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Tag: 2022 midterms

Will Abortion Struggle Mobilize Young Voters For Democrats?

Protests across the country, throngs of activists at state capitals, and a Supreme Court cordoned off by high fencing have created a new political landscape that Democrats must carefully traverse. The historic leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s initial draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade has returned abortion rights to the front of the political landscape.

Despite narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, President Joe Biden acknowledged that his party did not have enough votes to codify Roe v. Wade in law. On the campaign trail in 2019, Biden promised to turn Roe into law, and women's rights activists and Democratic voters have been calling on him to fulfill his promise.

Many Democratic voters have expressed disappointment with the Democratic Party and the Biden Administration’s difficulty in keeping the party line. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have routinely held up Democratic legislation and said they will not change filibuster rules, a necessity if the Democrats were to try to pass legislation that would codify abortion rights on the federal level. Biden’s approval ratings have hovered around 42 percent, a level roughly equal to President Trump at the same time in his first term.

However, many Democrats view the anger in the streets as a potential boost for their party.

“Republicans are going to be in a very tough place right now. They have to defend something that Republicans said would never happen,” said Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico.

Democratic Strategy

For midterm elections, the biggest worry for Democrats is voter turnout. A key demographic for Democratic success is younger voters, a group particularly keen to protect abortion rights. In recent weeks, Democratic strategists and pollsters have openly worried about President Biden’s and the party’s decreasing support among young voters.

According to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National poll, Biden’s approval rating among young people dropped by a dramatic 16 points down to 37 percent, the lowest of any age group. Contributing factors include economic conditions and slow movement on the President’s promise to forgive student loan debt.

At protests across the country, young people feature prominently in the fight to protect abortion rights. The general anger toward the Supreme Court and political system is broad, with the Democrats not escaping unscathed.

Without a drastic departure from the Biden Administration and Democratic leadership’s previous political strategy, the Democrats have limited options to counter the power of the Supreme. In part for that reason, many voters have expressed their anger at the Democratic Party’s lack of action.

What’s Next?

The Democratic Party’s strategy seems to be doubling down on the 2020 electoral strategy, focusing on the danger posed by their right-wing opponents.

In response to the leaked Supreme Court opinion, President Biden said, “if the rationale of the decision as released were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question. And the idea that we're letting the states make those decisions would be a fundamental shift in what we've done.”

Alito’s draft opinion makes reference to other rights, including same-sex marriage, leading to worries that conservative judges would target such issues. Said Biden, "a lot more than abortion" is at stake in future elections.

But this could be a risky strategy considering that many young voters and activists are demanding action now.

For the Democrats, the midterms will come down to how well they turn out their voters. The most recent attack on abortion rights will either catalyze youth turnout or reinforce the opinion of more apathetic voters.

Trump’s Ohio Senate Candidate Vance In Trouble Over Ukraine Remarks

On Friday, April 15, former President Donald Trump endorsed Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance in Ohio’s 2022 GOP U.S. primary — much to the chagrin of former State Treasurer Josh Mandel and his supporters, who had been imploring Trump not to make that endorsement.

Vance, Mandel, former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken, and businessman Mike Gibbons have been engaged in a bitter, mudslinging battle to show who is the most MAGA, and the tensions between Vance and Mandel have been especially ugly. Vance has been drawing a great deal of criticism for his comments about Ukraine, and journalist Joshua Jamerson — in an article published by the Wall Street Journal on April 16 — reports that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to be a topic in the Ohio U.S. Senate race.

In mid-February — prior to the invasion that Russia forces launched on February 24 — Vance told “War Room” host Steve Bannon, “I got to be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or the other.” Since then, thousands of people have been killed in that war; millions of Ukrainians have fled their country. And Vance, according to Jamerson, has tweaked his messaging on Ukraine a bit by trying to sound more sympathetic to Ukrainians while maintaining an “America First” tone.


Vance, Jamerson notes, has described recent images of the violence in Ukraine as “disgusting” but is also describing the crisis as a distraction.

When Vance was campaigning in Troy, Ohio, a voter asked him if he thought Ukraine was a “smokescreen to cover the disasters” in the United States — and he responded, “So, I do actually.” And in a Columbus suburb, the Hillbilly Elegy author said, “At the end of the day, the tragedies that we have to care most about as policy makers…. is not what’s going on 6000 miles away.”

