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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Trump v. TV

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The 2024 race has begun

He has said similar things before: At the time of the earlier threatPolitico reported:

It’s unclear exactly how Trump could directly challenge a media outlet’s broadcasting license, if he chose to follow through on his veiled threat.

The FCC, an independent federal agency, issues broadcast licenses to stations and oversees license holders. It does not license networks. NBC is owned by Comcast, which holds broadcast licenses for several stations. NBC also airs on affiliate stations owned by other companies.

Local residents or competitors can file a challenge to a station’s license renewal, but the basis for such a challenge is extremely limited — it must be a case where the station systematically violated the FCC’s rules or lacked the requisite “character” to hold the license. That is usually defined as a felony conviction, said Andrew Schwartzman, a communications lawyer with the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center.

“It’s an empty threat. The last thing that NBC is going to worry about is whether its broadcast licenses are in jeopardy,” Schwartzman said.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Difficult Politics of the Israel-Hamas War

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The 2024 race has begun.  The Gaza war is politically dangerous for Biden. A shocking percentage of young people think that the October 7 massacre was justified.  And Arab Americans in the key state of Michigan may be turning away from the president. 

Russell Contreras at Axios:

Arab American and Muslim American anger over President Biden's handling of the Israel-Hamas war could be endangering his re-election in the majority of 2024 swing states.

Driving the news: MichiganVirginiaGeorgiaArizona and Pennsylvania all have notable pockets of these populations. There aren't reliable statistics on how many are registered voters — but even tiny shifts of support in any of these super-tight states that Biden won in 2020 could make a difference.
Driving the news: Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania all have notable pockets of these populations. There aren't reliable statistics on how many are registered voters — but even tiny shifts of support in any of these super-tight states that Biden won in 2020 could make a difference.

Why it matters: It's another case of Biden facing possible defections from heavily Democratic groups that in 2020 helped him take down former President Trump, Biden's likely opponent again next year.Like with young voters, Biden faces the prospect of having to devote time to saving part of his base in addition to courting swing voters.

Zoom in: An Axios review of 2020 results in these crucial states shows that if even a sliver of the Arab American and Muslim American vote were to stay home or defect to Republicans, Biden could be in a deep hole.
  • In Michigan, for example, Biden won in 2020 by 154,000 votes. Census estimates put the state's Arab American population around at least 278,000..
  • Biden won Arizona by 10,500 votes. The Arab American population in the Grand Canyon State is estimated to be 60,000.
  • Biden took Georgia by 11,800 votes. The Arab American population there is at least 57,000.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Haley Goes Better With Koch

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The 2024 race has begun.  The DeSantis campaign has been troubledNikki Haley is emerging as the top GOP rival to Trump, who is still far ahead.

Erin Doherty at Axios:

The political network backed by billionaire Charles Koch announced Tuesday that it is supporting former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in the 2024 Republican primary.

Why it matters: The endorsement is a boon for Haley as she looks to chip away at former President Trump's commanding lead in the race for the GOP nomination with less than two months until the pivotal Iowa caucuses.

Driving the news: "The moment we face requires a tested leader with the governing judgment and policy experience to pull our nation back from the brink," said Emily Seidel, the senior adviser to AFP Action, the leading political arm of the Koch network, in a memo on Tuesday.

Monday, November 27, 2023

The DeSantis Case Against California

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

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will debate Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Fox News at 6 pm Pacific (9 pm Eastern). “DeSantis vs. Newsom: The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate,” will be 90 minutes long. DeSantis will probably say:

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Mike Johnson's Visibility and Worldview

After multiple tries and candidates, the House GOP finally settled on a speaker: Mike Johnson of Louisiana.  He had never chaired a committee or held a high leadership post.  He got the job because his lack of experience (elected 2016) left him with few enemies.  He was largely unknown outside of his district and the House GOP.  

Ivana Saric at Axios:
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), despite being in his role nearly a month, remains relatively unknown, per an NBC News poll released Wednesday.


The big picture: When voters were asked about their opinion of Johnson, 43% said they did not know him or recognize his name — the most common response among respondents.14% of voters said they viewed Johnson positively while 23% had a negative view of him. Another 20% said they were neutral when it came to Johnson.
When asked about Johnson’s post-Roe comments, a spokesman for the congressman told CNN that Johnson “views the cases as settled law.”

Still, CNN’s review of more than 100 of Johnson’s interviews, speeches and public commentary spanning his decades-long career as a lawmaker and attorney paints a picture of his governing ideals: Imprisoning doctors who perform abortions after six weeks; the Ten Commandments prominently displayed in public buildings; an elimination of anti-hate-crime laws; Bible study in public schools.

From endorsing hard labor prison sentences for abortion providers to supporting the criminalization of gay sex, his staunchly conservative rhetoric is rooted in an era of “biblical morality,” that he says was washed away with the counterculture in the 1960s.

 Laura Jedeed at Politico:

For the last 10 years, the “Convention of States” movement has sought to remake the Constitution and force a tea party vision of the framers’ intent upon America. This group wants to wholesale rewrite wide swaths of the U.S. Constitution in one fell swoop. In the process, they hope to do away with regulatory agencies like the FDA and the CDC, virtually eliminate the federal government’s ability to borrow money, and empower state legislatures to override federal law.

As far-fetched as this idea might sound, the movement is gaining traction — and now, it believes, it has a friend in the speaker of the House.

“Speaker Mike Johnson has long been a supporter of Convention of States,” Mark Meckler, co-founder of Convention of States Action (COSA), told me when I asked about Johnson’s ascension. “It shows that the conservative movement in America is united around COS and recognizes the need to rein in an out-of-control federal government which will never restrain itself.”

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Nasty Attack on Haley

Josephine Harvey at  HuffPo:
A conservative website has been accused of racist dog-whistling after it posted a bizarre poll about Nikki Haley’s background.

“Did you know that Nikki Haley’s parents are immigrants from India and her birth name is Nimarata Randhawa?” The Florida Standard posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday.

The site, which has a small following of just under 7,700 followers on X, is known for its flattering coverage of and friendly relationship with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is battling to keep his place ahead of Haley in the Republican presidential race.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was given the name Nimarata Nikki Randhawa at birth. She has not hidden this fact. She married Michael Haley, and has reportedly gone by her middle name Nikki since childhood.

A community note added to the Florida Standard’s post pointed this out.

Haley has repeatedly invoked her Indian heritage during her campaign, albeit while downplaying the existence of deep-rooted racism in the U.S. She has faced numerous racist attacks and questions about her name throughout her political career.

More here on partisan local news sites. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

The Stakes of a Trump Presidency

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The 2024 race has begun.

At The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein says that the Biden release sums up the president's strategy.  It is not a referendum on the incumbent as much as a choice between two incumbents.

The silver lining for Biden is that in Trump he has a polarizing potential opponent who might allow him to do just that. In the 2022 and 2023 elections, a crucial slice of voters down on the economy and Biden’s performance voted for Democrats in the key races anyway, largely because they viewed the Trump-aligned GOP alternatives as too extreme. And, though neither the media nor the electorate is yet paying full attention, Trump in his 2024 campaign is regularly unveiling deeply divisive policy positions (such as mass deportation and internment camps for undocumented immigrants) and employing extremist and openly racist language (echoing fascist dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in describing his political opponents as “vermin”). Eventually, Trump’s excesses could shape the 2024 election as much as Biden’s record will.
If the GOP renominates Trump, attitudes about the challenger might overshadow views about the incumbent to an unprecedented extent, the veteran GOP pollster Bill McInturff believes. McInturff told me that in his firm’s polling over the years, most voters usually say that when a president seeks reelection, their view about the incumbent is what most influences their decision about whom to support. But in a recent national survey McInturff’s firm conducted with a Democratic partner for NBC, nearly three-fifths of voters said that their most important consideration in a Trump-Biden rematch would be their views of the former president.

“I have never seen a number like this NBC result between an incumbent and ‘challenger,’” McInturff told me in an email. “If 2024 is a Biden versus Trump campaign, we are in uncharted waters.”

 Philip Bump at WP:

I was driving with my kids on Sunday, mind wandering as I steered. I was looking at a cluster of leafless trees when the first words from a social media post by Donald Trump popped into my mind.

