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Tag: josh mandel

J.D. Vance's Cynical Senate Candidacy Crashing As He Shuns Debates

In Ohio, Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance and former State Treasurer Josh Mandel are battling for the GOP nomination in the Buckeye State's 2022 U.S. Senate race — and they are jumping through hoops to show who is the biggest MAGA wingnut. Vance is, hands down, the bigger flip-flopper of the two; he went from being a blistering critic of Donald Trump in 2016 to being a strident, in-your-face Trump sycophant during the 2020 election. And Never Trump conservative Jim Swift, in an article published by The Bulwark on November 11, argues that Vance's obvious insincerity is sinking his campaign.

Not unlike all the other former Trump critics in the GOP who became knee-jerk Trump devotees — from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to Rep. Elise Stefanik of upstate New York — Vance comes across as a shameless opportunist who will say or do anything to show how MAGA he is. Arch-conservative Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, in contrast, now comes across as a principled MAGA opponent; liberals and progressives detest many of her policies and neocon views, but find themselves applauding her for defending the rule of law and the United States' system of checks and balances.

Cheney views President Joe Biden as the loyal opposition; Vance and Mandel don't. Or, at least Vance pretends that he doesn't. The Hillbilly Elegy author is such a cynical flip flopper that is hard to gauge what he really thinks.

But Mandel, Swift stresses in his Bulwark article, is convincing MAGA voters in Ohio that he is the real deal.

"As much as he tries, J.D. Vance cannot out-crazy Josh Mandel," Swift explains. "But try he has. Bizarre video rants about Kyle Rittenhouse; attacking detractors for having a picture of an animal in their profile picture; a defense of Trump hatchet man Johnny McEntee, who comes across as a psychopath — and this is all within just the last three days. There's so much more."

Swift continues, "Even while J.D. continues to try to compete with Josh on the Ohio Right-Wing Scoville Scale of Spicy Craziness, he is doing something that suggests that his Peter Thiel-supported candidacy is imploding. Vance has chickened out and refused to debate other candidates twice recently, citing prior commitments. But reporting from the Daily Beast contradicts that excuse."

Mandel, Swift observes, has been "running away with the race in polls." For example, a WPA Intelligence poll released in late September found Mandel ahead of Vance by 24 percent. However, an OH-Sen poll found Mandel ahead by only three percent.



Swift notes that a recent anti-Vance attack ad slams him for being so ridiculous a flip-flopper:


Biden’s Vaccine Orders Greeted By Violent Rhetoric From Republicans

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republicans are up in arms about President Joe Biden's new plan, announcedon Thursday, for what the White House calls a "Path out of the Pandemic."

The plan includes requirements that all federal employees, workers at hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, and workers at companies with 100 or more employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly testing.

Some GOP elected officials and candidates have called for citizens to "revolt" against the requirements, which are intended to get the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic under control, while others have called Biden's move "authoritarian," even though the U.S. government has been implementing vaccination mandates for more than 170 years, notably for children entering school.

Currently, more than 1,500 people in the United States are reported to be dying of COVID-19 per day, on average, with data showing nearly all of those deaths are among the unvaccinated.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who himself was subject to multiple vaccination requirements during his years of service in the Navy, railed against Biden's new policy.

"Are you people trying to start a full on revolt?" Crenshaw tweeted. "Honestly what the hell is wrong with Democrats? Leave people the hell alone. This is insanity."

Ohio GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel used violent rhetoric in a Thursday night tweet: "Do NOT comply with the tyranny. When the gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do."

A number of Republicans are calling Biden's mandate authoritarian and "unconstitutional." Supporters of Biden's orders call that a false accusation, noting that the Supreme Court has ruled that vaccine requirements are constitutional. In its decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905, the court determined that "it is within the police power of a State to enact a compulsory vaccination law."

Attorney Marc Elias tweeted on Thursday from the ruling in Jacobson, "Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others."

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who served as the White House physician to Barack Obama and Donald Trump before running for Congress, tweeted, "Biden's authoritarian announcement to impose illegal vaccine mandates on businesses is chilling. The decision to get vaccinated should be between you and your doctor, not illegally mandated by President Biden. This is OUTRAGEOUS!"

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) made similar comments, tweeting, "This un-American & tyrannical decision isn't about science; it's about political science in the form of tanking poll numbers. Biden went from saying no mandates by the federal government to this unconstitutional order that would coerce inoculation. [Stop] the authoritarian mandates."

Among those expressing support for Biden's executive orders was the American Medical Association.

"With the rapid spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, alarming increases in COVID-19 related deaths and hospitalizations, and our health system and physicians stretched thin, the AMA is pleased by the Administration's significant efforts to help get this pandemic under control," the AMA said in a statement after Biden's announcement. "Aggressive measures will be needed to prevent further widespread transmission of COVID-19."

And vaccination mandates are popular — despite the vocal opposition from Republican lawmakers and candidates.

A Gallup survey from August found that "majorities of Americans" support vaccine requirements.

The poll found that 61 percent of Americans support proof of vaccination for air travel, 58 percent support it for attendance at events with large crowds, 56 percent support it for dining in restaurants, and 56 percent support it for entering offices and other work sites.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Ohio GOP Candidate Praises Woman Who Went To Work Sick

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In Ohio, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel is among the far-right Republicans competing in the Buckeye State's 2022 U.S. Senate race. And the Trump loyalist is being slammed by critics following a Friday, August 20 visit to an Ohio brewery where he praised an employee for going to work sick.

The brewery that Mandel visited was Inside the Five in Perrysburg, Ohio, where he met an employee named Brianne. Mandel later tweeted a photo of himself with his arm around Brianne, writing, "Even though Brianne was sick today, she came to work because she knew they were short servers. These are the type of American workers that make our country strong."

Neither Mandel nor Brianne is wearing a mask in the August 20 photo. After co-owner Chris Morris found out that Brianne had been sick, he sent her home — stressing that he doesn't want employees to come to work when they're sick. And now, according to Ohio's 13 ABC, Morris is worried that his business will suffer because of the bad publicity Mandel has brought him.

Morris told 13 ABC, "Anytime we're shown in a bad light, it's upsetting to us, but we'll get through this."

Mandel has an embarrassing history of coronavirus denialism. On June 1, he tweeted a photo of himself burning a protective face mask, posting "FREEDOM":

On August 20, Mandel doubled down on saying that Brianne should have come to work sick — and he even attacked the brewery, posting:

Mandel is being inundated with negative tweets for encouraging risky behavior during a pandemic. Journalist Molly Jong-Fast posted:

Here are some more reactions:

Political Spending At Trump Properties Plunges Sharply

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

The number of federal political committees that have spent money in the first half of 2021 at Trump Organization properties has dropped dramatically from the same period two years ago, Federal Election Commission filings show. Those continuing to spend: a smaller circle of loyal supporters of former President Donald Trump and candidates jockeying for his favor in contested Republican primaries.

During the first six months of 2021, 27 federal committees have reported spending $348,000 at Trump Organization properties, with the Republican National Committee accounting for more than half the total. That's a steep decline from the 177 committees that did so during the 2019-2020 election cycle or the 78 committees that spent more than $1.6 million at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump International Hotel in Washington and other company sites in the first half of 2019, filings show.

Of course, that spending came in the run-up to a presidential election in which Trump was the incumbent. The biggest spenders in 2019 were the RNC and Trump's own political committees raising money to support his campaign.

While the RNC is the top spender so far in 2021, many of the other PACs that used Trump properties as venues for fundraising events and other activities appear to have stopped their spending. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the fundraising arm of House Republicans, has not reported spending any money at Trump properties through May of this year after spending $32,532 during the previous election cycle. (National party committees will file reports covering activity in June on July 20, which may show some spending at Trump's facilities.)

Those that have spent money at Trump properties this year represent some of the former president's most fervent loyalists, including Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who is running for an open Senate seat, and Ronny Jackson of Texas, who previously was the White House physician. Overall, 13 of the 23 committees spending this year are connected to current members of the House or Senate.

"Republican candidates are in a delicate moment, I think, because of uncertainty surrounding Trump's future power," said Abby Wood, a professor of law, political science and public policy at the University of Southern California, in an email. "Trump's power in the next election is much less certain than it was from the vantage point of folks spending money (and enriching him) at his properties in 2019."

The drop in political spending comes at a precarious time for the Trump Organization, which in early July was hit with 10 felony charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., as well as additional charges against Allen Weisselberg, the organization's chief financial officer. Both Weisselberg and the company have pleaded not guilty to the charges, but the impact of the investigation and the fallout of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have damaged the company's business prospects. The Washington Post described the company as at its "lowest point in decades."

The other spenders include congressional candidates advertising their ties to Trump, such as Lynda Blanchard, who is one of Brooks' opponents for the GOP nomination in the Alabama Senate race, and Josh Mandel, who's running for an open Senate seat in Ohio. Brooks, Blanchard and Mandel have each paid to use Mar-a-Lago, Trump's property in Palm Beach, Florida, while Jackson paid for an event at the Trump hotel in Washington.

"It is my intention to do fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago as often as I can, so long as they help generate positive cash flow for my Senate campaign for America First policies," Brooks said in a statement. "I personally thank President Trump for allowing me to use Mar-a-Lago and hope he will continue to be so generous in the future."

The campaigns of Blanchard, Jackson, and Mandel, along with the RNC and the Trump Organization, did not respond to requests for comment. The RNC has spent more money for events at other locations this year, including $529,000 for a donor event at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach in April.

Mar-a-Lago, a private club that also doubles as the former president's residence, has been the leading recipient of federal political committee spending among Trump properties, bringing in at least $283,000 this year, much of it for hosting an RNC donor retreat in May. In addition to getting the venue and Florida weather, politicians holding events at the club stand a good chance of having Trump make an appearance.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the BLT Prime restaurant located there, have seen a significant drop-off in political spending compared to the first half of 2019. Two years ago, the D.C. hotel and restaurant brought in more than $518,000, according to FEC records. This year, without Trump in the White House nearby, the total is less than $15,000.

"Given Trump is no longer president and there is less need to curry favor with him, congressional incumbents and party committees may choose less expensive venues," said Paul Herrnson, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut.

Trump Makes Ohio Senate Hopefuls Perform ‘Apprentice’ Audition At Mar-a-Lago

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump is already working behind the scenes to set the stage for the 2022 primary election. He may not be making a return to the White House in 2022 but he is reportedly working to make sure he manages Republican lawmakers who seek higher office in 2022.

According to a report published by Politico, the former president recently met with four Republican Senate candidates in Ohio who are launching political campaigns in hopes of replacing Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) who is set to retire at the end of his term. The publication reports that on Wednesday, March 24, an Apprentice-style meeting took place at Trump's luxurious Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

The publication reports that the four Senate seat contenders—including former Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, tech executive Bernie Moreno, and Mike Gibbons, the investment banker who co-chaired Trump's Ohio fundraising group—traveled to the luxury golf club to attend a fundraiser for Trump's former White House aide Max Miller, who has entered the Senate race to unseat Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).

The meeting scene that played out behind closed doors at Mar-a-Lago is being similar to the boardroom scenes highlighted on Trump's former TV show The Apprentice. The Senate candidates spent their time competing for the former president's support. In addition to being compared to the boardroom-style game show, one person familiar with the media also insisted that it was more akin to "The Hunger Games."

According to Talking Points Memo, one person present noted that "the Ohio Republican Senate hopefuls were thrown into an unexpected and awkward showdown for Trump's support ahead of next year's midterm elections." The meeting began with Trump asking each candidate about the status of their campaigns. Each candidate had the opportunity to highlight the strong points of their campaigns.

At one point, former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel bragged about "crushing" Timken in the preliminary polls while Gibbons highlighted the support she has received due to serving as Ohio's Republican Party chair.

Mandel responded: "Mr. President I only know two ways to do things: either not at all, or balls to the wall. I hired a bunch of killers on my team. I'm a killer, and we're going to win the primary and then the general."

Gibbons pointed out his history of contributing to the fundraising efforts for Trump's presidential campaign while Moreno noted that his daughter previously worked with the former president's re-election campaign. The latest report underscores the extent of Trump's efforts to take down the Republican lawmakers who voted in favor of his impeachment.