Then, at a campaign stop in Troy, Ohio, Vance declared, “I think it is a huge — a catastrophic — mistake for us to get more and more involved in what’s going on in Russia and Ukraine, especially when we have our own problems right here at home.”

Republican voters in Ohio, however, aren’t necessarily indifferent to the war in Ukraine. North Canton, Ohio resident Dee Braden, who is supporting Timken in the primary, told the Journal, “America has to continue to be a leader in supporting democracy and freedom.” And Shannon Wannemacher, a Republican voter in Lima, Ohio who is undecided in the primary, told the Journal, “Of course we need to be involved…. I wish we would do more. I wish we were seen as more of a leader. I’m concerned about Russia’s presence in the world.”

Ohio State Sen. Matt Dolan, another Republican who is running against Vance in Ohio’s GOP U.S. Senate primary, has been vehemently critical of Vance’s comments about Ukraine — saying, “I asked him to apologize on a human level because there’s so many Ukrainians who live in the state.

”Vance, Mandel, Dolan, Timken, and Gibbons are competing for the U.S. Senate seat presently held by Sen. Rob Portman, who is not seeking reelection. The GOP primary election will be held on May 3.

The fact that Trump has endorsed Vance over Mandel and the other candidates is ironic in light of how critical Vance was of him in 2016. Vance was vehemently critical of Trump during the 2016 election, calling him a racist and warning that he would be terrible for the U.S. if elected president. But Vance has since flip-flopped and now fully embraces the MAGA movement.

Published with permission from Alternet.

Super-Rich GOP Senate Candidate Says Keep Minimum Wage At $7.25

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Dave McCormick opposes increasing the federal minimum wage and wants to keep it at its current level of $7.25 an hour, set in 2009, when it was raised from $6.55.

With tens of millions of dollars earned running a hedge fund business, McCormick does not need a higher minimum wage to pay for his basic needs. But for the more than 10 percent of Pennsylvanians who live below the poverty line, a higher minimum wage would make a huge difference.

In an interview on the podcast Politics PA podcast, first flagged this week by the progressive research group American Bridge 21st Century, McCormick was asked whether he supported having any federal minimum wage at all.

"I wouldn't change the minimum wage we have now," the former George W. Bush administration Treasury Department official responded. "But I wouldn't raise it."

Pennsylvania has not opted to raise its state minimum above the federal floor, though Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has increased it for state employees and unsuccessfully prodded the GOP-controlled legislature to do the same for other workers.

But the $7.25 minimum set in 2009 is only worth about $5.34 in 2022 dollars. A person working 40 hours a week at that rate would make about $15,080 a year, well below the $18,310 federal poverty line for a family of two.

McCormick said on Feb. 18, "Inflation across our nation continues to rise — spiking costs for all Pennsylvanians, especially working families, at the store and at the pump." However, instead of supporting a minimum wage increase, he proposes to get rid of President Joe Biden's investments in infrastructure and families, cut taxes, and eliminate federal regulations on businesses.

All of Pennsylvania's neighboring states have opted to increase their minimum wages above the $7.25 level. In total, at least 25 states voluntarily raised their wage floor for 2022.

While recent polling shows about two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters support a minimum wage increase, Republican lawmakers at the state and federal levels have blocked Democratic proposals for a more livable minimum wage.

A McCormick spokesperson did not respond immediately to an inquiry for this story.

But according to a February report by Insider, McCormick is personally quite wealthy.

Between 2010 and 2013, he received at least $70 million in discretionary awards from his then-employer, the Bridgewater Associates investment management firm, according to information contained in his 2015 divorce records.

Had he been working at the minimum wage he does support in a 40-hour-per-week full-time job, it would have taken him more than 4,641 years to earn that much.

McCormick is one of several Republican candidates running in November's race to succeed retiring Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Trump’s Georgia Rally Drew Only 5000 — And Some Kooky Candidates

Saturday evening, former failed President Trump was in Commerce, Georgia, for a rally. Trump’s mouthpiece claimed the crowd was “massive,” and that the “Fake News Media” didn’t show it. But local reporters from Georgia say the gathering was scant and similar to others held across the state recently.

Greg Bluestein, a politics reporter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tweeted: “This is the smallest crowd I’ve seen at a rally of his in Georgia since he won the 2016 election—significantly smaller than the crowd in Perry [Georgia] in September.”

