Nel's New Day

July 3, 2022

Supreme Court Destroys Constitution, Part III

On July 4, 2022, the day that the Continental Congress official accepted the Declaration of Independence, the Supreme Court is considering more steps from democracy to authoritarianism by hearing Moore v. Harper. Justice Clarence Thomas has threatened to remove constitutional rights, but the slate for next year could completely devastate the democracy if the six Supremes give permanent power for setting election rules to state legislatures even if laws violate state constitutions. The court already permits North Carolina’s gerrymandering for 2022 by postponing a decision; Moore argues for the permanence of maps struck down by the state Supreme Court in a finding that the maps favored “extreme partisan advantage” for the Republican Party. The GOP claims that the U.S. constitution prevents state courts from striking down anti-democratic state laws such as gerrymandering and laws eliminating ballots for arbitrary reasons. Republicans want to remove any governor’s ability to veto new state election laws.

Justice Neil Gorsuch already supported the GOP viewpoint in a concurring 2020 vote about the Wisconsin deadline for casting mail-in ballots by stating that “state legislatures—not federal judges, not state judges, not state governors, not other state officials—bear primary responsibility for setting election rules.” Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh support Gorsuch and Thomas in this position, overruling the Court’s multiple precedents rejecting this “independent state legislature doctrine.” Amy Coney Barrett, who votes Republican, is left to split the vote.

When the Moore case appeared last March on the high court’s “shadow docket,” the majority temporarily turned it away with Kavanaugh explaining the case arrived at the wrong time. Alito’s dissent stated he would immediately reinstate North Carolina’s gerrymandered maps and overrule state court decisions he didn’t like. A ruling for the GOP in Moore would give them complete control of how federal elections are conducted in states with GOP legislatures.

In Davis v. Hildebrant (1916), the Supreme Court rejected this theory by upholding a state constitution provision allowing voters to veto state election laws through a popular referendum. Davis defined “legislature,” per the U.S. Constitution’s relevant provisions, as any individual or body possessing some part of power to make laws within a state—the “legislative power.” Therefore, under Ohio’s constitution, “the referendum was treated as part of the legislative power” and thus “should be held and treated to be the state legislative power for the purpose of creating congressional districts by law.” Legal scholars and brothers Vikram David Amar and Akhil Reed Amar supported this position by writing, “state people and state constitutions are masters of state legislatures,” not the other way around.

States can determine, through its constitution, who belong to the “legislative power,” according to Supreme Court precedent. It can give power to the governor, the state courts, a redistricting commission, or the people themselves through referenda and ballot initiatives. Most state governments function this way. Like the federal constitution, state constitutions usually permit the chief executive to veto law, even election law, and give state courts the power to resolve conflicts arising from interpretation of the constitution and existing laws.

Davis has been upheld multiple times since 2016, most recently in 2015 when the high court upheld the right of Arizona’s bipartisan commission to draw congressional maps in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. According to the ruling, “Our precedent teaches that redistricting is a legislative function, to be performed in accordance with the State’s prescriptions for lawmaking, which may include the referendum and the Governor’s veto.” Three of the four dissenting justices—Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Thomas—still sit on the court. Neil Gorsuch indicates he will join their overturn of election precedence.

Moore is a strange case to use in arguing for “the independent state legislature doctrine”: although North Carolina is trying to overturn the court’s authority, its legislature specifically authorized the state courts to hear the case. North Carolina law provides that lawsuits challenging “any act of the General Assembly that apportions or redistricts State legislative or congressional districts” may be filed “in the Superior Court of Wake County and shall be heard and determined by a three‑judge panel.” This court’s decision may then be appealed to the state supreme court, and the law delineates the specific process to be followed in the courts. With no legitimate legal conflict, the Supreme Court accepted the case for Republicans to overturn its own legislative mandate to put only the legislature into complete control.  

The Supreme Court may have taken the case because a majority of justices already intend to roll back all the precedents for over a past century.

Another clause of the U.S. Constitution states that “each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.” Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) and his supporters used this clause in their effort to keep him in the Oval Office: according to them, GOP state legislatures could ignore the popular vote and send electors to vote the way that the GOP legislatures wish. Five Supreme Court justices could take all the power from secretaries of state and elections commissions. The GOP controls 30 state legislatures, enough to elect Republicans in perpetuity. John Eastman, a leader in persuading state legislatures to negate the popular vote, was a law clerk for conservative judge J. Michael Luttig. In an op-ed, Luttig described the GOP “blueprint” for stealing the 2024 election. He wrote:  

“Trump and the Republicans can only be stopped from stealing the 2024 election at this point if the Supreme Court rejects the independent state legislature doctrine (thus allowing state court enforcement of state constitutional limitations on legislatively enacted election rules and elector appointments) and Congress amends the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress’ own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the presidency.”

More details on the independent state legislature doctrine and why Moore can be the end of U.S. democracy. 

Ruth-Ghiat, scholar of authoritarianism, finds a relationship between the Supreme Court’s radical decisions and the January 6 insurrections. Thomas has gone even further right in his recommendations for future decisions to do away with federal LGBTQ rights, the ability to have contraception, and freedoms of the press and religion. In reference to the last one, she tweeted:

“Self-protection (and protection for corrupt family members) is a huge driver of authoritarian behaviors. He feels threatened and will try and change the legal order to avoid scrutiny. Radicalized people no longer care about ‘how it looks’ to outsiders.”

Ben-Ghiat noted that Thomas’ interest in overturning New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), protecting freedom of the press, came after the House January 6 investigative committee asked his wife, Ginni Thomas, to testify regarding her role in the coup attempt and her potential conflicts of interest. He is also politicizing the Supreme Court. “Politization of institutions is a major warning sign of creeping authoritarianism,” according to Ben-Ghiat. She continued:

“Societies around the world have gone through the same cycles of disbelief, agitation, anger and fear as things worsen. Since the loss of freedoms looks different in every place and time, we can have trouble acting preventively.”

In October 2017, Ben-Ghiat wrote:

“Authoritarianism is not something presented to us as a fait accompli, but something we help along, step by step, by acquiescing to changes in political climates that start with pronouncements by the leader and slowly move the boundaries of what is possible.”

DDT pushed hard for Thomas’s ideas to remove Supreme Court precedents. He follows the practice of “floating extreme ideas so that they enter the mainstream” as a joke or just “an off-the-cuff remark” so that he can take it back or accuse others of mishearing or misrepresenting him if he wants. He has frequently called the press “the enemy of the people” to pass controls on it, violating the Constitution’s First Amendment. He “joked” about VP Mike Pence’s wanting to “hang gays,” leading to a movement criminalizing LGBTQ people and their rights. Two days after DDT’s “joke,” anti-LGBTQ posters with bodies hanging from a noose appeared on college campuses and in social media.

In January 2016, DDT said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose followers, and the crowd cheered. The media treated his comment as “just being Trump,” but DDT discovered he could violate civilized norms with impunity. Becoming the GOP candidate convinced him he was above the law. Republicans typically use fear to recruit members to their political party; they promise to exercise law and order and then exacerbate situations to increase crime. The GOP demoralizes people through political and social polarization while promising to fix the problem.

Moore is a continuing departure from democracy to authoritarianism by shredding of voting rights. Hearing the case rejects a five-justice decision three years ago in Rucho v. Common Cause which blocks federal courts from addressing whether extreme partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution and claiming state courts can handle any violations of a state constitution. Nine years ago, the Supreme Court removed part of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) intended to protect Black voters. A year ago, the court further weakened the VRA by creating greater difficulties in challenging voter regulations disproportionately burdening minority voters.

The justices supporting the “independent state legislature theory” (ISLT) cite history, but this “theory” has no historical basis and no supporting scholarship. If a majority of the high court votes in favor of the case, the chaotic system will result in states not being able to reliably hold unified elections for state and federal offices. Gone will be state constitutional provisions guaranteeing “free,” “free and equal,” or “free and open” elections for federal positions.

June 29, 2022

Primaries – June 21 & 28, 2022

Voters went to the polls on June 28, 2022 in Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Utah, and South Carolina, in part to decide whether they would support the picks for Deposed Donald Trump. 

In the Democratic world, governors of Colorado, Illinois, and New York—Jared Polis, J.B. Pritzker, and Kathy Hochul, respectively—all won their primaries. For her first general election after her appointment, Hochul faces pro-gun, anti-abortion Rep. Lee Zeldin who beat Rudy Giuliani’s son, Andrew. Facing incumbent Pritzker in Illinois, Darren Bailey, DDT’s pick, beat Richard Irvin who received $50 million from GOP billionaire Ken Griffin. Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association spent $35 million opposing Irvin, preferring a contest against the weaker, anti-abortion opponent.

Colorado:

Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO) will face off against Joe O’Dea, one of the only abortion-rights Republicans winning a statewide primary this year, despite progressive ads for his opponent Ron Hanks.

Pro-DDT election conspiracist Tina Peters lost the primary for Colorado secretary of state. As might be expected, Peters and her followers are declaiming a “stolen” election. “It’s not over,” Peters said. Once again, the only “stolen” elections are those lost by far-right conservatives.  

  • Peters faces multiple felony charges for tampering with election systems.
  • A judge had blocked Peters from overseeing elections because of her failure in her duties as county clerk and being “untruthful” when she brought in someone who was not a county employee to copy the hard drives of Dominion Voting Systems machines.
  • The FBI raided her home after she pressured her employees into not cooperating with a joint local, state, and federal criminal investigation.
  • Conservatives in her former county objected to Peters being secretary of state, and some switched their party affiliations to vote against her. They said that Peters “caused” voter fraud and is a “crook [who] should not be running for secretary of state.” Now she isn’t.

In a heavily-red area of Colorado, DDT-endorsed Rep. Lauren Boebert won the GOP primary, despite her outrageous positions, worsening by the day.

  • A recent one is being “tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution … in a stinking letter [that] means nothing like what they say it does.” The referred letter, by Thomas Jefferson in 1802, stated that the First Amendment builds “a wall of separation between Church and State.” Boebert’s comments seem to reference only Christianity.
  • Earlier this year, her employees said they aren’t paid on time, and Colorado plans an investigation into her misuse of campaign funds.
  • The new owner of the building has threatened to drop her lease, but Boebert has enough money.
  • Last year, her husband made $478,000 from a non-existent company.
  • She frequently tells people to “go back to your country,” including congressional members, and called Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) a terrorist
  • Desperate to please her voters, she asked Transportation Secretary for $33 million funding a bridge despite insulting the gay father about learning “how to chest feed” his children and accused him of making an “R-rated” movie with Jeff Bezos instead of doing his job. Boebert had decried the funding from the infrastructure bill as “wasteful” and full of “slush funds” and “government welfare.” She avoids questions about her hypocrisy.

Illinois:

DDT-supported election-denier Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) beat five-term Rep. Rodney Davis. Miller most recently praised the overturn of Roe v. Wade as “victory for white life” and earlier supported Adolf Hitler for his quote, “Whoever has the youth has the future.” Later she said she misspoke about “white life” but doesn’t withdraw her praise for Hitler.

Mississippi – runoff:

Rep. Michael Guest, who voted for an independent January 6 commission, survived a GOP challenge from Trump loyalist Michael Cassidy. Earlier, he looked like a goner by finishing in second place, but neither candidate had over 50 percent. Cassidy backed off from his support for a universal health insurance programs, but his flip-flop didn’t save him. Guest went negative in ads after Cassidy beat him 47.5-46.9 percent in the primary’s first round, declaring Cassidy “just came to Mississippi from Maryland and only registered to vote here last year” and that he was “grounded and put under an investigation” when he was a Navy Reserve pilot.

In a runoff, Rep. Steven Palazzo was the first incumbent to lose in the state in 60 years after defeating Mike Ezell in the June 7 primary without a 50-percent victory. According to the House Ethics committee, the six-term representative misused almost $200,000 in campaign funds for his home’s rent and repair and asked his aides to work for his campaigns and himself. Palazzo also paid his brother, Kyle Palazzo, $23,000 from campaign funds for unjustified work and may have used his federal position to get his brother reenlisted in the military.

Nebraska:

In the nation’s oddest special election, GOP Mike Flood will finish former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s Republican term after beating Democrat Patty Passing Brooks by four percent. Fortenberry resigned after his sentence of two years of probation for lying to the FBI. Flood’s win is in a redistricted area where 75,000 people living in the current 1st District but not the new one couldn’t vote for their representative and the 69,000 people living in the new district but not the old one can vote for the person who isn’t representing them. That’s about 11 percent of each district. Flood and Brooks go up against each other in November to determine the representative who takes over in January 2023.

Oklahoma:

Rep. Markwayne Mullins and former state House speaker T.W. Shannon are headed to a runoff on August 23 to pick the GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate position vacated by Jim Inhofe. The primary had 13 candidates for the position including disgraced former EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, who received only five percent of the vote. Sen. James Lankford managed to win his GOP candidacy by two-thirds of the vote, despite being one of a few senators who decided not to challenge the electoral votes on January 6 after the attack. Conservatives found an opponent for the primary, but Pastor Jackson Lahmeyer received just over one-fourth of the total.

Texas:

Recount: Henry Cuellar, the only anti-abortion Democrat in the U.S. House, won the recount for the primary election by eight additional votes, 289, despite an FBI raid on his home during his campaign.

Indictments: DDT-endorsed candidate for the Texas House has been indicted for impersonating a public servant. There were no specific allegations. Frederick Frazier blamed his opponent, Paul Chabot, for suggesting Frazier pose as a city code compliance officer to remove Chabot’s campaign signs from a Walmart after winning the GOP primary runoff last month.

Utah:

Rep. Blake Moore is the GOP candidate for a second term in the U.S. House although he voted for the independent January 6 commission and aligned himself with GOP rejects Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). He also denounced “the political violence at our nation’s Capitol on January 6th.”

Primaries from June 21: Only one state, Virginia, and Washington, DC had a regular primary on June 21.

Alabama – runoff:

Katie Britt, lately endorsed by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) after competitor Mo Brooks went down in the polls, gave DDT another win, this on as the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate. The large Republican vote in the state gives her a good chance in November. DDT earlier endorsed Brooks until the candidate said it was time to move beyond the 2020 election. Less than a year ago, DDT said Britt was “not in any way qualified” to serve in the Senate. MAGA extremists opposed DDT’s establishment choice but perhaps less so since Brooks said he would testify before the House January 6 investigative committee after his loss.

Wes Allen, a state representative, defeated state Auditor Jim Zeigler, for GOP secretary of state candidate, both believing in election conspiracy theories. Allen makes the fourth GOP candidate for the position in different states who believe in the “big lie,” joining ones in New Mexico, Michigan, and Nevada.

Georgia:

Chris West, an Anglo, defeated Jeremy Hunt, the GOP hope in a revised district with a significantly Black voter base. West goes up against Sanford Bishop, who has served the district for three decades. Leading Republicans—Sens. Tom Cotton (AR) and Josh Hawley (MO), former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich—had endorsed Hunt.

Rich McCormick won in another congressional district against DDT-endorsed Jake Evans.

Mike Collins soundly beat former state Rep. Vernon Jones, a DDT endorsement who had switched from Democrat to Republican. Jody Hice vacated the seat to lose to Brad Raffensperger for GOP secretary of state candidate. Collins’ win devolved into a nasty fight when he called his Black opponent a “radically anti-white racist.”

Virginia:

Ben Cline, Morgan Griffith, and Rob Wittman, DDT-endorsed incumbents, easily won—two of them uncontested.

Washington, DC:

Democratic incumbent Muriel Bowser defeated three other Democrats in a bid for her third term as mayor.

June 21 made 100 out of 117 wins for DDT’s endorsements, but his record is only 75 percent for nonincumbents, 18 of 24. Of GOP nominees following DDT’s “big lie” about the 2020 election, 52 percent have won their primaries. DDT’s June 28 wins were largely safe seats.

June 16, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – June 16, 2022

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 11:07 PM
Tags: , , ,

[Shooting, June 16: Two people are dead and another injured at a suburban Episcopalian church meeting outside Birmingham (AL).

[Update: Abbott’s baby formula plant at Sturgis (MI) has been reclosed because of flooding. Can Republicans blame President Joe Biden for the flood?]

The third hearing by the House January 6 investigative committee on June 16 focused on former VP Mike Pence: the developing strategy to reject Joe Biden’s electors for the presidency, Pence and his advisers’ eventual rejection of the theory, pressure by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) to follow the theory, and the demand’s contribution to the insurrection and the endangerment of Pence’s life. Much of the information had already been made public, but the orderly presentation including video testimony from GOP officials clarified that most people integral to the scheme, including DDT’s personal lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, knew it was illegal. CNN has an excellent overview of the hearing highlights.

New information is Eastman’s email to Giuliani that he “should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.” That comment indicates the existence of a “pardon list” and Eastman’s understanding of his personal liability. The DOJ is also criminally investigating the alternative elector selections to overturn Biden’s legal votes with a grand jury subpoenaing Giuliani and Eastman, with information about other pro-DDT lawyers including Jenna Ellis and Kenneth Chesebro who wrote memos supporting the elector scheme.

Committee members praised Pence, but the missing person from the hearing was Pence himself. He was considered a hero for not permitting “alternative electors,” meaning illegal ones at the January 6 vote and for saying, “I had no right to overturn the election.” Yet he has not taken up any requests to testify about the coup that threatened his life. During the hearing times, he will be in Washington, but he will attend the House Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) who dismissed the committee’s work as “truly a political witch-hunt that was focused more on the Democrats’ obsession with Donald Trump than anything at all about Capitol security or investigating the events that led up to January 6.”

John Nichols writes about Pence’s political wish to do what is personally best for himself. Pence considered DDT’s idea for him to overturn the election and sought advice from former vice president Dan Quayle. Despite Quayle’s statement that Pence had “no flexibility” on following DDT, Pence kept pushing, hoping that Quayle might have a different answer. A career politician, Pence started campaigning for the 2024 presidential election months ago. John Nichols writes about Pence’s political wish to do what is personally best for himself:

“He wants to be seen by Trump critics as the patriot who stood up to the former president, and he wants to be seen by Trump allies as a loyal vice president who did almost everything the boss asked.”

Testimony before the investigative committee would force Pence “take a side,” and he won’t agree that DDT is a “crook” and his January 6 project is “an attempted coup.” Pence uses his ambition to make the decision to avoid telling the truth. Even the knowledge that DDT thought hanging him was “the right idea” will make him take a position.  

Weeks before the January 6, 2021 insurrection and three days before DDT told his followers to come to Washington, Pence told the highly conservative activist youth group Turning Point USA:

“We’re going to save America, and we’re never going to stop fighting to make America great again. You watch. I came to say here today to the men and women of Turning Point: Stay in the fight. Stay in the fight for election integrity.”

Turning Point’s founder, Charlie Kirk, was an organizer of the rally and march in Washington on January 6. Kirk bragged about “sending 80+ buses full of patriots to DC to fight for this president.” Pence watched Kirk carry through with his participation in the event.

Until the insurrection, Pence went along with DDT’s lies about the election. He remained silent regarding DDT’s falsehoods regarding the dangers of mail voting, about DDT’s false claims he could lose the election only if it were rigged, and DDT’s lies on the early morning of November 4 that he won the election. Pence said nothing when DDT said that Pence agreed with him that Pence could overturn the election by refusing legally-chosen presidential electors and never refuted DDT’s conspiracy theories about voter fraud. Pence had no objection to disenfranchising voters through DDT’s failed court challenges to mail-in ballots. If Pence had turned down the offer to overturn the election when he heard about it, the violence on January 6 might have been avoided.

Pence is also skipping the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Nashville where he was booed and called “traitor” last year. Both witnesses at June 16’s hearing, counsel Greg Jacobs and mentor Michael Luttig, spoke at length about the importance of their Christian belief. About any possible problem with DDT, Pence’s former aide Marc Short and Pence’s trip organizer in South Carolina and state senator Josh Kimbrell said Pence just doesn’t want to talk about the past as the former VP avoids saying anything about DDT. On the campaign trail, Pence praises the “Trump-Pence agenda” and criticizes Democrats and the media for their focus on January 6. Yet Pence has not spoken to DDT for over a year and refused invitations to visit Mar-a-Lago.

During Pence’s four years as DDT’s enabler, he spent every day obsequiously supporting the man in the White House. Proud of being a family man, Pence passionately praised DHS for separating children from parents at the southern border and lambasted any critics. He ignored a question about whether the separation was the “Christian thing to do.” Pence supported DDT in his blackmail scheme against Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to get dirt on Joe Biden. The VP supported DDT in all things—the Muslim ban, DDT during his impeachment and trial, the disaster from mismanagement of the COVID debacle, etc. In all Pence’s actions, officials asserted he was ignorant of wrong-doing, that he knew less than the public did.

Pence had one day of “heroism,” and now he’s back to trashing democracy in his attempt to become the president of the United States in his goal of turning it into a theocracy.

Last Monday, ratings for the second hearing were #1 for MSBC with 3 million watchers from 10:45 am to 12:51 pm. CNN (1.8 million viewers) came in second, and Fox (1 million viewers), which decided to show this hearing unlike the first one, was third.

Fox network analysis Brit Hume told “Special Report” host Bret Baier that the hearings damaging DDT’s reputation can be a favor for the GOP that believes it cannot win with DDT as its presidential candidate. Hume said Republicans are reluctant to push back at DDT but would appreciate the Democrats for doing their work for them. He said:

“They’re afraid of his supporters and don’t want to come out against him directly. But they’d like him to go away. If the effect of this committee is to make his possible candidacy go away, I think a great many Republicans would privately be very glad.”

The question remains about whether DDT was lying about a stolen election or if he refused to believe he actually lost. William Saletan wrote that “a delusional president is far more dangerous than a mendacious one.”

“The evidence actually points to a different conclusion: Trump wasn’t lying in the way that other presidents have done. He was simply impervious. He refused to accept unwelcome facts. And that degree of imperviousness, in a president, is much more dangerous than dishonesty.”

For four years, DDT was in charge of the world’s most powerful armed forces and the nation’s nuclear arsenal—and is willing to use violence to get his own way. Whenever anyone disagreed with DDT’s claim of a rigged election, he either switched to another subject or replaced them.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Chair Thompson called for anyone considering whether to cooperate with the investigation to reach out. Before the third hearing, DDT wrote, “I DEMAND EQUAL TIME,” referring to the hours of hearings on television. Thus far, he’s been quiet since the June 16 hearing.

The hearings are helping DDT’s Twitteresque “Truth Social” that has increased to 3.27 million users but far short of the 80 million he had on Twitter when he was banned in January 2021 “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” after the attack on the Capitol. After this morning’s hearing, the DOJ complained that the lack of access to transcripts from the investigation is hampering their prosecutions. Prosecutors filed a letter in court as part of their agreement to push back the Proud Boys’ defense to December. Defense attorneys also complain that the committee’s releases of its investigation is unfair to their clients and demand access to all records.

The committee responded that the investigation is ongoing and will continue until a final report is released later this year. Members are also concerned about the DOJ’s slow action to pursue cases against DDT and his inner circle. The agency declined to prosecute former chief of staff Mark Meadows and aide Dan Scavino for defying the committee’s subpoenas.

Primaries – June 14, 2022

After Tuesday’s primaries, over 100 Republicans moving on to the general election in November follow the “stolen election” lie that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) used to raise $250 million and keep his following. These candidates include five for governor, four for state attorney general, one for secretary of state (who determines the voting in the state), eight for the U.S. Senate, and 86 House candidates. The number of “big lie” candidates increases from 108 state or congressional candidacies to 149 winning candidates out of over 170 races by adding candidates campaigning on restricting voting rules based on false accusations of election and/or voter fraud: 4 governors, 2 lieutenant governors, 5 secretaries of state, 3 attorneys general, 2 U.S. senators, and 12 U.S. representatives.  

What can happen if these people get elected is currently playing out in Otero County (NM) where the GOP-led three-member refuses to certify the legal vote from June 7. The state secretary of state even had to ask the state Supreme Court to order the certification. Commissioners claim the Dominion voting machines were inaccurate, one woman going to far as to say she knows it in her heart. Another commissioner, co-founder of Cowboys for Trump, still believes DDT won the 2020 election. He was convicted of illegally entering the U.S. Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021, has to be in Washington on June 17, the deadline for certifying the election, and could be removed from his office according to state law. In 2020, he said, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” 

Last week, the commission voted to recount ballots, remove state-mandated ballot drop boxes, and discontinue the use of Dominion voting machines. According to the GOP county clerk, these new policies break state law; she said she’d recount the election by hand only under court order. The clerk also said that Dominion tested Otero County voting machines in public view and the machines are independently certified in advance. DDT won 62 percent of Otero County votes in 2020, and the commissioners are still having a fit. One commissioner ridiculed any intervention in the dispute and asked, “They’re going to send us to the pokey?” Maybe.  

On Bulwark, Will Saletan listed three requirements for DDT’s endorsements:

  • Personal loyalty to DDT.
  • Tolerance of corruption by favored groups and persons.
  • Tolerance for the actions of Vladimir Putin.

*DDT’s endorsements.

Primaries for the past week:

The event started with Alaska’s special primary election on June 11 to replace former Rep. Don Young, who died in March, for the remainder of 2022. Former governor and vice-president candidate Sarah Palin, one of 48 candidates vying for the position, is thus far in the lead with almost 30 percent of the vote, followed by GOP Nick Begich at 19.3 percent, independent Al Gross at 12.5 percent, Democrat Mary Pelota at 7.5 percent, and GOP Tara Sweeney with 5.3 percent. Santa Claus, a self-described “independent, progressive, democratic socialist” candidate, has 4.5 percent.

The state has counted about 100,000 ballots of the 138,900 it received. Ballots must be postmarked by June 11 and received by June 21. Palin, who quit halfway as governor in 2009, promised she is serious and committed to Alaska. This election is Alaska’s first for the new law mandating a ranking system: with no one receiving at least 50 percent, four candidates advance to the general election in which voters rank the four candidates in order of preference. A special general election for this position is set for August 16, the same date as the regular primary for that position that has 31 candidates for representative.

DDT endorsed over a dozen candidates in the June 14 primaries: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Most of his picks were easy wins, incumbents and heavy favorites or unopposed.  

Maine:

Former Republican Gov. Paul LePage is attempting a comeback against Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, both unopposed in the primaries, in the general election. Faithful DDT-supporter Bruce Polquin won the GP primary to repeat his losing race against Democratic Rep. Jared Golden.

Nevada:

*Joe Lombardo, questioning the 2020 election legitimacy, has been declared the GOP gubernatorial candidate with about 38 percent. Former GPO Sen. Dean Heller came in a distant third after Joey Gilbert, who was near the U.S. Capitol when it was stormed on January 6, 2021.

*Former AG Adam Laxalt got the GOP nod to run for U.S. Senate.

*Jim Marchant, like Lazalt a follower of the “big lie,” picked up the GOP candidacy for Secretary of State with 38 percent. Still bitter about an earlier election loss, he plans to overhaul the state’s “fraudulent” elections.

Michele Fiore, Las Vegas City Council member, picked up the GOP treasurer candidacy, running on an anti-transgender platform after an embarrassing loss for the U.S. House in 2016. Her associates are domestic terrorist Matt Shea and insurrectionists the Bundy clan and Stewart Rhodes, head of the Oath Keepers. And Fiore thinks cancer is caused by a fungus.  

North Dakota:

*John Hoeven will likely return to the U.S. Senate as will unopposed *Kelly Armstrong to the House.  

South Carolina:

DDT managed a long string of successes in the state with little opposition for most of them: *Henry McMaster, governor; *Alan Wilson, attorney general; *Tim Scott, U.S. Senate; and U.S. representatives *Jeff Duncan, *William Timmons, and *Ralph Norman. Timmons defeated DDT’s “top pastor,” Rev. Mark Burns, who wants to execute all transgender people and calls people who support them treasonous to the U.S. Constitution. Plus his history of violent remarks and falsehoods. 

*Russell Fry for U.S. House will make DDT proud; he defeated incumbent Tom Rice who had voted in favor of impeaching DDT. Rice first said about Fry:

“If you want a Congressman who supports political violence in Ukraine or in the United States Capitol, who supports party over country, who supports a would-be tyrant over the Constitution, and who makes decisions based solely on re-election, then Russell Fry is your candidate.”

Realizing he needed to crawl back to DDT, he said he would support DDT if he apologizes for the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Too little.  

Rep. Nancy Mace was DDT’s big loss. DDT endorsed Katie Arrington after Mace voted to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral votes. The state GOP establishment supported both Mace and Rice, but Arrington worked hard to win. She campaigned on four priorities:    

“First thing we need to do fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, eliminate the Department of Federal Education [sic], impeach President Joe Biden, and ‘open Hunter Biden’s laptop.’”

In May 2021, Arrington lost her security clearance and was placed on leave from the Defense Department with the allegations she disclosed classified information. In the South Carolina House of Representatives, Arrington and her opponent, Nancy Mace, almost came to blows in a bitter disagreement. She got in a fight with a woman at a rally who claimed Arrington’s bracelet proved she was a Satanist. After Mace’s win, DDT tried to make up for not giving her the endorsement she had begged him for by writing in Truth Social, “Congratulations to Nancy Mace, who should be able to easily defeat her Democratic opponent!”

Texas:

In a Texas special election for the U.S. House, GOP *Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez outright, avoiding a runoff changing the seat from blue to red after a Democrat resigned midterm. Flores claims she isn’t QAnon, but her conspiracy theories fit right in with those of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO). Flores also gained DDT’s endorsement. A Mexican immigrant, she married a Border Patrol agent. To keep the seat after 2022, she will need to defeat Democratic Rep. Vincente Gonzalez, who currently represents the 15th Congressional District, in a redrawn 34th Congressional District in November’s midterms.

DDT’s candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania will stay in the news. Mehmet Oz, the carpetbagger from New Jersey, couldn’t even correctly spell the name of the town where he registered his Pennsylvania candidacy. He is working hard to be another DDT, however, going full anti-immigrant that he connects with “soft-on-crime policies.” Studies show he lies because cities with large immigrant populations have decreased crime.

Oz’s background displays the hypocrisy of his campaigning: the GOP millionaire profits off his wife’s family-owned tree-pruning business exploiting undocumented labor. The fine of $95 million against Asplundh Tree Experts Co. by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was the biggest it ever gave. Oz is a shareholder. DDT similarly abused his undocumented workers going back to the building of Trump Tower over 40 years ago, in his case Polish employees who worked for as little as $4 an hour for 12-hour days.

Oz’s opponent may be getting more votes. David McCormick has already conceded the election without a recount, but the U.S. Supreme Court restored the ruling of an appeals court, approving the counting of undated mail ballots in a contested Pennsylvania judicial election with implications for the November election. Three justices—Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas—objected. Pennsylvania requires the voter to date the ballot despite its postmarks and dates provided by election officials when the ballots are received. A lower court declared the absence of the handwritten date an “immaterial” error.  The high court made its decision without determining the merits of the case.

June 21 is a quiet day for primaries—only in Virginia.

June 16, however, has another hearing from the House investigative committee about the January 6, 2021 insurrection at 1:00 EST. That will be enough grist for the mills in the upcoming days.

June 13, 2022

January 6, 2021 Hearing – June 13, 2022

The second public hearing for the House investigative committee into the insurrection of January 6, 2021, began at 10:00 am (7:00 am for the West Coast) today. The opening hearing last Thursday gave an overview of the disaster on the day. The one today laid the foundation for the violence, providing evidence from GOP leaders and administrative officials along with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) himself that he knew he had lost. He just felt it was to his personal benefit to lie about it. Two more hearings will be this week, Wednesday at 10:00 ET and Thursday.

Originally, six hearings were scheduled, but there may be eight with dates and time subject to change. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) summarized the subjects of the hearings:

June 13: DDT “massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information” despite his knowing he had lost the election.

June 15: DDT’s alleged plot to influence and possibly replace the U.S. Attorney General in order to further false election claims. Scheduled for 10:00 am, testimony by Jeffrey Rosen, then acting attorney general; his deputy Richard Donoghue; and Justice Department official Steve Engel.

June 16: DDT’s efforts to pressure VP Mike Pence to stop the electoral count. Scheduled on CBS at 8:00 pm, Greg Jacob, the former chief counsel to the vice president will reportedly testify.

June 21: DDT’s alleged efforts to unduly influence state legislators and election officials. Brad Raffensperger, secretary of state of Georgia and Gabriel Sterling, one his top aides, have been subpoenaed to testify.

Hearings 6 & 7:  How DDT “summoned a violent mob and directed them, illegally, to march on the U.S. Capitol” and how he failed to act to stop those same people as they invaded the Capitol building. No date is yet set for these proceedings. Invited to testify is lawyer and former judge J. Michael Luttig, who helped convince Pence that the VP could not by himself overturn state results.

CNN’s broadcasting on June 15, 21 and 22 CNN is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET and June 16 and 23 from 12 to 4 p.m. ET. Times are subject to change.

Newsmax plans live coverage with possible analysts former U.S. AG General Matthew Whitaker, Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, DDT’s Alina Habba, and attorney Ameer Benno.

Some takeaways from the June 13, 2022 hearing from former GOP leaders and DDT’s colleagues:

A visibly drunk Rudy Giuliani, according to DDT’s former campaign adviser Jason Miller, urged DDT to declare victory on election night despite the almost-unanimous objections of DDT’s campaign advisers. DDT overruled his advisers and announced his win at 2:30 am, the morning after the election while millions of ballots had not been counted.

Bill Stepien, DDT’s 2020 campaign manager, wasn’t available to testify because his wife went into labor, but he had earlier testified that he told DDT not to declare victory. He also tried to explain to DDT the benefits and aftereffects of mail balloting, even bringing in House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for support, but DDT rejected the information. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), an investigative committee member, said that the testimony showed DDT ignored his campaign experts’ advice on election night. https://www.npr.org/2022/06/13/1104657476/recap-jan-6-committee-hearing  In his earlier testimony, Stepien, who tried to get DDT re-elected, called himself part of “Team Normal.”

From that time, DDT ignored competent campaign advisers to follow the conspiracy theories of Giuliani and new campaign attorney Sidney Powell. Those claims included that the Venezuelan communist government had rigged Dominion Voting Machines to put Joe Biden in the White House.

DDT’s former AG Bill Barr declared that DDT had “lost contact with—he’s become detached from reality.”

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, said he told DDT to stop taking advice from Giuliani, but DDT said he had “confidence in Rudy.”

Former Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue testified he told DDT about how DOJ officials investigated claims of fraud in Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, etc. and found that information given to DDT was inaccurate. DDT then moved to other claims of fraud. Barr echoed Donoghue’s statements about telling DDT that these claims were “bullsh*t.”

Chris Stirewalt, former political editor at Fox News who was fired after he led the station to call the 2020 election for Biden, explained in detail the “red mirage” concept, how Republicans do well in early vote-counting until Democratic votes pile up later from a preference for mail voting. DDT’s advisers gave him this information, but DDT still declared an immediate victory. He demanded “all voting to stop” during his early morning speech on November 4 because he was ahead. Stirewalt said DDT had no chance of winning the 2020 election after the votes started coming in.

The hearing ended with a presentation on DDT’s use of the conspiracy theory to raise $250 million, purportedly for the “election defense fund” which didn’t exist. Up to 25 emails went to potential donors a day with the last one 20 minutes before the insurrectionists breached the U.S. Capitol on January 6. According to Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), DDT used this fund to pay his family. DDT’s former campaign staffers testified that the tool was a marketing ploy and millions went to conservative groups run by DDT allies, including his former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Misleading donors about the destination of their funds is fraud.   

DDT can’t keep himself from responding to the hearings. He called Barr “a cowardly RINO and shill for the Marxist Democrats.”

DDT said he started his Twitteresque “Truth Social” for free speech because Twitter doesn’t follow the First Amendment, but people who posted positive opinions about the hearings have had their accounts suspended. The day after the first hearing, DDT ranted on his personal social media platform, Truth Social, about people speaking against him in the hearings. Former AG Bill Barr is a “coward,” “weak,” and “frightened” after he said he told DDT three times there was no evidence of election and voter fraud. DDT’s daughter Ivanka Trump “was not involved in looking at, or studying, election results. She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as attorney general [and] “he sucked!” Ivanka Trump said she had “accepted” Barr’s conclusions regarding the election because she respects him. DDT claimed he “NEVER said, or even thought of saying, ‘Hang Mike Pence,'” referencing Cheney’s statement to the contrary, quoting DDT as saying, “Maybe our supporters have the right idea. Mike Pence ‘deserves it.”

Supposedly, DDT started his Twitteresque “Truth Social” for free speech because Twitter doesn’t follow the First Amendment, but people who posted positive opinions about the hearings have had their accounts suspended.

DDT has no rebuttal to the claims from his Republicans in the hearings so he issued a 12-page commentary criticizing domestic issues and repeating the “stolen election” claim.

On June 9, almost 20 million people watched the House January 6 investigative hearings, the plurality of 4.8 million viewers on ABC and 4.1 million on MSNBC. Fox network showed hearings on Fox Business Network and various Fox Nation streaming platforms available to affiliate stations because the network didn’t preempt Tucker Carlson’s hour-long, ad-free lies at the same time. Carlson called committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) “lunatics.” Sean Hannity talked over the silent version of the videos. Conservative Newsmax showed many of Cheney’s statements but cut away for opposing commentators with banners displaying talking points by Deposed Donald Trump (DDT).

Fox’s focus is on profit so the network showed the second hearing on June 13, which infuriated Tucker Carlson. Unable to refute the Republicans’ testimony, analysts complained about Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) not being on the investigation committee to “cross-examine” witness such as Bill Barr. Jordan has refused to comply with the committee’s subpoena, missing a second deadline. Earlier he said he had nothing to hide, but he had participated in White House meetings to overturn the election.

The investigative committee is following DDT’s “seven-point plan” to steal the election:

1. DDT spread false and fraudulent information about the 2020 election being stolen from him.

2. DDT corruptly planned to replace the Acting Attorney General, requiring the DOJ to support his lies.

3. DDT corruptly pressured VP Mike Pence to refuse to count certified electoral votes, violating the U.S. Constitution and the law.

4. DDT corruptly pressured state election officials and state legislators to change election results.

5. DDT’s legal team and his other associates told Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and send those slates to Congress and the National Archives.

6. DDT “summoned and assembled a violent mob in Washington and directed them to march on the U.S. Capitol.”

7. During the violence, DDT ignored multiple pleas for assistance and failed to take action to stop the violence and order his supporters to leave the Capitol.

Investigators are on the way to uncover all these. DDT may have ignored the necessity to actually win the election. From the beginning he may have been planning to take it over without requiring the votes.

Stephen Colbert’s monologue about the first hearings on The Late Show.

Primaries tomorrow on June 14, 2022: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina.

June 9, 2022

Primaries – June 7, 2022

June 7 primaries don’t hold a candle to the blockbuster results in Georgia and Pennsylvania two weeks ago. Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) came in with 16 endorsements, almost all of them in save positions, in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. Several House Republicans with primary elections on Tuesday face challengers running to the incumbents’ political right, but they have the advantage of polling and fundraising. DDT endorsed candidates in only five states; he lost both New Jersey and New Mexico by double digits in 2020. Endorsements are marked by *.

California:

California has an open voting system: all candidates, no matter which party, are put on the ballot, and the top two are pitted against each other in the general election.

*House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy received DDT’s endorsement despite DDT’s supporters booing McCarthy and calling him a “RINO.” Comments on DDT’s announcement expressed disappointment with DDT’s choice, and DDT’s friend Roger Stone called McCarthy a “disgrace to the Republican Party.” DDT’s endorsement may have come in retaliation for former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s campaign support of South Carolina’s Rep. Tom Rice and criticism of DDT’s “vengeance” in endorsing challengers to Republicans who cross him. McCarthy’s win in the primary is no surprise, despite the controversy surrounding the leaked audio in which he privately criticized DDT after the January 6 insurrection while publicly supporting him and then lied about what he said. His only GOP opponent was James “Deviant” Davis who raised no donations, been arrested several times, believes all civilians are subject to mind control, and until recently lived out of his car. Even so, McCarthy’s national approval rating is 22 percent with 40 percent of registered voters having an unfavorable opinion.

Other incumbents winning DDT endorsements: *Reps. Doug LaMalfa; *Tom McClintock; *Jay Obernolte; *Ken Calvert; and *Darrell Issa—all of whom voted to overturn the 2020 election.  

*Connie Conway won the election to replace former Rep. Devin Nunes, DDT’s CEO for his new social media platform Truth Social, until next year when the new district map takes effect.

*Kevin Kiley is in second place to Democrat Kermit Jones with 47 percent of the vote in; if they keep their places, they will face off again in November. In Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall, which he won, Kiley came in at sixth place. 

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) faces a November runoff with billionaire Rick Caruso for Los Angeles mayor, losing by 42 percent to 37 percent, with 50 percent of the vote in. Bass had $3 million; Caruso spent almost $40 million of his own money.

Iowa:

*Sen. Chuck Grassley, 88, is an easy win for DDT because of his longevity although his opposition to any gun safety laws has disturbed many people in the state, especially after the killings at an Ames (IA) church. His solution for gun safety is to expand the Secret Service. To get DDT’s approval, Grassley had to back down from his claim about DDT being “extreme, aggressive, and irresponsible.” Grassley did explain he changed his attitude because “91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa” support DDT.

Other DDT wins, all unopposed: *Gov. Kim Reynolds; Rep. *Ashley Hinson; and Rep. *Randy Feenstra.

Mississippi:

Both Reps. *Michael Guest and *Steven Palazzo have to face runoffs on June 28 because they failed to make the necessary 50 percent vote in the GOP primary. Guest lost to DDT’s Mike Cassidy by 287 votes after he voted to form a bipartisan January 6 investigation committee. Palazzo was dinged by the ethics committee for misspending campaign funds and using staff to run personal errands.

*Rep. Trent Kelly won with 90 percent. 

Montana:

For the first time since 1993, Montana has more than one congressional district with two GOP-leaning districts. Former U.S. Rep. and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Rep. Matt Rosendale both have DDT’s endorsement.  

*Zinke is only 1.5 percent ahead of the nearest competitor, 180 votes ahead, making the primary too close to call. He claims his SEAL PAC donates to conservative veterans running for office, but at least one-fourth of the donations went to people who never served, like Kevin McCarthy in California and Rep. Liz Cheney’s opponent in Wyoming. Conservative decorated Army combat veteran Marjorie Eastman, also a military spouse, discovered that Zinke’s PAC gave to her North Carolina opponent Rep. Ted Budd, endorsed by DDT. Never having served in the military, Budd voted against the House burn pits bill, supported by most veterans including Eastman. Of its 2022 $5.8 million expenditures, the PAC used over 87 percent for operating expenditures with only 12 percent going to candidates. Because of multiple ethics violations, Zinke had to resign from his Cabinet post, and he may actually live in California where his wife lists her residence.  

*Matt Rosendale, sued by the Giffords gun safety organization for allegedly aided in his campaign by NRA’s shell corporations, won by 76 percent.   

New Jersey:

Rep. Chris Smith, in office for over 40 years, beat opponent Mike Crispi, endorsed by Michael Flynn, and Steve Gray, who called himself an “American First Patriot” and wants to take the U.S. “from the establishment RINOs.” DDT didn’t make any endorsement in the race, despite his anger that Smith voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

New Mexico:

Audrey Trujillo, who spread false conspiracies about the 2020 election, is the GOP candidate for secretary of state to run the elections. She also attacked COVID vaccines and used Twitter to push anti-Semitic content.

South Dakota:

Voters defeated the legislative scam to raise the bar so high on people’s initiatives that it might block Medicaid expansion in the state. Over two-thirds of the voters rejected the lawmakers’ idea.

Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson beat off a GOP challenger accusing him of insufficient loyalty to DDT.  

*Incumbent Gov. Kristi Noem is also another easy win for DDT.

June 14 primaries promise another quieter day with elections in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina.

In a Texas Democratic contest for U.S. House, Jessica Cisneros will ask for a recount in the runoff election with Rep. Henry Cuellar. He is supported by the Democratic establishment despite his anti-abortion stance. Cisneros is only 187 votes behind, 0.4 percent, but the state law does an automatic recount only when the votes are tied between two candidates. A winner has not been projected. In 2004, Cueller won by only 58 votes over incumbent Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez in the primary.

It’s said that voters have short memories; if so, Republicans have amnesia. In Pennsylvania, DDT’s endorsement, Mehmet Oz, is the winner for the GOP U.S. Senate candidacy by an extremely narrow margin after David McCormick conceded the election. To get the win, Oz abandoned his policy positions, one of them potential health risks from fracking. In March, he claimed he didn’t write the columns.

An Arizona judge refused the GOP request to block most mail ballots for the 2022 election, preferred by 90 percent of the voters in the 2020 election. The rule stated by the state constitution doesn’t prohibit the legislature from permitting vote by mail. Kelli Ward, GOP chair, claimed that mail ballots violate the requirement for a secret ballot. The GOP picked a judge in Mohave County, the most conservative county in the state, where DDT received 75 percent of the 2020 vote. AG Mark Brnovich, running in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, refused to defend the state’s mail voting laws in court. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office representing seven county recorders hired lawyers to defend the law. The state’s Democratic Party and three national Democratic Party organizations also intervened on the side of the law.

AP has finally called an Oregon U.S. House race against incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and for Jamie McLeod-Skinner although Republican Sherry Hall, Clackamas County Clerk, is still muddling through the ballot counting. Schrader is one of four incumbents to lose their primaries, two of them because redistricting forced them to run against other incumbents. The only other real loser is Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), toppled by the GOP structure in the state funded by billionaire Art Pope.

Schrader was backed by President Joe Biden and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee but opposed by many state Democrats annoyed by his support of GOP positions while he claimed to be a “Blue Dog.” With 83 percent of the votes in, McLeod-Skinner is ahead by over 14 percent despite Schrader outspending her 10-1. His ads misrepresented his private life and political positions as well as smearing McLeod-Skinner.

Schrader voted against allowing Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices to save money and refused to support Biden’s Build Back Better plan. A year ago, he wouldn’t support an increase to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and therefore voted against a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill. After the January 6 insurrection, he didn’t support the impeachment of DDT, calling it a “lynching.” There is some question about whether he resides in Oregon although he votes in the state. 

Having demonstrated either incompetence or malice since her first election 20 years ago, Hall will likely be re-elected as county clerk in the 2022 election in the heavily GOP area.

June 2, 2022

Elections ‘Rigged,’ in Limbo

A mass shooting today: At a Racine (WI) cemetery during the funeral of Da’shontay L. King Sr, who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop, at least five members of his family were injured. The shooter is still at large.

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) is eagerly waiting to see if he has to declare the Pennsylvania GOP primary for U.S. senator “rigged,” but conservative Justice Samuel Alito has tossed a clinker into the process. Candidate David McCormick sued to have undated or wrongly-dated ballots counted, and the 3rd Circuit Court, using an earlier ruling, agreed. These ballots arrived on time, but the voter had to write a date on the envelope. A judicial candidate, however, appealed to the Supreme Court to block them, and Alito put a stay on the lower ruling until the Supreme Court makes a decision. The deadline for the results is June 8.

DDT’s endorsement, Mehmet Oz, declared himself the “presumptive” candidate although 1,200 GOP mail-in ballots and 4,000 provisional ballots from all parties remain to be counted. McCormick has been receiving two-thirds of the votes from the mail-in votes. Oz is leading by only 923 votes, requiring a mandatory recount. To run, Oz changed his address from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

Straightening out the mess will be difficult. Some counties include undated ballots; others don’t. Some areas haven’t finished the first count. Defects in mail ballots require decisions about acceptance or rejection. Counties must research voters of provisional ballots to decide whether they count. Campaigns have a two-day waiting period to appeal these decisions to county court before they are rescanned in a South Philly mail ballot delivery challenged by McCormick and Oz campaigns. And in Allegheny County. Today, a Commonwealth judge ordered counties to count undated ballots but keep them separate.

Federal judges ruled that the dating requirement is immaterial to voters’ qualifications and not counting them violates federal civil rights law. Ballots arrived on time with no indication of fraud. But Alito halted the decision with no deadline for a ruling. DDT may have to wait a long time.

David Perdue, GOP loser for Georgia’s governor, isn’t shouting “rigged” about his predictable failure, but the other losing opponent to incumbent Brian Kemp complains she was cheated. Kandiss Taylor, who believes that DDT really won the 2020 election, got only 3.4 percent of the GOP gubernatorial primary compared to PDDT-endorsed Perdue who received 21.8 percent.

DDT’s allies believe the Kemp win is fraud. Former Newsmax correspondent Emerald Robinson circulated this reason in DDT’s “Save America” PAC:

“On Primary Day in Georgia, Kemp gets 74% and Perdue gets 22%. Nobody in any election in America gets 74% of the votes. Ever. It doesn’t happen. Obvious fraud.”

Uncomfirmed claims of election fraud arise only when Republicans—or DDT’s endorsements—lose elections. To the GOP, any other election is legitimate. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), headed for a runoff on June 13 after he came in second for the GOP U.S. Senate primary, confirmed the GOP hypocrisy. About his second place to another Republican, he said, “At some point, you have to hope that the election system is going to be honest.” Brooks was one of 147 legislators to oppose the electoral college vote on January 6, 2021, and support the illegal plan to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential win in favor of DDT. Brooks said the 2020 fraud took place “in predominantly Democrat parts of the state” despite the 100+ lawsuits disproving any election fraud in 2020 and DDT-appointed AG Bill Barr’s statement that the 2020 election was fair.

Thus far, 55 lawmakers objecting to Biden’s election have participated in competitive primaries using the same rules and regulations as in 2020, and the GOP has cried fraud about only DDT’s losses in Georgia. Pennsylvania may come under that category if Oz doesn’t win. No winning Republicans in 2020 denied their victories because of “rigged” elections. The rare factual election fraud in past years came from Republicans, for example the North Carolina in 2018 requiring a redo of a House race.   

After four years, DDT’s EPA secretary Scott Pruitt, known to treat his staff like servants, has been reported in violation of federal policies and “endangered public safety” for forcing his security detail to drive at dangerous speeds on routine trips. Typically late, he also made them use sirens and emergency lights. Once he ordered the driver to plow into oncoming traffic because he needed to pick up his dry-cleaning. The internal report had been kept secret until now although it was finished a month before he resigned in July 2018.

The EPA also reversed its exoneration of Pruitt for his installation of a $43,000+ secure phone booth in his office, used only once, and now states Pruitt violated the appropriations law. Pruitt also committed more violations in expenditures for decorating his office.  Pruitt is running for U.S. Senate from Oklahoma with a dozen opponents and no endorsements, not even DDT.    

Three congressional Republicans are facing ethics charges for insider trading:

  • Reps. Pat Fallon (R-TX) and John Rutherford (R-FL) violated the STOCK Act by not reporting their stock trades. According to the Office of Congressional Ethics, Fallon has “a pattern of late disclosure of reportable transactions, which continued even after he was on notice of his STOCK Act filing obligations.” When he did not cooperate with the probe, the OCE recommended the House Ethics Committee subpoena Fallon.
  • Rutherford is on the Ethics Committee which usually does not investigate its own members. The OCE, however concluded he has “a pattern of late disclosure of reportable transactions made in [IRA] accounts, which continued even after he was on notice of his STOCK Act filing obligations.”
  • Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-NY) was investigated. The OCE, however, “failed to reach a determination on the allegations against Jacobs after its nonpartisan board reached a tie vote on referring the matter further, but House Ethics said in a statement they would continue to investigate the issue.”

Last week, the OCE announced an investigation into Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-SC) cryptocurrency promotional efforts and an alleged relationship with a congressional aide. Cawthorn lost his primary last month.

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) allegedly misused campaign funds to pay dues at a private social club in Texas, and Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) allegedly enlisted congressional staff to complete personal tasks.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), third highest-ranking Republican in the U.S. House after Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stripped Liz Cheney (R-WY) of the position, hopes to become DDT’s vice-president in 2024. With an A+ rating from NRA, Stefanik’s husband, Matthew Manda, is public affairs manager for the Newton (CT) based National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and a plaintiff in a lawsuit attempting to block a New York law increasing liability for gun manufacturers. In April, Manda coordinated dozens of gun industry leaders to speak with elected officials—including Stefanik. A reporter asked Stefanik’s adviser Alex deGrasse if Manda’s work influences Stefanik’s stance on gun rights, deGrasse called the journalist “a very sick person” and called the employer, the Albany Times Union, “sexist.”

In South Dakota, AG Jason Ravnsborg probably won’t run for re-election. He was impeached for a hit-and-run after he killed a pedestrian in September 2020 but allowed to plead to a misdemeanor. Ravnsborg is on leave until after the impeachment trial beginning on June 21, but he announced last Friday that his office will not charge billionaire T. Denny Sanford, the state’s richest man, with possession of child pornography. The affidavits are still sealed despite requests for them from news outlets, Argus Leader and ProPublica. Anti-pornography positions are becoming popular among conservatives—just not for billionaires.

South Dakota GOP legislators are so opposed to Medicaid expansion that they put a constitutional amendment on the June 7 primary ballot to restrict initiatives because of one for the expansion scheduled on November 8. The proposed amendment would prevent measures spending over $10 million for five years and require 60 percent of voters, not 50 percent, to approve the initiative. GOP lawmakers admitted that the purpose of the constitutional amendment was to block the Medicaid expansion. Voters in five states—Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah—have already approved the expansions after the legislature refused to accept it.

In 1898, South Dakota was the first state in the U.S. to establish the popular initiative process. Initiatives have raised the minimum wage, created an independent ethics commission, and legalized cannabis in the conservative state. After the ethics commission approval in 2016, the legislature overturned it and tried to make the initiative process more stringent. In 2020, the all-GOP Supreme Court struck down the cannabis legalization initiative for having more than one subject. Last year, GOP legislatures increased the font size of the ballot petition while mandating that the text fit on one page.

South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem, spoke at the NRA convention three days after the Uvalde (TX) massacre, explaining the need to carry all guns without any permits because leftist protesters want to tear down Mt. Rushmore. With presidential aspirations, Noem reconnected with DDT’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after he allegedly sexually harassed a female donor at a political event in Las Vegas.

In Missouri, a first-time Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Anheuser-Busch heir Trudy Busch Valentine, was scheduled to have an NRA fundraiser until she got caught. With ten opponents and lots of money, she also campaigned on “commonsense gun legislation,” promising to be leader.

May 25, 2022

Primaries – May 24, 2022

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) was up with another round of endorsements for the May 24 primaries in Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas. Candidates not receiving over 50 percent of the vote will have runoffs on June 21. Minnesota also a special primary for one congressional district, and Texas, requiring primary winners receive at least 50 percent of the vote, had a few controversial elections.

Pennsylvania Recount:

Dr. Oz’s race with David McCormick for U.S. Senate goes to a mandatory recount with the difference in Oz’s favor at only 947 votes out of over 1.3 million ballots. The deadline of June 7 will tell Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) if he lost his endorsement for Oz and must scream “rigged election.” Oz is staying quiet while McCormick sues to keep the state to stop them from discarding mail-in ballots lacking handwritten dates. Mail-in ballots favored McCormick over Oz by 32 to 23 percent. Instead of “find the votes” as DDT demanded in Georgia almost 17 months ago, DDT demands, “Stop FINDING VOTES in PENNSYLVANIA! RIGGED?” Pennsylvania’s GOP delayed counting mail-in ballots by blocking any preparation of them before the election. In the chaos, exhausted election officials have quit, leading to more chaos in November.

Oregon Failure:

Kurt Schrader’s battle with Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Democratic candidate in the 5th Congressional District slogs on because of the extreme incompetence of the GOP Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall. With 66 percent of the vote counted, McLeod-Skinner is still 18 percent ahead, and Hall has no projection of when results will be announced. She does have a deadline of June 13. Much more about this later!

(X) = DDT’s endorsement lost.

Texas Runoffs:

Incumbent Texas AG Ken Paxton just destroyed the Bush dynasty by defeating George W. Bush, Poppy Bush’s grandson and Jeb’s son, in Paxton’s re-election. The start to the presidency should have been little Bush’s election to land commissioner, but this year’s loss was the end. Since 2015, candidate Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud while four judges have moved the case from one place to another. A large number of his staff quit in 2020 after Paxton abused his office in helping a campaign donor raided by the FBI. The FBI is investigating Paxton for corruption, and the state bar filed a professional misconduct lawsuit against Paxton for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections in four battleground states won by President Joe Biden. His election in November is highly possible because of suppression of votes from those opposed to his anti-immigrant, anti-climate, anti-healthcare access, and anti-transgender crusades. Paxton beat Bush 68 to 32 percent.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar has declared the race for himself, but his opponent Jessica Cisneros hasn’t conceded with only 0.4 percent separating them—175 votes—and votes left to count. Traditional House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), support Cuellar despite his anti-abortion stance, but his reputation suffers from an unexplained FBI raid on his home and campaign office under six weeks before the primary election raised more questions. Automatic recounts in Texas are only in the case of ties; otherwise the requester pays for it. There is no deadline for the completion.

Wayne Christian, friend of Chevron, won another term on the Railroad Commission overseeing the oil with an easy win in the runoff, 65 to 35 percent, despite a $2 million donation to underdog Sarah Stogner. Corruption continues as ranchers continue to get no help.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, who won his second primary unopposed on March 1, faces ethics charges before the general election for inappropriate use of campaign funds. During his first term, the Pentagon inspector general’s office accused him of “inappropriate conduct” while he was DDT’s White House doctor. A Defense Department’s inspector general’s report earlier found that Jackson drank while on duty and abused his staff. Later, the physician called the COVID omicron variant a Democratic conspiracy theory to win 2022 elections. Jackson also faces questions about why Oath Keepers members texted him during the January 6 insurrection and claimed he needed protection.

The Ethics Committee also reported that DDT’s choice and winner of a West Virginia primary, Rep. Alex Mooney, likely accepted an impermissible gift for a vacation in Aruba and violated federal law by using congressional staff to plan the trip on official time and with official resources. Seven current and past employees identified “frequent requests to complete unofficial tasks—ranging from babysitting and car repairs for a personal vehicle to assisting with personal finances and businesses—solely for the personal benefit of Mr. Mooney and his family.”

Georgia: 

DDT suffered two losses important to him in the state where he attempted retaliation against both governor and secretary of state who refused to invent over 11,000 votes for him to win in the 2020 election despite DDT’s consistent begging.  

(X) Gov. Brian Kemp beat DDT’s endorsement for U.S. senator, David Perdue, big time by almost 52 points. In a last-ditch gathering, Perdue said he might not accept the election results and claimed his polls losing to Kemp by big margins were “full of crap.” He smeared Stacey Abrams by saying the Black woman’s statements were “demeaning her own race” and she should “go back to where she came from.” Perdue fought both Democrats and Republicans, including DDT’s former VP Mike Pence. Kemp makes the third primary gubernatorial defeat for DDT—Idaho and Nebraska—with two wins, one of them Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania who Republicans will support in only a lukewarm fashion and Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Arkansas who was a given. Initially reluctant to run, Perdue was pushed by DDT and ran an apathetic campaign. Abrams, who lost the 2018 gubernatorial election when Kemp was controlling the votes, is again the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

(X) Brad Raffensperger defeated DDT’s pick Jody Hice for secretary of state by 19 points with a majority vote, meaning no runoff. Crossover Democratic votes in the open primary may have helped Raffensperger beat his conspiracy “stolen election” believer Hice.  

Burt Jones may have to go to a runoff for lieutenant governor candidate.

(X) John Gordon, DDT’s endorsement for attorney general, lost with only 26 percent of the vote, and (X) Patrick Witt received only 17 percent of the vote for Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.                             

Herschel Walker did bring in the GOP U.S. Senate primary for DDT to run against incumbent Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor who was elected in a special January 2021 election. The positive part of Walker? He was an NFL star in the last century. Political experience? Nothing. Otherwise? Lying about education and business, corruption, fraud, domestic violence, sexual abuse, murderous urgesconsignorance, illogic, and much more. Asked about Walker’s problems, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “Every candidate has flaws and assets.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, QAnon Queen of Congress, won her primary by almost 70 percent although the conservative National Review endorsed her opponent Jennifer Strahan, calling Greene “a disgrace to her office and a disservice to her constituents in Georgia’s 14th district.” Another notch for DDT. 

Alabama: 

Mo Brooks, unendorsed by DDT after a spat, came in second for the U.S. Senate primary to Katie Britt, but they’ll face a runoff on June 21. Britt’s exposure as McConnell’s lobbyist didn’t help her get votes. DDT endorsed no other Alabama candidate, but incumbent GOP Gov. Kay Ivey avoided a runoff for her fall candidacy. Brooks is getting ready for the runoff by returning to DDT’s fold. In an interview on the day of his election, he repeated lies about the insurrectionists being “antifa” and the election was “stolen” because of the “800,000 to 1.7 million non-citizens that voted in 2020.” When confronted with lack of evidence, he said that he has proof but won’t give it to the January 6 investigation committee because he doesn’t want it to be “secret.”

Arkansas:

DDT won all three of his state endorsements: Sanders as heir to governor, Tim Griffin for attorney general, and John Boozman for U.S. senator—despite Boozman’s three opponents. One of them, 33-year-old billionaire football star Jake Bequette, criticized Boozman for not challenging the 2020 electoral college count on January 6, 2021, but got only 20 percent of the vote. Boozman also played football—1969-1973.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections named 36 petitioner circulators whose petition sheets contained only invalid signatures and described the current election cycle as having wholesale fraud. The question is whether the disqualified candidates knew about the problem. They cry foul about being eliminated from the race. For the signatures, petition circulators used outdated voter lists with outdated addresses and dead people.  The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers will decide this week whether it will act on the bureau’s recommendation.

No primaries next week, but there will be seven of them on June 7.

 

May 18, 2022

Primaries – May 17, 2022

If it’s Tuesday this summer, there might be primaries. This week they were in my home state of Oregon along with Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Unlike in past years, the former occupant of the White House is trying to control the elections. This year he has pushed 176 far-right candidates thus far, 26 of them this week. Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) upped his total by endorsing several candidates who ran unopposed or faced little-known, poorly-known opponents. A few of them haven’t been announced, specifically Mehmet Oz for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, because Lancaster County ballot barcodes were too poorly printed to be tallied, affecting about 21,000 ballots. That race is so tight that a recount may be needed. Thus far, Oz hasn’t followed DDT’s direction to “declare victory” before all the votes are counted, but court cases will probably ensue.  

Status of the five states voting on May 17:

Idaho:

This state may not be as crazy as I feared: incumbent Brad Little won the GOP gubernatorial race against his DDT-endorsed lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin. She made the media by issuing executive orders the minute he left the state such as sending the state national guard to the Mexico border and rescinding COVID protections, orders that Little had to overturn when he returned. 

Incumbent Rep. Mike Simpson won, claiming DDT’s endorsement, but that one was two years ago. 

Kentucky:

Incumbent Rep. Thomas Massie, one Russian President Vladimir Putin’s staunchest assets in the U.S. for his 16-for-16 anti-Ukrainian votes, won with DDT’s endorsement. Massie overcame DDT’s insults that he should be thrown out of the GOP, calling him a “third rate Grandstander” for trying to stall DDT’s $2.2 trillion COVID aid package. DDT endorsed the state’s other four heavily-favored GOP house members. Massie’s current excuse to not expand healthcare comes from the statistics that 70 percent of people dying of COVID are over the age of 70. He insinuated that Medicare is the reason for all these deaths. He earlier attributed a quote by a neo-Nazi convicted for child porn to Voltaire while trying to smear Dr. Anthony Fauci

North Carolina:

Fellow Republicans wiped out DDT’s endorsement, 26-year-old incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn, with the help of billionaire Art Pope. The media attributed the loss to Cawthorn’s myriad scandals, but his big mistake was trying to take a district Pope wanted for another politician. Cawthorn has repeatedly endorsed violence in case of a rigged election (aka one that elects Democrats) and promised to break insurrectionists out of custody. He did, however, concede the election.     

 DDT got himself another 26-year-old, football player Bo Hines, for a congressional district where he doesn’t live. Local conservatives ran ads about his being a carpetbagger, and he raised only $120,000 in the first quarter with no contributions over $50 in the district he wants to represent. The misnamed House Freedom Caucus gave him $2 million, and Club for Growth gave him $1.5 million. The anti-government PAC couldn’t remember what position he wanted, however, running an ad stating he’s a senatorial candidate.

Rep. Ted Budd’s win for U.S. senatorial candidate was buoyed by DDT’s endorsement and $12 million from the Club for Growth. Budd voted to overturn the election after the insurrectionists were removed from the Capitol on January 6.

DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows won’t be voting in the North Carolina primary. He’s been dropped from the rolls after the discovery he registered there illegally because he’s never lived there. At that time, he was also registered in both South Carolina and Virginia. A great believer in “election integrity,” he gave the keynote speaker at a CPI Election Integrity Summit in Atlanta on February 19 and said, “What you’re doing is investing in the future of our country and making sure only legal votes count.”

Pennsylvania:

Doug Mastriano, the Democrats’ pick for the general election GOP candidate, won the gubernatorial GOP primary in Pennsylvania just days after DDT endorsed him.  The state senator has been subpoenaed by the House January 6 investigative committee because of his participation in the plan to provide an alternative slate of electors for DDT instead of the electors selected by the state’s voters. He was also at the Capitol for the January 6, 2021 insurrection, employs 3 Percenters and Proud Boys for security, and has ties to QAnon conspiracy theorists. Later he denied he went into the Capitol although he was filmed going through the breached barricades. The press is banned from his rallies, and even Fox’s Sean Hannity disagreed with DDT’s endorsement. Republicans wanted former Rep. Lou Barletta and are very lukewarm about their new “Christian nationalist” after his win. Mastriano is everything that MAGAites could want and more.

Teddy Daniels, the GOP gubernatorial candidate for the 2022 general election, didn’t get DDT’s endorsement, but he did join the insurrectionists at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He posted a video 90 minutes after the Capitol was breached and stated, ‘I’m here. God bless our patriots.”

Still unsettled is the GOP race for the U.S. Senate. By Wednesday, Mehmet Oz, DDT’s endorsement, was ahead of wealthy former hedge fund owner David McCormick by about 1,240 votes, waiting for the remainder ones. For a brief time, the third candidate, Kathy Barnette, rose as a competitor because of the smears between the top two. She out-MAGAs both of them with her anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ bigotry and her being seen with the Proud Boys just before they were at the insurrection. Opposed to Roe v. Wade, Barnette claims she was “the byproduct of rape” after her molested mother was pregnant at the age of 11. Questions to Barnette’s campaign manager about her background went unanswered. Her supporters come from those who think that DDT is not far enough right-wing; her GOP opposition calls her “crazy” and “Pennsylvania’s wackiest candidate.” Barnette lost her 2020 try against Democrat Madeleine Dean in an area heavily won by Hillary Clinton four years earlier but still refuses to concede the race, which she lost by almost 20 percent.

Another carpetbagger, “Dr. Oz” moved to Pennsylvania from New Jersey after DDT lost his first choice for the U.S. senate, Sean Parnell, who resigned after his domestic violence was made public. Oz used his in-laws residence for his address, and DDT’s audience booed his name at a rally. Part of his recommended “cures” on his Oprah-endorsed TV show are hydroxychloroquine for COVID (doesn’t work) and lose-weight-fast methods such as raspberry ketones “the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat.” According to Oz, astrological signs “may reveal a great deal about our health,” and umckaloabo root extract relieves cold symptoms. (It doesn’t.) 

Trying to look more MAGA, Dr. Oz held a pro-gun rally with Ted Nugent pro-gun rally less than 24 hours after a teenager killed at least 10 people in Buffalo last weekend. Nugent called for the audience to go “berserk on the skulls of the Democrats.”

If Oz doesn’t win by at least 0.05 percent of the vote, about 7,000, state law requires an automatic recount by June 1, 2022, unless the second-place candidate declines. Second-place McCormick has an antagonistic anti-immigrant position and hired Stephen Miller, DDT’s architect of anti-immigration policies aimed at people of color to advise him.

Oregon:

DDT made no endorsements in the state, but President Joe Biden supported incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader, who has moved to a new district after Oregon needed a new map for an additional House representative. In his former district, Blue Dog Schrader was disliked for his GOP-like votes, and his opponent, Jamie McLeod Skinner, is almost 10,000 ahead with about 21,000 votes outstanding from a bad print job on the barcodes. Deadline for confirmation is June 13. There have also been questions about Schrader’s residency

Money didn’t seem to buy Carrick Flynn a Democratic candidacy in the state’s new congressional district, despite the $13 million support from a cryptocurrency billionaire living in the Bahamas and another $1 million from the House Majority PAC. Of Carrick’s $817,254 itemized individual campaign contributions, 55 percent came from California and New York, with only 2.5 percent from Oregon donors. Flynn’s sunny ads for most of the campaign changed to smears against his winning opponent, Andrea Salinas, in the last few days. Because of the printing problem in Clackamas County, this election has also not been formally announced. Salinas is about 9,000 votes ahead. In the 6th District GOP primary, Mike Erickson has not been declared the winner, and the runner-up, Ron Noble, has not conceded although he is over 7,000 votes behind.  

After Gov. Kate Brown was term-limited, the race was wide open. By the time ballots were mailed, Democrats were down to 15 while Republicans stayed at 19. Democrat Tina Kotek got 58 percent, and GOP Christine Drazen came in at 23.5 percent. The fall election will have a wildcard in a three-race that adds former Democrat Betsy Johnson who frequently voted with the Republicans. She has moved to unaffiliated, and her ads, already running, merely say she will be for all the people in Oregon. Johnson has yet to show up with the approximately 24,000 signatures necessary for her to run, but her war chest is over $8 million, almost one-fourth of it from Nike-founder Phil Knight.  

April 16, 2022

Dying Democracy, Updates

Updates for posts on April 13, 2022; April 11, 2022:  

After blocking trade at the southern border for over a week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott completely caved, saying that Mexico promises to improve border security. His followers would probably claim the decision didn’t have anything to do with multi-mile backlogs, losses in millions of dollars, and business owners’ anger—or the face that he apparently found neither drugs nor migrants.

Elon Musk decided that buying Twitter would be easier than building a social media platform and offered shareholders $8 for each share over its selling price. Fighting back, Twitter fought the $43 billion hostile takeover bid with a “poison pill,” giving shareholders the chance to buy more Twitter shares at a discount, diluting the stake of the person behind the takeover.

The impeachment trial for South Dakota’s AG Jason Ravnsborg has been scheduled for June 21-22, and the Senate leader has named the lead prosecutor. The first state official to be impeached, he must take a leave until the outcome of the trial. The two articles of impeachment are for crimes leading to the death of Joe Boever and malfeasance in office. One Republicans voting in favor of impeachment did so after reading Ravnsborg’s letter begging the state House members to exonerate him.

Democracy:

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said about the U.S., “we’re not a democracy,” and he’s working hard to make it a reality. People who go to the polls to elect a president think that the majority vote in a state will select the electoral votes, but he texted Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff for over two months after the election of President Joe Biden, that “there could be a path” to put Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) back into the White House “if a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates.” In other words, Lee wanted to overturn the popular vote with a legislative decision. Meadows responded that he was “working on that.”

A month before the 2020 election, Lee tweeted: “Power is not found in mere majorities, but in carefully balanced power.” Despite the U.S. being a republic, voters select their leaders by voting for them. Lee wants to overturn that right and call it “constitutional.” His position of “we’re not a democracy” means that victories for a Democratic president don’t count.

Texts to Meadows demonstrate Lee’s lack of fealty to the constitution and the United States. On November 20, 2020, Lee wrote Meadows:

“Please give me something to work with. I just need to know what I should be saying.”

And two days later:

“Please tell me what I should be saying.”

He explained why the states had to do the heavy lifting in overturning Biden’s election. He repeatedly wrote that the Senate needed state legislatures to toss legitimate electoral votes:

“We simply have no authority to reject a state’s certified electoral votes in the absence of a (sic) dueling slates.”

Lee also tried to involve Sidney Powell, called “the Kracken,” in the plot. These are three of Lee’s texts to Meadows:

“Sydney [sic] Powell is saying that she needs to get in to see the president, but she’s being kept away from him. Apparently she has a strategy to keep things alive and put several states back in play. Can you help her get in?”

“It was at the president’s request that Sydney has been working on a strategy and has been trying to get in to see him. But she’s being kept out.”

“[Powell email address][Powell phone number] Sidney Powell”

Texas legal regulators are asking a judge to discipline Powell for her frivolous lawsuits supporting DDT’s lies about election fraud. A Michigan judge has already said her lawsuit “was never about fraud. It was about undermining the people’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.”

Two days after the texts to Meadows promoting Powell, the anti-democracy Lee told Meadows that the Conservative Partnership Institute featured Powell at a steering committee for the purpose of “socializing with Republican Senators” to pursue the coup. Later Lee pushed John Eastman who had “some really interesting research” to overturn the election.

On November 23, Lee called for an “audit” of ballots in four battleground states (PA, WI, GA, and MI) that DDT lost. Coincidentally those were the only states where Lee felt “something is not right.”

On December 8, less than a week before the Electoral College deadline to confirm Biden’s win, Lee came up with another idea: tell GOP legislators in a few states voting for Biden to ignore the popular vote and send DDT’s electors to the meeting for confirmation. That was his “path” to putting DDT in the White House. DDT fake electors in the state met and then tried to claim they were the real thing instead of those selected in the popular vote. Lee didn’t give up on his plan even after the Electoral College voted.

On January 3, 2021, Lee texted Meadows:

“I don’t think the president is grasping the distinction between what we can do and what he would like us to do. Nor do I think he’s grasping the distinction between what certain members are saying that sound like they could help him, but would really hurt him.”

Lee didn’t go far enough for DDT. The next day on January 4, 2021, DDT said he was “a little angry” at Lee for not endorsing DDT’s far-out positions. Lee’s feelings were hurt, and he complained to Meadows:

“To have him take a shot at me like that in such a public setting without even asking me about it is pretty discouraging. I don’t think the president is grasping the distinction between what we can do and what he would like us to do. Nor do I think he’s grasping the distinction between what certain members are saying that sound like they could help him, but would really hurt him.”

Although Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) didn’t stay the distance, he advised on the conspiracy theory for weeks, calling for “ammo … fraud examples” and even offering to fly to Georgia to help overturn their election. On November 22, he was searching or the cover of respectability, pushing John Eastman and his ideas. Roy texted Meadows on November 22:

“Frigging Rudy needs to hush…”

More emails from November 9, 2020, two days after the networks called the election for Biden, onward.  

Lee is up for re-election in 2022 and received DDT’s endorsement. With three opponents in the primary on June 28, 2022, Lee might be asking Meadows for more advice about what to say. 

Despite a defense that DDT told him to storm the Capitol on January 6, Dustin Thompson was found guilty by a jury on all six counts in the January 6 attack, one of them felony obstruction of Congress. Judge Reggie Walton, initially put on the bench by Ronald Reagan and named to a circuit court by George W. Bush, said:

 “I think our democracy is in trouble, because unfortunately we have charlatans like our former president, who doesn’t, in my view, really care about democracy but only about power.”

War is a time when fighting for democracy is most important, according to a new study. Russian President Vladimir Putin has struggled with his invasion into Ukraine because, as an autocrat, he fails to communicate. People around Putin are terrified; therefore, he cannot get accurate information to make good decisions. Democracies tend to relate better with other democracies: that’s the reason that the U.S. developed problems with other countries when DDT moved toward a dictatorship. Ukraine’s growing democracy led the country find help from surrounding democracies in fighting an autocracy. Support for Ukraine helped it both in obtaining weapons and other assistance to fight the invader and economically isolating Russia.

The GOP conspiracy to overturn the election may be a dry run for 2024. Either a Republican wins the presidency with electoral votes from the popular vote, or state legislatures will be persuaded to declare their own GOP electors even if the popular vote goes Democratic. Republican-controlled legislatures in at least 14 states have already started the process by taking all power away from the secretaries of state. At least five of those states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—voted for Biden in 2020. 

If all else fails, Republicans will send violent people to attack the Capitol during the counting of votes on January 6, 2025. With practice from 2021, they could be successful.  

In the United States, democracy is dying at the ballot box because of gerrymandered Republicans in legislative control throughout purple and blue states. As the judge said, “Our democracy is in trouble.”

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