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Political seers confidently insist that Democrats are going to lose big in the upcoming midterms. On one hand, they may be right. On the other, they don't really know.

On the third hand, Democrats do have reasons to hope the predictions of doom are overwrought. Here are three:

One: The real Republican threat against the right to end an unwanted pregnancy. Abortion has been a good issue for Republicans. By speaking out against it, they could fire up its fierce opponents to come out and vote.

But thanks to the protections afforded by Roe v. Wade, the much larger pro-choice majorities felt little urgency. They knew they had access to legal abortion, no matter what a candidate was saying. This freed pro-choice independents and Republicans (of whom there are many) to support Republican candidates over other issues.

Now that the Supreme Court seems highly likely to throw out Roe, a sleeping pro-choice public has been aroused. Republicans now find themselves in the predicament of the dog who caught the bus.

Two: Democratic pressure on President Joe Biden to leave Title 42 in place. This pandemic-era policy discouraged unauthorized migrants to seek entry at the southern border. Polls show widespread bipartisan concern about lax controls at the border. Half-hearted efforts to ease the pressure, moderate Democrats keep telling the president, will draw even larger crowds and more chaos.

The administration says it has a plan in place to maintain order, and maybe it does. But Biden has done a poor job convincing the public that his heart is in it. At the very least, he could wait until after the election.

The positive news is that party moderates may force a postponement. And as possible evidence, the administration has actually stepped up expulsions under Title 42.

Ending Title 42 right now would be a case of Democrats shooting themselves in the foot. The possibility that they might not offers reason for hope.

Three: There are nearly six months between now and the election. Much could happen. Consider:

Last December, the political obsession was Eric Zemmour, a far-right politician in France. An extremist and a rising star, the Trump-like Zemmour attracted large crowds, feeding speculation that he might very well become the French president. As it turned out, Zemmour didn't even make it to last month's runoff. The centrist Emmanuel Macron won reelection, defeating another right-winger, Marine Le Pen.

Six months ago, the omicron variant of COVID-19 was taking off in this country, raising fears of a 2020-level pandemic. Highly infectious — it had nearly 50 mutations! — omicron drummed up new dread that current vaccines could be nearly powerless against it. Health officials worried that already swamped hospitals might collapse under a tsunami of new cases.

Didn't happen. The variant turned out to be less deadly, and the vaccines seemed to work at preventing serious illness. Now the public shrugs at omicron, even as caseloads fluctuate and some subvariants have come on the scene.

Half a year from now, events favorable to the Democrats' prospects could overtake some of the bad news. Gasoline prices could be coming down for the usual supply-and-demand reasons. Biden might adopt a vigorous approach to border security, as Barack Obama had.

An even better bet is that the Republican right will be pushing for extreme curbs on reproductive rights. Some are already hard at work on a ban of abortion pills, reduced access to birth control and punishments for women who travel to states where such services are legal.

And so, while we can't ignore the political storm system Democrats now face, weather does change. The clouds move on, and six months is a long time.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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