“2024 is our final battle.”


Trump has used this expression a lot this year. He used it at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He used it at his first campaign rally in Waco, Tex. — an event that came during the 30th anniversary of the deadly standoff between government agents and a religious cult in that city. He used it again when speaking to Turning Point Action this summer. Over and over, the same framing: The final battle is nigh.


So we arrive at the final battle. If your immediate point of reference for that phrase wasn’t to the Book of Revelation’s depiction of the apocalypse, you are probably not a Trump supporter. (A 2012 poll from PRRI found that the religious group most likely to say that the end times as predicted in Revelation would occur during their lives was evangelicals.)

Thursday, November 23, 2023

DeSantis Internal Drama

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The 2024 race has begun.

The DeSantis campaign has been troubled.

Dasha Burns, Matt Dixon, Natasha Korecki and Jonathan Allen at NBC:
Leaders of Ron DeSantis' Never Back Down super PAC met privately last Tuesday to hash out a strategy for fighting Nikki Haley's rise in the polls. Instead, two of them nearly came to blows.

Jeff Roe, the top consultant for the super PAC, got into a heated argument with longtime DeSantis confidant Scott Wagner while a small group of nine board members and senior staff were discussing budgeting.

“You have a stick up your a--, Scott,” Roe fumed at Wagner, who is a member of the Never Back Down board.

“Why don’t you come over here and get it?” Wagner responded, rising from his chair. He was quickly restrained by two fellow board members. The interaction was relayed to NBC News by a source who was in the room.

The infighting represents an escalation in the long-running war between Never Back Down's professional political operatives and DeSantis’ Tallahassee-based inner circle over who is to blame for the governor’s failure to compete effectively with front-runner Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. DeSantis’ monthslong tumble created an opening for Haley, whose surging poll numbers and newfound affection from megadonors pose an existential threat to the Florida governor’s campaign.

DeSantis and his wife, Casey, have been among those increasingly upset at Never Back Down's leadership, according to two sources familiar with their thinking.

On Wednesday, after NBC News reported on the internal turmoil, Never Back Down CEO Chris Jankowski resigned. In a statement shared by the super PAC, Jankowski said: “Never Back Down’s main goal and sole focus has been to elect Governor Ron DeSantis as President. Given the current environment it has become untenable for me to deliver on the shared goal and that goes well beyond a difference of strategic opinion. For the future of our country I support and pray Ron DeSantis is our 47th president.”

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Unhappy with the Choices

Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. The 2024 race has begun Voters are not happy about having to choose between Trump and Biden.

Mark Murray, Bridget Bowman and Alexandra Marquez at NBC:

Voters have been saying for months that they aren’t excited about a rematch between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

And our latest NBC News poll shows both men greatly underperforming a generic opponent.A generic Republican leads Biden by 11 points among registered voters, 48% to 37% (when Trump is ahead of Biden by just 2 points in the poll’s head-to-head matchup).

What’s more, the generic GOPer has a 27-point advantage among men (when Trump’s actual lead vs. Biden is +20), a 26-point edge among independents (when it’s Trump +11) and a 10-point lead among Latinos (when it’s D+2 vs. Biden).

And a generic Democrat is ahead of Trump by 6 points (46% to 40%) — leading by 22 points among women (when Biden’s actual lead over Trump is +13), by 16 points among seniors (when Biden’s lead is +12) and by 10 points among voters ages 18-34 (when it’s Trump +4 here). Yes, a generic candidate is almost always going to best an actual candidate in a poll, because generic candidates aren’t defined and don’t have real records.

But for Biden and Trump, both are significantly trailing how a generic D or R would ordinarily perform.

Some polls show double-digit support for RFK Jr. -- a sign that many people want "none of the above." 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

No Longer the Party of ideas

In my essay in The Elephant in the Room, I write: "Trumpism reversed Lyndon Johnson's famous summary of the Great Society: he was against a lot of things and in favor of mighty few.'"

E.J. Dionne at WP:
Donald Trump has proposed shooting shoplifters, as NBC News noted in a report on GOP “bloodlust.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pledged to kill drug smugglers who cross the Mexican border. Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, in more organized fashion, proposed sending Special Forces into Mexico to go after drug cartels. Oh, and DeSantis said last August that he wanted to “slit the throats” of federal bureaucrats on Day 1 of his administration. But don’t be alarmed, civil servants. He explained later that he was “being colorful.”

If killing various kinds of people is a legitimate solution for various problems, then sure, the party’s presidential candidates have plenty of policies to offer.

Occasionally, the party’s hopefuls go beyond vague but sweeping calls for cuts in government spending to spar about something substantive. At a debate earlier this month, Haley proposed raising the retirement age for younger workers, while DeSantis said he wouldn’t. Some deficit hawks will no doubt cheer Haley, but there’s nothing pathbreaking about this argument.

Beyond that, the party is offering little in the way of problem-solving and policy innovation. Culture war battle cries and symbolism are the order of the day.

Monday, November 20, 2023

The Akin Ploy in the Arizona Senate Race

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 variations of the "pick your opponent" ploy.

Democrats meddled in some 2022 GOP primaries in hopes of drawing weak opponents.  Now Republicans are trying to paint independent Kyrsten Sinema as a liberal Democrat in hopes of driving liberal voters to her corner, undercutting Democrat Ruben Gallego.

Rachel Bade, Eugene Daniels, and Ryan Lizza at Politico:
NRSC BOOSTS SINEMA, BLASTS GALLEGO — Senate Republicans are rolling out a provocative new strategy this morning as they try to boost the GOP’s chances in Arizona next year: propping up incumbent Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA.

NRSC operatives have been fretting about polls that have shown Sinema, an independent, pulling in nearly twice as many Republican voters as Democrats in a three-way race. So in a bid to keep GOP voters behind the GOP nominee while splitting the Democratic vote, they’re going live with a new digital ad today boosting Sinema’s liberal bona fides while hammering Rep. RUBEN GALLEGO, the likely Democratic nominee.

The new ad, titled “A Choice,” paints Sinema as being firmly behind President JOE BIDEN and his legislative agenda, voting with the president “100%” of the time and backing his climate initiatives in the Inflation Reduction Act. Not mentioned are the multitude of headaches and setbacks she dealt to Biden as she successfully worked to trim the IRA’s ambitions and preserve the Senate filibuster. Watch the ad

Conversely, the ad slams Gallego — whom the NRSC has nicknamed “Rotten Ruben” — in intensely personal terms. The spot points out that Gallego divorced his ex-wife, Phoenix Mayor KATE GALLEGO, in 2016 just a few weeks before she gave birth to their first child, then blasts him for marrying a lobbyist, SYDNEY BARRON, several years later. The ad closes by calling him a “deadbeat dad,” without evidence to support the claim.

Gallego declined to comment on the attack — one that suggests that Republicans are intensely worried about the early strength of his candidacy in a three-way race. The attack is risky — a Marine veteran of the Iraq War, Gallego has long been forthright about his struggles with PTSD and “survivor’s guilt,” which he blamed in his memoir for the unraveling of his first marriage.

A person close to Gallego also noted that he and his ex-wife remain “good friends” and share custody of his now 6-year-old son, who is often spotted at his side on the House floor and on the campaign trail — including in this NYT picture last month. It’s not hard to imagine the personal attack backfiring.

Casting Sinema as a “liberal Democrat,” meanwhile, might generate chuckles here in Washington, where she’s seen as a centrist spoiler. But it makes good political sense back in Arizona, where she has carefully built an aisle-crossing image — and used it to pick up support from traditional GOP voters who have been alienated by far-right candidates like KARI LAKE, the bombastic former gubernatorial nominee who’s expected to win next year’s GOP Senate primary.

Sinema, we should note, has yet to even announce a 2024 run. But Republicans are preparing as if she will appear on the ballot. One GOP strategist told Playbook that the party’s mission is straightforward: Make any three-way race into a Republican-vs.-two-Democrats battle rather than Democrat-vs.-two-Republicans one.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Judge: Trump Can Stay on Ballot -- But He Engaged in Insurrection

Our recent 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.   

Maggie Astor at NYT:
A Colorado judge ruled on Friday that former President Donald J. Trump could remain on the primary ballot in the state, rejecting the argument that the 14th Amendment prevents him from holding office again — but doing so on relatively narrow grounds that lawyers for the voters seeking to disqualify him said they would appeal.

With his actions before and during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled, Mr. Trump engaged in insurrection against the Constitution, an offense that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — which was ratified in 1868 to keep former Confederates out of the government — deems disqualifying for people who previously took an oath to support the Constitution.

But Judge Wallace, a state district court judge in Denver, concluded that Section 3 did not include the presidential oath in that category.

The clause does not explicitly name the presidency, so that question hinged on whether the president was included in the category “officer of the United States.”

From the ruling:

 The Court concludes that Trump acted with the specific intent to incite political violence and direct it at the Capitol with the purpose of disrupting the electoral certification. Trump cultivated a culture that embraced political violence through his consistent endorsement of the same. He responded to growing threats of violence and intimidation in the lead-up to the certification by amplifying his false claims of election fraud. He convened a large crowd on the date of the certification in Washington, D.C., focused them on the certification process, told them their country was being stolen from them, called for strength and action, and directed them to the Capitol where the certification was about to take place.


Trump has, throughout this litigation, pointed to instances of Democratic lawmakers and leaders using similarly strong, martial language, such as calling on supporters to “fight” and “fight like hell.” The Court acknowledges the prevalence of  martial language in the political arena; indeed, the word “campaign” itself has a military history. See, e.g., Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. at 928 (“Strong an effective extemporaneous rhetoric cannot be nicely channeled into purely dulcet phrases.”). This argument, however, ignores both the significant history of Trump’s relationship with political violence and the noted escalation in Trump’s rhetoric in the lead up to, and on, January 6, 2021. It further disregards the distinct atmosphere of threats and calls for violence existing around the 2020 election and its legitimacy. When interpreting Trump’s language, the Court must consider not only the content of his speech, but the form and context as well. See Id. at 929 (noting that, if there had been “other evidence” of Evers’ “authorization of wrongful conduct,” the references to “discipline” in his speeches could be used to corroborate that evidence).

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Crime in 2023

 Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the politics of economic policy and crime.  On these issues, Biden does not have messaging problems.  He has reality problems.

Richard Rosenfeld and Janet Lauritsen at WP:

On Oct. 16, the FBI released data for 2022 that showed a small drop in the nation’s violent crime rate, including homicide. That’s good news.

Unfortunately, the government’s other crime measurement system — the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) — tells a disturbingly different story. Its findings, released in September, show that violent crime victimization rose — by a lot.


One reason might be that fewer violent crimes were reported to the police in 2022 than in 2021. We don’t know why this might have been, but increasing police response times stemming from depleted officer ranks might have made some residents less inclined to file reports. Declining trust in or increasing fear of the police might have played a role as well.

Other reasons for the discrepancy might result from the different populations covered by the two data sources. As a household-based survey, the NCVS does not include people who are homeless or those in institutions such as prisons, jails and nursing homes. It also excludes crimes of violence against those younger than 12. If people included in the survey experienced changes in violence that differ from the changes experienced by those excluded from the survey, that could help account for the different violence rates.

Jeffrey M. Jones at Gallup:

Sixty-three percent of Americans describe the crime problem in the U.S. as either extremely or very serious, up from 54% when last measured in 2021 and the highest in Gallup’s trend. The prior high of 60% was recorded in the initial 2000 reading, as well as in 2010 and 2016.

Meanwhile, far fewer, 17%, say the crime problem in their local area is extremely or very serious, but this is also up from 2021 and the highest in the trend by one point over 2014’s 16%


More than three-quarters of Americans, 77%, believe there is more crime in the U.S. than a year ago, and a majority, 55%, say the same about crime in their local area.

Both figures are similar to what Gallup measured last year and rank among the most pessimistic readings in the respective trends. Gallup has asked Americans about the direction of local crime since 1972 and national crime since 1989. The high point in perceptions of increased local crime is the 56% registered last year, while the record high for national crime is 89% in 1992. Ratings of increased local crime were about as high as the current ratings in 1981 (54%) and 1992 (54%).

Lydia Saad at Gallup:

Forty percent of Americans, the most in three decades, say they would be afraid to walk alone at night within a mile of their home. This indicator of crime fears last reached this level in 1993, when, during one of the worst crime waves in U.S. history, 43% said they would be afraid. Between that year and 2021, an average of 35% of adults have feared for their safety within a mile of home, with the annual results ranging between 29% and 39%.


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Santos: Ethics Committee and the Full Vulnerability Study

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

From the House Committee on Ethics:

On November 14, 2023, the Committee unanimously voted to adopt the Report of the Investigative Subcommittee (ISC), which is enclosed as Appendix A.  The Committee also unanimously voted, pursuant to Committee Rule 28, to refer to the Department of Justice (DOJ) substantial evidence that Representative Santos: knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; engaged in fraudulent conduct in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC; and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to his Financial Disclosure (FD) Statements filed with the House.    Amid a deferral request from DOJ and Representative Santos’ obfuscation and delay, the ISC expeditiously compiled a voluminous record consisting of over 170,000 pages of documents and testimony from dozens of witnesses, including financial statements, contemporaneous communications, and other materials.  That record demonstrated the breadth of Representative Santos’ misconduct.  As discussed in the ISC’s Report: 

  • Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.    
  • He blatantly stole from his campaign.   
  • He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit.    
  • He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign – and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported “repayments” of those fictitious loans.  
  • He used his connections to high value donors and other political campaigns to obtain additional funds for himself through fraudulent or otherwise questionable business dealings.  
  • And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience.
 Despite his protestations, many of the public revelations following Representative Santos’ election could not have surprised him.  Members of his own campaign team presented him with a 141-page Vulnerability Report on December 1, 2021, which raised a number of issues regarding his background as well as his personal and campaign disclosures including, among other things:   

  • No evidence to support Representative Santos’ claims to have graduated with an MBA from New York University and Bachelor of Economics and Finance from Baruch College;  
  • Questions regarding how he loaned his 2020 campaign over $80,000 when his personal financial disclosure did not show any assets and only a $55,000 salary; 
  • Questions regarding his claims to have an extensive background in money management and growth, but no reported personal investments or assets; 
  • Questions regarding his failure to report salary from Harbor City Capital Management (which was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)); and 
  • His failure to file a 2021 FD Statement.2

As a result of the report, Representative Santos was encouraged by his campaign staff to drop out of the race and, when he refused, three staffers quit his campaign altogether.22  This was a key moment wherein Representative Santos could have put an end to all the lies he told, or at a minimum, taken steps to correct the record about his background and personal and campaign finances.  Instead, he downplayed the significance of the report, telling new staff who were brought on to replace those who had left, and those who stayed, that the report was inaccurate.23  Following the turnover in his campaign staff, he continued to lie about his background,24 and found more ways to defraud his campaign supporters.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Sometimes Oppo Guys Don't Even Have to Dig

 Our recent 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.  Jordain Carney and Caitlin Emma at Politico: 

House Republicans are heading home early for Thanksgiving recess after a conservative revolt tanked plans to pass more spending bills on Wednesday.

Hardliners sunk any chances of passage for two additional funding bills this week — marking a major setback for Speaker Mike Johnson less than 24 hours after working with Democrats to pass a bill that would thwart a shutdown deadline Saturday.

“It’s odd to me that these are the hostages they take, particularly when a number of them are taking a hostage that is unrelated to their concern. This is retaliation when something doesn’t go their way,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), chair of the more mainstream GOP Main Street Caucus.

GOP leadership then canceled the rest of the votes for the week, with Republicans predicting that Johnson’s spending headache won't get any easier once they return at the end of the month.


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Very Nasty Day on Capitol Hill

 Our recent 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.   Several congressional Republicans had difficulty today controlling themselves.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Trump Personnel Plot

Our recent 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.   

He is planning an authoritarian agenda and would take care to eliminate any internal dissent.

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen at Politico:

Former President Trump's allies are pre-screening the ideologies of thousands of potential foot soldiers, as part of an unprecedented operation to centralize and expand his power at every level of the U.S. government if he wins in 2024, officials involved in the effort tell Axios.

