idea is to reward candidates who show broad appeal and to undermine the hard-liners on both sides, resulting — in theory — in lawmakers more willing to get stuff done and leave the noxious political antics to the noisemakers on cable news and talk radio and the rabble on social media.


Others are eyeing the system. There are nearly 20 states, including Oregon and Nevada, where legislation has been introduced or advocates are pushing ballot measures to institute ranked-choice voting, according to FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that promotes the change.

The limited practice has already produced positive results.

New York City, which used ranked-choice voting
for the first time in last year’s mayoral race, saw turnout rise by 13%.

A study of four Bay Area cities that have adopted the system since 2000 — San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and San Leandro — found an increase in the percentage of candidates of color seeking office, as well as an increased probability of female candidates and female candidates of color being elected.

Friday, January 28, 2022

California Snoozing

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

The absence of exciting California state races could depress turnout in 2022, which in turn could have consequences in elections for the House.

From Politico California Playbook:

We’re officially in a gubernatorial campaign cycle — indeed, we’re now closer to the March filing deadline for the June primary than to last September’s recall — but you wouldn’t know it from surveying the landscape. No prominent Republican has announced plans to challenge Gov. Gavin Newsom. Top recall vote-getter Larry Elder has bowed out of a rematch, Assemblymember Kevin Kiley is preoccupied with a run for Congress, and Republicans John Cox and Kevin Faulconer haven’t reported raising money for months (if Faulconer runs at all).

Newsom’s resounding recall win is lost on no one. The Democratic incumbent crushed the recall attempt by double digits — by the same margin, down to a decimal point, as his 2018 landslide victory. You don’t need to run a campaign firm or hold a political science degree to look at those numbers and conclude that Newsom has cemented his overwhelming frontrunner status as he seeks a second term.

Money is an overriding consideration for Republican hopefuls. Newsom was sitting on $24.5 million at the end of June and has since collected at least $500,000 more, including from boldfaced corporate names like Google and Warner Bros. A viable statewide opponent would need to raise significant sums — and quickly — to compete. Faulconer has been gauging donors’ appetites, and his consultant told us the former San Diego mayor is unlikely to run unless he’s confident tens of millions of dollars will materialize behind him.

But the Republican donor class isn’t exactly energized.We repeatedly heard phrases like “burned out” and “worn out” after the recall fizzled. With much of the focus on competitive House races and potentially more promising statewide contests for attorney general and controller, one prominent GOP donor told us she nearly forgot the governor was also on the ballot. “I haven’t paid any attention to it,” she said.
Similarly, serious opposition to appointed Senator Alex Padilla has yet to emerge.

On the ballot measure front:

Four years ago, Reid Wilson reported at The Hill:

In California’s case, initiative supporters must collect a number of signatures equal to or greater than 8 percent of the number of ballots cast in the preceding gubernatorial election.

California’s 2014 gubernatorial contest, in which Gov. Jerry Brown (D) skated to re-election over former Bush administration official Neel Kashkari (R), was a dismally low-turnout affair in which only 30 percent of registered voters bothered to cast a ballot.

That meant supporters of any particular ballot measure needed just 365,880 valid signatures to qualify an initiative or referendum for the ballot in the two elections that followed.

The bar was so low that California’s ballots were inundated by initiatives: In 2016, voters weighed in on 15 citizen-sponsored ballot measures. In 2018, they decided eight more citizen-sponsored measures.

The surge in turnout this year [2018] means future ballot measures will require many, many more signatures. To qualify, initiative supporters will need to collect more than 623,000 valid signatures, a 70 percent increase.
“Generally speaking, 2016 and 2018 were seen as sort of opportunities in California for initiatives because of the low 2014 turnout,” said Josh Altic, who studies ballot measures for the nonpartisan website Ballotpedia. “2020 and 2022 will be seen as the opposite of that.”

At LAT, John Myers reports that the cost per signature will increase.

The era of grass-roots, volunteer signature drives to qualify a ballot measure long ago gave way to an “initiative industrial complex” that pays petition circulators by how many signatures they collect at those ubiquitous folding tables outside supermarkets and department stores.

The economics are simple: Per-signature prices are low when an election is a long way away and only a few ballot measure proposals are in circulation. And prices rise sharply when interest groups begin their initiative campaigns late and petition circulators are in high demand.

Two veteran strategists of the initiative process said they wouldn’t be surprised to see prices as high as $15 per signature by the time the finish line approaches this spring. While there’s no official data on signature payments — campaigns report total petition costs on disclosure forms, a lump sum of these expenses — the consensus seems to be that $10 per signature is the high-water mark from previous statewide ballot measure drives. (Local ballot measures often cost much more per signature, partly the result of having a smaller pool of voters from which to gather the needed support.)

(And the COVID-era labor shortage probably also boosts the cost.) 

 From Politico California Playbook:

More and more ballot initiative campaigns are pulling the plug as they confront the difficult realities of signature-gathering. An effort to channel general fund dollars to water storage projects looks like the latest to capsize, with organizers telling The Mercury News that they lacked the resources to rally enough voters. The measure’s committee had reported raising about $100,000 so far from farms and farmers. Now environmentalists needn’t come up with the cash to counter.

Organized labor could have fewer fights on its hands , too, as a trio of potential threats have evaporated or been deferred. One of two school voucher initiatives folded earlier this month; a proposal to make a quality education a constitutional right, cracking the door to teacher employment law fights, is now looking to be kicked to 2024; and Silicon Valley player and periodic ballot bankroller Tim Draper has abandoned his quest to declaw public employee unions by barring them from collective bargaining.

ALREADY IN — If you love watching campaign ads or make your living off of them, don’t worry. We’re still likely to see a lively and expensive ballot. A tobacco-sponsored referendum on California’s flavored tobacco ban, a recycling overhaul funded by waste management companies and the latest doctors-versus-lawyers fight over malpractice payouts have all gathered enough signatures to qualify. So too has a tribal-backed sports wagering effort, although that could be supplanted by a new tribal proposal that seeks in turn to compete with FanDuel et al’s still-circulating gaming push.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Republicans and Vaccines

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

An unmasked Sarah Palin has been spotted at two New York City restaurants after her attorney revealed she had tested positive for COVID-19. Her disclosure prompted the delay of her defamation trial against The New York Times on Monday. The unvaccinated former Alaska governor was seen by Mediaite sitting with a group at a table outdoors at Elio’s restaurant on the Upper East Side on Wednesday, the same restaurant she dined at on Saturday night, before her diagnosis. Gothamist also spotted her dining al fresco at Campagnola on Tuesday. On her first visit to Elio’s she sat indoors, in violation of city rules, which require diners to present proof of COVID vaccination to be seated inside. The restaurant apologized for not asking her for a vaccine card Saturday, and on Wednesday, its manager, Luca Guaitolini, told Mediaite that Palin returned to apologize. “In accordance with the vaccine mandate and to protect our staff, we seated her outdoors. We are a restaurant open to the public, and we treat all civilians the same,” he said.
Already, opposition to vaccine and mask mandates has become a purity test for Republican officials, as well as a key part of their agenda ahead of this year’s midterm elections. It seems to have turned some of former President Donald Trump’s fervent supporters against him in favor of politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been coy about acknowledging his vaccination status and is not publicly backing such measures. Just 26% of Republicans say they consider vaccine mandates acceptable, according to a CNN poll last month, compared to 82% of Democrats. This partisan divide is evident in the vaccination data itself: unvaccinated adults are three times more likely to lean Republican than Democrat, according to a November analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
For months, we’ve written in this space about how the Republicans’ pushback against coronavirus vaccine mandates could foment — and apparently has been fomenting — opposition to mandates of other vaccines, including for schoolchildren. It’s inherent in their talking points: If vaccines should be a matter of “choice,” why not those more long-standing vaccines, too? High-profile Republicans haven’t generally addressed where they draw the line and why.

Early efforts to wade into allowing more choice on other vaccines had been quickly pulled back. In Tennessee, the state momentarily prevented its health department from communicating with children about any vaccines. In Florida, a prominent state senator suggested that his state might “review” those other vaccine requirements, before walking it back.

But GOP lawmakers in other states are increasingly moving in this direction.

In Georgia, a GOP state senator proposed a bill that would ban the state from requiring “proof of any vaccination of any person as a condition of providing any service or access to any facility.” The bill was endorsed by 17 state senators, about half of the Republican contingent in a chamber where you need less than 30 votes to pass something.

When it was pointed out that this could quite logically extend to vaccine requirements for the state’s public schools, state Sen. Jeff Mullis (R) said he planned to “adjust” the bill.

Efforts by Republicans in Wisconsin also have shown some real momentum. State Senate Health Committee Chairman Patrick Testin (R) held a hearing this month that included Senate Bill 336. The bill would, among other things, prohibit schools and universities from excluding students because of their vaccination status. And, again, it’s not just about coronavirus vaccines.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Rise of the Outsiders

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

Neal Rothschild, Sara Fischer at Axios:

New data finds that the nation's most polarizing politicians are often the ones that garner the most attention online.

Why it matters: Online engagement helps politicians build a bigger national profile and more fundraising power, incentivizing them be more outrageous, more polarizing and more divisive.

By the numbers: Topping the list are lightning rods from each party — politicians who fire up their base while providing ammunition for the other party — according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez generate the most social media interactions per article, an indicator of how much the internet lights up in response to their name.


Between the lines: The politicians who drive the highest average interactions are often more talked-about by their critics than their fans.
  • Nine of the 10 stories about Ocasio-Cortez from the last year were from right-wing outlets. Just two of the top stories about Rep. Taylor Greene were from such outlets, per NewsWhip data.
The big picture: The data supports a broader trend of American politics becoming a breeding ground for more extreme politicians to run — and sometimes win — elections.

Geoffrey Skelley at FiveThirtyEight:

The phenomenon of more inexperienced candidates running for office is something political scientists Sarah Treul and Rachel Porter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have worked to document.1 Focusing on primaries for House seats where no incumbent ran from 1980 to 2020,2 Treul and Porter found a substantial uptick in the number of inexperienced candidates beating out experienced candidates, especially in the past three election cycles, as the chart below shows. And while some of these inexperienced candidates have (nonelected) backgrounds in politics or government, most don’t.
At first, Treul and Porter thought this trend was confined to Republicans, given that inexperienced contenders won more than 50 percent of Republican primaries in open-seat races in 2016. But in 2018, Democrats also showed a strong appetite for political amateurs, with around half of the party’s primary winners in open seats having never held office before. This trend continued for both parties in 2020, too.

“We started to see these patterns in the more recent congressional elections where the candidates without prior experience were performing better,” said Treul. “And we started to think that these old theories the [political science] discipline had might not be holding up anymore.” Rather, changes driven by campaign fundraising, voter attitudes, political rhetoric and weak political parties seem to have diminished the advantages that experienced candidates have long had, such as campaign expertise, high local name recognition and already-established donor networks.

For starters, inexperienced contenders just don’t face the same barriers they once did in attracting financial support from interest groups and donors. Traditionally, it’s been a challenge for newcomers to attract donations from political action committees, which are often key to congressional candidates raising enough money to win their elections. But Treul and Porter found that ideological PACs — typically interest groups focused on a narrow range of issues or just one — have given more to inexperienced candidates in recent years.

Moreover, Porter found in her research with co-author Tyler Steelman (also of UNC-Chapel Hill) that the more money an inexperienced candidate raises from outside their district early in their campaign, the more campaign cash they tend to raise overall. They’re also more likely to win their primary. In the social media age, it’s just become much easier for candidates with no elected experience to connect with a broad group of small donors who are receptive to their candidacies. In fact, as I wrote last year, an amateur candidate can raise millions with the right viral video, even in hopeless contests.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Insurrection and the Law

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.  DOJ has charged the head of the Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy.

 Harry Litman at NYT:

In the hours after the riot, Mitch McConnell, then the Senate majority leader, described the attack as a “failed insurrection”; one of President Donald Trump’s own lawyers in the impeachment trial stated that “everyone agrees” there was a “violent insurrection”; and Mr. Cawthorn himself voted for a resolution that described the attackers as “insurrectionists.” He’ll be hard pressed to run from that label now.

As for whether Mr. Cawthorn “engaged” in the insurrection, in an 1869 case the North Carolina Supreme Court interpreted that term in Section 3 to signify “voluntarily aiding the rebellion, by personal service, or by contributions … of anything that was useful or necessary” to it. Even before more facts are developed in the case — including a possible deposition of Mr. Cawthorn — the tweet exhorting demonstrators to fight because the future of the Republic hinges on it seems plainly designed to aid the enterprise.

The indictment of Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers, and 10 other Jan. 6 participants on seditious conspiracy charges reinforces the notion that the crimes of Jan. 6 were not simply offenses of property or disorder but were also attacks against the government itself, the same core idea as with insurrection.

