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GOP Cancelling Presidential Primaries In At Least Four States

Trump allies in Nevada, South Carolina, Arizona, and Kansas are plotting to deny Republican voters the opportunity to reject Trump in a primary contest, Politico reported Friday. Republican officials in all four states are planning on scrapping their primary elections next year, granting Trump their support rather than allowing voters to choose.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who is challenging Trump for the Republican nomination, told Politico that the moves “show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft.”

Walsh also vowed to “loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.”

Another Republican, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, is also challenging Trump for the nomination and was upset about states canceling their nominating contests. “We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America,” Weld told Politico. “Donald Trump is doing his best to make the Republican Party his own personal club. Republicans deserve better.”

Rumbles about protecting Trump from any and all challengers first began in December 2018, when South Carolina officials broached the idea of canceling their Republican primary to protect Trump.

Fears that a Republican challenger could embarrass Trump continued into January when an RNC delegate from the Virgin Islands sent a frantic email to colleagues worried about “calculated political treachery” of some Republicans intent on “destroying our party and denying President Trump re-election.”

In February, Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan blasted fellow Republicans for “unprecedented” efforts to block any and all challengers to Trump.

“It’s very undemocratic,” Hogan said at the time. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been involved in the Republican Party for most of my life. It’s unprecedented.”

Hogan briefly toyed with the idea of challenging Trump, but later abandoned the notion.

Republican officials claim their decisions are based on cost savings, rather than helping Trump save face.

“It would be malpractice on my part to waste money on a caucus to come to the inevitable conclusion that President Trump will be getting all our delegates in Charlotte,” Michael McDonald, Nevada GOP Chairman, told Politico. While Trump won the Nevada caucus in 2016, more than half of Republicans in the state wanted a different candidate.

If McDonald and other Republican officials have their way, Republican voters in Nevada, South Carolina, Arizona, and Kansas will not have an opportunity next year to show their support — or disdain — for Trump.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

 

Photo Credit: Mayberry Health and Home

Kansas Republicans Turn On Kris Kobach, Top GOP Vote Suppressor

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com.

Few people have done more to shape the Republican Party’s recent crusade against voting rights, or have been given more power and influence to regulate the polls, than Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

But now, Kobach’s career looks like it’s in freefall — exactly at the moment Kobach is trying to unseat fellow Republican Jeff Colyer for governor.

Kobach’s latest humiliation came on Friday. After Kobach was found in contempt of court, Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to ban state funds from being used to pay any penalties he might face.

According to the Topeka Capitol-Journal, the ban is likely illegal and unenforceable. But the vote is a stunning disavowal from the party that not only supported Kobach’s war on democracy but handed him the firepower to wage it.

Kobach has been a formidable force within the GOP as one of the loudest voices alleging massive illegal voting and pushing for severe restrictions at the polls.

Kobach was celebrated by Trump, who has repeatedly claimed he only lost the popular vote due to voter fraud (which has been disproven). He was even appointed to co-chair Mike Pence’s commission on “election integrity.”

The truth is that his claim of an epidemic of noncitizen voting does not exist. His “reforms” just block legal voters, most of which are low-income and non-white.

Koback attempted to implement many laws known to hold up voters, including requiring voters to submit proof of citizenship before registering — which was repeatedly shot down in court. His personal investigators found barely any cases of voter fraud. And his plan for excessive voter cross-checking is quietly being abandoned, with eight states pulling out over concerns the system is inaccurate and insecure.

And Trump’s voter fraud commission collapsed, after state leaders in both parties refused to submit data and the commission was sued by one of its own members.

As a final humiliation, Kobach was found in contempt of court and ordered to pay the ACLU’s legal fees after the organization sued him for his voter suppression tactics.

Judge Julie Robinson, a George W. Bush appointee, had to reprimand him for not following court procedure, and his own witnesses failed to provide one example of an election being swayed by noncitizen voters.

It seems like Republicans have caught on that their once rising star is a failure. And they want no part of the fallout from his disgrace.

IMAGE: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach looks on as he talks about the Kansas voter ID law in his Topeka, Kansas office May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Dave Kaup

Kansas Republicans Finally Admit The Experiment Has Failed

Reprinted with permission from ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION.

Earlier this week, Dorothy and Toto returned to Kansas. Or reality returned, anyway.

The Republican-controlled state legislature revolted against the preposterous, alternative-reality dogma espoused by the ultra-conservative governor, Sam Brownback, who is a follower of the doctrine that claims cutting taxes will increase government revenue. On June 6, the legislature overturned Brownback’s veto, keeping in place a law that will undo the governor’s long-standing tax cuts and increase taxes by $1.2 billion over the next two years.

That amounted to a repudiation of a reckless philosophy with which Brownback is now completely identified. And it ought to serve as a warning to President Donald Trump, whose budget is modeled on the same magical thinking. The president has proposed whopping tax cuts that will overwhelmingly benefit the rich, claiming that those tax cuts will prompt businesses to hire more people, thereby creating a bounty of new jobs.

Several decades ago, conservative political strategists, aided by economists such as Arthur Laffer, popularized “supply-side” economics, although many respectable Republicans were skeptical at the time. When George H.W. Bush ran against Ronald Reagan during the 1980 GOP presidential primaries, he dismissed that ideology as “voodoo economics.”

But Reagan won, and supply-side economics gained popularity in the Republican Party, mostly because the idea served the interests of the rich to whom the party catered. Wealthy business moguls wanted their taxes cut, even though such cuts would inevitably starve the public treasury. Since conservatives also claimed to be fiscally prudent, they invented the notion that cutting taxes would increase the treasury.

Instead, the dogma of tax cuts has exacerbated income inequality (the rich benefit disproportionately) and eroded basic public services. State legislatures have hacked away at funds for colleges and universities, weakening America’s envied system of higher education. Primary and secondary education has been starved, too. Basic infrastructure — roads, bridges, railroads, dams — is collapsing. The electric grid is an early-20th-century relic.

And there is no evidence that tax cuts lead to job growth. In fact, the opposite is true: Some of the states with the lowest taxes have weaker economies than states with much higher taxes.

A website called WalletHub ranks states favorably for low taxes, with Alabama taking 14th place. The state’s unemployment rate is 5.8 percent. Contrast that with Massachusetts, which WalletHub ranks 31st among the states. Its unemployment rate is 3.9 percent.

The laughable theory that tax cuts produce more jobs and tax revenue has been tested on the national level, too. President Bill Clinton left not only a fast-growing economy, but also a federal treasury in excellent shape, buoyed by tax increases that were on track to balance the federal budget. But his successor, President George W. Bush, insisted on deep tax cuts, which led to massive red ink. And the economy? The Bush presidency coincided with a decade of no — zero — job growth.

Still, many Republicans have taken up supply-side economics with a religious fervor — and none more dedicated than Brownback, who took on Laffer as an adviser and instituted whopping tax cuts in 2012. The results were entirely predictable. The state had little money to support public services, such as public schools, and it scrambled to cover massive revenue shortfalls, even with severe budget cuts. As for the economy, the state ranked 45th in private-sector job growth over the past 12 months, according to The Wichita Eagle.

Brownback is still preaching his gospel of the impossible, though. “We’ve made a big step backwards,” he insisted after the legislature rebelled. Reality cannot permeate his bubble of belief, which has taken on the certainty of religious dogma.
But Brownback’s adherence to magical thinking couldn’t pay teachers or open libraries or cut the grass in public parks. It took a while, but voters did eventually notice. If your roof is leaking during a rainstorm, you can’t continue to deny that you are getting wet.

Cynthia Tucker won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.

Kansas Judge Strikes Down State’s Dual Voter Registration System

(Reuters) – A state judge on Friday struck down a Kansas voter registration system that would have prevented people from voting in state and local elections unless they show proof of U.S. citizenship.

The judge ruled that the loss of voting rights for more than 18,000 Kansas residents “far outweighs” the risk posed by potential voter fraud, as the state mentioned only about two dozen people who may have attempted to improperly register to vote over the last 13 years.

“The right of citizen suffrage forms the foundation of a democratic society,” Larry Hendricks, District Judge in Shawnee County wrote in a 19-page ruling. “Whenever the laws of a state and the federal government clash with respect to this right, cracks are bound to appear in the framework of democracy.”

Kansas has had one of the strictest voter identification statutes in the United States, making the state a symbol for mostly Republican Party supporters who say the rules are meant to prevent voter fraud. Opponents, mostly Democrats, say the rules discriminate against minorities.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit filed in the court said the voter registration system established by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach violated the state’s constitution and state law, calling it “two-tiered.”

Representatives for Kobach’s office could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

“This ruling is a victory for Kansas voters and a stinging rebuke of Secretary Kobach’s repeated efforts to improperly use his authority to obstruct their access to the ballot,” ACLU Voting Rights Project staff attorney Sophia Lakin said in a statement.

The ACLU said the system would have denied the right to vote in state and local elections to residents who registered through a federal voter registration form or when they applied for or renewed their driver’s license.

Under the rejected system, those people could have voted in federal elections but would have had to show proof of citizenship to vote in state and local ones.

The system required registrants to prove their citizenship by providing one of a series of documents, including birth certificates and passports.

Kobach has gained a reputation for pushing a series of voting and anti-immigration measures as a national debate over voting restrictions has accelerated since the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

Most states allow people to register by signing a statement affirming they are citizens and providing a driver’s license number, Social Security number or other proof of residency.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; editing by Grant McCool)