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Monday, December 09, 2019

@kerryeleveld

Young Voters Came Out In Midterms -- And Voted For Democrats

Young voters once again proved to be a critical part of the Democratic coalition according to a post-election analysis conducted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

Some 27% of voters under 30 were estimated to have cast ballots—well below their historic 36 percent turnout level in 2018, but also notably above the roughly 20 percent turnout, give or take, that dominated for several decades prior to the Trump-era effect.

In 2018, voters under 30 chose Democrats over Republicans 67--32 percent, Democrats’ largest advantage ever among the cohort. This year, young voters chose Democrats 63--35 percent, according to the Edison Research exit poll, a very similar margin to 2020 when they preferred Democrats to Republicans 62 --36 percent.

Voters under 30 are also far more dedicated to Democrats than any other age group—the older they get, the more Republican they are. Voters aged 30 to 44 narrowly chose Democrats, 51--47 percewnt. But voters aged 45-64 favored Republicans, 54 --44 percent, as did voters 65-plus, 55--43 percent.

Young voters of color preferred Democrats by far bigger margins than young white voters. While white youth chose Democrats by an 18-point margin, 58--40 percent, Black youth favored Democrats by 80 points, 89--9 percent, and Latino youth chose Democrats by 38 points, 68--30 percent.

Young voters also appear to have played an outsized role in the some of Democrats’ most important and hard-fought wins, as well as losses. Below are battleground races along with the estimated margins by which voters under 30 picked Democrats:

  • Arizona Senate: 76%-20%, D+56
  • Arizona Governor: 71%-29%, D+42
  • Pennsylvania Senate: 70%-28%, D+42
  • Wisconsin Governor: 70%-30%, D+40
  • Wisconsin Senate: 69%-31%, D+38
  • Nevada Senate: 64%-31%, D+33
  • Texas Governor: 65%-33%, D+32
  • Georgia Senate: 63%-34%, D+29
  • Michigan Governor: 62%-36%, D+26
  • Ohio Senate: 60%-40%, D+20
  • North Carolina Senate: 52%-44%, D+8
Remember that “red wave?” Yeah, let’s secure the Georgia Senate seat too!


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump In Legal Jeopardy As Garland Appoints Tough Special Counsel

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday named longtime federal prosecutor Jack Smith special counsel to oversee two Justice Department probes of Donald Trump and determine whether he should be indicted.

Smith will now oversee two ongoing federal investigations into Trump's involvement in the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and his storage of highly sensitive materials at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Smith, who is anything but a household name, is well-known within legal circles as a "scrappy... no-nonsense, hard-charger," as former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told MSNBC shortly after the announcement.

Smith also appears to be a veteran of navigating highly charged situations. He has overseen war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court, led the Justice Department's public integrity unit, been appointed the first assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, and, most recently, served as a war crimes prosecutor at The Hague. In fact, Garland said Smith was flying back from that post to accept his appointment as special counsel.

McQuade took his appointment as a sign that the department's investigations into Trump have taken a serious turn.

"The one thing I find most significant," she said, "is you don't need to appoint a special counsel just to decline a case. You don't call in a Jack Smith, someone with incredible credentials, incredible reputation, pull him out of The Hague to do this work, unless you think there is a very high likelihood that one of these cases is going to result in charges. So that's my read."

McQuade's take was shared by some other legal observers. Former federal prosecutor and legal analyst Renato Mariotti tweeted, “If Merrick Garland didn’t think there was a serious possibility that Trump would be indicted, he wouldn’t have appointed a special counsel.”

Mariotti added that Garland “didn’t appoint Jack Smith to wind down these investigations.”

While some legal observers wished Garland had simply made the call himself, Smith was generally embraced as a good choice for the job. Notably, he has not been charged with recreating the work already undertaken by Justice Department prosecutors.

"Jack Smith is a solid pick," tweeted Joyce Vance White, a law school professor and MSNBC legal analyst. "His experience as specialist prosecutor for Kosovo suggests he can move into a serious, difficult ongoing investigation, run with it, & indict cases that should be indicted."

Highly regarded constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe said he could think of "no one better suited" for the job, and former member of the Mueller team Andrew Weissmann added that Smith is a "very aggressive prosecutor who represents the best of the Department."

If the Justice Department ultimately does indict Trump, it will be ugly no matter who pulls the trigger. No amount of separation between a Biden-appointed attorney general and the career prosecutor who made the call will assuage Trump supporters.

That said, there's a case to be made that by virtue of not being a political appointee, Smith will be better situated to make a decision based on the evidence alone. His appointment could also add an extra layer of transparency. If Smith recommends indicting Trump, and Garland then rejects that determination, Garland will be required to explain that decision to the public.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Pundits Claim Abortion Issue Has Faded -- But Data Shows They're Wrong

When the GOP-packed Supreme Court first overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Republican politicians and operatives developed a standard talking point: By November, the economy will be the overriding issue in the midterms.

After beating that drum for months, sure enough, it crept into conventional wisdom. For the last month, a wide swath of pundits and analysts alike—mostly male—have taken the GOP talking point as gospel. Their proof often starts with a certain bias which is then confirmed by issue polling in which economy/inflation usually rises to the top.

But just because most people often flag the economy as a top issue, it does not mean abortion and reproductive freedom have lost resonance for a wide swath of the electorate.

In Michigan, a Detroit News/Glengariff poll conducted October 26-28 found that while more independent voters said inflation was the most important issue facing Michigan, slightly more independents also tagged abortion as the issue most motivating them to vote.

Independent Voters

What is the most important issue facing Michigan?

  • 40 percent Inflation
  • 31 percent abortion

Which issue is most motivating you to go to the polls?

  • 35 percent abortion
  • 34 percent inflation

Among all female voters, abortion was the primary driver motivating them to vote, reported ClickonDetroit.com. Overall, 43.5 percent of female voters said they care most about abortion and women’s rights issues, while just 24.6 percent of male voters did.

In Pennsylvania, the latest Fox News poll found that, far from fading, intensity around abortion had actually increased more than on any other issue in the state's critical Senate race.

WHICH ISSUE IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOUR SENATE VOTE

OCT. 26-30JULY 22-26
INFLATION33%27%
ABORTION 24%14%
ELECTION INTEGRITY/VOTING RIGHTS11%11%
CRIME6%4%

The final pre-election poll from Daily Kos/Civiqs showed that abortion remained the top motivating issue for Democratic voters across the country, with 52% of Democrats saying it would be the most important issue driving their vote.

VOTERS TOP FOUR ISSUES (DAILY KOS/CIVIQS POLL)

TOTALDEMOCRATREPUBLICANINDEPENDENT
ECONOMY/JOBS/INFLATION58%38%83%60%
FAIR ELECTIONS/DEMOCRACY34%43%26%31%
IMMIGRATION32%19%60%30%
ABORTION31%52%14%24%

All of these data points back up early October findings from the Kaiser health tracking poll indicating that fully 50 percent of voters now say the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe has made them more motivated to vote—up from 43 percent who said the same in July and a 13-point bump since news of the opinion first leaked in May.

Plenty of recent polling has indicated that reports of the abortion issue’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Perhaps the pundits claiming abortion has faded just aren’t that good at reading the polls.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Senate GOP's Last-Minute Spending Indicates No 'Red Wave'

If a red wave is coming in the Senate, you wouldn't know it by the final ad buys of the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) PAC.

Of the six states where SLF directed its money, four are states where Republicans are defending GOP seats and two are states where Republicans are hoping for pickups. Here's the breakdown:

  • Georgia (GOP pick up): $5,320,149
  • Pennsylvania: $4,272,270
  • North Carolina: $4,005,732
  • Ohio: $3,741,404
  • Nevada (GOP pick up): $3,424,539
  • Wisconsin: $1,909,894

Other GOP-aligned groups are playing in other states, but those six states are where McConnell and his allies think the action is. Instead of including a slightly lower-profile Democratically held seat like New Hampshire, it devotes money to defending two open seats in Ohio, which is a GOP stronghold, and North Carolina, where Republicans win more often than not. The fund also directs a sizable chunk to defend a GOP incumbent senator in what is arguably a red-leaning swing state: Wisconsin.

This isn't a desperation buy, but it's also not a red-wave buy. Senate Republicans have their eyes on two potential flips while shoring up at least three seats that would likely be safe in a GOP-sweep year. North Carolina appears to be much closer than the national press has given it credit for. A recent Civiqs poll, conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 2, found it dead even at 49%.

Republicans also appear very worried about Pennsylvania, which would be a pickup for Democrats. In fact, the most desperate play Republicans are making in the state is sending Donald Trump to it to hopefully give GOP nominee Mehmet Oz a last-minute boost. Trump has huge downsides with a wide swath of the electorate, particularly in a legitimate swing state with more registered Democrats than Republicans. It’s one thing to send Trump to Iowa; it’s quite another thing to send him to Pennsylvania. But Oz appears to be giving the final days of his campaign the kitchen sink treatment. On Friday, his campaign announced that Sen. Susan Collins of Maine would be campaigning with him Sunday in suburban Bucks County.

But outside of those rather sober ad buys, Republicans have worked overtime to convince the media and voters alike that a red wave is building and their midterm victory is inevitable.

The flood of cheap GOP polls swamping the aggregators has turned into a gusher, resulting in a slew of trend lines in critical contests suggesting the election is breaking toward Republicans in the final weeks. That is certainly true in Pennsylvania and Georgia (as I wrote earlier this week). But New Democrat Network President Simon Rosenberg went to the trouble of tallying up all the GOP R+3/+4 polls dropped in tight contests in recent days. It's staggering:

  • AZ, 10
  • GA, 9
  • PA, 8
  • NV, 6
  • WA, 6
  • NH, 5
  • NC, 4
  • OH, 3

Meanwhile, real polls from real pollsters are often giving Democrats a slight edge in many of this year's most hotly contested Senate and even some House races.

At midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning, Marist College released its final round of polls from Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Among registered voters, Democrats led in every state.

PA Senate
Fetterman (D) 50 percent (+6)
Oz (R) 44 percent

AZ Senate
Kelly (D-inc) 49 percent (+4)
Masters (R) 45 percent

GA Senate
Warnock (D-inc) 49 percent (+4)
Walker (R) 45 percent

However, taking into account voters who said they would "definitely" vote, the Georgia race was definitively tighter at 48 percnt all, Arizona was slightly tighter with Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly leading by three points, 50 percent -- 47 percent, and Pennsylvania was basically a wash with Democrat John Fetterman still leading by six points, 51 percent -- 45 percent.

Interestingly, every Democrat is also significantly outperforming the generic ballot in each state: AZ R+4; GA R+8; PA D+2 (thanks @taniel for the footnote).

So what does this all tell us? It's a very competitive environment with a ton of cross factors. That is particularly true in the Senate races, where candidates and state-level dynamics on issues like abortion could prove more important than the national climate on the economy. Frankly, no one really knows, but Republicans are working overtime to game the system, get good press, and demoralize Democrats.

If you follow the money, however, Republicans are playing slightly more defense than offense. That's not predictive, it just isn't the posture of a party that sees things overwhelmingly breaking their way in the final weeks of a cycle they originally believed they would dominate.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Republicans Flood Media With GOP Polls, Slanting Averages In Midterm

As former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway once suggested, if you don't like the facts, just create alternative facts.

That's exactly what Republicans and their pollsters are doing in several of this cycle's most hotly contested races.

Take Georgia, for instance—until about October 21 or 22, Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock had been holding a pretty steady three to four-point lead during October over his GOP rival Herschel Walker in FiveThirtyEight's aggregate. Then the gap suddenly narrowed to about one point in the final week of October, Warnock 46.7 percent - Walker 45.4 percent.

FiveThirtyEight.com/screenshot


What exactly happened to nudge Walker into contention to take the lead? A whole bunch of GOP-slanted polls, that's what.

Of the seven aggregate polls taken since October 21, five of them were conducted by either GOP-aligned groups or pollsters that use friendly GOP modeling: Trafalgar Group, Rasmussen Reports, Moore Information (Walker poll), co/efficient, and InsiderAdvantage. All of them put Walker in the lead by anywhere from two to five points.

The two other polls—one conducted by The New York Times/Siena College and the other for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution—found that Warnock had a three-point advantage and the two candidates were tied, respectively.

Perhaps the most deceptive polling outfit is InsiderAdvantage, which polls for Fox affiliates across the country, giving the surveys the veneer of being even-handed media-sponsored polls. But a quick google search of the pollster finds their handiwork generating GOP-friendly headlines in several of the key contests they have polled:

  • FOX 5 Atlanta: Kemp, Walker hold leads in major Georgia races in new InsiderAdvantage/Fox 5 poll
  • FOX 29 Philadelphia: InsiderAdvantage/FOX 29 poll: Fetterman, Oz neck and neck as Shapiro’s lead over Mastriano narrows
  • FOX 10 Phoenix: 2022 Arizona Election Poll: Lake leads governor's race, Senate race tightens

Wow, Republican prospects are really improving across the board. Amazing.

The red mirage, as it were, is also evident in Pennsylvania's Senate race: Three of the five aggregate polls taken since October 20 are from GOP-friendly groups, all of which give Republican nominee Mehmet Oz a two to three-point advantage over Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

The other two surveys show Fetterman maintaining a lead. NewYork Times/Siena put Fetterman up 5 points, 49 percent -- 44 percent, and CBS News/YouGov gave Fetterman a slimmer 2-point edge, 51 percent -- 49 percent.

As TargetSmart CEO and data analyst Tom Bonier, noted, "After a flood of GOP outlier polls in all of these races designed to create stories about an impending red wave and digging into why Dems are losing ("is it crime/inflation?"), New York Times/Siena suggests not much has changed in these races in the past two weeks."

Here are the top lines of the New York Times/Siena polling from four key Senate contests released Monday:

Arizona: D+6
Sen. Mark Kelly (D), 51 percent
Blake Masters 45 percent

Georgia: D+3
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), 49 percent
Herschel Walker, 46 percent

Nevada: Even
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D), 47 percent
Adam Laxalt, 47 percent

Pennsylvania: D+6
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), 49 percent
Mehmet Oz, 44 percent

Pro-GOP polls have also made their mark on FiveThirtyEight's congressional generic ballot aggregate, as I noted last week.

As demonstrated above by the FOX affiliate coverage, the GOP-aligned polls have become part of a Republican feedback loop that is inspiring a disproportional amount of pro-Republican horse-race stories both locally and at the national level.

And yet, the latest round of New York Times/Siena surveys in individual races suggests Democrats are very much both holding their own and even beating expectations in some cases in both the House and the Senate.

The coverage hyping a GOP surge this cycle isn’t only misleading, it’s dangerous—particularly since it exists in an amped-up environment where most MAGA Republicans already believe they were cheated in the last cycle. Sure, Republicans might have a good night next week—that’s completely plausible. But most surveys taken by legitimate outfits suggest a very competitive landscape where Democrats could just as easily outperform expectations.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Poll: Voters Strongly Support Biden's Marijuana Reform Plan

It's damn difficult just five weeks from Election Day to make a national policy move that is not only wildly popular but that also breaks through to the masses.

But that's exactly what President Joe Biden appears to have done with his early steps to decriminalize marijuana announced early last week.

Nearly two-thirds of voters in a new Politico/Morning Consult poll said they support Biden's executive actions granting pardons to everyone with prior federal convictions for simple marijuana possession, including 40 percent who strongly support it. Just 23 percent expressed opposition to the policy, with a mere 13 percent strongly opposed.

Support for reclassifying cannabis at the federal level drew even higher marks, with 69 percent supporting a change in how marijuana is classified. It is currently classified as a Schedule I narcotic along with heroin and LSD.

Millennials, a key voting bloc for Democrats, were particularly fond of pardoning marijuana possession, with 71 percent expressing support. Black voters, the backbone of the Democratic Party, were among the most enthusiastic demographic at 74 percent favoring the executive action.

But here's the kicker: A staggering number of voters have already heard about this very popular policy move. Sixty-eight percent of voters said they had seen, read, or heard either a lot (29 percent) or some (39 percent) about the federal pardons, while only 17 percent had heard nothing at all. That's astonishing for an announcement made just last week. In fact, the White House unveiled the policy on October 6, and the poll was conducted October 7-9.

By comparison, fewer voters had heard about Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker opposing abortion rights while paying for a girlfriend's abortion in 2009 (54 percent); OPEC+ cutting oil production by two million barrels a day (56 percent); and Biden warning that the risk of nuclear "Armageddon" is at its highest level since the Cuban missile crisis (61 percent).

Again, it's one thing to do something popular, it's another thing for it to break through to roughly two-thirds of voters just weeks before Election Day.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Why Nonpartisan Analysts Believe Democrats May Hold The House -- Really

The New York Times' Nate Cohn finally wrote a column this week admitting that people shouldn't flatly dismiss Democrats' chances of keeping the House.

It wasn't a ringing endorsement by any means. Republicans are still favored to pick up the five seats they need to reclaim control of the lower chamber. But Democrats prevailing, Cohn added, "is a real possibility — not some abstraction in the sense that anything can happen."

Perhaps the most notable nugget from the piece was the admission that analysts are somewhat flying blind where the House is concerned, because so little polling is available.

I asked my friend Dave Wasserman, House editor of the Cook Political Report, whether he thought Democrats would appear to lead in the race for the House today if there were robust polling averages in every district, as there are in the Senate. He said they would, with Democrats leading the polls “in maybe 220 to 225 seats,” more than the 218 needed for a majority.

So while the House ratings aren't exactly a crapshoot, they're also the product of a lot of well-informed guesswork. As the election draws nearer, forecasters continue to revise their predictions based on how the cycle is evolving.

For Democrats, that forecast continues to improve. On Wednesday, Cook Political moved seven of 10 ratings changes in the direction of Democrats.


The latest change was just one of several adjustments over the past several months in the direction of Democrats. In July, Cook was predicting a GOP pickup of 20 to 35 seats. Now, the outlet is framing the "likeliest outcome" as a 5- to 20-seat gain for Republicans.

That's the good news. Unfortunately, Cook rates 211 seats lean/likely/solid Republican and only 194 seats as lean/likely/solid Democratic. That means of the 30 seats rated as "toss ups," Republicans only need to win 7 of them to take the majority, whereas Democrats need to win 24 to maintain House control.

But again, those ratings aren't rooted in an abundance of polling.

Another way to look at it is that, while FiveThirtyEight.com favors Democrats to keep the Senate and Republicans to take the House, there's about a six-in-10 chance that one party will end up controlling both chambers.

By and large, Democrats are hanging in there in a cycle where, historically speaking, they wouldn't have a chance. And although some key races are tightening in the Senate (most of which are in GOP-held seats), the overall environment is still generally improving for Democrats.

President Joe Biden's job approval has hit its highest point in over a year in both Civiqs tracking and FiveThirtyEight's likely/registered voter aggregate.

In the generic ballot, Democrats have gained in four of the last five weekly tracking polls at FiveThirtyEight, as New Democrat Network president Simon Rosenberg noted.

Reuters/Ipsos, polling all adults (rather than likely voters or registered voters) showed Democrats backsliding by four points to a 33 percent -- 32 percent advantage.

However, the other four weekly tracking polls saw a net shift toward Democrats over the past week.

  • Economist/YouGov (LV): 46Ds-47Rs —>> 47Ds-46Rs; Net change: Dems +2
  • Politico/Morning Consult (RV): 45Ds-43Rs —>> 46Ds-43Rs; Net change: Dems +1
  • Morning Consult (LV): 48Ds-44Rs —>> 49Ds-44Rs, Dems +1
  • Rasmussen/Pulse Opinion (LV): 42Ds-44Rs —>> 44Ds-45Rs; Net change: Dems +1

For several weeks, Democrats have also been expressing more enthusiasm than Republicans about voting.

At this point, the most anyone can really say with any certainty is that Democrats are outperforming expectations, defying historic trends, and this midterm contest remains extremely competitive. That has proven true in both the polling and the four special elections since the Supreme Court overturned abortion rights, plus the Kansas ballot measure banning abortion.

Regardless of whether Democrats sweep, split, or lose both chambers, the results will leave them in much better shape after Election Day than anyone originally thought possible.

The only question we should be asking ourselves at this point is: What can we do to help deliver a historic blow to Republicans?

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

New Polling Shows Why Republicans Shunned Graham's Abortion Ban

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina thought he had hit a sweet spot last month when he introduced his 15-week national abortion ban. It was something Republicans could supposedly rally around and, yet, not as repulsive as a zero-tolerance national abortion ban conservative zealots clearly want to impose on the country.

But a 15-week abortion ban is still a ban, robbing women of their bodily autonomy and their right to make their own health care decisions. There's just no putting lipstick on that pig, and new polling from the progressive consortium Navigator Research shows that voters get it.

In broad terms, Americans oppose a nationwide abortion ban by a 41-point margin, 27% support-68% oppose, including a 70% majority of independents and even a 49% plurality of Republicans (with 44% supporting one).

But Navigator also tested support for abortion bans using two different descriptions, one of which specified banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Described as a “national abortion ban, which would ban abortions in all 50 states without exceptions for the health of the mother” without mentioning the 15-week restriction, respondents opposed ban by 41 points, 25% support-66% opposed.

But adding Graham's 15-week qualifier barely moved the needle. Described as a "national abortion ban, which would ban abortions in all 50 states after 15 weeks without exceptions for the health of the mother," the measure was still 38 points underwater, with 27% support-65% opposed.

In the end, a national ban is a national ban to two-thirds of Americans, no matter how Graham tried to dress it up.

Another key finding of the survey was that respondents found the prospect of a national abortion ban even more motivating than the overturning of Roe v. Wade itself.

In previous Navigator tracking, 58% of Americans said the Supreme Court overturning Roe made them more motivated to vote, including 72% of pro-choice Americans compared to just 39% of anti-abortion Americans. But news of a national abortion ban bumped Americans' urgency to vote by 7 points to 65%, including 82% of Democrats and 79% of pro-choice Americans, compared to just 48% of Republicans and 43% of pro-life Americans.

It's worth remembering here that Graham not only unveiled the bill, he also promised it would get a vote if Republicans took control of Congress.

“If [Republicans] take back the House and the Senate, I can assure you we’ll have a vote on our bill," Graham pledged at a press conference last month.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Mastriano Would Charge Women Who Get Abortion With Murder

New audio uncovered of GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano reveals him plainly saying in 2019 that women who have an illegal abortion should be charged with murder.

Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator, was discussing an abortion ban bill he had sponsored that would have outlawed abortion after a fetal heartbeat could be detected, typically around six weeks into a pregnancy. NBC News uncovered the audio of Mastriano's interview with radio station WITF in which he was asked if a woman who has an abortion at 10 weeks, which would be considered an illegal abortion under the proposed bill, should be charged with murder.

Mastriano initially dodges by contextualizing the question. "Is that a human being? Is that a little boy or girl?” he offers. “If it is, it deserves equal protection under the law.”

But pressed for a response a second time, Mastriano bluntly confirms that he believes murder charges are in order.

"So you're saying, 'Yes,'" asks the interviewer.

"Yes, I am," Mastriano responds.

Before Mastriano won the GOP primary and went dark on abortion, he had called it his "No. 1 issue" and said he wanted to ban abortions without exception, "period."

But the revelation that he wants to charge people who have illegal abortions with murder is surreal. In May, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found just 16% of adults support imprisoning women who get abortions, while 73% of Americans oppose it.

On the bright side for Mastriano, he has now locked up the fringe group of voters who favor putting women behind bars for what in some cases is standard health care for people who experience complications during the course of their pregnancy.

The Shapiro campaign, on the other hand, is plenty happy to forfeit the fringes for the remaining three-quarters of sane voters.

"Doug Mastriano has said his number one priority is banning abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother — and now, it’s clear he also wants to prosecute women for murder for making personal healthcare decisions," Shapiro spokesperson Manuel Bonder told NBC in a statement. "Mastriano has the most extreme anti-choice position in the country — and there is no limit to how far he would go to take away Pennsylvania women’s freedom."


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Poll: Americans Increasingly Regard Republicans As Party Of Violence

A new poll from the progressive consortium Navigator Research finds that a plurality of Americans agree that “people who support the Republican Party are inclined to resort to violence when they’re pushing their agenda or worldview.”

The survey found that 44 percent of respondents agree with the statement, while 34 percent disagree. The numbers are nearly mirror opposite for Democrats, with just 35 percent saying Democrats' supporters are likely to resort to violence, while 45 percent disagree.

Independents were 19 points more likely to view Republican supporters as likely to use violent means (40 percent agree) than Democratic supporters (21 percent agree).

The findings of the survey come as House Democrats have shifted toward a strategy of emphasizing the extremism of both Republican candidates and the MAGA movement. The January 6 hearings appear to be helping their case.

When the survey asked those who viewed GOP supporters as more violence-prone an open-ended question about why, the dominant themes centered around “January 6th,” “Trump,” “white groups,” and “Proud Boys.”

By a 20-point margin, the Navigator survey found Americans support the Justice Department filing criminal charges against Donald Trump for his involvement in January 6 (56 percent support, 36 percent oppose). Independents support filing charges by a 24-point margin (50 percent support, 26 perdent oppose). The data also indicatee that support for filing charges increases— by nine points among independents and 13 points among Republicans—after respondents read recent revelations from the select committee’s inquiry into January. 6. So the more people know, the better.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll similarly found a 57 percent majority of Americans say Trump bears either a great deal or good deal of responsibility for the January 6 insurrection.

But the NPR poll found that just half of the respondents think Trump should be charged with a crime, while 45% say he shouldn't—a much smaller divide than Navigator found. However, the number of Americans who think Trump actually will be charged sits at just 28 percent in the NPR survey.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

'Oh God, No': Republicans Grow Fearful As Child Rape Case Blows Up

Because so many Republicans are sick people, GOP lawmakers immediately worked to discredit the story of a young Ohio rape victim being forced to cross state lines to get an abortion, claiming it was a lie.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, subtweeted an article questioning the story with the accusation, "Another lie. Anyone surprised?"

That was Tuesday. Only, it wasn't a lie. By Wednesday, Jordan had deleted the tweet.

The case of the 10-year-old victim from Ohio, where a six-week abortion ban is now in place, traveling to Indiana in order to terminate her pregnancy gained prominence after an outraged President Joe Biden cited it last Friday during remarks at the White House.

“Ten years old — 10 years old! — raped, six weeks pregnant, already traumatized, was forced to travel to another state," Biden recounted just before signing a series of executive actions designed to help preserve abortion access for women.

Republicans quickly got to work undermining the story. Then an arrest was made in the case and Republicans quickly got to work getting outraged that any doctor dared to help this poor defenseless child access an abortion because 'god's plan,' or some shit (sorry, not sorry).

Let's just stop here for a quick moment to revisit how devastatingly unpopular criminalizing abortion is based on May polling from Politico/Morning Consult.

  • Prison time for women who get abortions: 16 percent support, 73 percent oppose
  • Prison time for doctors who perform abortions: 22 percent support, 68 percent oppose
  • Fines for women who get abortions: 22 percent support, 66 percent oppose
  • Fines for doctors who perform abortions: 29 percent support, 61 percent oppose

So immediately after Republicans disgraced themselves by baselessly declaring the story a lie because facts aren't exactly their jam, they quickly took up the mantle of punishing the doctors who helped the girl because extremism is their jam.

“We’re gathering the evidence as we speak, and we’re going to fight this to the end, including looking at her licensure if she failed to report. And in Indiana it’s a crime … to intentionally not report,” state Attorney General Todd Rokita said on Fox News on Wednesday night.

That's exactly the type of radical, misguided crusade by GOP zealots that has Republican strategists banging their heads against the wall ahead of a midterm election where the historical indicators all favor them. Politico writes:

“Oh, God no,” one prominent Republican strategist said, after members of his party suggested the victim should have carried the pregnancy to term. “Very bad,” said another. Or as one anti-abortion rights Indiana Republican strategist put it, “I’m not touching this story with a 10-foot-pole wrapped in a blanket wrapped in a whatever.”

But the zealots who dominate the Republican Party aren't listening. Jim Bopp, an Indiana lawyer who authored model legislation that would force a rape victim to carry such a pregnancy to term, defended a forced birth in the case.

“She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child,” said Bopp, general counsel for the National Right to Life.

Forcing anyone to carry a rapist’s baby to term is just sick. But it's worth noting the obvious: A 10-year-old isn't a woman—a distinction that was clearly lost on Bopp. The victim was a little girl whose life has already been forever changed for the worse.

But the zealots want to maximize the tragedy because 'god's plan,' or some shit (not sorry).

Anyway, GOP operatives are losing their minds.

“Every day that we’re talking about anything but Biden’s cost of living is a wasted day politically,” said Scott Reed, a veteran Republican strategist. “You know, we’ve got a historic opportunity here this November, and let’s not blow it.”

Too late. Stories of the gut-wrenching misery Republicans have now visited upon America aren't going anywhere until Roe is codified into federal law.

“These are the kind of things that are going to breathe life into the Democrats’ hopes of maintaining some sort of coalition,” lamented John Thomas, a Republican strategist who works on House campaigns across the country. But, he added, “I don’t think this is the dominant issue as we’re going into November, but these kinds of unforced errors are lifelines for the Democrats.”

That "by November" theme is a popular refrain among GOP strategists—especially the male ones.

Dave Carney, a national Republican strategist in New Hampshire, told Politico that, by November, “it’s not going to matter what Bopp or whatever … his name is says. It’s not going to trump 9.1% inflation.”

Whether those strategists are right or wrong remains to be seen. But with any luck, male Republicans across the country will keep reiterating how inconsequential stripping 50% of the population of bodily autonomy will be in November. The more they say it, the better.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Liz Cheney: Trump Tried To Influence January 6 Witness Testimony

Donald Trump is now committing crimes in real time as the House Select Committee investigates the crimes he already committed while in office.

That’s the bombshell Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Republican vice chair of the committee, dropped at the conclusion of the panel’s seventh hearing documenting Trump’s coup plot. Cheney revealed that Trump apparently attempted to contact an unnamed witness whose testimony isn’t public yet.

“After our last hearing, President Trump tried to call a witness in our investigation—a witness you have not yet heard from in these hearings,” Cheney said from the dais, noting that the person declined to answer Trump’s call and instead referred the information to their lawyer.

“Their lawyer alerted us and this committee has supplied that information to the Department of Justice,“ Cheney said, adding, “Let me say one more time: We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously.”

At this point, one has to question why Trump is still walking around a free man. He is actively interfering in an ongoing congressional proceeding, intimidating witnesses, thumbing his nose at the feds, and yet hasn’t suffered a single consequence thus far.

Plus, witness tampering is much clearer cut case for the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute, according to former Justice Department official Neal Katyal, particularly because Trump is no longer in office.

It could be a “very easy criminal case if the evidence is the way Congresswoman Cheney suggested it might be,” Katyal told MSNBC following the hearing. Katyal said it’s “a pretty simple test” because Trump, acting as a private citizen, has no possible privilege claims.

Depending on what transpired, Katyal added, “it could be pretty serious.”



Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

GOP Fears Its Mediocre Senate Candidates Will Ruin Midterm Campaign

After months of sharpening their knives in anticipation of the midterms, Republicans' glee has turned gloomy as the election cycle's contours shift.

That is particularly true in the Senate, where a several-point post-Roe bump for Democrats in the generic ballot is perhaps the least of Republicans' worries. The main problem is that Republicans are saddled with subpar, Trumpian candidates in the most critical Senate races at a time when Donald Trump's star appears to be falling.

On background, one GOP strategist warned of "massive problems on the candidate front.” On the record, veteran GOP operative Kevin Madden offered a more tempered view: “There are warning signs that some of these candidates are not as strong as they could be given the opportunity at hand."

Take Trump's hand-picked candidate in Georgia, the verbally challenged former football star Herschel Walker, where the National Republican Senatorial Committee is already trying to perform an intervention, according to TheWashington Post.

The Senate GOP campaign arm recently installed several trusted Republican operatives to help right Walker's ship, including veteran strategist Gail Gitcho as a senior adviser, Chip Lake as a consultant, and Brett O’Donnell, the party’s "most celebrated debate prep strategist," according to the Post.

O'Donnell's in for a treat with Walker, who is making a strong bid for the most consistently incoherent candidate on the trail in modern memory.

Walker's latest triumph was dumbing down the climate change debate by 'splaining how America is cleaning up China's air quality.

"Since we don’t control the air, our good air decide to float over to China bad air. So when China get our good air, their bad air gotta move. So, it moves over to our good air space. And now, we gotta clean that back up," Walker clarified. Got that?

It doesn't help that Walker's staff was reportedly blindsided by the discovery that the candidate fathered three children he had never publicly acknowledged. But Walker's biggest deficit appears to be that his campaign doesn’t trust him to ... well ... talk.

When Georgia conservative radio host Erick Erickson invited Walker on his show for a one-on-one, hour-long chat, the campaign declined because aides didn't want him going "free form" for an entire hour, per the Post.

“I don’t know anyone who has confidence in the campaign including people on the campaign. He doesn’t have standard candidate discipline,” Erickson said. “He just doesn’t have a deep grasp of the issues nor really the desire to learn those issues."

Senate Republicans are also haunted by flashbacks from the 2010 and 2012 cycles, when wackadoodle GOP candidates doomed their chances of regaining control of the upper chamber.

In Ohio, Trump-backed GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance has compared abortion to slavery, saying they had both "distorted" American society.

“There’s something comparable between abortion and slavery, and that while the people who obviously suffer the most are those subjected to it, I think it has this morally distorting effect on the entire society,” Vance said in an interview with the Catholic Current last October. “I think that’s one of the underappreciated facts about abortion," Vance added.

Vance's Democratic challenger, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, called the comparison "absolutely disgusting" in a tweet about the remarks.

“We cannot let him anywhere near the Senate," added Ryan, who has pledged to end the filibuster in order to codify abortion protections into federal law. On Friday, the Ryan campaign announced that it hauled in an eye-popping $9.1 million in the second quarter.

In Pennsylvania, TV huckster Dr. Mehmet Oz quickly fell behind the Democratic Senate nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has been recovering from a stroke he suffered in mid-May. Early polling last month showed Fetterman leading Oz by 9 points.

Fetterman is expected to return to the campaign trail within weeks. In the meantime, Fetterman has been pounding Oz for being a carpetbagger from New Jersey.

Even GOP incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin isn’t exactly on a glide path to reelection this fall.

Though some election analysts have just begun to recalibrate their predictions in this post-Roe environment, Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg doesn't view abortion as the only driving force favoring Democrats.

For the past two cycles, he says, nothing and no one have galvanized a coalition of voters to vote against Republicans more than Trump and the MAGA movement have. Rosenberg expects November to follow in similar fashion.

“The question is, are there forces in the election more powerful than the disappointment in Biden?” posited Rosenberg. “The answer is yes, and that is opposition and fear for MAGA, which is the thing that has driven the last two elections.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

'Bedrock' Republicans Reject Party's Extremist Nominee In Pennsylvania Governor Race

A group of nearly a dozen mostly former Republican leaders in Pennsylvania is breaking with their party to endorse Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro for governor.

The unprecedented move is a rebuke of the GOP gubernatorial nominee, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who is simply too extreme for the cohort of Republicans who have served the Keystone State in Congress, the state legislature and executive branch, and the state Supreme Court. Depending on one's perspective, they are either establishment Republicans who lead the party before it lost its way or RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) by today’s Trumpian standards.

Mastriano is a right-wing radical who has referred to Pennsylvania as "our promised land," took part in the January 6, 2021 riot, and wants to ban abortions without exception in the state. In short, he has all the hallmarks of a Christian nationalist with the authoritarian instincts to match. Mastriano is also overtly running against the type of old-guard Republicans that once dominated the party and some of whom are currently lining up against him.

“It’s time to try something different. It’s time for Republican Gov. Doug Mastriano to have your back, and we’ll have your back,” Mastriano said last week in a Facebook live stream. “We’ll honor and respect your freedoms, lift this state up and bring freedom back.”

*Unless you are pregnant. In that case, Mastriano wants to entirely strip your freedoms away.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the GOP group includes two former U.S. representatives, Charlie Dent and Jim Greenwood; former state House Speaker Denny O’Brien; former Lt. Gov. and longtime state Sen. Robert Jubelirer; and former state Supreme Court Justice Sandra Schultz Newman.

The only member of the group who is a current GOP official, Lawrence County Board of Commissioners chair Morgan Boyd, told the Post-Gazette that Pennsylvania had reached a turning point and he viewed Shapiro as “the only candidate with a vision, the experience, and the plan to bring it back.”

“I think there’s actually a large number of moderate Republicans across the state right now who are considering either openly supporting Josh or silently supporting him through their vote,” Boyd said. “I would encourage them to use their experiences to search within their hearts and make the determination themselves that they feel is best for the commonwealth. I think that, by and large, they’ll come to the same conclusion that I did.”

In these divisive times, the breakaway group isn't likely to change the minds of most self-identified Republicans, but they can help create a permission structure for conservatives who feel queasy about Mastriano and the direction of the state party to defect in the fall.

Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, said the “bedrock” group of one-time state party leaders could potentially have an effect on the final outcome in November.

“I think for most Republicans, they accept Mastriano as their nominee and most likely will vote for him,” Borick said, “but on the margins—and the margins are going to be very important—I think the endorsements will help Shapiro’s case in key areas.”

In particular, Shapiro, who ran better in both 2016 and 2020 than presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, needs suburban voters to swing his direction. The only reputable poll of the state to date showed Shapiro four points ahead of Mastriano, but that was within the poll's margin of error.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Poll: Supreme Court Approval Crashing Among Women And Young Voters

Multiple polls have now found Americans’ opinion of the Supreme Court plummeting in the wake of recent decisions expanding gun rights and overturning Roe v. Wade.

One of those polls was a survey conducted by the progressive consortium Navigator Research, which found the high court's net favorability plunging 26 points since February to 44% favorable, 47% unfavorable.

The net changes Navigator noted between February and late June among specific demographics are fascinating.

Here's how the net change in favorability among demographics rank from the largest drops to the smaller ones. (Note: Some demographics aren't mentioned at all.)

  • Liberal Democrats: -57
  • 2020 Biden voters: -52
  • College women: -44
  • White-collar: -40
  • Suburban: -39
  • Service industry: -34
  • Women: -32
  • Independent women: -30
  • Ages 18-34: -30

As Navigator notes, the groups that have moved most against the court are younger, female, suburban, liberal Democrats, and independent women. Those demographic groups likely give us some insight into the voters most ticked off by the Supreme Court’s latest decisions and, in some cases, those most motivated to turn out in November.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Polls Show Independents Ditching GOP In Midterm Generic Ballot

As the seismic Supreme Court ruling stripping Americans of abortion rights ripples through the country, multiple polls are now seeing movement toward Democrats in the congressional generic ballot contest.

Those polls include a several-point shift picked up in the Civiqs' generic ballot tracking poll as well as the following pre-/post-decision surveys:

Internal data from Civiqs tracking is picking up the same trend, with a net shift of four points toward Democrats from before the ruling gutting Roe v. Wade to after it was released.

Overall, Civiqs now shows Democrats with a five point edge in the generic ballot, 47 percent Democrat to 42 percent Republican. The data is not publicly accessible, but here's the screen shot.

All Registered Voters: If the election for U.S. House of Representatives were held today, would you vote for the:

Notably, Democrats and Republicans are basically stable in the crosstabs, with 93% on both sides favoring candidates from their respective parties. Nearly all the uptick for Democrats comes from independents moving away from Republicans. Before the ruling, independents favored Republicans over Democrats, 42 percent to 34 percent; now, independents favor Republicans by just 1 point, 38 percent to 37 percent.

Independent Voters: If the election for U.S. House of Representatives were held today, would you vote for the:

Independent men moved from favoring Republicans by 19 points, 48 percent to 29 percent, to favoring Republicans by nine points, 43 percent to 34 percent.

Independent men: If the election for U.S. House of Representatives were held today, would you vote for the:

From a 30,000-foot view, what's perhaps most heartening for Democrats is the fact that the generic ballot appears to have reverted to roughly where it was in the spring of 2021, 47 percent D to 42 percent R, when the national political environment was wildly different. At the time, President Joe Biden's approvals were still above water by double digits, vaccines were still being rolled out, the omicron variant hadn't taken hold yet, and U.S. troops hadn't pulled out of Afghanistan yet. It was basically the salad days of Biden's presidency.

Needless to say, things are very different now, with pessimism sweeping the nation. Civiqs tracking now shows 81 percent of registered voters believe the country is heading in the “wrong direction.” But at least for the moment, voters appear to be reaching a somewhat similar conclusion about their preferred party as they had in the early days of the Biden administration—even if for very different reasons.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Polls Show Democrats Energized In Midterm By Supreme Court Abortion Ruling

For the last several months, nearly all political analysts have predicted November would be a blood bath for Democrats based on historical trends, President Joe Biden's low approval ratings, and polling data suggesting Republican voters were far more motivated to vote in November.

But fresh polling suggests the so-called enthusiasm gap got a jolting disruption in the wake of Friday's Supreme Court ruling gutting Roe v. Wade.

Two new polls from CBS News/YouGov and NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist suggest Democrats are far more likely to take their disgust to the polls following the high court's decision to strip the constitutional right to an abortion.

NPR writes that the issue injects "volatility into the 2022 midterms," citing the fact that 78 percent of Democrats say the court's ruling makes them more likely to vote this fall—24 points higher than the number of Republicans who say the same.

The CBS poll similarly found the decision yielded a 30-point advantage for Democrats, with more than twice as many Democratic voters as Republicans saying the ruling makes the more likely to vote in November.


The ruling is also particularly salient among groups that Democrats critically need to show up at the polls and support them: women, people of color, and college-educated voters.

The divide between college-educated voters and non-college voters is downright massive, with 69 percent of college graduates opposing the ruling, according to the NPR survey. But voters who didn't graduate from college are evenly divided on the matter, with 47 percent supporting the decision and 47 percent opposing.

Among women, 59 percent oppose the ruling while just 38 percent support it. In addition, 60 percent of nonwhites oppose the ruling while 54 percent of whites oppose it, according to NPR.

NPR also found a notable uptick in people who generally say they would prefer to vote for a Democratic congressional candidate over a Republican one, or what analysts commonly refer to as the “generic ballot.” In the survey, 48 percent now say they are more likely to vote for a Democrat in the fall while 41percent count themselves more likely to vote for a Republican. In April, Republicans led the survey’s generic ballot question poll 47 percent to 44 percent. Other polls have also found a shift toward Democrats in the generic ballot following the decision to overturn Roe.

All of these factors are positive signs for the Democratic Party, which was facing tough odds in November. While increased enthusiasm among Democratic voting blocs doesn't guarantee wins, it certainly gives Democrats a fighting chance. Midterms are won and lost based on which party’s base voters turn out (rather than persuasion). Democrats need to recreate the coalition of voters of color, women, and suburban voters who gave them a House majority in 2018 in order to compete this fall. The Supreme Court’s radical ruling upending 50 years of settled law on abortion is animating that exact coalition.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.