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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Trump Kept Stolen Secret Files IN HIS DESKS

Our most recent book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and Trump's disregard for law.

Destruction of government documents is a crime.  So is the retaining classified material.


Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Pro-Life Republicans Run from their Records

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

Zach Montellaro and Ally Mutnick:
Democrats have been hammering GOP candidates on abortion since the fall of Roe v. Wade. That’s left some Republicans scrambling to try to figure out how to soften the blow.

A number of Republicans are trying to avoid political fallout from the Dobbs decision by quietly deemphasizing their past position on abortion on campaign websites and on the trail. Another handful of GOP candidates — especially those in contests in states that are more of a reach for the party — have gone up with TV ads looking to counter Democrats’ attacks on abortion.

Among the earliest Republicans pushing back on the issue on TV was Mark Ronchetti, a one-time TV meteorologist who is challenging Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico this year, after losing a close race for the state’s open Senate seat two years ago.

“I’m personally pro-life, but I believe we can all come together on a policy that reflects our shared values,” Ronchetti says in the ad, saying that Lujan Grisham was “extreme” on abortion. “We can end late-term abortion, while protecting access to contraception and health care.”

Jasper Goodman at LAT:

The Life at Conception Act is fewer than 300 words, but its language leaves little room for ambiguity on abortion.

The bill, introduced in the U.S. House earlier in the congressional session, seeks “equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person,” specifying that it covers “all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.”

Put simply: “It would be a nationwide abortion ban,” said Mary Ziegler, a professor at UC Davis School of Law who studies reproductive rights. Even California, which has positioned itself as a haven for abortion rights, would be affected.

The legislation was co-sponsored by more than half of California’s Republican congressional delegation — including three representatives who face highly competitive races in the November midterm elections: Reps. Michelle Steel of Seal Beach, Mike Garcia of Santa Clarita and David Valadao of Hanford.

But in the two months since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling overturned Roe vs. Wade, stripping away constitutional protections for abortion, the candidates have been noticeably quiet on the issue. Nationally, Republican candidates in tight races have appeared on the defensive, releasing ads downplaying their antiabortion stances. Instead of celebrating the monumental reversal of Roe vs. Wade, the GOP is trying to turn the focus elsewhere, even as Democrats aim to keep the spotlight fixed on it.


Allan Smith and Marc Caputo at NBC:

Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters softened his tone and scrubbed his website's policy page of tough abortion restrictions Thursday as his party reels from the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

In an ad posted to Twitter on Thursday, Masters sought to portray his opponent, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, as the extremist on the issue while describing his own views as "commonsense."

"Look, I support a ban on very late-term and partial-birth abortion," he said. "And most Americans agree with that. That would just put us on par with other civilized nations." (Late-term abortions are extremely rare, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker.)

Just after it released the ad, Masters' campaign published an overhaul of his website and softened his rhetoric, rewriting or erasing five of his six positions. NBC News took screenshots of the website before and after it was changed. Masters' website appeared to have been refreshed after NBC News reached out for clarification about his abortion stances.

"I am 100% pro-life," Masters' website read as of Thursday morning.

That language is now gone.
Tom Barrett, the GOP nominee in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, recently removed the “values” section of his campaign website that contained information about his anti-abortion beliefs.

When asked about the purpose of removing this section, Barrett told the Detroit News that he had no knowledge of the website being changed.

“I don’t watch my own website every day, so I don’t know why,” Barrett told the Detroit News. “But I am sure we probably were updating things based upon the issues that were most salient right now, which are inflation, crime, border security. Those are really the four pillars that are the leading issues that voters are most concerned with.”

Monday, August 29, 2022

Incumbents Losing

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

Andrew Solender at Axios:
It's a banner year for insurgent House candidates: 2022 is posting the second-highest number of primary losses for House members since 1948.

Why it matters: Rising populism is weakening the shield of incumbency.

Driving the news: Reps. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) both lost their primaries on Tuesday.As is often the case in redistricting years, the two Democrats were the victims of shifting district lines that pitted Maloney against a colleague and forced Jones to abandon his district.

By the numbers: To date, in this cycle, 14 House incumbents have failed to secure their party’s nomination.2020 saw the most successful primary challenges in a non-redistricting year since 1974, suggesting this is part of a trend, not a one-off.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

"Very Bad"

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. 

What does he mean by "very bad"?  

"I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."  -- Donald Trump, Breitbart interview, 3/13/19

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Trump Put Our Informants at Risk

Our most recent book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and Trump's disregard for law.

Destruction of government documents is a crime.  So is the mishandling of classified material.

Julian E. Barnes and Mark Mazzetti at NYT:
Mr. Trump has a long history of treating classified information with a sloppiness few other presidents have exhibited. And the former president’s cavalier treatment of the nation’s secrets was on display in the affidavit underlying the warrant for the Mar-a-Lago search. The affidavit, released in redacted form on Friday, described classified documents being found in multiple locations around the Florida residence, a private club where both members and their guests mingle with the former president and his coterie of aides.

Nothing in the documents released on Friday described the precise content of the classified documents or what risk their disclosure might carry for national security, but the court papers did outline the kinds of intelligence found in the secret material, including foreign surveillance collected under court orders, electronic eavesdropping on communications and information from human sources — spies.

Mr. Trump and his defenders have claimed he declassified the material he took to Mar-a-Lago. But documents retrieved from him in January included some marked “HCS,” for Human Intelligence Control System. Such documents have material that could possibly identify C.I.A. informants, meaning a general, sweeping declassification of them would have been, at best, misguided.

“HCS information is tightly controlled because disclosure could jeopardize the life of the human source,” said John B. Bellinger III, a former legal adviser to the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration. “It would be reckless to declassify an HCS document without checking with the agency that collected the information to ensure that there would be no damage if the information were disclosed.”

C.I.A. espionage operations inside numerous hostile countries have been compromised in recent years when the governments of those countries have arrested, jailed and even killed the agency’s sources.

Last year, a top-secret memo sent to every C.I.A. station around the world warned about troubling numbers of informants being captured or killed, a stark reminder of how important human source networks are to the basic functions of the spy agency.

On 8/2/2019, Betsy Swan and Erin Banco reported at The Daily Beast:

The Trump administration is taking inventory of many of America’s top spies, The Daily Beast has learned. The White House recently asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for a list of all its employees at the federal government’s top pay scale who have worked there for 90 days or more, according to two sources familiar with the request.

Trump has a deep, longstanding grudge against the intelligence community. 

On 1/11/17, Doyle McManus reported at LAT:

For a few days, it almost looked as if Donald Trump had made a tenuous peace with U.S. intelligence agencies over their unwelcome finding that Russia’s Vladimir Putin had tried to help his presidential campaign.

But it didn’t take much to set him off again – and prompt him to escalate his war against the bureaucrats he believes are out to get him.

When reports surfaced of salacious allegations about Trump compiled by a former British spy last year for a political campaign, the president-elect instantly blamed … the U.S. intelligence community.

“I think it was disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information [out] that turned out to be so false and fake,” Trump told reporters at his news conference on Wednesday. “That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did.”

Let that sink in: The next president says the intelligence agencies he will oversee are deliberately trying to ruin his reputation by leaking false information.



Friday, August 26, 2022

Newsom v. DeSantis

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

Steve Contorno at CNN:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is sending money across the country to help Rep. Charlie Crist defeat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this November.

The California Democrat on Thursday tweeted that he was pledging $100,000 to make DeSantis a “one-term governor” and he called on his supporters to donate to Crist, who won the Democratic nomination to be Florida’s governor on Tuesday.

Asked about the donation during a Los Angeles event, Newsom said he was compelled to donate to Crist because “I don’t like bullies.” Newsom pointed to DeSantis’ verbal assault of Dr. Anthony Fauci at a rally Wednesday, during which the Republican leader said of the country’s top infectious disease expert, “Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.”


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Marble Freedom Trust

Our most recent 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.  Liberal groups copied their example, and conservatives are copying them back.

Kenneth P. Vogel and Shane Goldmacher at NYT:
A new conservative nonprofit group scored a $1.6 billion windfall last year via a little-known donor — an extraordinary sum that could give Republicans and their causes a huge financial boost ahead of the midterms, and for years to come.

The source of the money was Barre Seid, an electronics manufacturing mogul, and the donation is among the largest — if not the largest — single contributions ever made to a politically focused nonprofit. The beneficiary is a new political group controlled by Leonard A. Leo, an activist who has used his connections to Republican donors and politicians to help engineer the conservative dominance of the Supreme Court and to finance battles over abortion rights, voting rules and climate change policy.

This windfall will help cement Mr. Leo’s status as a kingmaker in conservative big money politics. It could also give conservatives an advantage in a type

Seid donated all the shares of a company, and then the shares were sold. 

The nonprofit, called the Marble Freedom Trust, then received all of the proceeds from the sale, in a transaction that appears to have been structured to allow the nonprofit group and Mr. Seid to avoid paying taxes on the proceeds.

For perspective, the $1.6 billion that the Marble trust reaped from the sale is slightly more than the total of $1.5 billion spent in 2020 by 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with Democrats, according to an analysis by The Times. That spending, which Democrats embraced to aid the campaigns of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his allies in Congress, dwarfed the roughly $900 million spent by a comparable sample of 15 of the most politically active groups aligned with the Republican Party.

The Marble Freedom Trust could help conservatives level the playing field — if not surpass the left — in such nonprofit spending, which is commonly referred to as dark money because the groups involved can raise and spend unlimited sums on politics while revealing little about where they got the money or how they spent it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Democrats, Election Results, and Abortion

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

 Lloyd Green at The Guardian:

Abortion and Donald Trump will both appear on November’s ballot. On Tuesday, Pat Ryan, a Democrat and a decorated Iraq war veteran, upset Republican Marc Molinaro in a special congressional election in New York’s Upper Hudson Valley. Ryan won 52-48 after pre-election polls had painted him as the clear underdog.

“This is a huge victory for Dems in a bellwether, Biden +1.5 district,” according to Dave Wasserman, the doyen of congressional-race watchers, with the key words being “huge” and “bellwether”. Said differently, Republican efforts to convert the contest into a referendum on the Democrats and inflation failed.

On the campaign trail Ryan made abortion a central issue. “Choice is [on] the ballot, but we won’t go back,” he posted to Facebook hours before the polls opened. “Freedom is under attack, but it’s ours to defend.”

Usually, midterms spell disaster for the “in” party that controls the White House. From the looks of things, 2022 may be different.

There is a clear backlash against the US supreme court’s evisceration of the rights to privacy and personal autonomy. At the same time, nonstop reports of Trump’s mishandling of top-secret documents, and possible obstruction of justice charges against the 45th president, cloud his party’s future.

The end of Roe v Wade is not the blessing Republicans had assumed it would be. Looking back, the defeat of Kansas’s anti-abortion referendum was not a one-off event.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Rick Scott Screws Up

 Our new 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.

Rick Scott is a disaster.

Isaac Arnsdorf at WP:

Republican Senate hopefuls are getting crushed on airwaves across the country while their national campaign fund is pulling ads and running low on cash — leading some campaign advisers to ask where all the money went and to demand an audit of the committee’s finances, according to Republican strategists involved in the discussions.

In a highly unusual move, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week canceled bookings worth about $10 million, including in the critical states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona. A spokesman said the NRSC is not abandoning those races but prioritizing ad spots that are shared with campaigns and benefit from discounted rates. Still, the cancellations forfeit cheaper prices that came from booking early, and better budgeting could have covered both.

“The fact that they canceled these reservations was a huge problem — you can’t get them back,” said one Senate Republican strategist, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. “You can’t win elections if you don’t have money to run ads.”

The NRSC’s retreat came after months of touting record fundraising, topping $173 million so far this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures. But the committee has burned through nearly all of it, with the NRSC’s cash on hand dwindling to $28.4 million by the end of June.

Since Donald Trump first suggested the 2020 election might be stolen, Republicans have latched onto the claim. Here’s how it became a litmus test for the party. (Video: JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

As of that month, the committee disclosed spending just $23 million on ads, with more than $21 million going into text messages and more than $12 million to American Express credit card payments, whose ultimate purpose isn’t clear from the filings. The committee also spent at least $13 million on consultants, $9 million on debt payments and more than $7.9 million renting mailing lists, campaign finance data show.

“If they were a corporation, the CEO would be fired and investigated,” said a national Republican consultant working on Senate races. “The way this money has been burned, there needs to be an audit or investigation because we’re not gonna take the Senate now and this money has been squandered. It’s a rip-off.”

The NRSC’s chairman, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, has already taken heat from fellow Republicans for running ads featuring him on camera and releasing his own policy agenda that became a Democratic punching bag — leading to jokes that “NRSC” stood for “National Rick Scott Committee” in a bid to fuel his own presumed presidential ambitions.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Trump and Nuclear Secrets

  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.  

Destruction of government documents is a crime.  So is mishandling of classified material.

Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands.
The people who described some of the material that agents were seeking spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. They did not offer additional details about what type of information the agents were seeking, including whether it involved weapons belonging to the United States or some other nation. Nor did they say if such documents were recovered as part of the search. A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Incumbents Losing Primaries

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

The number of House incumbents who lose primaries tends to be higher in the first election after reapportionment and redistricting.  Many have substantially new constituencies, and some face other incumbents.

Andrew Solender at Axios:

The 2022 midterms are on track to see the most losses by House members in their primaries in three decades.

Why it matters: The number of incumbents who have been ousted — or are likely to be toppled in upcoming primary contests — highlights a political realignment that has been underway in both parties for years.This year's primary bloodbath follows 2020's, which saw the most primary losses in a non-redistricting year since 1974.

State of play: 11 House members have lost their primaries so far this cycle — seven Republicans and four Democrats. Several common trends have emerged: 

Douglas Kronaizl at Ballotpedia News:

 So far this year, 182 state legislative incumbents—48 Democrats and 134 Republicans—have lost to primary challengers.

Across the 38 states that have held primaries, 4.6% of incumbents running for re-election have lost, an elevated level of incumbent losses compared to previous cycles.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Trump's Bad Week

 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.  

This is a bad week for Donald Trump and the Republican party. Already, the 45th president suffered twin humiliations and a third one looms. On Monday, the FBI enforced a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, the center of his universe. One day later, a federal appeals court upheld the right of a House committee to his tax returns. Trump is also slated to appear on Wednesday at a court-ordered deposition conducted by New York’s attorney general.

Meanwhile, voters made the Republican party pay for the US supreme court gutting Roe v Wade. In Minnesota’s special congressional election, Democrats came within five points of an upset victory in a district that Trump won by double digits. What happened in the Kansas abortion referendum didn’t just stay there.


At the same time, the Trumpian right seeks to turn red states into a set for The Handmaid’s Tale 2.0. A 10-year-old rape victim in Ohio and her doctor in Indiana were hounded for ending the girl’s pregnancy. In Nebraska, prosecutors obtained a court order to scour Facebook for evidence that a 17-year-old woman planned a drug-induced abortion.

Said differently, opposition to federal authority should not be equated to distaste for government coercion and intrusion. As long as the diktat doesn’t emanate from the Potomac, the Republican party is fine with the long arm of the state flexing its muscle.

The Confederacy loved slavery and secession. It was fine if some were freer than others. Now Texas has set the template for turning neighbors into informants. Apparently, Governor Greg Abbott yearns to emulate East Germany and the Stasi.

Last, in Minnesota’s special congressional election, the Republican party’s Brad Finstad leads Democrat Jeff Ettinger by only four points, 51-47. Dave Wasserman, the maven of congressional elections, tweeted: “If Finstad’s margin is 5 pts or less, it would be a great result for Dems.”

The run-up to the midterms will be acrid. The elections of 1860, which preceded the US civil war, comes to mind. History is never dead.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Trumpists Call for Violence

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. 

David Gilbert at Vice:
After news broke that the FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida on Monday, his supporters openly called for an armed violent response, and ultimately, civil war.

“Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” one user wrote on Twitter, with another adding, “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.” Others said they were ready to take part: “I already bought my ammo.”

MAGA, QAnon, and far-right message boards and Telegram channels lit up Monday night with calls for a violent response to what some extremists see as a political attack directed by the Biden administration.

“This is how you light the match to a civil war,” one user on Twitter wrote in response to the news.

Similar rhetoric was shared in far-right channels on Telegram. “Civil war coming to America, there won't be any more elections,” one member said.

“A total war on dissidents is about to unfold. Not behind closed doors but blatantly, in public,” another member wrote in a different far-right channel. “Attacks on Alex Jones, Trump, and Patriot Day defendants are only setting the precedent for the future of us as the only opposition to the Deep State.”

In QAnon channels, there were some conflicting responses, with some conspiracy believers calling for armed responses and others suggesting the FBI was all part of the plan. A prominent QAnon influencer known as QAnon John is urging followers not to call for civil war, as this, the influencer said, is what the deep state wants them to do.

Within hours of the FBI search, however, the term “civil war” was already trending on Twitter, and hundreds of Trump supporters had already gathered outside Mar-a-Lago. Some claimed on Telegram channels that they were there to protect the former president.

Monday, August 8, 2022

A Busy Trump News Morning

 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.  

Saturday, August 6, 2022

A Good Week for Biden

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections  There are some favorable signs for Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

 Jeff Mordock at The Washington Times:
President Biden is on a roll for a commander-in-chief with historically low approval ratings, scoring a string of legislative and foreign policy wins that are giving Democrats fresh hope of avoiding a drubbing in the November midterms.

Mr. Biden has been able to pass a slew of significant bills through the evenly divided Senate with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. He also finally secured the backing of longtime holdout Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, to support his climate and spending bill, a measure that is on track to be passed in the coming days.

The past week was perhaps Mr. Biden’s most successful as president, starting with the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist and ending with the unemployment falling to its lowest level in 50 years.

In between, Mr. Biden celebrated Sen. Krysten Sinema, Arizona Democrat and another crucial holdout vote, finally endorsing his spending bill; gas prices hitting a 50-day low, and voters in red-state Kansas giving Democrats hope in the midterms by overwhelmingly rejecting an amendment that would ban most abortions.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Cheney v. Trump

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. Trump and his henchmen were involved in violent intimidation

David Knowles at Yahoo:

In a new campaign ad for his daughter Rep. Liz Cheney, former Vice President Dick Cheney does not mince words about former President Donald Trump, calling him a "coward" and a "threat to our republic."

“In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump," Cheney, wearing a cowboy hat and looking directly into the camera, says in the ad. "He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him. He is a coward. A real man wouldn't lie to his supporters."

Thursday, August 4, 2022


Martin Pengelly at The Guardian:
A swing-state Republican senator denied threatening social security and Medicare, after Democrats accused him of putting them “on the chopping block”.

Ron Johnson, who entered Congress on the Tea Party wave of 2010, is up for re-election in Wisconsin. As they attempt to keep hold of the Senate, Democrats think they have a chance of winning the seat.

In an interview with The Regular Joe Show podcast, Johnson said social security and Medicare, crucial support programs for millions of older and disabled Americans and their dependents, should no longer be considered mandatory spending.

“If you qualify for the entitlement, you just get it no matter what the cost,” Johnson said. “And our problem in this country is that more than 70% of our federal budget, of our federal spending, is all mandatory spending. It’s on automatic pilot … you just don’t do proper oversight. You don’t get in there and fix the programs going bankrupt.”

He added: “What we ought to be doing is we ought to turn everything into discretionary spending so it’s all evaluated so that we can fix problems or fix programs that are broken, that are going to be going bankrupt. As long as things are on automatic pilot, we just continue to pile up debt.”

Democrats pounced. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Senate majority leader, referred to Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan when he said: “They’re saying the quiet part out loud. Maga Republicans want to put social security and Medicare on the chopping block.”

A Johnson spokesperson said Schumer was “lying”.

Democrats see Republican threats to so-called “entitlements” – programs paid for by taxes and relied upon by vulnerable people – as a potent electoral issue. Polls show strong bipartisan support.

From Joe Biden to leaders in Congress, Democrats have seized on a plan published by Rick Scott of Florida, the chair of the Republican Senate campaign committee.

Scott proposed that all Americans should pay some income tax and that all federal laws should expire after five years if Congress does not renew them.

The senator insisted he was “not going to raise anybody’s taxes” – despite saying more people should pay tax.
He also said Congress “needs to start being honest with the American public and tell them exactly what we’re going to do to make sure they continue to get their Medicare and their social security”.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Very Important Primary Night

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections  Despite deep economic problems, are some favorable signs for Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

Gregory Krieg at CNN:

The wording of the question was convoluted, but the answer was crystal clear: No. Voters in Kansas on Tuesday, in dramatic numbers and by an overwhelming margin, rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed lawmakers to ban abortion in the state.

As Republican-controlled state legislatures around the country race to outlaw the procedure in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, traditionally conservative Kansas, given the chance to directly respond at the ballot box, denied their own elected leaders’ the chance to revoke a right that has broad support across swaths of independent polling.

The rejection of the measure highlighted the increasingly stark divide between the activities of Republican state lawmakers, often in legislatures gerrymandered to effectively guarantee GOP control, and the political and policy desires of American voters. In more immediate terms, the ballot measure’s defeat – on a day of extraordinary turnout – also provides a clear indication that the desire to defend abortion rights could be a potent issue for Democrats in the coming midterm elections.

 Amanda Carpenter at The Bulwark:

Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, only those who went on to compete in non-traditional Republican primaries have, so far, fended off Trump-backed rivals.

On Tuesday, three pro-impeachment Republicans: Peter Meijer of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington were on the ballot. Meijer was defeated by a Trump-backed rival, John Gibbs. And, at the time of this writing, Herrera Beutler and Newhouse, appear to be headed to a general election for their races.

The difference? Washington is a state that has an open, non-partisan system that allows the top two finishers in each contest to compete against each other in the general election. This is the model, known as a “jungle primary,” that also facilitated pro-impeachment California Republican David Valadao’s advancement to a general election.

Those three–Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, and Valadao–are the only pro-impeachment Republicans, to date, to survive their primaries.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

RNC Colludes With Election Deniers

Our new 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 And we now know how close he came to subverting the Constitution.  

Heidi Przybyla at Politico:
The Republican National Committee has been relying on a stable of the party’s most prolific spreaders of false stolen-election theories to pilot a sweeping “election integrity” operation to recruit and coach thousands of poll workers in eight battleground states, according to new recordings of organizing summits held this spring in Florida and Pennsylvania obtained by POLITICO.

On the tapes, RNC National Election Integrity Director Josh Findlay repeatedly characterizes the committee’s role as supporting in-state coalitions — delivering staff, organization and “muscle” in key states to the person they identify as the quarterback of the effort to create a permanent workforce: Conservative elections attorney Cleta Mitchell, who was a central figure in former President Donald Trump’s legal strategy to overturn the 2020 election.

Other major summit partners include conservative grassroots organizations Heritage Action for America and Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, who became part of Trump’s legal team in Georgia, where there is a criminal investigation into Trump and his top legal advisers. Toni Shuppe, who led a far-right effort to “audit the vote” in search of fraud in Pennsylvania, is leading that state’s coalition. In Arizona, Gina Swoboda, a former Trump campaign official who runs the Voter Reference Foundation, is heading the effort. Her group has continued to spread claims about voting discrepancies and published millions of voters’ names, birthdates and addresses.


“They [Democrats] know they can’t win unless they cheat,” Jim DeMint, a former Republican senator who chairs the Conservative Partnership Institute, the activist group that houses Mitchell’s initiative, said at the Florida gathering.

POLITICO previously documented the RNC’s efforts to build “an army” of poll workers prepared to challenge elections clerks in primarily Democrat-dominated precincts in Michigan and keep them in constant contact with roving party attorneys. In its email response, the RNC also said its staff training and recruitment of volunteers focuses on the “need to comply with federal and state laws protecting voting rights” and any individual who “does not follow the law will be promptly dismissed.”

Monday, August 1, 2022

Democrats' Midterm Prospects

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections  There are some favorable signs for Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

Despite the green shoots for Democrats,  the fundamentals still look bad.

Amy Walter at Cook Political:

Yet, there's nothing new about a late summer 'reassessment' of midterm assumptions. In fact, like clockwork, the out-party right about now starts to fret that their advantage is slipping, while the in-party sees green shoots springing from a barren landscape. Or, as Washington Examiner's David Drucker wrote on Twitter recently: "Midterm cycles since '06 have certain rhythm: 1) Maybe POTUS' party'll avoid losses. 2) Things look good for out party. 3) Things look REALLY good for out party. 4) Hold on, maybe POTUS' party won't lose as many seats as thought. 5) Could POTUS' party avoid wipeout? 6) WIPEOUT."

We have already cycled through numbers 1-3 and are currently in zone 4. Think of the pre-Afghanistan, pre-inflation, pre-Delta variant as #1; we moved into #2 during the late fall and winter of 2021 as inflation began to take a serious bite and hopes for a BBB plan melted down; and we've been in #3 for much of 2022.

But, have things really improved for Democrats? The most recent polls measuring the generic preference for Congress have shown a Democratic advantage of anywhere between 4 to 6 points. Overall, the generic ballot average in RealClearPolitics is a narrow R+2.2. So, suppose you compare Biden's net job approval rating of -17 (39 percent approve minus 56 percent disapprove) to Republicans' one to two-point advantage on the generic ballot? In that case, it looks as if Democrats are outpacing the president by 15 to 16 points. But, what if you looked at Biden's overall job approval number (39 percent) and compared it with the vote share a Democrat is getting in the generic ballot (43 percent). Looking at it that way, a Democrat is outpacing Biden by a much smaller 5 points. And historically, that's about the average margin that candidates of the in-party have been able to over-perform the president.