Georgia Public Broadcasting reporter Stephen Fowler tweeted: “It’s almost time for Trump to speak here in Georgia and there’s probably no more than 5,000 people here, the smallest Trump rally I’ve ever covered here. Way less than the Perry rally in 2021 (closer to 10k).”

Trump was in Georgia to stump for a bunch of Republican primary candidates. But, mostly he spent his time ravaging Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for their lack of support in overturning his loss in 2020 to President Joe Biden.

"You know what, if Kemp wins, I think Herschel Walker is going to be very seriously and negatively impacted because Republicans that happen to like Donald Trump—MAGA Republicans—are not going to go and vote for this guy Kemp," Trump said Saturday. "And if they don't vote for Kemp, they're not going to be able to vote for a great man right there, Herschel Walker. And we don't want that to happen. So a vote for Brian Kemp, RINO, in the primary is a vote for a Democrat senator who shouldn't be in the Senate."

And Trump’s tone set the tone for the evening. GOP candidate after GOP candidate slammed Kemp and alleged a stolen election.

Gubernatorial candidate David Perdue chummed the audience with the old standby conspiracy that the “elections were absolutely stolen.”

Of course, the blame was placed directly on the shoulders of Gov. Kemp, even stoking the crowd with a promise that if he wins the governor's seat, he would send “whoever was responsible” for the alleged theft to “jail.” The MAGA crowd went wild, and began shouting, “Lock him up!”

Perdue wasn’t alone in using the Big Lie to rile up Trump supporters for 2024, true deplorable Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as “supposed” and Sen. Burt Jones, who’s running for lieutenant governor, declared a ban on ballot drop boxes and an end to “cursed Dominion machines,” according to the AJC.

Even virtually unknown John Gordon, who is challenging Chris Carr for Attorney General insisted that if elected, he would open an investigation into the 2020 presidential election.

“We are going to uncover the facts, we will expose the truth and we are going to hold the people responsible accountable,” Gordon ranted, per the AJC. “It will never happen again.”

Despite the fact that some in the Republican party have suggested that it’s in fact time to move on from the Big Lie, it seems like it remains a requisite in order to keep Trump’s support. Ask GOP candidate for Senate in Alabama, Mo Brooks.

Brooks mentioned his desire to move past Trump’s loss in 2020, prompting the petty former president to pull support of him.

According to one AJC reporter, the mini-crowd Saturday only really roared to life when the candidates decried Kemp and cited the bogus conspiracy of a stolen election.

“I’m doing my research, but I know I’m backing Perdue. Kemp threw Trump under the bus after the election,” Dale Branham, a teacher from Sandy Springs, told the AJC. “Everyone else who watched what went on knew what was going on. And David Perdue never doubted what happened.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

It's The GOP In Disarray, As Trump Tears His Party Apart

Hours after Trump took the extraordinary step of un-endorsing a Republican in the Alabama primary for the U.S. Senate race, the candidate responded. He claimed Trump had repeatedly pressured him, in 2022, to “rescind” the last election and to help illegally install the Republican back in the White House.

The stunning and bitter feud is just the latest that Trump has detonated within the GOP. A one-man wrecking crew who’s committed to sowing discord throughout the Republican Party, Trump seems to take glee in pitting it against itself as he insists his personal grievances about the “stolen” election be the GOP’s most pressing electoral issue.

Dems in Disarray has been a Beltway media go-to narrative for years. Why won’t they apply it to today’s comically fractured GOP?

Trump views the unfolding primary season not as a way for the party to position itself for midterm contests against Democrats, but as a chance to exact revenge on Republicans whom he considers to be insufficiently loyal to Mar-a-Lago.

Lashing out at the previously-endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks in Alabama, Trump insisted the withdrawal was because Brooks had recently told a radio show host it’s best for the GOP to look forward, not back. The implication is that Trump will now find a primary candidate in Alabama who is fixated on Trump’s win being “stolen” and he’ll support that person. But there is no such candidate in the race. There are two other leading players besides Brooks and neither seem interested in running on Trump’s laundry list of 2020 grudges and slights.

Trump’s throwing a tantrum and the GOP has to clean up the mess. Again. It didn’t help that Brooks, a right-winger who rode the Tea Party wave to office, was floundering in Alabama GOP primary polls and that Trump hates being associated with a loser.

So where’s the nonstop “feuding,” “civil war,” “chaos” coverage for today’s fractured GOP? Those were the hysterical words the press used last spring to describe Democrats when just two senators initially refused to support the White House’s infrastructure bill.

Remember when Biden and his team were filling out their cabinet in an orderly manner? The D.C. press lost its mind with Dems in Disarray coverage — the president-elect was facing a "considerable challenge" while "confronting factionalism and fierce impatience." Alliances had been "strained," his choices were "vexing" "frustrated" and "increasingly skeptical" supporters. Biden had "irritated" Democratic lawmakers who are "complaining."

Oh my!

And don’t forget during the spring of 2020 when the New York Times basically wrote off the Biden campaign, insisting the "perilously passive" candidate was "grappling," "uncertain," "tentative," "cloistered," "stuck at home," and "struggling with basic technical difficulties," while Democrats were "worried" and "perplexed" — Biden won the election by 7 million votes.

In Georgia today, not only is Trump trying to end the career of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in his high-profile reelection run, the egomaniac is targeting Kemp’s allies, too. “For the second time in as many weeks, the former president endorsed a little-known Republican challenger to one of Kemp’s closest political loyalists,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Trump is likely fuming that the candidate he is backing against Kemp, former U.S. Senator David Perdue, is trailing, setting up a potentially humiliating Trump defeat.

Meanwhile, Trump can’t stop insulting the GOP’s most senior senator, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), calling him a "dumb son of a bitch" and a "stone cold loser." Can you imagine what the D.C. press coverage would look like if a former Democratic president launched grenades at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi from the sidelines on a weekly basis? For Trump though, the press shrugs, committed to its Trump-being-Trump mindset, where there’s nothing does truly damages his party.

Trump is still the party’s presumptive 2024 nominee and there is a cult-like following around him. But his runaway narcissism is taking a toll on the party, and the press ought to center its Trump coverage that way.

Republicans know all too well how Trump can spoil their chances for success. Democrats swiped two surprise, run-off Senate victories in January 2021 largely because Trump was still obsessed with overturning his election loss, while waging war on Georgia Republicans for not doing enough to help him steal away Biden’s win.

Trump not only distracted the GOP during the crucial run-off elections, he likely animated Democratic and Independent voters by loudly lying about the 2020 election. Recall that Republicans lost the White House, House and Senate while Trump was president.

There’s also no indication Trump’s revenge tour is connecting with voters. A recent Gallup poll offered participants a chance to rank the 30 most important issues facing America. “Election reform” was a choice that nobody selected.

It’s the GOP that’s in disarray, trust me.

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

https://pressrun.media/p/gop-in-disarray-trumps-tearing-the?s=r

Top Missouri Paper Torches Greitens And GOP Over Abuse Charges

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's editorial board is weighing in on the latest scandal involving former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R), who resigned from his leadership post back in 2018 amid sexual misconduct allegations and multiple campaign finance violations.

This time around, the former disgraced governor is at the center of domestic violence claims as a result of allegations from his own ex-wife, Sheena Greitens. The newspaper notes that on Monday, March 21, court documents allege that her ex-husband "was physically violent toward her and their children and engaged in such 'unstable and coercive behavior' that she and others around him limited his access to firearms."

Now, amid Greitens' latest Senate bid, the St. Louis-based newspaper is calling on the Republican Party to see him for who he really is. The editorial board explained why the latest allegations are actually worse than the initial scandal he faced.

"The new allegations are in some ways even more disturbing than those voiced by Greitens’ former mistress during his 2018 impeachment hearings," said the editorial. "Among Sheena Greitens’ many claims is that he struck one of their kids and dragged him by his hair, and once 'knocked me down and confiscated my cell phone, wallet, and keys so that I was unable to call for help or extricate myself and our children.'”

As Republicans fight to regain control of the Senate during the upcoming midterm elections, the editorial explained why Greitens' latest scandal could not only be problematic for him but the entire political party.

"The polls showing Greitens leading the Republican pack come with an important caveat: The GOP field is crowded, which is what has allowed Greitens to rise to the top with only about 30 percent support among Republicans (because the rest of the votes are divided among multiple other candidates)," the board noted. "In hypothetical head-to-head races with Democratic front-runners, Greitens does far worse than several of his fellow GOP candidates. That’s encouraging regarding Missouri voters at large, at least."

However, that's not all. The level of support Greitens already has, according to the editorial, suggests serious changes need to be made among voters. The board concluded writing, "For this man to have garnered support from almost a third of Missouri Republicans should occasion some serious soul-searching within the party."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sarah Palin May Fill Alaska House Seat ‘If Asked’

Former Alaska Governor and failed Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is ready once again to throw her hat in the ring, this time for a seat in the U.S, House of Representatives.

Appearing on the far right-wing media outlet Newsmax Sarah Palin was asked if she would say yes if asked to replace the late Republican Congressman from Alaska, Don Young, who died Friday at the age of 88.

"If I were asked to serve in the House and take his place I would be humbled and honored,” Palin said. “In a heartbeat, I would.

“We will see how this process goes in filling that seat – it would be an honor,” she added.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

GOP Rival Accuses Gov. Kemp Of ‘Hiding' 2020 Vote Fraud

In a March 12 radio interview, former senator David Perdue, who is challenging incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia's Republican gubernatorial primary, suggested that his opponent had orchestrated a "cover-up" of election fraud in the state after former President Donald Trump's 2020 loss.

"You know, I don't have the evidence to prove this, but it smacks of a cover-up this past year," Perdue told WMLB host Beth Beskin in the interview. "The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state, all four have closed ranks around the fact that they're claiming that we had a clean election."

Perdue first hinted that he thought Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger were involved in an election-related conspiracy in January, saying in another radio interview that the two Republicans were "sitting on" proof of voter fraud in Georgia's 2020 election.

Perdue, who received Trump's endorsement the day he announced his campaign, has previously attacked Kemp on local radio, blaming his opponent for Trump's loss in the state. But his latest comments, which accuse not only Raffensperger and Kemp, but state Attorney General Chris Carr and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan of systemically concealing evidence of voter fraud, are the most inflammatory he has made so far about the 2020 election.

The four elected officials Perdue accused in the interview are all Republicans, and all resisted, to varying degrees, Trump's false claim that the election was somehow stolen from him.

On Jan. 2, 2021, Trump called Raffensperger and told him to "find 11,780 votes" to overcome President Joe Biden's margin of victory in the state. The Georgia elections official refused to comply with Trump's request. In his book published last November, Raffensberger wrote that he felt the phone call from the former president — which is now the subject of a criminal investigation — "was a threat." Trump responded by backing Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) in a well-funded primary challenge to Raffensberger.

Both Perdue and Hice have promoted the fiction that Trump lost the 2020 election because of systemic voter fraud. Perdue, for his part, decided to run for the seat only after the former president spent months actively recruiting him to run against Kemp, who refused to overturn the 2020 election for Trump.

In December 2020, Trump called and reportedly "chewed out" Kemp while pressuring him to get Georgia's state legislature to overturn the election results. "Your governor could stop it very easily if he knew what the hell he was doing," Trump later told his supporters at a rally in Valdosta, Georgia. "So far we haven't been able to find the people in Georgia willing to do the right thing."

Kemp has since weathered a barrage of scathing attacks from the former president, who is still viewed favorably by many Georgia Republicans.

One of the clearest examples of the influence Trump still holds over state Republicans came at last year's party convention when the governor was booed during his speech, sometimes loudly enough to nearly drown out his voice, and heckled over his certification of Biden's 2020 victory.

Despite Trump's attempts to unseat Kemp, Kemp has not publicly rejected the former president's election conspiracies theories and offered him praise earlier this year.

Last year, Kemp signed S.B. 202, a restrictive election law that restricted absentee voting and added new voter identification requirements. Biden called the legislation "Jim Crow in the 21st century."

After signing the bill, which Kemp reportedly saw as a way to restore his damaged standing among Trump supporters, the governor gestured in the direction of election-related conspiracies, saying in a statement that "President Biden, the left, and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box."

Even with Trump's endorsement, Perdue trails Kemp by a relatively large margin. In the most recently conducted poll of Republican primary voters, 39% said they would vote for Perdue, while 50% said they would vote for Kemp.

Perdue's fundraising has also lagged his opponent's despite an extensive donor network which allowed him to raise impressive sums during his two campaigns for U.S. Senate.

The Georgia primary is an important test of Trump's influence over the Republican Party. The Republican former president hosted a fundraiser for Perdue on Wednesday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. A photo opportunity with the two Republicans reportedly cost attendees $24,200.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent