Tag: republicans
Poll Shows Even Republicans Don't Trust GOP To Protect Social Security

Poll Shows Even Republicans Don't Trust GOP To Protect Social Security

A new survey from Navigator Research doesn’t just show how strongly voters feel about protecting Social Security and Medicare, but it also shows how much voters don’t trust Republican lawmakers to do it. And that’s including a solid majority — 61 percent —of Republicans.

The survey finds that 75 percent of registered voters are either somewhat or very concerned that congressional Republicans “passed a tax plan that gave record-breaking tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations, but would result in cuts to programs that people count on like Social Security and Medicare.” Supporting tax breaks for the wealthy at the cost of Social Security and Medicare are the most concerning positions of Republicans in Congress on the issue of taxes.

Voters have good reason not to trust the GOP. Right now, House Republicans are plotting yet another fiscal commission that could fast track Social Security and Medicare cuts, in the name of deficit reduction, and they want to include that commission in the 2024 funding package. We’ve seen this ploy from Republicans before, with the Bowles-Simpson commission in 2010 and a congressional “super committee” in 2011. These committees are how Republicans have tried to cut Social Security and Medicare without dirtying their own hands. In this ploy, a committee would be responsible for coming up with the plan, and then Congress would have to pass it in order to save the country from the deficit.

This time around, however, the majority of Democrats aren’t going to play the deficit-peacock game, and they’re calling this plan what it is: “They should probably call this commission the Commission to Slash Benefits,” Rep. John Larson of Connecticut said at a recent press conference. “It’s tantamount to passing a death panel, because that will be the impact on so many Americans.”

Social Security doesn’t have to be cut to be saved. Democrats have legislation to shore up the Social Security trust fund by raising payroll taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year. The cutoff for payroll taxes this year is $168,600. Earnings beyond that aren’t subject to the payroll taxes that fund Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.

This new commission is “undemocratic” Larson said, because it would all be in the hands of the committee, leaving lawmakers out of the process—just as Republicans want it. “We need hearings out in the open on specific proposals so the public can see what’s going on,” he said.

Judging by the Navigator survey results, the public knows exactly what Republicans have planned, and they don’t like it.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Who Paid For Gov. Sanders' $200K Superbowl Junket? She Won't Tell

Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders took her whole family to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, Nevada earlier this month — one of the most expensive sporting events of all time. And now the GOP darling is being cagey about how she managed to snag luxury VIP box seats and get exclusive access to some of the biggest stars at the game.

Talking Points Memo (TPM) did a deep dive to estimate how much Sanders' Super Bowl trip would have cost, when accounting for suite passes for herself, her husband, and her three children combined with other perks, like field-level access to Usher's halftime show and access to Chiefs star tight end (and Taylor Swift's boyfriend) Travis Kelce. Ken Solky — a highly regarded ticket broker in Las Vegas — estimated that the face value of tickets for a high-level box like the kind in which Sanders was seen partying on Instagram was in the neighborhood of $37,500 per person.

"It definitely looks like a suite," Solky told TPM when viewing the images Sanders posted. "[N]ot just a suite but a pretty damn good suite."

Each additional pass the Sanders family had to access special events came with a price tag of anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 per person. TPM estimated that on the low end, Sanders' excursion cost more than $202,000. It's unlikely that she paid for the trip out of her own pocket, as that amount is far above her gubernatorial salary of $160,000, and more than her $165,000 annual salary as former President Donald Trump's White House press secretary. But whether she was gifted the passes or used taxpayer resources is still shrouded in mystery.

The Arkansas governor's 2023 ethics disclosure form — in which Arkansas public officials have to disclose any gift of more than $100 — didn't disclose that she received any six-figure gifts. And expenses relating to her travel and security are exempted from the state's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guidelines, after Sanders convened a special legislative session last year specifically to change FOIA laws. That special session was notably convened in the wake of public reporting surrounding her office's purchase of a $19,000 lectern.

One big clue TPM found was a photo of Sanders in a VIP box with Tavia Hunt — a prominent GOP donor who is also the wife of Kansas City Chiefs co-owner Clark Hunt — which would been among the most expensive seats at Allegiant Stadium. Such gifts would necessitate reporting as it could be constituted as an out-of-state special interest attempting to curry favor with Arkansas' governor.

"If you’re in a luxury suite, it would be the highest face price ticket to the event," Graham Sloan, the director of the Arkansas Ethics Commission, told TPM.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.
Donald Trump

No, Trump Didn't 'Win Big' In South Carolina

Politics reporters last weekend hailed Saturday’s South Carolina Republican primary results as a “big win” for Donald Trump.

Not so fast. The results show that Trump is a weak candidate even in one of the most conservative states in the country. And the coverage shows that our biggest and best news organizations, on their third try, can’t figure out how to cover Trump’s campaigns.

With nearly all ballots counted, Nikki Haley won almost 40 percent. Trump got almost 60 percent. That’s well below the 30-point or even 35-point margin polls predicted for Trump, so his win was not so big.

The South Carolina results are significant because they show, yet again, how the focus by political reporters on the horse race rather than the issues distorts and damages American politics. At DCReport, we don’t cover horse races because we focus on what politicians do far more than what they say. We also never shy away from critiquing the performance of our fellow journalists.

Tuesday, Michigan Republicans will vote in their primary, which should further indicate what to expect in November. Michigan is one of only 13 states, most in the heart of the country and the edge of the Old South, in play in the Electoral College.

Clueless Commentators

For a week or so, I’ve watched numerous politics reporters, political strategists, and former party and elected officials on various cable shows offer long, detailed, and often obtuse explanations for why Haley hasn’t withdrawn from the Republican presidential primaries, given Trump’s unbroken winning streak.

The answer is so obvious you can say it in a few words. You can conceptualize it if you think about one of those billion-dollar lotteries: If you buy a lottery ticket, your chance of winning is tiny, but if you don’t, you have no chance.

Haley is simply positioning herself to be the only viable Republican choice should Trump falter due to criminal conviction, ill health, or telling voters to stay home if he realizes he may lose badly on November 5.

The South Carolina primary vote results convey a valuable message for all Americans about the values of our citizenry: not all Republicans have gone MAGA.

A large minority of GOP voters reject the racist make America white again foundation of Trump’s campaign, along with his kowtowing to dictators, promises to deploy the military for mass roundups of undocumented people, vows to lock up those who displease him, as well as his crude misogyny.

Traditional GOP Values

In short, many Republicans still believe in democracy, the rule of law, standing up to dictators, treating others with respect, holding politicians accountable, and women’s reproductive and other rights.

That these traditional American values were supported by only a minority, albeit a significant minority, of Palmetto state Republicans, shows the truth in Haley’s argument that Trump is a weak general election candidate. As Haley said just after the polls closed Saturday evening, “nearly every day, Trump drives people away.”

In South Carolina, people can vote in the other party’s primary, so some of Haley’s votes may have come from Democrats, but it is unlikely that was a significant factor.

We will have another test of Trump’s support on Tuesday when Michigan holds its primary election. How many people turn out, the share of votes Haley gets, and how politics reporters cover this primary all matter for the fate of our democracy.

In the mid-1970s, when I was the investigative reporter in the Detroit Free Press state capital bureau, Michigan was a bastion of socially conservative and economically progressive Democrats allied with powerful unions, especially the United Auto Workers. Union political arms looked out for Joe Lunchbox’s family.

Parts of Michigan, notably around Grand Rapids and west to Lake Michigan, were solidly Republican. Still, the elected officials I knew didn’t spout hatred, admiration for dictators, and revenge as their core message the way we hear from Trump and his MAGA mob.

Jobs and Voting

Michigan’s red shift followed decades of the big three automakers paying too little attention to quality. That created an opening for Japanese and other overseas car makers who steadily improved their offerings and adapted to changing consumer preferences. Many newer vehicle plants are in Ontario because Canadian healthcare isn’t on the books of employers, unlike Michigan and the rest of America.

The anti-union politics of the 1980s also drove down American pay. As pay and job availability deteriorated for factory and related workers, many Michigan Democrats aligned with the Republicans, believing that GOP policies would make working people better off. We now have more than 50 years of indisputable economic evidence showing the reverse.

But support for Republicans, while enough to capture the governor’s office for 20 of the last 33 years, was always weak in Michigan. Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 by fewer than 12,000 votes, while the Democratic Party candidate has won every other presidential election since 2000 by at least 154,000 votes.

Trump and his allies insist “deep state” operatives and partisans stole the 2020 election. Three months ago, Trump even claimed he won all 50 states. But when judges in Michigan and elsewhere asked for offers of proof in five dozen lawsuits, Trump and his fellow election deniers produced not even a scintilla of evidence. Nonetheless, ever since, leaders of the Michigan Republican Party have perpetuated Trump’s lie. This has made for a literal state party fistfight, a dramatic fall in donations, and general disarray.

Voters should pay close attention to the Michigan Republican primary turnout and the margin of Trump’s almost certain victory. The turnout will help gauge voter enthusiasm within the GOP. And, as with South Carolina, Trump’s margin will indicate the breadth of his support within the Republican Party.

Reprinted with permission from DC Report.

Mike Johnson

'Insecure' House Speaker Faces Raging Divisions In GOP Congress

After former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted as speaker, thanks in part to a "motion to vacate" from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the House of Representatives' small Republican majority went through weeks of chaos before confirming Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) for the position.

Johnson, after his confirmation, promised to end the chaos and run the House like a "well-oiled machine." But the chaos remains as his caucus deals with everything from GOP resignations to the possibility of a partial government shutdown.

Bloomberg News reporters Steven T. Dennis and Billy House examine Johnson's problems in an article published on February 23.

According to the journalists, "multiple senior House Republicans" who were interviewed on condition of anonymity "now portray Johnson as an insecure leader who faces a steep learning curve."

"Those GOP lawmakers complain Johnson keeps counsel mostly with an insular circle of his own staffers on even the most challenging matters — and that some senior colleagues are treated as objects of suspicion rather than allies," Dennis and House explain. "They cite two back-to-back humiliating defeats in one early February evening, when the House not only rejected an Israel-only war aid package Johnson put up for a vote, but also, a marquee Republican impeachment resolution against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas…. Johnson rallied his party the following week to impeach Mayorkas on a second try, prevailing by a single vote after Republican Steve Scalise returned from cancer treatment."

Johnson, according to Dennis and House, is coping with "a Republican majority at war with itself." And conservative Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) is warning that House Republicans will suffer politically if they drop the ball with military aid to Ukraine.

"If (Vladimir) Putin wins," the reporters quote Tillis as saying, "Republicans will lose."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.