The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘republicans

Hello Shinners,

What a week. We learned that the Democrats have lost the House, but only by a sliver. Nancy Pelosi is passing the baton, as are fellow octogenarians Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn, to a new generation of leaders. Hakeem Jeffries is the favorite to succeed her; if he wins election as Minority Leader, he will be the first Black American to lead a chamber of Congress in any capacity. Incredible that it it has taken this long, but sadly, not surprising.

As gifted as Hakeem Jeffries is, it will be near-impossible to equal Pelosi’s significance and prowess as Speaker. She was the first woman Speaker, and has been a beloved leader and powerful force for democracy during her long tenure. But I do think he is the right person at the right time for the job. He knows how to keep AOC and her fellow “Just Us” Democrats in line. And, women will stay in leadership with Katherine Clark (D-Mass) putting in her bid for the second-in-command. I didn’t know much about her, but she seems really promising.

Central to her approach as a member of leadership would continue to be her focus on women and families. In Massachusetts, before serving in the state legislature she was a lawyer for the state’s Office of Child Care Services.

As a member of the “sandwich generation,” taking care of young children at the same time as elderly parents, Clark said women’s struggles are always front and center for her. She is a member of the Women’s Caucus and has been instrumental in working with members to message around access to abortions. She worked to enable federal workers to have expanded fertility benefits and child care, and to provide federal support for child-care providers during the pandemic.

She also campaigned in 19 states and raised $12 million for Democratic colleagues during the mid-terms.

On the Senate side, Democrats sued the state of Georgia to allow early voting the Saturday before the runoff election between Walker and Warnock – and won. This is a YUGE victory, as lower turnout will benefit that brain-damaged werewolf-wannabe who should not be anywhere near the halls of power.

Herschel weighs in on the top issues of our time

So much else has happened…today we heard about another mass shooting in Colorado Springs at the one nightclub where LGBTQ+ people were welcome in that area. Of course it was a wingnut who had previously threatened violence, and of course it was an AR-15. Such a terrible tragedy, and so preventable. I don’t even have words at this point.

Also this week, Merrick Garland appointed a special prosecutor to continue his two ongoing investigations of der Drumpfenfuhrer and his enablers in Congress. To me, this is a good sign because it means he wants leeway to after not just Drumpf, but Republican Congresscritters as well, and will need to have the appearance of neutrality; not to QOP, because they’ll scream no matter what, but to swing voters and persuadable Republicans. Experienced prosecutor Barb McQuade weighed in on this decision.

With Smith, DOJ has a chance for a do-over. By all accounts, Smith is a hard-working, apolitical prosecutor, who once led the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, which prosecutes corruption public officials. Most recently, he has been working as a war crimes prosecutor in the Hague. Dwight Holton, a former colleague at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, called Smith “a scrappy, no nonsense prosecutor who cuts through bullshit like a knife through hot butter.” All sounds like good preparation to investigate the former president. 

And of course, the Mango Moron’s announcement that he was running again, and Elon Musk’s fake poll to let him back on Twitter, both landed like a lead balloon. Without Rupert Murdoch’s vast media empire unequivocally backing Donald, the rest of the media doesn’t seem as inclined to hang on his every word. They’ve been doing pretty well so far – how will things play out?

Now that Trump is running for president, how should the media cover him? That’s a major topic today, and will be for the next two years — or however long Trump is in the mix.

Writing for The Conversation, Thomas E. Patterson — Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press, Harvard Kennedy School — writes that it’s up to the media to be responsible by, among other things, doing the following:

  • Don’t play into his hands by letting him set the narrative.
  • Call out his falsehoods, but don’t dwell on them.
  • Don’t confuse access with newsworthiness. (This is a really smart point by Patterson.)
  • Do notice when he trashes democracy.
  • Avoid false equivalence.
  • Provide context.

There’s more, and Patterson expands on his points with thoughtful examination. It’s good advice for journalists and those who follow this stuff closely. Give it a read.

