Mostly Monday Reads: The Numbers Game

Transverse Line, Wassily Kandinsky, 1923

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Ballots are still being counted in the 2022 Midterms. The Senate has only one race that will go to a runoff. That is the Georgia race between Herschel Walker and incumbent Senator Ralph Warnock.  The dynamics of this race may change since the majority status has been decided.  Folks may decide to stay home rather than support Walker, who is definitely an odd choice for what used to be the severe and staid part of Congress. There is a general feeling that the Republicans will take the House, albeit by a very slim margin.

Fordham Professor Jed Shugerman, writing on mastodon, believes that 3 Roberts court’s decisions had much to do with the House outcome.

Some reasons why GOP will win the House:
1. Roberts Court decision Rucho allowing partisan gerrymandering.
2. Roberts Court decision Shelby County striking down preclearance in the Voting Rights Act.
3. Roberts Court shadow docket blocking Black districts in AL & LA (@mcpli)

The Ten Largest, No. 7, Adulthood, 1907, Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk

The Louisiana case definitely helped since the non-gerrymandered congressional districts would’ve added an additional black Congressman who would undoubtedly be a Democratic Party member.  This would have been a pick-up. Currently, 205 seats have been called for the Democratic Party and 212 for Republicans. The Guardian characterizes the status this way:  “US midterms 2022: Democrats’ hope of keeping House fades as counting continues – live.”   The New York Times lists those elections left to call here.

Many of the states with a large share of outstanding votes conduct elections primarily or entirely by mail. It may still be days until news organizations can project which party will control the House next session, but Republicans appear to be on track to reach a majority of seats if the latest trends continue.

In California, where several competitive House races are not yet called, about 65 percent of the expected vote has been tallied statewide. Ballots there have until Tuesday to arrive. In 2020 it took the state 11 days to report 95 percent of its votes.

In Arizona, a substantial number of voters did not return their ballots until Election Day. Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, is not expected to finish counting until early this week.

In Oregon and Washington State, all or most ballots are expected by Tuesday.

Results continue to be reported.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to hold rallies before his supposed Tuesday announcement of his next Presidential bid.  He continues to attack the Jewish community in the United States for not adequately supporting Israel.  This is from Haaretz“At ZOA Event, Trump Again Attacks U.S. Jews for Supporting Democrats.  The former U.S. President says too many Jewish people ‘are not doing the right thing for Israel’ by voting for the party that just won the Senate in last week’s midterm election.”  Trump seems to misunderstand the diversity of Jewish Congregations in the United and that the Zionism faction is not a universally held Jewish belief.

Former President Donald Trump blasted American Jews for failing to vote for Republicans in sufficient numbers after he accepted the Theodor Herzl Medallion from the Zionist Organization of America, at the right-wing group’s annual gala on Sunday.

“You do have people in this country that happen to be Jewish that are not doing the right thing for Israel – too many,” Trump said, echoing a post he made on social media last month that drew heavy criticism from the American-Jewish community. ”The Democrats get 75 percent of the [Jewish] vote, which is hard to believe. We can’t let that continue,” he said.

Barack Hussein Obama … and then it’s 75 percent of the vote.” He then turned to ZOA President Morton Klein in mock confusion, exclaiming, “What the hell is going on here, Mort?”

Speaking at the sold-out event at New York City’s Pier 60, Trump proceeded to attack the “people in Congress who hate Israel,” contrasting the situation with the past when “you couldn’t touch Israel and couldn’t say a bad thing about it.”

Paul Klee, The Twittering Machine, 1922

Maybe he should learn a little more about the various traditions in the United States, like those practiced in the Reform Judaism congregations.

The Supreme Court continues to reject attempts at gun safety laws. This is from the AP: “Supreme Court rejects another bump stock ban case.”  We will live with the nutcases Trump appointed for a very long time.

The Supreme Court on Monday again declined to hear a lawsuit involving a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, the gun attachments that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns.

The justices’ decision not to hear the case leaves in place a lower court decision that rejected bump stock owners’ efforts to be compensated for bump stocks they lawfully purchased, but were required to to give up after the administration ruled they were illegal. Lower courts had said the case should be dismissed.

As is typical, the justices made no comments in declining to hear the case, and it was among many the court rejected Monday.

Last month, the justices rejected two other challenges involving the ban. Gun rights advocates, however, scored a big win at the court earlier this year, when the justices by a 6-3 vote expanded gun-possession rights, weakening states’ ability to limit the carrying of guns in public.

