Tag: 2024 election
'Losing Sucks': Virginia GOP Discord Surges After Campaign Failure

'Losing Sucks': Virginia GOP Discord Surges After Campaign Failure

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin's recent major legislative loss is shedding light on state Republican infighting, The Washington Post reports.

As other GOP members push to remove House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) from his position over failing to counter Youngkin's Spirit of Virginia political action committee's anti-abortion $1.4 million TV campaign, Virginia Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) is challenging the speaker for his seat.

The Post spoke with three GOP delegates who "said the governor's PAC did not consult them about the ad buy or the flurry of mailers on the same theme that the PAC sent to some districts," and the claimed the PAC also "ignored their concerns and made last-minute demands for them to appear at Youngkin-led rallies and other events, which they said were primarily meant to promote his potential last-minute bid for president."

The Postreports:

With prospects for his conservative agenda and potential White House bid on the line, Youngkin and his team made abortion a central theme with all 140 House and Senate seats on the ballot and both narrowly divided chambers up for grabs.

The strategy was a notable shift for Virginia Republicans, who have tended to play up kitchen table issues — such as the economy, schools and crime — and downplay abortion. After wooing GOP caucus voters with a vow to 'protect the life of every Virginia child born and unborn,' Youngkin himself said little about abortion in the 2021 general election. He was captured on video saying he had to downplay the issue to win swing voters but promising to 'go on offense' against the procedure once elected.

The governor eventually "proposed banning abortion after 15 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk," the report notes.

Two people familiar with the campaign told the Post that Kilgore was aware of "the abortion strategy and approved of it," but one delegate denies that claim.

"I have worked with the Governor and support his agenda whole heartedly," Kilgore said in a statement to the Post."However, this isn't about the Governor — it's about the future of leadership in the House of Delegates, and making the changes we need to make to be successful in the long term for the Virginians we represent."

He added, "While we are at a crossroads that we neither wanted nor expected, now is the time to come together and move forward."

The Post emphasizes that "infighting within the Virginia GOP suggests that Youngkin, at the midpoint of his four-year term, could have trouble with his own party as he faces a General Assembly controlled by Democrats."

Referring to the failed anti-abortion campaign, another Republican delegate told the Post, "We literally ran on one of the third rails of politics. We told them, this is the year to run on inflation, grocery bills, gas bills, fuel costs, freakin’ child care. … If we're not providing an answer or a solution to those things, then the people are looking at us like, 'Why are you talking about abortion?''

According to the report, the PACs executive director, Matthew Moran, said "on X that he looked forward to addressing any criticism at a panel discussion Monday night," writing, "Losing sucks, and I'm never afraid to wear anything on my chin. You can't be prepared to take the credit if you’re not also prepared to take the criticism. … I expect a good discussion on the effect of the Secure Your Vote Virginia program, the role of abortion and the thoughts behind our strategy to combat the attacks (most of them completely false), and why we invested in certain races. I look forward to all of that."

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Vivek Ramaswamy

Eminem To Vivek: Stop Using My Music Or Else

During an appearance in Iowa earlier this month, biotech millionaire and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy "just got on the stage and cut loose" to rapper Eminem's song "Lose Yourself" — and it will likely be the last time, according to The Washington Post.

Per The Post, the longtime emcee has asked the GOP hopeful to refrain from using his music again.

A letter sent to Ramaswamy from the performance rights organization BMI, according to the report, notes that the company will "consider any performance of" the rapper's compositions — also known as Eminem Works — "by the Vivek 2024 campaign from this date forward to be a material breach of the Agreement for which BMI reserves all rights and remedies with respect thereto."

The Post reports:

Moments ahead of his performance in Iowa, Ramaswamy — who used to rap as a student at Harvard University under the stage name 'Da Vek' — was asked by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) what his favorite walkout song is. He responded with 'Lose Yourself.' The song, from the 2002 film '8 Mile' and won the Oscar for Best Original Song, contains autobiographical elements from the rapper’s life and his overcoming of obstacles in his path to fame. Ramaswamy gleefully performed part of the song to a cheering crowd at the Iowa State Fair, and the moment went viral online.

The newspaper also notes:

This is not the first time the rapper, who's also known as Slim Shady and was born Marshall B. Mathers III, snubbed a Republican politician.

On the day of the third and final presidential debate of the 2016 election, Eminem released a surprise song titled 'Campaign Speech' warning Americans against then-candidate Donald Trump. Nearly a year later, at the BET Hip Hop Awards, the rapper said Trump's policies were harmful to America and also criticized fans of his who voted for Trump in 2016. Right before the 2004 election, Eminem released a political protest song called 'Mosh' that openly criticized then-President George W. Bush.

According to the report, Ramaswamy's campaign senior adviser Tricia McLaughlin replied to an email with questions about Eminem's request, saying, "To the American people’s chagrin, we will have to leave the rapping to the Real Slim Shady."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Donald Trump

Four New Polls Show Indictments Are Damaging Trump's Presidential Bid

Four new polls published Wednesday and Thursday have found that majorities of Americans believe former President Donald Trump’s spate of indictments are serious and that he committed crimes, which could be problematic for him in his comeback bid.

Polls from ABC News, Fox News, Quinnipiac, and a Democratic pollster found varying levels of trouble for Trump, who is charged with felonies in four different states on counts ranging from improperly withholding classified documents to conspiracy to defraud the United States through efforts to stay in office after losing the 2020 election.

ABC News released a poll on Thursday that found 50 percent of Americans think Trump should suspend his campaign because of his criminal indictments.

A Fox News poll published Wednesday night found that 53 percent of registered voters believe Trump did something illegal in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The Fox News poll found that while Republican voters don’t believe Trump did anything wrong, a majority of independent voters — whose votes Trump needs to win a general election — think Trump did something illegal and the Department of Justice is not acting out of political motivation. Nearly two-thirds, or 62 percent, of independent voters believe Trump did something illegal.

Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac University poll published Wednesday found that 54 percent of Americans believe Trump should be prosecuted.

More concerning for Trump is that the Quinnipiac poll show 68 percent of Americans believe that someone convicted of a felony should not be eligible to be president.

Trump is scheduled to go to trial in the classified documents case in Florida in May of next year. Special counsel Jack Smith wants a trial in January over Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And Fulton County District Attorney Fani Williams wants the trial over Trump’s efforts to overturn the Georgia election to be scheduled for March.

Finally, Semaforreports that a poll from the Benenson Strategy Group, which acted as the pollster for the presidential campaigns of former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, found that both independent and Republican voters are less likely to vote for Trump because of the indictments.

That poll found 61 percent of independent voters are somewhat or much less likely to vote for Trump against President Joe Biden because of the indictments; while 24 percent of Republican voters say they are somewhat or much less likely to vote for Trump over Biden for the same reason. Semafor reported that, according to a Benenson Strategy Group memo accompanying the poll, that’s “more than enough to swing a close general election.” The poll also found Trump and Biden tied 46 -- 46 percent in the general election.

Trump, for his part, has said the indictments will help him in the 2024 election.

According to the Associated Press, Trump said at a campaign event in Alabama on August 4, after he was arraigned in Washington, D.C., over efforts to overturn the 2020 elections: “Any time they file an indictment, we go way up in the polls. We need one more indictment to close out this election. One more indictment, and this election is closed out. Nobody has even a chance.”

Trump’s support in the primary has actually grown since his first indictment. The FiveThirtyEight polling average has Trump at 53.8 percent, with his next closest primary opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at just 15 percent.

But while the indictments may help him in a primary, Republican strategists are warning that’s not likely to be the case in a general election.

“Gonna be cool when the party’s nominee spends the summer in court and all of his donors’ money on legal expenses,” Republican strategist Rory Cooper tweeted after Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida set the classified documents case for May 2024. “That formula wins every time.”

“If we make it about Donald Trump, it’s going to be a three-ring circus and we will lose,” former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a CNN commentator, said on the network after the Georgia indictment, shown in a video clip tweeted on Tuesday by journalist Aaron Rupar. “And the only place we’re going to be able to make our campaign speeches as Republicans are going to be on courthouse steps, because it looks like every Republican that hung out with Trump is going to get an indictment.”