And so far Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been a complete fail, with advertisers dropping by the droves and people setting up accounts on other platforms like Mastodon. As for me, my account is super limited and I don’t allow retweets or bot followers – I’m mostly there to read and support activists. Because of this, I’m sticking with it till either the investors pull Musk and restore the platform to normalcy, or the whole thing goes down.

With all of this happening in just one week, we need serenity now! This is a thread for us to post animals, music or whatever else gives us calm and happy feelings. Here’s mine – happy Sunday, all.

Courtesy of Daily Kos

Good morning Widdershins! This week we saw another torrent of bad news for Drumpf and his partners in crime. As all the birds starting singing to the January 6th committee and news came out about secret meetings in the Oval Office, a planned and coordinated fake electors plot (with a project plan, deliverables and milestones!) and the scheme to seize voting machines in 2020, the RNC doubled down on its gaslighting by censuring the only Republicans on the January 6th Committee, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and officially denoting those who participated in the attempted coup against our government as engaging in “legitimate political discourse.” Also, War is Peace, right Ronna?

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Friday’s resolution targeted the Jan. 6 committee probe, which has subpoenaed a range of politicians and Trump White House aides as it tries to piece together their role in events leading to the assault.

“Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger crossed a line. They chose to join Nancy Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol,” she said. She said she “condemned violence on both sides of the aisle.”

The censure was overwhelmingly passed.

Let’s take a look at what she’s saying here. Her argument is that everyone who didn’t go to the Capitol and riot was just expressing an opinion. So everyone trying to overturn our government through non-violent means should be ignored and allowed to continue, according to her. This would include Mike Pence’s and Drumpf’s staff, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Mike Flynn and his brother, Steve Bannon, Sidney Powell…the list goes on and on.

That is a horrifying statement, but if you think about it, why wouldn’t she make it? The Republicans know they are no longer a political Party that can win elections legitimately. They haven’t won the Presidency legitimately since George Bush I, and they’ve used voter suppression tactics, election fraud, gerrymandering, conspiring with foreign enemies, and the Electoral College to gain control of state legislatures and steal the Presidency.

They have been like this since 1994, and every single elected Republican knows it.

Newt Gingrich Republicanism was bad enough, but what Newt and it has evolved into since 2015 is even worse: a Party promoting white supremacy, and promising violence and prison to everyone who opposes them. They are Nazis: actively for fascism and against democracy.

There is nothing “legitimate” about that.

So when I see people like Mike Pence coming out and saying that the Mango Moron is wrong and Pence couldn’t have overturned the election; Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger sitting on the January 6th Committee; and Mitt Romney (whose niece is Ronna McDaniel) saying the RNC was wrong to censure Cheney and Kinzinger, I don’t applaud or give them any credit. Cheney and Kinzinger are doing the bare minimum their oaths to the Constitution require. Mike Pence stood by Drumpf for 4 years as he rampaged through the federal government, destroying everything he touched. Mitt Romney voted with Drumpf while he was President, and in the age of Biden, he has voted against voting rights legislation repeatedly.

They still call themselves Republicans. They know they are part of a Nazi Party. They are scum. And I won’t be tricked into congratulating them or thinking there’s some redeemable part of the Party, just because I deeply wish there were two (or more!) legitimate choices to vote for in this country. There aren’t. There are Nazis, and then there are Democrats. That’s the choice.

There are no good Nazis, and there are no good Republicans.

Open thread as always…

An empty-headed, cultist mess

…”in a single term, the Supreme Court could demolish pillars of the progressive movement. And as someone who has worked on every single one of these issues for decades, I see this as a make-or-break moment. If you care about the fairness of elections, the future of unions, racial disparities in universities, the rights of women, or the future of our planet, you should care about who wins the presidency and appoints the next Supreme Court justices.”

Hillary Clinton, March 28, 2016, Madison, Wisconsin

In a speech that was largely ignored, in a state where Hillary was said to not have campaigned, Our Girl laid out the consequences of a Drumpf victory to life in America. She did this repeatedly throughout her campaign, and when she was not ignored, was viciously attacked by BernieBots for it. They said she was trying to scare them into voting for her.

Well, here we are. But to be fair, the Court has been declining since the Obama years, when it gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, and in 2010, ruled that corporations were indeed people in Citizens United (a case against Hillary Clinton, which people often forget). There’s a question as to whether Hillary, had she won in the Electoral College, would have been able to nominate any Supreme Court Justices at all. After all, the Republicans had the Senate until 2020 – and McTurtle and other Senators stated that they would be happy to keep the Court at 4-4 till they got a Republican President to nominate justices that were more to their liking.

So the question is, with the Court now dominated by right-wing extremists willing to overturn settled law in the country to impose a theocratic nightmare on its citizens, how much power should we give this retrograde, anti-democratic institution?

As a country, we have been noticing how partisan and unreliable the Court has become. In October, the Court’s approval rating plummeted to 40%; and in another poll, around 35% of Americans (across the political spectrum) agreed with statements about either abolishing it altogether, or restricting it from ruling on certain issues.

I am not in favor of abolishing it or restricting it, as overall, we need that branch of the Federal Government to provide balance; but I do feel we should limit its malign influence on our daily lives by shoring up the rights of Americans in Congress. Democrats are working on this right now. Legislation to protect voting rights, end partisan gerrymandering and block elections from being overturned by state legislators has passed the House and is being worked on in the Senate. And, there is legislation in the House and Senate to protect women’s right to control their own reproductive destiny, removing Hyde from the federal budget to allow the federal government to subsidize women’s health for the first time since the 1970s.

For now, activism to get the Democrats in the Senate to move forward on both of these core issues seems to be the way to go. Until we figure out how to balance out the Court again, either expanding it or impeaching justices like Thomas (who supported the 1/6 insurrection) and Kavanaugh (who has more skeletons in his closet than a freshman anatomy class) and replacing them with real Supremes, we need to make sure they can’t re-shape this country into a dystopian nightmare.

Open thread, as always.

It’s that time of year again, Widdershins. Tonight, we set our clocks back an hour, thrusting us temporarily further into the darkness of these cold, mysterious months. If you have a tendency towards Seasonal Affective Disorder, I hope this is the time you bring out your sunlamp. For me, it means an extra hour of sleep, which I clearly need, as I’m up at 7 am most weekend mornings (not voluntarily, by habit)!

We do measure our time in weeks here at TW, and boy, was this past week a doozy. Certainly there was mixed news on the election front, but overall there were some key bright spots for Democrats. DYB posted that Virginia almost bucked a 30-year trend to vote against the incumbent Party for Governor, and it’s been 44 years since NJ has re-elected a Democratic governor. I have quite a few friends in New Jersey, and four of them are blue dots in big red counties, Sussex and Morris. If you take a look county by county, you can see that while NJ is a blue state for President, it has quite a bit of red. This has a good deal to do with why NJ frequently elects Republican Governors.

The idea that Drumpf guarantees election wins took another hit, as he endorsed the NJ candidate who lost. He also endorsed the VA candidate who won, but the only reason that worked is because Drumpf was forced to stay away by Youngkin’s campaign. They know that while the Mango Moron energizes Republican turnout, he also energizes Democratic turnout. And they knew that if they could suppress turnout, they actually had a chance of winning.

Speaking of turnout, it was the cause of McAuliffe’s loss and Murphy’s squeaker win. No, white women didn’t swing massively to Drumpf – it’s just that during the exit polls, more Republican women showed up between 2020 and 2021. While McAuliffe got 200,000 more votes than Northam in 2017, Youngkin outperformed Northam’s 2017 opponent by 500,000 votes. The Atlantic article linked above has some excellent insights.

Even with Youngkin’s marginal gains in the center, both the exit polls and actual results suggest instead that McAuliffe’s biggest problems were explosive turnout and huge deficits in the parts of the state most alienated from Biden and the Democrats who now control Washington. Turnout in Republican-leaning places was so strong that the share of the statewide vote cast by the blue-leaning big five Northern Virginia counties declined this year after steadily rising over the past three governor’s races; Richmond city and neighboring Henrico, still solidly Democratic, also cast a smaller percentage of the vote this year than in 2017, based on results as of Wednesday afternoon.

Relative to Northam, McAuliffe’s share of the vote consistently declined more in the southern half of the state, an area with relatively fewer college graduates, than it did in more white-collar Northern Virginia. “An engaged GOP base delivered Republicans even bigger landslides than usual in rural central and western Virginia,” the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics wrote in its analysis of the results yesterday. “In 2013, McAuliffe lost the 9th Congressional District, in the southwestern corner of the state, by about 30 percentage points. Last night … McAuliffe’s deficit there fell to about 50 points.” That erosion was evident not only in the southwestern counties that have become Republican bedrocks but also in southeastern Virginia jurisdictions that are either purple or Democratic-leaning, such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake County.

The article makes the case that Biden’s lower approval numbers, plus a series of reforms that made it easier to vote in Virginia AND historic trends, caused a huge surge in turnout on the Republican side. Democrats were not able to match it in Virginia, but made it work in NJ, against the odds, for a popular incumbent Governor who’s shown good results from liberal policies.

These results say three things to me. First of all, our Party is a big tent. A significant percentage of our politicians and voters, on the “left” (Bernie acolytes who scream about how nothing is ever good enough and vote with Republicans), right and center, have serious problems with Biden’s determination to center the lifting of poor people, women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ as his economic agenda. Racism, misogyny and homophobia work on them. While this percentage is mostly made up of white people, Drumpf made gains in the Latino, Black and Asian communities in 2020 by running racist ads targeted at engaging them to vote Republican. “Zero sum” – keep your foot on the necks of marginalized people so you can stay on top – is literally the only platform Republicans have. All the code words in the world (CRT, socialism) won’t change that. I think as we go forward into 2022, we need to realize that a percentage of voters (especially those who are white and without college education) are not reliable, and expect that they will go Republican.

Second of all, we are a lot more fickle (in my fury I wrote “whiny” on election night) than Republicans. Republicans will vote for a three-eyed alien from Xenu if it has an R label and runs on a racist agenda. (Hence, the success of TFG, a disgusting gob of orange goo who has gained cult-like loyalty and enthusiasm from Republican voters.) A good percentage of Democrats vote on “what have you done for me lately?”, and lack both understanding and patience when it comes to getting bills passed with a tiny majority in the House and Senate. These voters are susceptible to media propaganda about how Democrats are in disarray and terrible at everything and are going to throw all of us under the bus…so vote third-party to elect Republicans who will then proceed to do everything they can to destroy the country. FACEPALM. In addition, young people mostly don’t vote unless they feel every single need of theirs is being taken care of AND they’re able to lift their eyes from social media enough to be aware of the election happening. I have seen this dynamic in my own life, with very smart colleagues who are in their 20s and early 30s, solidly Democratic, who forget to vote in off-year elections. Not good!

For that fickle Democratic electorate, it’s absolutely critical to get Biden’s economic agenda passed ASAP. As the Atlantic article states (and many smart Widdershins as well!),

For the majority of Democratic elected officials and strategists, the most immediate lesson of Tuesday’s tough night is that the party needs to finally pass Biden’s economic agenda—which they hope will both assuage doubts about the president’s competence and provide them a list of tangible programs they can take to voters next year, including an expanded child tax credit and child-care subsidies and plans to lower prescription-drug prices. One message from last night’s result is that “when you are the party in power, you can’t win only by convincing people to fire the other guys; you have to convince people to rehire you,” says Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic communications strategist based in Virginia. “And that means getting the Biden economic agenda done and then relentlessly talking about how we delivered on it.”

This week, the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill was passed, and the Democrats are working on the other two big bills they want to pass through reconciliation. If these bills go forward, will it be enough for the second fickle group to turn out? I don’t know, because there’s always something to complain about. Merrick Garland! Voting rights! What have you done for me lately, on my timeline, without any consideration of yours? I’m disappointed and I’m staying home! So here’s where I have a third point to make.

Democrats should be unapologetic about their priorities and call out the QOP for theirs. Yes, we center women, people of color, LGBTQ+ and poor people. Why shouldn’t we? What have you got against this? Use “Build Back Better” as your slogan – three words Americans can remember (we really can’t focus on much more than that). Go on offense. When Republicans use their racist code words, call them out as racist, don’t say things like “CRT isn’t taught in K-12 today.” That’s not the point – the point is that “CRT” is a racist code word. Say that. “Your talking point about CRT is racist.” Just keep hammering on that. “Your talking point about socialism is racist.” It will gain the attention of the profit-driven media, which will then say “racist” repeatedly in association with Republicans, and has the added benefit of being true.

Yes, this will turn out the QOP base, but as we saw this week, that ship has already sailed. They are energized and ready to bring back JFK, Jr. as TFG’s running mate in 2024, and happy to elect Republicans in 2022 to accomplish their agenda. We can’t do anything about that. What we can do is energize our own base with real talk and accomplishments to go with it, and start voter outreach campaigns NOW for our House and Senate candidates.

I sincerely hope we do all of this in time.

As always, an open thread.

Happy Saturday, Widdershins! I hope you all had a good week. The Mango Moron did not, “bless his heart.” Here are a few things that went wrong in the delusional world of The Former Guy.

The truth is coming out about the non-violent part of his coup attempt on January 6th. One of Drumpf’s attorneys, John Eastman, gave Mike Pence step-by-step instructions as to how to invalidate the electoral votes of the states that provided Biden his landslide victory, and then to throw the vote to the House, in which case the Republicans would prevail. Pence tried his darndest to obey those instructions, but since they came from the outer rim of Pluto and not the Constitution here on Earth, he was not legally able to do so. It doesn’t matter for Drumpf though – a plot to take over the government illegally is still a crime, even when it (BARELY) doesn’t succeed.

Speaking of January 6, the House Commission has issued its first subpoenas to a veritable who’s who of der Drumpfenfuhrer’s inner circle (including, finally, Steve Bannon). Per its chair, Bennie Thompson, it’s “just getting started.” These days, Merrick Garland is in charge of the DOJ, and not Satanic teddy bear Bill Barr, so a Congressional subpoena actually means something, and these people (and others to come) WILL be compelled to testify. Despite 45’s pathetic attempts to paint this commission’s finding’s as partisan hoo-ha, the Committee has prominent Republicans as members, and has even hired Republicans as attorneys and staff.

Trump and his allies have loved to paint the committee as just another partisan witch hunt. Congressional Republicans largely went along, fighting the panel’s formation as a bipartisan group. But the committee’s most prominent staff hires aren’t snowflaky lawyers from the bleeding-heart liberal bastions of America. They’re conservative Republicans to the core with backgrounds in the Air Force (Riggleman) and as a clerk for one of the most conservative members of the Supreme Court (Wood). They can’t credibly be accused as fake Republicans. Whatever the committee concludes will be presented by Democrats and Republicans. Arguments that this probe was motivated by Democratic partisanship just won’t stick in the same way.

Not that surrounding himself by dyed-in-the-wool loyalists will keep The Former Guy safe from reality. Even the Arizona Frauditeers were forced to admit Biden won Arizona…by MORE than before! Same with Mark Kelly, the Democratic Senator who handily dispatched the unloved Martha McSally in 2020. Despite the results showing that the only errors were in allocating too many votes to him and Martha, Delusional Don still declared victory and tried to command that Arizona declare him the winner, same as he did with Georgia. If his mental illness and gaslighting weren’t so terrifying, it would be hilarious.

“There will be no decertification of the 2020 election – the audit does not call for one, and even if it had, there is no lawful way to decertify. As we have every step of the way, Arizona will follow the law,” the governor said.

This poisonous toad and all his enablers must and will be held accountable for their treasonous and criminal actions, and I cannot wait. Open thread, of course!


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