A veteran pollster for Republican candidates and officials over the past several decades has a warning for his party: Pushing former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” about election fraud may cause a GOP midterm election loss. Midterm elections usually go badly for the political party associated with the president currently in office. Only two presidents since Franklin Roosevelt have seen gains in Congress for their own political party in a midterm race after winning a presidential election: Bill Clinton in 1998 and George W. Bush in 2002.
Texas House Republicans passed a voter suppression bill early Friday morning despite a tough fight put up by Democrats, who offered over 130 amendments from late Thursday into the night. Democrats were able to water down the bill, SB 7, and cut into some of the most punitive proposals, but the final vision retained restrictive proposals like limiting ballot drop boxes and prohibiting counties from sending unsolicited absentee ballots. The House voted at 3 am to advance the bill, which contained 20 of the provisions proposed by Democrats, who had slim chances of outright stopping the bill. Texas’ House is controlled by Republicans by a wide margin; the bill passed 81-64.
Amid growing concerns that Republicans will try to use new voting laws to overturn elections in the wake of a campaign of lies stoking unfounded fears about vote-rigging, GOP-led state legislatures across the country are already trying to reverse popular ballot initiatives approved by majorities of voters. Missouri voters last year passed a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid. Arizona approved a new tax on the wealthy to fund schools. South Dakota legalized marijuana. But Republicans are trying to block those measures from being implemented and dozens of state legislatures are pushing new bills to make it harder to get voter initiatives on the ballot in the first place.
Prisons & Policing Jailers Tortured and Murdered Marvin Scott III, Family Says After Viewing Video Politics & Elections A New Wave of Jim Crow Laws Is Here. Here’s What You Need to Know. Politics & Elections Facebook Board Announces Trump Remains Banned. Trump Starts His Own “Platform.” Immigration Biden’s U-Turn on Refugees Aligns With Voter Support for Pro-Immigrant Policies Economy & Labor Amazon Is Dictating Personal Hygiene, Nail Length of Contract Drivers Politics & Elections Judge Says DOJ Memo on Barr’s Decision Not to Charge Trump Must Be Released As the nation grapples with fighting for racial justice and against police-perpetrated murders of Black Americans, Republicans have evidently found a different cause worth fighting for: making racist, seemingly unprompted defenses of slavery. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said that he doesn’t believe that 1619, the year that enslaved Africans first arrived in the U.S., is an important date in history. People have “exotic notions” about important points in U.S. history, and 1619 isn’t one of them, McConnell said. “I just simply don’t think [racism is] part of the core underpinning of what American civic education ought to be about,” McConnell continued, speaking at the University of Louisville. McConnell has gone on a tirade against The New York Times’s 1619 Project about slavery in the U.S. and Democrats’ anti-racism agenda — though anti-anti-racism, as commentators have pointed out, is simply just racism. Nikole Hannah-Jones, who headed the 1619 Project on slavery that has Republicans up in arms, spoke on CNN about McConnell’s comments. “This is not about the facts of history — it’s about trying to prohibit the teaching of ideas they don’t like,” she said. Indeed, many Republicans have long embraced racism but have been emboldened by former President Donald Trump’s style of being openly and brazenly so — to the point that some political journalists have noted that the GOP wants to be called racist so that they can play the victim and claim to be silenced by anti-racists. Perhaps that’s why Tennessee Republican State Rep. Justin Lafferty on Tuesday suggested that the Three-Fifths Compromise, which counted enslaved people as less than one whole person in population counts, was actually a good thing because it helped to end slavery. But it didn’t; it only further “sanctioned slavery more decidedly than any previous action,” as historian Staughton Lynd writes. Or maybe it’s why Colorado Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks also defended the Three-Fifths Compromise last month, saying that it “was not impugning anybody’s humanity” to count an enslaved person as less than one human being. Republicans evidently don’t believe that it was just some elements of slavery that were positive, however; Louisiana Republican State Rep. Ray Garofalo Jr. last week said that schools should teach “the good” of slavery alongside the bad. “If you are having a discussion on whatever the case may be, on slavery, then you can talk about everything dealing with slavery: the good, the bad, the ugly,” Garofalo said. There is, of course, no “good” to slavery, and it’s abhorrently racist to suggest as such. Garofalo later retracted his statement, but only after Democrats circulated a video of him speaking on the “good” of slavery that now has nearly a million views. Regardless of the GOP’s intentions, it’s no coincidence that they are raging an attack on anti-racism just as rallies and protests for Black lives have swept the country. Though the GOP’s overt defenses of slavery all happened in recent weeks, the right has been waging racist attacks prominently in the past year. For months, the right has been railing against critical race theory — scholarly work with the goal of dismantling oppression and white supremacy — despite lacking a clear understanding of what it is. They are claiming that racism has been eradicated in the U.S. even as Black Americans face death at the hands of the state simply for walking down the street or while sleeping in their homes. It’s evidently not enough for the GOP that racism is alive and well in the U.S. — the party seems to be operating on a mandate to enshrine racism in the nation forever — and normalizing defenses of slavery appear to be part of that strategy. Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.
Politics & Elections Facebook Will Announce Tomorrow Whether Trump and His Fascist Posts Can Return Economy & Labor Mutual Aid Efforts Are Working to Fill the Gaps of Biden’s COVID Response Economy & Labor Amazon’s Anti-Union Bullying Shows Why We Need the PRO Act Economy & Labor Tax Dodgers Owe US Over $7 Trillion, Says Janet Yellen Politics & Elections Biden Picks Warren Ally to Oversee Student Aid, Signaling Shift on Student Debt Human Rights Over 10 Million People Could Become Homeless When Eviction Moratorium Ends Nearly six months after voting ended in the 2020 presidential election, Republicans are leading an effort in Arizona to throw undue doubt into President Joe Biden’s win in the state — and they’ve hired conspiracy theorists to help lead the charge. Republican legislators in the state, who hold a majority in the legislature, successfully subpoenaed 2.1 million ballots earlier this year. Senate Republicans demanded the ballots from election officials in Maricopa County, which put Biden over the top and then didn’t have anywhere to put the ballots once they got them. The GOP obtained the ballots with the goal of completing their own audit of the election results, despite the fact that the state’s own audits, as well as Maricopa County’s audit, found no evidence of voter fraud. Still, Republicans think that they can conduct a better audit — perhaps one with different results — and have hired a company with zero experience with elections to do so. As Judd Legum of Popular Information wrote, “The counting will continue until results improve.” The company Republicans have hired, for $150,000 of taxpayer money, is called Cyber Ninjas. Cyber Ninjas is a Florida-based cybersecurity company which has been described by its founder, Doug Logan, as a “Christian company.” Logan has espoused views supporting the conspiracy theories put forth by “Stop the Steal” groups and QAnon-affiliated Ron Watkins, who propagate the false claim that it was former President Donald Trump, not Biden, who truly won the election. Arizona is not Logan’s first rodeo in challenging election results. He was previously listed as an expert witness in a lawsuit in Michigan where the plaintiffs claimed that voting machines were rigged. Though the company has tried keeping their audit methodology under wraps, they’ve been ordered by a judge to disclose documents with procedures for the audit. The procedures “[don’t] make any sense, and I’ve seen a lot of audits,” Tammy Patrick, senior elections adviser for Democracy Fund and former Maricopa County elections worker, told USA Today. The documents detailing procedures for “forensics” are vague and unclear. One such procedure evidently being employed by Cyber Ninja is using UV lights to check for watermarks on the ballots. Arizona’s ballots don’t have watermarks, and the Brennan Center for Justice has warned that the lights could make the ballots deteriorate, but that hasn’t stopped conspiracy theorists from believing that using the UV light might reveal a secret watermark. Observers and election experts have also caught the auditors making basic mistakes like using blue pens that might alter the vote on a ballot or not securing the area where ballots are being counted by locking the doors. Cyber Ninjas has also recruited former state lawmaker Anthony Kern to help validate ballots. Kern is a Trump supporter who was at the Capitol on January 6 with the mob trying to get the election results overturned. State Republicans are also evidently trying to raise funds beyond the $150,000 from the government for the audit effort, Legum reports. The Arizona Senate is soliciting donations to raise $2.8 million for the effort on a website, fundtheaudit.com, owned by an organization created by former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, also a known Trump supporter. Trump himself has been bragging about the audit, despite the fact that Arizona lawmakers don’t have the authority to overturn election results. Still, he’s been telling Mar-a-Lago guests that the audit will perhaps help reinstate him — although, even if the legislators could overturn the result of the state’s election, and if there were any evidence of fraud, the 11 electoral votes it would give the former president would still not be enough to give him the win he wants. So then why are Republicans still chugging along to overturn Arizona’s results? It’s unclear, but the audit is already likely having harmful effects. Most Republican voters still believe that the election was rigged; and the very fact that Republicans are conducting an audit may indicate, to some, that there are legitimate reasons to believe that there was fraud, no matter how spurious the real reasons for the audit are. Political observers warn that the results of the audit, even if they’re falsified or based on flawed methodology, could end up adding fuel to the Republicans’ voter suppression fire in Arizona and across the country. “The idea, obviously, is to create a new truth for Republicans,” wrote MSNBC’s Steve Benen, “at which point pro-Trump forces can exploit the lie to justify new voter-suppression efforts and perhaps even related efforts in other states, where Republicans can hire Cyber Ninjas of their own.” Copyright © Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a new law that would grant protections for drivers who hit and kill protesters while attempting to drive away from a protest and implements harsher penalties on people who block roads or highways during a protest. Democrats and activists decried the law as stifling protest and citizens’ First Amendment rights.
Republicans in at least 14 states have introduced legislation that would seize power from election officials or limit their authority, apparently in response to unfounded attacks from former President Donald Trump and allies who sought to overturn his election loss.
Such programs could help bolster work on the more traditional infrastructure projects as they allow working-class Americans the opportunity to get back into the workplace or advance their own career paths. “Child care is infrastructure. Paid leave is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure. Because if we don’t invest in all three, families can’t get back to work,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) recently tweeted.
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