Archives for category: Republicans

The Washington Post reported that top Republicans refuse to acknowledge or accept Biden’s election victory. Trump has posted defiant tweets, attacking the election. They are still cowering before Trump, who tweeted at 4:54 pm:

“71,000,000 Legal Votes. The most EVER for a sitting President!” Does he not know that Biden has 279 electoral college votes as well as 74,300,000 legal votes? Does he want a prize for second place?

Top congressional Republicans declined to offer congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden, or even comment on his win, as the White House and its GOP allies remained defiant that the race isn’t over for President Trump.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were silent with no plans to issue any statement Saturday about the race, according to GOP aides speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the leaders’ plans.

Meanwhile, Trump’s staunchest allies vowed to fight on, adopting the president’s baseless claims that voter fraud corrupted the results. Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, made this the official position of the party, calling any results premature and saying that the election wasn’t over until “any investigations of irregularities or fraud play out.”

After the 2000 election, which George W. Bush won by a few hundred contested votes in Florida, I was appointed to the National Commission on Federal election Reform. It was completely bipartisan. The co-chairs were former President Gerald Ford and former President Jimmy Carter. It’s report was released in August 2001.

The overriding goals of the commission were to ensure that elections were free and fair, that every citizen had the right to vote without hindrance, that every vote was counted, and that the results were accurately and fully reported.

Today, it is worth your time to review the recommendations of the Commission.

Amomg other things, the Commission recommended that all properly filed absentee ballots should be counted if they were postmarked no later than Election Day, even if they were counted after the election.

Today, our society is witnessing efforts to suppress the vote. There ar3 states like Texas that limited the number of drop boxes for mail-in ballots to only one per county, meaning that the more than four million people in Harris County (Houston), a sprawling district, would have only one place to register their ballot. People casting early votes acros the country have had to wait in lines for hours.

These shameful tactics are encouraged by Republicans across the nation,to help their unpopular president. Shameful.

We know that Trump’s lackeys will do whatever they can to suppress the vote.

Vote as if your life depends on it. It does.

Vote as if the future of our democracy depends on it. It does.

Oppose those who tacitly support the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy.

Oppose those who think the Confederate flag is “our heritage.” It is not.

Vote for Biden and Harris.

Vote for anyone challenging Trump’s enablers in the Senate.

Everyone should vote, and every vote should be counted.

If you want to build a better future, vote.

Jennifer Rubin is a columnist for the Washington Post. I believe she was chosen to express a conservative view but she was quickly repelled by Trump and Trumpism. In this column, she explains how a Democratic Congress can protect progressive policies—by doing their job.

The prospect of Republican senators marching lock-step to confirm a justice — picked precisely because of her hostility to the Affordable Care Act and legal abortion — should help Democrats boost their already commanding position in Senate races. Only by retaking the Senate can a Democratic-led Congress prevent conservative rule by the judiciary.

Come to think of it, wasn’t an overly powerful Supreme Court something Republicans used to worry about? Back when Roe v. Wade was decided, they argued that the political branches of government should determine such issues; now they seek refuge in an uber-conservative Supreme Court out of step with a large majority of Americans on everything from guns to abortion to health care.

If Democrats do go on to win the White House and have comfortable majorities in both chambers, they can begin to defang a Supreme Court that has been stocked with rigid ideologues. Much has been made of the Democratic threat of “court packing” (was it “court stripping” when Republicans decided that eight justices were enough rather than consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland?); however, the threat of adding justices to the bench may have its intended effect in curbing the court’s quest to overturn decades of precedent. It is the last card to be played, not the first.

Instead, the first step Congress should take is — get ready! — to legislate. It can pass a federal statute (likely to require the demise of the filibuster if it cannot be accomplished in a reconciliation bill) to codify Roe (which draws more than 60 percent support) and, if lawmakers see fit, stripping out the Hyde Amendment that limits federally funded abortions to cases of rape, incest or cases in which the life of the mother is at risk. In other words, the federal government can decide not only to protect the right to seek an abortion but also to make abortions more accessible to poor women. We can argue whether that is a good or bad policy, but no one can argue that Congress has no prerogative to address the issue. Nor can anyone say that Congress can’t, say, pass a Defense of All Marriages Act, which would secure same-sex marriages.

Congress can also “fix” the Affordable Care Act, which it intends to expand anyway, should the Supreme Court strike the law down on the basis that the tax justification that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. used to uphold the law vanished when the individual mandate fell out.

Call this the Ruth Bader Ginsburg approach. When the Supreme Court refused to extend the statute of limitations in wage discrimination lawsuits, her dissent in Ledbetter v. Goodyearinvited Congress to amend the statue. It did. Much of the anti-democratic, precedent-busting work of a hyperpartisan Supreme Court can be undone by a unified Congress and White House.

Congress can also use its constitutional power to limit the jurisdiction of the court’s appellate power and to limit the terms of justices. If the Supreme Court is to be a partisan outfit, then give it less to do and make each seat less valuable.

Conservatives are rushing through a rock-ribbed conservative with little regard for precedent for one reason: They are watching their electoral majority slip away — and, “worse,” they know their prospects of a comeback are diminishing, given that the electorate is looking more and more like America and that voting is not being suppressed. A court that zigzags its way through the Constitution depending on the policy preferences of the presidents who appointed them is not a court that will engender respect. It is one that needs to be cut down to size.

David Von Drehle is a regular opinion writer for the Washington Post. In this column, he describes the lack of ideas in the Republican Party. Their only goal is power. They didn’t even bother to write a party platform. Whatever Trump wants, that’s what they want. No discussion, no debate, no dissent. Their goals in capturing six seats on the Supreme Court are negative: to roll back abortion. To roll back Obamacare. To roll back any gains for civil rights. To roll back the New Deal.

Drehle writes:

“The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run,” declared the self-destructive Captain Ahab, concerning his pursuit of Moby Dick. The elusive white whale of Republican politics is abortion rights. For nearly 50 years, over oceans of campaign speeches and seas of television ads, GOP candidates have promised to fill the Supreme Court with enough harpooners to slay the beast.

With the chance to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneer of women’s rights, mere weeks before a presidential election, the Republican Ahabs are lowering boats and putting their backs into one more try. Four years ago, they used their Senate majority to preserve a 5-to-4 conservative advantage on the court by blocking President Barack Obama’s pick in the final year of his second term. Now they spy the chance to grab a 6-to-3 margin.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) might want to flip ahead to the final chapters to see how this story ends. Or I could just tell him: Ahab is last seen being dragged by the whale into the fatal briny.

One of three things could come of this. Cooler heads might prevail — but what’s the chance of that these days? The other two alternatives both bristle with disaster for the GOP.

The GOP might actually spear its whale, by creating a majority of justices willing to undo the reproductive autonomy that has been affirmed and reaffirmed in earlier court opinions. The number of new supporters this would win for the Republican Party is approximately zero. They already have, as their rock-solid base, all the voters who genuinely believe that human life begins at conception — not as a scientific proposition (obviously true), but as a moral law. That the single zygote cell formed when a microscopic sperm cell fertilizes an ovum is as much a person as you and me.

As a former zygote myself, I understand the principle. I also understand that an entity composed of many trillions of cells is relevant to these matters. “Overturning Roe v. Wade,” as the campaign shorthand goes, would compromise the rights of every woman with a zygote in her body. By the same life-at-conception logic, a number of contraceptive methods could potentially be banned, including IUDs and the so-called morning-after pill. Never in U.S. history has there been a comparable rollback of officially recognized rights.

While gaining zero voters, the GOP stands to lose millions of them. Generations of women — and the men who love them — have factored reproductive freedoms into their world views. A qualified right to abortion is recognized even in Italy, home to the antiabortion Roman Catholic church. Among those who would lose autonomy are many women, and their men, who have loyally voted Republican year after year while quietly depending on these rights. Democrats aren’t the only ones who experience unwanted pregnancies.

The third alternative fits the cynical spirit of McConnell’s power play. Elected Republicans could grab the seat to the delight of their antiabortion base, while quietly counting on the justices not to do anything radically unpopular. A fact you won’t find in Republican campaign ads is that all federal protections of abortion rights are the products of Republican-dominated courts. The last time the Supreme Court had a majority appointed by Democratic presidents was 1969.

When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, six of the court’s nine justices were appointed by Republican presidents. Five of the six were in favor. In 1992, the court explicitly reconsidered whether a qualified right to abortion exists. By then, eight of the nine justices were Republican appointees.

How did the GOP keep its grip on the abortion issue despite this history? By denouncing those justices as the wrong kind of Republicans and pledging to find more reliable ones. Over time, the party has replaced the supposedly squishy justices with rock-ribbed conservatives approved by Federalist Society gatekeepers. If six such stalwarts should fail to deliver the long-promised repeal, it will be obvious that abortion rights are here to stay and Republican rhetoric to the contrary is baloney.

The GOP cupboard would then be entirely bare. The party of fiscal discipline has become the party of trillion-dollar deficits. The party of free trade has become the party of Trump tariffs. The party of limited government has become the party of executive orders. The party of Reagan has become the party of resentment. When the hollowness of its antiabortion rhetoric is confirmed, the Republican Party will stand for nothing, on a platform they don’t even bother to write.

There’s an old saying: When you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything. A suitable epitaph for the party of McConnell in the age of Trump.