Devlin Barrett and Spencer S. Hsu at WP:

Within days of President Donald Trump’s election defeat, Stewart Rhodes began talking about the Insurrection Act as critical to the country’s future.

The bombastic founder of the extremist group Oath Keepers told followers that the obscure, rarely used law would allow Trump to declare a national emergency so dire that the military, militias or both would be called out to keep him in the White House.

Appearing Nov. 9, 2020, as a guest on the Infowars program of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Rhodes urged Trump to invoke the act “to suppress the Deep State” and claimed Oath Keepers already had men “stationed outside D.C. as a nuclear option.”

Invoking the Insurrection Act was an idea sparked in conservative circles that spring as a means of subduing social justice protests and related rioting, a goal that Trump seemed to embrace when he called for state leaders to “dominate” their streets. By the end of the year, it had become a rallying cry to cancel the results of a presidential election. Now, private and public discussions of the law stand as key evidence in the cases against the Oath Keepers

Monday, January 24, 2022

MAGA Weekend

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Insurrection Update, January 23

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.  DOJ has charged the head of the Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy.

Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck at CNN:
An organizer of the "Stop the Steal" rallies that preceded the attack on the US Capitol a year ago said he would work with two extremist groups, who later had members charged in the attack, about providing security and housing for the January 6, 2021, rally in Washington.
In previously unreported videos from the social media platform Periscope reviewed by CNN's KFile, Ali Alexander, a leader of the "Stop the Steal" rally and a central figure in the House select committee's investigation of January 6, said he would reach out to the right-wing Proud Boys and Oath Keepers on providing security for the event. Both groups later had members charged in the attack on the Capitol, including conspiracy. Last week, the Justice Department charged the Oath Keepers leader and 10 others with seditious conspiracy related to the attack.
Alexander has not been charged or implicated in any unlawful act. He has denied working with anyone, including lawmakers or extremist groups, to attack the Capitol.
In other videos removed from Periscope -- it's unknown who removed the videos, when and why -- Alexander claimed to describe further details of his communications and coordination with several Congressional Republicans pushing to overturn the election result. The lawmakers have denied planning rallies or coordinating with Alexander in any way.


 The videos unearthed by CNN's KFile also show the heated rhetoric that Alexander used leading up to the January 6, 2021, rally.

In one video from early January 2021, Alexander speculated that being successful on January 6 might lead to a civil war. In the same video, he said he'd rather see the White House "burn down," than have Biden enter it.

Alexander's attorney said his comments about the White House were "in jest."

"There's no circumstance that I think is legitimate that Joe Biden should enter the White House," he said on January 1, 2021. "I think the White House should burn down and I'm not saying that -- I'm not telling anyone to, but I'm just saying -- I literally believe that a bolt of lightning should hit the White House and light it on fire before it's handed over."

Saturday, January 22, 2022

State Legislatures and Redistricting

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

Tim Henderson at Stateline:

This year’s redistricting of state legislatures is shaping up as extremely partisan across the country, as the parties in power seek to hold onto sometimes-thin statehouse majorities with creative map-drawing.

At the forefront are diversifying but still Republican states in the South, such as Georgia and Texas, where cities are becoming magnets for Democratic-leaning newcomers seeking jobs and less expensive housing. In both states, the number of Democratic voters has moved closer to parity with Republicans, but redistricting will give the GOP bigger legislative majorities than their statewide numbers would indicate, according to PlanScore, an analytical project of the anti-gerrymandering Campaign Legal Center.

Republicans in those states are girding for battle to keep power, said Andrew Romeo, communications director for the Republican State Leadership Committee in Washington, D.C. “Our priority in 2022 is to protect our razor-thin majorities.”

In 19 states with redistricting plans already approved, the majority party is expected to win 56% or less of the statewide vote in November but has drawn maps likely to deliver a significantly larger share of statehouse seats, according to PlanScore. In addition to Georgia and Texas, Republicans are ready to rack up especially skewed statehouse majorities in Florida, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Thanks to their own creative line-drawing, Democrats are likely to do the same thing in Illinois and Oregon.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Insurrection Update 1/21

 Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses  Trump's record of scandal

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Legal Trouble for Trump

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses  Trump's record of scandal

Adam Liptak at NYT:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused a request from former President Donald J. Trump to block the release of White House records concerning the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, effectively rejecting Mr. Trump’s claim of executive privilege and clearing the way for the House committee investigating the riot to start receiving the documents hours later.

