Tag: 2022 midterm elections

RNC Election Audit Will Assess Trump's Role In 2022 Midterm Failures

The Republican National Committee is set to conduct its first post-election audit in a decade to scrutinize the GOP’s unfavorable electoral outcome of the past few cycles including its lackluster performance in the 2022 midterms — and figure out whether former President Donald Trump bore responsibility for the collapse of the anticipated “red tsunami.”

“We need to figure out what worked and what didn’t work in the ’22 cycle to make sure we put ourselves in the best position to win in ’24. I think there’s a lot to learn from,” Henry Barbour, an RNC committeeman for Mississippi chosen to co-author the RNC review, told the Associated Press .

The report, Rolling Stone revealed , will delve into the role Trump, who endorsed over 250 Republicans across the country in 2022, played in the November 2022 red wave that never was — a historic underperformance for the GOP that resulted in an explosion of intra-party fighting, recriminations, and a minuscule Republican House majority.

"Looking at President Trump, what has he gotten right? And what has he gotten wrong? And how do we learn from that to win elections going forward?" Barbour said to NBC News in an interview.

Nearly 300 Republican election deniers — people who peddled Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” — made the ballot in the 2022 midterms, some gunning for offices with authority to oversee elections, according to the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based liberal think-tank.

Despite running on issues such as inflation, crime, and “election integrity,” election deniers were soundly thrashed in battleground states by voters, 44 percent of whom stepped into the voting booths primarily concerned about the future of American democracy, per the Associated Press , costing the GOP its long-sought Senate majority.

"And so I think we’re going to work our way through all of those various issues and dynamics to hopefully lay out our recommendations that will put the party in a much stronger position to win going forward," Barbour said.

After its last post-election audit — a 100-page report that was released in 2013 and titled Growth and Opportunity Project — the Republican National Committee lamented the GOP’s record low public perception levels and recommended more inclusive messaging and “champion comprehensive immigration reform,” lest “our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.”

However, the Republican Party abandoned its recommendations when Trump sauntered onto the political scene in 2015, radically promising on the campaign trail to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it, defund planned parenthood, and even surveil mosques in the US.

The RNC turned a blind eye to the former president’s dehumanizing descriptions of migrants , his controversial Muslim travel ban , his Supreme court-packing that led to the overturning of Roe v Wade and the federal abortion rights it provided, and his baseless claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, which culminated in a horrific attack by a mob of Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol to overturn Trump’s loss .

The 2022 post-election audit was ordered by Ronna McDaniel, the three-term RNC chair who is under fire from RNC members and conservative voters for her fresh bid for a fourth term after the party’s underwhelming performance at the ballot box in every election since Trump’s narrow win in 2016.

Trump has sought to deflect blame for the GOP’s 2022 midterm blunder, as he did for the 2018 and 2022 elections. In 2018, the Republican party lost over 30 seats, and Trump claimed the losses would have ballooned to the 70s had it not been for him. After losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, the former president, as the House January 6 committee said in its final report , concocted the Big Lie in a “multi-part” plot to overturn his defeat.

Following this blame-shifting precedent, Trump, in a Truth Social post, blamed “the people that pushed so hard, for decades, against abortion” for the Republican Party’s midterm defeat.

Republicans Say They Should Have Talked More About Abortion

“It was probably a bigger factor than a lot of people thought.”

That's current Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel having the most profound GOP revelation of the cycle on the role abortion played in the midterms. McDaniel was speaking earlier this month with radio talk show host John Catsimatidis, but her next observation was perhaps even more telling.

“We’ve got to get conversant on that,” McDaniel added, according to The Hill .

That's the jargon of a political operative who knows their entire enterprise has taken a direct hit and has absolutely no earthly idea what to do about it.

McDaniel surely would be ignoring the topic of abortion if there was any chance Republicans could just stick their heads in the sand and ride it out, but the energy behind the issue and its financial firepower wouldn't allow for that, she admitted:

“We can’t just do an ostrich method and pretend that it doesn’t exist when Democrats are spending $30 million on that message.”

But if the the next phase of the Republican Party's campaign to take 50 percent of the American population hostage is anything like the misadventure of their post-2012 GOP autopsy, simply acknowledging the problem is all but meaningless amid the vacuousness of the GOP.

The truth is most Republican operatives knew exactly how devastating abortion might prove at the polls, even as they publicly assured political reporters that women would forget being voted constitutional inferiors by the time they cast their ballots.

The RNC actually put out a memo encouraging Republican candidates to cast themselves as pro-lifers open to exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother, while depicting Democrats as wanting "abortion at any time for any reason." That false framing supposedly yielded a 22-point advantage for generic Republicans, per the RNC memo.

But the entire conversation was so toxic for Republicans, candidates chose to ignore it altogether.

“We put out a memo, we said address this, take this head-on,” McDaniel explained in a post-election interview with Tony Perkins , president of the right wing Family Research Council. “How many candidate consultants said we don’t want to talk about it, it’s not polling well?”

And it wasn’t polling well for Republicans in virtually every survey conducted on the topic. Remember when Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tried to offer a compromise ban of 15 weeks? There’s a reason that national ban proposal dropped like a lead balloon on the campaign trail.

Naturally, McDaniel’s doing a lot of CYA as she tries to save her job, but she does seem to realize Republicans are in a pickle. Her fundamentalist counterparts, meanwhile, remain delusional.

For instance, get a load of Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs at Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

“I’m very confident that the voters are with us on this,” Musgrave said of placing what she called "reasonable limits" on abortion.

Never mind the fact that Roe v. Wade— and the approximate 24-week viability limits associated with it—was the standard for what roughly two-thirds of Americans consider "reasonable."

Yet Musgrave believes that all Republicans need to do is work a little harder at jamming their extremism down Americans' throats.

“They just need to get that information and they need leaders and they need candidates talking about this," she explained. "And of course, it will be a big issue in the presidential, so here we go.”

Oh yes, yes, it will be.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos .

What Those Diligent Reporters Dug Up About Shapeshifting George Santos

I have a lot of fun doing this, but I do have electric and cable bills to pay. (Sometimes, it even comes with Internet.) If you’d like to help out the column, you can become a paid subscriber to my Substack right here.

Looked at one way, representative-elect George Santos is a lying sack of shit who never opened his mouth that a fantastic fib didn’t emerge unscathed by doubt or shame from his heretofore pristine vocal chords. Multiple news sources – the aforementioned reporters more patient than I – have spent the Christmas holidays unraveling the tangled web of tall tales that Santos uttered about himself as he ran, and won, his race for congress in western Long Island and parts of Queens.

We’ll get to those in a moment, but I think I have another way of looking at this lie-spewing wunderkind: he is the most perfect manifestation of today’s Republican Party yet.

His lies represent a certain kind of modern Republican genius. A nobody from nowhere without a single accomplishment that would qualify him even for a position as junior-assistant legislative aide to a state rep, Santos saw his political nullity as an asset: as no one at all, he could be all things to all people.

You want a good Christian boy who was happily married to the woman of his dreams? You got him. Santos was married for five years -- in fact, he stayed married until just 12 days before he announced his campaign for Congress. “I did marry young, and I married a young woman at the time, and we pretty much were in love. And then we weren’t,” he told the Daily Beast .

Think a gay Republican might do better than a boring divorced straight guy? Presto! Santos is your man! He told the Beast he is currently married to a man whom he “previously referenced as a fiancé in campaign materials,” as the Beast reporters discovered. After assiduous digging through records of marriages in several locations, the Beast says it “could not find a record of that marriage.”

In case he saw a need mid-campaign to switch back to straight because the whole gay Republican thing wasn’t working, perhaps? Only Santos knows for sure, but it looks a lot like this guy covered every base he could find.

With a fairly large Jewish vote in his district, Santos also claimed to be not only Jewish, but the grandchild of grandparents who escaped the Holocaust by fleeing from Ukraine first to Belgium and then to Brazil. Reporters more patient than I at the Jewish publication The Forward , found genealogy records proving his grandparents were born in Brazil before World War II, making their escape from the Holocaust just a tad difficult.

Ever the shapeshifter, Santos has now told reporters more patient than yours truly at the New York Post that he is a practicing Catholic who only claimed during the campaign to be “Jew-ish.” Got that? Jew-ish like Jesus, apparently, ticking off the “Jews for Jesus” box, just in case there are a few of them still around.

You see what I mean about trying to figure out this guy? Somebody had to dig out genealogy records to track down his claims about being descended from Holocaust survivors. Just between you and me, I wouldn’t even know where to find genealogy records, much less how to interpret them, especially when they involve other countries – Brazil – and other languages – Portuguese.

Having covered all the bases he could identify with his sexuality and descendancy, Santos proceeded to the more mundane parts of his presumed resume. Degrees from NYU and Baruch, claimed Mr. All Things to All People. The New York Times took on that claim and found no one at either university had ever seen or heard of anyone called George Santos from Long Island, Florida, Brazil, or any other place Santos has claimed he once called home.

How about that old stand-by: what have you been doing for a living since you didn’t graduate from the colleges who never heard of you, George? He had that one covered, too: Goldman Sachs and Citigroup – couple of nice, big well-known, prestigious-sounding places to have drawn a paycheck. Very patient reporters from the Times called both places: Let’s see…how are you spelling that last name? S-a-n-t-o-s. Is that right? Lemme check…nope. Nobody by that name ever worked here.

Not to worry. Santos, who ran as a former employee of the two mega-banks, now says he didn’t actually work there, but rather made deals with both places through his association with several companies he either worked for or started (and ended and re-started) himself. He was an employee of a Florida operation called Harbor City Capital…at least he was until that firm was accused by the SEC of being a ponzi-scheme that ripped some $17 million from unsuspecting investor pockets.

Shapeshifting yet again, Santos claims he then went to work for something called Linkbridge Investors, reporting on a financial disclosure form in 2020 that his pay was $55,000 a year. According to some incredibly patient reporters at The Hill, Santos listed no other income or liabilities on that financial statement.

Which is interesting, because just over a year later, Santos reported taking in a salary of $750,000 a year from yet another operation, a Florida company, the Devolder Organization, which he claimed was managing more than $80 million in assets. Whose assets? Huh? Of what kind? Double huh. But Santos in the aforementioned financial disclosure form reported having between $1 million and $5 million in a savings account – I know, I know, I have the same problem you do keeping track of those millions in my savings account at a bank – as well as having between $100,001 and $250,000 in a checking account – pesky things, those bank statements…I’ll bet you have the same trouble I do understanding those complicated checking account balances.

All of that, and an apartment in – get this – Brazil worth between $500,001 and $1 million. Because, you know, while you’re living with your parents on Long Island and associating yourself with ponzi-schemes in Miami and starting companies in Florida to handle more than $80 million in assets, and showing up for your no-show jobs at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, jetting off to Brazil just kind of comes with the territory, especially when you can afford the private jets and Brazilian apartments on a corporate income of $43,688, as the Washington Post discovered the Devolder Organization made in 2022 when they patiently checked in with Dun & Bradstreet.

Are you beginning to see a trend here? The Devolder Organization that made so much money in 2021 and 2022 that Santos could loan his own campaign $700,000 this year…well, it was shut down less than a year after it was incorporated in Florida for failing to file a proper corporation report with the state.

But not to worry. Santos got on the phone today with the exceedingly patient Washington-based web magazine Semafor and explained the whole thing: Devolder, he said, was in the very complicated and quite opaque business of “capital introduction business, including deal building and specialty consulting for high net worth individuals.”

Don’t you just wish you could get a gig doing some “deal building” and “specialty consulting” that would bring in so much money – in less than a year – that you could loan your own campaign $700,000?

How did Devolder work, Semafor patiently asked. Our gay-straight-married-divorced-claimed-to-be-married-again-Christian-Jew-ish-practicing-Catholic shapeshifter was ready with an answer. As he told Semafor, one of his “high net-worth” clients “might want to sell a plane or a boat. I'm not going to go list it and broker it. What I will do is I will go look out there within my Rolodex and be like: ‘Hey, are you looking for a plane?’ ‘Are you looking for a boat?’ I just put that feeler out there.”

Me too. I want a job where all you have to do is “put that feeler out there” to take down several mil a year. “If you’re looking at a $20 million yacht, my referral fee there can be anywhere between $200,000 and $400,000,” Santos told Semafor . Exactly how did doing “referrals” work? Well, Santos claimed he had “a network of wealthy investors, family offices, institutions and endowments that included about 15,000 people.” Six months after starting up Devolder, the company he shut down a couple of months later, Santos claimed to have “landed a couple of million-dollar contracts,” according to Semafor .

This from referral fees on single transactions that could bring in “between $200,000 and $500,000” because, you know, when you’re working with “high net-worth individuals” that’s how the beans are counted.

With $700,000 in what is clearly funny-money from funny-somewhere that is not George Santos and his funny-corporations like Devolder that exist for less than a year and yet yield “savings accounts” with $1 million to $5 million in them, as well as Brazilian apartments nobody can find worth between $500,000 and $1 million, it’s beginning to look like Mr. gay-straight-married-divorced-married-again-Jew-ish-Catholic-lie-a-minute Santos just might find his feet getting a little hot pretty soon.

Let’s see him shapeshift out of that.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

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Poll: Confidence In 2022 Election Integrity Soars Among Republican Voters

Well, here's something to celebrate—confidence in the 2022 election was up significantly from the lows of 2020. Fully 71 percent of voters felt confident their ballots were counted correctly in the midterm versus just 23 percent who were uneasy, according to recent polling by the progressive consortium Navigator Research. Just 60 percent of voters felt confident about 2020 election integrity, while 35 percent were uneasy.

Once more, nearly all of that increase in confidence since 2020 came from Republicans, while Democrats and independents trusted the integrity of the midterms at about the same rates as 2020.

Just 31% of Republicans said they were confident their ballots were counted correctly and fairly in 2020, while 65 percent were uneasy—a 34-point deficit. But Republican confidence in the 2022 election soared by comparison, with 58 percent expressing confidence and 35 percent feeling uneasy.

In 2022, Republicans’ confidence was 23 points above water, a net swing of 57 points in just two years.

What makes that GOP shift even more compelling is the fact that, overall, Republicans don't have a sense they are winning at politics right now.

Despite capturing the House in November, just 26 percent of Republicans said their side had been "winning" over the last few years on the issues that matter to them, compared to 61 percent who felt the GOP was losing.

Democrats were essentially the exact opposite, with 63 percent sensing they were winning on their issues over the last several years, while just 22 percent said they were losing.

Partisans on both sides felt decent about the midterms, with 62 percent of Democrats saying they had "won" the cycle and 51 percent of Republicans saying the same.

But overall, Democrats clearly felt more satisfaction over their showing, with 66 percent saying they were satisfied with the outcome and just 24 percent dissatisfied.

Meanwhile, only 36% of Republicans felt satisfied with the 2022 outcome, while 54 percent were dissatisfied.

For the last several years, we have heard Donald Trump, along with many other Republicans, routinely express the sentiment that the only election they could possibly lose was a rigged election. In other words, any time Democrats prevailed, fraud was at play.

That formulation has dominated GOP discourse over 2020 for the past couple years, and any Republican politician who dared admit that Trump actually lost was demonized as a traitor.

So let's just say it's satisfying to see a solid majority of Republicans (58 percent) expressing confidence in the outcome of an election where nearly as many Republicans (54 percent) expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos .