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Campaign 2024

Ronna Romney McDaniel

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Thursday that its members had voted unanimously in favor of withdrawing from the Commission on Presidential Debates, a bipartisan panel that has overseen presidential debates between leading candidates for 34 years.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel attacked the commission in a press release, calling it “biased” for its refusal to “enact simple and commonsense reforms to help ensure fair debates,” a sentiment shared by former President Trump, who repeatedly accused the commission of anti-Republican bias.

The unanimous vote bans future Republican presidential nominees from taking part in any debates organized by the commission or other non-GOP sanctioned parties, a rule all candidates must agree to in writing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The resolution passed by the RNC gathered in Tennessee reads, in part: “Any presidential primary candidate who does not agree in writing, or who participates in any debate that is not a sanctioned debate, shall not be eligible to participate in any further sanctioned debates.”

This move is a new escalation in the intensifying disagreement between the RNC and the commission, which saw President Trump withdraw from the second debate of the 2020 presidential elections after labeling the commission a hotbed of “Trump Haters and Never Trumpers.”

The vote makes good on the threat that McDaniel, who is mulling a fourth term at the helm of the GOP committee, issued to the commission last year that RNC would warn future Republican candidates not to take part in CPD-held debates.

In January, Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison dismissed the RNC’s accusations of bias as “tantrums” and said that voters could “count on hearing from President Biden and Vice President Harris, who are proud of their records."

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Vladimir Soloviev

Propagandists on Russian state television told their public audience last week that the time has arrived to sever diplomatic relations with the United States and that the Kremlin is finalizing its "preparations" to interfere with future American elections.

The Daily Beast's Julia Davis reports that President Joe Biden's unwavering support for Ukraine has revitalized Moscow's appetite for manipulating the American electorate.Their objective, one of the individuals revealed, is to "again help our partner," former President Donald Trump, "to become president."

But Davis' takeaway was a little broader. While Trump is certainly a valued asset inside of Russia, Davis believes that "the real agenda of the Kremlin’s operatives was never limited to boosting any particular candidates, but rather aimed to harm America as a whole."

This line of thinking was evident in conversations that occurred among Russian President Vladimir Putin's "puppets" on state television, Davis found.

“With Europe, economic wars should take priority. With America, we should be working to amplify the divisions and—in light of our limited abilities—to deepen the polarization of American society," political scientist Malek Dudakov said on Thursday's edition of The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev.

“There is a horrific polarization of society in the United States, very serious conflicts between the Democrats and Republicans that keep expanding. You’ve already mentioned that America is a dying empire—and most empires weren’t conquered, they were destroyed from within. The same fate likely awaits America in the near decade," he continued. "That’s why, when all the processes are thawed, Russia might get the chance to play on that.”

Davis noted that the show's host, Vladimir Soloviev, believes that Putin's bloody war in Ukraine and the US's backing of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government is a preview of an upcoming clash between the US and Russia that is only starting to heat up.

He lamented that Russia's ability to spread disinformation was significantly diminished when Russia Today was banned on American airwaves after Putin attacked Ukraine.

“I would act through various diasporas" to make up for the elimination of that channel for misinformation, Soloviev said. "For example, I would work with the Spanish-speaking media—since America is becoming predominantly Spanish-speaking, with the colossal influence of Latin America, I would work through their press, through those narratives, moving in that direction… they aren’t allowing us to work with American media directly, but we have many opportunities that we aren’t using thus far.”

Other chatter, however, went far beyond ideological battles, according to what Davis' witnessed on Soloviev's program just days earlier:

Pundit Karen Shakhnazarov: 'I would find it useful to break diplomatic relations with the United States. I don’t see any point in maintaining them. And that would deliver a crushing blow to Biden. There are plenty of people in the U.S. who say that he is bringing us all to the edge of nuclear war. That will be a strong signal.'

Soloviev expanded on that point, suggesting that Russia should just go ahead and nuke the US because that is the true nature of the war in Ukraine.

“De facto, we aren’t fighting a campaign against Ukraine, but against the entire West," he said. “Maybe it’s time we strike them?" he added, referring to the US, "since we’re already a pariah state, a war criminal if everything is so bad.”

Davis pointed out that "short of nuclear holocaust, it is now clear that Russia is focusing its efforts on distracting America from its foreign policy objectives by threatening to meddle in US internal affairs."

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet