Tricia Cotham

North Carolina Republicans Face Backlash Over Abortion Rights Betrayal

When Tricia Cotham ran for the North Carolina House last year to represent Mecklenburg County, she did so as a veteran Democratic lawmaker on a promise to protect abortion rights.

"Now, more than ever we need leaders who will be unwavering and unapologetic in their support of abortion rights," Cotham tweeted on May 3, 2022, the day after the Supreme Court's draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked. Cotham promised to "fight to codify Roe" and pledged in a Planned Parenthood questionnaire to "oppose any legislation that restricts abortion access."

Not only did Cotham ultimately renege on every one of those promises, she also provided House Republicans with the power to make sure Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper couldn't block the GOP's 12-week abortion ban.

After taking office as a Democrat in January, Cotham announced a party switch in April, solidifying a GOP supermajority in the state legislature. By mid-May, Tar Heel Republicans had unveiled their 12-week abortion ban, passed it, and overridden Cooper's veto of it—all in a little over a month since Cotham's switch.

There's a word for the betrayal Cotham committed: Turncoat.

But the question now isn't just whether Democrats can oust Cotham and reclaim representation of her blue-leaning Charlotte district. It's whether Democrats can ride that rage all the way to flipping the state in next year's presidential contest, not to mention hang on to the governor's mansion.

President Joe Biden lost the state in 2020 by a little over a point, positioning it as Democrats' best chance for a flip in 2024.

After Republicans succeeded in jamming Cooper's veto Tuesday, abortion rights activists at the state House gallery erupted in chants of "Shame! Shame!"

Anderson Clayton, chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, captured some of the sound and tweeted it out with a raw missive.

"after the vote was taken tonight, folks in the gallery were loud," Clayton wrote. "our right to our own bodies was just voted on. and tonight, the people just yelled. we’re tired, that’s for sure, but more than that, we’re angry. we’re motivated. and there’s a movement behind us."

That motivation is fueled by more than Cotham's betrayal and the ban itself. Cotham was one of four state Republican lawmakers who ran on a pledge to protect abortion rights, as Cooper pointed out repeatedly in the runup to the override vote.

"Ted Davis, Michael Lee, John Bradford and Tricia Cotham promised to protect women’s reproductive freedom. There’s still time for them to keep their promises," Cooper tweeted on May 4.

Given their records now, how can voters place any trust in what Republican lawmakers tell them on the issue?

As NARAL Political Director Ryan Stitzlein told Daily Kos last week, no matter what they say on the campaign trail, Republicans will enact abortion bans just as soon as they have the power to do so.

"All four of them during their campaigns said they would not do the thing that they went and did," said Stitzlein, "and as soon as they got the chance, they went back on their word."

In fact, North Carolina Republicans have made it clear they passed the strictest abortion ban they believed possible and will push for more if they gain seats next year in the state legislature and/or take control of the governor's mansion.

“This represents the legislation that I believe this General Assembly can pass,” GOP House Speaker Tim Moore said just after Republicans overrode the veto. “I can’t say what’ll happen two years, four years, 10 years from now.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who's running for governor, pledged earlier this year that he would sign a total abortion ban without any exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

Robinson hopes to tighten the rules after the '24 elections, assuming he wins.

Democrats are already seizing on the issue to light a fire under voters. Within less than an hour of the override vote, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein, who's running to replace Cooper, warned voters of Republican intentions.

“Make no mistake — this is only the beginning,” Stein said. “In 2024, we’re up against politicians like Mark Robinson who want to make abortion illegal for any reason even in cases of rape or incest," Stein added, urging North Carolinians to "choose freedom."

From reproductive rights to book bans, LGTBQ+ rights, and more, freedom is already emerging as a central theme in local and national races. The question now is whether Democrats in North Carolina and other battleground states can make the case to critical swing voters that choosing freedom transcends any other issue Republicans manufacture between now and Election Day.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney Firing First Shot In Her 2024 Campaign Against Trump (VIDEO)

Former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming has fired the opening salvo of her post-congressional mission to destroy Donald Trump's political career.

Cheney has chosen CNN's exclusive town hall Wednesday night with Donald Trump as her first advance. Her weapon of choice is a brutal 60-second ad, funded by her super PAC and jam packed with violent footage of the January 6 insurrection.

Cheney, who narrates the entire spot but never appears, opens with, "Donald Trump is the only president in American history who has refused to guarantee the peaceful transfer of power."

Amid original footage of Trump's "Stop the Steal" speech that day, Cheney continues, "He lost the election and he knew it. He betrayed millions of Americans by telling them the election was stolen."

As attendees proceed toward the Capitol, Cheney says, "Rather than accept his defeat, he mobilized a mob to come to Washington and march on the Capitol."

Over scenes of rioters clashing with police, breaching the barricades, and breaking into the Capitol lobby, Cheney continues, "Then he watched on television while the mob attacked law enforcement, invaded the Capitol, and hunted the vice president."

Cheney notes that Trump refused to tell his followers to leave for three hours.

"There has never been a greater dereliction of duty by any president," Cheney states.

Even though Trump was warned his plans were illegal, she says, he ignored those warnings and still celebrates the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol.

Trump has proven he's unfit for office, Cheney says, warning, "Donald Trump is a risk America can never take again."

The ad relays a story most reality-based Americans already know but is unique in presenting such a clear and succinct narrative all in one place. The rapid progression from Trump's incitement to the violent assault on law enforcement officers and the U.S. seat of government still shocks anyone with a conscience and lick of patriotism.

The CNN town hall is also an ideal venue for Cheney to reach her target audience—both voters who support Trump but overwhelmingly want to win next year, and Republicans who plan to vote for the GOP nominee and are assessing Trump's viability. In short, both groups contain people who plan to vote Republican but are open to or prefer someone besides Trump. The spot takes aim at anyone in need of a nudge to peel away from Trump.

Cheney has yet to announce whether she plans to run for president. But traditionally speaking, it would be weird for anyone planning a 2024 bid to, in their own voice, narrate an ad directly attacking a rival. A much safer bet would be so-called voice-of-god narration funded by Cheney's super PAC. In that sense, Cheney's self-narration makes for an interesting choice.

In many ways, the ad appears to be the culmination of Cheney's efforts on the Jan. 6 panel—as if she had long envisioned making this spot in the event of another Trump run and was laying the groundwork all along.

On May 15, 2021, shortly after being ousted from her House Republican leadership post, Cheney stood before a gaggle of reporters and pledged, "I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office."

To date, every endeavor Cheney has undertaken has been in service of that goal. She's really the only establishment Republican who understands that she doesn't have a party so long as Trump controls it. The supposedly astute Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has never caught on to that fact.

Cheney won't make a vanity run for president just to feed her ego. The only way she enters the contest is if she truly believes it's the best path to destroying Donald Trump. For now, Cheney is committed to that outcome and that outcome alone. Her CNN debut spot is the perfect embodiment of a precision strike designed to inflict maximum damage.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Joe Biden

Polls Show Strong Public Support For Biden To Increase Debt Ceiling

When President Joe Biden addressed the debt ceiling negotiations Wednesday at a union event in Maryland, he uncharacteristically took Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to task, calling House GOP demands "wacko" and "really dangerous."

“We’ve never ever defaulted on a debt. It would destroy the economy,” Biden said while speaking at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 77 in Accokeek. “America is not a dead-beat nation,” he added.

The White House and Democrats are on the right side of public opinion. New Navigator Research polling found that 64 percent of voters believe it would be worse to default on the nation's debt than to raise the debt ceiling, while 36 percent say that raising the ceiling is worse than defaulting.

Biden was responding to the House GOP's debt ceiling “plan,” which ties raising the ceiling (i.e., averting a global meltdown) to major budget cuts. For months, Biden has urged House Republicans to pass a "clean" debt ceiling increase while refusing to link the two matters.

The heightened sense of urgency demonstrated by Biden, who isn't usually inclined to mix it up with political adversaries, is twofold. First, House Republicans are just dumb enough to play with fire, and Biden specifically recalls the fallout from the last time a White House and congressional Republicans played a game of chicken on raising the debt ceiling. It was 2011, Biden was vice president, and the nation came just close enough to defaulting that the U.S. credit rating was downgraded, markets plummeted, and U.S. taxpayers bore the burden of the country's increased borrowing costs.

Second, House Republicans are also just dumb enough to intentionally tank the economy in the name of austerity. Such a move could precipitate an epic global meltdown, and the White House simply cannot afford for voters to blame that on the president heading into his reelection.

Voters support raising the debt ceiling by a 10-point margin, 48 percent - 38 percent, with 14 percent saying they weren't sure. Those findings are in keeping with a PBS/NPR/Marist poll in February that found a 52 percent majority of voters supported raising the debt ceiling.

The notion that roughly half the nation supports a debt ceiling increase while fewer oppose it may seem less than reassuring, but that's more than twice as much support for raising the limit than in 2011, when the same PBS/NPR/Marist poll found that just 24 percent of voters favored a ceiling hike.

Another way of looking at it is that having been to this rodeo before, more voters drew similar conclusions to Biden: Quit messing around and just raise the damn ceiling already. In other words, Biden's message on the topic should be one that resonates with most voters.

But recent polling on the matter reveals one other lesson: People need to understand that failure to raise the debt ceiling will result in default. While people steeped in the brinkmanship inherently understand that failing to raise the ceiling will trigger a default, many voters apparently don't and are also hesitant to greenlight more government spending.

When CBS News asked respondents simply whether Congress should raise the debt ceiling, a narrow majority said no, with 46 percent favoring it while 54 percent opposed it.

However, when respondents were asked if Congress should raise the debt ceiling to avoid defaulting on its current debt, fully 70 percent support increasing the ceiling.

Currently, the U.S. has already hit the ceiling on what it can borrow and the Treasury Department has implemented so-called "extraordinary measures" to avoid defaulting on our debt. But sometime in June those measures are expected to come up short, so the reckoning is fast approaching.

Right now, McCarthy is attempting to lure the White House to the table on spending cuts when he may not even have the 218 votes in his own caucus to pass his own debt limit bill. That's not a particularly strong starting point, especially when everyone knows that bill would be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate even if McCarthy managed to finagle it through the House by some miracle.

Biden has spent months pressing House Republicans to decouple the debt ceiling increase from negotiations on spending.

"Take default off the table," Biden said on Wednesday.

As the deadline grows closer, Biden is also rightfully pinning the blame on House Republicans.

“Let’s be clear: If he fails, the American people will be devastated,” Biden said of McCarthy.

He's not wrong. The best outcome for everyone involved—particularly average Americans—would be for a deal to come together long before a potential default shakes the global financial markets.

But if, God forbid, it comes down to finger-pointing, the White House appears to be on solid ground with the public, and Biden isn't mincing words.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Joe Biden

Poll: Most Say Government Spends 'Too Little' On Social Security And Health

A new Associated Press/NORC poll found that 60 percent of Americans say the government spends too much, with 16 percent saying too little, and 22 percent saying spending levels are about right.

It's a dramatic increase from pre-pandemic polling in February 2020, when those saying the government spends too much was roughly equal to those saying too little, 37 percent -- 38 percent. Several months into the pandemic in May 2020, the top lines were wildly different, with those saying the government spends too little easily outpacing the too-much crowd, 42 percent -- 25 percent. Nothing like a pandemic to focus taxpayers on the fact that government funding is actually an essential ingredient of good governance.

In any case, the shift back to respondents believing the government is spending too much is likely partly driven by less dire times, along with partisanship, where Republicans are practically pre-programmed to fault a Democratic president for overspending while giving their president a pass. Without seeing the cross tabs, however, it's difficult to be certain.

That said, the percentage of Americans in the poll who say the government spends "too much" also say the government spends too little on Social Security (62 percent), Medicare (58 percent), health care (63 percent), education (65 percent), and infrastructure (62 percent).

As The Washington Post's Aaron Blake points out, those five items combined account for more than half of the federal budget.

The AP also notes big partisan differences in where the government is overspending.

Most Republicans say too much is spent on assistance to big cities (65% vs. just 19% of Democrats), and about half say too much is spent on the environment (51% vs. just 6% of Democrats). Republicans are more likely than Democrats to indicate that the military, law enforcement and border security are underfunded. By comparison, far more Democrats say too little is spent on aid for the poor (80% vs. 38% of Republicans), the environment (73% vs. 21% of Republicans), child care assistance (71% vs. 34% of Republicans), drug rehabilitation (67% vs. 36% of Republicans), and scientific research (54% vs. 24% of Republicans).

Among the 16 items listed, really the only area where a majority agreed the U.S. government was overspending (i.e., partisan agreement) was on "assistance to other countries" at 69 percent. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Foreign aid is a tiny fraction of the federal budget, less than one percent annually.)

As Blake concluded, "People like cutting spending in theory. They do not like it when you cut specific things -- and especially the big stuff that could actually put a dent in the deficit."

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

J.D. Vance

Exploiting Nashville, Vance Forgets Who's Behind Nearly All School Massacres

Republicans are suddenly super concerned about the gender of the Tennessee mass shooter, whose name was Audrey Hale and who went by he/him pronouns.

"If early reports are accurate that a trans shooter targeted a Christian school, there needs to be a lot of soul searching on the extreme left," tweeted Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio. "Giving in to these ideas isn't compassion, it's dangerous."

If it's also accurate that at least 95 percent of mass shootings are committed by cisgender men, as analyses by both Mother Jones magazine and the Violence Project found, then perhaps Vance and other men should do a lot of soul-searching, too.

Indeed, a Mother Jones database of 141 mass shootings in which four or more victims were killed dating back to 1982 found 135 were committed by cisgender men, women committed four (the outlet categorized the Tennessee shooter as a "female" who "identifies as transgender"), and two were perpetrated by male and female shooters acting together. By that measure, men perpetrated at least 95 percent of the mass shootings and, if the Tennessee shooter identified as transgender, then a trans person committed 0.7 percent of those shootings.

The Violence Project documented 172 mass shootings from 1966-2021, and similarly found men perpetrated all but six of the massacres (with four committed by women and two by women working alongside men).

The point is, even if attributes associated with men and masculinity are the problem, fixing maleness in America isn't an achievable solution to country’s gun crisis—or at least not in the short term.

And as Daily Kos' Laura Clawson pointed out, fixating on the shooter's gender identity is just Republicans' latest attempt to jingle their keys in front of Republican voters rather than address the real issue: Anyone of any gender can get their hands on assault weapons in this gun-laden country, and anyone of any gender can use those guns to massacre people—three of whom in America's latest mass school shooting were nine year-old children.

It's unspeakably tragic—as are the lost lives of three other innocent victims—and Republicans are once again proving they would rather scapegoat a clearly sick and disturbed shooter than regulate the ability of that sick and disturbed shooter to get a gun.

Republicans are singlehandedly perpetuating unabated gun violence in this country. As long as they control Congress or have the ability to filibuster legislation in the Senate, the number of Americans and America’s children massacred by guns and assault weapons, in particular, will continue to grow at a breakneck pace.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

John Cornyn

Where's Mitch? Senate Republicans Say McConnell Is 'Alive,' But No Word On Return

The nearly two-week absence of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell since he fell at a fundraiser has been so shrouded in mystery that something as basic as a sudden round of phone calls with his top deputies prompted headlines in several outlets.

Longtime McConnell confidante Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who received one of the calls, assured reporters that McConnell "sounded very sharp" and was "champing at the bit" to get back.

One might have imagined an imminent return for the 81-year-old based on Cornyn's characterization, except, Cornyn added, McConnell "didn't give me any timetable.”

Senate Republican number two, John Thune of South Dakota, who has been helming the caucus in McConnell's absence, said the GOP leader "sounded good" and was "anxious" to get back.

“He sounded like Mitch,” Thune said, in an apparent show of confidence. What a relief. “Talked about what’s happening on the floor, all the great messages he’d gotten from colleagues while he’s [been recovering].”

Great. Except, Thune added, “I can’t speak to when he’s coming back."

McConnell reportedly spent five days in a hospital after tripping and suffering a concussion and a fractured rib. From there, McConnell checked into an inpatient rehabilitation center for physical therapy before returning home.

But the more Republicans talked up McConnell's nothing-to-see-here vigor, the less confident it sounded.

"It sounds like he's antsy to get back into the swing of things," said Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, striking a similar upbeat tone. But again, regarding McConnell's return, "there's been no date given to us," Rounds added.

"We had assumed it would probably be next week, but it sounds like he took a pretty good fall," said Rounds.

Oh, that sounds kind of serious.

Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina offered, “Mitch is alive and well and doing fine.”

Confirmed: McConnell's still among the living.

Seems like we're headed in the wrong direction here.

Senate Democrats are dealing with absences of their own, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California recovering from shingles and Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who suffered a stroke last year, being treated for depression.

But neither senator is as integral to the machinations of the Democratic caucus as McConnell is to Senate Republicans, particularly in a moment when a Trump indictment could drop at any given moment.

In addition, Fetterman's team has been very forthcoming with updates about the senator's treatments, briefings, and progress. As the Associated Press reported Wednesday:

Fetterman is receiving daily in-person briefings by chief of staff Adam Jentleson, [spokesperson Joe] Calvello said. The senator is reading the news and getting briefings, he said, while issuing statements through his office and sponsoring legislation. Aides are opening new regional offices in Pennsylvania.

After Fetterman checked in to Walter Reed, his office said he had experienced depression “off and on throughout his life,” but it had only become severe in recent weeks. The Capitol physician, Dr. Brian P. Monahan, recommended Fetterman’s hospitalization after conducting an evaluation, his office said then.

“He’ll be back soon, at least over a week, but soon,” Calvello said of Fetterman Thursday.

It’s not exactly precise, but it’s a good bit more than “Mitch is alive.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Ron DeSantis

Suddenly DeSantis Realizes That Ukraine Is Vital And Putin 'Is A War Criminal'

It's been over a week since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reshuffled his presidential fortunes by providing a flimsy, pro-Russia statement about Ukraine to Fox News Putin lover Tucker Carlson.

DeSantis—who talks almost exclusively to right-wing Rupert Murdoch properties—probably didn't realize just how explosive his dismissive characterization of the Ukraine-Russian war as a "territorial dispute" that wasn't a "vital" U.S. interest would be. But he clearly gets it now.

Thus, Ukraine, take two.

In a recorded interview with Piers Morgan that aired Thursday, DeSantis recast his views on Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine as far more pro-Ukrainian and critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

His evolution was likely helped by the fact that last week the International Criminal Court accused Putin of committing war crimes and issued an arrest warrant for him.

Asked if Putin should be held accountable for war crimes committed in Ukraine, DeSantis responded, "I think he is a war criminal ... I do think that that he should be held accountable."

DeSantis further called Putin "hostile to the United States" and characterized the ongoing conflict as "a loss for them."

DeSantis said his comments about the war being a mere "territorial dispute" had been "mischaracterized."

“Obviously, Russia invaded," he acknowledged. “That was wrong. They invaded Crimea and took that in 2014 — that was wrong.”

DeSantis said he had been referring to "where the fighting is going on now, which is that eastern border region, Donbas, and then Crimea," adding that a lot of ethnic Russians live there.

"That’s what I was referring to, and so it wasn’t that I thought Russia had a right to that, and so if I should have made that more clear, I could have done it,” DeSantis explained.

Given that he granted a second interview on the matter to clean up his initial statement—yeah, DeSantis should have made that more clear.

“I think the larger point is, OK, Russia is not showing the ability to take over Ukraine, to topple the government or certainly to threaten NATO," DeSantis continued. "That’s a good thing. I just don’t think that’s a sufficient interest for us to escalate more involvement. I would not want to see American troops involved there."

Fox's Carlson appeared to be a little taken aback by DeSantis’ change in tone in the interview.

The New York Times noted that just hours after DeSantis' foreign policy makeover had been made public, Carlson blasted people who cave to the news media, repeating "whatever childish slogan they’ve come up with this week."

“Vladimir Putin is a war criminal,” Carlson lampooned mockingly.

Gosh, hopefully DeSantis won't be forced to branch out beyond the Murdoch properties going forward.

DeSantis clearly made a strategic misstep by chasing Trump's pro-Putin stance on Ukraine and basically every other geopolitical concern under the sun.

Sure, roughly 50 percent of Republican voters believe the U.S. is doing "too much" to aid Ukraine. But if DeSantis wants to be viewed as a smarter, saner alternative to Trump, then he can't mimic Trump's every move—especially one that weakens America on the world stage.

DeSantis rolling over for Putin sent shockwaves through the hawkish foreign policy wing of the Republican Party, which desperately wants a viable challenger to Trump. DeSantis quickly got the message that alienating that entire constituency of influential donors and congressional Republicans would sacrifice his claim to being a serious policy wonk rather than an intemperate blowhard who's constantly spouting off about something.

The national political education of DeSantis has just begun. Trump is really starting to unload on him, and, given recent polling, he’s got a lot of ground to make up. We’re about to see what he’s made of.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Ron DeSantis

New Poll: DeSantis Fading In GOP Primary As Trump Gains

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who hasn't officially announced 2024 presidential bid yet, finally stepped into the campaign fray Monday with a jab about Donald Trump "paying hush money to a porn star."

"I can't speak to that," DeSantis told reporters, feigning naïveté about such a sordid topic.

It was DeSantis' first real swipe at Trump after he had been absorbing body blows for over a month, but did it come too late?

A new Morning Consult tracking poll updated Tuesday suggested continued slippage for DeSantis.

Here's the breakdown of candidates who even register:

  • Trump 54%(+28)
  • DeSantis 26%
  • Pence 7%
  • Haley 4%
  • Cheney 3%
  • Abbott 1%
  • Noem 1%
  • Pompeo 1%
  • Youngkin 1%
  • T. Scott 1%
  • Ramaswamy 1%

Morning Consult writes that DeSantis' latest showing tied his lowest level of support since the tracker began in December.

Trump has also been steadily gaining steam in the survey for the last couple months, with a 28-point lead now compared to 24 points earlier this month, up from a much weaker 16-point lead in mid-February.

Late last week, New York Times' Nate Cohn analyzed several months of data from a dozen polling outlets regularly tracking the GOP field and found that "every single one" had shown DeSantis losing momentum while Trump made gains.

Morning Consult's latest survey was conducted March 17-19, so it does not incorporate any reactions to the latest dustup between Trump and DeSantis. But it does incorporate DeSantis flip-flopping on Ukraine with his new declaration that its conflict with Russia is merely a "territorial dispute" that does not lie within America's "vital" strategic interests.

DeSantis has been enduring months of withering attacks from Trump, but things are about to get a lot hotter.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Rupert Murdoch

Poll: Even Republicans Want Fox Held Accountable For 2020 Election Lies

New polling from Quinnipiac University finds that more than 40 percent of Fox News viewers believe the network should be held to account for knowingly spreading election fraud lies about the 2020 election.

The question references the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox and notes that Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch admitted in a deposition that a number of the network's hosts spread false claims about the election being stolen from Donald Trump.

Asked whether Fox should be held accountable or not, 41 percent of Republicans said yes, while 47 percent said no—damn near even.

Overall, 65 percent of respondents said Fox should be held to account (just 26 percent said they shouldn't), including 93 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents.

Even among white voters without a college degree, a big Fox demographic, twice as many say Fox should pay a price as say they shouldn't, 61 percent -- 30 percent.

A second question found that if people thought a news source they relied on was intentionally not reporting the truth, nearly 90 percent of people across partisanship and demographics said they would not continue watching or reading that outlet.

These findings would be terrible news for Fox if a significant portion of their viewers stood any chance of finding out about the way they carpet-bombed the airwaves with lies following the 2020 election. But more than likely, few of them ever will.

That's probably exactly why Fox has mostly forbidden its hosts and reporters from covering the lawsuit. Fox media critic Howard Kurtz finally did mention the lawsuit several days ago, framing it as a major test of free speech.

In response, a Dominion spokesperson wrote, "Dominion is a strong believer in the First Amendment and its protections. As long-settled law makes clear, the First Amendment does not shield broadcasters that knowingly or recklessly spread lies."

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Do Americans Hate 'Woke'? Not According To New USA Today Poll

Do Americans Hate 'Woke'? Not According To New USA Today Poll

Looks like that GOP war on “woke” liberals isn't going to be the rocket fuel in 2024 Republicans have been betting it would be.

A new USA Today/Ipsos poll found that a 56 percent majority of Americans view the term “woke” in a positive light, connoting being "informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices." Three-fourths of Democrats viewed the term that way, as did 51 percent of independents and more than a third of Republicans.

On the flip side, 39 percent of respondents, including 56 percent of Republicans, viewed the term more negatively as being "overly political correct" and policing others' words.

That's a pretty lackluster issue to mount a rallying cry on — Republicans just narrowly clear riling up a majority of their base with the term. Basically, anyone who isn't mainlining Fox News isn't going to be particularly persuaded to vote Republican because of their take on woke liberals.

Of course, Republicans abandoned the notion of looking beyond the primary ever since they gifted the party to Trump.

So when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs into law a measure dubbed the "stop woke" bill or Donald Trump accuses President Joe Biden of engineering a "woke takeover of the U.S. Government," it might rile up the own-the-libs crowd, but it's not even close to getting Republicans to 50-plus-one at a national level.

In fact, the term “woke” easily has a better reputation nationally than DeSantis, Trump, or the Republican Party.

DeSantis’ favorable ratings in Civiqs tracking are five points underwater, 44 percent -- 49 percent.

Trump’s favorable ratings in Civiqs tracking are particularly anemic these days at 25 points underwater, 34 percent -- 59 percent.

And the Republican Party’s favorability in Civiqs tracking is downright laughable at 36 points underwater, 27 percent -- 63 percent. (Democrats, in comparison, are 17 points underwater, 38 percent -- 55 percent.)

Sure, approval ratings of Republican politicians and the GOP are a particularly low bar, but “woke” is pretty much running away with this popularity contest.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

New Poll: Rising Support For Abortion Rights Reveals 2024 Peril For GOP

New Poll: Rising Support For Abortion Rights Reveals 2024 Peril For GOP

A month after Republicans blew their chance at retaking the U.S Senate and gaining decisive control of the House, GOP operatives and activists started to regret not talking more about the issue of abortion on the campaign trail.

“I’m very confident that the voters are with us on this,” said Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs at Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

The notion that if only Republicans had explained themselves better, voters would have totally been on board with banning abortion nationwide was always sheer fantasy. But a new Public Religion Research Institute poll of more than 20,000 adults in all 50 states showed roughly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) support the Democratic position—that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

PRRI also found that far from Republicans making inroads on the issue, their anti-abortion policies had lost ground with Americans over the past decade.

The 64 percent who now support abortion access in all or most cases is a nearly 10-point improvement from 2010, when just 55 percent said the same. At the same time, the percentage of people who say abortion should be illegal in all cases has been cut in half, from 15 percent in 2010 to seven percent in 2020.

As NBC News' First Read pointed out, these findings also have important implications for 2024:

  • Majorities of residents in 43 states and Washington, D.C., think abortion should be legal
  • Support for abortion access is particularly high in the presidential battlegrounds of Nevada (80 percent favor keeping it legal in all or most cases), Michigan (66 percent), Wisconsin (64 percent), Arizona (62 percent), Pennsylvania (61 percent) and Georgia (57 percent)
  • Constituents in key 2024 Senate states also widely favor keeping abortion legal in all/most cases: Montana (64 percent), Ohio (66 percent), and West Virginia (57 percent)

Banning abortion is also a complete nonstarter among the more highly educated suburban voters that have consistently moved toward Democrats in the last several cycles. Although majorities of Americans from all education levels support keeping abortion legal in all or most cases, the sentiment is particularly strong among voters who have attended college: 64 percent among those with some college experience but no four-year degree, 71 percent among those with a four-year degree, and 75 percent among those with a postgraduate degree.

But in some ways, the biggest change since the summer of 2022, when the Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and overturned Roe v. Wade, is voter intensity on the left. The number of pro-choice Democrats who now say they will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion has doubled since 2020, from 17 percent to 34 percent in 2022.

The PRRI survey shows that Republicans really have no good options where abortion is concerned—which is why GOP candidates in competitive races shied away from talking about it in the first place. Republicans cannot afford to turn away from their hardcore fundie base, but, in the meantime, awareness and support for abortion rights is actually growing.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.


Raging Battles Over Trump And Debt Ceiling Split GOP Senate Leadership

Percolating behind the scenes of the spectacular House Republican train wreck is a Senate Republican battle royal over leadership of the conference that promises to drag out over the next couple of years.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who already lost one bid last November to unseat Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, plans to continue nipping at the longtime leader's heels despite only garnering 10 votes to McConnell's 37 last fall.

Echoing Donald Trump's perennial criticism of McConnell, Scott told The Hill he's "tired of caving" on raising the debt limit and plans to lobby against McConnell making a deal with Democrats to avert a GOP-manufactured economic meltdown.

“I’m not going to back down,” Scott told The Hill.

Scott's declaration comes in the wake of news that McConnell ousted him and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah from their powerful positions on the Senate Commerce Committee, where they have sought to block agreement on fundamental congressional business—such as keeping the government's lights on. Specifically, Scott took aim at the $1.7 trillion year-end spending package that funds the federal government through September and ultimately passed with 18 votes from Senate Republicans.

Lee tried to torpedo the $1.7 trillion bill by offering an anti-migrant poison pill amendment aimed at reinstating Title 42. Trump also jumped into the fray, releasing a video urging "every single Republican" to vote against the spending package.

McConnell eventually hailed the passage of the bill as a win for Republicans because it increased defense spending above the rate of inflation while nondefense, non-veteran spending increased below that rate of inflation.

Scott and Lee are both part of a pro-Trump Senate GOP group that is promising to dog McConnell throughout the coming cycle. Ejecting them from the Commerce Committee sends a clear signal to other Senate MAGA enthusiasts—Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Braun of Indiana, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina—that kicking up too much dust will come with consequences.

On the other hand, Scott and Lee have very little to lose now by becoming perpetual thorns in McConnell's side—which, frankly, they would have been anyway.

In April 2021, Scott pushed a policy through the Senate Republican Conference stating their opposition to any debt-ceiling increases unless they were accompanied by "cuts in federal spending of an equal or greater amount" or otherwise "meaningful structural reform.”

Last month, Scott and Lee spearheaded a letter to President Biden signed by a total of 24 Senate Republicans who pledged to stick by that Senate GOP policy.

Scott, at the urging of Trump, spent much of the 2022 cycle attempting to poke holes in McConnell's armor. While boosting his fundraising network as chief of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott also released an 11-point plan promising to raise taxes on tens of millions while sunsetting Social Security and Medicare. It was a polling disaster, and McConnell devoted a lot of energy to shooting the plan down so it wouldn't kneecap Senate Republicans' effort to retake the upper chamber.

Now it's clear that the McConnell-Scott skirmish is anything but settled in what will continue to be the biggest challenge to McConnell’s leadership position since he assumed the post in 2007.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump Third-Party Campaign Could Cripple GOP In 2024

Poll: Trump Third-Party Campaign Could Cripple GOP In 2024

The conservative outlet The Bulwarkpublished a poll this week with findings that suggest Republicans' worst 2024 nightmare could indeed become a reality.

The poll, conducted by North Star Opinion Research, showed that 28 percent of GOP primary voters said they would support Donald Trump even if he decided to run as an independent in the general election.

It's a number that surely has GOP donors, operatives, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell drenched in night sweats. One way or the other, Trump will undoubtedly be making Republicans' life a living hell for yet another cycle.

To sweeten the plot, the survey also found that Trump's candidacy isn't exactly popular, nor is he poised to run away with the nomination.

The Bulwark notes that recent polling, including their own, finds Trump's '24 candidacy retains the support of approximately 28 -- 38 percent of Republican primary voters, meaning a solid majority of GOP voters are ready to give Trump the heave-ho.

Trump, however, still has a plausible path to winning the nomination, though nothing is assured.

In 2016, for instance, Trump won a 35 percent plurality of New Hampshire Republican voters and a 33 percent plurality of South Carolina voters, taking all the delegates from both states and putting him on the path to eventually clinch the nomination.

The poll tested three different GOP candidate scenarios for ‘24:

  • A head-to-head with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who handily beats Trump 52 -- 30 percent (with 15 percent undecided, three percent declining to vote if DeSantis/Trump are the only choices)
  • A DeSantis/Trump/generic third candidate match up, where DeSantis prevails with 44 percent, Trump garners 28 percent, and the third candidate gets 10 percent, with 17 percent undecided.
  • A 10-candidate field, where DeSantis takes 39 percent, Trump 28 percent, Mike Pence gets nine percent, everyone else nabs low single digits, and 13 percent remain undecided.

None of those scenarios seem particularly promising for Trump, but it's worth remembering that no one really knows whether DeSantis is ready for prime time. Remember when former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was going to roll over everyone else on his way to the '16 GOP nomination?

So DeSantis being the frontrunner at this point isn't exactly a lock either.

One thing, however, is clear: Trump's star is falling. That has proven true in poll after poll even as Republican voters continue their full embrace of Trumpism.

In Civiqs tracking, Trump's favorables are now at their lowest point since he clinched the nomination in 2016 — 34 percent favorable, 59 percent unfavorable — exactly where they stood on July 19, 2016, when he officially became the Republican nominee. The difference is, at that point, his favorables were steadily improving; now they are steadily in decline.

Bottom line: Trump isn’t exactly collapsing, but he appears to be withering. Any reasonable read on the way things are trending in the GOP primary suggests he would be far better off if the elections started now rather than a year from now.

But Trump’s lock on roughly a quarter of the GOP electorate is highly problematic for Republicans, particularly if he does not win the nomination. A third-party Trump run is an obvious spoiler for Republicans in the general election.

And if you’re a Democrat watching from the sidelines, Trump is the only candidate you want to see running as an independent in 2024.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Poll: Republican Party's Favorable Rating Now Lowest Since Insurrection

Poll: Republican Party's Favorable Rating Now Lowest Since Insurrection

One week into the House GOP's follies in the majority, the Republican Party favorability rating plunged in Civiqs tracking Sunday to just 26 percent among registered voters—a two-year low point since hitting 25 percent in the weeks following the January 6 insurrection.

The party also notched a 65 percent unfavorable rating—it's highest point in almost six years since the first year of Donald Trump's tenure.

To be fair, the GOP's rapid descent doesn't fall entirely on the shoulders of House Republicans. The party's favorables have steadily declined ever since Republicans' 2022 midterm debacle. The party kicked off November at an already anemic 32 percent, yet things still took a turn for the worse after Election Day.

The drop off has mostly been driven by both Republican and independent men. Among men overall, GOP favorables have dropped nearly double digits since the election, from 38 percent in early November to 29 percent Sunday. That included a 10-point decline among independent men, from 27 percent to 17 percent, in the same timeframe.

But Republican men delivered the real blow, with their favorable feelings toward the GOP taking a 13-point hit since Election Day, from 75 percent to 62 percent over the weekend. As with Trump’s cratering favorability rating, it appears men really don’t like a loser.

The GOP suffered a similar decline in favorables after losing the White House in 2020. The difference for Republicans now is that they will no longer have unified Democratic control of government to serve as a foil for their own incompetence.

The party's lowest Trump-era favorability rating of 18 percent came during the GOP trifecta in September 2017, after Republicans tried and failed twice to repeal the Affordable Care Act—a constant GOP pledge for the better part of a decade.

Let's keep an eye on this space as House Republicans flaunt their true MAGA colors as the majority party in the lower chamber. It promises to be a very educational moment for the country.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Republicans Say They Should Have Talked More About Abortion

Republicans Say They Should Have Talked More About Abortion

“It was probably a bigger factor than a lot of people thought.”

That's current Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna McDaniel having the most profound GOP revelation of the cycle on the role abortion played in the midterms. McDaniel was speaking earlier this month with radio talk show host John Catsimatidis, but her next observation was perhaps even more telling.

“We’ve got to get conversant on that,” McDaniel added, according to The Hill.

That's the jargon of a political operative who knows their entire enterprise has taken a direct hit and has absolutely no earthly idea what to do about it.

McDaniel surely would be ignoring the topic of abortion if there was any chance Republicans could just stick their heads in the sand and ride it out, but the energy behind the issue and its financial firepower wouldn't allow for that, she admitted:

“We can’t just do an ostrich method and pretend that it doesn’t exist when Democrats are spending $30 million on that message.”

But if the the next phase of the Republican Party's campaign to take 50 percent of the American population hostage is anything like the misadventure of their post-2012 GOP autopsy, simply acknowledging the problem is all but meaningless amid the vacuousness of the GOP.

The truth is most Republican operatives knew exactly how devastating abortion might prove at the polls, even as they publicly assured political reporters that women would forget being voted constitutional inferiors by the time they cast their ballots.

The RNC actually put out a memo encouraging Republican candidates to cast themselves as pro-lifers open to exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother, while depicting Democrats as wanting "abortion at any time for any reason." That false framing supposedly yielded a 22-point advantage for generic Republicans, per the RNC memo.

But the entire conversation was so toxic for Republicans, candidates chose to ignore it altogether.

“We put out a memo, we said address this, take this head-on,” McDaniel explained in a post-election interview with Tony Perkins, president of the right wing Family Research Council. “How many candidate consultants said we don’t want to talk about it, it’s not polling well?”

And it wasn’t polling well for Republicans in virtually every survey conducted on the topic. Remember when Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tried to offer a compromise ban of 15 weeks? There’s a reason that national ban proposal dropped like a lead balloon on the campaign trail.

Naturally, McDaniel’s doing a lot of CYA as she tries to save her job, but she does seem to realize Republicans are in a pickle. Her fundamentalist counterparts, meanwhile, remain delusional.

For instance, get a load of Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs at Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

“I’m very confident that the voters are with us on this,” Musgrave said of placing what she called "reasonable limits" on abortion.

Never mind the fact that Roe v. Wade—and the approximate 24-week viability limits associated with it—was the standard for what roughly two-thirds of Americans consider "reasonable."

Yet Musgrave believes that all Republicans need to do is work a little harder at jamming their extremism down Americans' throats.

“They just need to get that information and they need leaders and they need candidates talking about this," she explained. "And of course, it will be a big issue in the presidential, so here we go.”

Oh yes, yes, it will be.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump 2024 Rivals Already Think He May Be Circling The Drain

Trump 2024 Rivals Already Think He May Be Circling The Drain

Donald Trump is looking more vulnerable every day. His legal vulnerabilities continue to mount. His standing among the party faithful is perhaps shakier than at any point since he won the 2016 GOP nomination. And his iron grip on the Republican Party just might—might—be starting to loosen.

The delicious Trump schadenfreude stew has GOP 2024 hopefuls more hopeful than ever that at least one among them will be able to topple Trump's nomination bid.

“You never know when that early front-runner is going to stumble,” remarked Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Trump detractor who is currently exploring his own 2024 bid.

Hutchinson is surely not alone, according to reporting by The Washington Post. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just re-upped a national digital campaign to highlight his upcoming legislative agenda.

Former Vice President Mike Pence—having narrowly escaped a lynching at the hands of a Trump mob on Jan. 6—is on the hunt for fundraising staff.

And former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is laying the groundwork to recruit staff in early primary states.

Pence and Pompeo seem like laughable long shots to be sure. So does Hutchinson for the simple fact that he's a relatively sane Republican. DeSantis is widely viewed as the baggage-free version of Trump. But then again, at this point in 2015, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was widely hailed as a rising Republican star until his lackluster performance on the national stage had cratered his chances by September.

But regardless of what kind of Republican might manage to prevail as the party devolves into fierce infighting, there's a growing sense that Trump has suffered some mortal wounds.

“Trump is certainly not who he used to be,” Mike Dennehy, a longtime GOP consultant in New Hampshire, told the Post.

While Trump is the first and only GOP candidate to have formally announced his ‘24 run, it was a clear act of desperation following his devastating impact on the party's dismal midterm performance.

But Trump's attempt to put an early lock on the field has seemingly backfired, particularly with several polls finding his support lagging among the GOP base and GOP leaners.

A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll found that just 31 percent of GOP and GOP-leaners want Trump to run in 2024, while 61 percent said they would prefer someone else claim the mantle of Trump's agenda. They basically like Trump, they just prefer not to suffer another drubbing at the polls.

Trump's weakness has drawn the eager attention of roughly a dozen potential challengers, including DeSantis, Pence, Pompeo, Hutchinson, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and North Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Other possible contenders include Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—and don't worry, the ever-vainglorious Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Frankly, the more interest, the better for Trump. His formula for winning the 2016 nomination was to simply take some 30 percent of each statewide primary while the other early candidates divided the rest of the electorate amongst themselves. In the GOP's winner-take-all schema, Trump easily amassed an early lead and it was almost over before it started.

But even so, this GOP primary contest certainly isn't shaping up the way Trumpworld had hoped.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Poll: Confidence In 2022 Election Integrity Soars Among Republican Voters

Poll: Confidence In 2022 Election Integrity Soars Among Republican Voters

Well, here's something to celebrate—confidence in the 2022 election was up significantly from the lows of 2020. Fully 71 percent of voters felt confident their ballots were counted correctly in the midterm versus just 23 percent who were uneasy, according to recent polling by the progressive consortium Navigator Research. Just 60 percent of voters felt confident about 2020 election integrity, while 35 percent were uneasy.

Once more, nearly all of that increase in confidence since 2020 came from Republicans, while Democrats and independents trusted the integrity of the midterms at about the same rates as 2020.

Just 31% of Republicans said they were confident their ballots were counted correctly and fairly in 2020, while 65 percent were uneasy—a 34-point deficit. But Republican confidence in the 2022 election soared by comparison, with 58 percent expressing confidence and 35 percent feeling uneasy.

In 2022, Republicans’ confidence was 23 points above water, a net swing of 57 points in just two years.

What makes that GOP shift even more compelling is the fact that, overall, Republicans don't have a sense they are winning at politics right now.

Despite capturing the House in November, just 26 percent of Republicans said their side had been "winning" over the last few years on the issues that matter to them, compared to 61 percent who felt the GOP was losing.

Democrats were essentially the exact opposite, with 63 percent sensing they were winning on their issues over the last several years, while just 22 percent said they were losing.

Partisans on both sides felt decent about the midterms, with 62 percent of Democrats saying they had "won" the cycle and 51 percent of Republicans saying the same.

But overall, Democrats clearly felt more satisfaction over their showing, with 66 percent saying they were satisfied with the outcome and just 24 percent dissatisfied.

Meanwhile, only 36% of Republicans felt satisfied with the 2022 outcome, while 54 percent were dissatisfied.

For the last several years, we have heard Donald Trump, along with many other Republicans, routinely express the sentiment that the only election they could possibly lose was a rigged election. In other words, any time Democrats prevailed, fraud was at play.

That formulation has dominated GOP discourse over 2020 for the past couple years, and any Republican politician who dared admit that Trump actually lost was demonized as a traitor.

So let's just say it's satisfying to see a solid majority of Republicans (58 percent) expressing confidence in the outcome of an election where nearly as many Republicans (54 percent) expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.