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It is becoming increasingly plain that the most formidable obstacle to national progress and global security is the Republican Party – and specifically the extremist factions that currently dominate the GOP.

Now Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and political strategist James Carville have announced what they plan to do about that pressing problem: namely, “The Republican Party Project,” which will provide extensive survey research devoted to “exposing, monitoring, and confronting” the Republicans while helping Democrats and progressives to regain the political offensive.

To begin advancing these ambitious goals, Carville and Greenberg released the first in a series of polls on Wednesday that showcased several of their target’s most divisive and dysfunctional features —  and revealed some surprising weaknesses that could eventually prove disabling if not fatal.

In surveys of more than 1,700  U. S. voters conducted for Democracy Corps between July 10 and July 15,  the methodology used by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner oversampled Republicans in order to allow detailed analysis of two subgroups: Republicans themselves, and independents who lean toward the GOP. The overall margin of error was under 3 percent and the margin of error for Republicans was about 4 percent.

According to Carville and Greenberg – whose presidential polling proved the best national voter survey in 2012, predicting the popular vote with pinpoint accuracy – Republican extremism is leaving the party increasingly isolated, even from many of its own members.

At the moment, only 31 percent of voters identify as Republicans, compared with 38 percent who identify as Democrats and 30 percent who call themselves independents. (Aggregated surveys collected by Pollster currently confirm an even worse scenario, with Democrats at 34 percent and Republicans at 23 percent.)

But just as significant as party identification is how voters see the Republican “brand.” Although Democrats as a party and in Congress are not exactly beloved, their net negatives are around 10 points below those of the Republicans, who are regarded with absolute disdain by most of those polled. Only 13 percent believe that the GOP “shares their values” and only 9 percent believe that the GOP has “realistic solutions to the nation’s problems”

The project’s polling also uncovered bad omens for Republicans among almost all age cohorts. While the Republicans can cite a statistically meaningless 1 percent advantage among Generation X voters, the party has no “generational base” and is strongly disfavored by both Baby Boomers and Millennials.  Indeed, the gap between the parties among upcoming Millennials is nearly 20 points, with only 21 percent identifying as Republican – a data point that Republican leaders may well find terrifying. Moreover, the Republican base is holed up in rapidly depopulating rural areas, while cities and suburbs strongly favor Democrats.

It is also worth noting how alienated moderate Republicans are from their own party, with nearly half regarding it as “too extreme.” Up to 40 percent of moderate Republicans regard their party as “out of touch,” a statement that resonates with 46 percent of Republican-leaning independent voters. Nearly 40 percent of moderate Republicans believe the party is “dividing the country.”

Meanwhile, the project’s survey suggests that Republicans in the dominant Tea Party and evangelical wings of the GOP are increasingly isolated not only from moderates in their own party but from independent voters as well on such issues as abortion, gay marriage, climate change, and by their corrosive hatred of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

On climate change, for example, overwhelming percentages of Democrats (95), Democratic-leaning independents (87), Independents (76), and moderate Republicans (62) all agree that strong action must be taken to offset atmospheric warming caused by human activity – while only 23 percent of Tea Party adherents and 34 percent of evangelicals share that scientifically-based perspective.

On gun control, 71 percent of Tea Party adherents feel strongly favorable toward the NRA, while only 34 percent of moderate Republicans and 34 percent of Independents harbor positive feelings toward the gun lobby.

Perhaps most worrisome to Republicans looking toward 2016 with trepidation, the strongly unfavorable attitudes toward Hillary Clinton expressed by Tea Party (75 percent) and evangelical (66 percent) groups within the GOP are not echoed by more mainstream voters. Only 22 percent of independents — and only 34 percent of moderate Republicans – share that negative view of the former Secretary of State, who is widely considered most likely to be the next Democratic presidential nominee.

But Carville and Greenberg promise that this is only the beginning of the bad news for the Grand Old Party – and the future findings of the Republican Party Project will appear first in these pages.

Watch Stan Greenberg announce the launch of the Republican Party Project here.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

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