The court, with only Justice Clarence Thomas noting a dissent, let stand an appeals court ruling that Mr. Trump’s desire to maintain the confidentiality of internal White House communications was outweighed by the need for a full accounting of the attack and the disruption of the certification of the 2020 electoral count.

In an unsigned order, the majority wrote that Mr. Trump’s request for a stay while the case moved forward presented weighty issues, including “whether and in what circumstances a former president may obtain a court order preventing disclosure of privileged records from his tenure in office, in the face of a determination by the incumbent president to waive the privilege.”

But an appeals court’s ruling against Mr. Trump did not turn on those questions, the order said.

“Because the court of appeals concluded that President Trump’s claims would have failed even if he were the incumbent, his status as a former president necessarily made no difference to the court’s decision,” the order said.

A January 18 release from the NYS AG:

New York Attorney General Letitia James today took legal action to compel Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump to appear for sworn testimony as part of the office’s ongoing civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings. The motion to compel filed today seeks a court order enforcing testimonial subpoenas issued to Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump, as well as the production of documents held by Donald J. Trump. As the papers filed today make clear, each of the individuals was directly involved in one or more transactions under review. Earlier this month, the Trumps filed a motion to quash these interviews, and the papers filed today by the Attorney General oppose that motion.

Since moving to compel the testimony of Eric Trump in August 2020, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has collected significant additional evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions. While OAG has not yet reached a final decision regarding whether this evidence merits legal action, the grounds for pursuing the investigation are self-evident. The OAG filed today’s motion to get necessary testimony and evidence from high-ranking corporate personnel with close involvement in the events under investigation to determine, among other things, their relevant knowledge about those events.

“For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used delay tactics and litigation in an attempt to thwart a legitimate investigation into its financial dealings,” said Attorney General James. “Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit. The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them. We will not be deterred in our efforts to continue this investigation and ensure that no one is above the law.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Gen Z Rejects GOP

 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.

Mike Allen at Axios:

Gen Xers have always been a swing voting group, but their kids — Gen Z, sometimes called Zoomers — overwhelmingly back Democrats.

What they're saying: "Generational replacement will not be kind to Trump’s Republican Party," John Della Volpe, polling director at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, and CEO of SocialSphere, told me.

Della Volpe will be out tomorrow with "Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America," digging into the mindset of these 70 million young Americans born beginning in the mid-1990s.
"They are the most diverse and most educated generation in history," Della Volpe writes.
The big picture: Della Volpe says five events shaped this rising bloc:
  • Occupy Wall Street: Millennial-led discussions about inequality became political drivers as Zoomers came of age.
  • Donald Trump.
  • The Parkland, Fla., high school shooting and March for Our Lives movement.
  • 17-year-old Darnella Frazier's use of her iPhone to record the murder of George Floyd.
  • Greta Thunberg's climate strike.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Voting Rights: Not a Big Issue with the General Public

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections  Democrats are trying to make a big issue of voting rights and procedural reform.  They have a problem.

Karlyn Bowman at AEI notes that the public puts other issues ahead of voting rights as a priority for Congress.

First, Americans are clearly focused on issues such as inflation and coronavirus. Just 6 percent in the latest AP/NORC poll volunteered “voting laws, voter fraud, or voting issues” as the top problem the government should be working on in 2022.

Second, most Americans have not been paying much attention to the debate on the legislation. The latest NPR/Ipsos poll explored public awareness of various voting reforms included in the legislation without mentioning the legislation by name. Fifty-three percent said they were very or somewhat familiar with the proposals to allow any eligible voter to vote by mail. This was the only issue tested that showed majority awareness. Forty-four percent were familiar with state proposals reducing access to absentee ballots, limiting early voting times, or reducing the number of voting locations. Forty-one percent were familiar with proposals standardizing voting rules across states, 39 percent with state legislatures changing election laws to give them the power to determine election outcomes, 36 percent with state legislatures limiting the independence of elected election officials, and separately, with proposals moving redistricting authority to nonpartisan commissions. Finally, 32 percent were familiar with proposals to give the vice president the right to decide which electoral votes should be counted. Democrats were more familiar than Republicans with each of these, but the low levels of overall familiarity don’t suggest a groundswell of public interest.

In the Morning Consult/Politico poll, a substantial 28 percent of registered voters responded “don’t know” or “no opinion” when asked whether they supported the Senate’s filibuster rule, and 27 percent gave that response in another question about changing the filibuster rules to pass voting rights legislation. In the first of these questions, 42 percent supported the filibuster rule (30 percent were opposed), and in the second one, people were split evenly, 37 percent to 36 percent, about changing it now. I’m less confident about the support and oppose scores than I am about limited public awareness of complexities of the issue.

There is the third reason most Americans may not see the urgency or necessity of passing legislation that would give Washington more control in this area. Neither the NPR poll nor the Morning Consult poll asked Americans about their personal experience with voting, although NPR has asked these questions before in its polling with PBS NewsHour and ­­­­Marist. As Samantha Goldstein and I showed in a report for the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, very few Americans have faced impediments to voting such as being told they didn’t have the correct identification, that they weren’t on the registration list. Very few say they did not receive their mail-in ballot in time. Most Americans say it very easy to vote, and in the Pew Research Center’s trend, most say they are confident their own vote was counted accurately.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Shift in Party ID

Jeffrey M. Jones at Gallup:
On average, Americans' political party preferences in 2021 looked similar to prior years, with slightly more U.S. adults identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic (46%) than identified as Republicans or leaned Republican (43%).

However, the general stability for the full-year average obscures a dramatic shift over the course of 2021, from a nine-percentage-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a rare five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

 In the first quarter of 2021, 49% of U.S. adults identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, while 40% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican. In the second quarter, 49% were Democrats or Democratic leaners, and 43% were Republicans and Republican leaners. In the third quarter, 45% were Democrats and Democratic leaners, and were 44% Republicans and Republican leaners. In the fourth quarter, 42% were Democrats and Democratic leaners, and 47% were Republicans and Republican leaners.

These results are based on aggregated data from all U.S. Gallup telephone surveys in 2021, which included interviews with more than 12,000 randomly sampled U.S. adults.

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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Coup Mechanics

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.  DOJ has charged the head of the Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy. And we are learning more about the role of fake electors.

Charlie Sykes on the attempted coup:

 Here is a useful thread that put this all in context: (I’ve unrolled it.)

STEP 1: John Eastman concocts a “legal blueprint” whereby VP Pence elides the requirements of the Electoral Vote Act based on 7 states submitting dual slates of electors, allowing Pence to either count the alternate slate or not count those states at all…

STEP 2: GOP operatives/officials in those 7 states in fact create a false slate of electors and submit them as official, so they can be used in the scenario above

STEP 3: DOJ, meanwhile, submits letters to each state, indicating (falsely) that they have reason to believe that there has been election fraud. This creates perception that results are actually in question, bolstering VP’s ability to discount their votes.

[She later tweeted: Jeffrey Clark’s letter references the alternate slate of electors “which have already been submitted”… his DOJ scheme was part and parcel of the same Eastman/forged slate scheme (also creating appearance the the “alternate slate” is OK as a matter of law)”]


STEP 4: The Big Lie is repeated in rallies and social media, saturating information space to rile up base and give momentum to “Stop the Steal” movement

STEP 5: Plan for all of these angry and agitated individuals to come to D.C. on January 6, the day that Eastman’s plan will be put into effect. The protesters are sent to march on the Capitol, to further put pressure on VP Pence and lawmakers, as stated in Oath Keeper indictment.


STEP 6: Since mob attack is intended to keep up pressure on Pence/lawmakers, they must be able to remain in Capitol as long as possible.

So: 6a) Purge top DOD and replace with loyalists; and 6b) delay LE/National Guard response as long as possible.

STEP 7: ??? I’m not sure what was supposed to happen at this point. Presumably, Pence would somehow declare Trump the winner, or if not, the Capitol would remain occupied until they found a way to make him do it. Seems like they planned to continue the siege.


The point is that there are a lot of moving parts and evidence surfacing in a lot of different areas but they are all connected to one overarching goal: Keep Trump in power by subverting the counting of the electoral votes and preventing the transfer of power to Biden /END


Exit take: Let’s go back to George Conway’s question: How does this not constitute a criminal offense? And why on earth would the DOJ not launch an investigation into the fake/forged election certificates?