Why it matters: Hundreds of people are spending tens of millions of dollars to install a pre-vetted, pro-Trump army of up to 54,000 loyalists across government to rip off the restraints imposed on the previous 46 presidents.
  • The screening for ready-to-serve loyalists has already begun, driven in part by artificial intelligence from tech giant Oracle, contracted for the project.
  • Social media histories are already being plumbed.

...If Trump were to win, thousands of Trump-first loyalists would be ready for legal, judicial, defense, regulatory and domestic policy jobs. His inner circle plans to purge anyone viewed as hostile to the hard-edged, authoritarian-sounding plans he calls "Agenda 47."


Behind the scenes: The government-in-waiting is being orchestrated by the Heritage Foundation's well-funded Project 2025, which already has published a 920-page policy book from 400+ contributors. Think of it as a transition team set in motion years in advance.
  • Heritage president Kevin Roberts tells us his apparatus is "orders of magnitude" bigger than anything ever assembled for a party out of power.
  • The policy series, "Mandate for Leadership," dates back to the 1980s. But Paul Dans, director of Project 2025, told us: "Never before has the entire movement ... banded together to construct a comprehensive plan to deconstruct the out-of-touch and weaponized administrative state."


How it works: The most elaborate part of the pre-transition machine is a résumé-collection project that drills down more on political philosophy than on experience, education or other credentials.
  • Applicants are asked to "name one person, past or present, who has most influenced the development of your political philosophy" — and to do the same with a book.
  • Another query: "Name one living public policy figure whom you greatly admire and why."


  •  We're told immense, intense attention will be given to the social-media histories of anyone being considered for top jobs. Those queasy about testing the limits of Trump's power will get flagged and rejected.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Who Trump Is and What He Would Do

Our recent 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.     

Michael Gold at NYT:

Former President Donald J. Trump, on a day set aside to celebrate those who have defended the United States in uniform, promised to honor veterans in part by assailing what he portrayed as America’s greatest foe: the political left.

Using incendiary and dehumanizing language to refer to his opponents, Mr. Trump vowed to “root out” what he called “the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.”

“The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and grave than the threat from within,” Mr. Trump said Saturday in a nearly two-hour Veterans Day address in Claremont, N.H.

Mr. Trump accused Democrats and President Biden of trying to roll back his efforts to expand veteran access to health care, causing soaring inflation, pushing the country to the brink of World War III, endangering the troops in Afghanistan and of lying and rigging elections.


Charlie Savage, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan at NYT:

Mr. Trump wants to revive his first-term border policies, including banning entry by people from certain Muslim-majority nations and reimposing a Covid 19-era policy of refusing asylum claims — though this time he would base that refusal on assertions that migrants carry other infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

He plans to scour the country for unauthorized immigrants and deport people by the millions per year.

To help speed mass deportations, Mr. Trump is preparing an enormous expansion of a form of removal that does not require due process hearings. To help Immigration and Customs Enforcement carry out sweeping raids, he plans to reassign other federal agents and deputize local police officers and National Guard soldiers voluntarily contributed by Republican-run states.

To ease the strain on ICE detention facilities, Mr. Trump wants to build huge camps to detain people while their cases are processed and they await deportation flights. And to get around any refusal by Congress to appropriate the necessary funds, Mr. Trump would redirect money in the military budget, as he did in his first term to spend more on a border wall than Congress had authorized.


 Similarly, numerous people who have been allowed to live in the country temporarily for humanitarian reasons would also lose that status and be kicked out, including tens of thousands of the Afghans who were evacuated amid the 2021 Taliban takeover and allowed to enter the United States. Afghans holding special visas granted to people who helped U.S. forces would be revetted to see if they really did.

And Mr. Trump would try to end birthright citizenship for babies born in the United States to undocumented parents — by proclaiming that policy to be the new position of the government and by ordering agencies to cease issuing citizenship-affirming documents like Social Security cards and passports to them. That policy’s legal legitimacy, like nearly all of Mr. Trump’s plans, would be virtually certain to end up before the Supreme Court.