As Politico explains in this article, the odds of stopping another Trump appointment to the Supreme Court are slim to none.

Republicans have 53 Senate members. Democrats 47.

It would require four Republicans to vote no. If only three vote no, there will be a tie, and VP Pence will cast a tie-breaker in favor.

There has been speculation that Collins and McSally might vote no if the vote is held before the election. Murkowski of Alaska has said she thought it was inappropriate to confirm a new justice right before the election. That’s a possible three.

James Hohmann has a fascinating article in the Washington Post. He writes that Republicans will forge ahead with a nominee and won’t care f they are called hypocrites for saying the opposite in 2016, when they refused to give a hearing to Obama’s appointee Merrick Garland, ten months before the election.

He says the Senate would likely vote after the election, during the lame duck session.

He says Trump called McConnell and said he would appoint a woman, a conservative to be sure. Trump called McConnell on his flight back to Washington from a rally in Minnesota to say he likes Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit, two people briefed on the discussion tell Seung Min Kim….

Barrett, only 48, was confirmed to her post in late 2017 on an almost party-line vote. The only two Democrats who defected were Sens. Joe Manchin (W.V.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.), who was defeated the next year. As a devout and outspoken Roman Catholic (she has seven children), she has left little doubt in her public comments and jurisprudence about her deeply-held hostility to reproductive rights. “Your legal career is but a means to an end, and … that end is building the kingdom of God,” Barrett said in a 2006 speech to graduates of Notre Dame, where she attended law school.

He added that the Supreme Court battle would energize the right and enable Trump to change the subject away from the pandemic.

He also said that if the Democrats win, the left will pressure them to expand the Court and “pack” them.

The Green Party will not be on the ballot in Pennsylvania. The state’s Supreme Court removed the party because of deficiencies in its application. This follows a similar decision a few days ago in Wisconsin. This is good news for Democrats, bad news for Republicans. In 2016, Jill Stein received over one million votes, which tipped key states to Trump.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Green Party presidential ticket from state ballots, allowing state and local election officials to resume preparations for Nov. 3 and begin mailing ballots to voters.
The court ruled that presidential contender Howie Hawkins and his running mate, Angela Walker, did not qualify for the ballot because the party did not submit signed filing papers in person, as required by state rules.

It’s the second such ruling in a week. On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court found deficiencies in the Green Party’s ballot petition in that state, excluding the party from the ballot.
The decision is a blow to the third-party ticket and a win for Democrats, who worried that the Green Party could siphon votes from presidential nominee Joe Biden in the key battleground state.

In Wisconsin, the Green Party effort to get on the ballot was boosted by help from some Republicans and a prominent law firm that does work for the GOP.

In 2016, President Trump won both Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by fewer votes than the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, collected in each state.

David Dayen writes a daily update on the pandemic crisis for the American Prospect. It is called “Unsanitized.” I highly recommend it.

In this post, he recounts the GOP’s lack of interest in helping anyone but their funders.

How about going to the voters with a promise to help the 1%, not them? Or just distract them by prattling about law and order and Antifa?

To read the links, open the post.

First Response

The second-to-last jobs report before the election would sound really great if you were airlifted in from the International Space Station after a year of isolation. The economy added 1.37 million jobs and dropped the topline unemployment rate to 8.4 percent. This is down from 1.7 million added in July, and remains 11.5 million jobs under the number in February, a 7.5 percent loss since the beginning of the pandemic. Permanent job loss is actually falling more quickly than it did during the Great Recession, at 3.4 million. In all 19 million workers are either unemployed or have lost their jobs, based on this report. And it includes 237,000 Census hires, who will lose their jobs shortly.

The report is indicative of a country where the rich have completely cleaved themselves off from the rest of society. As Tim Noah writes, the prediction that we were living in a plutonomy, a nation of, by, and for the 1 percent, has now come to pass. You can have an economy without caring about the welfare of an exceedingly large section of the population, if you just shut your eyes. Food bank participation and the stock market are nearing record highs, simultaneously. Threat of eviction and rental debt has never been this elevated, and neither have bank profits from investments and trading. You either have it or you don’t.

So expecting a bunch of haves in the Senate Republican caucus to figure out how to prevent disaster for the have-nots might be a foolish enterprise. Senate Republicans can enable a Federal Reserve bailout (“The Fed created a bubble where life could go on—not unlike the NBA bubble,” is one great quote from that above-linked Wall Street Journal piece), but helping invisible people they never come into contact with in a typical day? Come on, they’re not miracle workers!
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So it’s not surprising, then, that Senate Republicans can’t decide on what to do, or whether to do anything, about the continuing economic crisis. Mitch McConnell first announced a $1 trillion legislative effort, mostly as a coat rack for his scheme to give a liability release to corporations, hospitals, and schools for wrongful infections or deaths from COVID-19. That split the caucus almost in half.

McConnell has come back with something about half the size. There’s a $300 a week federal unemployment enhancement, down from the $600/week that expired in July. There’s a round of small business Paycheck Protection Program funding. There’s the $105 billion for schools, and there’s the conversion of an existing $10 billion line of credit for the Postal Service into a grant. (That’s only in there to make this bill line up with the measure House Democrats passed that was only about the Postal Service. It’s an attempt to limit the negotiation.) And of course, there’s that liability release.

Of course Chuck Schumer is outraged by the Senate GOP’s offer getting smaller, not bigger, as time goes on. And the lack of funding for state and local government (Los Angeles just announced the furlough of 15,000 city jobs), stimulus checks, rental assistance, and food assistance—those things the “other” Americans need—makes this wholly inadequate.

What McConnell wants to do is find something his entire caucus can agree on, or at least the majority of the Senate (so 50 of his 53 members), to make that the right pole in the negotiation. But that has now been threatened. Some Republicans are seeing this desire to find common ground as an opportunity to layer on unrelated ideological demands.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is pushing to add a $5 billion provision for private school vouchers to the relief bill. Few actually want this as part of the overall package, rightly reasoning that it has nothing to do with coronavirus relief. But you just need a handful of splitters—four to be exact—to derail the entire enterprise. The bill is supposed to get a vote next week, when the Senate returns to session.

One of the objections is that Cruz’ tax credit shouldn’t get in while others get out. You can imagine the mollifying of Senators playing out with the entry of other tax credits to get their grudging agreement, turning the relief bill into a tax bill with a little relief.

In the end we’re likely not to see any coronavirus bill at all. It’s already September, and at the end of the month government spending runs out. Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have reportedly agreed on a stopgap that avoids a government shutdown, regardless of the impasse over stimulus. That stopgap is probably the last chance before the election for any additional measures. But House Democrats want a “clean” continuing resolution, which means that it won’t be used to pursue other stimulus efforts.

Again, in a plutonomy, you can’t expect plutocrat-owned lawmakers (or plutocrats themselves) to see past their noses to the non-people in the streets. The stock market took a tumble yesterday, but it would take plenty more for official Washington to notice the pain

James Pindell wrote in the Boston Globe about the Republican Convention.

For the Republicans, America is a country on the verge of collapse because there is rioting in the cities, impending doom in the suburbs, and some concerted effort in the rural areas to prevent people from going to church or owning a gun. As one speaker put it: “Trump is the bodyguard of western civilization.”

The Republican Party no longer exists, he writes:

There is no longer a Republican Party. Over the past four years, what was the Republican Party has become the Trump party. This was on full display in the first 24 hours of the convention. After all, the party didn’t even bother doing the most basic thing at a convention: pass a platform stating what the party stood for. Because the party stands for one thing: Trump.

Speaker after speaker invoked Trump over any principles of America or what had been widely viewed as the basic tenets of the Republican Party: strong foreign policy, social conservatism, and fiscal conservatism. Indeed, while tax rates were mentioned, no speaker said anything about fiscal responsibility after years of soaring deficits under Trump.

Even the podium reflected this new reality. Where the Democrats used the convention’s logo, the Republicans either used one that read “Trump 2020″ or “Trump Pence.”

Today is the day when the Republican Party convenes to renominate Donald Trump as President of the United States. Trump has so thoroughly conquered the Grand Old Party that some call it “the Trump Party.” No member dare challenges his decisions, statements or policies, for fear that a humiliating tweet will end his or her career. A once-proud party that trumpeted its devotion to principles like free trade, personal responsibility, and respect for the rule of law now meets to show their obeisance to a man who rejects its foundational principles.

Our contributor Robert Shepherd has written an opening oration for the chair of the convention. It is short, witty, and to the point. It is a fitting tribute to the man who says he needs four more years of chaos to make America great again.

This post in McSweeney’s was inspired by the news that the gun-toting couple from Missouri who threatened BLM protestors have been invited to speak at the Republican Convention.

Here is the first day:

Monday, August 24

9:00 pm
The Creatures From Beyond the Mist scream the national anthem.

9:05 pm
Morgon, Devourer of Children, discusses his proposal to drastically decrease education spending.

9:20 pm
Marjorie Taylor Greene, QAnon congressional candidate, explains why COVID-19 can’t be transmitted through the air because there is no such thing as “air.”

9:40 pm
Scott Baio triggers libs from his hot tub.

10:20 pm
Silicon Valley CEO Peter Thiel shares a PowerPoint about how minimum-wage workers can balance their budgets by scavenging for edible weeds and building traps to catch small rodents.

10:40 pm
Keynote speech: Axulythor, Sorcerer of Darkness, on the importance of restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare.