Links of the Week

 

 

 

 

 

Secret Russian foreign policy document urges action to weaken the U.S.

 
April 17, 2024 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/04/17/russia-foreign-policy-us-weaken/

[Excerpt:]

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has been drawing up plans to try to weaken its Western adversaries, including the United States, and leverage the Ukraine war to forge a global order free from what it sees as American dominance, according to a secret Foreign Ministry document.

In a classified addendum to Russia’s official — and public — “Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation,” the ministry calls for an “offensive information campaign” and other measures spanning “the military-political, economic and trade and informational psychological spheres” against a “coalition of unfriendly countries” led by the United States.

 

“Prosecutions of Fake Electors for Trump Gain Ground in Swing States”

“Georgia, Michigan and Nevada have already brought charges against people who posed as electors for Donald Trump, and Arizona and Wisconsin have active investigations.”

Update from the N.Y. Times. 

Also this snippet:

“Mr. Chesebro, who pleaded guilty to a felony last year in Georgia, later told investigators in Michigan that he had been misled by the Trump campaign and had not known that it was “trying to create chaos in state legislatures.”

“In December, Andrew Hitt, who was head of the Wisconsin Republican Party during the 2020 election, told a local ABC affiliate that he and other fake electors “were tricked” by the Trump campaign and thought they were only acting as a contingency, in case litigation succeeded.”

Must-read WaPo: “Republicans plan blitz of election-related lawsuits, but prospects uncertain”

WaPo:

[Excerpt:]

When Donald Trump installed a new chairman of the Republican Party this month, he explained privately and publicly what he wanted from the GOP: a bigger focus on election-related lawsuits, a more aggressive operation to monitor voting and a vow to make “election integrity” the party’s No. 1 priority.

The party is now striking a more aggressive tone as it recruits poll observers to keep an eye on in-person voting and boasts of positioning thousands of lawyers to challenge ballots and bring lawsuits. The strategy — an outgrowth of the one it used both before the 2020 election and after, when Trump sought to overturn the result — is meant to please Trump, electrify the base and persuade judges to tighten voting rules.

“It’s an extremely high priority for the president,” said the new Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Whatley, referring to Trump.

 

“The Supreme Court and Young Voter Turnout”

NYT:

Georgia, with its long history of the suppression of Black voters, has been ground zero for fights about voting rights laws for decades. The state has often seen stark differences in turnout between white and nonwhite communities, with the latter typically voting at a much lower rate.

But not always: In the 2012 election, when Barack Obama won a second term in the White House, the turnout rate for Black voters under 38 in Lowndes County — a Republican-leaning county in southern Georgia — was actually four percentage points higher than the rate for white voters of a similar age.

It proved to be temporary. According to new research by Michael Podhorzer, the former political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., by 2020, turnout for younger white voters in Lowndes was 14 percentage points higher than for Black voters of the same age.

What happened in between? It is impossible to tell for certain, with many variables, such as Obama no longer being on the ballot.

But a growing body of evidence points to a pivotal 2013 Supreme Court decision, Shelby County v. Holder, that knocked down a core section of the Voting Rights Act. The court effectively ended a provision requiring counties and states with a history of racial discrimination at the polls — including all of Georgia — to obtain permission from the Justice Department before changing voting laws or procedures.

Potential 2024 ‘Chaos’: Election Deniers Refusing to Certify Results

Election officials in eight states have delayed or refused to certify results since Trump’s 2020 loss — a likely preview of this year’s elections

BY JUSTIN GLAWE

March 18, 2024

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/election-deniers-refuse-certify-chaos-2024

 

Newly Released Messages Detail Roots of the ‘Fake Electors’ Scheme

Emails and texts unearthed in a lawsuit show how key figures intended their plan to create a “cloud of confusion” to help keep Donald Trump in office after his 2020 election loss.

By Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman

March 4, 2024

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/04/us/politics/chesebro-troupis-jan-6-messages.html

[Excerpt:]

Just five days after Election Day in 2020, a conservative lawyer named Kenneth Chesebro emailed a former judge who was working for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin, James R. Troupis, pitching an idea for how to overturn the results.

Through litigation, Mr. Chesebro said, the Trump campaign could allege “various systemic abuses” and, with court proceedings pending, encourage legislatures to appoint “alternative” pro-Trump electors that could be certified instead of the Biden electors chosen by the voters.

“At minimum, with such a cloud of confusion, no votes from WI (and perhaps also MI and PA) should be counted, perhaps enough to throw the election to the House,” Mr. Chesebro wrote to Mr. Troupis, referring to the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Thune, No. 2 Senate Republican, endorses Trump

February 25, 2024 

{Excerpt:]

Thune, who is widely considered to be a possible successor to McConnell in the Senate, had previously endorsed the presidential bid of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), but Scott dropped out of the race in November and has endorsed Trump.

Trump, meanwhile, had called for Thune to have a primary challenger when Thune ran for reelection in 2022, calling the senator a “Republican in name only.” Trump had long attacked Thune and McConnell after the two refused to support the former president’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

 

Trump allies prepare to infuse ‘Christian nationalism’ in second administration

Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, president of The Center for Renewing America, part of a conservative consortium preparing for Trump’s return to power.

[Excerpts:]

An influential think tank close to Donald Trump is developing plans to infuse Christian nationalist ideas in his administration should the former president return to power, according to documents obtained by POLITICO.

Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, who served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget during his first term and has remained close to him.

Vought, who is frequently cited as a potential chief of staff in a second Trump White House, is president of The Center for Renewing America [CRA] think tank, a leading group in a conservative consortium preparing for a second Trump term.

Christian nationalists in America believe that the country was founded as a Christian nation and that Christian values should be prioritized throughout government and public life. As the country has become less religious and more diverse, Vought has embraced the idea that Christians are under assault and has spoken of policies he might pursue in response.

One document drafted by CRA staff and fellows includes a list of top priorities for CRA in a second Trump term. “Christian nationalism” is one of the bullet points. Others include invoking the Insurrection Act on Day One to quash protests and refusing to spend authorized congressional funds on unwanted projects, a practice banned by lawmakers in the Nixon era.

CRA’s work fits into a broader effort by conservative, MAGA-leaning organizations to influence a future Trump White House. Two people familiar with the plans, who were granted anonymity to discuss internal matters, said that Vought hopes his proximity and regular contact with the former president — he and Trump speak at least once a month, according to one of the people — will elevate Christian nationalism as a focal point in a second Trump term.

The documents obtained by POLITICO do not outline specific Christian nationalist policies. But Vought has promoted a restrictionist immigration agenda, saying a person’s background doesn’t define who can enter the U.S., but rather, citing Biblical teachings, whether that person “accept[ed] Israel’s God, laws and understanding of history.”

Vought has a close affiliation with Christian nationalist William Wolfe, a former Trump administration official who has advocated for overturning same-sex marriage, ending abortion and reducing access to contraceptives.

Vought, who declined to comment, is advising Project 2025, a governing agenda that would usher in one of the most conservative executive branches in modern American history. The effort is made up of a constellation of conservative groups run by Trump allies who’ve constructed a detailed plan to dismantle or overhaul key agencies in a second term. Among other principles, the project’s “Mandate for Leadership” states that “freedom is defined by God, not man.”

CRA is already wielding influence on Trump’s positions. His thinking on withdrawing the U.S. from NATO and using military force against Mexican drug cartels is partly inspired by separate CRA papers, according to reports by Rolling Stone.

“Russell Vought did a fabulous job in my administration, and I have no doubt he will do a great job in continuing our quest to make America great again,” reads a Trump quote prominently placed on CRA’s website.

Trump will have a major platform to convey his vision for Christian policy in a second term when, on Feb. 22, he addresses a National Religious Broadcasters forum in Nashville. The group is the world’s largest association of Christian communicators.

 

“True the Vote fails to reveal evidence of Georgia voting fraud claims”

AJC:

Bombastic claims of voting fraud in the right-wing conspiracy movie “2000 Mules” sounded alarming, and Georgia election officials wanted to get to the bottom of it.

If there really was a massive plot to stuff ballot drop boxes and rig the 2020 presidential election, wouldn’t the conservative organization behind the allegation, True the Vote, help investigators prove it?

Instead, True the Vote said in a recent court filing it doesn’t know the identity of its own anonymous source who told a story of a “ballot trafficking” scheme allegedly organized by a network of unnamed groups paying $10 per ballot delivered.

True the Vote also told the court last month it doesn’t have any documents about illegal ballot collection, the name of its purported informant, or confidentiality agreements it previously said existed. The records were subpoenaed by the State Election Board in 2022.

Georgia election officials and voters are left to wonder whether True the Vote and “2000 Mules” told the truth — or if they were drumming up outrage based on vague suspicions and an unnamed whistleblower, fueling suspicions about Democrat Joe Biden’s win over Republican Donald Trump.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” said Matt Mashburn, a Republican former acting chairman of the State Election Board. “It’s odd to have someone make an allegation and then fight so hard to hold onto the truth of that allegation.”

 

Why Trump’s control of the Republican Party is bad for democracy

Associate Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University

Distinguished Practitioner in Grand Strategy, Jackson School of Public Affairs, Yale University

Professor of Political Science, Penn State

https://theconversation.com/why-trumps-control-of-the-republican-party-is-bad-for-democracy-221828[Excerpts:]In our forthcoming book, “The Origins of Elected Strongmen: How Personalist Parties Destroy Democracy from Within,” we explain the dangers that arise when leaders come to power backed by political parties that exist primarily to promote the leader’s personal agenda, as opposed to advancing particular policies.In general, typical political parties select new leaders at regular intervals, which gives elites in the party another chance to win a nomination in the future if the party is popular. And typical parties tend to select leaders who rise up the ranks of the party, having worked with other party elites along the way.But so-called personalist parties, as political scientists like us call them, are a threat to democracy because they lack the incentives and ability to resist their leader’s efforts to amass more power.Since 2016, Trump has increasingly sidelined the traditional party establishment to remake the party into an instrument to further his own personal, political and financial interests. As an indicator of this, the party elite have grown fearful of diverging from his agenda, so much so that the 2020 GOP platform essentially amounted to “whatever Trump wants.” Today, the main qualification for a Republican candidate or appointee appears to be loyalty to Trump himself, not fealty to longstanding GOP principles. Traditional parties, including the pre-Trump Republican Party, offer voters a bundle of policy positions hashed out among multiple elite factions of the party.Trump’s supersized control over the Republican Party has transformed other leading party figures into sycophants, always seeking Trump’s favor. Even Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, after experiencing ridicule and abuse from Trumpendorsed the former president’s bid to return to the White House. 

 

A federal court declines to revisit a ruling that could weaken the Voting Rights Act

https://www.npr.org/2024/01/30/1222561113/voting-rights-act-arkansas-federal-appeals-court

A federal appeals court has denied a request to revisit a ruling that could undermine a key tool for enforcing the Voting Rights Act’s protections against racial discrimination in the election process.

It’s the latest move in an Arkansas state legislative redistricting case, filed by civil rights groups representing Black voters in the southern state, that could turn into the next U.S. Supreme Court battle that limits the scope of the landmark civil rights law.

The full 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision Tuesday after attorneys led by the American Civil Liberties Union appealed the ruling by a three-judge panel last year.

That panel found that federal law does not allow private groups and individuals — who have for decades brought the majority of lawsuits under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act — to sue because that law does not explicitly name them. Only the head of the Justice Department, the panel found, can bring these kinds of lawsuits.

In the 8th Circuit’s majority opinion, U.S. Circuit Judge David Stras, an appointee of former President Donald Trump who also wrote the panel’s majority opinion, said that the panel’s opinion “mostly speaks for itself.”

 

“Intimidation of State and Local Officeholders”

New report from the Brennan Center:

Among the report’s findings:

  • 43% of state legislators have experienced threats within the past three years. 18% of local officeholders have experienced threats within the past year and a half. (p. 4)
  • Because of abuse, 39% of local officeholders and 21% of state legislators are less willing to legislate on contentious issues. Officeholders interviewed gave examples like reproductive rights and gun regulation. (p. 16)
  • Among local officeholders, more women and people of color than men or white people have been the subject of abusive language about their children and families. (statistics on p. 8)
  • Local and state officeholders said that abuse has made them reluctant to engage with their constituents online or hold public events. (statistics on p. 19)
  • 39% of local officeholders said at the time of the survey that the abuse lessened their desire to run for reelection. For women in local office, 48% said at the time of the survey that they were less willing to run for reelection compared to 34% of men. 12% of state legislators said at the time of the survey that the abuse lessened their desire to run for higher office. (p. 16)
  • More Republicans than Democrats have experienced an increase in the volume of abuseover the past few years. (p. 8)
  • Many attributed this to backlash within their party and for not supporting extreme policy positions.
  • In interviews, many local and state officeholders pointed to the viral nature of social media as a primary contributor to the high levels of abuse they experience. (p. 15)
  • According to many of the local and state officeholders interviewed, the deregulation of guns has made the abuse they’re experiencing more dangerous for them and their families. (p. 14)

 

“Trump leans into voter fraud playbook, preparing to cry foul if he loses expected Biden rematch”

AP:

 

The Authoritarian Playbook for 2025

How an authoritarian president will dismantle our democracy and what we can do to protect it

JANUARY 2024

A REPORT BY UNITED TO PROTECT DEMOCRACY

https://www.authoritarianplaybook2025.org/

Mr. Hasen is the author of several books about elections and democracy, including “A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy.”

 

[Excerpt:]

The history of voting in the United States shows the high cost of living with an old Constitution, unevenly enforced by a reluctant Supreme Court.

Unlike the constitutions of many other advanced democracies, the U.S. Constitution contains no affirmative right to vote. We have nothing like Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, providing that “every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein,” or like Article 38 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, which provides that when it comes to election of the Bundestag, “any person who has attained the age of 18 shall be entitled to vote.”

As we enter yet another fraught election season, it’s easy to miss that many problems we have with voting and elections in the United States can be traced to this fundamental constitutional defect. Our problems are only going to get worse until we get constitutional change.

 

‘This to Him Is the Grand Finale’: Donald Trump’s 50-Year Mission to Discredit the Justice System

The former president is in unparalleled legal peril, but he has mastered the ability to grind down the legal system to his advantage. It’s already changing our democracy.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/01/12/donald-trump-indictments-legal-system-00135151

[Excerpt:]

Trump and his allies say he is the victim of the weaponization of the justice system, but the reality is exactly the opposite. For literally more than 50 years, according to thousands of pages of court records and hundreds of interviews with lawyers and legal experts, people who have worked for Trump, against Trump or both, and many of the myriad litigants who’ve been caught in the crossfire, Trump has taught himself how to use and abuse the legal system for his own advantage and aims. Many might view the legal system as a place to try to avoid, or as perhaps a necessary evil, or maybe even as a noble arbiter of equality and fairness. Not Trump. He spent most of his adult life molding it into an arena in which he could stake claims and hunt leverage. It has not been for him a place of last resort so much as a place of constant quarrel. Conflict in courts is not for him the cost of doing business — it is how he does business. Throughout his vast record of (mostly civil) lawsuits, whether on offense, defense or frequently a mix of the two, Trump has become a sort of layman’s master in the law and lawfare.

Starting in 1973, when the federal government sued him and his father for racist rental practices in the apartments they owned, Trump learned from the notorious Roy Cohn, then searched for another Roy Cohn — then finally became his own Roy Cohn. He’s exploited as loopholes the legal system’s bedrock tenets, eyeing its very integrity as simultaneously its intrinsic vulnerability — the near sacrosanct honoring of the rights of the defendant, the deliberation that due process demands, the constant constitutional balancing act that relies on shared good faith as much as fixed, written rules. He has routinely turned what’s obviously peril into what’s effectively fuel, taking long rosters of losses and willing them into something like wins — if not in a court of law, then in that of public opinion. It has worked, and it continues to work. Trump, after all, was at one of his weakest points politically until the first of his four arraignments last spring. Ever since, his legal jeopardy and his political viability have done little but go up, together. Deny, delay and attack, always play the victim, never stop undermining the system: Trump has taken the Cohn playbook to reaches not even Cohn could have foreseen — fusing his legal efforts with his business interests, lawyers as important to him as loan officers, and now he’s done the same with politics. He’s not fighting the system, it seems sometimes, so much as he’s using it. He’s fundraising off of it. He’s consolidating support because of it. He’s far and away the most likely Republican nominee, polls consistently show. He’s the odds-on favorite to be the president again.

“He has attacked the judicial system, our system of justice and the rule of law his entire life,” said J. Michael Luttig, a conservative former federal appellate judge and one of the founders of the recently formed Society for the Rule of Law. “And this to him,” Luttig told me, “is the grand finale.”

 

“Bill would allow Georgia election investigations of Raffensperger”

AJC:

A Republican-sponsored bill introduced Friday would empower the State Election Board to investigate Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a response to the board’s decision last month not to open an inquiry.

The measure would also remove Raffensperger, a Republican, as a non-voting member of the State Election Board and require him to cooperate with investigations.

The legislation, Senate Bill 358, comes after the board deadlocked on whether to pursue complaints by conservative activists who blame Raffensperger for human errors in Fulton County’s manual audit of the 2020 election. The problems, including over 3,000 double-counted and misallocated votes, didn’t change the overall outcome of the statewide audit, which confirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s win over Republican Donald Trump.

 

“Republicans Launch Two-Pronged Attack Against Voting Rights Act”

TPM:

In their endless quest to further defang the Voting Rights Act and gerrymander their way into permanent control, Republican officials have launched a double-headed attack on the landmark civil rights law. 

The new attacks emerge as Republican politicians attempt to wriggle out of judges’ orders requiring that they draw additional, majority-minority, likely Democratic districts in their states, which could imperil their party’s thin majority in the House of Representatives. 

The attacks on the already-weakened VRA take two forms: arguing that the law doesn’t protect districts controlled by coalitions of multiple minority groups, and that only the U.S. attorney general — not individual voters represented by good government groups, as is most common — can bring lawsuits under the section of the law concerning illegal vote dilution.

The West’s self-deception on Ukraine should not extend to Hungary’s Orban

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/12/26/orban-ukraine-europe-threat-west-hungary/

[Excerpts:]

The risk of that particular self-deception has metastasized largely because of one man: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has made no secret of his intent to destroy Western unity on Ukraine.

It matters little that Orban has driven Hungary’s economy into a ditch, or that its economic output and population of 10 million are tiny fractions of the E.U.’s total. What counts is that Hungary, Putin’s Trojan horse in the heart of Europe, has weaponized the E.U.’s rules on Moscow’s behalf.

Orban, a darling of U.S. Republicans, has gutted Hungary’s democracy and made a sham of baseline E.U. expectations of its members: judicial independence, media freedom, minority rights, fair elections and tolerance.

That tragedy, for Hungarians and for Europe, will become farce next summer when Hungary takes over the rotating E.U. presidency, a role that grants Orban agenda-setting powers for a six-month term.

That bully pulpit will afford him the chance to embarrass the E.U. by showcasing his obstructionism, especially on Ukraine. But the broader threat he represents inside the alliance is real owing to the E.U.’s antiquated voting rules, including the requirement of unanimity of all member states on security and finance questions.

 

The Only Thing More Dangerous Than Authoritarianism

The forces of Christian nationalism are now ascendant both inside the Church and inside the Republican Party.

 

‘The Opposite of Politics’: A Conservative Legal Scholar Says Kicking Trump Off the Ballot Is ‘Unassailable’

J. Michael Luttig explains why he thinks the 14th Amendment should prevent Trump from running for president again.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/12/21/luttig-14th-amendment-trump-00132792

[Excerpt:]

Do you worry at all about the political blowback that a judicial decision removing Trump from ballots could spark?

I do, but what I would say, though, is this: The Constitution itself tells us that disqualification of the former president is not anti-democratic. Rather, the Constitution tells us that it is the conduct that can give rise to disqualification under the 14th Amendment that is anti-democratic.

I would add that we are a nation of laws, not of men, and it is the Constitution of the United States that is providing the avenue for the disqualification of the former president. This is not politics. This is the opposite of politics. This is constitutional law. And right now, the courts — the state courts and eventually the Supreme Court — will be interpreting the Constitution of the United States without regard to politics, let alone partisan politics.

 

Trump’s trial dates and how they could conflict with the 2024 election

Former president Donald Trump is once again the leading Republican candidate for the White House. But he is also facing four separate indictments — two federal, two state-level — with three criminal trials and multiple civil trials scheduled for 2024.

Here is a list of key dates for the primary and general election campaigns, and for events related to Trump’s trials (the court dates are subject to change).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/07/21/trump-documents-trial-date-2024-election/

Watching Rudy Giuliani Self-Destruct at a Defamation Trial in Washington

A jury decided that Giuliani owes two election workers whom he defamed nearly a hundred and fifty million dollars. Even his lawyer suggested he “hasn’t been so great lately.”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/watching-rudy-giuliani-self-destruct-at-a-defamation-trial-in-washington

 

“Documents show Republican-led states struggling to clean voter rolls after leaving ERIC”

Jen Fifield at Votebeat:

Some Republican-led states are struggling to develop new ways to adequately update their voter rolls after withdrawing from a popular cross-state voter roll cleaning program that came under attack by far-right election activists, according to new documents and internal emails reviewed by Votebeat.

Virginia paid $29,000 in September to regain access to just a sliver of the data they used to obtain via the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC. Alabama and Missouri officials took months to come up with new plans for cleaning voter rolls, landing on plans that are less rigorous than ERIC. And a new system some states are considering to help with voter roll cleanup had its server attacked and temporarily brought down, according to documents obtained by left-leaning watchdog group American Oversight and exclusively shared with Votebeat.

The documents also show that senior advisors to secretaries of state in Missouri and Texas recognized that lies were being spread about ERIC, and tried to stop their states from withdrawing from what they saw as a valuable program. In addition, officials in some states such as Ohio had pushed unsuccessfully for changes to ERIC that could have kept their states from withdrawing.

“As you know, I really worked as hard as I possibly could to avoid this,” Amanda Grandjean, then the senior advisor to the Ohio secretary of state, wrote in an email to ERIC executive director Shane Hamlin after Ohio withdrew from the program in March.

(I blogged some of my reaction to the ERIC withdrawals in March here.)

Amid a growing number of criminal investigations into the 2020 election, some who once cast electoral college votes for the former president say they would not do it again

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/12/10/trump-fake-electors-charges/

[Excerpt:]

Republican Party activist Ken Carroll thought he was doing the right thing when he agreed to cast an electoral college vote for Donald Trump at the Georgia Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020.

But he wouldn’t do it again.

“Knowing what I know now? No,” Carroll said. “But hindsight provides a wealth of knowledge we don’t have at the time of an event.”

Carroll was one of 84 Republican presidential electors who convened to cast votes for Trump in 2020 across seven states where Joe Biden had been declared the certified winner. And he is among the electors in six of those states who have become embroiled in criminal investigations of their actions — saddled with legal bills and in some cases facing criminal charges. Carroll says he never again wants to be involved with a criminal investigation.

In the past few months, 25 of those 84 electors have been charged with felonies, such as forgery, false statements and filing false documents. Ten more have agreed as part of a lawsuit settlement to not serve as electors in any election in which Trump is on the ballot. And 13 others in Georgia have been labeled “unindicted co-conspirators.”

[Boldface added]

“Inside Trump’s Plot To Corrupt the 2024 Election With ‘Garbage’ Data”

Rolling Stone:

As recently as this summer, Trump had talked to right-leaning legal counselors about the feasibility of laying the groundwork for various post-election “audits” of mailed ballots — inspired partly by a shambolic Arizona audit following the 2020 election — in parts of the United States that have historical track records of so-called problems, two sources present for these casual discussions recall.

There are few people more central to Trump’s plans than Cleta Mitchell, the lawyer pushing the secretaries of state to pull out of ERIC at that D.C. meeting. As recently as September, Trump privately praised Mitchell’s work, saying she is going to be “very important” for the next election and beyond.

 

Where Are All the Anti-Trump Republicans?

A vast array of GOP power brokers detest and disdain the former president. So why are they keeping so quiet?

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/12/08/the-stop-trump-effort-has-been-abysmal-00130751
[Excerpt:]

Just as significant, Trump has a structural advantage this year because his lieutenants worked to frontload the primary calendar and pushed states toward winner-take-all delegate allocations. For all his unpredictable and impulsive tendencies, the former president trusted a trio of aides — Chris LaCivita, Susie Wiles and Brian Jack — to leverage his grassroots strength and reshape the nominating contest in a way that was anything but improvisational.

 

The slow dismantling of the Voting Rights Act
https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-nightly/2023/12/05/the-slow-dismantling-of-the-voting-rights-act-00130245[Excerpt:]UNDER SIEGE — A federal appeals court recently dealt a blow to the Voting Rights Act by ruling on what at first glance might seem a small technicality: Who, exactly, is allowed to sue when voting practices discriminate on the basis of race?But the issue in Arkansas State Conference NAACP v. Arkansas Board of Apportionment is anything but minor. The court’s ruling that there is no “private right of action” under Section 2 of the law — which prohibits voting practices that discriminate on the basis of race — would limit the scope of its protections and roll back enforcement of the landmark civil rights law.It’s a decision that stands to have a wide-ranging impact in the future, including prominently in House races — as recently as June, for example, a Section 2 case ended up altering the Alabama congressional map for 2024.

 

“Inside Trump’s Plot To Corrupt the 2024 Election With ‘Garbage’ Data”

Rolling Stone:

As recently as this summer, Trump had talked to right-leaning legal counselors about the feasibility of laying the groundwork for various post-election “audits” of mailed ballots — inspired partly by a shambolic Arizona audit following the 2020 election — in parts of the United States that have historical track records of so-called problems, two sources present for these casual discussions recall.

There are few people more central to Trump’s plans than Cleta Mitchell, the lawyer pushing the secretaries of state to pull out of ERIC at that D.C. meeting. As recently as September, Trump privately praised Mitchell’s work, saying she is going to be “very important” for the next election and beyond.

 

Liz Cheney on why she believes Trump’s reelection would mean the end of our republic

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/liz-cheney-oath-and-honor-on-trump-reelection-and-the-end-of-our-republic/?

In her new book, “Oath and Honor,” the former GOP Congresswoman warns of the threats to the Constitution posed by Donald Trump, and calls blocking Trump and preventing a Republican House majority from rejecting election results “the cause of our time.”

 

“In win for Cooper and Democrats, NC judges block GOP-backed elections law ahead of 2024”

WRAL:

A panel of judges on Thursday granted Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s request to block a new elections law before voters head to the polls in 2024.

The ruling from the three judges — two Republicans and one Democrat — was unanimous. They ruled that the law, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature last month, is likely an unconstitutional power grab. It’s just a temporary ruling pending a full trial, likely to be held in early 2024….

In addition to changing who has the power to appoint election board members, the law would also make the board have an even number of seats for both parties, instead of giving a majority to whichever party holds the governor’s office.

Republicans have said that’s needed to improve election integrity. But critics, who include Democrats as well as professional election workers and experts, say it would lead to chaos in elections administration — and possibly even spell the end of early voting and other political issues that would presumably result in tie votes and inaction….

On Cooper’s challenge to SB 749, Republican lawmakers have acknowledged that the previous law it’s based on was ruled unconstitutional.

A similar change to the elections board was also later shot down by voters when proposed as a constitutional amendment in 2018, after every living governor — Democratic and Republican — publicly campaigned against it, as well as another similar amendment proposal, as overreaching power grabs.

A lawyer for the state government agreed with Cooper in court Thursday. Senior Deputy Attorney General Amar Majmundar said blocking it from taking effect would be “not just appropriate, but necessary.”

But legislative leaders have said that since the GOP flipped control of the North Carolina Supreme Court in last year’s elections, they believe they have a better chance of winning in court this time and getting the past precedent overturned.

 

A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/11/30/trump-dictator-2024-election-robert-kagan/

[Excerpt:]

But wait until Trump returns to power and the price of opposing him becomes persecution, the loss of property and possibly the loss of freedom. Will those who balked at resisting Trump when the risk was merely political oblivion suddenly discover their courage when the cost might be the ruin of oneself and one’s family?

We are closer to that point today than we have ever been, yet we continue to drift toward dictatorship, still hoping for some intervention that will allow us to escape the consequences of our collective cowardice, our complacent, willful ignorance and, above all, our lack of any deep commitment to liberal democracy. As the man said, we are going out not with a bang but a whimper.

 

Psychological science can help counter spread of misinformation, says APA report

With Trump moving closer to renomination, rewriting Jan. 6 attack gains urgency

How election officials are planning to avoid a repeat of 2020’s slow vote count

Several battleground states have made changes to quicken the vote count — but some, most notably Pennsylvania, still lag behind.

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/11/26/2024-election-vote-count-mail-ballots-00128529

George Conway, J. Michael Luttig and 

The writers are lawyers. Mr. Conway was in private practice. Mr. Luttig was a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1991 to 2006. Ms. Comstock represented Virginia’s 10th District in Congress from 2015 to 2019. They serve on the board of the newly formed Society for the Rule of Law Institute.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/21/opinion/trump-lawyers-constitution-democracy

 

WHY IS AMERICA AFRAID OF BLACK HISTORY?

No one should fear a history that asks a country to live up to its highest ideals.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2023/12/freedmens-bureau-act-project-records/675807/

 

Democracy faces two threats. Trump is only one of them.

Over the next year, the survival of democracy should be the central issue in American politics. To insist on this is to be a realist, not an alarmist. But making that case requires identifying two distinct threats.

The first is Donald Trump, who is already at the center of our national conversation. The second is the ongoing assault on voting rights, which rarely commands the airwaves.

[Boldface added]

 

‘The boss is not going to leave’: Proffer videos show ex-Trump lawyers telling Georgia prosecutors about efforts to overturn 2020 election

ABC News obtained video from interviews held with Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell.

November 13, 2023,

https://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=104831939

 

“Why the fight to counter false election claims may be harder in 2024”

NPR:

 

The Key to Mike Johnson’s Christian Extremism Hangs Outside His Office

The newly elected House speaker has ties to the far-right New Apostolic Reformation — which is hell-bent on turning America into a religious state

Winning isn’t everything, especially in democracy

By Juliet Hooker

https://press.princeton.edu/ideas/winning-isnt-everything-especially-in-democracy

[Excerpt:]

One key way in which the principle of democratic representation has been undermined is through extreme partisan gerrymandering. The state legislative maps adopted in Wisconsin after 2010, for example, have ensured Republican victories in a majority of seats ever since even though it is a closely divided purple state. In 2012, thanks to the aggressively gerrymandered electoral maps, Republicans won 60 state assembly seats with only 48.6% of the statewide vote. In 2018, with only 44.8% of the statewide vote, Republicans still netted an astonishing 63 seats. And in 2022, despite an almost evenly divided electorate, Republicans won 64 of the 99 seats in the state assembly, a near two-third majority. The same pattern was replicated, and indeed exacerbated in the case of the state senate maps.

In Wisconsin, as in many states, state legislatures have almost exclusive control over the process of drawing electoral maps, which meant that only the Republican lawmakers who had created maps that assured their party would forever remain in power had the ability to create new maps that would allow for fairer representation of the state’s voters. The only other option against gerrymandering was appealing to the courts to throw out unfair maps, and in 2019 the Supreme Court disallowed federal intervention. This left such challenges in the hands of state supreme courts, and Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled court imposed the legislature’s preferred maps. But the decision by Wisconsin voters to elect Janet Protasiewicz to a vacant seat on the state’s seven-member supreme court in 2022 ended the court’s conservative majority, thus opening the door for a successful challenge to the state’s electoral maps.

In response, GOP officeholders now seem bent on creating a state constitutional crisis by trying to change the rules of the game after Protasiewicz’s victory. They are threatening to impeach her before she has even had a chance to rule on a case. This unprecedented move would be only the second vote by the Assembly to impeach a state judge in Wisconsin history. The Republican-controlled legislature’s naked refusal to abide by the will of Wisconsin’s voters would be even more clearly revealed for what it is—an unconstitutional power grab—if the Assembly voted to impeach the justice but the Senate refused to take any action. In that case, instead of Democratic Governor Tony Evers being able to appoint her replacement (as would happen if she were convicted and removed from office), Protasiewicz would be suspended from all official duties and the court would be deadlocked. Were the legislature to go through with impeachment they would be nullifying the results of a fairly contested election and refusing to accept a legitimate electoral loss.

To state the obvious, ceding power is difficult. But this is what democracy demands of politicians and voters alike on a regular basis. For democracy to function legitimate political loss must be routinely accepted. Those who refuse to accept loss when there is no evidence of fraud or other improprieties often resort to arguing that the loss is illegitimate by virtue of the victory having being achieved by means of the participation of the “wrong” kinds of voters. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, for example, election deniers have argued that Democratic victories were suspect because they relied on votes by various kinds of others (such as non-whites, especially Black voters in large cities, and urban rather than rural voters) or on the influence of outsiders (such as temporary residents like college students and funding from out-of-state donors). But in modern mass democracies we are fellow citizens with many kinds of others, and their views have as much political weight as our own, even when we vehemently disagree with them. 

Part of the problem in Wisconsin is that the gerrymandering Republicans used to assure themselves of winning meant that they have rarely had to lose in recent state elections. As a result, they have not had to practice the key democratic capacity of accepting legitimate loss. For the sake of democracy in Wisconsin (and the US as a whole), they need a crash course in how not to be sore losers. As a society, we recognize how necessary it is for adult relationships to not be sore losers (or bad winners), so there are children’s books that teach kids these skills. It seems that we need to send many of our elected officials to democracy school. Losing well is not only an important life lesson, it is also a key civic capacity that is vital for democratic survival.

 

“Echoes of Jan. 6 committee as Jack Smith foreshadows plan to tie Trump to Capitol riot”

Politico:

 

Trump and allies plot revenge, Justice Department control in a second term

Advisers have also discussed deploying the military to quell potential unrest on Inauguration Day. Critics have called the ideas under consideration dangerous and unconstitutional.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/11/05/trump-revenge-second-term/

Politically appointed lawyers sometimes frustrated Donald J. Trump’s ambitions. His allies are planning to install more aggressive legal gatekeepers if he regains the White House.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/01/us/politics/trump-2025-lawyers

[Excerpts:]

Close allies of Donald J. Trump are preparing to populate a new administration with a more aggressive breed of right-wing lawyer, dispensing with traditional conservatives who they believe stymied his agenda in his first term.

The allies have been drawing up lists of lawyers they view as ideologically and temperamentally suited to serve in a second Trump administration. Their aim is to reduce the chances that politically appointed lawyers would frustrate a more radical White House agenda — as they sometimes did when Mr. Trump was in office, by raising objections to his desires for certain harsher immigration policies or for greater personal control over the Justice Department, among others.

Now, as Trump allies grow more confident in an election victory next fall, several outside groups, staffed by former Trump officials who are expected to serve in senior roles if he wins, have begun parallel personnel efforts. At the start of Mr. Trump’s term, his administration relied on the influential Federalist Society, the conservative legal network whose members filled key executive branch legal roles and whose leader helped select his judicial nominations. But in a striking shift, Trump allies are building new recruiting pipelines separate from the Federalist Society.

These back-room discussions were described by seven people with knowledge of the planning, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. In addition, The New York Times interviewed former senior lawyers in the Trump administration and other allies who have remained close to the former president and are likely to serve in a second term.

 

Trump’s violent rhetoric echoes the fascist commitment to a destructive and bloody rebirth of society

https://theconversation.com/trumps-violent-rhetoric-echoes-the-fascist-commitment-to-a-destructive-and-bloody-rebirth-of-society-215138

 

The “most important architect” of Trump’s Bogus Electoral College Objections Poised to Be Next Speaker of the House, and Republicans Don’t Want to Talk About It

From this Oct. 2022 NYT article, “They Legitimized the Risk of a Stolen Election–and Reaped the Rewards:”

The most far-reaching of Mr. Trump’s ploys to overturn his defeat, the objections to the Electoral College results by so many House Republicans did more than any lawsuit, speech or rally to engrave in party orthodoxy the myth of a stolen election. Their actions that day legitimized Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede, gave new life to his claims of conspiracy and fraud and lent institutional weight to doubts about the central ritual of American democracy.

Yet the riot engulfing the Capitol so overshadowed the debate inside that the scrutiny of that day has overlooked how Congress reached that historic vote. A reconstruction by The Times revealed more than simple rubber-stamp loyalty to a larger-than-life leader. Instead, the orchestration of the House objections was a story of shrewd salesmanship and calculated double-talk, set against a backdrop of demographic change across the country that has widened the gulf between the parties.

While most House Republicans had amplified Mr. Trump’s claims about the election in the aftermath of his loss, only the right flank of the caucus continued to loudly echo Mr. Trump’s fraud allegations in the days before Jan. 6, The Times found. More Republican lawmakers appeared to seek a way to placate Mr. Trump and his supporters without formally endorsing his extraordinary allegations. In formal statements justifying their votes, about three-quarters relied on the arguments of a low-profile Louisiana congressman, Representative Mike Johnson, the most important architect of the Electoral College objections.

On the eve of the Jan. 6 votes, he presented colleagues with what he called a “third option.” He faulted the way some states had changed voting procedures during the pandemic, saying it was unconstitutional, without supporting the outlandish claims of Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters. His Republican critics called it a Trojan horse that allowed lawmakers to vote with the president while hiding behind a more defensible case.

Even lawmakers who had been among the noisiest “stop the steal” firebrands took refuge in Mr. Johnson’s narrow and lawyerly claims, though his nuanced argument was lost on the mob storming the Capitol, and over time it was the vision of the rioters — that a Democratic conspiracy had defrauded America — that prevailed in many Republican circles.

That has made objecting politically profitable. Republican partisans have rewarded objectors with grass-roots support, paths to higher office and campaign money. Corporate backers have reopened their coffers to lawmakers they once denounced as threats to democracy. And almost all the objectors seeking re-election are now poised to return to Congress next year, when Republicans are expected to hold a majority in the House.

See also this Dec. 15, 2020 Isaac Chotiner Q and A with Johnson in the New Yorker.

When Johnson, on the cusp of a vote for House Speaker, was asked about it by a reporter, the response from other Members was “boo” and “shut up.” Watch:

“‘I’ve prayed for each of you’: How Mike Johnson led a campaign of election denial”

Politico deep dive:

One day before a mob bludgeoned its way into the Capitol, Rep. Mike Johnson huddled with colleagues in a closed-door meeting about Congress’ task on Jan. 6, 2021.

A relatively junior House Republican at the time, Johnson was nevertheless the leading voice in support of a fateful position: that the GOP should rally around Donald Trump and object to counting electoral votes submitted by at least a handful of states won by Joe Biden.

“This is a very weighty decision. All of us have prayed for God’s discernment. I know I’ve prayed for each of you individually,” Johnson said at the meeting, according to a record of his comments obtained by POLITICO, before urging his fellow Republicans to join him in opposing the results.

A review of the chaotic weeks between Trump’s defeat at the polls on Nov. 3, 2020, and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack shows that Johnson led the way in shaping legal arguments that became gospel among GOP lawmakers who sought to derail Biden’s path to the White House — even after all but the most extreme options had elapsed.

As Trump’s legal challenges faltered, Johnson consistently spread a singular message: It’s not over yet. And when Texas filed a last-ditch lawsuit against four states on Dec. 8, 2020, seeking to invalidate their presidential election results and throw out millions of ballots, Johnson quickly revealed he would be helming an effort to support it with a brief signed by members of Congress.

Throughout that period, Johnson was routinely in touch with Trump, even more so than many of his more recognizable colleagues.

Some of Johnson’s vocal opponents at the Jan. 5, 2021, closed-door meeting were Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who warned Johnson’s plan would lead to a constitutional and political catastrophe.

“Let us not turn the last firewall for liberty we have remaining on its head in a bit of populist rage for political expediency,” Roy said at the time, according to the record.

Nearly three years later, on Wednesday afternoon, Roy and Bacon cast two of the unanimous House GOP votes to make Johnson the next speaker….

 

Jenna Ellis Pleads Guilty in Georgia to 2020 Attempted Election Subversion

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Attorney Jenna Ellis on Tuesday became the fourth defendant in the Fulton County election interference case to strike a deal with prosecutors.

In exchange for her cooperation, Ellis pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting false statements and writings. The count stems from her testimony before a Georgia Senate subcommittee in late 2020. Along with co-defendants Rudy Giuliani and Ray Smith, Ellis “knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully” made false statements about election fraud in Georgia, according to her new charging document.

he plea agreement cites numerous false statements Ellis, Rudy Giuliani and Smith made during a Dec. 3, 2020, legislative hearing in Atlanta.

Among other things, they claimed at least 96,000 fraudulent absentee ballots were cast in the election, 2,506 felons voted, 66,248 underage voters cast ballots and 10,315 dead people voted. None of those claims were true — and Ellis acknowledged as much as part of her plea agreement.

 

Trump fake elector scheme: where do seven states’ investigations stand?

 
October 22, 2023

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/oct/22/trump-fake-elector-scheme-case-tracker

Jim Jordan’s Conspiratorial Quest for Power

How the Ohio Republican built an insurgent bid for Speaker on the lies of Donald Trump.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/10/30/jim-jordans-conspiratorial-quest-for-power

 

“Republican states swore off a voting tool. Now they’re scrambling to recreate it”

NPR: Misinformation about a bipartisan, cross-state partnership known as the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, pushed several Republican legislatures to back out of it in recent months. But now, these same legislatures are scrambling to create systems to serve the same function. ERIC, however, took years to develop and relies on confidential DMV information, which is much the most accurate way to confirm that individuals with the same names in different jurisdictions are in fact the same individuals.

“These states are recreating a portion of ERIC, just with less data and less reliable information.”

 

The Markup

A Weekly Election Legislation Update
October 16, 2023

Looking Ahead: Members of Congress called for an investigation into Virginia’s improper removal of hundreds of voters from the state’s rolls. A new North Carolina law faces a legal challenge, and a lawsuit challenging Idaho’s voter ID law moved forward.

Trump as Jesus? Why he casts himself as a martyr, and why fans go along.

The former president has been saying for decades that he’s a victim and portrayed himself as a martyr. But Trump’s messianic rhetoric is mainly about feeling sorry for himself, analysts say.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/10/11/trump-jesus-why-he-casts-himself-martyr-why-fans-go-along/

[Excerpts:]

“To protect his incredibly fragile ego, he needs to create this victimization,” said Cohen. “The problem can’t be him, so who else can it be? That’s where the martyrdom comes in: He has to shift the blame on someone else, and then he can say, ‘The only one standing in between them and you is me.’”

With each new charge, Trump sent out fundraising letters in which he presented himself as a perpetual victim of the authorities’ attacks. “[N]o matter what our sick and deranged political establishment throws at me, no matter what they do to me, I will endure their torment and oppression, and I will do it willingly,” he said in a fundraising appeal last fall. “Our cruel and vindictive political class is not just coming after me — they are coming after YOU.”

When Trump was arraigned in New York in April, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a Trump acolyte, said he was “joining some of the most incredible people in history” who “have been arrested and persecuted by radical corrupt governments …, including Nelson Mandela and Jesus.”

[Boldface added]

 

Inspired in part by Donald Trump’s baseless rigged-election claims, the activists are trying to recruit supporters to serve as poll watchers and election workers in the state’s legislative contests. 

 The state is a month away from tossup elections that will decide control of the state’s closely divided legislature.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/11/us/politics/virginia-election-integrity-activists

[Excerpt:]

In 2021, after Republican victories in Virginia, conservative activists were so proud of their work training poll watchers, recruiting election workers and making other attempts to subtly influence the voting system that they wrote a memo called “The Virginia Model.” The memo detailed ways that other states could follow Virginia’s lead in protecting so-called election integrity.

Now these activists are turning their attention back to Virginia, which is a month away from tossup elections that will decide control of the state’s closely divided legislature and offer both national parties clear evidence of their electoral strengths and weaknesses heading into 2024.

 

“Exclusive: RNC plans to recruit army of poll watchers for 2024”

Axios:

The Republican National Committee plans to recruit and train tens of thousands of poll workers and watchers in battleground states for the 2024 election, according to plans shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: It’s part of the RNC’s ongoing push to scrutinize suspected voter fraud and mobilize on-the-ground “election integrity directors” in crucial states ahead of the 2024 election.

  • Repeated audits and reviews, including from GOP-led groups, failed to find evidence of voter fraud despite former President Trump’s claims that it was widespread during the 2020 election.

Zoom in: The RNC is continuing its expansion from a “pop-up-shop style election operation” to a year-round election integrity department this year.

 

Voting Rights Lab
The Markup
A Weekly Election Legislation Update
October 10, 2023

Today is Tuesday, October 10. We are tracking 1,915 bills so far this session across all 50 states, with 404 bills that restrict voter access or election administration and 908 bills that improve voter access or election administration. The rest are neutral, mixed, or unclear in their impact.

The Bad News: Earlier today, the North Carolina legislature overrode Governor Roy Cooper’s vetoes of S.B. 747 (restricting mail voting) and S.B. 749 (legislative takeover of state and county election boards). The legislature also enacted a budget bill that prohibits the state from joining ERIC.

The Good News: The Michigan House passed legislation to expand automatic voter registration in the state.

Looking Ahead: Last week, two new lawsuits were filed, challenging voting restrictions in North Carolina and Wisconsin.

 

“Analysis of the Lawfulness of Kenneth Chesebro’s Elector Plan Under Federal Election Law”

Matthew Seligman at Just Security:

Scott Hall, a Trump supporter who is among the 19 people charged in a racketeering case involving the former president, is the first defendant to plead guilty.

Richard Fausset and 

Richard Fausset reported from Atlanta and Danny Hakim reported from Virginia.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/29/us/georgia-trump-scott-hall-guilty-plea

[Excerpt:]

One of the 19 defendants in a Georgia racketeering case against former President Donald J. Trump and his allies pleaded guilty on Friday to five misdemeanor charges, under a deal with prosecutors in which he would receive five years of probation.

The guilty plea of Scott Hall, 59, a Georgia bail bondsman, was a significant victory for Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis, who secured an agreement from Mr. Hall to testify against other defendants. No other defendants have taken pleas; two of them, the lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, are scheduled to be tried together starting next month after demanding speedy trials.

 

Fifth Circuit Panel, on Party Line Vote, Delays Louisiana Voting Rights Act Congressional Redistricting Case, Potentially Pushing Any Remedy to 2026

Michael Li with the details on what he terms a “terrible ruling:”

 

Fifth Circuit Grants Rehearing En Banc in Case That Struck Down Mississippi Felon Disenfranchisement Law

Raffi Melkonian with the order.

Here’s my earlier coverage of the 2-1 panel ruling.

 

‘No enemies to the right’: DeSantis ally hosts debate hedging white nationalism

Christopher Rufo’s Twitter space discussed conservatives cooperating with extremists ‘to destroy the power of the left’

Sept. 30, 2023

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/sep/30/conservative-christopher-rufo-florida-twitter-debate

[Excerpts:]

Conservative activist Christopher Rufo, who is a close ally of Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, hosted a social media debate in which one participant argued that conservatives should cooperate with a hypothetical white nationalist dictator “in order to destroy the power of the left”.

Rufo, a Manhattan Institute fellow who has been a hugely influential figure in DeSantis’ culture war policies in Florida, did not disagree with the sentiments. Instead he commended speakers for their “thoughtful points” and presenting the discussion as a model for engagement with “the dissident right”.

Early in the Rufo-hosted discussion last Tuesday, Haywood raised the hypothetical possibility early in the discussion: “Let’s say a real white nationalist arose who had real political power … and therefore [could] be of assistance against the left.”

Responding to the hypothetical, Haywood said: “I think that the answer is that you should cooperate with that person in order to destroy the power of the left.”

Later in the broadcast, Haywood responded to concerns about rightwing authoritarianism by saying: “When we’re talking about people like Franco or Pinochet or even Salazar … they did kill people. They killed people justly, they killed people unjustly, and that’s just a historical fact.”

“But,” Haywood added, “they saved a lot more people than they killed.”

 

“Twitter Fires Election Integrity Team Ahead of 2024 Elections”

Rolling Stone:

NEXT YEAR WILL see dozens of elections around the globe, but X (formerly Twitter) has seemingly abdicated responsibility for protecting users from misinformation during these democratic processes.

 

VOTER SUPPRESSION IN RURAL GEORGIA MIRRORS SYSTEMIC RACISM ACROSS THE SOUTH

https://www.splcenter.org/news/2023/09/21/georgia-voter-suppression-southern-systemic-racism

Ronna McDaniel Gets the Trump Treatment

 

Wisconsin GOP lawmakers move to oust top election official, newly elected Supreme Court justice

Experts call Wisconsin one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. Now Republican lawmakers want to lock in their redistricting map and impeach newly elected liberal state Supreme Court justice Janet Protasiewicz before she issues her first ruling.

Here & Now‘s Scott Tong talks with author and journalist Ari Berman. Berman has been covering election law, redistricting and voting rights for years. He is the author of the book “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America” and a national voting rights correspondent for Mother Jones.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

 

Inside the Next Republican Revolution

Paul Dans of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank behind Project 2025, has formed a committee to recruit what he calls “conservative warriors” to assault his nemesis, the “deep state.”

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/09/19/project-2025-trump-reagan-00115811

[Excerpts:]

. . . The Heritage Foundation, and scores of conservative groups aligned with [Heritage director Dan’s] program are seeking to roll back nothing less than 100 years of what they see as liberal encroachment on Washington.

They want to overturn what began as Woodrow Wilson’s creation of a federal administrative elite and later grew into a vast, unaccountable and mostly liberal bureaucracy (as conservatives view it) under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, numbering about two and a quarter million federal workers today.

They aim to defund the Department of Justice, dismantle the FBI, break up the Department of Homeland Security and eliminate the Departments of Education and Commerce, to name just a few of their larger targets. They want to give the president complete power over quasi-independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, which makes and enforces rules for television and internet companies that have been the bane of Trump’s political existence in the last few years.

And they want to ensure that what remains of this slashed-down bureaucracy is reliably MAGA conservative — not just for the next president but for a long time to come — and that the White House maintains total control of it. In an effort to implement this agenda — which relies on another Reagan-era idea, the controversial “unitary theory” of the Constitution under which Article II gives the president complete power over the federal bureaucracy — Dans has formed a committee to recruit what he calls “conservative warriors” through bar associations and state attorneys general offices and install them in general counsel offices throughout the federal bureaucracy.

 

BY ASKING FOR TANYA CHUTKAN’S RECUSAL, TRUMP INVITED A LESSON IN HIS CENTRALITY TO JANUARY 6

https://www.emptywheel.net/by-asking-for-tanya-chutkans-recusal-trump-invited-a-lesson-in-his-centrality-to-january-6/

[Excerpt:]

Trump’s motion for Tanya Chutkan to recuse was not designed to work. Rather, it was designed as a messaging vehicle, to establish the basis for Trump to claim that a Black Judge was biased against him so he can better use it to discredit rule of law and as a campaign and fundraising vehicle.

Because Trump’s motion was primarily a messaging vehicle, the — legally apt — messaging with which DOJ responded is of some interest.

Invited to do so by Trump, DOJ laid out how central Trump is to the thousand other January 6 prosecutions.

Invited to do so by Trump, for example, DOJ provided eight other times — in addition to the cases of Robert Palmer and Christine Priola cited in the recusal motion — where defendants before Judge Chutkan have implicated Trump in their actions.

 

“‘Where’s Celia?’ An Arizona elections official becomes the target of a virtual manhunt by GOP activists on a public records crusade.”

Jen Fifield for Votebeat:

They started searching for her in late January.

“Where’s CELIA NABOR?” one member of the angry online mob wrote. “Find her,” another wrote. Track her phone, credit cards, social security number, and social media, others suggested. It was time for her to “face the music.” “COULD SHE BE AT HOME????” someone wrote, posting her address. 

And then, that same night, after 2 a.m., someone started banging on Celia Nabor’s door. 

She lay frozen in bed in her suburban Phoenix neighborhood, terrified, wondering if one of her online harassers had come to follow through on the threats. Then, as abruptly as it had begun, the pounding stopped. 

Nabor never found out who knocked on her door that night. What she did know was that the trouble had started earlier that week. On Jan. 30, GOP activists began spreading false information about her, based partly on documents acquired through records requests searching for fraud in Maricopa County’s elections, where Nabor helped oversee early voting.

They said Nabor was dodging a request to answer questions, prompting others to claim she had helped the county steal the election for Democrats. But that wasn’t true.

We The People AZ Alliance — a Phoenix-based political action committee funded primarily by Patrick Byrne and his organization The America Project — employed what’s become a familiar playbook among allies of former President Donald Trump: Barrage local election offices with public records requests, then twist real records to make routine actions seem suspicious. 

The organization dug into Nabor’s work, asking for copies of all of her texts and her emails. They asked for information on how she and the employees under her performed their jobs and whether they were disciplined. They wanted protocols and contractor names and contracts and more. 

Extensive requests such as these are a complex piece of the ballooning number of public records requests to election offices across the country, according to Votebeat’s review of hundreds of public records requests and logs. 

 

When Americans Abandon the Constitution

Mitt Romney foresees a disaster.

Tom Nichols

SEPTEMBER 14, 2023

https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2023/09/mitt-romney-retirement-senate-constitution

What Ginni Thomas and Leonard Leo wrought: How a justice’s wife and a key activist started a movement

Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, a trove of so-called “dark money” was about to be unleashed. Two activists prepared to seize the moment.

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/10/ginni-thomas-leonard-leo-citizens-united-00108082

As GOP investigates prosecutors, experts worry about judicial independence

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/09/09/republican-investigations-judicial-independence/

[Excerpt:]

Investigate the investigator.

. . . in the wake of 91 criminal charges against Trump, the party’s blitz of attacks on prosecutors threatens to degrade an important precedent that protects prosecutorial independence and the ability to fairly root out wrongdoing without partisan influence or gain, according to legal experts.

Arizona GOP rejects single-day vote proposal, angering election deniers

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/09/01/arizona-republican-primary-election-2024/

[Excerpt:]

The battle — which is playing out within the largest voting jurisdiction in a state that will help decide the presidency and control of the U.S. Senate — follows years of vilification of voting norms by Trump and his supporters. It is a consequence of deepening dysfunction within the party on an issue that has accelerated Democratic gains in the newly competitive state.

 

Mr. Whipple is the author of “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/31/opinion/mark-meadows-georgia-trump

[Excerpts:]

Mr. Meadows failed as Mr. Trump’s chief because he was unable to check the president’s worst impulses. But the bigger problem for our country is that his failure is a template for the inevitable disasters in a potential second Trump administration.

For Mr. Meadows, his place in history is secure as a primary enabler of a president who tried to overthrow democracy. But his example should serve as a warning of what will happen if Mr. Trump regains the White House. All guardrails will be gone.

[Boldface added]

 

The ruling means that a defamation case against Rudolph W. Giuliani, stemming from his role in seeking to overturn the 2020 election, can proceed to a trial where damages will be considered.

Alan Feuer and 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/30/us/politics/giuliani-defamation-georgia

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Rudolph W. Giuliani was liable for defaming two Georgia election workers by repeatedly declaring that they had mishandled ballots while counting votes in Atlanta during the 2020 election.

The ruling by the judge, Beryl A. Howell in Federal District Court in Washington, means that the defamation case against Mr. Giuliani, a central figure in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to remain in power after his election loss, can proceed to trial on the narrow question of how much, if any, damages he will have to pay the plaintiffs in the case.

Judge Howell’s decision came a little more than a month after Mr. Giuliani conceded in two stipulations in the case that he had made false statements when he accused the election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, of manipulating ballots while working at the State Farm Arena for the Fulton County Board of Elections.

Mr. Trump invoked Ms. Freeman’s name 18 times during a phone call with Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, on Jan. 2, 2021. In the call, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Raffensperger to help him “find” 11,800 votes — enough to swing the results in Georgia from the winner, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

 

“Why Tribalism Took Over Our Politics”

WSJ:

Ahead of his arrest on Thursday in Georgia, Donald Trump repeatedly told his supporters about the legal peril he faced from charges of election interference. But the danger wasn’t his alone, he said. “In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you,” he told a campaign rally.

It was the latest example of the Republican former president employing a potent driver of America’s partisan divide: group identity. Decades of social science research show that our need for collective belonging is forceful enough to reshape how we view facts and affect our voting decisions. When our group is threatened, we rise to its defense.

The research helps explain why Trump has solidified his standing as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination despite facing four indictments since April. The former president has been especially adept at building loyalty by asserting that his supporters are threatened by outside forces. His false claims that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 election, which have triggered much of his legal peril, have been adopted by many of his supporters.

Democrats are using the tactic, too, if not as forcefully as Trump. The Biden campaign criticized Republicans in Wednesday’s presidential debate as “extreme candidates” who would undermine democracy, and President Biden himself has accused “MAGA Republicans” of trying to destroy our systems of government. 

The split in the electorate has left many Americans fatigued and worried that partisanship is undermining the country’s ability to solve its problems. Calling themselves America’s “exhausted majority,” tens of thousands of people have joined civic groups, with names such as Braver Angels, Listen First and Unify America, and are holding cross-party conversations in search of ways to lower the temperature in political discourse.

Yet the research on the power of group identity suggests the push for a more respectful political culture faces a disquieting challenge. The human brain in many circumstances is more suited to tribalism and conflict than to civility and reasoned debate.

The differences between the parties are clearer than before. Demographic characteristics are now major indicators of party preference, with noncollege white and more religious Americans increasingly identifying as Republicans, while Democrats now win most nonwhite voters and a majority of white people with a college degree.

“Instead of going into the voting booth and asking, ‘What do I want my elected representatives to do for me,’ they’re thinking, ‘If my party loses, it’s not just that my policy preferences aren’t going to get done,’ ” said Lilliana Mason, a Johns Hopkins University political scientist. “It’s who I think I am, my place in the world, my religion, my race, the many parts of my identity are all wrapped up in that one vote.”…

 

“Is Trump disqualified for the N.H. primary? N.H. secretary of state is seeking legal advice.”

Boston Globe (behind paywall). Some excerpts:

“Secretary of State David Scanlan, who will oversee the first-in-the-nation presidential primary in just five months, said he’s received several letters lately that urge him to take action based on a legal theory that claims the Constitution empowers him to block Trump from the ballot.

“Scanlan, a Republican, said he’s listening and will seek legal advice to ensure that his team thoroughly understands the arguments at play. …

“‘I have some in-house staff attorneys that are election experts,” he said. ‘I will be asking the attorney general’s office for their input. And ultimately whatever is decided is probably going to require some judicial input.’” …

“Here in New Hampshire, the GOP’s 2020 nominee for the first congressional district, attorney Bryant “Corky” Messner, said in a radio interview Monday that he read about the legal theory and is now thinking about suing to ensure that Scanlan enforces the Constitution against Trump.

“Scanlan said the former president — who faces four criminal indictments, including two that pertain to his attempts to subvert democracy after the 2020 election — is entitled to due process. And he said judges are better equipped than he currently is to determine whether the campaign that culminated in violence at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, triggers the 14th Amendment.

“’I view the violence as being a really unfortunate event in our history,” he said. “I don’t know that I’m really qualified to say whether that was an ‘insurrection’ or not. I think that is for the courts to decide’.”

 

“Palm Beach County lawyer files legal challenge to disqualify Trump from 2024 presidential race”

Palm Beach Post reports:

“Boynton Beach tax attorney Lawrence Caplan filed the challenge in federal court in the Southern District of Florida citing the amendment’s “disqualification clause” for those who engage in insurrections and rebellion against the United States. …

“But constitutional scholar Kevin Wagner said invoking the amendment to kick Trump off the ballot is an endeavor that faces significant legal, constitutional and political hurdles.

“‘There’s a legitimate argument that one can make surrounding the plain wording of the 14th Amendment and the accusations of what the president did on Jan. 6,’ said Wagner, a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University. ‘But I think it’s a harder lift than people think and at the end of the day you have to find someone that’s willing to enforce it. …

“Caplan’s filing asserts that Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021 violated the amendment and asks that he be barred from seeking the presidency and from appearing on the ballot in Florida’s 2024 presidential primary next March 19. …

“Caplan’s challenge is among the first 14 Amendment-related objections lodged against Trump in a federal court. However, discussion of the 45th president’s disqualification has surged in the past week. …

“FAU’s Wagner agrees that the 14th Amendment may not require Trump’s conviction on any charges for it to be invoked.

“‘What makes it tricky is it doesn’t say you don’t have to be convicted. It just says you have to engage in it,’ he said.

“Nonetheless, despite the cacophony of constitutional chatter, Wagner said he thinks applying the 14th Amendment to Trump will be a challenge because of the scarcity of legal precedents.

“‘The problem here is that there is no real case law, there’s no dominant interpretation that we can all look at and agree that this is how it is done,’ he said.”

 

Trump attorneys guided false electors in Georgia, GOP chair says

In Tuesday’s filing, Shafer underscored that the strategy was driven almost entirely by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.  The false electors were later used by Trump allies to attempt to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021 and derail the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Shafer is among the 18 defendants indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, alongside Trump as part of a conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.

 

Announcing the Fall Webinar Series for UCLA Law’s Safeguarding Democracy Project (Each event free but registration required):

State Republican lawmakers who allegedly signed on as Trump’s false electors in 2020 face anger, prosecution and recall

August 23, 2023

 

Is Voting Rights Act on trial in Florida? Redistricting case could have broad impact

BY ANDREW PANTAZI AND MARY ELLEN KLAS

UPDATED AUGUST 22, 2023

The state of Florida will square off with voting-rights plaintiffs in Tallahassee this week in a high-stakes redistricting battle that could have national implications as both sides argue over the constitutionality of protections for Black voters.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article278463634.html#storylink=cpy

 

Senate Republican says Trump should drop out of presidential race

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/senate-republican-says-trump-should-drop-out-of-presidential-race/

Inside the right’s effort to build a voter fraud hunting tool

Experts warn that EagleAI, a database that helps voters examine the voter rolls themselves, could drown election workers in unreliable reports of ineligible voters.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2024-election/conservatives-voter-fraud-hunting-tool-eagleai-cleta-mitchell

The former president faces multiple charges related to his lies about the 2020 election. Here’s a look at some of his most repeated falsehoods.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/17/us/politics/trump-election-lies-fact-check

The best argument for the Georgia indictment doesn’t involve Trump

The best argument for Ms. Willis’s indictment, in the end, has less to do with Mr. Trump than with these lesser-known leaders. They and others like them might confront a similar choice in 2024 and have now been put on notice that robbing voters of their say comes with consequences. Mr. Raffensperger put it aptly in a statement on Tuesday. “The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law,” he said. “You either have it, or you don’t.” In the 2020 election and its ugly aftermath, we learned how much those principles depend on the presumption that those who are charged with upholding them can be trusted to act with honor.

 

Governor Brian Kemp tells Trump Georgia’s 2020 election ‘was not stolen’
Republican says no one has produced evidence of fraud in court of law despite ex-president’s vow to present ‘irrefutable’ proof

Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, insisted on Tuesday that the 2020 presidential election in his state “was not stolen” in an apparent defense of the latest criminal indictment of Donald Trump.

Kemp, who has clashed frequently with the former president over his false claim the election was rigged, responded on Twitter to an earlier post on Truth Social from Trump announcing a press conference next week at which he promised to present “irrefutable” evidence of fraud.

“The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen. For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward – under oath – and prove anything in a court of law,” Kemp wrote in his tweet.

“Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor. The future of our country is at stake in 2024 and that must be our focus.”

The Trump Georgia Indictment, Annotated

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/08/15/us/politics/trump-georgia-indictment-annotated.html

A grand jury in Fulton County, Ga., on Monday unveiled the fourth criminal indictment of former President Donald J. Trump. Like a federal indictment earlier this month, this one concerns Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. But it differs in that it charges 18 other defendants who are alleged to have taken part in the scheme.

The 41 Counts in the Georgia Indictment

22 counts
Related to forgery or false documents and statements
8 counts
Related to soliciting or impersonating public officers
3 counts
Related to influencing witnesses
3 counts
Related to election fraud or defrauding the state
3 counts
Related to computer tampering
1 count
Related to racketeering
1 count
Related to perjury

The New York Times is annotating the document.

Download the full PDF.

 

Trump, allies charged with racketeering scheme over bid to subvert election in Georgia

The former president and 18 allies were indicted for what prosecutors described as a wide-ranging criminal enterprise.

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/08/14/fulton-county-trump-indictment-00111211

[Excerpt:]

A grand jury in Georgia has indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 allies on racketeering charges for a sweeping attempt to corrupt the 2020 election by subverting Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis leveled the charges Monday night after a two-year investigation that also tagged Trump with allegations that he conspired to derail the Electoral College process, marshaled the Justice Department to bolster his scheme, pressured Georgia officials to undo the election results and repeatedly lied about fraud allegations to ratchet up pressure.

In addition to Trump, Willis charged former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jeff Clark, Ken Chesebro and Jenna Ellis, key figures in Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election.

The 98-page indictment tracks several well-known aspects of Trump’s conduct in the chaotic weeks that followed his defeat in the Nov. 3, 2020, election, many of which were aired by the House Jan. 6 select committee and, more recently, in a federal indictment obtained by special counsel Jack Smith.

 

Trump ‘like a toddler’ who needs consequences for speaking about cases: former White House press secretary

Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an interview that Trump should be treated like a “toddler” who needs to face consequences for speaking about his legal cases. 

During an appearance on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront,” host Erin Burnett mentioned Trump’s recent name-calling toward those who publicly testify against him in court. 

Former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, independent journalist George Chidi, former state Rep. Bee Nguyen (D) and former state Sen. Jen Jordan (D) all testified in proceedings Monday. 

“Yeah, he’s he’s certainly doing what he always does and you know, it’s unfortunate because I think until there are actual consequences, he’s going to continue doing this,” Grisham told Burnett. “It’s like a toddler, you’ve gotta give them consequences . . . .”

 

How Donald Trump tried to undo his loss in Georgia in 2020

[Excerpt:]
Two days after Election Day in 2020, President Donald Trump’s eldest son traveled to the Georgia Republican Party headquarters in Atlanta to deliver a message.
The presidential race was still too close to call in the state and in the country. Georgia Republicans were scrambling to prepare for two runoff elections that would determine control of the U.S. Senate. But Donald Trump Jr. urged them to focus on another task: helping his father win the state by proving that widespread fraud had tainted the results.

 

If you do not support my dad 100 percent, we have a problem, Donald Trump Jr. told the group, a Trump campaign staffer familiar with the meeting testified to the House committee that investigated the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The state party chairman, David Shafer, emerged looking “like he had seen a ghost,” the staffer said.

The message was received. That evening, Republican leaders in Georgia held a rally-style news conference in support of Trump.

The same week, the president’s allies circulated a video falsely accusing a Georgia election worker of throwing away ballots, making her the immediate target of harassment and threats. And White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and others began evaluating a plan for how legislatures in states like Georgia could overturn the will of voters.

The rapid series of events kicked off an aggressive pressure campaign that only intensified as weeks passed and the results more and more firmly showed that Trump had lost.

In phone calls, speeches, tweets and media appearances, Trump and his allies pushed to overturn the 2020 election results in six swing states where certified results declared Joe Biden the winner, an effort that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as Congress convened to confirm the results.

Nowhere was the effort more acute than in Georgia, where all of their strategies came together in a complex and multilayered effort that unfolded against the hyperpartisan backdrop of two ongoing U.S. Senate races.

Those close to Trump prodded state officials to identify fraud that would cast Biden’s victory in doubt. In the process, they personally targeted individual election workers with false claims of cheating, unleashing waves of threats, and amplified conspiracy theories about rigged machines that persist today. In the end, after Trump sought to use every lever of power to overturn the results, top state Republicans stood in his way, refusing to buckle under the pressure.

While much of what happened in Georgia has surfaced in leaked recordings, court proceedings and congressional testimony, the fullest story yet could emerge this week, when the district attorney in Fulton County, home to Atlanta, is widely expected to seek an indictment of Trump and those who supported his efforts there.

 

Trump indictment sidesteps key details unearthed by Jan. 6 panel

BY REBECCA BEITSCH 

 08/09/23

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4146334-trump-indictment-sidesteps-details-unearthed-jan-6-panel/

[Excerpt:]

The Justice Department also chose not to pursue any charges under the Insurrection Act, avoiding the rarely used charges that could have stripped Trump’s right to run for office even as he argues the broader prosecution is an effort to hinder his electoral prospects.

“It may well have been prudent for Smith not to pursue those charges because of the relatively spare history of such charges having been brought. Nonetheless, if you don’t bring insurrection charges in this type of case, it’s not clear that you can ever bring such charges,” Stanton said.

“The charges they pursued are run-of-the-mill charges including the deprivation of rights charge, which is less common than the other two, but one that has been brought on numerous occasions for election fraud type cases. So there are no novel legal theories here. It’s a relatively straightforward set of facts, [and] relatively straightforward legal case.” 

[Soumya Dayananda, a senior investigator for the House Jan. 6 committee and an attorney now in private practice] described it as a “carefully drafted indictment” from a DOJ that likely pursued only the charges where it could make the strongest case.

“I think that the charges adequately reflect the former president’s conduct and can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.

Southwest to appeal judge’s ‘religious freedom training’ orderChief Justice John Roberts viewed more favorably than Biden, Trump

“I think it’s fair in how they phrased it in the indictment, that the former president ‘exploited’ the violence. But inciting the violence is a different state of mind, which again requires evidence of intent beyond a reasonable doubt. If there wasn’t sufficient evidence, it shouldn’t be charged.”

Joscelyn said the strength of DOJ’s case — and the rationale behind some of its strategies — will come into sharper focus in an eventual trial, where the court might hear from Meadows or even Pence.

“There are some new details here and there that I think strengthen the case, especially when it comes to presenting in front of the jury,” he said, pointing to the inclusion of notes from Pence the committee never had. 

 

A CLEAR LOOK AT TRUMP’S COURT BATTLES

By Lisa Desjardins, Correspondent

August 9, 2023

We have never had a former president face criminal charges. Now we have one facing three sets of them and a possible fourth in the coming days. 

In hopes of preventing the many threads involved from tangling, we’ll walk through the status of each of the cases centered around Donald Trump, former president and current Republican front-runner for 2024.

Want more news and analysis in your inbox?
Explore all of the PBS NewsHour’s newsletters.

 

Anatomy of a Fraud: Kenneth Chesebro’s Misrepresentation of My Scholarship in His Efforts to Overturn the 2020 Presidential Election

by 

August 8, 2023

Anatomy of a Fraud: Kenneth Chesebro’s Misrepresentation of My Scholarship in His Efforts to Overturn the 2020 Presidential Election

 

They Are All Bannonists Now

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/they-are-all-bannonists-now

 

Legal experts predict Supreme Court won’t spare Trump from trial and verdict

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4138507-legal-experts-predict-supreme-court-wont-spare-trump-from-trial-and-verdict

 

Bill Barr: Trump committed a ‘grave wrongdoing’ in Jan. 6 case

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/bill-barr-trump-committed-a-grave-wrongdoing-in-jan-6-case

 

Trump’s election lies and the Republicans who corrected him

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/08/02/trump-lies-2020-election-fraud-indictment/

[Excerpts:]

As Donald Trump sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election, a chorus of top Republicans told him repeatedly that his claims of widespread voter fraud were false.

That pushback now sits at the heart of the federal indictment brought against Trump this week in the Justice Department investigation of his attempts to cling to power.

Special counsel Jack Smith is setting out to show that Trump knew he was lying when he unleashed his torrent of election falsehoods that culminated with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol — an important part for convicting Trump on the four charges he’s facing.

To that end, the indictment lays out a drumbeat of episodes — many of them already public — when Trump was told that bogus statements about fraudulent ballots being counted or votes being flipped to Joe Biden were false. They came from a range of people in his orbit, including White House lawyers, administration appointees, state GOP officials and his campaign staffers. Trump has denied wrongdoing.

The indictment references at least nine administration officials, among others, who told Trump that the election was not stolen or that his schemes to remain in the White House were untenable. The officials are not named in the indictment, but some of their identities can be discerned by matching descriptions of their activities in the indictment with public reporting. Here are the key people who corrected Trump on his election lies and what they said:

‘Fake electors’ formed slates in seven states Trump lost in 2020

August 2, 2023
[Excerpt:]
This image released in the final report by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol shows the difference between real and fake presidential elector ballots from Arizona. (House select committee/AP)

After the 2020 election, Republicans in seven states that President Donald Trump had lost created their own slates of pro-Trump electorsto compete with the official state slates of pro-Biden electors.

They falsely declared that Trump had won and that they were the true electors. Some of them signed official-looking documents purporting to be the real electors. Many of them tried to show up to their state capitols on Dec. 14, 2020, the day the legitimate electors met to cast their votes.

The Indictment of Donald Trump—And His Enablers

Will the Republican Party now abandon its Faustian bargain?

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/08/trump-indictment-gop-trial

 

Here are the Trump co-conspirators described in the DOJ indictment

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/08/01/doj-trump-indictment-trump-coconspirators/

[Excerpt: Rudy Guliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jefferey Clark, Kenneth Cheesbro and “Co-Conspirator 6”, described in a “political consultant who helped implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding.”]

Former President Donald J. Trump was charged with four counts in connection with his efforts to subvert the will of voters in 2020. “Despite having lost, the defendant was determined to remain in power,” prosecutors wrote.

What Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orbán Understand About Your Brain

Why do some people who support Trump also wind up believing conspiracy theories? There’s a scientific explanation for that.

Special counsel scrutinizing February 2020 meeting where Trump praised US election security protections

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/07/24/politics/special-counsel-trump-oval-office-election-security-february-2020

[Excerpts:]

Details from the February 2020 Oval Office meeting are likely relevant to Smith’s election interference investigation because they speak to Trump’s “knowledge and intent” around the security of US elections, said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst.

“Should [Trump] reasonably have known that there was no fraud and he lost?” Honig said, describing the prosecutorial angle. “Or does he have some sort of claim that he was acting in good faith, or acting on the reasonable advice of his advisers in contesting the election?”

Testimony from the February 2020 meeting suggests that at least in the early part of 2020, Trump embraced the notion that the election would be secure and that he was heeding the advice of his own experts.

“It’s one more piece of the larger, ‘[Trump] knew or should have known’ puzzle,’” Honig said. “It’s one more indicator that Jack Smith has looked under every rock.”

 

A New Kind of Fascism

I’ve resisted using the word until now, but something menacing and novel is taking shape with the possibility of a second Trump term.

JULY 25, 2023

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/07/trump-second-term-isolationist-fascism

July 21, 2023

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jul/21/georgia-trump-charges-fraud-election-2020

Donald Trump says he’s a target of special counsel’s criminal probe into 2020 election aftermath

https://www.propublica.org/article/right-wing-activists-georgia-voter-challenges

 

Competing Voting Bills in Congress

AP reports:

Congress in the coming weeks will consider shoring up voting and election laws — efforts that will reflect the vast gulf between Democrats and Republicans on protecting a foundation of American democracy.

The parties will unveil separate and competing proposals that will have little chance of success in a divided government, but are likely to be used to rally supporters ahead of the 2024 elections.

House Republicans on Monday released a proposal that would tighten voting laws and take a defiant stand against concerns that laws passed in recent years by GOP-controlled state legislatures disadvantage some voters. Democrats, meanwhile, are preparing to reintroduce their own proposals to set federal voting standards and restore protections under the Voting Rights Act.

 

Civic Information Handbook

From Karen Kornbluh and Adrienne Goldstein, in collaboration with UNC Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, comes this valuable resource. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

Social media platform tools are better suited for campaigns seeking to manipulate and agitate users than to empower and inform. Platforms and regulators must get involved to fix the design flaws that allow false and misleading information to flourish in the first place. Policymakers should update and enforce civil and human rights laws for the online environment, compel radical transparency, update consumer protection rules, insist that industry make a high-level commitment to democratic design, and create civic information infrastructure through a new PBS of the Internet. In the absence of such policy reform, amplifiers of civic information may never be able to beat out the well-resourced, well-networked groups that intentionally spread falsehoods. Nonetheless, there are strategies for helping civic information compete.

This handbook aims to:

  1. Educate civic information providers about coordinated deceptive campaigns

…including how they build their audiences, seed compelling narratives, amplify their messages, and activate their followers, as well as why false narratives take hold, and who the primary actors and targeted audiences are.

  1. Serve as a resource on how to flood the zone with trustworthy civic information

…namely, how civic information providers can repurpose the tactics used by coordinated deceptive campaigns in transparent, empowering ways and protect themselves and their message online.

 

The Markup

A Weekly Election Legislation Update
July 10, 2023
A Weekly Election Legislation Update
July 3, 2023
The DOJ Is Probing Trump’s Push to Overturn the Election. Here’s What We KnowSpecial Counsel Jack Smith has already indicted Donald Trump, and his second investigation into the former president is heating up 

Today is Monday, July 3. We are tracking 1,877 bills so far this session across all 50 states, with 396 bills that restrict voter access or election administration and 895 bills that improve voter access or election administration. The rest are neutral, mixed, or unclear in their impact.

The Bad News: New Hampshire bill that would have established an online portal for voter registration and mail ballots requests died in a conference committee due to a dispute over the use of federal election funding.

The Good News: A package of bills expanding mail voting and in-person early voting awaits the governor’s signature in Michigan, where lawmakers also recently introduced a state-level voting rights act, modeled on the federal Voting Rights Act. Maine passed a bill that, if signed by the governor, will make it the seventh state to allow all voters to sign up to automatically receive a ballot in the mail each election. Rhode Island enacted two new laws, one facilitating equitable polling place siting and another allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by the general election. A new law in Pennsylvania requires a study on voting and voter registration of citizens with past felony convictions whose voting rights have been restored. Oregon sent a pair of elections-related bills to the governor’s desk, including one that would expand the state’s automatic voter registration program by adding the Oregon Health Authority. A new law in Hawaii ensures more eligible ballots are counted.

Looking Ahead: Two concerning North Carolina bills –  S.B. 747, which would result in the rejection of mail ballots cast by registered, eligible voters and restrict same-day registration, and S.B. 749, which would give the legislature authority over the state and county boards of election –  have been referred to the relevant house committee following senate passage and are expected to be heard in the coming weeks.

Here are the details:

https://votingrightslab.org/the-markup-weekly-election-legislation-update-for-monday-july-3/

Judge Luttig was appointed by George H.W. Bush and served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1991 to 2006.

[Excerpt:]

When Republicans faced an 11th-hour reckoning with another of their presidents over far less serious offenses almost 50 years ago, the elder statesmen of the party marched into the Oval Office and told Richard Nixon the truth. He had lost his Republican support and he would be impeached if he did not resign. The beleaguered Nixon resigned the next day and left the White House the day following.

Such is what it means to put country over party. History tends to look favorably upon a party that writes its own history, as Winston Churchill might have said.

Republicans have waited in vain for political absolution. It’s finally time for them to put the country before their party and pull back from the brink — for the good of the party, as well as the nation.

If not now, then they must forever hold their peace.

 

Exclusive: Special counsel trades immunity for fake elector testimony as Jan 6 probe heats up

Updated  June 23, 2023

[Excerpts:]

Special counsel Jack Smith has compelled at least two Republican fake electors to testify to a federal grand jury in Washington in recent weeks by giving them limited immunity, part of a current push by federal prosecutors to swiftly nail down evidence in the sprawling criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

In recent weeks, the special counsel’s office has also shown interest in several members of Trump’s post-election legal team who promoted baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, including his former lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, as well as former Justice Department appointee Jeffrey Clark, who tried to help Trump’s push to use the Department of Justice to overturn the election.

Giuliani played a key role in overseeing the fake electors plot across seven battleground states as part of the broader push to overturn the 2020 presidential election results for Trump, as CNN has previously reported.

Prosecutors have also continued to focus on potential financial crimes and money laundering after Trump raised millions of dollars off false claims the election was stolen. One former Trump campaign official who testified this month before the grand jury was asked about specific campaign ads and messaging produced as part of those fundraising activities, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Multiple 2020 election witnesses are scheduled for grand jury appointments in the coming days, sources say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opinion: As a former AG, I know why Trump’s defenders are wrong

https://edition.cnn.com/2023/06/23/opinions/trump-baier-indictment-jack-smith-justice-department-gonzales/index.html

[Excerpt:]

No one in the nation is above the law. That’s why we all have a stake in the outcome of Trump’s case. It is not just about one person; it is about our system of justice. We all lose — as a country and as a people — if at the end of the former president’s trial, regardless of the outcome, the Department of Justice and the rule of law emerge weaker.

Throughout our history, our democratic institutions have been tested, sometimes to the breaking point. Yet, in the end, those institutions proved capable because of strong, competent leaders who acted with faith and not fear. I encourage today’s leaders to set aside their personal views of the politics of one controversial figure and remain focused on preserving the rule of law.

 

The evolution of the Republican Party under the influence of former President Donald J. Trump calls into question a post-Watergate norm.

Jonathan SwanMaggie HabermanCharlie Savage and 

 

FBI resisted opening probe into Trump’s role in Jan. 6 for more than a year

In the DOJ’s investigation of Jan. 6, key Justice officials also quashed an early plan for a task force focused on people in Trump’s orbit.

By Carol D. Leonnig and Aaron C. Davis

June 20, 2023

https://wapo.st/3XhMR7z

 

Bill Barr: The Truth About the Trump Indictment

This time the president is not a victim of a witch hunt. The situation is entirely of his own making.

By William P. Barr

June 19, 2023

[Excerpt:]

For the sake of the country, our party, and a basic respect for the truth, it is time that Republicans come to grips with the hard truths about President Trump’s conduct and its implications. Chief among them: Trump’s indictment is not the result of unfair government persecution. This is a situation entirely of his own making. The effort to present Trump as a victim in the Mar-a-Lago document affair is cynical political propaganda.

Here are the plain facts

 

Trump’s indictment plus candidacy could endanger democracy and the rule of law

The collision of former president Donald Trump’s criminal indictment with the presidential campaign could further undermine confidence in democratic principles and institutions of government, experts say

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/17/trump-indictment-candidacy-democracy-institutions/

 

Putin-Like Dictators Have Long Felt the Love From the U.S. Right

It’s no surprise that many in the GOP want to cut aid to Ukraine. The Russian president is (historically) their kind of authoritarian.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/putin-like-dictators-have-long-felt-the-love-from-the-us-right

[Excerpt:]

This analysis also explains the emergence of anti-Trump conservatives. The conservatives now most hostile to Putin—such as David Frum, Bill Kristol, Tom Nichols, Jennifer Rubin, and Max Boot—are what were formerly known as “neoconservatives,” who saw the USSR as a left-wing replay of Hitler’s Germany. These figures were “neo” precisely because they rejected the right’s decades-long embrace of non-Communist dictators.

On voting rights, the justices followed the law. Shouldn’t be news, but it is.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/06/09/supreme-court-voting-rights-ruth-marcus/

[Excerpt:]

It is imperative to call out the conservative majority’s radicalism for what it is. And let’s not get carried away. What passes for a win here is preserving the status quo. Still, when the conservative juggernaut falters, when the three remaining liberals are able to cobble together a victory, it is important to pause — to savor the moment, praise the restraint and ponder how it happened.

How the Far Right Tore Apart One of the Best Tools to Fight Voter Fraud”

NPR on the exodus of red states from ERIC.

And a deeper look at the red-state exodus that followed — eight states and counting have now pulled out of ERIC — shows a policy blueprint for an election denial movement, spearheaded by a key Trump ally, eager to change virtually every aspect of how Americans vote. . . .

“How a Fringe Legal Theory Became a Threat to Democracy”

Andrew Marantz for the New Yorker on the independent state legislature theory:

If the Supreme Court reverses the state-court ruling, it would be a vindication of the independent-state-legislature theory, or I.S.L.T., a line of legal reasoning that scarcely existed twenty-five years ago but has since travelled from the fringes of legal discourse to the centers of power. Some advocates of the theory interpret a clause of the Constitution to mean that state legislatures can run federal elections almost however they choose—drawing maps for partisan advantage, outlawing forms of voting (such as mail-in ballots) that tend to favor one party, and challenging election results on thin procedural grounds. Even when these actions violate state constitutions, the advocates say, state courts would be powerless to stop them. (It’s this lack of oversight that would render the legislatures “independent,” though a less euphemistic word for it might be “rogue.”) . . .

 

Trans People Are Being Demonized for Demanding Equal Dignity: A Conversation with ACLU’s Gillian BranstetterAaron Ross PowellJune 3, 2023To talk about these critical issues, and what we can do about them, I’m joined by Gillian Branstetter, a Communications Strategist at the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, and LGBTQ and HIV Project

“Georgia probe of Trump broadens to activities in other states”

From the WP:

An Atlanta-area investigation of alleged election interference by former president Donald Trump and his allies has broadened to include activities in Washington, D.C., and several other states, according to two people with knowledge of the probe — a fresh sign that prosecutors may be building a sprawling case under Georgia’s racketeering laws.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis (D) launched an investigation more than two years ago to examine efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his narrow 2020 defeat in Georgia.Along the way, she has signaled publicly that she may use Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute to allege that these efforts amounted to a far-reaching criminal scheme.

In recent days, Willis has sought information related to the Trump campaign hiring two firms to find voter fraud across the United States and then burying their findings when they did not find it, allegations that reach beyond Georgia’s borders, said the two individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about the investigation. At least one of the firms has been subpoenaed by Fulton County investigators.

“Scoop: YouTube reverses misinformation policy to allow U.S. election denialism”

Axios:

In a reversal of its election integrity policy, YouTube will leave up content that says fraud, errors or glitches occurred in the 2020 presidential election and other U.S. elections, the company confirmed to Axios Friday.

Why it matters: YouTube established the policy in December 2020, after enough states had certified the 2020 election results. Now, the company said in a statement, leaving the policy in place may have the effect of “curtailing political speech without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm.”

  • “Two years, tens of thousands of video removals, and one election cycle later, we recognized it was time to reevaluate the effects of this policy in today’s changed landscape,” YouTube said in a statement.
  • “With that in mind, and with 2024 campaigns well underway, we will stop removing content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches occurred in the 2020 and other past US Presidential elections.”

Yes, but: Asked how YouTube was specifically able to make that determination, a spokesperson pointed Axios to their statement.

  • YouTube said that it “carefully deliberated this change,” but didn’t provide further examples of what factors or instances it considered when weighing its decision.
  • The platform said it will provide more details about its approach to the 2024 election in the months to come.

The special counsel is scrutinizing the dismissal of Christopher Krebs, who contradicted baseless claims by the former president that the 2020 election was marred by fraud.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/31/us/politics/trump-aides-subpoenaed-special-counsel.html

[Excerpt:]

The special counsel investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to cling to power after he lost the 2020 election has subpoenaed staff members from the Trump White House who may have been involved in firing the government cybersecurity official whose agency judged the election “the most secure in American history,” according to two people briefed on the matter.

The team led by the special counsel, Jack Smith, has been asking witnesses about the events surrounding the firing of Christopher Krebs, who was the Trump administration’s top cybersecurity official during the 2020 election. Mr. Krebs’s assessment that the election was secure was at odds with Mr. Trump’s baseless assertions that it was a “fraud on the American public.”

Mr. Smith’s team is also seeking information about how White House officials, including in the Presidential Personnel Office, approached the Justice Department, which Mr. Trump turned to after his election loss as a way to try to stay in power, people familiar with the questions said.

The investigators appear focused on Mr. Trump’s state of mind around the firing of Mr. Krebs, as well as on establishing a timeline of events leading up to the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021. The latest subpoenas, issued roughly two weeks ago, went to officials in the personnel office, according to the two people familiar with the matter.

 

“American men are in desperate need of virtuous purpose.”

Opinion Columnist

 

The Path From The Tea Party Through Jan. 6 To Today

by David Kurtz

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/who-is-stewart-rhodes

May 25, 2023

The sentence for Stewart Rhodes was the longest so far in the federal investigation of the Capitol attack and the first issued to a defendant convicted of sedition.

“Journalists [and voters] could better cover this moment in our history by focusing . . . on the consequences for the country if Trump wins again. How will American life change? Who will benefit? Who will suffer? The question should be “not the odds, but the stakes” as a principle for better campaign coverage” [and voting].

– Jay Rosen, Professor of journalism at New York University [as reported by Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, May 16, 2023][Bracketed words added]

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

 

Florida and Texas Go After Voters for Honest Mistakes

The hunt for nonexistent voter fraud is a pretext for efforts to intimidate eligible voters.

May 16, 2023

https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/florida-and-texas-go-after-voters-honest-mistakes

The Danger of Donald Trump Has Only Grown Since 2020

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/05/danger-of-donald-trump-has-grown-since-2020

 

The GOP Is the Party of ‘Fuck You’.     

It was once a political party, now it’s a nihilistic, corrupt, fake populist scam.

David Rothkopf

Updated May. 12, 2023 / Published May. 12, 2023 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-gop-is-the-party-of-fk-you?

[Excerpt:]

There is an apocryphal belief that among the Indigenous people of the north there are more than 30 words for snow. Well, I’m from New Jersey and I can tell you that in America’s great Garden State we don’t need so many words. In fact, along our stretch of the I-95 corridor there are probably 30 different ways we deploy just a single two-word phrase: “Fuck you.”

It can be a greeting, an expression of disbelief, a paroxysm of surprise or awe, an expression of affection, a reaction to a particularly delicious meal, and an expression of anger in its many different forms. You get the idea.

All of which is to say, I am an expert in the use of the term. And, because I also am a denizen of Washington, D.C., I have come to understand how it has become central to the politics of our moment.

The Republican Party has become the party of “Fuck you.” “Fuck you” is the motivation of its alienated voters. It is its legislative strategy. It is its views toward the laws and Constitution of the United States. It is its reaction to morality and values. It is its foreign policy mantra with our allies. “Fuck you” is even its message to the historians of the future.

Sadly, we live in an age in which the political discourse of the United States results in every idea floated by Democrats, independents, and even the elusive “reasonable Republicans,” in which every constructive thought floated about the direction our country should take, or how we should behave, or why the law matters is met by a chorus of Republican leaders with their signature “Fuck you.”

As a New Jerseyite, I worry they will discredit the term so much that we will have to find another way to express ourselves. My concern is due to the fact that the MAGA-ized GOP has only gotten more outrageous… which is to say more committed to the politics of outrage, to obliterating norms of decency, as the signature activities to which they devote themselves.

They do it because their base is angry. They do it because it drives social media wild. They do it because they have no ideas and their leaders are profoundly immoral, disgusting people.

[Excerpt:]

HOUSTON — Across Harris County, an emerging Democratic stronghold in reliably red Texas, roadside signs posted last November urged harried drivers to vote Republican. A celebrity furniture salesman, beloved by many Houstonians, cut ads with the Republican candidate for the top county administrator’s post.

The 2022 races for local judges and county leaders were among the hardest fought and most expensive yet seen in the sprawling county of 4.8 million, which includes Houston, as Republicans looked to capitalize on crime concerns to make headway in the state’s largest urban area.

But they fell short.

Now, the county is in the cross hairs of the Republican-dominated state Legislature, which is trying to exert more control over voting there. Lawmakers are pushing dozens of new election bills, including limits on polling places, felony penalties for illegal voting and a mechanism for the state to order new elections when voting problems occur in Texas counties with more than 2.7 million people, a category that includes only Harris County.

At the same time, more than a dozen election challenges have been filed by losing Republican candidates in the county who have argued that significant problems at a limited number of polling places on Election Day, including insufficient supplies of ballot paper, were enough to change the outcomes of races. While local leaders acknowledge issues, evidence has not been presented that they affected the results.

The Corruption of Lindsey Graham

A case study in the rise of authoritarianism.

MAY 9, 2023

https://specialto.thebulwark.com/p/the-corruption-of-lindsey-graham

Propelled by a new coalition of Trump allies, Republican-led legislatures have continued to pass restrictions on ballot access, including new limits to voting by mail in Ohio, a ban on ballot drop boxes in Arkansas and the shortening of early voting windows in Wyoming.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/08/us/politics/voting-laws-restrictions-republicans.html

The first recent wave of legislation tightening voting laws came in 2021, when Donald J. Trump’s false claims of voter fraud spurred Republican lawmakers to act over loud objections from Democrats. Two years later, a second wave is steadily moving ahead, but largely under the radar.

Propelled by a new coalition of Trump allies, Republican-led legislatures have continued to pass significant restrictions on access to the ballot, including new limits to voting by mail in Ohio, a ban on ballot drop boxes in Arkansas and the shortening of early voting windows in Wyoming.

Behind the efforts is a network of billionaire-backed advocacy groups that has formed a new hub of election advocacy within the Republican Party, rallying state activists, drafting model legislation and setting priorities.

The groups have largely dropped the push for expansive laws, shifting instead to a strategy one leader describes as “radical incrementalism” — a step-by-step approach intended to be more politically palatable than the broad legislation that provoked widespread protest in 2021.

“They haven’t stopped trying to change how our elections are run. They’re just doing it out of the spotlight,” said Joanna Lydgate, the chief executive of States United, a nonpartisan election group. Some of the policies being promoted today will be law in time for next year’s presidential election, she added, “and American voters will feel the impact.”

Republicans have long said their goal is “election integrity,” but a spate of recent proposals suggests clear, and sometimes strikingly specific, political aims. National Republicans recently sought to change the rules for a single race in Montana — for the U.S. Senate — to tilt the scales toward the Republican candidate. In Ohio, Republican state lawmakers are seeking to make it harder to pass a ballot initiative, just as a coalition of abortion rights groups is collecting signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

28 Months Since the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol

https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/28-months-jan-6-attack-capitol

[Excerpts:]

May 6, 2023

Saturday, May 6, 2023, marked 28 months since the attack on the U.S. Capitol that disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the process of affirming the presidential election results.

Based on the public court documents, below is a snapshot of the investigation as of the close of business Friday, May 5, 2023. Complete versions of most of the public court documents used to compile these statistics are available on the Capitol Breach Investigation Resource Page at https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/capitol-breach-cases.

Prosecutors are nearing charging decisions after investigating whether former President Donald J. Trump and his allies illegally meddled in Georgia’s 2020 election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/05/us/trump-georgia-election-investigation

More than half of the bogus Georgia electors who were convened in December 2020 to try to keep former President Donald J. Trump in power have taken immunity deals in the investigation into election interference there, according to a court filing on Friday and people with knowledge of the inquiry.

Young Latino voters will be vital to the outcome of the 2024 election

Brookings with a post on the “nuanced relationship between young Latinos and the dominant parties,” in their series on younger voters.

With a very different focus on laws aimed at college voters, CNN also has a piece today on the recognition of the role that younger voters play.

“Voting has gotten harder in Wisconsin. Organizers have found ways to help.”

Wisconsin Watch deploying the Cost of Voting Index to track changes over the past few decades.

 

“New Report: Restoring Voting Rights for People With Felony Convictions Can Improve Public Safety”

I’d missed this new research on recidivism rates from the Sentencing Project.

 

“Securing the 2024 Election”

New Brennan Center report with recommendations for 2024. Among them:

Priority: Combat election disinformation

  • State lawmakers should prohibit the spread of false information about the time, place, and manner of voting when it is shared with the intent to prevent voters from voting.
  • The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency should work with federal and state partners to migrate local election offices’ websites to .gov domains, which are only given to U.S.-based government entities and signal credibility to voters trying to find accurate information.

Priority: Protect election workers

  • The Department of Homeland Security should continue to require states to spend a portion of homeland security grants on election security, as it did in fiscal year 2023.
  • State lawmakers should prohibit intimidating conduct at the polls and anywhere else election officials are working. They should allow election workers to shield their personally identifiable information from the public.

Priority: Defend against insider threats

  • Local election officials should develop training, regulations, and protocols that help prevent, identify, and respond to insider threats (when rogue election workers themselves put election security at risk).
  • The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency should develop best practices to guard against insider threats.

Priority: Ensure technological resilience

  • Local election officials should create backup systems and plans so that voting can continue in the event of a cyberattack or technical issue.
  • State lawmakers should mandate post-election audits.

 

“Federal lawsuit challenges Florida’s voter registration forms”

Tampa Bay Times:

The League of Women Voters of Florida and the NAACP filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday contending that a state voter registration application does not properly inform voters about eligibility requirements.

The lawsuit centers on felons who, under a 2018 state constitutional amendment, can have voting rights restored after they fulfill sentences.

It contends that the voter registration application violates a federal law known as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

“Due to the state’s NVRA violation and maze of voter-eligibility rules, returning citizens (felons) struggle to accurately complete the application, and voter-registration organizations struggle to assist returning citizens in answering the application,” said the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Tallahassee.

You can find the complaint at this link.

 

“A state law could help prevent disenfranchising young voters. Why is NY ignoring it?”

Gothamist:

A small fraction of New Yorkers who are 16 and 17 years old have completed the process to preregister and automatically be added to voting rolls when they turn 18, according to a new report.

The report by the Civics Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit that aims to register every eligible U.S. high school student to vote, says only 16.5% of the eligible teens preregistered so far, and also found that New York City performed at even lower levels than most of the state. The group used census data and state voter registration to determine the eligible population and voter preregistration rates for each county.

In 2019, state lawmakers enacted a law allowing young people to be preregistered to vote as part of an effort to increase the state’s low rates of voter participation.

“When young people, especially 18 and 19-year-olds, aren’t registered in high school in an educational setting, it can take years for them to even get on the voter rolls,” said Laura Brill, the Civic Center’s founder and CEO.

Brill said the report highlights the lack of planning, organization and general awareness of New York’s preregistration law, as well as the need for schools, parents and students to play a role in implementing it effectively.

We’re Suing Florida to Help Clear Up Voting Confusion for People with Past Convictions

Florida’s voter registration application violates federal law because it doesn’t provide guidance to would-be voters with felony convictions about their eligibility to vote.

April 26, 2023

https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/were-suing-florida-help-clear-voting-confusion-people-past-convictions

Georgia DA says she will announce charging decision in Trump case this summer

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/04/24/fulton-county-trump-indictment/

Top GOP lawyer decries ease of campus voting in private pitch to RNC

A presentation by Cleta Mitchell at a donor retreat urged tougher rules that could make it harder for college students to cast ballots

Cleta Mitchell, a longtime GOP lawyer and fundraiser who worked closely with former president Donald Trump to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, gave the presentation at a Republican National Committee donor retreat in Nashville on Saturday.

The presentation — which had more than 50 slides and was labeled “A Level Playing Field for 2024” — offered a window into a strategy that seems designed to reduce voter access and turnout among certain groups, including students and those who vote by mail, both of which tend to skew Democratic.

Party officials across the country have sought to erect more barriers for young voters, who tilt heavily Democratic, after several cycles in which their turnout surged.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/29/us/politics/republicans-young-voters-college

 

A Tale of Two Conservative Legal Scholars

Why did Michael Luttig stand up for democracy while John Eastman tried to burn it to the ground?

March 29, 2023

https://thetriad.thebulwark.com/p/a-tale-of-two-conservative-legal

[Excerpt:]

Epps sees Eastman’s transformation as a function of the compromises people are willing to make for power. And surely that’s part of it, too.

But what makes an Eastman turn out one way and a Luttig turn out the other? None of us can peer into their souls, obviously. But it seems that it’s a combination of traits.

  • Adherence to principle over search for power
  • Devotion to country over tribe
  • Living in reality and not abstract fantasy
  • Caution in place of recklessness

In other words: the virtues. Character is destiny. 

 

The Dangerous Journey of John Eastman

How a mild-mannered law professor became the architect of a scheme to overturn a presidential election.
[Excerpt:]

I can’t help seeing Eastman’s story as a cautionary tale about the peril that awaits all of us when we venture out of the daily world of rules and norms and into the shadow world created by a figure like Trump, whose persistent message is that he is above the law—indeed, that the very idea of “law” is irrelevant to someone like him—and that if we follow him, we can be above the law as well.

I also think Eastman’s story tells us something about a serious wrong turn American conservatism took a quarter century ago, and about the dangerous path the Republican Party seeks to guide the nation on.

 

Trump Sings a Song of Sedition

The January 6 jail anthem was a shocking addition to his repertoire. But our national attention span is so short that we’ve already moved on.

https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2023/03/trump-sings-a-song-of-sedition/673535/

Why Xi and Putin pretend they run democracies

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/03/23/putin-xi-authoritarianism-democracy/

[Excerpts:]

Autocrats using fake elections to claim popular support while consolidating power isn’t new. Xi and Putin aren’t just hiding behind a fig leaf of legitimacy; they are attempting to redefine the world’s understanding of what “democracy” means. This is dangerous, and real democracies must push back.

To some, Putin and Xi’s democracy playacting might seem harmless. 

But this week’s Putin-Xi summit showed that these two leaders are not simply trying to reframe democracy for domestic purposes. They are claiming ownership of the concept of democracy as a key plank of their proposed new world order — one where the actual struggle for democratic progress is demonized and negated. In 2021, China’s State Council Information Office even released a white paper entitled “China: Democracy That Works” and offered it as a model to the developing world.

More broadly, Putin and Xi are trying to hollow out the very notions of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the international system.

“Once you get a taste of being autocratic in your own country, you want to be autocratic in the world,” Moisés Naím, author of the book “The Revenge of Power: How Autocrats Are Reinventing Politics for the 21st Century,” told me. “What happens in autocracies doesn’t stay in autocracies. It travels.”

Western democracies would be naive to think Beijing’s narrative isn’t spreading. A report last week by the U.S. Institute of Peace detailed the Chinese government’s extensive global campaign to influence media in the developing world through massive amounts of propaganda, corruption of local media, covert influence operations and co-opting of local officials.

Putin’s and Xi’s attacks on the Western concept of democracy are aided by the erosion of support for democracy promotion here at home. Some U.S. experts argue that the United States ought to ignore the ideological component of great-power competition because it shrinks the space for cooperation with dictatorships.

But the sheer amount of time, effort and resources that Putin and Xi devote to ideological projection shows its importance to them and therefore demands a response. The Biden administration next week is hosting the second iteration of its Summit for Democracy, which aims to bolster international support for these values. But one conference per year is just not enough.

Putin and Xi want to have it both ways; they want to run their systems as dictators while claiming the mantle of democracy in the 21st century. The fact they are pretending shows that they know their actual model is neither popular nor just. Leaders in open societies must ensure that democracy isn’t defined by those who oppose it.

The justices refused to hear Ms. Lake’s claims disputing her loss in the governor’s race, but sent one part of her lawsuit back to a trial court for review.

Arizona’s Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a request from Kari Lake to hear her lawsuit disputing her loss last year in the governor’s race. The lawsuit was based on what the court said was a false claim by Ms. Lake, a Republican, that more than 35,000 unaccounted ballots were accepted.

In a five-page order written by Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, the court determined that a vast majority of Ms. Lake’s legal claims, which had earlier been dismissed by lower courts, lacked merit.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/23/us/politics/kari-lake-arizona-supreme-court

 

“Six people affiliated with the Oath Keepers convicted in Capitol riot”

WaPo:

Six people described by authorities as being affiliated with the right-wing extremist group the Oath Keepers were convicted Monday of numerous federal crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

 

Trump moves to quash Georgia election probe

Former President Trump is moving to quash a Georgia investigation into his efforts to influence the outcome of the 2020 election, seeking to bar the use of any evidence presented to a grand jury reviewing the matter.

In a 50-page filing in a Fulton County court, Trump’s attorneys blasted the investigation as “confusing, flawed, and, at times, blatantly unconstitutional.”

 

The DeSantis Mini-Trump Strategy

MORNING SHOTS

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/the-desantis-mini-trump-strategy?

Think of yesterday as the first real day of the 2024 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

And it didn’t go well at all for Ron DeSantis.

 

“Little-Known Lawyer, a Trump Ally, Draws Scrutiny in Georgia’; A special grand jury looking into election meddling interviewed Robert Cheeley, a sign that false claims made by Donald J. Trump’s allies loom large in the case.”

NYT reports.

 

The Real Danger Isn’t Trump or DeSantis

It’s the illiberal desires of Republican voters. 

 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave Fox News access to thousands of hours of video from the events of January 6, and Tucker Carlson’s effort to rewrite history isn’t just laughably incompetent; it’s already falling flat.

The Atlantic Daily

Tom Nichols

Mar. 7, 2023

https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2023/03/jan-6-carlson-mccarthy/673312/

 

Tucker Carlson amplifies Jan. 6 lies with GOP-provided video

Mar. 7, 2023

 

With Trump in legal trouble, Georgia GOP targets prosecutors

Rachel Maddow looks at a new measure Georgia Republicans are pushing through the legislature that would give them the ability to remove elected prosecutors they don’t like, and notes the glaring conflict of potential charges pending against Donald Trump in Fulton County as the bill advances. 

Rachel Maddow

March 6, 2023

https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/with-trump-in-legal-trouble-georgia-gop-targets-prosecutors

 

Fox libel defense at odds with top GOP presidential foes

Mar. 6, 2023

 

Principles First Summit

https://www.principlesfirstsummit.us/

We asked CPAC attendees what they think ‘woke’ means. Their answers were all over the place.

  • The word “woke” has quickly shot to the forefront of Republican politics in recent years.
  • It’s been used to describe a broad range of things, from gender identity to environmentalism.
  • We asked CPAC attendees what they thought the word means. Their answers revealed little consensus.

 

The Coming Decline of Fox News

The Coming Decline of Fox News

 

Published at 3/2/2023
Sarah Longwell, Republican political strategist & publisher of The Bulwark & Michael Steele, former Chair, Republican National Committee, discuss GOP and American conservatism [which eludidates why candidate DeSantis is a threat to our Republic].

 

Trump can be sued for Jan. 6 riot harm, Justice Dept. says

The Justice Department says former President Donald Trump can be sued by injured Capitol Police officers and Democratic lawmakers over the Jan. 6 riot. AP explains more.

 

Ditching CPAC

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/ditching-cpac

 

Voting Laws Roundup: February 2023

https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-february-2023

So far this year, state legislators have introduced 150 restrictive voting bills, 27 election interference bills, and 274 expansive voting bills.

LAST UPDATED: February 27, 2023
PUBLISHED: February 22, 2023

 

The Anti-CPAC

The annual Star Wars bar scene of CPAC opens this weekend, but so does an alternative — the Principles First conference. (The Bulwark is a sponsor and will have a major presence, so we hope to see you there.)

https://www.principlesfirstsummit.us/the-fifteen-principles.html

 

GOP Chair Makes Delusional Promises on Behalf of Donald Trump

Ronna McDaniel believes Donald Trump will abide by everything he hasn’t in past years.

What Fox News Hosts Said Privately vs. Publicly About Voter Fraud

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/02/25/business/media/fox-news-dominion-tucker-carlson.html

 

Voting Laws Roundup: February 2023

https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-february-2023

So far this year, state legislators have introduced 150 restrictive voting bills, 27 election interference bills, and 274 expansive voting bills.

LAST UPDATED: February 27, 2023
PUBLISHED: February 22, 2023

 

‘It’s Not a Short List’: Trump Probe Grand Jury to Recommend Slew of Indictments

“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” the forewoman said when asked if they’ll ask for the former president to be charged

A Georgia grand jury investigating whether Donald Trump and some of his prominent allies meddled in the state’s 2020 presidential election will recommend a series of indictments on various charges, according to a report from The New York Times. “It’s not a short list,” jury forewoman Emily Kohrs said of the list of indictment recommendations, which remains sealed.“You’re not going to be shocked. It’s not rocket science,” Kohrs added when asked if the jury would be recommending an indictment against Trump. The names and specific charges being recommended by the grand jury have yet to be made public, but Kohrs indicated to the Times that “if the judge releases the recommendations, it is not going to be some giant plot twist.”The grand jury previously indicated that it suspected several witnesses of having committed perjury throughout the course of their investigation. Since Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis convened the grand jury last year, it has subpoenaed several Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

The grand jury also subpoenaed the “fake electors” who participated in the scheme to overturn the election results. Willis informed all 16 of them last year that they are also targets in the investigation. Trump is also a target The former president pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary to flip the state to him. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said just days before the election was certified.

It’s hard to know exactly what to make of Kohrs comment that onlookers won’t be shocked by the grand jury’s decision about whether to recommend Trump be indicted, but there certainly seems to be plenty of evidence that he played a role in the effort to overturn the state’s election results.

The grand jury’s recommendations are only that, however. It does not possess the power to directly indict individuals. Willis will make the final determination about whom to charge.

 

Fox News has, arguably, had worse days than Thursday. But not many. And the worst is undoubtedly yet to come.Do yourself a favor and take some time to peruse the massive email dump the News Gods in their beneficence granted us last night. The voting machine company, Dominion, is suing Fox for the Murdoch First Born and a gadzillion dollars (actually $1.6 billion) for its election-related fabrications and lies.Yesterday, we got a look at some of the evidence Dominion has gathered. In court filings seeking a summary judgment, the company laid out in granular detail its case that “literally dozens of people with editorial responsibility—from the top of the organization to the producers of specific shows to the hosts themselves—acted with actual malice.”It is like peeling an onion of duplicity, hypocrisy, and journalistic malpractice.

 

Georgia Grand Jury Recommends Indictments for Witnesses In Trump Election Case

The report doesn’t say whether Trump himself should be indicted for interfering in the 2020 election, but jurors said witnesses who lied about what happened should be prosecuted.

 

“Jan. 6 documents: Georgia legislators answered Trump’s call to overturn election”

AJC:

With his chances of winning Georgia slipping away in December 2020, then-President Donald Trump hit upon a novel scheme to stay in power: State legislators would name him the winner.

So, while his allies spun dubious tales of voting fraud at the Georgia Capitol, Trump’s campaign called nearly 120 Republican legislators to ask whether they would appoint a slate of presidential electors who would vote for Trump instead of Democrat Joe Biden. A log of those phone calls recently released by congressional investigators shows some lawmakers were eager to help.

“Hell, yes,” said one. “100%,” replied another. “Very supportive and ready to go,” a third lawmaker told the campaign.

In all, about 30 Republican legislators expressed some level of support for allowing the General Assembly to name Trump the winner of the presidential election, according to the call log. The log and other documents released by investigators suggest scores of other lawmakers also may have supported the plan.

The documents appear to offer the fullest picture yet of Trump’s effort to pressure legislators to help him overturn the election — and the willingness of lawmakers to go along with that plan.

 

Trump’s Last-Ditch Gamble to Avoid Indictment

An unusual and little-noticed missive from the former president maps out his defense against any charges relating to January 6.

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/02/trump-january-6-possible-indictment-defense-jack-smith/673070/

Exclusive: Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows subpoenaed by special counsel in Jan. 6 investigation

https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/15/politics/mark-meadows-subpoena/index.html

Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows has been subpoenaed by the special counsel investigating the former president and his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s office is seeking documents and testimony related to January 6, and Meadows received the subpoena sometime in January, the source said. An attorney for Meadows declined to comment.

The move to subpoena one of Trump’s most senior aides – in addition to the recent subpoena of former Vice President Mike Pence, as CNN reported last week – marks the latest significant step in the special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s role in seeking to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election.

Meadows was involved in the infamous phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and in a December 2020 White House meeting about election fraud claims. Meadows also visited a site where an audit of Georgia’s election was underway and sent emails to Justice Department officials about unsubstantiated fraud allegations.

On January 6, Meadows was in and out of the Oval Office and witness to Trump’s actions as rioters overtook the US Capitol that day.

“Jack Smith, Special Counsel for Trump Inquiries, Steps Up the Pace”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYT:

 How extensively did [former President Trump] seek information about whether voting machines had been tampered with? Did he indicate he knew he was leaving when his term ended?

In looking into Mr. Trump’s efforts to hold onto power after his election loss and how they led to the Jan. 6 riot, Mr. Smith is overseeing a number of investigative strands. The subpoena to Mr. Pence indicates that he is seeking testimony that would go straight to the question of Mr. Trump’s role in trying to prevent certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the election and the steps Mr. Trump took in drawing a crowd of supporters to Washington and inciting them.

 

Trump campaign paid researchers to prove 2020 fraud but kept findings secret

An outside firm’s work was never released publicly after researchers uncovered no evidence that the election had been rigged for Joe Biden

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/02/11/trump-campaign-report-electoral-fraud/

[Excerpts:]

Former president Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign commissioned an outside research firm in a bid to prove electoral-fraud claims but never released the findings because the firm disputed many of his theories and could not offer any proof that he was the rightful winner of the election, according to four people familiar with the matter

The campaign paid researchers from Berkeley Research Group, the people said, to study 2020 election results in six states, looking for fraud and irregularities to highlight in public and in the courts. Among the areas examined were voter machine malfunctions, instances of dead people voting and any evidence that could help Trump show he won, the people said. None of the findings were presented to the public or in court.

 

How The Fake Electors Scheme Explains Everything About Trump’s Attempt To Steal The 2020 Election

New materials illustrate why Fani Willis and Jack Smith have focused on this esoteric part of Trump’s plot.

Josh Kovensky

February 10, 2023

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/how-the-fake-electors-scheme-explains-everything-about-trumps-attempt-to-steal-the-2020-election?

 

Trump campaign staff on 2020 election lies: ‘fan the flame’

Feb. 3, 2023

https://apnews.com/article/biden-politics-2022-midterm-elections-donald-trump-madison-166e3f52e42cc45cff8f28b75dd23cfc

 

Study Offers Neurological Explanation for How Brains Bias Partisans Against New Information

Summary: Researchers report that people who share political ideologies have similar neural fingerprints when it comes to political words and process new information similarly. The study shows how polarization arises at the point where the brain receives and processes new information.

Source: Brown University

What causes two people from opposing political parties to have strongly divergent interpretations of the same word, image or event?

The Trump Enablers Dance On

As the ex-President runs unopposed, so far, even Facebook welcomes him back.

 

Revealed: Trump secretly donated $1m to discredited Arizona election ‘audit’

Funding for controversial review of state’s vote count in 2020 election can be traced to former president’s Pac

‘The money had reached its destination, with no Trump fingerprints anywhere in sight.’

[Excerpts:]

One of the enduring mysteries surrounding the chaotic attempts to overturn Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential battle has been solved: who made a secret $1m donation to the controversial election “audit” in Arizona?

The identity of one of the largest benefactors behind the discredited review of Arizona’s vote count has been shrouded in secrecy. Now the Guardian can reveal that the person who partially bankrolled the failed attempt to prove that the election was stolen from Trump was … Trump.

An analysis by the watchdog group Documented has traced funding for the Arizona audit back to Trump’s Save America Pac. The group tracked the cash as it passed from Trump’s fund through an allied conservative group, and from there to a shell company which in turn handed the money to contractors and individuals involved in the Arizona audit.

Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based company that led the Arizona audit, disclosed in 2021 that $5.7m of its budget came from several far-right groups invested in the “stop the steal” campaign to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory. It was later divulged that a further $1m had supported the audit from an account controlled by Cleta Mitchell, a Republican election lawyer who advised Trump as he plotted to subvert the 2020 election.

But who gave the $1m to Mitchell?

 

Arizona Republicans exempt lawmakers from the state’s open-records law

After Ginni Thomas’s emails and the work of the Cyber Ninjas go public, GOP legislators retreat into secrecy

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/01/26/arizona-legislature-transparency-open-records-law/

 

Letters from an America, Heather Cox Richardson

Jan. 24, 2023

heathercoxrichardson@substack.com

Today, Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the grand jury investigating Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential vote in Georgia, heard arguments about whether to release the grand jury’s report. Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis urged McBurney not to release the report, for which many media outlets have been clamoring. “In this case, the state understands the media’s inquiry and the world’s interest. But we have to be mindful of protecting future defendants’ rights,” Willis said. She went on to say that decisions about charging individuals in that case are “imminent.” 

That is, Willis signaled that her office is likely to indict certain people, and she worries that releasing the report will taint the trials. 

 

A Guide to the Possible Forthcoming Indictments of Donald Trump

Despite all of the uncertainty, the information already available makes it possible to know what to watch for.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/01/indictment-donald-trump-fulton-georgia-mar-a-lago-documents-january-6/672800/

Republicans are focused on voter ID rules and making it harder to cast mail ballots, while Democrats are seeking to expand access through automatic voter registration.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/20/us/politics/voting-rights-laws-states.html

 

Kevin McCarthy’s Job Is Going to Be Miserable

A historian explains why the roots of the G.O.P.’s ongoing identity crisis can be found in the 1990s.

 

Michael S. Schmidt and 

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/19/us/politics/trump-clinton-lawsuit-fine

[Excerpts:]

In a scathing ruling, a federal judge in Florida on Thursday ordered Donald J. Trump and one of his lawyers together to pay nearly a million dollars in sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit against nearly three dozen of Mr. Trump’s perceived political enemies, including Hillary Clinton and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey.

“This case should never have been brought,” U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks wrote in a 46-page ruling. “Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim.”

“Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries,” Judge Middlebrooks wrote.

“He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer. He knew full well the impact of his actions.”

The judge added that Mr. Trump’s use of the courts had helped to undermine the public’s confidence in them.

“A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm,” he wrote.

 

Republicans have already filed dozens of bills to restrict voting in 2023

Kira Lerner

January 17, 2023

 

“Appeals Court UPHOLDS Arizona’s Mail-In Voting Laws, Blasts AZGOP/Kelli Ward Arguments (READ Decision)”

AZ Law:

Arizona’s mail-in voting system is not unconstitutional, the Court of Appeals ruled today, blasting a lawsuit filed last year by the Arizona Republican Party and Chairwoman Kelli Ward. The unanimous decision upholds the previous dismissal of the case.

New legislator Alexander Kolodin had filed the case for the AZGOP, along with nationally-known law professor Alan Dershowitz. They were claiming that mail-in ballots violated the Arizona Constitution’s Secrecy Clause. Today’s decision notes that Kolodin tried to back off of their original position during both briefing and oral arguments, suggesting now that the Secrecy Clause requires a “secure restricted zone around a voter who fills in a mail-in ballot.”

The 11-page decision then blasts through three arguments made by Kolodin and Dershowitz*: (1) a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a Tennessee law allowing a 100-foot no electioneering zone outside polling places (“That holding does not suggest – let alone direct – how we interpret the Arizona Constitution’s Secrecy Clause…. (I)ts suggestions are dicta and unpersuasive in this case.”); (2) the AZ law prohibiting so-called ballot selfies taken at polling places but not in voters’ homes; and (3) a previous AZ Supreme Court observation that mail-in ballots cannot be possessed by anyone other than the intended voter.

 

New Documents Show Heritage Actions Activities to Make Voting and Registration Harder

The Guardian:

The 990 tax filing was obtained by the watchdog group Documented and shared with the Guardian. It points to the pivotal role that Heritage Action is increasingly playing in shaping the rules that govern US democracy.

The efforts help explain the unprecedented tidal wave of restrictive voting laws that spread across Republican-controlled states in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. The Brennan Center reported that more voter suppression laws were passed in 2021 than in any year since it began monitoring voting legislation more than a decade ago.

The expenditures also signal a dramatic increase in Heritage Action’s advocacy activities. In 2020, Heritage Action had reported no spending at all on outside lobbying.

Heritage Action, whose board includes the Republican mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, is set up as a 501(c)4 under the US tax code which exempts it from paying federal taxes. It operates as a “dark money” group, avoiding disclosing the sources of its total annual revenue of over $18m.

In the past two years the organization through its public messaging has echoed Donald Trump’s lie that US elections are marked by rampant fraud. A private plan prepared by Heritage Action last year set out a two-year, $24m “election integrity” strategy.

The plan, obtained by Documented, proposed a two-pronged approach that would work to block moves by Democrats in Congress to bolster voting rights while at the same time pressing Republican-controlled states to impose restrictions on access to the ballot box. It said: “Where Democrats hold power, we must defend against bad policy. Where conservatives and our allies are in power, we must advance changes that protect the lawful votes of Americans.”

The Heritage Action plan, which was first reported by the New York Times, is being published by the Guardian for the first time.

Part of Heritage Action’s two-year strategy is to promote what it calls “model election laws”, focusing initially on eight battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin. In a private meeting with donors in Tucson, Arizona, in 2021, the group’s executive director, Jessica Anderson, boasted about the role Heritage Action had played in pressing Republican-controlled legislatures to impose strict restrictions on voting, including limits on mail-in voting and early voting days.

In a video of that meeting obtained by Documented, Anderson told the donors that the group acted “quickly and quietly”, bragging that “honestly nobody noticed” their behind-the-scenes influence. Heritage Action staff have registered to lobby in at least two dozen states.

The laser-like focus on key swing states like Georgia appears to have had an impact. The New York Times found that one-third of the 68 voting bills filed in Georgia in 2021 contained policy measures and language that aligned closely with proposals from Heritage Action.

The group has publicly claimed that it had a hand in advancing 11 voting bills in at least eight states in 2021, though in some cases legislation was passed in only one chamber or went on to be vetoed by the state’s governor.

Heritage Foundation, under the auspices of its elections supremo Hans von Spakovsky, curates an “election fraud database”. It claims to expose the errors, omissions and mistakes made by election officials, but it presents incomplete and misleading information and underscores how exceptionally rare fraud is within the US system.

 

Suppressing the Black Vote. And Bragging About It.

“We can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.” 

— Wisconsin Republican official Robert Spindell

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/suppressing-the-black-vote-and-bragging

 

“Another ‘radical’ change to the Voting Rights Act could reach the Supreme Court”

Tierney Sneed for CNN:

A case that could further shrink the scope of the Voting Rights Act is before a federal appeals court Wednesday, with the appellate panel considering whether private entities – and not just the US Justice Department – can bring lawsuits under a key provision of the law.

If those seeking a narrowing of the VRA are successful, it would significantly diminish the use of the law to challenge ballot regulations and redistricting maps that are said to be racially discriminatory.

“DOJ, no matter how staffed up it is, no matter how many resources they apply to this particular endeavor, is simply not going to be able to do the same amount as it could do with the partnership of private plaintiffs here,” said Sophia Lin Lakin, a top American Civil Liberties Union voting rights attorney who is arguing in favor of a private cause of action in the 8th Circuit case.

Republicans filed record number of anti-voting lawsuits in 2022 – report

Efforts challenging election results and attacking voting rights peaked last year, but courts ruled against the majority of them

 

What the January 6th Report is Missing

by Jill Lepore

January 9, 2023

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/01/16/what-the-january-6th-report-is-missing?

The investigate committee singles out Trump for his role in the Capitol attack. As prosecution, the report is thorough. But as historical explanation, it’s a mess.  

 

What the Rioters in Brazil Learned From Americans

Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters showed that antidemocratic revolutions can be contagious too.

[Excerpts:]

By far the most important weapon that the United States of America has ever wielded—in defense of democracy, in defense of political liberty, in defense of universal rights, in defense of the rule of law—was the power of example. In the end, it wasn’t our words, our songs, our diplomacy, or even our money or our military power that mattered. It was rather the things we had achieved: the two and a half centuries of peaceful transitions of power, the slow but massive expansion of the franchise, and the long, seemingly solid traditions of civilized debate.

That tradition was broken, not just by the Trump administration but by the claque of men around Donald Trump who began dreaming of a different kind of American influence. Not democratic, but autocratic. Not in favor of constitutions and the rule of law, but in support of insurrection and chaos. Not through declarations of independence but through social-media trolling campaigns. Many of the actual achievements of this claque have been negligible or, more likely, exaggerated for the purposes of fundraising. Steve 

Still, I suspect that the real influence of the American experience in Brazil comes not from the preening likes of Bannon, the former Trump adviser Jason Miller, or any of the minor figures who have excitedly, and perhaps lucratively, been promoting #StoptheSteal in Brazil, but—as in the 18th century—through the power of example. Note the pattern here: After he lost November’s election, Bolsonaro refused to attend the inauguration of his successor. Instead, he went (of all places) to Florida. He and his followers have been pursuing fictional claims in lawsuits in the Brazilian courts. They then chose January 8, almost exactly two years after the assault on the American capital, to stage their attack—a strange date in some ways, because the sitting president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has already been inaugurated, and the chaotic assault on Congress will not block him from exercising power. Today’s riot makes more sense if the point was to create a visual echo of what happened in Washington.

But the power of example works in other ways too. If Americans want to help Brazil defend its democracy and avoid sinking into chaos, and if we want to avoid #StoptheSteal movements proliferating in other democracies, then the path forward is clear. We need to prove conclusively both that these movements will fail—after all, the American version already did—and that their instigators, from the very top to the very bottom, pay a high price for that failure. The January 6 committee has just made a clear recommendation to the Justice Department, asking for a criminal case to be brought against Trump. The events in Brasília today should remind us that the department’s response to this demand will shape politics not only in the United States, but around the world.

New data shows the folly of Trump’s crusade against early voting

Vermont, Kentucky and Nevada dramatically expanded the ability to cast ballots before Election Day, and neither party gained an edge.

 

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/01/02/trump-early-voting-new-data-00075611

After retaining most of the governor’s offices they hold and capturing the legislatures in Michigan and Minnesota, Democrats are putting forward a long list of proposals to expand voting access.

 

Inside the January 6th Committee

[Excerpt:]

The committee’s chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, and its vice chairwoman, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, had worked with the staff to organize the hearings around seven specific methods by which Trump and his allies sought to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election:

the willful spreading of lies that the election had been stolen; trying to coerce the Department of Justice into disputing the election results; pressuring Vice President Mike Pence; pressuring state and local officials; seeking to recruit phony electors in several contested states; summoning a mob to Washington; and then, upon inciting that mob, sitting back for more than three hours and doing nothing to stop the violence.  [Boldface added]

 

Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed.

December 22, 2022.

https://www.govinfo.gov/collection/january-6th-committee-final-report?path=/gpo/January%206th%20Committee%20Final%20Report%20and%20Supporting%20Materials%20Collection/Final%20Report/GPO-J6-REPORT

Jan. 6 committee refers Trump to Justice Dept. for criminal charges

The decision — an unprecedented move for Congress — came as the panel released a summary of its final report and met publicly for the last time

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/12/19/trump-referrals-jan-6-committee/

Ms. Edwards, a Capitol Police officer, was injured in the line of duty on Jan. 6.

 

Lessons for Our Elections from the January 6 Hearings

The hearings exposed structural flaws in our democracy. Here’s how to fix them.

 House Republicans who opposed 2020 electoral votes paid no price

 

A Supreme Court Case That Threatens the Mechanisms of Democracy

At stake in Moore v. Harper is the question of how elections should be run—and who should resolve the inevitable disputes when they arise.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/12/19/a-supreme-court-case-that-threatens-the-mechanisms-of-democracy

“How Colorado executes its signature-match requirement for ballots disenfranchises many voters, a lawsuit claims”

From Colorado Public Radio:

Lawful votes are unconstitutionally discarded in Colorado, often because a voter’s signature doesn’t match what’s on file, according to a lawsuit filed in Denver District Court late last week.

The signature match requirement is meant to prevent voter fraud, since mail or at-home voting takes place away from a polling site. But, the lawsuit said, fraud is extremely rare, and ballot rejections disproportionately impact diverse communities, disabled people and the youngest and oldest voters.

“For the vast majority of Colorado voters who vote by mail this fundamental right is contingent on an arbitrary, deeply flawed signature matching process,” read the lawsuit. “While ostensibly deployed to verify voter identity, signature matching is election integrity theater: it disenfranchises qualified voters by the tens of thousands, all for the appearance — but not the reality — of election integrity.”

The lawsuit notes that actual voter fraud is exceedingly rare.

A similar lawsuit was filed last month in Washington. Both were filed in state court, on state law grounds (to avoid federal questions that may tee up review in the United States Supreme Court). I’ll be watching these in the months ahead.

Did Trump Say Election Fraud Allows for ‘Termination’ of US Constitution?
The former president continued to push 2020 election conspiracy theories in late 2022.

Published Dec 5, 2022

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-termination-us-constitution/

In early December 2022, former U.S. President Donald Trump continued his election denialism push and called for the termination of the Constitution, among other “rules and regulations,” in order to reinstate him to power. Trump’s controversial comments were posted on Truth Social on Dec. 3, after a report came out detailing Twitter’s deliberations leading up to its decision to suppress links to a 2020 article in the New York Post describing emails allegedly found on a laptop computer belonging to Hunter Biden, then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son. 

In a post made on his verified Truth Social account, Trump wrote: 

So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great “Founders” did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

Following Trump’s statement, numerous politicians across both parties criticized him, but many Republicans continued to express loyalty towards Trump, who had announced in November that he would make another bid for the presidency in 2024. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had not commented on Trump’s statement as of this writing. 

“Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation and should be universally condemned,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump believes we should terminate ‘all rules, regulations and articles, even those found in the Constitution’ to overturn the 2020 election. That was his view on 1/6 and remains his view today. No honest person can now deny that Trump is an enemy of the Constitution.”

“‘Furthering false narratives’: Lake, Finchem lawsuit draws sanction order from judge”

Arizona Republic:

In a blistering 30-page opinion, a federal judge ordered sanctions against the attorneys of Kari Lake and Mark Finchem in their lawsuit against voting machines, hoping to deter “similarly baseless suits in the future.”

Lake and Finchem, Trump-endorsed Republicans who failed in their bids for governor and secretary of state, filed suit in April in an attempt to block Maricopa and Pima counties from using any electronic device to cast or count votes. They asked the court to order the counties to require paper ballots and conduct a hand count of all the ballots cast.

U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi dismissed the suit in August, calling it full of “conjectural allegations of potential injuries.”

Before the dismissal, the five members of the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors — the defendants in the case — had asked for sanctions for the “numerous false allegations about Arizona elections” the candidates and their attorneys made in their federal complaint.

“Michigan’s boards of canvassers didn’t derail election certification this year; And now Prop 2 eliminates the threat for good.”

VoteBeat:

Republican secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo had something to say in Lansing on Monday as the Board of State Canvassers prepared to certify her loss, and she swore it wasn’t sour grapes. 

The election, Karamo charged without evidence and with raucous protesters in the background, was “unlawful,” the certification process was “treason,” the incumbent secretary of state “refuses to accurately maintain our qualified voter file,” and she wanted the board to decline to certify the results. 

The board’s chair, Tony Daunt, a Republican, was having none of it. Instead, he warned Karamo and the protesters against spreading  “dangerous lies” he said the board would not tolerate, and chastised protesters’ behavior. 

“We will ask for everybody to be polite,” warned Daunt. “If you have children, act like you would expect your children to act.” Despite his caution, police officers still had to remove a protester from the meeting. The man used expletives to refer to the board members as he was led from the room. 

After four hours of belligerent but baseless objections, the four-member board unanimously declared the election results in Michigan final — and a host of state and local officials and watchdogs breathed a sigh of relief.

In 2020, some Republicans on canvassing boards resisted certifying the results, citing unfounded conspiracy theories about the election. Their reluctance highlighted the potential vulnerability of what had until then been a purely procedural step that drew little attention. 

Many feared the problem could be even worse this year, after Trump-aligned Republicans were appointed to fill board vacancies. Instead, county and state boards finalized the results without any major stumbles, even as pitched battles over certification played out this week in Arizona and Pennsylvania

And Michigan voters have now taken steps to limit the potential for mischief in future elections. During last month’s election, more than 60% of voters approved constitutional election reforms outlined in Ballot Proposal 2, known as Prop 2, which will virtually eliminate the threat of boards of canvassers interfering with election results.

“The board of canvassers is not an investigative body, and Proposal 2 makes it crystal clear that they are just to count the vote,” said Sharon Dolente, the adviser to the Promote the Vote coalition behind Prop 2.

A provision of the new law takes any suggestion of power away from the boards, codifying that a board of canvassers has a “ministerial, clerical, nondiscretionary duty … to certify election results” as reported by precincts and counties.

The End of Trump?

Murdoch may have pulled the plug on him for 2024, but it’s not clear yet if the rest of the G.O.P. will follow.

 

Voters in Great Lakes states deliver election deniers a stiff rebuke

The results prompted Michigan’s secretary of state to predict that democracy will emerge stronger than it was before Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 vote

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/16/election-deniers-defeated-great-lakes/

A decisive vote for democracy in Arizona

Arizonans, who pride themselves on a maverick spirit, unexpectedly delivered Democrats their best results in decades

An extremism problem
from CNN’s What Matters
By Zachary B. Wolf
November 14, 2022

Confronted with an unexpected moment of reckoning, some moderate Republicans are pointing out the party has some important decisions to make about its future:

  • Are they going to be the party of former President Donald Trump or a party that wins elections?
  • Are they going to be able to excise the “extremism” in their party that more Republicans are openly talking about?

Failed Candidate Blake Masters Searches for a Scapegoat

The Peter Thiel acolyte seeks to blame his Arizona Senate miss on anything other than his own misguided campaign.

 

Democrat Katie Hobbs projected to defeat Kari Lake in Arizona governor’s race

Hobbs prevailed over a GOP star who campaigned on Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/14/katie-hobbs-kari-lake-election-results-arizona-governor/

 

How Tennessee Disenfranchised 21% of Its Black Citizens

While many states have made it easier for people convicted of felonies to vote, Tennessee has gone in the other direction.

Election Denier Mark Finchem Projected to Lose AZ Secretary of State Race to Adrian Fontes

AZ Republic:

Adrian Fontes wasn’t popping the champagne corks just yet.

Minutes after being projected as the winner of Arizona’s secretary of state race on Friday night, he said he accepted the conclusion as ‘the media’s best estimation.”

But he was quick to add that the official determination will be made when all of the votes are properly and fully counted, a process that could take another week or so.

“I meant it when I said I respect the process,” a measured Fontes said minutes after being named the unofficial winner by The Associated Press, NBC News and CNN.

A Democrat and former Maricopa County recorder, Fontes built his campaign around a defense of the state’s electoral system, which he said has withstood the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. He oversaw the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, which became the epicenter of conspiracy theories that the vote was rigged to hand Joe Biden the win.

His campaign was a sharp contrast to that of Republican Mark Finchem, a Trump-endorsed candidate who has denied the results of the 2020 election and suggested that he would not accept the results of the secretary of state race if he found the “slightest suggestion of impropriety.”

On Friday, Finchem wrote on social media that “the media does not decide elections, the voters do.”

Fontes said he will wait for the voters’ official decision, but expressed optimism in a positive outcome for his campaign.

“I hope this projection sticks and I plan to be a solid secretary of state for every Arizonan, not just for those who share my party affiliation,” Fontes said in a brief interview.

Voters Reject Election Deniers Running to Take Over Elections

With Jim Marchant’s defeat by Cisco Aguilar in Nevada’s secretary of state race, all but one of the “America First” slate of candidates who espoused conspiracy theories about the 2020 election were defeated.

[Excerpt:]

Every election denier who sought to become the top election official in a critical battleground state lost at the polls this year, as voters roundly rejected extreme partisans who promised to restrict voting and overhaul the electoral process.

 

Why people worried about the fate of democracy see hope in the midterms

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/3731618-abandoned-trumps-election-denialism-meets-2022-electoral-reality/

Abandoned: Trump’s election denialism meets 2022 electoral reality

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/3731618-abandoned-trumps-election-denialism-meets-2022-electoral-reality/

 

How to Save America from Extremism and Authoritarianism by Changing the Way We Vote

Ranked choice voting, multi-member House districts and other surprisingly simple tinkers that could fix our democracy

By David Montgomery

November 6, 2022

Washington Post Magazine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2022/10/31/ranked-choice-voting-multi-member-house-districts/

 

The Best Way to Protect Elections From Partisan Manipulation

Election administration is a job for professionals.

 

 

Coordinating Audits and Recounts to Strengthen Election Verification

November 2022

https://verifiedvoting.org/publication/audits-recounts-nov-2022/

This paper explains how audits and recounts can work together to bolster public confidence in elections.

The 2020 presidential election was followed by an extensive period of scrutiny and challenge. Some of these activities were typical—automatic recounts, optional recounts, and routine tabulation audits—and some were highly irregular. Widespread misinformation sowed confusion and distrust. 

As election officials strive to promote public confidence in our elections, it is important to emphasize that recounts and tabulation audits are normal procedures, and they are vital to our elections. Recounts and audits, when properly designed and conducted, can help assure candidates and the public that there was a fair examination of the results and an accurate count of all legally cast votes. 

State requirements for tabulation audits have been expanding. Recounts are common and will continue to be part of the contentious post-election landscape. Elections need both audits and recounts, and they need audits and recounts to work well together. This paper describes how to dovetail audits and recounts to bolster public confidence in election results. Every state can do better, and this paper provides guidelines for how.

Exclusive: DOJ mulling potential special counsel if Trump runs in 2024

https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/03/politics/doj-trump-investigation-expansion-special-counsel/index.html

 

They Were Trying to Help Run Elections. Then They Got Criminally Investigated.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton hasn’t just been pursuing supposed voter fraud. His office has also criminally investigated at least 10 election workers, in a harbinger of potential post-midterm turmoil.

Election deniers aren’t the only threats to democracy this year

[CNN] Editor’s Note: Joshua A. Douglas is a law professor at the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law. He is the author of  “Vote for US: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting.” Find him at  www.joshuaadouglas.com and on Twitter @JoshuaADouglas. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. Read more opinion on CNN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the main falsehoods and rumors that have spread on social media in the lead-up to Election Day.

 

The Courts Are the Only Thing Holding Back Total Election Subversion

The false claim of a stolen election metastasized into an election-denialist movement far worse than we could have ever imagined.

 

Voter Data, Democratic Inequality, and the Risk of Political Violence

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4261023&dgcid=ejournal_htmlemail_law:politics:ejournal_abstractlink

Date Written: August 15, 2022

[Excerpt from Abstract]

Campaigns’ increasing reliance on data-driven canvassing has coincided with a disquieting trend in American politics: a stark gap in voter turnout between the rich and poor. 

In this Article, we draw on a novel data set of voter data laws in every state and show that turnout rates among the poor are lower in states that disclose voter history data to campaigns. We also find that after states change their laws to provide voter history to campaigns, these campaigns are far less likely to contact the poor.

The consequences of this vicious cycle are already known: the unique interests of the poor have been entirely unrepresented in the political process. 

To address this threat of marginalizing the poor from democratic politics, we advance three sets of proposals. 

Political parties and individual campaigns in the United States are currently not mandated by law to promote political equality. The above reforms aim to align the short-term interests of parties and campaigns (winning the next election) with the long-term public interest in preserving a healthy democracy. Constructing a more inclusive political system will benefit everyone who seeks to live in a sustainable representative democracy, not just those who are currently marginalized. [Boldface added]

 

In Pennsylvania, the Big Lie Is Spreading Its Roots

As election-deniers become more involved in local politics, they are bringing with them the propaganda and conspiracies of national politics. 

Does the Constitution Guarantee a Right to Vote? The Answer May Surprise You.

For decades, the courts and Congress have taken the lead in expanding the legal right to vote, but the founders never explicitly included it.

 

“YOU’LL LOSE IF YOU GO SOFT”: DONALD TRUMP WANTED BLAKE MASTERS TO LIE MORE ABOUT THE 2020 ELECTION

“I’m not going soft,” the Arizona Republican assured the former president, who told Masters to be more like Kari Lake, per footage from a newly released Fox News documentary.
Oct. 26. 2022

 

See how your votes aren’t equal

A version of this story appears in CNN’s What Matters newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Problem of Majorie Taylor Greene

Robert Draper

October 23 2022,

The New York Times Magazine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/17/magazine/marjorie-taylor-greene.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare

 

Prayer at Pro-Trump Rally Blasts ‘RINO Trash’ and ‘Deep State’

https://www.newsweek.com/prayer-pro-trump-rally-blasts-rino-trash-deep-state-1754088

 

Trump signed statement alleging voter fraud knowing it was false, judge says

Document was part of lawsuit challenging results of 2020 election in Georgia

Donald Trump signed a legal statement alleging voter fraud in the 2020 election despite being told the numbers underpinning the case were false, a federal judge said on Wednesday.

The disclosure was made by the US district judge David Carter, who ordered John Eastman, a former Trump lawyer, to provide more emails to the congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Eastman was one of Trump’s attorneys when the former president and his allies challenged his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.

The legal document was part of a lawsuit by Trump’s team challenging the results in Georgia, a state Trump narrowly lost to Biden, in which they claimed a Georgia county had improperly counted more than 10,000 votes of dead people, felons and unregistered voters.

In an 18-page opinion, Carter said that the former president had “signed a verification swearing under oath” that the inaccurate fraud numbers were “true and correct” or “believed to be true and correct” to the best of his knowledge.

“The emails show that President Trump knew that the specific numbers of voter fraud were wrong but continued to tout those numbers, both in court and to the public,” the judge wrote, adding: “The Court finds that these emails are sufficiently related to and in furtherance of a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Carter previously ruled that Eastman and Trump had probably committed a felony by trying to pressure his then vice-president, Mike Pence, to obstruct Congress.

The ruling was made in a lawsuit filed by Eastman to block disclosure of the emails to the January 6 select committee, following a congressional subpoena.

Carter previously ordered Eastman to provide over 200 emails to the committee, after the lawyer resisted the subpoena and claimed that the communications were privileged.

The judge said on Wednesday that the vast majority of emails still being sought by congressional investigators should not be handed over, as legal protections given to attorneys and their clients apply to the records.

He said eight emails that would normally be shielded under those protections must be given to the committee, after he found that the communications were in furtherance of a crime – one of the few times those legal safeguards can be lifted.

Carter found that four emails show that Eastman and other lawyers suggested that the “primary goal” of filing lawsuits was to delay Congress’s certification of the 2020 election results.

The judge said four other emails “demonstrate an effort by President Trump and his attorneys to press false claims in federal court for the purpose of delaying the January 6 vote”.

At one point, Eastman wrote that although the former president had signed documents related to a lawsuit in Georgia on 1 December, “he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate. For him to sign a new verification with that knowledge (and incorporation by reference) would not be accurate.”

Carter wrote: “President Trump and his attorneys ultimately filed the complaint with the same inaccurate numbers without rectifying, clarifying, or otherwise changing them.”

Trump and his allies filed over 60 lawsuits challenging the 2020 election, with some complaints alleging voter fraud without evidence to support those claims. Those cases were overwhelmingly rejected by judges, some of which Trump appointed to the federal courts.

The January 6 select committee last week voted to subpoena Trump in its investigation. It is expected to issue a report in the coming weeks on its findings.

Forward on Impartial Election Administration”

The following is a guest post from Mike Parsons (Senior Counsel for Election Reformers Network and Program Affiliate Scholar at NYU Law): 

It’s no secret that trust in U.S. elections is worryingly low.  But a new survey points the way towards a promising area for bipartisan reforms to shore up confidence in our elections: impartial election administration.  

The nationwide poll of 1,498 likely voters — commissioned by Election Reformers Network (ERN) and released last week — delves more deeply into how voters think elections should be run.  Its findings offer important insights into how to build a realistic and achievable long-term strategy to protect fair elections in our hyper-partisan era. 

In a rambling, 14-page restatement of false claims and conspiracy theories, the former president did not indicate whether he would testify before the House panel investigating the Capitol riot.

Luke Broadwater and 

 

How Election Lies Took Over the Republican Ticket Nationwide

By Karen YourishDanielle IvoryAaron ByrdWeiyi CaiNick Corasaniti, Meg Felling, Rumsey Taylor and Jonathan Weisman

Oct. 13, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/10/13/us/politics/republican-candidates-2020-election-misinformation.html

‘Stop the steal’ supporters train thousands of U.S. poll observers

 

How Far Would a Republican Majority Go?

Not just democracy is at stake this fall. 

[Excerpt:]cvg

We have moved into a new and frightening era in American politics and governance, one when radicals intent on a revolution and craving major disruption will be not just a vocal minority but potentially dominating a governing body. We cannot risk the full consequences of that brutal reality.

The 2022 midterms are the most important of my lifetime

The Republicans who pledge to ensure that nothing like the 2020 election ever happens again are serious. Their bloviation about ensuring “election integrity” in the future is a front for a more sinister agenda. The increasingly far-right Heritage Foundation has compiled a database going back to 1982, and in all the local, state and national elections over those 40 years can document only 1,384 “proven instances of voter fraud,” many of them individual acts. This supposed threat is the excuse for disenfranchising millions of Americans, whether by keeping them from the polls or delegitimizing the votes they do manage to cast.

The rhetoric of election denial is pure demagoguery, but with real-world menace. In at least two swing states — Arizona and Nevada — true-believer Republican candidates who deny Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump have a good chance of being elected secretary of state, putting them in charge of elections. If they win and the 2024 results are not to their liking, they may simply not accept them.

Trump’s acolytes do have a choice, if not courage or decency. Shame on them for undermining the nation’s faith in the democratic process for personal gain. Vital issues are at stake on Election Day. Abortion rights are gravely threatened after the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Voting rights, especially for minorities, are imperiled. Efforts to fight climate change and make the transition to a clean-energy economy would at least be slowed if Republicans took either the House or the Senate.

But the overarching issue is what President Biden calls the fight for “the soul of this nation.” Do we continue our halting but undeniable progress toward making the Constitution’s guarantees of rights and freedoms apply to all Americans? Or do we reverse course?

I hope you care about the answer. And I hope you vote.

 

THE INEVITABLE INDICTMENT OF DONALD TRUMP

Merrick Garland hasn’t tipped his hand, but it’s clear to me that he will bring charges against the former president.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2022/10/merrick-garland-donald-trump-investigation-indictment

 

State by State Voting Rights Guide

Fierce Debate over voting access intensifies as midterms loom:

Some states expanding pandemic-era voting rights while others look to tighten election security

by Phillip Bailey, USA Today 

October 7, 2022

https://www.usatoday.com/storytelling/grid/united-states-election-voting-rights-state-by-state/

 

How to confront the rising power of the GOP’s election-denying wing

 

The Slow Motion Coup

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2022/10/06/the-slow-motion-coup-mark-danner/

What has Donald Trump taken from our democracy?

Mark Danner

Oct. 6, 2022 edition

 

“The Roberts Court Takes Aim at the Voting Rights Act”

Joshua Douglas, University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law, offers a preview of Merrill v. Milligan in the Washington Monthly.

“The Court took a cleaver to the Voting Rights Act in its last two significant rulings. If the Roberts Court rules for Alabama, as seems likely, the case will complete a sorry trilogy.”

Mr. Raskin represents Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District in the House of Representatives.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/27/opinion/us-second-amendment.html

OPINION: THE EDITORIAL BOARD

[Excerpt:]

All those who value democracy have a role to play in strengthening and supporting the electoral system that powers it, whatever their party. This involves, first, taking the threat posed by election deniers seriously and talking to friends and neighbors about it. It means paying attention to local elections — not just national ones — and supporting candidates who reject conspiracy theories and unfounded claims of fraud. It means getting involved in elections as canvassers or poll watchers or precinct officers. (Mr. Bannon has the right idea about civic participation; he just employs toxic lies as motivation.)

And it means voting, in every race on the ballot and in every election. To this end, employers have a role to play as well, by giving workers time off to vote and encouraging them to do so.

The task of safeguarding democracy does not end with one election. Mr. Trump and others looking to pervert the electoral process are full of intensity and are playing a long game. Only an equally strong and committed countervailing force will meet that challenge.

Meadows texts reveal direct White House communications with pro-Trump operative behind plans to seize voting machines

 

Jan. 6 Twitter witness: Failure to curb Trump spurred ‘terrifying’ choice

In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, a former Twitter official explains what motivated her startling Jan. 6 committee testimony

 

Trump Endorsed QAnon Because He’s Stuck

He’s grasping at straws, not solidifying his political base.

About the author: Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary for homeland security under President Barack Obama, is the faculty chair of the homeland-security program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disasters.

 

Social Media Companies Still Boost Election Fraud Claims, Report Says

The report, by New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, argues that the companies fuel false conspiracies about election fraud despite promises to combat them.

The major social media companies all say they are ready to deal with a torrent of misinformation surrounding the midterm elections in November.

A report released on Monday, however, claimed that they continued to undermine the integrity of the vote by allowing election-related conspiracy theories to fester and spread.

In the report, the Stern Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University said the social media companies still host and amplify “election denialism,” threatening to further erode confidence in the democratic process.

The companies, the report argued, bear a responsibility for the false but widespread belief among conservatives that the 2020 election was fraudulent — and that the coming midterms could be, too. The report joins a chorus of warnings from officials and experts that the results in November could be fiercely, even violently, contended.

 

Trump openly embraces, amplifies QAnon conspiracy theories

Donald Trump is increasingly embracing and endorsing the QAnon conspiracy theory, even as the number of frightening real-world events linked to the movement rises

 

House passes Jan. 6 election reform bill

House passes Jan. 6 election reform bill

 

A Crisis is Coming: The Twin Threats to American Democracy

David Leonhardt is a senior writer at The Times who won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Great Recession.

 

Is Ron DeSantis the Future of the Republican Party?

September 13, 2022

If DeSantis has proved himself a true believer, it is in himself more than any cause. “I think he stumbled into this,” Curbelo, the former Florida congressman, told me of DeSantis’s forays into culture warfare, crediting the governor for his political dexterity in making conservative red meat sound like common sense. 

The governor’s approach to voting issues is especially instructive. Shortly after taking office, he moved to restrict the recently restored voting rights of people with felony convictions, enshrined in a 2018 ballot measure, by requiring those with serious criminal histories to fully pay court fines and fees before re-enfranchisement. His emphasis on scattered episodes of possible fraud has appeared to be situational, highlighted by the creation of an Office of Election Crimes and Security and an announcement in August that more than a dozen former felons were being arrested for illegally voting. (In media interviews and court filings, some of the offenders have claimed they were effectively entrapped, encountering no issue when they sought to determine if they could vote and learning of an eligibility problem only upon their arrest.) When several people from the Villages, the vast Central Florida retirement community that skews Republican, were arrested for trying to cast multiple ballots in the 2020 election, DeSantis did not convene a news conference.

 

The Fight Against an Age-Old Effort to Block Americans From Voting

 

Geoffrey S. Berman, who headed the Manhattan office, says in a book the Justice Department pushed cases, against John Kerry and others, to help Mr. Trump.

Republicans look to restrict ballot measures following a string of progressive wins

The state efforts are a direct threat to abortion-rights advocates and other liberal groups’ efforts to bypass governors and legislatures and take issues directly to voters.

 

There’s No Escaping the Truth About Trump

The former president has imprinted his moral pathologies and will-to-power ethic on the Republican Party.

By Peter Wehner

About the author: Peter Wehner is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum, and the author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/09/trump-republicans-authoritarian-tendencies

 

Former Trump adviser Michael Flynn ‘at the center’ of new movement based on conspiracies and Christian nationalism

 

 

Time is running out to block voting restrictions ahead of 2022 midterms, experts say

Many state laws passed in response to false claims of voter fraud drew quick lawsuits. But as the courts work through the challenges, some of those restrictions will remain in place.

USA TODAY

September 6, 2022

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/09/06/midterm-rules-courts-unlikely-block-voting-restrictions-time/7889052001/?gnt-cfr=1

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

September 6, 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

And, today, New Mexico judge Francis J. Mathew ruled that Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump, must be removed from his office as Otero County commissioner for participating in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In a lawsuit brought by New Mexico citizens, Mathew ruled that Griffin is disqualified for office under the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits from holding office anyone who had engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the country. This is the first time this clause has been enforced since 1869, and the first time a court has found the attack on the Capitol was an insurrection.

It Didn’t Start with Trump: The Decades-Long Saga of How the GOP Went Crazy

The modern Republican Party has always exploited and encouraged extremism.

By David Corn

September-October 2022 Issue

It Didn’t Start with Trump: The Decades-Long Saga of How the GOP Went Crazy

These Disunited States
It is time to consider a radical solution to stave off the prospect of political violence and even civil war in the US.

Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson
September 22, 2022 issue

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2022/09/22/these-disunited-states-steven-simon-jonathan-stevenson/

 

Trump vows pardons, government apology to Capitol rioters if elected

The comments came on the same day President Biden was delivering a prime-time address warning of the threat to democracy from “MAGA Republicans” and election deniers.

 

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BIDEN ON THE CONTINUED BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE NATION

Independence National Historical Park
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

September 1, 2022

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/09/01/remarks-by-president-bidenon-the-continued-battle-for-the-soul-of-the-nation/

Live Updates: Biden Calls on Americans to Resist Threats to Democracy

The president condemned Trump-led extremism and cast the midterm elections as a “battle for the soul of the nation.”

PHILADELPHIA — President Biden traveled to Independence Hall on Thursday to warn that America’s democratic values are under assault by forces of extremism loyal to former President Donald J. Trump, using a prime-time address to define the midterm elections as a “battle for the soul of this nation.”

The speech was intended to deliver a dark message about threats to the fabric of the country’s democracy. But aides said Mr. Biden sought to strike a balance just two months before elections that will determine control of Congress, seeking to offer a sense of optimism about the future and urging Americans to fight back against extremism.

“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic,” Mr. Biden said, noting that not all Republicans follow Mr. Trump’s ideology. “But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.”

Citing the “extraordinary experiment of self-government” represented by the American Constitution, Mr. Biden said that “history tells us a blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy.”

The stakes are high for the president and his political advisers, who believe they must cast the midterms as nothing less than an existential choice for voters between Mr. Biden’s agenda and a return to the extremism of “MAGA Republicans” who have enabled Mr. Trump’s ideology. Mr. Biden plunged into the cultural issues that his party believes could help galvanize Democratic voters, by bringing up reproductive rights and fears that Supreme Court could undo gay marriage.

Read More

“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backward,” Mr. Biden said. “Backward to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.”

The focus on threats to democracy is a return to an issue that Mr. Biden said drove him to run for the presidency, after watching white supremacists march through Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. Since taking office, he has often said that the United States and its allies are engaged in a long-running struggle between “autocracy and democracy” that will determine the fate of the rules-based order.

Mr. Biden spoke to several hundred spectators seated in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the country’s political institutions were born and just steps from the Liberty Bell. In his remarks, Mr. Biden made it clear that he believes the political violence and election denial espoused by the former president and his allies have damaged America’s reputation abroad.

The president had sought to avoid casting the conflict as a purely partisan one, according to White House officials familiar with the speech. But he called on Americans to go to the polls in November and reject Republican candidates who have signed on to the former president’s brand of politics.

He said Americans are not powerless to stop extremism and do not have to act like “bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy” by failing to vote.

“For a long time, we’ve reassured ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed,” Mr. Biden said. “But it is not. We have to defend it. Protect it. Stand up for it. Each and every one of us.”

In particular, Mr. Biden condemned what he sees as an increase in politically violent rhetoric such as the threats against federal agents in the wake of the F.B.I.’s search for classified documents at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Such threats, he said, threaten to undermine faith in the country’s law enforcement and have no place in normal political discourse.

In Thursday’s speech, Mr. Biden was specific about the threats inside America’s borders, saying that his political rivals have formed a party of extremism, threatening the democratic traditions debated and adopted at Independence Hall almost 250 years ago.

Mr. Biden has been planning the speech since early this summer, according to a Democratic official familiar with the president’s thinking. The official, who asked for anonymity to discuss private conversations with Mr. Biden, said the president has been concerned that the forces that animated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol are not fading away.

Recently, however, the president has grown more motivated to deliver it because of persistent false claims of election fraud as voters prepare to go to the polls in the midterms, a White House official said.

In several recent speeches, Mr. Biden has replaced his usual calls for unity with sharp condemnations of “MAGA extremists,” saying Republicans have embraced “semi-fascism.”

Republicans have cited the president’s language as evidence that he has fallen short of his promise to bring the country together.

“Biden has pitted neighbors against each other, labeled half of Americans as fascist and tarnished any idea of his promise of ‘unity,’” Emma Vaughn, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said the president’s aggressive tone has “hit a nerve.”

“We understand that they’re trying to hide, and we understand that ultra-MAGA officeholders want to play games here and dodge accountability for their extreme proposals and actions, but they’re just telling on themselves,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

Mr. Biden’s combative message coincides with new polling that suggests his party’s fortunes — and his own popularity — have improved after several legislative accomplishments, a decline in gas prices and strong job growth that has given Democrats hope that they may retain control of Congress.

A poll published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday found Democrats with a small lead over Republicans when voters were asked which party they preferred in their own districts. Five months ago, Republicans held a larger lead over Democrats in the same survey.

The poll also found some improvement in Mr. Biden’s approval rating, which rose to 45 percent from 42 percent in March. That could mean Mr. Biden is less of a drag on his party’s candidates than some Democratic strategists had feared in the spring.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, once vowed that “100 percent of my focus” would be on stopping Mr. Biden from making progress on his Democratic agenda. Recently, the Senate’s longtime tactician has found himself on the losing end of the legislative ledger.

Mr. McConnell has failed to block several of Mr. Biden’s high-profile bills, including a $1 trillion infrastructure package, a bill to improve competition with China, and a vast new investment in efforts to fight climate change and negotiate drug prices.

That has been in part because Mr. McConnell needs to protect incumbent Republican senators from a suburban backlash against the kinds of extreme positions in parts of the Republican Party that Mr. Biden has been raising more frequently in recent weeks.

The president and his allies still face a difficult task: retaining control of the House and the Senate at a time of high inflation and deep concerns among the majority of voters about the direction of the country under the leadership of Mr. Biden and Democrats in Congress. In The Journal’s survey, two-thirds of the registered voters who were polled said they believe the country’s economy is not good or poor.

But Mr. Biden’s political advisers believe the warnings about political extremism and Mr. Trump are an important part of motivating Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans to come to the polls.

The trip on Thursday will be Mr. Biden’s second to Pennsylvania this week, and he is expected to make a third on Labor Day. Pennsylvania, a swing state, will hold crucial races for the House and Senate as well as a closely watched governor’s race.

During his first year in office, Mr. Biden promised to bring a sense of normalcy to the White House and largely ignored Mr. Trump. But the former president is once again at the fore, with continuing investigations into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and an F.B.I. search last month of his residence in Florida for classified documents.

“I think finally the party and the people are waking up to see we have to hold these folks accountable,” said Quentin James, the president of Collective PAC, an organization dedicated to electing African-American officials.

“You may be paying a little more for your groceries, but the reality of what’s on the other side? It’s much more dire,” he said.

The speech comes at a moment of deep national divisions.

According to an NBC News poll released last month, nearly three-quarters of Americans believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction. The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security have issued several warnings about how false claims regarding election fraud are motivating extremists attacks.

“We are in a crisis in this country. There’s no doubt about it. Not just in terms of the sanctity of the vote or trusting our votes will be counted,” said Allida Black, a historian at the University of Virginia who met privately with Mr. Biden last month to discuss the state of democracy. “We seem to attack rather than embrace responsibility and accountability.”

It is not the first time Mr. Biden has delivered a speech that is not about policies or campaigns but rather the morality of the country. He embarked on a “soul of the nation” bus tour during the presidential campaign and committed to unifying America during his inauguration.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs reported from Philadelphia, and Michael D. Shear from Washington.

 

Trump’s Second Term Would Look Like This

The former president and his allies have explained their plans quite clearly.

About the author: Jonathan Rauchis a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/08/trump-2024-reelection-viktor-orban-hungary/671264/

[Excerpt:]

Today, however, we can do more than just speculate about how a second Trump term would unfold, because the MAGA movement has been telegraphing its plans in some detail. In a host of ways—including the overt embrace of illiberal foreign leaders; the ruthless behavior of Republican elected officials since the 2020 election; Trump allies’ elaborate scheming, as uncovered by the House’s January 6 committee, to prevent the peaceful transition of power; and Trump’s own actions in the waning weeks of his presidency and now as ex-president—the former president and his allies have laid out their model and their methods.

Begin with the model. 

 

‘You are more powerful than you think.’ Why one man says it’s too soon to write off democracy in America

Updated August 28, 2022

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/28/us/eric-liu-american-democracy-resilient-cec

[Excerpt:]

Liu, 54, is CEO and co-founder of Citizen University, a nonprofit group based in Seattle, Washington, that teaches people how to cultivate civic power. He also is an evangelist for democracy, a charismatic writer and speaker whose philosophy could be distilled in this observation from the late historian Howard Zinn: “Democracy is not what governments do; it’s what people do.”

Democrats see the once unthinkable: A narrow path to keeping the House

While Democrats acknowledge they still face major hurdles, there has been an unmistakable mood shift, according to interviews with candidates, strategists and officials

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/08/27/democrats-republicans-house-midterms/

Don’t Succumb to MAGA Fatalism

Three strategies to cope with Trump-induced gloom.

THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY IS NOW AT THE TOP OF MIDTERM VOTERS’ MINDS

According to a new poll, “threats to democracy” have overtaken the cost of living as the chief issue facing  American voters, most of whom believe that Donald Trump should remain under legal investigation over his failed plot to subvert the election.

 

Mr. Linker, a former columnist at The Week, writes the newsletter “Eyes on the Right.”

Down one path is the prosecution of the former president.

That would set an incredibly dangerous precedent. 

We wouldn’t even avoid potentially calamitous consequences if Mr. Trump somehow ended up barred from running or his party opted for another candidate to be its nominee in 2024 — say, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida.

How long do you think it would take for a freshly inaugurated President DeSantis to pardon a convicted and jailed Donald Trump? Hours? Minutes? And that move would probably be combined with a promise to investigate and indict Joe Biden for the various “crimes” he allegedly committed in office.

That’s why it’s imperative we set aside the Plan A of prosecuting Mr. Trump. In its place, we should embrace a Plan B that defers the dream of a post-presidential perp walk in favor of allowing the political process to run its course. If Mr. Trump is the G.O.P. nominee again in 2024, Democrats will have no choice but to defeat him yet again, hopefully by an even larger margin than they did last time.

There is an obvious risk: If Mr. Trump runs again, he might win. But that’s a risk we can’t avoid — which is why we may well have found ourselves in a situation with no unambivalently good options.

 

Democratic senator says that Arizona GOP has ‘dangerous ideas’

[Excerpt:]

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) said on Sunday that members of his state’s Republican Party have “dangerous ideas.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” anchor Jake Tapper asked Kelly about his thoughts on the state’s GOP with regard to candidates running for office who have denied that President Biden was legitimately elected or suggested that their political opponents be jailed.

“Well, unfortunately, I think right now that the folks you mentioned have some really dangerous ideas, and they’re not consistent with most Arizonans, even most Republicans in Arizona,” Kelly told Tapper. 

“So I’m hoping we can move away from that. My Republican colleagues that I talk to in the United States Senate, I mean, these are good, good people, by and large, who are working really hard,” Kelly added. “And they don’t need those dangerous ideas in the United States Senate.”

Kelly’s remarks come after a new Fox News poll showed that the lawmaker has an 8-point lead over his Trump-backed challenger in his state’s Senate race. Fifty percent of respondents said they support Kelly, while 42 percent said they back Masters. 

 

How Trump’s Endorsements Elevate Election Lies and Inflate His Political Power

The former president’s 220 endorsements have been guided more by self-serving impulses than by unseating Democrats.

[Excerpt:]

The unifying thread through the majority of Mr. Trump’s endorsements has been a candidate’s willingness to help him spread the lie that he won the 2020 presidential race. Many of these candidates either took concrete actions to subvert the election, such as voting in Congress or state legislatures to delay certification of the vote, suing to overturn results or backing partisan reviews of the ballot count. Others made clear public statements in political ads, social media posts or on the campaign trail that expressed doubts about the 2020 election. [Boldface added]

 

Beto O’Rourke’s book spotlights Texans’ struggles for voting rights

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/08/19/beto-orourkes-book-spotlights-texans-struggles-voting-rights/

[Excerpt:]

O’Rourke has listed both “The Odyssey” and Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” as his favorite books. (He named his first son Ulysses.) This Ur-story of a long and winding journey infuses the book. Of course, in his picaresque travelogue of Texan political activism, O’Rourke is also telling his own story — as a careful listener and tireless avatar of all those who have fought against injustice, past and present.

But of all the injustices, the contemporary assault on the right to vote stands front and center. Like many Republican-controlled state legislatures, Texas passed laws in 2021 that curtailed access to voting methods favored by Democratic-aligned constituencies (especially voters of color) under the guise of “election integrity.” Since 2013 (following the Shelby County v. Holder decision, which substantially weakened the Voting Rights Act), Texas has closed 750 polling stations.

 

The Arizona Republican Party’s Anti-Democratic Experience

First, it turned against the establishment. Now it has set its sights on democracy – the principles, the process and even the word itself.

By Robert Draper

August 15, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/15/magazine/arizona-republicans-democracy

 

 

‘Stop the Steal’ Is a Metaphor

The scholar Theda Skocpol—renowned for her research on the Tea Party movement a decade ago—explains how American politics has evolved since then.

[Excerpt:]
“‘Stop the Steal’ is a metaphor,” Skocpol said, “for the country being taken away from the people who think they should rightfully be setting the tone.” 
[E]vidence remains secondary when what you’re really doing is questioning whose vote counts—and who counts as an American.
Liz Cheney, the Republican From the State of Reality

She isn’t really fighting to keep her seat in Congress. She’s fighting Donald Trump.

August 12, 2022

 

The Absurd Argument Against Making Trump Obey the Law
MICHELLE GOLDBERG

What has strengthened Trump has not been prosecution but impunity, an impunity that some of those who stormed the Capitol thought, erroneously, applied to them as well. Trump’s mystique is built on his defiance of rules that bind everyone else. He is reportedly motivated to run for president again in part because the office will protect him from prosecution. If we don’t want the presidency to license crime sprees, we should allow presidents to be indicted, not accept some dubious norm that ex-presidents shouldn’t be.

The question is how much deference the rest of us should give to this belief. No doubt, Trump’s most inflamed fans might act out in horrifying ways; many are heavily armed and speak lustily about civil war. To let this dictate the workings of justice is to accept an insurrectionists’ veto. The far right is constantly threatening violence if it doesn’t get its way. Does anyone truly believe that giving in to its blackmail will make it less aggressive?

 

I’m a Conservative, and I Don’t Know What the GOP Stands For

KNOW NOTHINGS

Free markets? Nope. Limited government. Uh-uh. Strong foreign policy? No, America first. Rule of law? LOL.

Dick Cheney ad to air on Fox News, bringing stinging critique to Trump’s favorite shows

By Tom Howell Jr.

The Washington Times

August 10, 2022

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/aug/10/dick-cheney-ad-air-fox-news-bringing-stinging-crit/

“It’s important not only for Fox News viewers, but for the network’s hosts and top executives, to hear former Vice President Cheney‘s warning about the ongoing danger Donald Trump and his lies pose to our constitutional republic,” Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler told the outlet.

If Trump broke a law on the removal of official records, would he be barred from future office?

Aug. 8, 2022

[Excerpt:]

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/08/us/politics/donald-trump-president-criminal-law

Early reports that the F.B.I. search of former President Donald J. Trump’s residence in Florida related to an investigation into whether he had unlawfully taken government files when he left the White House focused attention on an obscure criminal law barring removal of official records. The penalties for breaking that law include disqualification from holding any federal office.

Because Mr. Trump is widely believed to be preparing to run for president again in 2024, that unusual penalty raised the prospect that he might be legally barred from returning to the White House.

Specifically, the law in question — Section 2071 of Title 18 of the United States Code — makes it a crime if someone who has custody of government documents or records “willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies or destroys” them.

If convicted, defendants can be fined or sentenced to prison for up to three years. In addition, the statute says, if they are currently in a federal office, they “shall forfeit” that office, and they shall “be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”

On its face, then, if Mr. Trump were to be charged and convicted of removing, concealing or destroying government records under that law, he would seem to be ineligible to become president again.

But there was reason for caution: The law briefly received a close look in 2015, after it came to light that Hillary Clinton, then widely anticipated to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, had used a private email server to conduct government business while secretary of state. [Boldface added]

Some Republicans were briefly entranced with whether the law could keep Mrs. Clinton out of the White House, including Michael Mukasey, a former attorney general in the administration of George W. Bush. So was at least one conservative think tank.

But in considering that situation, several legal scholars — including Seth B. Tillman of Maynouth University in Ireland and Eugene Volokh of the University of California, Los Angeles — noted that the Constitution sets eligibility criteria for who can be president, and argued that Supreme Court rulings suggest Congress cannot alter them. The Constitution allows Congress to disqualify people from holding office in impeachment proceedings, but grants no such power for ordinary criminal law.

Mr. Volokh later reported on his blog that Mr. Mukasey — who is also a former federal judge — wrote that “upon reflection,” Mr. Mukasey had been mistaken and Mr. Tillman’s analysis was “spot on.” 

State Legislatures Are Torching Democracy

Even in moderate places like Ohio, gerrymandering has let unchecked Republicans pass extremist laws that could never make it through Congress.

 

[Excerpt:]

A Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released this week found that, without Trump on the ballot, DeSantis would lead his closest rival, former Vice President Mike Pence, by a 15-point margin.

“I do think that voters are going to have a hard time choosing between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis because they are so similar in what they offer,” Schilling said. “I don’t think there is a DeSantis without Donald Trump opening that huge door for him . . . .” 

 

The Different Potential Versions of Any “Independent State Legislature Doctrine”

In my testimony on the independent state legislature theory (ISLT) to the House Administration Committee, I identified seven different potential versions of such a doctrine, should the Court endorse it at all.  That highlights the fact that the question is not just whether the Court endorses such a doctrine, but what the scope of that doctrine would be.  I thought it might be helpful to list those different potential versions here.

In my testimony, I address the practical consequences of each of these different versions, as well as the historical evidence, for or against, any of these versions.  Here, I will just list these versions without elaborating upon them.  One can find endorsements of each, or at least suggestions of support for them, either in statements individual Justices have issued or in well-informed commentary.  Also, if the Court endorses the doctrine, that doctrine could include more than one of these specific versions. 

I’ve listed them more or less in order of how wide-ranging the consequences would be of each version, with the most sweeping versions listed first:

1. State constitutions.  State constitutions cannot impose substantive constraints on state legislation regulating national elections

2. Voter-initiated laws.  Voter-initiated legislation cannot impose substantive constraints on state legislation regulating national elections

3. General v. Specific State Constitutional Provisions.  State constitutions or voter-initiated laws can impose substantive constraints on such legislation, but cannot transfer permanently transfer entirely out of the legislature’s hands a fundamental function involving state regulation of national elections (such as redistricting)

4. Regulating v. Permanently Displacing State Legislatures. State constitutions can impose substantive constraints on state legislation regulating national elections if those constraints are specific enough, but state courts cannot enforce more general state constitutional provisions against state legislation regulating national elections.

5. Direct Conflicts with State Election Laws in the Administration and Interpretation of State Election Laws.  State executive officials and courts cannot invoke general principles or canons of interpretation that generate a result which directly contradicts or conflicts with a provision in state election law regulating national elections.

6. Straying ”Too Far” from State Election Laws in Administration and Interpretation of State Election Laws.  Even if executive action or state judicial interpretation does not generate a result that directly conflicts with state election law, the ISLT precludes executive action or state judicial interpretation that strays too far from the text of state election laws that regulate national elections.

7. Limits on State Court Remedial Relief.  State courts can enforce substantive provisions in state constitutions or voter-initiated enactments, but if the courts find a violation, they must give the legislature the first opportunity to decide how to remedy that violation, at least absent urgent time constraints.

Note that I do not include on this list a version in which state legislation regulating national elections could not be subject to gubernatorial veto.  I’m not aware of any major defender of the ISLT who argues for that version.

 

 

Why Garland Should Go Big

He shouldn’t bring a pen to the gun fight

August 2, 2022

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/why-garland-should-go-big?

 

Republicans’ next big play is to ‘scare the hell out of Washington’ by rewriting the Constitution. And they’re willing to play the long game to win.

  • The conservative movement isn’t done reshaping the Constitution from the ground up.
  • Conservatives are now pushing an unprecedented convention to re-write the US bedrock text since 1788. 
  • So far, 19 GOP states have joined a rapidly-growing conservative movement to call a new convention.  

 

“How Six States Could Overturn the 2024 Election”

Barton Gellman in The Atlantic on the potential implications of Moore v. Harper for presidential elections (if, a big if, any independent state legislature holding in the congressional election context extends to presidential elections, too).

To understand the stakes, and the motives of Republicans who brought the case, you need only one strategic fact of political arithmetic. Six swing states—Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina—are trending blue in presidential elections but ruled by gerrymandered Republican state legislatures. No comparable red-trending states are locked into Democratic legislatures. . . .

If you give the legislature a blank check on the manner of appointing presidential electors, then a Republican majority could—in the most muscular version of ISL—simply disregard a Biden victory in the state’s popular vote and appoint Trump electors instead. . . .

But if the Supreme Court adopts the ISL doctrine in Moore, the argument that Texas made will become a model in 2024. The conditions that Texas cited in its argument are almost always present in contemporary elections. Legislatures pass laws on the conduct of the vote, but election administrators have to interpret those laws and set implementing rules such as precinct locations, polling times, and counting procedures. State courts sometimes mandate changes in the rules to comply with their state constitutions. It’s all but impossible to conduct an election without making rules or choices that the legislature did not specifically authorize.

The pernicious threat of ISL, wrote Richard L. Hasen, an election-law expert at UCLA, is that “a state legislature dominated by Republicans in a state won by Democrats could simply meet and declare that local administrators or courts have deviated from the legislature’s own rules, and therefore the legislature will take matters into its own hands and choose its own slate of electors.”

 

[Excerpt:]

The 65 Project, a bipartisan group dedicated to disbarring lawyers who filed frivolous cases related to the 2020 election, or who otherwise participated in the coup attempt, has been very busy in recent months. It filed a series of complaints against advisers of defeated former president Donald Trump, including Jenna Ellis, Boris Epshteyn, Cleta Mitchell, John Eastman and Joseph diGenova, as well as two lawyers who signed on to be fake electors and two lawyers who participated in the events of Jan. 6, 2o21.

Now, the group is making its most ambitious move yet: It is filing a specific demand with the Supreme Court to kick Eastman, the chief architect of the coup plot, out of the elite Supreme Court Bar (lawyers eligible to argue in the highest court). And it has requested that Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from the disciplinary proceeding because of the role that Thomas’s wife, Ginni Thomas, played in the 2020 scheme.

 

The Youth Voting Rights Act Would Transform Access for Young Voters

In this op-ed, a lawyer who helped write the Youth Voting Rights Act explains why it’s so crucial.

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/youth-voting-rights-act-what-is

The Youth Voting Rights Act, introduced this month by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Nikema Williams (D-GA):

1) establishes a national standard of review for 26th Amendment legal challenges;

2) expands voter registration services at public colleges and universities;

3) allows young people in every state to preregister to vote before turning 18;

4) requires institutions of higher education to have on-campus polling places, with waivers available as appropriate;

5) codifies the right to vote from a college address;

6) guarantees that states accept student IDs to meet voter-identification requirements;

7) creates a grant program that supports youth involvement in elections, including paid fellowships for young people to work with state and local election administrators to engage their peers; and

8) gathers data on registration and voting based on age and race.

 

Most third parties have failed. Here’s why ours won’t.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/07/27/forward-party-new-centrist-third/

David Jolly is a former Republican congressman from Florida and is executive chairman of the Serve America Movement. Christine Todd Whitman is a former Republican governor of New Jersey and co-founder of the Renew America Movement. Andrew Yang is a former Democratic presidential candidate and is co-chair of the Forward Party.

 

Trump Just Told Us His Master Plan

If he gets in next time, he won’t be dislodged by any means.

Trump’s first term was mitigated by his ignorance, indolence, and incompetence. Since the humiliation of his 2020 defeat, however, Trump has been studying how to use a second chance if he gets one. The one abiding interest of his life, revenge, will provide the impetus. Next time, he will have the wholehearted support of a White House staff selected to enable him. Next time, he will have the backing in Congress of a party remade in his own image. Next time, he’ll be acting to ensure that his opponents never again get a “next time” of their own.

He may not succeed, but he’ll know what he’s trying to do.

 

The Forgotten Constitutional Weapon Against Voter Restrictions

A former Justice Department lawyer thinks he’s found a way to penalize states that undermine voting rights.

The Trailer: How DeSantis and other GOP candidates are ditching ‘legacy media’ for friendly outlets

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/07/26/trailer-how-desantis-other-gop-candidates-are-ditching-legacy-media-friendly-outlets

[Excerpts:]

As the number of local media outlets shrink, and as alternative media outlets boom, Republicans are finding less use for what they disparagingly call “fake news” — or, more diplomatically, the “legacy media.” Social media, and decades of investment in conservative outlets, have made it easy to reach voters outside of the “legacy” filter.

In Pennsylvania, four Republicans running for governor briefly demanded a Republican debate moderator as a condition for facing off; Doug Mastriano, who won the nomination, kept media outlets out of his closing rallies. In Missouri, two leading candidates in the GOP’s U.S. Senate primary avoided televised debates; one of them, ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, only committed to a debate run by two conservative news sites.

“Donald Trump might be the last president to be elected with a majority of CNN hits,” said Matt Schlapp, the president of the American Conservative Union and its CPAC conferences. “There is just so much hostility within legacy media toward people with our point of view that you do have to ask yourself — after all these experiences, is it even worth it to try?”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who had selected Levin to moderate two of the debates, presided over an “invite-only” conference at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. While a few more outlets were permitted to cover his dinner speech on Saturday, DeSantis talked proudly about keeping them out of the day-long conference — the debates, speeches from legislative and statewide GOP leaders, and talks by prominent conservative pundits.

“We in the state of Florida are not going to allow legacy media outlets to be involved in our primaries,” DeSantis reportedly told the crowd of more than a thousand conservatives, who had paid at least $100 to attend the summit. “I’m not going to have a bunch of left-wing media people asking our candidates gotcha questions.”

“I have friends across the country,” DeSantis reportedly told his audience. “They say all they do is watch Florida, because they figure three months later, their state may get around and doing what we’re doing.

 

Strongest Evidence of Guilt: A Chart Tracking Trump’s Knowledge and Intent in Efforts to Overturn the Election By Ryan Goodman, Justin Hendrix and Clara Apt Just SecurityJuly 11, 2022

https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/just-security-chart-on-president-trumps-knowledge-and-intent-july-11-2022.pdf

 

The insurrectionists’ clubhouse: Former Trump aides find a home at a little-known MAGA hub

Nearly two dozen alleged members of the Jan. 6 plot are connected to a single Capitol Hill address.

https://www.grid.news/story/politics/2022/07/05/the-insurrectionists-clubhouse-former-trump-aides-find-a-home-at-a-little-known-maga-hub/

[Excerpt:]

The network has broad reach and keeps an eye on future elections: CPI helped found and support the election monitoring nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell, along with roughly a dozen other dark money and advocacy groups, virtually all of which share the address of the CPI town house on official reporting. Mitchell did not respond to inquiries from Grid for this story.

These organizations employ or assist at least 20 key operatives, reportedly involved in Trump’s failed effort to subvert the 2020 election, including Mitchell, ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was the subject of both a recent Jan. 6 hearing and an FBI raid. And they help raise millions for Trump-aligned members of Congress — more than $38 million over the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

The House Freedom Caucus, whose members were allegedly involved in planning and executing strategies to derail the certification of 2020 election results to help Trump retain power, keeps its PAC at CPI’s headquarters and holds meetings at the brownstone. The Senate Conservatives Fund also calls the building home. The group has backed Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who, according to text messages obtained by the Jan. 6 congressional committee, was involved in a pressure campaign directed by Trump attorney John Eastman to get state legislators to change election results in key states. When the effort failed, Lee voted to certify the election. The fund also supports Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, who both promoted vote fraud lies and voted against certifying the election results.

Caroline Wren, a key organizer for the “Stop the Steal” rally preceding the Capitol riot, was invited by CPI to speak at an event last year. The group made Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media guru, a CPI digital fellow and asked him to speak about “Winning Communications Strategy” at a recent conference. According to the Jan. 6 committee, Scavino wrote many of Trump’s postelection posts falsely alleging vote fraud and promoting his rally on Jan. 6. Jenna Ellis, a Trump lawyer who wrote memos attempting to justify overturning the election, records her podcast, “The Jenna Ellis podcast,” at CPI. Requests for comment to Wren, Scavino and Ellis went unanswered.

CPI and its affiliates are more than just a safe harbor: The network and its employees are a continued source of false vote fraud allegations, and produce and amplify defensive messaging in conservative circles responding to the major revelations of the Jan. 6 hearings.

“They’ve got a lot of money, and they’re willing to use that money in any way to advance their goals,” said Norm Ornstein, election expert and emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “And their goals are radical goals about voter suppression, overturning election results if they don’t like them and trying to keep any Democrat who’s in office from governing.” [Boldface added]

 

DOJ Challenges AZ Voter Registration Law

From the press release:

The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the State of Arizona challenging voting restrictions imposed by House Bill 2492 (2022), a recently-enacted law set to take effect in January 2023. The United States’ complaint challenges provisions of House Bill 2492 under Section 6 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) and Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964….

The United States’ complaint contends that House Bill 2492 violates the NVRA by requiring that applicants produce documentary proof of citizenship before they can vote in presidential elections or vote by mail in any federal election when they register to vote using the uniform federal registration form created by the NVRA. This requirement flouts the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Ariz., Inc., 570 U.S. 1 (2013), which rejected an earlier attempt by Arizona to impose a similar documentary proof of citizenship mandate on applicants seeking to vote in federal elections. The United States’ complaint also contends that House Bill 2492 violates Section 101 of the Civil Rights Act by requiring election officials to reject voter registration forms based on errors or omissions that are not material to establishing a voter’s eligibility to cast a ballot.

Tuscon.com has this story, and the Hill this one.

 

Election fraud claims from 2020 are widespread on talk radio, contributing to the belief that the midterm results cannot be trusted.

Stuart Thompson writes about online information flows.

 

Despite rebukes, Trump’s legal brigade is thriving

Their claims were dismissed as baseless, but many attorneys have never faced discipline and have found new business as go-to MAGA lawyers.

Former President Donald J. Trump has weathered scandals by keeping his intentions under wraps, but recent testimony paints a stark portrait of a man willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/03/us/politics/new-insights-into-trumps-state-of-mind-on-jan-6-chip-away-at-doubts

 

DIANE REHM: ON MY MIND | 

A Strengthening Case Against Donald Trump

After the last two weeks of testimony at the January 6th committee hearings, she says the answer is tilting toward yes on both counts in the case of former President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson served up new details about President Trump’s behavior before, during, and after the attack on the Capitol. Her testimony filled in some of the blanks legal experts said might prevent the Department of Justice from indicting the former president.

The committee has now issued a subpoena for the former White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, who opposed plans to overturn the 2020 election – and is seen as a critical witness in establishing criminal liability.

Barbara McQuade joined Diane to help explain the strengthening case against Donald Trump.

GUESTS

Barbara McQuade, Former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; professor, University of Michigan Law School

https://wamu.org/story/22/07/01/a-strengthening-case-against-donald-trump

Supreme Court Will Hear Moore v. Harper, the Independent State Legislature Theory Case from North Carolina; This Case Could Severely Curtail the Ability of State Courts to Protect Voting Rights and Stop Partisan Gerrymandering

The Supreme Court today just agreed to hear Moore v. Harper, an “independent state legislature” theory case from North Carolina. This case has the potential to fundamentally rework the relationship between state legislatures and state courts in protecting voting rights in federal elections. It also could provide the path for election subversion.

The issue presented in this case has been a recurring one in recent years. Two parts of the Constitution, Article I, Section 4 as to congressional elections and Article II as to presidential elections give state “legislatures” the power to set certain rules (in the Art. I, section 4 context, subject to congressional override). The Supreme Court has long understood the use of the term legislature here to broadly encompass a state’s legislative process, such as the need for a governor’s signature on legislative action (or veto override) about congressional elections. See Smiley v. Holm. As recently as 2015, the Supreme Court held that the voters in Arizona could use the initiative process to create an independent redistricting commission to draw congressional districts even when the state legislature objected. See Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission v. Arizona Legislature.

But that latter case was 5-4 with a strong dissent by Chief Justice Roberts, who believed the legislature could not be cut out of the process. Most of the Justices in the majority in that case are now off the Court.

There’s a more radical version of the idea that the Legislature has power, standing on its own as a body and not part of the general structure of state government, in the independent state legislature theory.

Take the facts of the Moore case. The North Carolina Supreme Court, interpreting a provision of the state constitution protecting the right to vote, held that partisan gerrymandering violated the state constitution and required drawing fairer lines, including in Congressional districts. That state court is majority-Democrat and the NC General Assembly is majority Republican. The Republican legislature argued that this holding usurped its sole and plenary power to choose the manner for drawing congressional districts.

Pause on that for a moment: the theory in its extreme is that the state constitution as interpreted by the state supreme court is not a limit on legislative power. This extreme position would essentially neuter the development of any laws protecting voters more broadly than the federal constitution based on voting rights provisions in state constitutions.

And this theory might not just restrain state supreme courts: it can also potentially restrain state and local agencies and governors implementing rules for running elections.

And this kind of argument shows how the ISL theory, if taken to its extreme, could help foment election subversion. How so? Suppose a state agency interprets state rules to allow for the counting of certain ballots, and doing so favors one candidate. If the leaders of the legislature are from the other party, and they say that the interpretation does not follow the views of the legislature, it’s impermissible and the results need to flip.

Now there may be many responses to such arguments, including arguments like laches—you can’t start raising these arguments after an election when things don’t go your way.

This was in fact the theory that Trump allies tried to raise after the PA Supreme Court extended the time to receive absentee ballots in the 2020 elections because of covid, relying on voter protective provisions in the State constitution. Trump allies argued this usurped the power of the state legislature to set deadlines, and Justice Alito at the time (Circuit Justice for the Third Circuit) put the counting of such ballots on hold. There were about 10,000 such ballots, far fewer than the 80,000 vote victory of Biden in the state. But if it had been closer, a radical reading of ISL could have led to a flipping of results.

Now may be more limited ways of reading the ISL theory, such as to apply only when a state court or agency decision very strongly deviates from legislative language about how to run federal elections.

There are also strong originalist arguments that might persuade some of the Justices not to adopt such a radical reading of these constitutional provisions.

But buckle up! An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great mischief.

[This post has been updated]

 

The People v. Donald Trump

The evidence for a possible criminal case against the former president is piling up.

JUNE 29, 2022

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/06/hutchinson-january-6-trump-criminal-charges-odds/661434/

 

Federal prosecutors and congressional investigators are documenting how the former president’s “Be there, will be wild!” post became a catalyst for militants before the Capitol assault.

 

The Supreme Court has chipped away at the Voting Rights Act for 9 years. This case could be the next blow.

The diminished Voting Rights Act has already played a key role in the 2022 elections via redistricting.

 

Trump’s legal exposure may be growing – and 4 other takeaways from the Jan. 6 hearing

The January 6 committee is doing what the political media failed to do

The Jan. 6 committee has a narrow but priceless opening

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/06/05/jan-6-committee-hearings-high-stakes/

[Excerpt:]

Lies about the 2020 election are an animating force for an entire faction of the GOP and have been mobilized as a pretext for corrupting the electoral system to smooth the way for a more successful assault on majority rule in the next presidential election. Even in the face of all our other challenges, protecting democracy is our nation’s most important task. The Jan. 6 committee has a narrow but priceless opening to sound the call to battle.

 

https://www.brennancenter.org/about/staff/will-wilder

 

To Trust Election Results, We Must Trust The People Administering Them

By Amber McReynolds and Heather Balas|

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/to-trust-election-results-we-must-trust-the-people-administering-them

[Excerpts:]

It isn’t only in Georgia that our nation faces these challenges. Every state’s top election official, as well as at least 60 percent of their local counterparts, enters office with ties to a political party — making the U.S. an outlier among advanced democracies. Canada, Great Britain and Australia, for example, pick equivalents of secretaries of state by appointment based on qualifications and without regard to political party.

The situation is not hopeless. Policy options include: 1) Selecting election officials using impartial appointment models; 2) Electing these officials in nonpartisan races that remove all party affiliations from the ballot; or 3) Requiring election experience for people running for the posts. 

Many election officials support such reforms. Secretaries of state have told us that a law prohibiting political endorsements would help them say no to such requests. County clerks in states like Washington support reforms to make election administration nonpartisan. And local election officials, including in Virginia, are raising alarms over the increasingly partisan role of party-selected county election boards.

To be clear, our nation is blessed with many election officials who serve tirelessly. We absolutely must protect them from harm or coercion. At the same time, we must insist that election officials’ integrity remain beyond reproach. States must, at minimum, pass ethics codes for elected officials requiring political and financial neutrality, and they must do it right away. 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson
June 2, 2022
https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/
[Forcefully conveying the concertedly anti-democratic efforts of Trump enablers – including Eastman, Giuliani, Pence, Brooks, Mitchell, Bannon and the Republican National Committee -to overturn election 2020 and beyond, with this admonition to all Americans from Nick Penniman, founder and CEO of wthe nonpartisan election watchdog group Issue One:  “This is completely unprecedented in the history of American elections that a political party would be working at this granular level to put a network together…. It looks like now the Trump forces are going directly after the legal system itself and that should concern everyone.”][See profiles of Eastman, Giuliani, Pence, Brooks, Mitchell, Bannon and the Republican National Committee in our Card Deck featuring 54+ Trump enablers]
Read the Trump-world legal memo that a judge ruled was likely part of a criminal effort to overturn the election
An attorney sketched out a plan for then Vice-President Mike Pence to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Kyle Cheney
June 1, 2022
https://www.politico.com/minutes/congress/06-1-2022/jan-6-strategy-memo/

SPECIAL REPORT

‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections

Placing operatives as poll workers and building a “hotline” to friendly attorneys are among the strategies to be deployed in Michigan and other swing states.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/01/gop-contest-elections-tapes-00035758

States’ Concerted Efforts to Curb Election Misinformation

Cecilia Kang, N.Y. Times, reports on efforts in several states to combat election misinformation in advance of November.

 

Senate candidate Oz shows how Trump still threatens democracy

 

Trump loyalist who lost Georgia governor primary with just 3.4% of the vote is refusing to admit defeat

Gerrymandering, a legal form of vote stealing, more entrenched now than ever

Glenn C. Altschuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the co-author (with Stuart Blumin) of “Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century.”
Telling Our Story: An Elections Communication Guidehttps://www.electionsgroup.com/telling-our-story-guide

Election officials have an extremely important and wonderful story to tell. They oversee and administer one of the best voting systems in the world, one that gives millions of Americans a voice in determining their future and the future of their country.

 

Wisconsin: “Republican state elections commissioner Dean Knudson abruptly resigns, rebuking his party’s embrace of Trump’s false election claims”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

A Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission under fire from members of his own party for refusing to entertain 2020 election distortions stunned his colleagues Wednesday by announcing his resignation from the oversight board and blasting the GOP’s continued focus on former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.

 

Election Deniers Thrive Even as Trumpism Drifts: 5 Primary Takeaways

May 18, 2022

 

DeSantis taps self-described ‘Florida gun lawyer’ to oversee elections

(CNN) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has put in charge of the state’s election systems a deeply conservative state lawmaker who has championed legislation to ban so-called sanctuary cities and calls himself the “Florida gun lawyer.”

Byrd takes over the Florida Department of State at a critical juncture in the agency’s history: For the first time, the office will oversee a new election security force with unprecedented authority to hunt for election and voting violations in the state. The new election force was a top priority for DeSantis, who signed a law to create the Office of Election Crimes and Security earlier this year.
The change in leadership comes amid a busy midterm election cycle where DeSantis will be on the ballot, and with the Department of State embroiled in multiple lawsuits over Florida’s new congressional map and a 2021 law that put new restrictions on mail-in voting and other election measures. On Thursday, a state judge called the new DeSantis-backed congressional boundaries unconstitutional because they diminish the power of Black voters in northern Florida, but an appellate court on Friday stayed the lower court’s ruling.

 

Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper agreed with an interviewer that President Trump posed “a threat to democracy.” Other former administration officials have expressed similar concerns.

In his new book “A Sacred Oath,” released earlier this week, Mark T. Esper, the former defense secretary, revealed that President Donald J. Trump in 2020 had floated the idea of launching missiles into Mexico to “destroy the drug labs” and asked why the military could not “just shoot” racial justice protesters in Washington in the legs.

Mr. Esper also described his concerns that Mr. Trump might misuse the military during the 2020 election, for example by asking soldiers to seize ballot boxes. On Monday, when a Fox News host asked if he thought President Trump “was a threat to democracy,” Mr. Esper was blunt.

“I think that given the events of Jan. 6, given how he has undermined the election results, he incited people to come to D.C., stirred them up that morning and failed to call them off, to me that threatens our democracy,” he said.

[Boldface  added]

In the last year, the Republican Party has transformed

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

May 11. 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-11-2022?s=r


2020 ELECTION: TRUMP LAWYER JOHN EASTMAN LITERALLY TOLD A LAWMAKER TO TOSS ABSENTEE VOTES, UNSEAT BIDEN ELECTORS

Newly revealed emails show the inner-workings of Eastman’s extreme plan to overturn 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.

BY ERIC LUTZ

MAY 11, 2022

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/05/john-eastman-pennsylvania-2020-election-plan?

 

Inside Mark Meadows’s final push to keep Trump in power

The former congressman played a key role in Trump’s effort to overturn the election, according to his texts, congressional investigations and interviews

 

How 6 GOP candidates shifted their tones on ‘stolen election’ claims

 

DHS watchdog says Trump’s agency appears to have altered report on Russian interference in 2020 election in part because of politics

A Reuters Special Report: Trump Allies Breach U.S. Voting Systems in Search of 2020 Fraud ‘Evidence’

Chasing proof of vote-rigging conspiracy theories, Republican officials and activists in eight U.S. locales have plotted to gain illegal access to balloting systems, undermining the security of elections they claim to protect.

By ALEXANDRA ULMER and NATHAN LAYNE

Filed April 28, 2022

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-election-breaches?

Building the “Big Lie”: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth — ProPublica

Internal emails and interviews with key participants reveal for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the rigged election theory touted evidence they knew to be disproven, disputed or dismissed as dubious.

 

How Bad Could Things Get for the Voting Rights Act? The Supreme Court Just Gave Us a Preview.

APRIL 13, 2022

by  and 

How Bad Could Things Get for the Voting Rights Act? The Supreme Court Just Gave Us a Preview.

 

Trump should be charged. Don’t let the House pass the buck.

So now it is up the select committee and the Justice Department, which both seem to be caught in a cycle of hand-wringing. They worry about the “taint” of a referral and agonize over fears that Trump and the GOP will discredit any investigation as a partisan witch hunt.

But here’s a reality check: No matter what they do, no matter how cautiously they act, Trump will react with bad faith and demagoguery.

The Justice Department could hire an avatar of respectability and integrity to handle the prosecution (see: Robert Mueller) — and it wouldn’t matter. Whatever it does, Trump will let loose the dogs of disinformation, deceit and obstruction.

Knowing it can’t control the reaction, maybe the select committee should just do the right thing — and finally, finally end the cycle of timidity, self-deterrence and buck-passing.

 

Mark Meadows removed from North Carolina voter rolls

[Excerpt:]

Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been removed from North Carolina’s voter rolls, according to the State Board of Elections.

Meadows is also being investigated for allegations of voter fraud, the State Bureau of Investigation said.

The decision to remove the former North Carolina congressman and Trump adviser from the state’s voter rolls came after it was revealed that Meadows was registered to vote in September 2020 at a mobile home in Scaly Mountain, N.C., despite not residing there.

Days before Jan. 6, a onetime aide to Roger J. Stone Jr. told Trump backers to make lawmakers meeting to finalize the 2020 election results feel that “people are breathing down their necks.” 

Amid the current crisis, Fiona Hill and other former advisers are connecting President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine to Jan. 6. And they’re ready to talk.

 

Jan. 6 Panel Has Evidence for Criminal Referral of Trump, but Splits on Sending

Despite concluding that it has enough evidence, the committee is concerned that making a referral to the Justice Department would backfire by politicizing the investigation into the Capitol riot.

How the GOP learned to stop worrying and love ‘stolen election’ claims

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/11/how-gop-learned-stop-worrying-love-stolen-election-claims/

 

Lesson plan: An experiment in misinformation

April 5, 2022

PBS NewsHour Classroom

Lesson plan: An experiment in misinformation

OVERVIEW

Students will be introduced to Birds Aren’t Real, a satirical conspiracy theory, then create connections to mis- and disinformation while watching a PBS NewsHour Classroom video lesson.

OBJECTIVES

    • Students will learn to understand and apply concepts of mis- and disinformation in context.
    • Students will construct knowledge around conspiracy theories, mis- and disinformation using a satirical conspiracy theory as an example.
    • Students will evaluate how Birds Aren’t Real operates and create connections between how mis- and disinformation is spread.

 

Opinion: Is Trump crazy — or calculating? His opponents have to decide.

By Jason Willick, Columnist

[Excerpt:]

Opinion: Hey, Tucker Carlson, are you still rooting for Russia over Ukraine?

Call it a stealth coup

April 7, 2022

https://www.tribdem.com/news/editorials/columns/leonard-pitts-jr-call-it-a-stealth-coup/

 

Opinion: The fool’s gold of Trump’s decertification plan

[Excerpts:]

As Donald Trump flails about trying to “rescind” the 2020 presidential election and castigating Republicans who point out the Constitution doesn’t allow that, here is a heads-up for state legislators considering doing his bidding: You were elected to office by the same voters using the same ballots on the same day.

If somehow Joe Biden’s victory was fraudulent, so was yours.

It is worth asking all secretary of state candidates some questions: Would they have certified the 2020 election? And under what circumstances, with what hard evidence, would they refuse to certify future elections? Do they recognize that invalidating a vote for one office means invalidating the votes for all offices on a ballot? Their answers will be revealing, and Republican officials whose elections may be called into question should pay attention.

These issues spotlight the crucial role of election officials — the people charged in our democracy with calling balls and strikes. When umpires or referees call a game so that the team they favor wins, we recognize that as an “illegal fix.”

When they make claims that betray a basic lack of knowledge of how elections work, we should call them what they are: unqualified for the office.

Judge Rules Parts of Florida Voting Law Are Unconstitutional

The ruling against a major Republican election law, issued by a federal judge in Tallahassee, is likely to be overturned either by a higher appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court.By Reid J. EpsteinPatricia Mazzei and Nick Corasaniti

March 31, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/31/us/politics/florida-voting-law.html?referringSource=articleShare

[Excerpt:] 

A federal judge in Florida ruled on Thursday that sections of the state’s year-old election law were unconstitutional and racially motivated, and barred the state from making similar changes to its laws in the next decade without the approval of the federal government.

The sharply worded 288-page order, issued by Judge Mark E. Walker of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee, was the first time a federal court had struck down major elements of the wave of voting laws enacted by Republicans since the 2020 election. Finding a pattern of racial bias, Walker in his ruling relied on a little-used legal provision to impose unusual federal restrictions on how a state legislates.

“For the past 20 years, the majority in the Florida Legislature has attacked the voting rights of its Black constituents,” Walker wrote in the decision, which frequently quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walker argued that the attacks were “part of a cynical effort to suppress turnout among their opponents’ supporters. That, the law does not permit.”

Judge Walker’s decision is certain to be appealed and is likely to be overturned either by the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which tends to lean conservative, or the Supreme Court, which has sharply limited the federal government’s power to intervene in state election law.

Frank Bruni

 

The Bulwark: Morning Shots with Charlie Sykes

March 30, 2021

Trump’s Treason

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/trumps-treason?s=r

 

[Excerpts:]

A federal judge ruled Monday that former President Donald Trump “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress as part of a criminal conspiracy when he tried to subvert the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” U.S. District Court Judge David Carter wrote.

Carter’s sweeping and historic ruling came as he ordered the release to the House’s Jan. 6 committee of 101 emails from Trump ally John Eastman, rejecting Eastman’s effort to shield them via attorney-client privilege.

Carter, who sits in federal court in California, said that the plan Eastman helped develop was obviously illegal and that Trump knew it at the time, but pushed forward with an effort he says would have effectively ended American democracy.

“If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution,” Carter wrote. “If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself.”

The remarkable ruling may be the first in history in which a federal judge determined a president, while in office, appeared to commit a crime. The decision has no direct role in whether Trump will be charged criminally but could increase pressure on the Justice Department and its chief, Attorney General Merrick Garland, to conduct an aggressive investigation that could lead to such charges.

Mike Parsons: “New Poll Shows Path

 

March 28, 2022: Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power

The Texas senator’s effort alienated some allies and sparked questions about ties to John Eastman, a longtime friend and author of key legal memos in Trump’s efforts.

By Michael Kranish

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/28/ted-cruz-john-eastman-jan6-committee/

[Excerpt:]

An examination by The Washington Post of Cruz’s actions between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, shows just how deeply he was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power. As Cruz went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles.

 

Under Trump, DHS directed to probe bogus claims about voter fraud

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/mark-meadows-voter-registration-investigation/

In late April of 2020, a top political appointee in the Trump administration called for Department of Homeland Security officials to scrutinize an unusual topic for a national security agency: possible voter fraud in the upcoming election. A subsequent directive included a focus on mail-in voting, according to a document reviewed by POLITICO.

That guidance came as then-President Donald Trump fomented claims that the expansion of mail-in voting would corrupt the 2020 election — which later fed his unsubstantiated assertions that the election was stolen.

DHS’ intelligence office did not release any materials substantiating the president’s claims. But it did find that the Kremlin spread lies about mail-in voting.

The issuance of a directive involving voter fraud to the DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which has not been previously reported, casts a new light on the extent of Trump World’s efforts to use government resources to investigate spurious claims about U.S. elections.

It also raises new questions about how a domestic political complaint found its way onto the intelligence community’s to-do list.

 

Ginni Thomas Admits She Attended January 6 Stop the Steal Rally

She says she left before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

NOAH Y. KIM

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/03/ginni-thomas-january-6-clarence-admits-she-supreme-court-stop-the-steal-rally/

 

Texas mail ballot rejections soar under new restrictions

By PAUL J. WEBER and ACACIA CORONADO

March 16, 2022

https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-elections-texas-voting-only-on-ap-45ba51fe9dd951a0f82015bd6bd9ff41

 

The Trumpist Ukraine Blame Game

After the invasion, there may or may not be room for Putin apologists in the Republican Party, but there is certainly room for Trump apologists.

By Amy Davidson Sorkin

March 13, 2022

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/03/21/the-trumpist-ukraine-blame-game?

 

2020 Was a Banner Year for U.S. Election Administration

MIT’s Election Performance Index shows improvement across the board.

https://elections-blog.mit.edu/articles/2020-was-banner-year-us-election-administration

 

Thank God Trump Isn’t President Right Now

Biden isn’t perfect, but he beats the alternative.

byMONA CHAREN

MARCH 9, 2022

HTTPS://WWW.THEBULWARK.COM/THANK-GOD-TRUMP-ISNT-PRESIDENT-RIGHT-NOW-RUSSIA-PUTIN-UKRAINE/

 

Judge denies Fox News motion to dismiss defamation suit by election-tech company Smartmatic

By Jeremy Barr

March 9, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/03/09/smartmatic-fox-lawsuit-not-dismissed/

 

Pressing for Evidence, Jan. 6 Panel Argues That Trump Committed Fraud

March 8, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/08/us/politics/jan-6-panel-trump-fraud.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

Democrats are Fighting like Hell for Voting Rights

Republicans didn’t like the way the last election went, so they are trying to make it harder for folks to vote. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Jaime Harrison

Published Mar. 04, 2022 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/democrats-are-fighting-like-hell-for-voting-rights

 

New evidence shows Trump was told many times there was no voter fraud — but he kept saying it anyway

The House Jan. 6 panel aims to prove that Trump was acting corruptly by continuing to spread misinformation about the election long after he had reason to know he had legitimately lost

By Rosalind S. HeldermanJacqueline AlemanJosh Dawsey and Tom Hamburger

March 3, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/03/trump-election-jan-6/

 

Jan. 6 Committee Lays Out Potential Criminal Charges Against Trump

By Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer

Published March 2, 2022Updated March 3, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/02/us/politics/trump-criminal-charges-jan-6.html

[Excerpt:]

In a court filing in a civil case in California, the committee’s lawyers for the first time laid out their theory of a potential criminal case against the former president. They said they had accumulated evidence demonstrating that Mr. Trump, the conservative lawyer John Eastman and other allies could potentially be charged with criminal violations including obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people.

The filing also said there was evidence that Mr. Trump’s repeated lies that the election had been stolen amounted to common law fraud.

 

CHARLES M. BLOW

Open Letter to President Biden From a Dispirited Black Voter

March 2, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/02/opinion/biden-black-voter.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

She Defended Democracy. Do Voters Care?

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs might wind up the only person standing between Arizona and the triumph of the Big Lie.

By Elaine Godfrey

FEBRUARY 28, 2022

[Excerpt]

At this particular moment, the people who are most likely to become Arizona’s next governor are two 52-year-old women who have planted their flags on opposite sides of the battlefield for American democracy. If Lake or another Big Lie–endorsing candidate wins, a 2024 election-subversion scenario is not difficult to conjure: In two years, Donald Trump runs again for president. He is defeated again, and again, instead of conceding, he accuses Democrats of fraud. This time, though, the system works in his favor. Trump calls on his allies, newly installed in key election-administration positions in states and cities across the country, to contest the results. In Arizona, the new Republican secretary of state, Mark Finchem, chooses not to certify the election, and Governor Lake refuses to sign a certificate of ascertainment appointing the winning candidate’s electors. Instead, she suggests a different slate of electors who will vote for Trump, and they do, sending a certificate of that vote to Congress. In spite of a wave of legal challenges brought by Democrats, Republican political leaders in other swing states follow suit, setting off a chain of events in which Trump, despite losing, is declared the next president. Distrust in America’s institutions reaches new heights. Some question whether America remains a democracy. Others cheer.

These are the stakes of Katie Hobbs’s campaign for governor. She’d better hope that Arizona voters understand them.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2022/02/katie-hobbs-arizona-governor-candidate/622057/

 

Democracy May Depend on a New Partisan Battleground: Races for Secretary of State

The once-sleepy,down-ballot elected office has suddenly become one of themost vital roles of the nation.

By David Montgomery

FEBRUARY 28, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/magazine/2022/02/28/secretary-of-state/

 

Frustrated Michigan clerks call for election reforms: ‘Now is the time’

By Craig Mauger

February 28, 2022

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2022/02/28/voting-reforms-now-michigan-clerks-frustrated/9322783002/

[Excerpt:]

Lansing — Two organizations that represent hundreds of Michigan clerks called on state lawmakers Monday “to set aside their agendas” and make bipartisan improvements to voting policies ahead of the November statewide election. 

Mary Clark, president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, and Marc Kleiman, president of the Michigan Association of County Clerks, made the request in a two-page letter addressed to “state and legislative leaders.”

 

Shame On Those Who Defended Trump’s “Perfect Call”

Never forget that as president Donald Trump led an organized campaign to withhold military aid and blackmail the Ukrainians. And that Republicans let him get away it.

by AMANDA CARPENTER 

FEBRUARY 27, 2022

HTTPS://WWW.THEBULWARK.COM/SHAME-ON-THOSE-WHO-DEFENDED-TRUMPS-PERFECT-CALL/

 

The war against democracy finds allies in America First

By Philip Bump

National correspondent

February 27, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/27/war-against-democracy-finds-allies-america-first/

What does “America first” mean?

This tagline generally associated with former president Donald Trump seems self-obvious, which is the heart of its utility. “America first” means putting America first, which … sure. But how? In what context?

OPINION

MICHELLE COTTLE

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

While U.S. leaders are dealing with war in Europe and disruption of the global order, the leading lights of MAGA America are in central Florida this week for that annual bacchanal of right-wing pageantry and passion known as the Conservative Political Action Conference.

 

McCarthy endorses Cheney’s primary rival in rebuke of Republican incumbent who has denounced Trump

Mariana Alfaro

February 17, 2022|Updated February 18, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/17/mccarthy-cheney-jan-6/

[Our favorite excerpt:]

Upon hearing the news of Trump’s endorsement of Hageman for the at-large seat, Cheney quipped a quick answer: “Bring it.”

 

States of Denial: A Guide to Some of the GOP’s Most Brazen Attacks on Voting Rights and Elections

The Republican playbook: gerrymander, suppress, subvert.

ARI BERMAN Senior Reporter

February 16, 2022

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/02/guide-republican-attacks-on-voting-rights-and-elections-gerrymandering-suppression-subversion/

 

A running list of who the January 6 committee has subpoenaed or requested to appear

 

The Conservative Case for Avoiding a Repeat of Jan. 6

Feb. 14, 2022

By J. Michael Luttig

Mr. Luttig, a former judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, has been advising a number of senior Republican senators on the Electoral Count Act.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/14/opinion/electoral-count-act.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

Don’t bet on the GOP coming to its senses just yet

By Stuart Rothenberg

Posted February 8, 2022

https://rollcall.com/2022/02/08/dont-bet-on-the-gop-coming-to-its-senses-just-yet/

[Excerpts:]

Will a growing percentage of Republican voters come to recognize Trump’s lies and reject his assertion that the election of 2020 was stolen? Will they be shocked and upset that he surrounded himself by so many advisers who said he could simply change the outcome of the 2020 election? And will more Republicans start to recognize Trump’s lies and see him as a bully who is intent on winning, even if that means undermining key democratic institutions? 

I remain skeptical.

That may change, of course. But most Republicans who find Trump repugnant have already signaled their opposition to him, and the party apparently lacks a large contingent of people — in the grassroots, in elective office and in the national party’s leadership — for whom character, integrity and the truth are important.

 

Along with attention, GOP House firebrands attract primary fights

Opponents question effectiveness of Greene, Boebert and Cawthorn

By Stephanie Akin

Posted February 8, 2022

https://rollcall.com/2022/02/08/along-with-attention-gop-house-firebrands-attract-primary-fights/

[Excerpt:]

Now the MAGA axis of the House freshman class is attracting Republican challengers who say that, with the GOP in position to win control of the House majority, Republican voters in Georgia, North Carolina and Colorado deserve representatives who want to pass laws rather than pick fights on Twitter. 

That’s a direct attack on their high-profile opponents. It’s also a version of a conversation taking place in Republican primaries across the country as the GOP struggles to determine how much of former President Donald Trump’s in-your-face political style to adopt into the party’s DNA

 

Voting Rights Lab: The Markup

A Weekly Election Legislation Update
February 7, 2022

Today is Monday, February 7. We are tracking 1,953 bills so far this session, with 458 bills that restrict voter access or election administration and 926 bills that improve voter access or election administration. The rest are neutral or mixed or unclear in their impact.

 

Trump was advised by ‘snake oil salesmen,’ former Pence chief of staff says

“I think unfortunately the president had many bad advisers,” Marc Short said.

By MYAH WARD

02/06/2022

[Excerpt:]

“I think unfortunately the president had many bad advisers, who were basically snake oil salesmen giving him really random and novel ideas as to what the vice president could do,” Short told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But our office, you know, researched that and recognized that was never an option.”

Short said he wasn’t sure if Trump’s beliefs could be fully attributed to bad advisers or if the president was seeking the bad advice to produce the result he wanted.

 

What the January 6th Papers Reveal

The Supreme Court ruled to give the House Select Committee access to a trove of documents detailing election-negating strategies that Donald Trump and his advisers entertained—including a military seizure of voting machines—but he continues to peddle a counter-narrative in which he’s the victim.

By Amy Davidson Sorkin

February 6, 2022

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/02/14/what-the-january-6th-papers-reveal?

 

‘Taking the Voters Out of the Equation’: How the Parties Are Killing Competition

The number of competitive House districts is dropping, as both Republicans and Democrats use redistricting to draw themselves into safe seats.

Reid J. Epstein and

February 6, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/06/us/politics/redistricting-competition-midterms.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

There’s new evidence showing the lack of fraud in 2020 that Trump’s base will never see

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/02/theres-new-evidence-showing-lack-fraud-2020-that-trumps-base-will-never-see/

By Philip Bump, Staff writer

February 2, 2022

[Excerpt:]

If you started counting every ballot cast for president in the state of Ohio in 2020, one each second, it would on average take you about two days, five hours and 10 minutes before you came across one that the state thought might have been cast illegally. That’s one every 191,000 seconds. 

On Tuesday, the state reported that its review of voting in the most recent federal election had, predictably, uncovered isolated examples of apparent illegal voting. Those suspect votes — not yet proved to be illegal, mind you — totaled 31 ballots. That’s out of 5.9 million ballots cast for president, meaning that 0.0005 percent of cast ballots were even suspect.

President Donald Trump won Ohio by 476,000 votes. Safe to say that his victory was not tainted by rampant fraud.

 

Trump’s latest claim that election could have been ‘overturned’ looms over electoral count debate in Congress

By Mike DeBonis

February 1, 2022 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/01/trump-electoral-count-act/

 

Mr. Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a senior fellow in global democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford.

January 25, 2021

[Excerpt:]

So far, the Republican leaders of the Senate and House, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, have expressed openness to Electoral Count Act reform. Beyond such a bill, Republican senators such as Mitt Romney have also signaled an openness to considering some reforms on voting rights.

We can’t know what might be possible through bipartisan negotiations, but we do know that the Democrats’ two voting rights bills have not gotten passed this year.

 

Special report: How Stefanik won power and support for spreading Trump’s ‘Big Lie’

BY ZACH HIRSCH (REPORTER)

January 25, 2022

“You dance right up to the line and then you back away. That’s what she does,” McGuire said.

https://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/45237/20220125/special-report-how-stefanik-won-power-and-support-for-spreading-trump-apos-s-apos-big-lie-apos

 

OPINION

Ann Coulter Is Rooting for a Trump-DeSantis Throw-Down. She’s Not Alone.

Jan. 23, 2022

By Michelle Cottle

Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

Ann Coulter has a gift for pushing just the right buttons to inflict maximum irritation. She has been a top-tier troll since Donald Trump was little more than a failed casino magnate.

Which makes Ms. Coulter’s recent attacks on the former president — her onetime political idol — at once delectable and illuminating. Take her contrarian assessment of Mr. Trump’s chokehold on the Republican Party.

“No one wants Trump,” she asserted in a column last week. “He’s fading faster than Sarah Palin did — and she was second place on a losing presidential ticket.”

Parsing recent polling data, Ms. Coulter made the case that high approval for Mr. Trump among Republicans is less about his enduring appeal than about the G.O.P. having been boiled down to a Trumpian rump. Increasingly, she contended, “the only people calling themselves ‘Republicans’ these days are the Trump die-hards.”

 

Why Millions Think It Is Trump Who Cannot Tell a Lie

ByThomas B. Edsall

Jan. 19, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/19/opinion/trump-big-lie.html?referringSource=articleShare

Why is Donald Trump’s big lie so hard to discredit?

This has been a live question for more than a year, but inside it lies another:

Do Republican officials and voters actually believe Trump’s claim that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election by corrupting ballots — the same ballots that put so many Republicans in office — and if they do believe it, what are their motives?

 

Read the never-issued Trump order that would have seized voting machines

The Jan. 6 select panel has obtained the draft order and a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.” Both are reported here in detail for the first time.

Among the records that Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to shield from Jan. 6 investigators are a draft executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines and a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.”

POLITICO has reviewed both documents. The text of the draft executive order is published here for the first time.

 

Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum

BY JORDAIN CARNEY – 01/21/22 

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/590718-effort-to-overhaul-archaic-election-law-wins-new-momentum

Multiple groups on Capitol Hill are working on reforms to the Electoral Count Act, which lays out how the Electoral College results are counted. And in a rare area of overlap, GOP leaders in both chambers and President Biden are opening the door to changes to the 1887 law. 

Though talks on the law have been quietly happening behind the scenes on Capitol Hill for weeks, they are moving to the forefront as lawmakers try to figure out what, if anything, can be done in the election space after a separate, Democratic attempt to pass a sweeping voting rights bill unraveled. 

 

Rudy Giuliani, oversaw fake electors plot in 7 states

By Marshall CohenZachary Cohen and Dan Merica, CNN

Updated January 21, 2022

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/20/politics/trump-campaign-officials-rudy-giuliani-fake-electors/index.html

[Excerpt:]

Washington (CNN)Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw efforts in December 2020 to put forward illegitimate electors from seven states that Trump lost, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the scheme.

The sources said members of former President Donald Trump’s campaign team were far more involved than previously known in the plan, a core tenet of the broader plot to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory when Congress counted the electoral votes on January 6.

 

DeSantis’ proposed election police force alarms voting rights advocates

By Steve Contorno and Fredreka Schouten, CNN

Updated  January 20, 2022

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/19/politics/ron-desantis-pushes-election-police-force/index.html

 

Opinion: Finally, some moral clarity in the voting rights debate

ByJennifer Rubin, Columnist

January 20, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/20/finally-some-moral-clarity-voting-rights-debate/

[Excerpt:]

Democrats cannot force Republicans to do the right thing. But Democrats did force Republicans and their two Democratic cohorts to reveal the paucity of their arguments and the puniness of their consciences.

 

Democrats brace for likely defeat of voting rights push due to GOP filibuster

ByMike DeBonis

Janaury 19, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-brace-for-likely-defeat-of-voting-rights-push-due-to-gop-filibuster/2022/01/19/2f9a734c-792d-11ec-bf97-6eac6f77fba2_story.html

 

Trump Soft-Launches His 2024 Campaign

The former president’s message at his Arizona rally was as clear as it was dishonest: He didn’t lose to Joe Biden in 2020, and he’ll spend the next year working to elect Republicans who agree.

By Elaine Godfrey

January 15, 2021

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2022/01/trump-arizona-rally-2024-election/621244/

 

The Voting Rights Conundrum, Part I

Stephen Griffin

January 14, 2022

https://balkin.blogspot.com/2022/01/the-voting-rights-conundrum-part-i.html 

 

Democrats Face a Dilemma on Voting: Compromise or Keep Pressing?

With their broad voting rights push nearing a dead end, Democrats must soon decide whether to embrace a far narrower bipartisan effort to protect vote counting and administration.

By Jonathan Weisman

Jan. 14, 2022

 

What’s Next In The Push To Protect The Vote

FRIDAY, JAN 14 2022

The fight over voting rights has taken center stage in Washington. Election law expert Richard Hasen explains what’s at stake and why he’s looking beyond Congress to preserve free and fair elections in the United States.

https://dianerehm.org/shows/2022-01-14/whats-next-in-the-push-to-protect-the-vote

Listen

By not calling off the rioters, Trump may be held liable for the attack and the lawsuits demanding damages. 

BY BESS LEVIN

January 10, 2022

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/01/donald-trump-january-6-lawsuits-liability?

December 4, 2021

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/pope-francis-arrives-greece-highlight-migrants-plight-2021-12-04/

 

Voting Battles of 2022 Take Shape as G.O.P. Crafts New Election Bills

Republicans plan to carry their push to reshape the nation’s electoral system into next year, with Democrats vowing to oppose them but holding few options in G.O.P.-led states.

By Nick Corasaniti

 

Identifying and Minimizing the Risk of Election Subversion and Stolen Elections in the Contemporary United States

Harvard Law Review Forum, forthcoming 2022

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2021-50

33 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2021 Last revised: 8 Oct 2021

Richard L. Hasen, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Part I of this Essay describes the path to this unexpected moment of democratic peril in the United States.

Part II explains the three potential mechanisms by which American elections may be subverted in the future.

Part III recommends steps that can and should be taken to minimize this risk. Preserving and protecting American democracy from the risk of election subversion should be at the top of everyone’s agenda. The time to act is now, before American democracy disappears.

The attacks on the 2024 election are already underway

 

Democrats Can Save Voting by Bringing Back the Mr. Smith Filibuster

A reckoning is coming: They don’t want the Senate to fiddle while democracy burns.

Jonathan Alter

https://www.thedailybeast.com/democrats-can-save-voting-by-bringing-back-the-mr-smith-filibuster

TRUMP’S CAPACITY TO STEAL THE 2024 ELECTION IS ONLY GROWING

The former president‘s desperate scheme to overturn his 2020 defeat and incessant “fraud” lies were just the beginning, as loyalists are angling for key jobs overseeing future elections.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/11/donald-trump-capacity-to-steal-the-2024-election-is-only-growing?

 

What happens when the administration is hinged on the unhinged?

By Mary Ellen Curtin
November 26, 2021 
[Excerpt:]
Everyone ­expected the defeated president to eventually concede, but Donald Trump refused. Instead, as ABC newsman Jonathan Karl explains in “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” Trump chose to launch a violent insurrection that upended the peaceful transfer of power. Karl’s sobering, solid, account of Trump’s last year in office sheds new light on how the man who lost the presidency nearly succeeded in overthrowing the 2020 election. Anyone who thinks that “it can’t happen here,” ought to read this book.
OPINION

MICHELLE COTTLE

 

The Global State of Democracy 2021

Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era

November 22, 2021

https://www.idea.int/gsod/sites/default/files/2021-11/the-global-state-of-democracy-2021_0.pdf

 

Statement in Support of the Freedom to Vote Act

https://www.newamerica.org/political-reform/statements/statement-in-support-of-the-freedom-to-vote-act/?utm_

STATEMENT

Nov. 21, 2021

[Excerpt:]

We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy writing in support of the Freedom to Vote Act, the most important piece of legislation to defend and strengthen American democracy since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This bill would protect our elections from interference, partisan gerrymandering, dark money, and voter suppression. We urge all members of Congress to pass the bill, if necessary by suspending the Senate filibuster rule and using a simple majority vote.

This is no ordinary moment in the course of our democracy. It is a moment of great peril and risk.

 

Steve Bannon indicted by federal grand jury

 

At the Willard and the White House, the Jan. 6 Panel Widens Its Net

 

Senate GOP blocks latest Dem push for voting reform

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to join Democrats on the bill named for the late Rep. John Lewis.

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/03/senate-republicans-voting-reform-block-519082

 

Georgia secretary of state: Trump ‘had no idea how elections work’

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/579511-georgia-secretary-of-state-trump-had-no-idea-how-elections-work

 

The findings of The Washington Post’s Jan. 6 investigation (and former President Trump’s response):

October 31, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/31/response-trump-jan-6-insurrection/

https://washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/jan-6-insurrection-capitol/?no_nav=true#key-findings

Download The Washington Post app.

 

From: CNN Opinion <cnnopinionfeedback@newsletters.cnn.com>
Date: October 31, 2021 at 9:40:09 AM EDT

Beloved is banned.
Please report infractions. 
Signed your future Guv. 

Ahead of Tuesday’s election for governor of Virginia, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin released an ad starring an activist, “Laura Murphy, who campaigned against the teaching of (Toni) Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, ‘Beloved,’ on the grounds the story’s grueling depiction of racial violence gave her son — then a high school senior — nightmares,” wrote Peniel E. Joseph.

The Nobel laureate’s “work calls upon all Americans, but especially our young people, to interrogate the past to create a better democratic future,” Joseph observed. “Censoring the American past does not make White students less vulnerable to feelings of despair about the challenges of racial inequity, discrimination and violence we face as a nation.”

 

Joe Manchin’s Deep Corporate Ties

An underexamined aspect of Manchin’s pro-business positions in the Senate is his early membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council.

By Dan Kaufman

October 26, 2021

 

End Of The Line For Congressional Voting Rights Legislation?

by Matt Shuham, THE FRANCHISE FROM TMP,

October 25, 2021

OCTOBER 25, 2021 || ISSUE NO. 24

 

EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff

Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office

BY Hunter Walker

October 24, 2021 

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/exclusive-jan-6-organizers-met-congress-white-house-1245289/

 

Democrats look for plan B on filibuster

Democrats are struggling with their inability to reform the legislative filibuster, as intense pressure from activists meets dug-in opposition from within the caucus.

The latest frustration over the Senate rule comes after Republicans blocked a revised election reform bill Wednesday, marking the latest Democratic priority to fall victim to the chamber’s 60-vote requirement for most legislation.

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/577703-democrats-look-for-plan-b-on-filibuster

 

Hill: Trump reelection would spur ‘one constitutional crisis after another’

BYMORGAN CHALFANT10/20/21 

Fiona Hill, the former White House national security official who testified against former President Trump during his first impeachment, says that the prospect of Trump running for election again in 2024 represents a threat to the country and the Constitution.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/577495-fiona-hill-trump-reelection-would-spur-one-constitutional-crisis

 

Trump allies eye election law push should he be reelected

The president has made claims of fraud the centerpiece of his post-presidency. It would be a legislative feature of a second term too. 

By MERIDITH MCGRAW

10/15/2021

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/10/15/trump-allies-election-law-reelection-516077

 

Trump Tells GOP: Back My Big Lie or I’ll Burn the Party Down

After costing his party the Senate, along with the White House, he’s looking ahead: Nice elections you got there. Be a shame if something happened to them. 

Matt Lewis Senior Columnist

Updated Oct. 15, 2021 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-tells-gop-back-my-big-lie-or-ill-burn-the-party-down?ref=scroll

 

The Constitutionalist

October 13, 2021

Voting Rights Lab Report: A THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY: ELECTION SUBVERSION IN THE 2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

 

Most Senate Republicans don’t want to see Trump run again 
By Alexander Bolton
Senate Republicans, with a few exceptions, are hoping that former President Trump does not announce his intention to run again for president.

These GOP senators definitely don’t want to see Trump announce a bid before the 2022 midterm elections, fearing that could sink their hopes of winning back the Senate.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/#inbox/FMfcgzGlkZBXZpWklbMcNHHHwCTdLcQZ

 

The Memo: New Trump revelations bolster critics while fans shrug

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/575859-the-memo-new-trump-revelations-bolster-critics-while-fans-shrug

 

Rep. Cori Bush Questions Gowri Ramachandran About Election Subversion and the Cyber Ninjas Fake Arizona Audit at House Hearing

October 8, 2021, 10:22 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ5euPJuQTQ

 

John Eastman tried to help Donald Trump subvert American democracy. He should be shunned

 BY ERWIN CHEMERINSKY SPECIAL TO THE SACRAMENTO BEE

[Erwin Chemerinsky is dean and professor of law at the UC Berkeley School of Law.]

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article254564607.html#storylink=cpy

 

Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here

Opinion by Robert Kagan

Contributing columnist

Sept. 23, 2021

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/23/robert-kagan-constitutional-crisis/

 

Special Report: Backers of Trump’s false fraud claims seek to control next elections

By Tim Reid and Nathan Layne, Jason Lange

Sept. 22, 2021

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/backers-trumps-false-fraud-claims-seek-control-next-us-elections-2021-09-22/

 

Opinion: The survival of U.S. democracy may hinge on this decision by Pa.’s next governor 

by Will Bunch | Columnist

Sept. 26, 2021

 

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American

<heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>

September 25, 2021

“Through voter suppression, gerrymandering, the filibuster, and the Electoral College, and now with new election laws in 18 states, they have guaranteed that they will retain control no matter what voters actually want. Their determination to keep Democrats from power has made them abandon democracy.”

“For their part, Democrats are trying to protect the voting rights at the heart of our democracy, believing that if all eligible Americans can vote, they will back a government that works for the people.”

 

Senate Democrats unveil new voting rights bill

BY REBECCA BEITSCH AND MARTY JOHNSON – 09/14/21 

https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/572096-senate-democrats-unveil-new-voting-rights-bill

 

Democrats see consequences from redistricting reform push

By NICHOLAS RICCARD

September 5, 2021

 

Just days after Texas’ unprecedented, restrictive anti-abortion law took effect, Republicans around the country are looking to import it. “GOP officials in at least seven states, including Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina and South Dakota, have suggested they may review or amend their states’ laws to mirror Texas’s,” write WaPo’s Meryl Kornfield, Caroline Anders and Audra Heinrichs.

We can’t help but notice that many of those states have something in common: Republican governors with 2024 ambitions.

 

Cleta Mitchell Helped Set Up Escrow Account to Funnel $1 Million to Support Sham Arizona Audit

September 3, 2021, 4:04 pmchicaneryfraudulent fraud squadRICK HASEN

Arizona Republic:

From: Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American <heathercoxrichardson@substack.com>
Date: September 1, 2021

Today, the Texas legislature passed SB1, the sweeping voter suppression bill Democrats had tried to stop by walking out of the legislature to deny the Republicans a quorum. The new measure is a microcosm of voter suppression bills across the nation in Republican-dominated states.

It bans mail ballot drop boxes and gets rid of drive-through voting and extended hours. It criminalizes the distribution of applications for mail-in ballots and permits partisan poll watchers to have “free movement” in polling places, enabling them to intimidate voters. Texas is just 40% white and has 3 million unregistered voters, the vast majority of whom are Black or Latino. The new measure is designed to cut young people of color, whose numbers are growing in Texas and who are overwhelmingly Democrats, out of elections. In debates on the measure, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan asked members not to use the word “racism.”

 

Justice Department releases Voting Rights Act mapmaking guidance

States warned against diluting voting power of minorities

By Michael Macagnone

Posted September 1, 2021

https://www.rollcall.com/2021/09/01/justice-department-releases-voting-rights-act-mapmaking-guidance/

 

Which Senators And Representatives Vote In Favor Of Democracy?

 By Laura Bronner

Filed under Democracy

Published Sep. 1, 2021

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/which-senators-and-representatives-vote-in-favor-of-democracy/

 

Election-fraud conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell pressed by Australian reporter: ‘Do you ever hear yourself and think that it sounds ridiculous?’

Morgan Keith 

Aug 31, 2021

https://www.businessinsider.com/election-fraud-conspiracy-theorist-sidney-powell-pressed-by-australian-reporter-over-baseless-claims-2021-8

 

Trump’s political operation paid more than $4.3 million to Jan. 6 organizers but questions remain about the full extent of its involvement

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/08/trumps-political-operation-paid-more-than-4-3-million-to-jan-6-organizers-questions-remain-about-full-involvement/

 

After A Bitter Fight, The Texas House Passes A Restrictive Voting Bill

Benjamin Swasey

August 27, 2021

https://www.npr.org/2021/08/27/1031154177/after-a-bitter-fight-the-texas-house-passes-a-restrictive-voting-bill?utm_campaign=politics&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_term=nprnews

 

How a Defunct Federal Provision Helped Pave the Way for New Voting Restrictions

Curbs on drop boxes, tougher ID requirements and purges of voter rolls would have been weakened, or never even passed, if a federal oversight system had been in place.

By Nick Corassaniti

Aug. 26, 2021

 

“Rucho v. Common Cause—A Critique”

August 24, 2021, 3:37 pmredistrictingRICK HASEN

Emmet Bondurant has written this article for the Emory Law Journal. Here is the abstract:

Once upon a time, the right to vote was held by the Supreme Court to be among the most precious of the rights protected by the Constitution, on which all other rights were dependent for their existence. Protection of the right to vote was not a partisan issue. Some of the leading defenders of the right to vote—including Justices Brennan, Powell, Stevens, and Kennedy—had all been appointed by Republican Presidents.

As the confirmation process of federal judges by the Senate has become increasingly partisan, so have the decisions of the Supreme Court. The partisan divide has been particularly evident in the Court’s campaign finance and election law cases, which have, to an increasing degree, been decided along partisan lines of the Supreme Court. These cases illustrate that the United States is very much a government of men (and women) and not of laws, and that Chief Justice Roberts’ claims that the Justices of the Court are impartial umpires and that there are no Republican Justices or Democratic Justices are myths. No case is a better illustration of the partisan trend in the Supreme Court’s election law decisions than Rucho v. Common Cause.

In a 5-4 party-line vote, the Court disregarded thirty years of Supreme Court precedent and held for the first time that partisan gerrymandering is a political question beyond both the competence and the jurisdiction of the federal courts. The majority opinion was authored by Chief Justice Roberts, whose entire opinion was based on a misrepresentation of the constitutional basis of the plaintiffs’ claims. The Chief Justice also misrepresented the Court’s prior precedents and disregarded the factual findings and undisputed evidence of the effectiveness of partisan gerrymandering in favoring candidates and dictating electoral outcomes. The majority opinion is both contradictory and hypocritical. 

 

Georgia election board to review Fulton County votes setting up possible takeover

https://news.yahoo.com/georgia-election-board-review-fulton-133021748.html

By Jane C. Timm and Teaganne Finn

Wed, August 18, 2021,

[Excerpts:]

Georgia’s Republican-controlled State Election Board took a step Wednesday toward a possible takeover of elections in Fulton County, the latest example of Republican efforts to exert control over the administration of elections at the most local of levels.

In Georgia, the board took aim at Fulton County, which delivered key wins for the Democratic party during the 2020 election cycle and has long been a target of Republican lawmakers. An independent monitor found no evidence of fraud or impropriety, but Republican lawmakers in the state nonetheless requested another review of the county’s election processes last month.

And on Wednesday morning, the board voted to appoint three people to conduct a performance review of Fulton County. Members include Republican Ricky Kittle, chairman of the Catoosa County elections board; Democrat Stephen Day, a member of the Gwinnett County elections board; and Ryan Germany, general counsel for Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

They’ll conduct an investigation of equipment, registration, processes, and compliance with state law. The overall process — from lawmakers’ initial request to a complete takeover — could take nearly a year, Georgia Public Broadcasting reported.

 

Pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

The bill would restore crucial protections that have been removed from the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Brennan Center

August 17, 2021

 

How the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act Targets Discrimination 

The Brennan Center testified before the House about the congressional action needed to restore the Voting Rights Act to full strength.

The Brennan Center

August 16, 2021

 

Voting Rights Activists Cling To Hope In ‘Race Against Time’

By Kate Riga 

August 13, 2021 

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/voting-rights-activists-for-the-people

 

Evaluating Look Ahead America’s ‘The Georgia Report’ on Illegal, Out-of-State Voting in the 2020 Election

Justin Grimmer, Hoover Institution and Stanford University Andrew B. Hall, Stanford University †
Daniel M. Thompson, UCLA‡

August 11, 2021

Note: On July 30th the authors of the Georgia Report posted a revised version of their report online in response to a draft of this memo we sent them. The revised version quibbles unconvincingly with the three arbitrarily chosen example cases we use for expository purposes below while doing nothing to respond to the core methodological issues we have identified. As such, the Georgia Report remains fatally flawed and unreliable.

https://www.hoover.org/sites/default/files/research/docs/georgiareport_3.pdf

 

By Choice and Circumstance, Democrats Put Voting Rights on the Ballot

Limited in their options and in disagreement about how far to go to pass federal legislation, Democrats are approaching voting rights as an issue to be won in future elections.

By Marc Tracy

Published July 13, 2021Updated Aug. 11, 2021

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/13/us/politics/democrats-for-the-people-act.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

Opinion: Norman Lear: As I begin my 100th year, I’m baffled that voting rights are still under attack

 July 27, 2021 

[Excerpt:]

To legislators getting between people and the ballot box, and to senators who are standing in the dishonorable tradition of those who filibustered civil rights legislation, I say this: You may pass some unjust laws. You may win elections by preventing or discouraging people from voting.

But you will not in the end defeat the democratic spirit, the spirit that animated the Tuskegee airmen to whom I owe my life, the spirit that powers millions of Americans who give of themselves to defend voting rights, protect our environment, preserve peaceful pluralism, defeat discrimination, and expand educational and economic opportunity.

The right to vote is foundational to addressing all these issues. It is at the heart of everything I have fought for in war and in peacetime.

To senators who are willing to sacrifice the right to vote to some outdated notion of bipartisanship and Senate tradition, I almost do not know what to say. On the scale of justice, this is not even a close call. Do what’s right.

Protecting voting rights should not be today’s struggle. But it is. And that means it is our struggle, yours and mine, for as long as we have breath and strength.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/27/norman-lear-99th-birthday/

 

 

Trump Pressed Justice Dept. to Declare Election Results Corrupt, Notes Show

“Leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, the former president is said to have told top law enforcement officials.

By Katie Benner

Updated: July 31, 2021

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/30/us/politics/trump-justice-department-election.html

[Excerpts:]

The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27  in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the Justice Department had found no evidence for. Mr. Donoghue warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election. Mr. Trump replied that he did not expect that, according to notes Mr. Donoghue took memorializing the conversation.

“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response.

After the departure of Mr. Rosen’s predecessor, William P. Barr, became public on Dec. 14, Mr. Trump and his allies harangued Mr. Rosen and his top deputies nearly every day until Jan. 6, when Congress met to certify the Electoral College and was disrupted by Mr. Trump’s supporters storming the Capitol, according to emails and other documents obtained by Congress and interviews with former Trump administration officials.

The conversations often included complaints about unfounded voter fraud conspiracy theories, frustration that the Justice Department would not ask the Supreme Court to invalidate the election and admonishments that department leaders had failed to fight hard enough for Mr. Trump, the officials said.

The Justice Department provided Mr. Donoghue’s notes to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating the Trump administration’s efforts to unlawfully reverse the election results.

The department found that the error rate of ballot counting in Michigan was 0.0063 percent, not the 68 percent that the president asserted; it did not find evidence of a conspiracy theory that an employee in Pennsylvania had tampered with ballots; and after examining video and interviewing witnesses, it found no evidence of ballot fraud in Fulton County, Ga., according to the notes. [Emphasis added]

 

Trump told DOJ officials to ‘just say that the election was corrupt’ and ‘leave the rest to me,’ new documents show 

Eliza Relman, Sonam Sheth   July 30, 2021

https://www.businessinsider.fr/us/trump-doj-officials-say-election-was-corrupt-notes-show-2021-7

Despite Trump’s continued insistence that the election was “rigged” and stolen from him, nonpartisan experts and election officials concluded that the 2020 election was the safest and most secure in US history. [Emphasis added.]

 

The MyPillow Guy Really Could Destroy Democracy

Anne Applebaum

July 29, 2021

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/07/mike-lindells-plot-destroy-america/619593/

In the time I spent with Mike Lindell, I came to learn that he is affable, devout, philanthropic—and a clear threat to the nation.

[Excerpt:]

In the cases of Aschberg and Ford, this had tragic, real-world consequences. Lindell hasn’t created Ford-level havoc yet, but the potential is there. Along with Bannon, Giuliani, and the rest of the conspiracy posse, he is helping create profound distrust in the American electoral system, in the American political system, in the American public-health system, and ultimately in American democracy. The eventual consequences of their actions may well be a genuinely stolen or disputed election in 2024, and political violence on a scale the U.S. hasn’t seen in decades. You can mock Lindell, dismiss him, or call him a crackhead, but none of this will seem particularly funny when we truly have an illegitimate president in the White House and a total breakdown of law and order.

 

Democrats Brace for a Narrower Path to Challenge New Voting Laws

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday involving Arizona voting laws appeared to limit the options for voting rights groups to mount legal challenges to restrictive new measures being passed in Republican-controlled states.

By Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein

Published July 1, 2021Updated July 19, 2021

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/01/us/politics/voting-rights-act-laws.html?referringSource=articleShare

  

What’s on the Horizon for Remote Voter Identity Verification?

By Rachel Orey and Collier Ferneckes

July 13, 2021

https://bipartisanpolicy.org/explainer/remote-voter-id/

[Excerpt:]

The 2020 election was the most secure in our nation’s history. Yet in response to false claims of rampant voter fraud, some state legislatures have introduced strict identification requirements for mail voting. These identification requirements too often hamper voter access without addressing the most pressing security threats facing our elections system: sustained underfunding and outdated cybersecurity. Our desire to explore identification measures in this paper is born out of a desire to expand voters’ access to the ballot while protecting against ever-evolving future threats. An election system which is free, fair, and accessible must not be static; an election system that truly meets voters’ needs must be flexible and responsive. This paper is just the beginning of scoping out what a modernized remote voter identity verification system might look like.

As the nation trends towards a wider reliance on convenience voting methods, this report explores how states and localities can ensure that their voter verification policies achieve the nexus of accuracy, accessibility, equity, and practical feasibility. This paper is not intended to provide specific recommendations about how election officials should be conducting identity verification. Rather, it provides a survey of the major benefits and drawbacks of the policy alternatives in use today, as well as the methods that might gain traction down the road.

 

The Briefing

Michael Waldman, Brennan Center for Justice

Subscribe at https://www.brennancenter.org/briefing

[Excerpt:]

As my colleague Sean Morales-Doyle told Congress on Friday, this will undermine free and fair elections.

“The reality is that state legislatures are not hacking, but slicing away at voting rights from every angle,” he testified. “They shave away access to mail voting, they cut back on in-person voting, they trim voters from the rolls through faulty purges. While any one slice might appear minor, the end result is death by a thousand cuts.”

 

Loneliness Is Breaking America

July 19, 2021

OPINION

MICHELLE GOLDBERG

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/19/opinion/trump-covid-extremism-loneliness.html?referringSource=articleShare

” . . . after reading an article adapted from “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost” by Michael C. Bender, a Wall Street Journal reporter, I changed my mind and picked it up. What caught my attention wasn’t his reporting on White House disarray and Trump’s terrifying impulses — some details are new, but that story is familiar. Rather, I was fascinated by Bender’s account of the people who followed Trump from rally to rally like authoritarian Deadheads.

Bender’s description of these Trump superfans, who called themselves the “front-row Joes,” is sympathetic but not sentimental. Above all, he captures their pre-Trump loneliness.

“Many were recently retired and had time on their hands and little to tie them to home,” writes Bender. “A handful never had children. Others were estranged from their families.” Throwing themselves into Trump’s movement, they found a community and a sense of purpose. 

There are many causes for the overlapping dysfunctions that make contemporary American life feel so dystopian, but loneliness is a big one. 

A socially healthy society would probably never have elected Trump in the first place. As Daniel Cox, a senior fellow in polling and public opinion at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote in FiveThirtyEight shortly after the 2020 election, the “share of Americans who are more socially disconnected from society is on the rise. And these voters disproportionately support Trump.”

 

Letters from an American, https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/about?utm_source=menu-dropdown

Subscribe: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com

July 21, 2021

Excerpt:

The story that grabbed headlines today was that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected two of the five people House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) chose to put on the House select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection. McCarthy immediately withdrew all of the five people he had appointed, accusing the Speaker of partisanship.

But let’s call this like it is. The Republicans killed a bill to create a bipartisan select committee to investigate the insurrection. Then, when Pelosi set up a select committee instead on the exact same terms that Republicans had used to set up one of their many Benghazi committees, McCarthy tried to sabotage the process by naming as three of his five picks men who bought into former president Trump’s Big Lie and challenged the votes on the night of January 6.

 

Republicans unite on “election integrity” message for coming elections

By Caitlin Huey Burn and Adam Brewster

UPDATED ON: MARCH 22, 2021 / CBS NEWS

Upon losing an election, political parties usually search their souls – with the help of operatives poring over polling and data – to plot their resurgence. Democrats are embarking on such a mission after losing a startling number of House seats, even though Joe Biden won the presidency and they won control of the Senate, if just barely.. But Republicans this year are forgoing the traditional election post-mortem, despite their losses, and instead are pursuing a hardliners’  “election integrity” message that resonates with their base and unites factions within the party.

Although the Republican Party has otherwise been divided on its future in the post-Trump era, on the issue of election laws, the Republican National Committee, state legislatures, conservative outside groups, and federal lawmakers appear to be singing the same tune. 

Read More

“Autopsies are such a beltway convention, and look where the autopsy in 2012 started and look where we ended in 2016,” says Matt Gorman, a Republican strategist and veteran of presidential and congressional campaigns. Then-RNC chair Reince Priebus’ post-mortem really was called an “autopsy,” what he concluded was that the party should prioritize comprehensive immigration reform and make a bunch of technical changes, like shortening the primary process, limiting the number of debates and raising more money.

“Public policy is always more productive,” says Gorman. “It’s forward looking and can help instill confidence.”

Federal election legislation that passed the House, known as HR1 and now S1 in the Senate, is spurring conservatives into action. The sweeping proposal would create automatic, online and same-day registration, expand access to early and mail voting, and reform redistricting. 

 “The urgency of the conservative movement to recognize the importance of safeguarding elections is more important today than ever before,” says Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action, which launched a $10 million “election integrity” campaign focused on opposition to HR1 and action in state legislatures.  “HR1 would be a federal takeover of state election laws. Among the base, that’s what’s hitting the hardest.”

Anderson said that while Heritage Action has focused on election laws for years, “the difference is the grassroots, they are more energized…that’s a direct result of the frustration around what happened in November.”

Quinnipiac University poll from early February found 76% of Republicans believe there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump and his allies were defeated in more than 60 court cases after the election, former Attorney General William Barr said there was no evidence of fraud at a level that “could have effected a different outcome in the election” and a group of federal, state and local officials working with the Department of Homeland Security declared the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.” 

House Republicans unanimously opposed the H.R 1and with little prospect for getting GOP support in the Senate, activists have tried to leverage Republican opposition to push Democrats to kill the filibuster

The fierce opposition to H.R. 1 extends down to the GOP’s base. RNC chair Ronna McDaniel constantly hears from activists who are concerned about the bill.The RNC announced a new Committee on Election Integrity in February that is “dedicated to restoring election transparency and ensuring voters have confidence in future election processes.”

Republican lawmakers around the country are pushing voting restrictions in their state legislatures. More than 40 states have introduced over 250 bills that would restrict voting access in the wake of the 2020 election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice

Lawmakers supporting the bills often use the refrain that the measures make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.” Legislative sponsors also say the bills are designed to shore up confidence in elections.

In some instances, lawmakers supporting new restrictions questioned the results of the 2020 election or suggested the measures could lead to political gain. In Iowa, where Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill that shortens the early voting period, tightens the timeline for returning absentee ballots and requires county auditors to follow state election laws, one GOP state senator repeated the false claim that the election was stolen.   

“Most of us in my caucus, the Republican caucus, believe the election was stolen,” Iowa Republican State Senator Jim Carlin said during a debate over the bill that Reynolds eventually signed. “Who believes that Joe Biden got 12 million more votes than Barack Obama on his best day? I don’t.”

John Kavanaugh, a state representative in Arizona, one of the states the Brennan Center ranked as having the highest number of restrictive bills, told CNN that “Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they’re willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don’t mind putting security measures in that won’t let everybody vote — but everybody shouldn’t be voting.”

“Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well,” he added, saying some voters may be “totally uninformed.” 

Those sentiments echo former President Trump’s baseless claims about the election and indicate his sway  around the issue. 

However, some of the most ardent supporters of tightening voting access do not want Mr. Trump associated with their efforts. 

“I think he should sit it out,” says Ken Cuccinelli, a former Trump administration official who is chairing the new “Election Transparency Initiative” at the Susan B. Anthony List. “To the extent he comments on issues of the day, it ought to be foreign affairs and taxes and the economy and immigration.”

“He makes it more partisan….like the RNC getting in there, but times ten,” Cuccinelli says. “The goals he would prefer to be achieved are more likely to be achieved without his participation than with it.”

Cuccinelli says groups like his that are working on voting laws should focus on preventing the passage of HR1, which conservatives see as a federal takeover of election laws, and at the state level should focus on voter ID, voter rolls and ballot security.

“There are a few people who are in their own head fighting out 2020. That is not what we are doing. We are trying to stay forward looking,” he said. “If we want to make our system work in a way that every American can be confident in, we are going to have to put some work into it.”

Though the party is largely unified in pressing for more stringent voting laws, the schism between them could open up again about how views of the 2020 election will impact primaries during the midterm cycle. One battleground state GOP strategist told CBS News that he fears that falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen could be a litmus test in GOP primaries.

“You don’t necessarily have to lean in deep, but if you can’t at least lean in a little bit, I tend to think you’re ‘not a conservative’ by today’s standard,” the strategist said. “I almost feel like that’s the first litmus test. I would like to be wrong on that, but we’ll see.”

“The construction of a world based on lies is a key component of authoritarians’ takeover of democratic societies. George Orwell’s 1984 explored a world in which those in power use language to replace reality, shaping the past and people’s daily experiences to cement their control. They are constantly reconstructing the past to justify their actions in the present. In Orwell’s dystopian fantasy, Winston Smith’s job is to rewrite history for the Ministry of Truth to reflect the changing interests of a mysterious cult leader, Big Brother, who wants power for its own sake and enforces loyalty through The Party’s propaganda and destruction of those who do not conform.”

— Heather Cox Richardson