In the tradition of Uncle Clarence Thomas, more of the Right Wing Justices are taking part in clear Political Events, further eroding any confidence that they may be the least bit impartial.  This is from Reuters: “Standing ovations for conservative U.S. justices at Federalist Society event.” I am appalled by their various comments at this event.

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett received standing ovations from members of the conservative Federalist Society on Thursday at its first annual convention since the court overturned a nationwide right to abortion.

Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch also received applause at the event of the legal group, which is one of the most influential in the country and whose members have long criticized the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that the court overturned in June.

Alito, Barrett, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch have helped create a new conservative supermajority on the court.

The loudest applause at the event in Washington, D.C. may have been not for the justices but for Alito’s opinion in the June ruling. Other conservative members of the court backed the ruling.

Alito did not mention the ruling or other aspects of the court’s work during his brief remarks. But Stephen Markman, a former justice on the Michigan Supreme Court, said that if the ruling were forever associated with Alito, “I do not know of any decision on any court by any judge of which that judge could be more proud.”

The comments were met by a standing ovation, with attendees turning to face toward Alito.

Barrett also briefly spoke at the event, largely honoring the late Judge Laurence Silberman, who served on D.C.’s federal appeals court and died last month. As she took the stage, Barrett said: “It’s really nice to have a lot of noise made not by protesters outside of my house.”

Paul Klee, “Death and Fire,” 1940

Gee, the Hand Maiden doesn’t want any of us peons in our democratic society disturbing her attempts to put Christian Nationalism in its place. She needs her beauty rest.

Trump continues to be blamed for all the losses and such bad candidates.  Let’s not forget that all Trump has really done is amplify what’s been cooking in the oven since the Reagan years, at the very least.   That might be a ham in the oven, but the pig wore lipstick before it got there.

From The Washington Post: “Trump blame continues for midterm losses as ex-president readies to announce bid. ‘I’m tired of losing,’ Trump critic Larry Hogan says, as Republican senators weigh in on leadership contest.”  The problem is that even though they attempt to gentrify their radical agenda, the base wants its anger and red meat.  I don’t think you will be able to put that back into the closet.

Donald Trump’s Republican critics renewed their push Sunday to steer their party away from the former president, warning that he could hurt Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate runoff in Georgia next month if he announces plans for another White House bid on Tuesday.

“It’s basically the third election in a row that Donald Trump has cost us the race,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And it’s like, three strikes, you’re out.” Hogan said it would be a mistake to nominate Trump again as the party’s 2024 presidential candidate after Republicans failed to take control of the Senate and made far fewer gains in the House than predicted in the midterm elections.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,” he added. “Donald Trump kept saying we’re gonna be winning so much we’re gonna get tired of winning. I’m tired of losing. That’s all he’s done.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) echoed Hogan’s comments on ABC’s “This Week,” calling Don Bolduc, the Republican Senate nominee in his state, a “Republican extremist” and saying the results across the country amounted to “a rejection of that extremism.”

Frantisek Kupka, Localization of Graphic Motifs II, 1912/1913

They can afford to say that now that the Supreme Court is doing its dirty work. I still remember them touting the style of the now Virginia Governor who tried to act moderate enough to get elected but then went full-on Christian White Nationalist.  I think they’re just trying to fool centrists and independent voters.  Genn Youngkin may have worn the clothing, but he still was a pig wearing lipstick. However, Trump has attacked him recently since he’s not quite pro-Trumpy enough. “Trump hits out at Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin with the bizarre comment that his name ‘sounds Chinese’. This report is from The Insider.

Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin amid speculation that the governor might run for president in 2024.

Writing on Truth Social on Friday, Trump bizarrely commented that the governor’s name, which he spelled “Young Kin” “sounds Chinese.”

Trump also took credit for Youngkin’s political rise, claiming that he would not have become governor without his endorsement.

“I Endorsed him, did a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically, got MAGA to Vote for him – or he couldn’t have come close to winning. But he knows that, and admits it,” Trump wrote.

Youngkin dismissed Trump’s comments while speaking to reporters on Friday and said he was focused on bringing people together.

“Listen, you all know me, I do not call people names,” the governor said. “I really work hard to bring people together and that’s what we’re working on.”

“That’s not the way I roll and not the way I behave,” he added.

Youngkin has previously declined to comment on whether he would run in 2024, stating in October that he was “focused right now on being the best governor in Virginia that I can possibly be.”

Gustav Klimt, Baby (Cradle), 1917/1918

No matter how much he talks like a polite gentleman, his policies are the same old Republican Culture wars and wealthy class, corporate appeasement with the same dose of White Christian Nationalism and Jingoism. “Youngkin proposes new history standards, including teaching patriotism in Va. schools.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is overhauling former Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration’s proposal that would have set history and social science standards in Virginia schools.

Youngkin’s VDOE’s new draft proposal would determine what students learn about American history and Virginia history inside the classroom.

If adopted by the Virginia Board of Education, the new standards will be in effect for seven years starting in the 2024-2025 school year. Professional development would begin in the summer of 2023, according to a fact sheet that was sent to legislators and obtained by 7News.

The Governor’s 53-page proposal would require:

  • Kindergarteners to learn patriotism which includes pledging allegiance to the American flag
  • Students would learn critical thinking skills starting in the first grade
  • Starting in 4th grade, students would describe the Civil Rights movement in Virginia and students would describe why James Madison is called the “Father of the U.S. Constitution” and why George Washington is called the “Father of our Country” and students would learn about Reconstruction and the Civil War
  • In 11th grade, students would learn about Christopher Columbus and about the race-based enslavement of Africans and more

After Youngkin appointed new members to the Virginia Board of Education this year, the board delayed adopting the history curriculum proposal that was crafted under the Northam administration.

Northam’s proposed revisions to the history curriculum, which have now been scrapped, included:

  • Lessons on the LGTBQ+ community and social justice
  • Numerous lessons on racism and discrimination
  • Recognized holidays like Juneteenth
  • Lessons on gender equity and equality, climate defense, and renewable energy
  • It would have halted the requirement of teaching some lessons on Christopher Columbus and Benjamin Franklin
  • It would have scrapped the requirement of understanding why George Washington is called the “Father of our Country” and why James Madison is called the “Father of the Constitution.”

See. Pig meet Lipstick.

The one governor’s race that I’m watching is still going in a good direction. “Kari Lake’s path to victory continues to narrow despite gains.”  Lake would’ve joined the ranks of elected Republican women that continuously embarrass women and Americans everywhere.  

Anyway, that’s my offerings for today.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Frayed Nerves Friday Reads: Vote Updates still Coming in

1917, Sitting Woman with Legs Drawn Up, Egon Schiele

Good Day Sky Dancers!

Biting nails is probably a national pastime for those still following the election.  This is a nail-biter of an election!  It looks like the Democratic Party will hold on to the Senate. The House is still in play. This is from Politico.  “The path to 218: Why Democrats aren’t out of the race for the House yet.  A district-by-district look at which party is favored in the uncalled races.”  Some of the California House races are still out and quite close.

Republicans still have a wider path to the House majority than Democrats — but it’s narrowed a lot over the past 24 hours.

As the vote count continues, particularly in mail-heavy Western states, Democrats continue to win most of the contested races, keeping them in the hunt and meaning news organizations won’t declare a winner in the overall fight for the chamber.

Not all of the 32House districts that remain uncalled are truly in doubt: In some of them, one party is clearly favored, and Democrats are likely to win more of them than Republicans, according to a POLITICO analysis.

But that alone wouldn’t be enough for Democrats to snatch the House majority, with the GOP only seven seats away. Democrats would still need to win the vast majority of the nearly-a-dozen races that are truly in doubt.

It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely, either.

The Mad Woman, Chaim Soutine, c.1919

If the Republicans do get control of the House, there is no guarantee that Kevin McCarthy will be the next Speaker of the House. This is from CNN. “Kevin McCarthy faces rocky road to speakership as hardliners emboldened by GOP’s election showing.”

Members of the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus are withholding their support for House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid and have begun to lay out their list of demands, putting the California Republican’s path to securing 218 votes in peril if the party ultimately takes the House with a slim majority.

McCarthy and his team are confident he will ultimately get the votes to be speaker. But the conservative hardliners are emboldened by the likelihood of a narrow House GOP majority and are threatening to withhold their support – something that could imperil his bid or force him to make deals to weaken the speakership, something he has long resisted.

Rep. Chip Roy of Texas told reporters that “no one currently has 218” votes for speaker, which is the magic number McCarthy would need to secure the speaker’s gavel on the House floor in January, and said he wants McCarthy to list in greater detail his plans for a wide array of investigations into the Biden administration. And Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona complained that McCarthy seemed to backpedal on whether he’d be willing to launch impeachment proceedings into President Joe Biden or members of his Cabinet.

“I’ve heard from multiple of my constituents who question the wisdom of proceeding forward with that leadership,” Biggs said, adding that there needs to be a “frank conversation” about who they elect for the top job.

Members of the group are also pushing to make it easier for lawmakers to call for floor votes on ousting a sitting speaker. That is something that McCarthy is adamantly against and was wielded over former Speaker John Boehner before he eventually resigned.

Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado said it was a “red line” for her, but not everyone in the Freedom Caucus is united on whether to make that a hard line.

Boebert has pulled ahead in her race by less than 900 votes.

The race may head to a recount according to the Denver Post. “A thin-enough margin will trigger an automatic recount, but candidates can also request their own.”

Few votes separate Colorado’s congressional race between U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and Adam Frisch, meaning whoever wins the heated election could still suffer through a recount.

Eyes across the country are watching the race, which could swing either way as counties continue to count straggling ballots.

If neither candidate gains a wide enough margin, election officials might not declare an official winner in the race for weeks, depending on how the process plays out. Not only would a slim margin of victory trigger an automatic recount but either candidate can also request a recount so long as they’re willing to pay for it.

The process could then extend into December.

Self-Portrait with Hand on the Forehead (Selbstbildnis mit der Hand an der Stirn), Käthe Kollwitz, 1910

Axios has good news at the state level, where many of the worst election deniers will not be in control of future elections. Also, a woman’s right to choose is a winning issue.  “Democrats make quiet history with state-level gains.”

Overlooked amid frantic punditry about the “red ripple” in Congress: Democrats quietly won and defended majorities in state legislatures across the country, weakening GOP power on issues at the heart of the national political debate.

Why it matters: State legislative races are on pace to be the highlight of the Democratic ballot. If Democrats hold on to Nevada, this will be the first time the party in power hasn’t lost a single chamber in a midterms year since 1934, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

The big picture: The partisan battles over democracy and abortion rights — the two issues that dominated Democratic messaging this cycle — are shaped at the state level.

  • Republicans have controlled more state legislative seats than Democrats for more than a decade straight, thanks in large part to a deliberate strategy the GOP hatched in 2010 to dominate the redistricting process.
  • Even after Democrats’ stunning gains, Republicans still control more states and will have more total legislative seats. But this election shows Democrats are committed to playing the long game, says Daniel Squadron, founder of The States Project.

State of play: Democrats defended their state-level majorities in Massachusetts and Maryland and won governor seats left open after Republican retirements, securing a “trifecta” in both states. Helmed by a historic $50M investment from the DLCC, they also kept the Maine legislature, the New Mexico and Colorado state Houses, and secured a supermajority in both chambers in Vermont (which has a GOP governor).

What we’re watching: Arizona, where Republicans have a narrow two-seat majority in both chambers, was another top target for Democrats. It’s still early in the state’s vote-counting process, but Democrats told Axios they’re hopeful their winning streak will continue there.

  • In Pennsylvania, Democrats are just one seat away from flipping the state House.

The backdrop: Outside Dem groups — fueled by Republican threats to abortion rights and fair election processes — made unprecedented investments in state legislative races this cycle.

  • Two groups, The States Project and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), poured millions into state races in the final four weeks of the election. They targeted races with thin margins in Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
  • Forward Majority, a Democratic super PAC focused on the states, invested over $20 million this cycle targeting 25 seats in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
  • “We’re clawing our way back to power after 50 years of investment for Republicans and so much neglect for so long by the Democratic Party,” said Forward Majority’s president Vicky Hausman.

Pink Blouse, Amedeo Modigliani,1919

This analysis of our election comes from The Economist“A Republican victory will be much smaller than Democrats feared. Several sorts of extremism may have prevented the party from securing a more convincing victory.”

Imagine if Noah’s prognostications about a world-ending flood had ended in a light shower. That is roughly the situation faced by Republicans who had been expecting a biblical sort of rebuke of President Joe Biden in the midterm elections. Despite clear voter discontent with Mr Biden and the pace of inflation, Republicans managed only a limp showing. As final results were being tallied, they looked on track to barely pick up the five seats needed for a majority in the House of Representatives (a typical loss for a president’s party in the modern era is 30 seats). That will be sufficient for Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, to wrest the speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, and ensure divided government in Washington for the next two years. But it is hardly a spectacular showing.

The same is true of the contest to control the Senate, which may take weeks to decide, due to the need for a run-off election in Georgia in December. Taking the Senate would have required netting only a single additional seat—but it now looks likelier than not that even this low bar will not be met (see chart 1). Democrats never met the attacks that Republicans launched at them on crime, inflation, indoctrination of schoolchildren and immigration with a convincing or cohesive rejoinder. And yet the morning after the election there was, surprisingly, more need for Republican soul-searching than for Democratic recriminations.

Several sorts of extremism may have robbed Republicans of the marginal seats they needed to secure a more convincing victory. The first was over abortion, which became an immediate rallying cry for Democrats when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the case that had established a right to terminate a pregnancy up until the point of fetal viability, in June. Although most Americans supported some limitations on the procedure, they also found bans pitched by many Republicans too extreme. In the suburban battlegrounds for the House, abortion proved a potent battering-ram for Democrats, who improved their margins in districts with lots of white, college-educated voters—previously a reliable constituency for the Republicans (see chart 2).

Self-Portrait (1886), Edvard Munch © Munch Museum

You may see the charts and read more analysis at the link.

Jonathan Chait-writing for New York Magazine–thinks “The GOP Revolt Against Trump Is More Serious Than You Think. It’s not going to be like 2016 or 2021.”

I’ve been telling people for most of the year that I consider Ron DeSantis to be the odds-on favorite — not a guarantee, not a prohibitive favorite, but the favorite — to win the Republican presidential nomination. Usually, they nod and then add something like, “But not if Trump runs, right?” “Yes,” I reply, “even if Trump runs.” Then they look at me like I’m crazy.

Tuesday night, my view began to look a little less crazy. The Murdoch-owned media, very much including Fox News, unleashed an undisguised propaganda blitz to convince its audience that Trump is the source of the party’s struggles and DeSantis represents its future. Trump’s angry response is a measure of how seriously he takes the threat to steer the base away from him. Many journalists registered surprise at the bluntness of the chorus blaming Trump. Yet the prospects for a DeSantis nomination, and the changes beneath the surface that have made it relatively likely, have not been fully appreciated outside the Republican world.

For one thing, the Murdoch-owned media, and many other legacy conservative-media outlets, like National Review, have never fully supported Trump. They defended him against Democrats while wishing the party would nominate somebody else. This has meant, in other words, that they would criticize some of his excesses, even while insisting the Democrats were worse. During moments when Republicans had the opportunity to wrest leadership of the party from his hands, like during the 2016 primary campaign and in the days after January 6, they would even savage him. But when his leadership of the party went unchallenged, they would mute their criticism and fall dutifully in line.

This pattern has led to an easy assumption that whatever misgivings Republicans express now will come to nothing. “We have heard this tune many times before,” Dan Drezner says, sighing. “It’s nice to hope that this time it’ll take,” writes the Bulwark, “But we’ve all seen this movie before. Many, many, many times before.”

This ignores a crucial difference. In both 2016, and the aftermath of the insurrection, there was no unified Republican alternative. The non-Trump candidates in 2016 infamously failed to coordinate, and even devoted most of their energy to attacking each other in the belief that the last non-Trump standing would automatically prevail. “Jeb, Rubio, Christie, Kasich, Walker… every one of these guys was as hyped as DeSantis is now. Trump beat them all,” argues Adam Jentleson. But that is the point – beating them all was easier than beating a single opponent with unified conservative movement support.

After the insurrection, a brief window opened to move on, but the party lacked any obvious figure to rally around. (DeSantis had yet to make the key moves consolidating his support on the right.) And in between these events, Trump was president.

I wish I could get over my premonition that the next two years will be stressful and will still be dominated by MAGA Republicans in Congress.  I just do not want to go back to where turning on the TV means enduring crazy Gym Jordan, Sleazy Steve Scalise who could potentially be Speaker of the House to my dismay, Marjorie Three Names in a Committee Hearing, and Trump flying around the country with his HateFest events as he runs for president.  Trump may find more time to roast DeSantis than “Sleepy Joe”, but it will still be that anxiety-inducing, stomach-clenching shit show.  We’ll just have to see what nickname he gives DeSantis.

Happy Veterans Day to everyone that served!!!

So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

“Baby, I see this world has made you sadSome people can be badThe things they do, the things they say.”

Mark Knopfler


Mostly Monday Reads: None of them will come via the former social media source

Emil Nolde, Mohn (Poppies), 1950.

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

Chief Twit suggested we return the House to what used to be a political party that shouldn’t be in charge of anything.  His misogyny is on full display, as well as his hypocrisy.  Twitter is obviously not impartial, and I can’t appear to block, mute, or remove the NAZI images he posts. I believe you can’t block him anymore, although it does no good because others will quote him.  Kathy Griffin showed up on my Mastadon server because she’s permanently banned there for parodying his account. Yet, Ye is in full antisemitic mode, having been reinstated to the newest Truth Social/Parler platform is serving as a one-man ‘ish’ band.

I give up!

So, let me go back to my 2009 version of sharing my reads.  Yes, this is more Emil Nolde.  Beautiful, aren’t they? Hard to imagine a Nazi could create such beauty. While his admiration of Hitler was well-known, his art was still considered “degenerate”. It could not be shown in public.


Emil Nolde, Sonnenblumen und Rittersporn ,1935

This is from The Atlantic and written by Ronald Brownstein. “How a GOP Congress Could Roll Back Freedoms Nationwide. The rights reversal taking place in conservative states is just the beginning.”

If republicans win control of one or both congressional chambers this week, they will likely begin a project that could reshape the nation’s political and legal landscape: imposing on blue states the rollback of civil rights and liberties that has rapidly advanced through red states since 2021.

Over the past two years, the 23 states where Republicans hold unified control of the governorship and state legislature have approved the most aggressive wave of socially conservative legislation in modern times. In highly polarizing battles across the country, GOP-controlled states have passed laws imposing new restrictions on voting, banning or limiting access to abortion, retrenching LGBTQ rights, removing licensing and training requirements for concealed carry of firearms, and censoring how public-school teachers (and in some cases university professors and even private employers) can talk about race, gender, and sexual orientation.

With much less attention, Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate have introduced legislation to write each of these red-state initiatives into federal law. The practical effect of these proposals would be to require blue states to live under the restrictive social policies that have burned through red states since President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.“I think the days of fealty [to states’ rights] are nearing an end, and we are going to see the national Republicans in Congress adopting maximalist policy approaches,” Peter Ambler, the executive director of Giffords, a group that advocates for stricter gun control, told me.

None of the proposals to nationalize the red-state social agenda could become law any time soon. Even if Republicans were to win both congressional chambers, they would not have the votes to overcome the inevitable Biden vetoes. Nor would Republicans, even if they controlled both chambers, have any incentive to consider repealing the Senate filibuster to pass this agenda until they know they have a president who would sign the resulting bills into law—something they can’t achieve before the 2024 election.

But if Republicans triumph this week, the next two years could nonetheless become a crucial period in formulating a strategy to nationalize the red-state social-policy revolution. Particularly if Republicans win the House, they seem certain to explore which of these ideas can attract enough support in their caucus to clear the chamber. And the 2024 Republican presidential candidates are also likely to test GOP primary voters’ appetite for writing conservative social priorities into national law. Embracing such initiatives “may prove irresistible for a lot of folks trying to capture” the party’s socially conservative wing, Patrick Brown, a fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, told me.

Untitled, Emil Nolde

Just getting Trump out of the White House and the republicans out of the majority is not stopping them.  Neither is the unpopularity of all the abortion restrictions and the call for sensible gun regulations.  It’s difficult to not get discouraged.

Cameron Joseph–writing for VICE–states that “This Election Could Be Just as Long and Ugly as 2020. Slow vote counts, close races, and a crowd of GOP candidates ready to cry “rigged” could lead to a scary election month.”

Republicans who are pushing misinformation about the election are running for state office across the country. And they’ve had two years to prepare to sow chaos this week.

Former President Donald Trump, his election-denying candidates, GOP operatives, and an army of conspiracy theory-believing activists are lobbing bad-faith lawsuits, attempting voter intimidation, and gearing up for disruptive protests to take advantage of slow ballot counts in this week’s midterm elections. And the closer the election results are, the longer it will take to determine a winner in key contests. Things could get very messy.

It will take days, if not weeks, to count enough of the ballots to know which side has won many of the closest, and most closely watched, Senate and governor races. That’s totally normal, and in many states it’s how things have been for years.

But that won’t stop bad-faith candidates—especially those who are losing—from using it to claim it’s being rigged against them, demand that officials stop counting ballots in places where mail ballots are counted late, and push their supporters to protest. Multiple Trump-aligned candidates have already strongly signaled they won’t concede, no matter the outcome.

And 2020 showed exactly how much damage can be done when one side decides to attack the election process itself.

Trump drove the country into chaos by refusing to accept his loss and incited violence to try to keep himself in power. Now, it’s not just Trump and his immediate circle. The prospect of political violence has only continued to grow since the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, with the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband just the latest in a long string of attacks on officials.

“I’m very concerned about the possibility of violence in the post-election period incited by losing candidates,” David Becker, a former Justice Department voting rights attorney who heads the Center for Election Innovation and Research, told VICE News.

Emil Nolde
Blumen (Flowers), n.d.

He continues by providing efforts by groups like The Oathkeepers in various states. The FBI is taking this seriously, which could also be why Republicans are after the institution as being “political.”  From NPR: “Judiciary Republicans hint at investigation into FBI, DOJ if they retake the House.”

In a glimpse of what’s to come, House Judiciary Committee Republicans warned the FBI and Department of Justice that they plan to investigate both agencies if their party retakes the House of Representatives. And on Friday they released a 1,000-page report about whistleblower accounts of “a rampant culture of unaccountability, manipulation, and abuse at the highest level.”

Republicans will more than likely retake the House, and possibly the Senate, with the party heavily favored to win midterm elections in several congressional districts.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who heads the DOJ, and another to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting documents pertaining to committee investigations lurking in the not-too-distant future. The report, titled FBI Whistleblowers: What Their Disclosures Indicate About the Politicization of the FBI And Justice Department, alleges political corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, according to a House Judiciary Republicans press release. Republicans assert in the report that whistleblowers have brought to their attention, “allegations of political bias by the FBI’s senior leadership and misuses of the agency’s federal law-enforcement powers.” The report, while primarily focused on the FBI, also targets the Justice Department as well.

EMIL NOLDE
Garden Flowers, no date

The AP reports, “Jackson, in dissent, issues first Supreme Court opinion.”

 New Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has issued her first Supreme Court opinion, a short dissent Monday in support of a death row inmate from Ohio.

Jackson wrote that she would have thrown out lower court rulings in the case of inmate Davel Chinn, whose lawyers argued that the state suppressed evidence that might have altered the outcome of his trial.

Jackson, in a two-page opinion, wrote that she would have ordered a new look at Chinn’s case “because his life is on the line and given the substantial likelihood that the suppressed records would have changed the outcome at trial.”

The evidence at issue indicated that a key witness against Chinn has an intellectual disability that might have affected his memory and ability to testify accurately, she wrote.

Prosecutors are required to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. In this case, lower courts determined that the outcome would not have been affected if the witness’ records had been provided to Chinn’s lawyers.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only other member of the court to join Jackson’s opinion. The two justices also were allies in dissent Monday in Sotomayor’s opinion that there was serious prosecutorial misconduct in the trial of a Louisiana man who was convicted of sex trafficking.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe we may be in the fight of our lives.  This is from Reuters.  Putin’s buddy finally states the obvious. “Russia’s Prigozhin admits interfering in U.S. elections.” 

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday he had interfered in U.S. elections and would continue doing so in future, the first such admission from a figure implicated by Washington in efforts to influence American politics.

In comments posted by the press service of his Concord catering firm on Russia’s Facebook equivalent VKontakte, Prigozhin said: “We have interfered (in U.S. elections), we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do.”

The remark by the close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin was posted on the eve of the U.S. midterm elections in response to a request for comment from a Russian news site.

“During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once,” Prigozhin said. He did not elaborate on the cryptic comment.

Prigozhin, who is often referred to as “Putin’s chef” because his catering company operates Kremlin contracts, has been formally accused of sponsoring Russia-based “troll farms” that seek to influence U.S. politics.

So, I’m thinking about going to my little old fire station down the street to vote.  My social security check was deposited today.  I’ll likely see lots of kids jumping on their school buses to head to their public schools. I will do this before I take up my role as a professor trying to ensure my students understand economics and the financial system without all the propaganda lies coming from certain politicians and their propaganda-based news stations. Let’s not normalize America’s NAZIs. I’m all up to listening to the next installment of Ultra today. This is surely one country in chaos.

What’s on your logging and blogging list today?  Please vote BLUE and drag everyone you know with you to do the same!