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Tag: 2024 election

Is Iowa’s ‘First Primary’ Franchise About To Expire?

The jockeying has begun over which mix of states might take part in a series of coordinated opening primaries for 2024’s Democratic nominee.

In the past half-century since the Iowa caucuses have led off the presidential nominating season, only one Democratic candidate who was not already president — a U.S. senator from the neighboring state of Illinois, Barack Obama — went on to win the White House. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden all lost in Iowa in their first bid for the presidency, even though they went on to win the nomination and the election.

The record for Democratic presidential candidates in New Hampshire, the nation’s first presidential primary election, isn’t much better. In the same time period, only Carter — in his first campaign for the presidency in 1976 — won the state’s primary, Democratic nomination, and White House.

These awkward facts, coupled with criticism that both states’ voters do not reflect a sufficiently diverse cross-section of the national electorate, and a technical meltdown during Iowa’s 2020 caucuses that led to its results being delayed, have led the Democratic National Committee to open its first review since 2005 to reassess which states will open the 2024 presidential nominating season.

“Our party is best when we reflect the people we are trying to serve,” DNC Chair Jaime Harrison told the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) on March 28. “I want folks to understand that this process, like all of the processes that we have gone through time and time again after each election cycle, will be open. It will be accessible. And it will incorporate the diverse perspectives that make our party strong.”

Harrison’s language, like much of the RBC meeting, was cordial, and emphasized transparency and inclusiveness. But it was clear, from the comments made by several RBC members, that Iowa’s days as the nation’s first contest, a party-run caucus, may be numbered. If the state kept an early role, it would be conducted as a party-run primary — not a party-run caucus — which, in itself, would be a major change inside the state and nationally.

More pointedly, the jockeying has begun over which mix of states might take part in a series of coordinated opening primaries on the same day in different regions of the country. While it is impossible to predict what will emerge from the RBC’s review, which it hopes to present this August, voices have suggested that Michigan, New Jersey or Wisconsin should replace Iowa, amid concurrent elections in Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

“As things stand right now, the first state to hold a delegate selection process in 2024 would be Iowa, whose 80 percent white electorate hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in a decade,” wrote Morley Winograd, a former RBC chair and top party official who oversaw the creation of the party’s opening primary schedule, in a March 25 blog at the Washington-based Brookings Institution. “The second state would be New Hampshire, which may have more of a historical and legal claim [since 1920] to be ‘first in the nation’ but whose electorate is even whiter, 90 percent, than Iowa’s… Most importantly, neither state voted for Joe Biden’s candidacy in 2020.”

Morley was welcomed at the March 28 meeting by James Roosevelt Jr., RBC co-chair, who said that the panel looked forward to hearing from him. At the meeting, Harrison announced that the RBC would be holding “three national virtual listening sessions” in coming months to gather input from the public and stakeholders. RBC members also suggested that state parties, unions, political scientists, and past and future presidential candidates should all weigh in.

But the groundwork was already being laid for reconfiguring what the RBC committee refers to as “the pre-window period,” which are the nominating contests before the numerous primaries held on the first Tuesday in March, called Super Tuesday, and the final contests in mid-June.

As Roosevelt summarized, the RBC is envisioning a process where state parties would apply and make their case for an early slot. The panel is looking at several criteria, which are priorities but not inflexible. States should commit to a primary election, not a caucus. States should also play a competitive role in the fall’s general election. And they should have a diverse electorate.

New Priorities, Led by Diversity

At the meeting, some RBC members began to press various constituencies’ cases, starting with a push for choosing early states that have a more racially diverse electorate.

“We know that we can engage more diverse groups that we need to help us win in the general election,” said Donna Brazile, a former DNC chair, presidential campaign manager and recent Fox News analyst. “It’s time for us, Mr. Chairman, to take a hard look at this.”

“We cannot be stuck in a 50-year-old calendar when we are trying to win 2022 and 2024,” said Leah Daughtry of New York. “This idea of considering the changing electorate is so important. Our country is very different than it was when we first set up the [pre-Super Tuesday] window… African Americans comprise 25 percent of rural America, and when you add [in] Latino Americans and Native Americans, rural America is nearly 40 percent people of color.”

But other members countered that the presidential campaigns prefer smaller states.

“[What] presidential candidates have always wanted from us… is that the early states be small states, and I do not see that listed in this framework,” said Carol Fowler of South Carolina. “And presidential campaigns have very good reasons for that. It has to do with cost. It has to do with a candidate who is not well known being given a benefit about campaigning in small states before they move onto larger states. I do hope that will be something that we can consider.”

“Carol’s right,” said Scott Brennan of Iowa, speaking several minutes later. “I think it would be very helpful to hear from presidential campaigns, folks like that, because, again, well, I think the touchstone is electing Democratic presidents.”

Art Cullen, editor of the Storm Lake Times in northwest Iowa, recently wrote a Washington Post opinion piece where he said the DNC was poised to bypass and disrespect rural America, and, with that, extinguish the prospect of another candidate like Obama emerging and triumphing.

“Yes, the Democratic National Committee is holding its quadrennial ritual of lashing us deplorables because, its notables believe, the two early-voting states do not represent the electorate and because politicians hate having discerning voters run the show,” he said.

“The caucuses are misunderstood—they were never meant to pick a winner,” he continued. “Their role is to winnow the field—down from 10 or 20 candidates sometimes to five or six viable campaigns going into New Hampshire. In 2020, the Democratic winner was picked by Black women turning out in droves for Joe Biden in South Carolina.”

But even South Carolina, despite Biden’s debt to that state’s Democrats, might not make the RBC’s final cut, as it hasn’t elected a Democratic presidential candidate in the fall since Jimmy Carter in 1976 and is not a battleground state. (The DNC, however, historically follows an incumbent president’s preferences.)

Nevada, despite its diversity, has other problems. The state party has internal leadership fissures after Democratic Socialists swept all the positions, prompting Nevada’s top elected Democrats to create a “shadow party.” In 2020, the state party ignored the RBC and used untested software to tally its caucus votes, causing delays in announcing the winner that were longer than Iowa’s breakdown weeks before. (Because Bernie Sanders won by a large margin, the press ignored the technical snafus.) In 2021, Nevada passed legislation making it the earliest presidential primary state in the West.

In contrast, Iowa, which has become an increasingly red-run state in recent years, has not passed legislation to replace its caucuses with a government-run primary. That means Iowa’s Democratic Party would have to stand up another entirely new voting system in 2024 — if it preserved its early role — after the high-profile failure of its new voting system in 2020.

And Winograd, who led the RBC decades ago and had a major role in shaping the party’s current schedule, apart from pushing for Michigan to replace Iowa (he was that state’s Democratic Party chair in the 1970s) also noted in his recent blog post that New Hampshire might have to change its primary rules to satisfy the committee’s new requirements.

“There is, however, one thing New Hampshire can do to assure their first in the nation status, at least for 2024,” he wrote. “To deal with the state’s lack of diversity, the party should permit only registered Democrats to vote in its primary in 2024, abandoning their tradition of allowing voters from one party to vote in the other party’s contest.”

The RBC is heading into stormy waters. The politics, voting rules, and election administration details quickly become complicated. For example, other states, such as South Carolina and Virginia, have open primaries where voters who are not registered Democrats can participate. The RBC is unlikely to pursue a rule change that would upend more states than necessary.

No matter what the RBC decides, some states will not be pleased, which raises another possibility. The earliest nominating races, while high profile, only involve a small number of the delegates needed to win the nomination. Thus, small states might ignore the DNC and proceed no matter what, even if the RBC sanctions them after the fact—as it did in 2008 when Florida and Michigan moved their primary dates. (The RBC stripped both states of half of their delegates, but restored them before the national convention.)

Meanwhile, the competition to be first only promises to become more heated.

“Why not end the early primaries with the most bitterly contested swing state in the nation — Wisconsin?” wrote the New Republic’s Walter Shapiro, a veteran political journalist who first covered the Iowa caucuses in 1980, endorsing yet another Midwestern state.

“What matters more than anything is that the Democrats retain for 2024 and beyond the most democratic aspect of running for president,” he wrote. “And that is creating a system under which candidates do not view most of America as flyover country as they race from major media market to major media market. Even in a nation of 330 million, personal campaigning should matter.”

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.

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

How Republican Attorneys General May Rig The 2024 Election

As their states' top law enforcement officials, Republican attorneys general could use their broad powers to undermine the results of the 2024 presidential election with false claims of voter fraud, legal experts told the American Independent Foundation.

A Republican attorney general who is determined to undermine election results in their state would have broad authority to open investigations into claims of voter fraud, issue opinions on election law, and could even indict elections officials and poll workers, legal experts said.

Paul Nolette, a political scientist at Marquette University, said that while the state officials are not directly involved in the elections process, they could wield the legal authority granted to them by their office to interfere in the electoral process.

Attorneys general "have the broadest lanes of options and the most independence, I would argue, out of any official in state government," Nolette told the American Independent Foundation.

"I don't want to give the impression they can do whatever they want," Nolette said. "But just because they're not election officials doesn't mean that they won't have an impact on the election. And, in fact, I think they could have a substantial impact on election rules, and certainly the morass of litigation which, unfortunately, probably seems inevitable at this point in future election cycles."

Seth Masket, a University of Denver political scientist, said in a hypothetical 2024 presidential contest, a rogue attorney general could target voters and election officials with criminal charges: "If you have a state which votes narrowly Democratic but the state government is largely Republican, and the attorney general is Republican, we could see situations where the attorney general supports challenges to the way the vote was conducted, that they echo and bring forward some local concerns about the security of the vote, that they try and prosecute people for voting illegally, that they go after county clerks."

One example comes from Texas, where, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, state Attorney General Ken Paxton attempted to indict two election officials, both Democrats, on criminal charges. Grand juries in both cases declined to charge the officials, but the two cases show the powers a right-wing attorney general could exercise in pursuit of voter fraud.

"Just the attorney general's involvement in this sort of thing could have the effect of intimidating some potential voters," Masket said.

Republicans running for attorney general in states which were close in the 2020 election appear ready to take a harder line against election crimes; many have begun to stoke fears around alleged voter fraud and undermine the legitimacy of state and national elections.

Kalamazoo attorney Matthew DePerno, who is running to be Michigan's next attorney general, spread a conspiracy theory in the aftermath of the 2020 election that voting machines in northern Michigan undercounted Republican votes. Trump has endorsed DePerno in the race.

Michigan Republicans don't hold an electoral primary for the attorney general nomination and instead will meet at their state convention in April to choose a candidate for the position. While another candidate, former Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard, currently leads in campaign contributions, DePerno could close the gap thanks to Trump's fundraising efforts on his behalf.

Republicans in Arizona and Wisconsin — where President Joe Biden won by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively — have made the attorney general's power to prosecute election crimes a central part of their campaigns.

The front-runner for the Republican nomination in Arizona is Rodney Glassman, an attorney and former Democrat who has made conservative fears around voter fraud a key part of his campaign pitch. "Our elections need real oversight," Glassman said in his campaign announcement video. "If you cheat or commit fraud, you will be prosecuted."

Glassman has promised that, if elected, he will direct Arizona's recently formed Elections Integrity Unit to "investigate and prosecute election fraud." In the last 12 years, the Arizona attorney general's office has prosecuted and obtained convictions in just 34 cases of voter fraud.

These cases have backfired on Republicans in the past. Last September, an audit of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County that conservative activists had pushed for ended up awarding Biden 360 more votes. The Maricopa County Board voted last August to sue Republicans in the Arizona Senate for $2.8 million in damages to replace hundreds of voting machines and other voting equipment that was damaged in the audit.

Abraham Hamadeh, who is also running for attorney general in Arizona, was recently endorsed by the Koch-affiliated group FreedomWorks. Hamadeh has claimed that the 2020 election was rigged and promises to "prioritize the Election Integrity Unit and increase the number of prosecutors and investigators in order to be prepared and protect the 2024 election."

In Wisconsin, the front-runner in the Republican primary, Eric Toney, hasn't deployed the big lie explicitly. But he has gestured toward conservative anxieties about election security, saying on his campaign website that he "strongly supports improving and defending Wisconsin election laws."

Only one Nevada Republican has launched a campaign to challenge Democratic incumbent Attorney General Aaron Ford. Sigal Chattah, a Las Vegas attorney who became known for her legal opposition to the state's COVID-19 restrictions, hasn't made election integrity a major part of her campaign so far.

In 2020, Chattah donated $250 to Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who was alleging that Democrats were prepared to steal the presidential election. In an interview with ABC News, Chattah said that Ford hadn't investigated voter fraud extensively enough. The Chattah campaign did not return a request for comment.

Many Republican attorneys general played an important role in trying to keep Trump in office after he lost the 2020 presidential election. In December 2020, Texas' Paxton filed a lawsuit petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the presidential vote totals in four states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In all, 17 out of 25 Republican attorneys general signed on to the lawsuit.

Ten GOP attorneys general have thrown their support behind lawsuits filed by the Pennsylvania Republican Party to prevent the state from counting mail-in ballots that arrived within three days after Election Day. Those late ballots would not have swung the election in Trump's favor.

While the Supreme Court quickly rejected the Texas lawsuit, its conservative majority could potentially have the power to decide the results of the next presidential election.

Were a Republican state legislature to overturn its state's elections by recalling electors and appointing an alternative slate — as Trump and his political allies across the country pushed legislatures in Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania to do in 2020 — the determination of such a ploy's constitutionality could fall to the Supreme Court. Nolette noted that attorneys general, many of whom have experience litigating before the court, "could play an important if not decisive role."

Professor James A. Gardner, a constitutional and election law professor at the University of Buffalo, said he's not confident that other state officials could constrain the power of a rogue attorney general.

"In states where there is a Democratic governor, that will make a difference," Gardner told the American Independent Foundation. "Where there is unified Republican control, my confidence is zero."

He added, "What the Republicans have repeatedly shown by their behavior is that law doesn't matter to them at all."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

How GOP Governors Could Steal The 2024 Election — And How To Stop Them

Former prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks and journalist Carl Bernstein are among the Watergate-era figures who have commented that President Richard Nixon’s corruption during the 1970s pales in comparison to the actions of former President Donald Trump. Indeed, Nixon never lost a presidential election only to falsely claim that he didn’t and do everything imaginable to overturn the election results.

The aftermath of the 2020 election raises very real concerns that in the future, rogue Republicans will simply refuse to honor presidential election results that they don’t like — and an article by Business Insider’s Grace Panetta addresses the possibility of a rogue GOP governor trying to overturn the Electoral College outcome in 2024 should Trump run for president again and lose that state to a Democrat.

After the 2020 election, two GOP governors in states that Joe Biden won — Georgia’s Brian Kemp and Arizona’s Doug Ducey — infuriated Trump when they certified the presidential election results in their states and maintained that there was no reason to believe that Biden didn’t win them fairly. Panetta’s article examines the possibility of a future MAGA governor going rogue and refusing to do the right thing, unlike Kemp and Ducey in 2020.

“A bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to reform a 135-year-old law to save future elections from being stolen by their own colleagues,” Panetta explains in her article, which Business Insider published on January 31. “But if their well-intentioned attempts prove successful, they may inadvertently create a pathway for a less discussed but more urgent threat: a rogue governor in a swing state like Georgia single-handedly undermining the democratic process.”

The 135-year-old law that Panetta is referring to is the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Congress passed the ECA, Panetta notes, “following the disputed 1876 election between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes, which was marred by allegations of fraud and the disenfranchisement of Black voters.”

“As former President Donald Trump continues to relentlessly push his false claims of a fraudulent presidential election and openly says it should have been ‘overturned,’ some members of Congress want to revise the 19th Century law,” Panetta observes. “The proposed reforms to the ECA are designed to prevent the executive branch and Congress from undermining elections — as Trump and dozens of Republican members of Congress tried to do by raising objections to results at the state level in Arizona and Pennsylvania — and pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the ratification of then-candidate Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, leading to the January 6 insurrection.”

Panetta continues, “However, the suggested changes to the law would do little to constrain the power of state and local governments. By overseeing vote counting and certifying election results before they are sent to Congress for ratification, these levels of government arguably have as much power, if not more, than Congress and a sitting president to steal an election.”

After the 2020 election, Trump was unable to stop the ratifications of Biden’s victory at the state level. And he saw the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021 as his last chance to stay in the White House.

“Scholars say the ECA was designed to encourage Congress to defer to state outcomes and allow for objections to electoral slates in only certain very narrow circumstances, like a state's governor failing to certify the results on time or electors being bribed,” Panetta notes. “In recent years, however, those provisions have been intentionally misused by members of Congress — a small number of Democrats in 2005 and 2017, and far more Republicans in 2021 — who objected to counting single slates of electors because they disagreed with various states’ election procedures and were disappointed with the outcome of the presidential election.”

More than a year into Biden’s presidency, the possibility of GOP election mischief at the state level is a very real concern.

“Election denial movements have staked their flag in Republican-controlled state legislatures, which have passed dozens of new laws restricting voting and elections, politicized election administration, and pursued costly partisan post-election ballot reviews in places like Arizona and Wisconsin,” Panetta warns. “Dozens of candidates who have embraced Trump's lie that the 2020 election was stolen are vying to become their states' chief election officials and governors. If candidates like Kari Lake in Arizona and David Perdue in Georgia are successful, it would give them final say over whether to certify a slate of electors for a presidential candidate.”

Panetta adds, “Such trends raise the risk of a disputed or possibly stolen election in the 2022 midterms. It also makes the current push to reform the ECA not just about preventing a replay of January 6, but averting a worse crisis that could send the country into a constitutional tailspin.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

#EndorseThis: Don Jr. Gets Shredded In Hilarious 2024 Campaign Ad Parody (VIDEO)

Jimmy Kimmel, having already made comedy mincemeat out of Fox News pretend journalist Peter Doocy, turned his sights on Don Jr (or Fredo) with a new parody of the 2024 presidential election.

On Thursday, January 28, "The Jimmy Kimmel Show" did a segment about possible 2024 Republican presidential candidates. Proving that the Republican Party has descended into a full-blown intellectually, morally bankrupt circus, According to recent Donald Trump Jr. appears alongside Florida Governor Ron Desantis as frontrunners among Republican voters if Trump, himself, chooses not to run again for a second term. Given the infinite amount of comedic possibilities of a potential Don Jr. run, Kimmell joyously ripped Fredo apart in a hilarious campaign ad parody.

Watch Don Jr. 2024 Campaign Parody Ad Below:

‘Buried’ GOP Poll Result Reveals Problems For Trump — And His Party

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Askarinam and Hounshell continue, “But the lines crossed beginning in January of last year — and as of this month, 56% of GOP voters said that they considered themselves more as Republicans, while only 36% said they identified more as Trump supporters…. Whatever the reasons behind the shift among GOP voters, it’s safe to say that Trump’s potential primary rivals are watching these numbers closely.”

Hounshell, on January 21, tweeted:


Adam Jentleson, however, responded:

Reprinted with permission from Alternet


Why Would Trump Run In 2024? To Escape Accountability For His Crimes

Almost a year after Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, former President Donald Trump continues to be the target of multiple investigations — from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Georgia to Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, Jr. to New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who has been probing the Trump Organization’s financial activities. This week, James alleged that her office’s investigation shows a history of “fraudulent or misleading” financial practices. And according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, these investigations can be used to predict whether or not Trump will run for president in 2024.

When NBC News’ Tom Winter described James’ investigation in a Twitter thread, Haberman responded:

Attorney Daniel S. Goldman, who served as counsel for U.S. House Democrats during their first of two impeachments of Trump, saw Haberman's tweet and responded:

Goldman was planning to run for New York State Attorney General in the 2022 midterms. But when James ended her gubernatorial campaign, Goldman decided not to run and endorsed James’ reelection.

Here are some more responses to Haberman’s tweet:

Republished with permission from Alternet

DeSantis Reveals Biggest Regret Of Covid Lockdown (Which Will Anger Trump)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has revealed his biggest mistake during the COVID-19 pandemic; a mistake that will likely ruffle former President Donald Trump's feathers.

On Thursday, January 13, the Republican governor appeared on the conservative podcast "Ruthless," where he revealed his biggest regrets while governing during the pandemic. DeSantis, a known Trump ally, suggested that he wasn't in favor of the national lockdown that was enforced at the onset of the pandemic, according to CNN.

He recalled the early days of the pandemic and revealed he was actually involved in the White House's pandemic response, offering advice to the former president. Although the pandemic had quickly became a national crisis, DeSantis claims he was relatively shocked when Trump shut down the economy.

"I never thought in February, early March, that [coronavirus] would lead to locking down the country," the Republican governor said on Thursday. "I just didn't. I didn't think that was on the radar."

Per CNN, the Florida governor largely blamed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and head of the White House coronavirus task force, for advising Trump on shutting the country down.

Fauci along with other public health experts advised the former president, but the story notes that "the decision was Trump's to make, and DeSantis ultimately followed the White House's lead, closing Florida schools, government buildings, gyms, bars, and restaurant dining rooms and advising Floridians to stay home."

DeSantis' latest critical remarks about Trump follow similar comments he made back in November. At the time, DeSantis criticized the travel restrictions that were implemented as part of the pandemic response.

Although he had also supported the decision Trump made at the timie, he again came to believe that was a mistake. "I was probably the first governor in January of 2020 to call for travel restrictions from China. I supported President Trump when he did that," DeSantis said. "But we have to take a step back and acknowledge that those travel restrictions just didn't work."

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

Internet Mocks 'Pathetic' Lindsey Graham For Groveling To Trump

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), second only to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy when it comes to being Trump's footstool, all but handed over his organs to the defeated former president when asked about the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Lacking any functional backbone, Graham heaped praise on the man he once warned would destroy the party if elected in 2016 and vigorously denounced following his failed January 6 coup.

" If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump,” Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “He’s the most consequential Republican since Ronald Reagan. It’s his nomination if he wants it, and I think he’ll get reelected in 2024.”

The internet took notice and savagely laid into Graham