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Why Georgia Was The Worst Location For Trump's Conspiracy

Why Georgia Was The Worst Location For Trump's Conspiracy

There’s a reason why Donald Trump’s attorneys keep trying to delay any legal action until after the 2024 election, and it has nothing to do with protecting Trump’s rally schedule. Should Trump, God help us all, find his way back into the White House, he’s counting on his ability to make federal charges disappear with a snap of his tiny fingers. Should any other Republican get the chance to hold up their hand and take the oath, Trump can always count on them to throw him a lifeline. Heck, there’s even a fair chance that President Joe Biden, last great believer in bipartisanship and the intrinsic goodness of his political enemies, might give Trump a pardon. Especially if any of Biden’s former Senate colleagues approach him with sad puppy-dog eyes.

But no one in the White House can waive state charges. The presidential pardon purview doesn’t quite stop at the waters of the Potomac, but it is limited to crimes charged in federal court.

Still, that leaves 26 states out there with Republican governors who might be all too happy to pre-squash any indictment the moment it appears. But even if Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp were so inclined, he doesn’t have that option. Georgia is one of very few states where the governor has no pardon power at all. Trump may have picked the very worst place to FAFO.

In 1936, Georgia elected a governor called E. D. “Ed” Rivers. Rivers expanded state services and even offered his state a “Little New Deal.” He supported programs like rural electrification and nearly doubled state spending on education.

Before you start cheering, note that Rivers was also extraordinarily corrupt, even in a state known at the time for corruption. He had a habit of settling disputes with political opponents by sending in the Georgia National Guard. Oh yeah, and he was the “Grand Titan” of the Ku Klux Klan.

But most importantly for this story, one of the ways the violent racist governor was padding his pockets was by selling pardons. Rivers assembled an entire pardon-selling “racket” (too bad there were no racketeering laws at the time) peddling pardons all over the state. He even had a system where he would pre-sign blank pardons, then send a driver around to prisons to see who had the money to get their name filled in. No crime too serious, no bribe too large, just sign here.

The result of this was that Georgia stripped the governor of pardon power.

There are 37 states that leave pardons entirely up to the governor. In another five states, the governor can issue pardons, but only to those people whose names are brought to him by a state pardon board. Seven other states have pardons that are issued by independent commissions, not the governor. Florida is, as you might expect, something of a mess, with both the governor and cabinet members weighing in on pardons.

Technically, Georgia is one of those states that put pardon power entirely in the hands of a pardon board, with no authority to the governor, but Georgia’s board of pardons also has some fairly severe limitations. As with most states, it can’t waive charges that haven’t gone to trial or interrupt trials in progress. So even if that board is packed with MAGA, Trump can’t count on it to bail him out of the case in Fulton County.

But it’s worse than that, because the Georgia board doesn’t hand out pardons in the sense that Trump scattered them among his criminal pals like Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, and Dinesh D’Souza. Nobody in Georgia receives a get out of jail free card.

What the Georgia board provides is a way for people to clear their records … but it can only be delivered five years after any sentence has been fully served. And even then, it comes only if during those five years, the former prisoner has “lived a law-abiding life."

The only possibility of avoiding jail time if Trump is convicted in Georgia comes buried deep in Georgia Code Title 17, which restores some authority to judges when dealing with mandatory sentences. Whether any aspect of this statute applies to RICO cases like the one Trump and company are facing is something that will take some court decisions all on its own.

Of course, Republicans are already horrified by the idea that Trump could face a sentence that can’t be pardoned, and they are on the case.

Mike Davis: “Under the Georgia law, there’s a statute that limits the Republican governor’s ability to pardon. And I think that the legislature in Georgia needs to amend that statute and give Gov. Kemp the ability to pardon.”

I can think of a ... fewreasons why Gov. Brian Kemp might not make it priority number one to pardon Trump.

However, there’s an even better reason this is unlikely to happen: That state board of pardons was created through a constitutional amendment, meaning it would take a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Georgia legislature, as well as a statewide vote, to roll that authority back to the governor. Republicans might try an end-run around that by changing the authority of the board, but that would be subject to legal questions unlikely to be settled before Trump has been tucked beneath the rough alongside the 13th tee.

Trump made the bad decision to expressly attempt to overturn votes in a county with a district attorney willing to stand up to the heat of his supporters, to commit crimes that subject Trump to a RICO act that imposes required jail time, and to do it all in a state where no one can bail him out.

This is the “and find out” section of the story. It’s shaping up to be a good one.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.