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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.

Poll: Americans Want Trump Held Legally Accountable For His Crimes

A new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that 58% of Americans believe Donald Trump bears a good or great amount of responsibility for inciting the January 6 insurrection and support charging him with a crime. Six in 10 also say the House Select Committee's probe into January 6 is fair and impartial.

The poll, released over the weekend, came as the January 6 panel prepared for a Tuesday hearing focused on Trump's pressure campaign at the state level to overturn the 2020 election.

Public opinion is far from a decisive legal standard, but the poll adds to pressure on the Justice Department to charge a former president—a move that will undoubtedly be hotly debated by the department's leadership.

Not only should having public opinion on the side of holding Trump to account provide at least some comfort to Justice Department officials charged with making that call, but imagine the inverse: Failing to charge someone who nearly six in 10 Americans think should be behind bars for crimes against the republic.

What kind of message would that send to law-abiding citizens? And perhaps even worse—what kind of message would that send to future would-be coup-ers? It would be like handing a free pass to domestic terrorists plotting to subvert our constitutional democracy.

Block by block, the decision to take a pass on pressing the criminal case against Trump is seeming less viable all the time.

Not only has a former federal judge concluded that Trump "likely" committed felony obstruction, but the January 6 committee will have Trump dead to rights on criminal intent by the time it concludes its work. The American public, it appears, is already there.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Poll: Vast Majority Of Voters Support Select Committee Probe

Anyone who was paying attention to the polling for the past year around the January 6 insurrection generally concluded two things: 1) Very few Americans held the people who stormed the Capitol in high regard; and 2) Many Americans, though not a majority, wanted to leave the violent event in the past.

A Quinnipiac poll in January, for instance, found that 50 percent of Americans thought the storming of the Capitol should never be forgotten, while 44 percent believed too much was being made of the attack and it was time to move on.

In addition, support for arresting the insurrectionists last year dropped considerably among Republicans and independent voters in the months following the event. From January to July 2021, a Daily Kos/Civiqs survey found GOP support for arrests dropped 35 points to 55 percent, while independent voters' favoring arrests dropped 22 points, from 91 percent to 69 percent (still high, but not nearly as high). Not surprisingly, Democrats remained pretty stable, with 97 percent still backing arrests in July.

But new polling taken in the days following the House Select Committee's first hearing suggests the panel's inquiry has grabbed the attention of nearly two-thirds of Americans—including Democrats, independents, and even a sizable slice of Republicans alike.

The survey by the progressive consortium Navigator Research found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (63 percent) are hearing either "a lot" or "some" about the public hearings, including 70 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents, and 59 percent of Republicans. The quality and veracity of that information surely varies, but people across partisan lines are paying attention.

Additionally, by 36 points, Americans overwhelmingly support the work of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. Once again, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) support the panel's investigation into "what happened on January 6th at the Capitol and the events leading up to it." That support includes 88 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents and even 40 percent of Republicans. Just 28 percent of Americans oppose the inquiry.

Overall support for the panel has dropped slightly since Navigator’s April survey, mostly due to a seven-point drop in support among Republicans along with independents moving from "not sure" (22 percent in April) to opposing the panel. Independents now saying they are not sure has dropped to 16 percent while opposition to the inquiry among the group has increased by seven points since April.

Now that Americans have had a chance to see some of the panel's work, a net favorability of 36 points with almost no drop-off in support among Democrats and independents is a good start for the public phase of the investigation.

As I noted in April, Democratic base voters crave accountability for the January 6 attack, but it’s also essential to remind swingy Trump-Biden voters that Trump and his GOP apologists are an ongoing threat to democracy. The select committee seems poised to push both of those objectives forward.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump Can Be Beaten In 2024 -- And His GOP Rivals Know It

Donald Trump is still the most dominant Republican in the country, but his very mixed primary record has left his air of invincibility in tatters.

As The Washington Post's Aaron Blake notes, Trump has a 30% problem. While several of his endorsees won their races convincingly, most of them either won or lost with a less-than-middling 30-some percent of the GOP vote. They include:

  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina (North Carolina House): Lost
  • Charles Herbster (Nebraska governor): Lost
  • Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia (Georgia secretary of state): Lost
  • Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (Idaho governor): Lost
  • Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania senator): Too close to call, recount underway
  • J.D. Vance (Ohio senator): Won
Of the nine contested races where Trump endorsed early enough to potentially make a difference (and that didn't result in a runoff), six fell into the 30th percentile. Former Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, trying to unseat sitting Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, finished even worse at just 22 percent. Two others outperformed the trend by some 20 points to win their races: Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina (North Carolina Senate), and Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia (West Virginia House).

But the overarching trend suggests that Trump's endorsement typically guaranteed candidates getting right around a third of the Republican primary vote or less. In other words, the "the hardcore Trump 'stolen election' contingent appears shy of a majority of the party," as Blake wrote.

Plus, primaries typically attract the most active and fervent voters, so the die hard 2020 election deniers and Trump cultists will likely make up an even smaller slice of GOP voters in a general election.

To reiterate, Trump is still the odds-on favorite to win the 2024 GOP nomination if and when he announces, and the MAGA movement is still pulsing through the GOP electorate.

But at the same time, Trump is more vulnerable now than he was heading into the Republican primaries, and everyone seems to know it.

By and large, profile-in-courage awards aren't going to any Republicans, other than maybe Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, and several others who voted to impeach Trump. But some Republicans outside of Washington are testing the waters of betrayal.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been crowing about the Republican Governors Association's $5 million investment in Georgia to insulate Kemp from Trump's revenge tour.

"What we have to decide is: do we want to be the party of me or the party of us? What Donald Trump has advocated is for us to be the ‘party of me,’ that everything has to be about him and about his grievances," Christie told Politico. “Trump picked this fight."

What Christie is actually asking there is, “Do we want a party at all, or just a cult?”

Former Vice President Mike Pence—who is weighing a presidential run despite a brush with death by hanging—dared to campaign with Kemp in open defiance of Trump. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky both campaigned for the Senate bid of Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama well after Trump cut Brooks loose when it appeared he was tanking. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu even called Trump "fucking crazy" during the annual Gridiron Club event in Washington last month.

"The press often will ask me if I think Donald Trump is crazy. And I'll say it this way: I don't think he's so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain't getting out!" Sununu said in his remarks.

All this has Trump a touch on edge, and some aides and party officials have been trying to talk him down from announcing his 2024 bid before the midterms are over, according to The Washington Post. He's constantly peppering his aides with questions about polling, his potential rivals, and who they are meeting with. He's also weighing the announcement of a so-called presidential exploratory committee to freeze the field.

The argument against an early announcement is party-based: Republicans don't want Trump to inject himself into the midterms in November any more than he already has. The argument for announcing early is Trump-based: Chase most potential challengers out of the race before they get any momentum. But Trump also has legal considerations, particularly regarding any liability for the January 6 insurrection. If Trump were officially running, it would pile one more giant headache onto an already fraught web of considerations at the Department of Justice.

Whenever Trump announces—and it seems certain that he plans to—he will clearly have competition now.

“It isn’t going to be a clear field for him. There’s a lot of people who want to go against him,” one GOP operative who recently met with Trump told the Post. “If he runs, [Mike] Pompeo, Pence and Chris Christie all will consider running against him. Who knows what [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis will do? These guys are out there working, they are hitting every donor they can find, they want to run.”

And yet, Trump still dominates the field in every poll on the topic. A recent Post/ABC poll found that 60 percent of Republicans want GOP leaders to follow Trump's lead for the party versus 34% who said they wanted the party steered in a different direction.

The same poll also found that 54 percent of Americans overall believe Trump should be charged with inciting the January 6 insurrection.

Harsh Primary Races Leave Republicans Bitterly Divided

If former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is any indication, the GOP primary wounds wrought in the last several months stand a good chance of bleeding into the general election this fall.

McCrory, who lost his bid Tuesday to become the Republican nominee for the Tar Heel State's open Senate seat, declined to endorse his GOP rival, Rep. Ted Budd, the Trump endorsee.

"What I need to do is get assurances from the current leaders in my state party that I haven't been cancelled, because for the past 13 months, I've been told I'm a RINO," McCrory said, using the acronym for Republicans In Name Only.

The term, once pejoratively used to describe Republicans who weren't conservative enough, has effectively become a slur hurled at Republicans who aren't considered loyal enough to Donald Trump.

But McCrory wanted the state party to "correct that" categorization, objecting to the insinuation that he wasn't a tried-and-true conservative.

"Maybe they didn't mean that," McCrory posited, "or if they meant it, I've gotta do some reevaluation. Because they not only said I was a RINO, they said I wasn't conservative—and I consider myself a pretty conservative guy."

But McCrory wasn't simply speaking for himself. He was using himself as a stand-in for the some 25% of GOP primary voters who cast their ballots for him and who will also make or break Republicans' chances of claiming that seat in November.

"This is going to be a very close general election," McCrory noted. "So I think my party, in order to win the general election, has still got to appeal to the conservatives like me—the Ronald Reagan conservative—in order to win North Carolina.”

He challenged party leaders to come back to him and his supporters and embrace them as an "important" part of the Republican Party.

"But to do kind of a Mccarthyism within in our own party—saying some people belong and some people don't belong—man, we better correct that or we're not going to win the U.S. Senate or the White House in '24."

McCrory noted that GOP Sen. Thom Tillis won reelection last year by roughly 40,000 votes out of over 4 million cast.

"And that was with a flawed Democrat," he said of Cal Cunningham, who was dragged down in the final month of the race by a sexting scandal. "So the Republican Party is going to have to work hard here," McCrory said.

McCrory added that he wanted the Republican Majority in the Senate, but offered, "I think we're gong to have to have a little more courage in reaching out and not being so wrapped up in one individual."

And there's the rub. That one individual—otherwise known as "Individual 1" in criminal parlance—is Trump, who would much rather sacrifice the GOP Senate majority than welcome non-loyalists into a bigger tent party.

But McCrory isn't alone in his rejection of simply smoothing over intraparty ruptures in order to prevail in November. On the other end of the GOP spectrum is MAGA radical Kathy Barnette, who lost her bid Tuesday to become the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania's Senate seat. While her rivals, Trump endorsee Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, are locked almost dead even at 31% each, Barnette still managed to commandeer some 25% of the GOP vote with her late rise to prominence in the race. It's nothing to sneeze at in a state that promises to host one of the most competitive general-election Senate contests in the country.

But Barnette is already on the record saying she doesn't intend to endorse either of her rivals, whom she has cast as MAGA posers even though Oz won Trump's endorsement.

Asked by right-wing Breitbart News Monday if she planned to back her GOP challengers, Barnette responded, “I have no intentions of supporting globalists. I believe we have ran out of room on this runway for this nation. I believe we have very little rope left to just roll the dice and we’ll see how it works on the other end."

Barnette's slash and burn continued on Wednesday as she seized on Dr. Oz's election-night shout out to Fox News' Sean Hannity for offering his advice and consultation "this entire campaign."

That admission clearly got under Barnette’s skin. "I do want to say, never forget what Sean Hannity did in this race," Barnette said in a video statement thanking her supporters. "Almost single-handedly, Sean Hannity sowed seeds of disinformation, flat-out lies, every night for the past five days. And that was just extremely hard to overcome."

By contrast, Rep. Connor Lamb of Pennsylvania, who lost the Democratic Senate primary Tuesday to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman by a roughly 33-point margin, issued an amicable statement conceding the race.

"I entered this believing PA Dems needed a real debate, and I’m proud of the campaign we gave you," Lamb tweeted Tuesday night. "Today, voters made it clear that John is their choice. I respect their decision and congratulate John on his victory."

But don't worry, folks, if you're enjoying the post-primary Republican infighting, more is surely coming after next week's GOP primary in Georgia, where Trump endorsee David Perdue appears poised to lose his effort to oust incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump still despises with a white hot hate.

Here’s McCrory’s interview—very much worth the watch since he is taking up the mantle of old-school Republicans as ideological outcasts in today’s MAGA-dominated GOP.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Democrats Rise As Support For Abortion Rights Hits Record High

A new NBC News poll conducted in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft found support for abortion rights reaching its highest point since 2003, with 60 percent of Americans saying abortion should either always be legal (37 percent) or legal most of the time (23 percent). Meanwhile, 37 percent said abortion should be illegal in most cases or without exception.

Similarly, 63 percent of respondents support maintaining the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, while just 30 percent wanted to see it overturned.

The poll also found Democratic enthusiasm ticking up. The mismatch between enthusiasm among voters on the right and left has become a focus of concern. In the poll, the number of Democrats expressing a high level of interest in the midterms (a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) jumped 11 points since March to 61 percent.

Republicans' level of interest got a modest 2-point bump to 69 percent in the same period of time.

“How [abortion] plays out in November is to be determined. But for now, it is injecting some much-needed enthusiasm into parts of the Democratic coalition,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates.

News from the survey wasn't all good. President Joe Biden's approval rating registered at just 39 percent and, for the fourth straight time in the poll, people saying the country is on the wrong track topped 70 percent.

"The other times were in 2008 (during the Great Recession) and 2013 (during a government shutdown)," writes NBC.

GOP pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted this survey with Horwitt, called the number a "flashing red light."

Still, the generic ballot was dead even, with 46 percent of Americans saying Democrats should control Congress while another 46 percent said Republicans should. Republicans held a slight two-point edge on the question in March, a change within the poll's margin of error.

But given the "wrong track" numbers, Horwitt said, “It is remarkable that preference for control of Congress is even overall, and that the gap in interest in the election has narrowed."

Overall, the NBC survey isn’t exactly cause for celebration, but it does suggest a continued shift in the political landscape we have been seeing in other polls.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Polling On Abortion Ban Enforcement Should Terrify Republicans

The reason public support for same-sex marriage (and LGBTQ rights, more broadly) shifted from roughly 40 percent support in the mid-aughts to a record 70 percent last year is two-fold: 1) a generation of Americans came out in kitchen-table conversations across the country; and 2) a decade's worth of earned media educated voters about heartbreaking injustices between the enactment of same-sex marriage bans and their eventual demise at the Supreme Court in 2015.

Americans decided it just wasn't right that a human being wasn't allowed to hold the hand of their lifelong partner as they passed away in a hospital, or that a spouse was denied Social Security survivor benefits because the federal government didn't recognize their marriage.

Here's how that compares to where we stand now with abortion and why the impending fall of Roe v. Wade could have more of a lightning-bolt effect electorally: Public opinion is already squarely with the pro-choice Democratic side (no convincing necessary, as with same-sex marriage); but because Roe has been the law of the land for 50 years, most voters haven't had a chance to even imagine the consequences of its reversal.

So just as media stories served to shift public opinion on marriage equality, they will intensify the passions of pro-choice voters in the lead-up to the midterms. Most of those stories will be tragic and infuriating, with lives lost or changed irrevocably based on forced births, denial of contraception, and more.

But the stories no one is prepared for are the enforcement stories, which will be the stuff of nightmares. As Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post writes, "The effort to investigate and enforce a law criminalizing a woman’s reproductive decisions necessarily becomes an exercise in authoritarian excess."

What we know with certainty is that red states across the country are pushing to enact some of the most punitive and draconian laws possible as soon as the Supreme Court's Roe decision drops.

"In all, 22 states have trigger laws not just banning abortion, but punishing doctors and others who either perform or help facilitate abortions, ranging in sentences from one year to 15 years," writes my colleague, Joan McCarter.

Here's how some of those punitive measures soon to be enacted poll with the American public, according to a survey this week from Politico/Morning Consult.

Prison time for women who get abortions: 16 percent support, 73 percent oppose

Fines for women who get abortions: 22 percent support, 66 percent oppose

Prison time for doctors who perform abortions: 22 percent support, 68 percent oppose

Fines for doctors who perform abortions: 29 percent support, 61 percent oppose

Post-leak polling is getting clearer and clearer about the political fallout from a post-Roe ruling. The electorate is being jolted awake, pro-choice views are hardening, and, yes, the passion of reproductive rights voters appears to be exceeding that of anti-abortion voters.

All of those views and passions will be supercharged in a landscape where the media starts focusing on human impact stories—a particular strength of both journalists and the media environment in which we live (where clicks rule).

Pocketbook issues are not going away between now and November, but the post-Roe nightmare about to be unleashed on this country is sure going to give them a run for their money.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

House Select Panel Subpoenas Five Republicans, Including McCarthy

Remember last year when House GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly turned against the bipartisan January 6 commission he had deputized one of his own members to negotiate?

Right. Now McCarthy is among five sitting Republican House members who have been subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating January 6:

  1. Kevin McCarthy of California
  2. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
  3. Jim Jordan of Ohio
  4. Andy Biggs of Arizona
  5. Mo Brooks of Alabama

These represent the first publicly known sitting members of Congress to be subpoenaed by the January 6 panel in what is an unprecedented move.

In January, Committee Chair Bennie Thompson of Mississippi sent McCarthy a letter indicating the committee wanted to interview him about his discussions with Donald Trump and other White House staffers surrounding the January 6 insurrection.

McCarthy flatly rejected the invitation, calling it an "abuse of power."

The subpoenaed members—all Trump henchmen—will almost certainly file legal challenges in response.

It's quite a cast of characters: Brooks has bragged about wearing body armor during his speech to the January 6 MAGA crowd; Jordan has had a number of brain malfunctions surrounding his conversations with Trump on January 6 (not to mention some interesting text exchanges with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows); and McCarthy has recently been heard in recordings with GOP leaders to have discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Surely that is just the tip of the iceberg, and committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming likely knew quite a lot about the rest of that iceberg even before the investigation proceeded.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Swing-State Democrats Keen For Battle Over Abortion Rights

If anyone is wondering whether Democrats in swing states view the Supreme Court draft opinion obliterating Roe v. Wade as an electoral asset, look no further than a sign-on letter from Democratic governors released Tuesday urging Congress to codify Roe into federal law.

Alongside the signatures from governors of progressive strongholds such as California, Washington, and New York were a handful of swing-state Democratic governors: Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Steve Sisolak of Nevada, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, and Tony Evers of Wisconsin.

Of those five Democrats, three of them are incumbents running for reelection this cycle, including Whitmer, Sisolak, and Evers.

"I'm proud to join my fellow governors and call on Congress to immediately put protections offered by Roe v. Wade into federal law," Gov. Whitmer tweeted.

Whitmer also released a video calling on the Michigan Supreme Court to "immediately" resolve whether the state constitution protects abortion rights. The governor filed a lawsuit in April seeking to overturn a 1931 state law banning abortion that could become enforceable if Roe is struck down.

"In light of recent news," Whitmer explained, Roe could be overturned "any day now."

"I want every Michigander to know, that no matter what happens in [Washington,] D.C., I'm going to fight like hell to protect access to safe, legal abortion," she said.

Michigan is a split state, with a Democratic executive branch and a GOP-led state legislature. However, the state's new legislative maps, drawn by an independent commission, give Democrats at least a fighting chance to flip the upper chamber while chipping away at GOP majorities in the lower chamber.

But it's not just a battleground like Michigan where Democrats are going all-in on abortion. One state to the south, Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan quickly took up abortion in his bid for the state's open Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman.

The stakes for the race "have never been higher," Ryan said, following news of the draft opinion overturning Roe.

"Every single one of my GOP opponents supports extreme, restrictive anti-abortion laws. We cannot let them near the Senate," Ryan tweeted. "Our only choice to protect abortion is to flip this seat blue and expand our Democratic Senate majority.

Tuesday was also primary day in the Buckeye State, where Ryan prevailed on the Democratic side, while venture capitalist and Trump endorsee JD Vance emerged from a seven-person scrum on the Republican side.

But Ryan's rapid focus on abortion was particularly telling given that he had released an ad one day prior disavowing culture war issues in the race. Abortion is an issue on which he and other Democrats are eager to fight, while Senate Republicans in Washington spent Tuesday ducking for cover.

Swing-state Democrats' urgency on protecting abortion rights is a reflection of the fact that roughly 55% to 70% of Americans oppose the Supreme Court overturning Roe. But what really makes the Roe revelation explosive is the fact that only about 20% of the public (or even less) considered the landmark 1973 ruling’s downfall to be a possibility.

For decades, Democrats have found it challenging to really rally Americans around the cause of preserving abortion rights because most of them considered it settled law.

But what Mitch McConnell's extremist court has now made patently clear is the fact that nothing is settled law, nothing is sacrosanct, and nothing is off the table regardless of how old the precedent or its overwhelming public support.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Suddenly GOP Is On Defensive In Senate 2022 Campaign

The 2022 Senate map is taking shape after outside groups for both parties placed initial ad buys for their top targets totaling nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.

The GOP-aligned Senate Leadership Fund super PAC dropped a record-breaking early investment of $141 million centered on seven states. Democrats' Senate Majority PAC booked ad reservations totaling $106 million in five states. Both parties will surely invest more money later, but below is how the top tier generally shakes out.

One thing that jumps out immediately is the fact that the New Hampshire seat held by Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan is nowhere to be found on either list, which is likely due to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's misfire on recruiting the state's popular Republican governor, Chris Sununu, to run.

Another revelation given a political environment that supposedly favors Republicans by a lot is the fact that they are playing a whole lot of defense to save GOP-held seats. In fact, at $66 million, Republicans are spending roughly the same as Democrats are to defend seats: $68 million. For the GOP, that figure includes open Senate seats in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, plus Sen. Ron Johnson’s seat in Wisconsin. (It does not include Alaska, where Senate Republicans are mainly defending Sen. Lisa Murkowski against Trump-inspired primary challenges.)

Amid all that defense, GOP Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law is talking up what a “strong” environment it is for Republicans. “This is such a strong year that we need to invest as broadly and deeply as we can,” Law told Politico.

Democrats are protecting three incumbents in Georgia (Sen. Raphael Warnock), Arizona (Sen. Mark Kelly), and Nevada (Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto).

In terms of pickups, Republicans appear to be betting the farm on Georgia, where they are saddled with Trump-backed political neophyte and alleged wife abuser Herschel Walker. Democrats clearly see their best pickup opportunity in Pennsylvania, where Trump recently endorsed fellow TV huckster Dr. Mehmet Oz. In both states, Trump’s meddling has complicated the path for Republicans (not to mention the Trump effect in North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio).

“While Senate Democrats have a favorable map and strong incumbents, Senate Republicans have suffered a series of recruitment failures, and their flawed candidates are locked in vicious, expensive intra-party fights,” David Bergstein, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson, told The Hill. “All of these factors have contributed towards putting the GOP on defense in Senate races.”

Yep, that about covers it. Also, don’t sleep on Ohio, Florida, or North Carolina, where Democrats are fielding strong candidates who could potentially capitalize on GOP missteps.

Published with permission from DailyKos.

Raskin Squelches Greene And The Republican ’Trump-Putin Axis’

Shortly after a routine congressional outburst Wednesday from a Trump-aligned Republican, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland uttered a phrase that should quickly become a Democratic staple: the Trump-Putin axis.

The GOP offender was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Who knows exactly what she said—who even cares? It's Raskin's response that matters.

"The gentlelady said something about the Russian hoax—I accept the heckling, Mr. Speaker," Raskin said from the well of the House floor. "If she wants to continue to stand with Vladimir Putin and his brutal, bloody invasion against the people of Ukraine, she is free to do so, and we understand there is a strong Trump-Putin axis in the gentlelady’s party."

For the past several months, I have been trying to identify attack lines Democrats can leverage against Republicans ahead of the midterms, and this particular phrase accomplishes so much in so few words—it's just killer.

First, linking Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin passes the smell test. Every reality-based voter (the only ones we can reach) knows that Trump has been a loyal and dedicated Putin bootlicker for many years, including using his White House perch to do Putin's bidding on the global stage for four years. What makes Trump’s actions even more grave now is the fact that Putin has turned himself into a global pariah through his butchery in Ukraine.

Second, "axis" is a potent word that Americans immediately get due to its historical underpinnings. From the disgraced Axis powers of World War II to President George W. Bush's "axis of evil," Americans inherently know "axis" is a word anchored in ignominy. Regardless of whether one agrees with Bush's 2002 adaptation of it, his relatively recent usage helps.

Finally, as GOP congressional members and aspiring candidates continue to embrace Trump across the country, frequent reminders of the "Trump-Putin axis" is very simple shorthand for evoking all the turmoil Trump brought into the White House along with the consequences presently playing out in Ukraine. There's no need to belabor the point, Democratic base voters are crystal clear about Trump's corrosive effect on international relations, and at least some Trump-Biden voters actually defected in 2020 for that very reason. Trump's Putin sycophancy may play well to the GOP’s white nationalist base, but it's pretty cringey to that slice of reality-based Republicans. Some of them even voted for a Democrat in 2020 because of it.

So the term is really a twofer, reminding both the Democratic base why their votes matter and reality-based GOP voters why their party's continued loyalty to Trump has dangerous and despicable real-world consequences. Perhaps those GOP voters, particularly in swing districts, will defect again if they find their candidate too repulsive, or maybe they’ll just stay home. Either one is a win for Democrats.

So yeah, Democrats should start hitting the term on the regular forthwith.

Printed with permission from Daily Kos.

Poll: Americans Reject Senate Republican Assault On Judge Jackson

If you watched any of the Supreme Court hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson and found yourself repulsed by Republicans, you weren't alone. In a Quinnipiac University poll released late last week, 52 percent of Americans disapproved of the way GOP senators were handling the historic confirmation process for Judge Jackson's nomination, while just 27 percent approved of it (21 percent didn't offer an opinion).

In contrast, a 42 percent plurality of Americans approved of the way Democrats handled the process, while 34 percent disapproved (23 percent offered no opinion).

Americans also support confirming Jackson to the high court 51 percent to 30 percent, according to the poll.

As The Washington Post's Aaron Blake pointed out, Republicans fared worse in their handling of Jackson's confirmation than Democrats did in their handling of the contentious hearings for Brett Kavanaugh—who faced a credible sexual assault allegation amid his confirmation.

Republicans received a 25-point net negative rating from the public (27 percent--52 percent) for the way they comported themselves during Jackson's process, while a CNN/SSRS poll in October 2018 found Democrats received a 20-point net negative rating from the public (36 percent--56 percent) during the Kavanaugh confirmation.

The public also opposed confirming Kavanaugh by 51 percent--41 percent. In fact, the place where Kavanaugh really excelled with the public was in the 33 percent who held a "very negative" view of him. For comparison, eight percent of Americans had a very negative view of Neil Gorsuch and seven percent held a very negative view of John Roberts in CNN polls during confirmation for the two eventual justices.

In any case, the main differences between the Jackson and Kavanaugh confirmations is the fact Jackson is substantially more popular and that during consideration of Kavanaugh, neither party fared particularly well in the public's estimation of their handling of the confirmation process. In fact, Republicans also received a 20-point net negative rating from Americans—35 percent--55 percent—for the way they handled Kavanaugh's confirmation, whereas Democrats won plurality support for their handling of Jackson’s confirmation.

But Republicans clearly aren't concerned one bit that a majority of Americans disapprove of the way they conducted themselves during consideration of a nominee who will likely become the Supreme Court's first Black female justice. In fact, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is currently pressuring his caucus to vote against Judge Jackson’s confirmation.

The only audience Republicans ever really care about—particularly in a pre-midterm environment—is the 27 percent who said they approved of how the GOP has handled the Jackson hearings. It's always about juicing the base for Republicans, who continue to be out of step with the majority of Americans on most issues concerning voters. But it's who shows up at the polls that matters, and Republicans will continue to ignore American majorities as long as they don't face any real electoral consequences for their extreme positions.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Trump Asks Putin For ‘Dirt’ On Hunter Biden

Only the Republican Party is capable of continuing to make this noxious irrelevant windbag still relevant. Donald Trump is out with a new "exclusive" interview in Just The News (i.e. couldn't get a real outlet to bite) in which he calls on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release damaging information about Hunter Biden's financial dealings in Eastern Europe.

Trump cited a 2020 claim by Senate Republicans that Hunter, President Joe Biden's son, received a $3.5 million payment in 2014 from a Russian oligarch. The younger Biden has denied the claim and neither Senate Republicans nor Trump have ever provided evidence indicating such a payment would have been corrupt or illegal, according to CNN.

But who cares about the facts—it sounds seedy. So why not just go ahead and solicit dirt on the sitting President of the United States from a U.S. adversary making war on the West, not to mention the very notion of American democracy. I mean, it's not like Trump is orchestrating a coup or anything, even though a federal judge has concluded he "likely" did orchestrate a coup on January 6.

In the Just The News interview, Trump questioned why the alleged payment was made.

"I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,” Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Trump, the guy who was impeached for trying to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for dirt on Hunter Biden, wants answers... from Putin!

Um, just for context, there's a war going on. Putin launched it. And after a series of epic strategic missteps, he's mostly getting his ass handed to him by a heroic but much smaller and less-resourced Ukrainian military along with thousands of brave civilian fighters who picked up a gun to defend their country. So Putin may be a tad preoccupied right now. Perhaps he'll find a few moments down the road to humor Trump.

Honestly, could Trump be any smaller and more irrelevant at this moment in history? Putin's not a "genius" and his invasion wasn't "a great negotiation" that went bust. Putin's a maniac who is so removed from reality he blundered his way into making Russia an international pariah with a crippled economy and a disgraced military.

Read the room, Trump.

Good god, Trump cannot remain in power (to borrow a phrase)... except in the Republican Party, where irrelevance and stupidity reign supreme.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

New Poll Shows Putin’s Stooges Are Politically Isolated — Even In GOP

Despite Donald Trump's love affair with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Republican voters have managed to catch on to the fact that Russia is not a trustworthy American ally.

Newly released Civiqs polling shows that among voters overall, 74 percent view Russia as more of a foe than a potential ally—including 67 percent of Republican voters (chart below).

In fact, Civiqs tracking dating back to the beginning of Trump's tenure in January 2017 shows that, within months of the 2016 election, Republican voters started to get the sense that Russia didn't exactly have America's best interests at heart. So while GOP voters started out feeling pretty relaxed about Russia in late December 2016, with only 30 percent calling the country a foe and 40 percent saying it was a potential ally, the script had entirely flipped by early April 2017, with just 30 percent calling Russia an ally versus 40 percent naming it a foe.

Things began to shift in early January 2017 following an increasing focus on Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 outcome that took most Americans by surprise, to put it lightly. On January 6, 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified version of its report on Russian interference in 2016, combining intelligence from the FBI, CIA, and NSA. The report concluded with "high confidence" that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” including the hacking of personal email accounts of Democratic Party officials, among others.

That declassified report appears to have turned things around even for Republican voters. Here's the trend among Republican voters viewing Russia as foe/ally over the past half dozen years:

  • Jan 2017: 29% foe/40% ally
  • Jan 2018: 41% foe/32% ally
  • Jan 2019: 48% foe/25% ally
  • Jan 2020: 47% foe/25% ally
  • Jan 2021: 60% foe/18% ally
  • Jan 2022: 66% foe/14% ally

A series of events over the past handful of years seem to have contributed to Republicans' increasing view that Putin's Russia was working at cross purposes with American interests. Views of Russia as foe got a boost after events such as the 2018 Helsinki summit, in which Trump proved to be a Putin puppet on the world stage.

But the bottom line is, the pro-Putin wing of the Republican Party is wildly out of step with Americans and even two-thirds of their own party.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

RNC Chief McDaniel Defends Fake Elector Scheme In Her Home State

Within an hour of her organization passing a resolution hailing the January 6 insurrection as "legitimate political discourse," Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel went into damage control mode.

McDaniel's first bit of cleanup included releasing a statement that sought to separate out non-violent "ordinary citizens" engaging in Jan. 6 protests as "completely unrelated to the violence at the Capitol.” That distinction was never made in the original RNC resolution seeking to censure Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for serving on the House select committee investigating January 6.

But in her tragically misguided ongoing effort to justify the RNC's position, McDaniel penned an op-ed in which she accused the House Select Committee of "harassing citizens who were not even in Washington, D.C., that day."

McDaniel, according to Politico, then went on to depict the case of one of her close personal allies in Michigan, Kathy Berden, an RNC member who also signed on in December 2020 to be one of Donald Trump's fake electors from her state, which had been certified for Joe Biden the previous month.

In her op-ed, McDaniel seized on Berden's case as one of persecution by the January 6 panel, which has subpoenaed Berden over her involvement in forming a slate of fake electors who signed certificates asserting they were “duly elected and qualified” to represent their locales.

Based on the panel's subpoena, wrote McDaniel, "Now she could face costly legal bills even though she was nowhere near the Capitol on January 6th and had nothing to do with the violence that occurred."

In other words, Berden wasn't a violent insurrectionist, she just plotted to steal a free and fair U.S. election by more peaceful means. Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, or nearly 3 points.

Michigan was one of five states Trump lost—including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin—where pro-Trump Republicans assembled a slate of fake electors who claimed Trump had won their state. Those documents were then sent to Congress and the National Archives, among others.

The Michigan memo to Congress, the Archives, Michigan Secretary of State, and a federal judge reads, "FROM: Kathy Berden, Chairperson, Electoral College of Michigan."

Clearly, Berden is a totally innocent victim of persecution who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, on December 14, 2020, leading the meeting, signing her name to illegitimate documents, and disseminating the evidentiary material broadly.

Other RNC members who have been subpoenaed for leading similar efforts include Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald, Georgia GOP chair David Shafer, and Nevada RNC committee member Jim DeGraffenreid, according to Politico.

What has become clear in the course of the committee's investigation is the fact that the fake electors were part of the plot to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify the election using the legitimate elector slates from those states.

The gambit of Trump and his fellow coup plotters, laid out in a memo by John Eastman, was that Pence had the authority (which he didn't) to deny a tally of Biden's electors from states where the results were in dispute and an "alternate" slate of fake electors claimed an entirely different outcome. The mere existence of those "alternate" slates was key to giving Pence cover for throwing out the certified results.

In any case, McDaniel's defense of what the RNC censure really meant by "legitimate political discourse" is mystifying. More than likely, the RNC and its deeply pro-Trump members are so delusional that they really believed the deadly January 6 insurrection was "legitimate" and justified.

But if you believe McDaniel's dubious clarification, then the RNC wasn't endorsing January 6 violence, it was just embracing the efforts of "ordinary citizens" to steal an election through non-violent means.

One way or the other, the RNC supports lawlessness, chaos, and coups.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Republican Candidates Vilifying Fauci To Excite Their Base Voters

In a Republican Party dependent on ginning up its base's rage, the villain of choice has become President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who now often supplants GOP archenemy and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

As the New York Times reports, "Fire Fauci" became the inaugural ad for Jane Timken last fall as she launched her bid to win Ohio's open Senate seat. Wackadoodle celebrity doc Mehmet Oz, who's running for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat, doesn't want to debate his opponents—he wants to debate Fauci. And Wisconsin Democrat-turned-Republican Kevin Nicholson, who's running for governor, said Fauci "should be fired and referred to prosecutors.”

In Fauci, many Republicans see an amalgam of favorite conservative resentments.

“Populism is essentially anti: anti-establishment, anti-expertise, anti-intellectual and anti-media,” GOP strategist Whit Ayres told the Times. Fauci, he added, “is an establishment expert intellectual who is in the media.”

But while demonizing Fauci could whip up the GOP base, the strategy could just as easily haunt Republicans in the general election, as Ayres noted.

However, another GOP strategist, John Feehery, argued that anger at Fauci over lockdowns was an issue that could cross party lines with voters desperate to move on from the pandemic.

But it wouldn't be the first time Republicans fixated on a base strategy that saddles them in the general election. One big question is whether the pandemic will still have the resonance it does today.

The strong and steady U.S. recovery is starting to suggest that the nation's economy has moved beyond the reaches of the highly unpredictable pandemic. Some Democratic officials are also ending pandemic restrictions that had been in place for months on end. Democratic governors in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware have all laid out timelines for ending statewide mask mandates in schools and elsewhere.

So while Republicans fixate on Fauci and the pandemic, Democrats are working to move the nation beyond its clutches.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos