Tuesday Primary Preview: Trump’s Big Lie slate aims to go three for three in key Arizona races

Primary season is back in full force on Tuesday with major contests taking place in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. Ohio voters will also go back to the polls for primaries for their state legislature, which were delayed because of redistricting litigation (primaries for the Buckeye State’s other offices took place as planned in early May).

Below you'll find our guide to all of the top contests, arranged chronologically by each state’s poll closing times. When it’s available, we'll tell you about any reliable polling that exists for each race, but if we don't mention any numbers, it means no recent surveys have been made public.

And of course, because this is a redistricting year, every state on the docket has a brand-new congressional map. To help you follow along, you can find interactive maps from Dave's Redistricting App for Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington.

Note that the presidential results we include after each district reflect how the 2020 race would have gone under the new lines in place for this fall. And if you'd like to know how much of the population in each new district comes from each old district, please check out our redistribution tables.

Our live coverage will begin at 8 PM ET at Daily Kos Elections when polls close in Missouri as well as most of Kansas and Michigan. You can also follow us on Twitter for blow-by-blow updates, and you’ll want to bookmark our primary calendar, which includes the dates for primaries in all 50 states. Lastly, you can track the outcomes of each of these key races with our cheat sheet, which we’ll keep continuously updated throughout election night.

Ohio

Polls close at 7:30 PM ET.

Kansas

Polls close at 8 PM ET / 7 PM local time in the portion of the state located in the Central time zone, where virtually all Kansans live, and an hour later in four sparsely populated counties along the state's western border with Colorado. Individual counties have the option to keep their polls open an extra hour.

KS Ballot (56-41 Trump): The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the state constitution protects abortion rights, but the Republican-dominated legislature has placed a proposed constitutional amendment on the primary ballot to change that. If a majority votes “yes” on Tuesday, then the legislature would have the power to end abortion in the state. A win for the “no” side, however, would keep the status quo intact. The only poll that’s been released was a mid-July survey from a Republican pollster on its own behalf that showed “yes” ahead 47-43.

Other Kansas races to watch: KS-AG (R)

Michigan

Polls close at 8 PM ET in the portion of the state located in the Eastern time zone, where almost all Michiganders live, and an hour later in four small counties in the Upper Peninsula along the state's western border with Wisconsin.

MI-Gov (R) (51-48 Biden): The Republican contest to face Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer transformed dramatically in late May when a massive signature fraud scandal prevented former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who had been the frontrunner, and four other candidates from appearing on the primary ballot. One of the five remaining contenders, conservative radio host Tudor Dixon, soon earned the backing of former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and other members of her influential family, plus a last-second endorsement from Donald Trump. She’s posted leads in most recent polls, and national Democrats seem convinced that Dixon will advance as well, as they recently launched ads against her.

Self-funding businessman Kevin Rinke, who most surveys have had in second, has used his wealth to decisively outspend his rivals; Rinke has aired commercials faulting Dixon for accepting the help of DeVos, who resigned from Trump’s cabinet a day after the Jan. 6 attack. Another candidate, real estate agent Ryan Kelley, attracted national attention in June when the FBI arrested him on misdemeanor charges related to his role in the riot, but he’s struggled to turn that notoriety into votes. Chiropractor Garrett Soldano and pastor Ralph Rebandt are also running, while Craig is using his limited remaining funds in a long-shot effort to win the nomination through a write-in campaign.

MI-03 (R) (53-45 Biden): Freshman Rep. Peter Meijer, who was one of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, faces primary opposition from a Trump-backed challenger, conservative commentator John Gibbs. The winner will go up against 2020 Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten, who faces no intra-party opposition for her second bid, in a Grand Rapids-based seat that Michigan's new independent redistricting commissions transformed from a 51-47 Trump seat to one Biden would have decisively carried.

Meijer and his allies have massively outspent Gibbs’ side, though the challenger got a late boost from Democrats who believe he’d be easier to beat in November. The DCCC launched an ad campaign in the final week declaring that Gibbs was "[h]andpicked by Trump to run for Congress" and saying he supports a "hardline against immigrants at the border and so-called 'patriotic education' in our schools." A pro-Meijer PAC quickly responded by running its own commercial arguing that Gibbs is actually the “handpicked candidate” of Nancy Pelosi.

MI-08 (R) (50-48 Biden): Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee is defending a seat in the Flint and Saginaw areas that’s a little more competitive than his current 5th District, and three Republicans are campaigning to face him.

The frontrunner is former Trump administration official Paul Junge, who lost to Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin 51-47 in the old 8th District in 2020. (The old and new 8th Districts do not, however, overlap.) Former Grosse Pointe Shores Councilman Matthew Seely, like Junge, has self-funded almost all of his campaign, though Junge has spent far more. The third candidate, businesswoman Candice Miller, shares her name with a former congresswoman who used to represent a neighboring seat, but she’s reported raising nothing.

MI-10 (D) (50-49 Trump): Five Democrats are competing to take on Army veteran John James, who was Team Red's Senate nominee in 2018 and 2020, in a redrawn seat in Detroit's northeastern suburbs that's open because of the incumbent-vs.-incumbent matchup in the 11th (see just below).

The most prominent contender is probably former Macomb County Judge Carl Marlinga, who was the county’s longtime prosecutor. The best-funded candidate, though, is attorney Huwaida Arraf, while Warren Council member Angela Rogensues also has brought in more money than Marlinga. Sterling Heights City Council member Henry Yanez and former Macomb County Health Department head Rhonda Powell are also in, but they’ve each struggled with fundraising. James himself faces only minor opposition in his own primary.

MI-11 (D) (59-39 Biden): The Democratic primary in the new 11th is a duel between a pair of sophomore House members, Haley Stevens and Andy Levin. Stevens' existing 11th District makes up 45% of this revamped seat in Detroit’s northern suburbs, while Levin’s 9th is home to another 25%. Retiring Rep. Brenda Lawrence represents the balance of this district, and she’s backing Stevens.

Stevens and Levin have largely voted the same way while in Congress, though while Levin has emphasized his support for Medicare for all and the Green New Deal, Stevens has portrayed herself as more pragmatic. The congresswoman has enjoyed a huge financial advantage over her colleague; outside groups, led by the hawkish pro-Israel organization AIPAC, have also outspent Levin’s allies by a lopsided margin. A recent independent poll showed Stevens ahead 58-31.

MI-12 (D) (74-25 Biden): Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is one of the most vocal progressives in the House, faces a prominent intra-party challenge from Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey. Two other candidates, former state Rep. Shanelle Jackson and Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett, are also running, but they haven’t attracted much attention. The three challengers, like a large portion of the electorate in this Detroit-based seat, are Black, while Tlaib is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants.

Tlaib, whose existing 13th District makes up 53% of the new 12th, has far outspent Winfrey, who has faulted Tlaib for casting a vote from the left against the Biden administration's infrastructure bill. However, a newly established group called Urban Empowerment Action PAC has gotten involved to help Winfrey, and it’s responsible for most of the more than $600,000 that’s been spent on her side.

MI-13 (D) (74-25 Biden): A total of nine Democrats are competing in an extremely expensive contest to succeed retiring Rep. Brenda Lawrence, who is Michigan's only Black member of Congress, in a seat that includes part of Detroit and its southern suburbs. The top spender by far is state Rep. Shri Thanedar, who unsuccessfully sought Team Blue’s nomination for governor in 2018 before winning his current office two years later; Thanedar, who is originally from India, is the only candidate who isn’t Black.

State Sen. Adam Hollier, meanwhile, has benefited from over $6 million in outside spending promoting him and attacking Thanedar. Most of this has come from AIPAC, but VoteVets and the crypto-aligned Protect Our Future have also expended considerable sums. Lawrence, for her part, is supporting Michigan Civil Rights Commissioner Portia Roberson.

A recent independent poll showed Thanedar leading Roberson 22-17, with Hollier at 16. The field also includes hedge fund manager John Conyers III, who is the son and namesake of the late former congressman, and former Detroit General Counsel Sharon McPhail, who each clocked in with 7%, as well as Detroit School Board member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo and Teach for America official Michael Griffie.

Missouri

Polls close at 8 PM ET / 7 PM local time.

MO-Sen (R) (57-41 Trump): Republicans have a crowded contest to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt in this conservative state, though only three―former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler―appear to have a shot at the nomination. The field also includes Rep. Billy Long, state Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, and wealthy attorney Mark McCloskey, but none of them have registered much support in the polls.

Early surveys gave the lead to Greitens, who resigned from the governorship in 2018 in the face of multiple scandals. The candidate, though, has been on the receiving end of millions of dollars worth of ads from a super PAC that, among other things, has highlighted his ex-wife's accusations that Greitens physically abused both her and their children in 2018.

Hartzler, for her part, has the backing of Missouri’s other senator, Josh Hawley, but her efforts to get the biggest endorsement in GOP politics went badly: In early July, Trump publicly announced that he “will NOT BE ENDORSING HER FOR THE SENATE.” Instead, the day before the primary, Trump announced "that ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!" Both Greitens and Schmitt thirstily lapped up the statement as a bona fide expression of support, ignoring the fact that Trump pointedly did not choose between the two.

Unlike the lightning-rod Greitens, Schmitt has managed to avoid any toxic headlines throught the race, though his opponents have tried to portray him as being too close to China. Schmitt has also benefited from more outside spending than anyone else, and recent polls have shown the attorney general in the lead.

The Democrats have a primary battle of their own between Marine veteran Lucas Kunce and businesswoman Trudy Busch Valentine, though the winner will be a longshot, even if they get to face someone as tainted as Greitens. A onetime Republican, former U.S. Attorney John Wood, is also campaigning as an independent.

MO-01 (D) (78-20 Biden): Freshman Rep. Cori Bush pulled off a major upset two years ago when she unseated veteran Rep. Lacy Clay in the Democratic primary, and the high-profile progressive now faces four intra-party opponents in a St. Louis seat that only experienced small changes under the new map.

Bush’s main foe is state Sen. Steve Roberts, who has gone after Bush for casting a vote from the left against the Biden administration's infrastructure bill and has Clay’s backing. Bush's team, meanwhile, has highlighted accusations of sexual assault against Roberts by two different women in 2015 and 2017, though he was never charged in either case. A July poll showed the incumbent ahead 40-20.

MO-04 (R) (69-29 Trump): Seven Republicans are competing to replace Rep. Vicky Hartzler in what remains a safely red constituency in the western part of the state, and there’s no obvious frontrunner.

Cattle farmer Kalena Bruce has the backing of Gov. Mike Parson and the influential Missouri Farm Bureau, while state Sen. Rick Brattin has the prominent anti-abortion group Missouri Right to Life in his corner. Former Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks is the only other candidate who has held elected office, while former Kansas City TV anchor Mark Alford enjoys some local name recognition. Retired Navy SEAL Bill Irwin is the final candidate who has spent a notable amount of money.

Outside groups have almost completely focused on helping or hindering only two of the contenders. School Freedom Fund, which is an affiliate of the anti-tax Club for Growth, has spent over $1 million to support Brattin or attack Alford; two other organizations, the crypto-aligned American Dream Federal Action and Conservative Americans PAC have deployed a comparable sum to help Alford and weaken Brattin.

MO-07 (R) (70-28 Trump): The GOP has a similarly crowded eight-way race in southwestern Missouri to replace another Senate candidate, Rep. Billy Long, and no one has an obvious advantage here either. The field includes a trio of state senators, Eric Burlison, Mike Moon, and Jay Wasson, while another name to watch is Alex Bryant, a pastor who would be the first African American Republican to represent Missouri in Congress. The final candidate who has spent a notable amount is physician Sam Alexander.

Wasson, who is self-funding, has far outspent his competition, but Burlison’s allies at the Club for Growth have also dropped $1 million to stop him. The Club and the nihilistic House Freedom Caucus, likewise, have deployed almost $600,000 to promote Burlison. A third group, Conservative Americans PAC, has spent close to $700,000 to beat Burlison and a bit less than half of that to hit Moon.

Arizona

Polls close at 10 PM ET / 7 PM local time.

AZ-Sen (R) (49.2-48.9 Biden): Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly will be a top GOP target following his close win in 2020 for the final two years of the late John McCain's term, and five Republicans are competing to face him. Most polls show that the frontrunner is former Thiel Capital chief operating officer Blake Masters, who picked up Trump’s endorsement in June. Masters’ old boss, conservative mega donor Peter Thiel, has poured $15 million into a super PAC to support him, while the anti-tax Club for Growth is also spending on his behalf.

Masters’ main intra-party rival appears to be wealthy businessman Jim Lamon, who posted a lead in one recent survey. Lamon has tried to portray Masters as a phony conservative who only recently relocated to the state from California, and he’s also run a commercial using recent footage of his rival calling the Unabomber “a "subversive thinker that's underrated."

Attorney General Mark Brnovich, meanwhile, began the race looking like the frontrunner, but Trump loathes him for insufficiently advancing the Big Lie and he’s faded in recent months. State Corporation Commissioner Justin Olson and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire round out the field.

AZ-Gov (R & D) (49.2-48.9 Biden): The Republican primary has turned into an expensive proxy battle between Trump and termed-out Gov. Doug Ducey, a one-time Trump ally who wound up in the MAGA doghouse after he refused to go along with Trump’s efforts to steal the 2020 election.

Trump is all in for Kari Lake, a former local TV anchor turned far-right conspiracy theorist. Ducey, meanwhile, is supporting Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson, who has used her wealth to massively outspent Lake. Former Rep. Matt Salmon, who was the 2002 nominee, is also on the ballot along with two others, though he ended his campaign in June and endorsed Robson. Most polls show Lake ahead, though a Robson internal had the race tied.

Robson and her allies are trying to pull off an upset by highlighting Lake’s past as a supporter of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and they got some help in June from an unexpected source. After Lake targeted drag performances as "grooming" and "child abuse," a prominent Phoenix drag queen named Richard Stevens responded by posting images of the two together during their now-severed friendship and revealing that he’d performed for her multiple times. The story wound up in an anti-Lake ad in which another drag queen said that the candidate is “not just a fake, she's a phony'.”

The Democratic side has been a far more low-key affair, though there’s been little recent polling. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has been the frontrunner from the start, and she’s enjoyed a big financial advantage over former Homeland Security official Marco López.

AZ-01 (R & D) (50-49 Biden): Republican Rep. David Schweikert is seeking re-election in a reconfigured seat in the eastern Phoenix area that’s more competitive than his existing 6th District, but he needs to get through an expensive and ugly primary before he can worry about that. Businessman Elijah Norton has enjoyed a huge spending advantage thanks to his personal wealth, and he’s aired ads attacking Schweikert over a major scandal that resulted in the incumbent admitting to 11 different violations of congressional rules and campaign finance laws in 2020.

Schweikert, for his part, has focused on Norton's turbulent departure from his insurance company. The congressman has also circulated mailers showing his challenger and a male friend with the caption, “Elijah Norton isn't being straight with you.” Norton quickly fired back with a defamation lawsuit accusing Schweikert of falsely insinuating that he’s gay. The field also includes Josh Barnett, who badly lost a 2020 race against Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego but could cost Norton some much-needed anti-incumbent votes.

The Democratic contest between Jevin Hodge, who lost a tight 2020 race for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and former Phoenix Suns employee Adam Metzendorf has been far less incendiary. Hodge, who would be Arizona’s first Black congressman, has far outspent his rival, and the DCCC backed him in June.

AZ-02 (R) (53-45 Trump): Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran is defending a seat in northern and eastern rural Arizona that’s considerably more conservative than the 1st District he holds now, and seven Republicans are competing to face him. One of them, Navy SEAL veteran Eli Crane, picked up Donald Trump’s endorsement in the final weeks of the race, a decision that earned Trump loud boos at his rally a few hours later (possibly because of a coordinated effort by opponents who've criticized him for not living in the district).

Crane himself released a survey before he earned Trump’s nod showing him in the lead with 19% while state Rep. Walt Blackman and businessman Mark DeLuzio tied 12-12 for second. Outside groups have spent $1 million to either promote Crane or attack Blackman, a fellow Big Lie promoter who would be the state’s first Black member of Congress. The field also includes Ron Watkins, the reputed founder of the QAnon conspiracy cult, though he’s raised little.

AZ-04 (R) (54-44 Biden): Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton faces six Republicans in a seat based in the southern Phoenix suburbs that is considerably more competitive than the 9th District he now serves. The GOP establishment has consolidated behind Tanya Wheeless, a former president of the Arizona Bankers Association. Her best-funded rival is restaurant owner Kelly Cooper, who has financed most of his campaign himself, while Chandler City Councilman Rene Lopez is also in. Outside groups have deployed over $1 million to support Wheeless and bash Cooper.

AZ-06 (D & R) (49.3-49.2 Biden): Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick announced her retirement last year before Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission drew up a new Tucson-based seat that’s well to the right of her current 2nd District, and both parties have contested primaries to succeed her.

The Democratic side pits former state Rep. Daniel Hernández, who as an intern helped save then-Rep. Gabby Giffords after she was shot in 2011, against state Sen. Kirsten Engel; a third candidate, engineer Avery Anderson, hasn't earned much attention. Both candidates have brought in a comparable amount of money, and major outside groups haven’t been involved here.

Until recently, the Republican primary looked like it would be an easy win for Juan Ciscomani, a former senior advisor to Gov. Doug Ducey who has far outraised his five intra-party foes. But things got more interesting in the final days when the House GOP’s main super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent over $1 million to support Ciscomani, whose decision to campaign as a unifier may not be resonating with the primary electorate.

Ciscomani’s main rival appears to be former mortgage banker Kathleen Winn, who has thrown far more red meat to the base. Winn has spread conspiracy theories insinuating that American leaders are “being paid off” by China and Russia, so naturally she has the backing of notorious far-right figures including Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and Kari Lake, Trump’s candidate for governor.

AZ-AG (R) & AZ-SoS (R & D) (49.2-48.9 Biden): Both the offices of attorney general and secretary of state, which along with the governor are involved in certifying election results in the Grand Canyon State, are open, and Trump is backing an election conspiracy theorist for each.

Trump’s man in the six-way contest for attorney general is former prosecutor Abe Hamadeh, who has denied that Biden won the state. Hamadeh's intra-party foes are Tiffany Shedd, who lost a close general election last cycle in the 1st Congressional District against Rep. Tom O'Halleran; Rodney Glassman, a former Democrat who now sports an endorsement from far-right Rep. Paul Gosar; former prosecutor Lacy Cooper; former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould; and manufacturing executive Dawn Grove. The winner will go up against former Arizona Corporation Commission Chair Kris Mayes, who has no opposition in the Democratic primary.

Over in the four-way contest for secretary of state, Trump is backing state Rep. Mark Finchem, a QAnon supporter who led the failed effort to overturn Biden's victory and attended the Jan. 6 rally just ahead of the attack on the Capitol. Finchem faces two fellow legislators, state Rep. Shawnna Bolick and state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who have both promoted voter suppression measures. The final candidate is advertising executive Beau Lane, who has Gov. Doug Ducey’s endorsement and is the one candidate who acknowledges Biden’s win.

The Democratic contest for secretary of state pits state House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding against Adrian Fontes, who narrowly lost re-election in 2020 as Maricopa County clerk. A recent poll for an unnamed super PAC put Fontes ahead 44-29, but a pro-Bolding group gave their candidate a 35-30 advantage.

Other Arizona races to watch: Maricopa County, AZ Attorney

Washington

Polls close at 11 PM ET / 8 PM local time.

Washington’s top-two primary requires all candidates to compete on one ballot rather than in separate party primaries. The two contenders with the most votes, regardless of party, advance to the Nov. 8 general election. Candidates cannot win outright in August by taking a majority of the vote.

WA-03 (51-46 Trump): Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler earned herself a prominent place on Trump's shitlist after she voted for impeachment, and she now faces four fellow Republicans, two Democrats, and two unaffiliated candidates in this southwest Washington constituency that's very similar to her previous district. Trump himself is pulling for Joe Kent, an Army veteran who has defended Putin's invasion of Ukraine and has ties to far-right extremists.

An outside group called Conservatives for A Stronger America, though, has spent over $1 million to attack Kent and elevate a third Republican, evangelical author Heidi St. John. Kent has argued that this organization is trying to “prop up a spoiler candidate and split the vote” in order to help Herrera Beutler advance to the general election, though he’s trying something similar on a smaller scale. His campaign has sent out mail pieces highlighting how the only serious Democratic candidate, auto repair shop owner Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, is the one "pro-choice candidate for Congress,” a move aimed at costing Herrera Beutler Democratic votes. The field also includes GOP state Rep. Vicki Kraft, though she’s earned little notice.

WA-04 (57-40 Trump): Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse, who also voted for impeachment, faces six intra-party opponents in this largely unchanged eastern Washington constituency, while businessman Doug White is the one Democrat in the running. Trump has thrown his support behind 2020 gubernatorial nominee Loren Culp, an ex-cop who has refused to recognize his decisive loss to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, but he’s badly struggled with fundraising.

Defending Main Street, which is aligned with the GOP leadership, has spent over $1 million praising Newhouse and attacking Culp, while the challenger has received no major outside help. Team Red’s field also includes self-funding businessman Jerrod Sessler and state Rep. Brad Klippert.

WA-08 (52-45 Biden): Three notable Republicans are challenging Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier in what remains a competitive seat in suburban Seattle.

Schrier's most familiar foe is 2020 nominee Jesse Jensen, who unexpectedly held her to a 52-48 win last time despite bringing in little money and is proving to be a considerably stronger fundraiser this time. Another well-established Republican is King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who was the 2012 nominee for attorney general; Dunn is the son of the late Rep. Jennifer Dunn, who represented previous versions of this constituency from 1993 to 2005. Team Red's field also includes another failed candidate for attorney general, 2020 nominee Matt Larkin.

Jensen has outspent his intra-party rivals, and he’s also benefited from over $300,000 in support from a super PAC set up to help him. The group’s efforts include ads against Dunn, including mailers highlighting his past struggles with alcoholism.

Other Washington races to watch: WA-SoS

2020 was an election theft dry run for Republicans. Next time, they could succeed

Every election starting now and into the foreseeable future is going to be the most important election of our lifetime. Until the Republican Party as we currently know it is ground to dust, scorched, and the earth on which it stands is salted, the threat of white nationalistic fascism will remain. Right now, in 2022, Republicans are running explicitly on undermining representative democracy, from the smallest local positions up through the state legislatures and all the way to Congress. They are converging behind the Big Lie and promising that they are going to fix it so that they don’t lose any more elections. So that Donald Trump (or his stand-in) will take the 2024 election.

They’re not even trying to be subtle about it—it’s explicit in so many campaigns for governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in plenty of battlegrounds, including the states that Trump tried to contest in 2020.

“What we’re seeing right now is unprecedented,” Joanna Lydgate, co-founder and CEO of States United Action, told CNN’s Rod Brownstein. “To see candidates running on a platform of lies and conspiracy theories about our elections as a campaign position, to see a former President getting involved in endorsing in down-ballot races at the primary level, and certainly to see this kind of systemic attacks on our elections, this spreading of disinformation about our elections—we’ve never seen anything like this before as a country.”

RELATED STORY: Republican state legislators are laying the groundwork to overturn the next election

Brownstein reports on a study released last week—commissioned by the groups States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward—which determined that 13 states have already approved laws to make sure there will be partisan control over election administration, laws to intimidate election administrators, and laws requiring audits of the 2020 election, as if that is a thing. That’s beyond the orgy they’ve been having for the past decade with voter suppression laws, which hasn’t ended either. Thirty-three states have another 229 bills related to denying the results of the last election, and to limiting the electorate and predetermining the outcome of future elections.

“Taken separately, each of these bills would chip away at the system of free and fair elections that Americans have sustained, and worked to improve, for generations,” the groups concluded. “Taken together, they could lead to an election in which the voters’ choices are disregarded and the election sabotaged.”

“In the leadup to the 2020 election, those who warned of a potential crisis were dismissed as alarmists by far too many Americans who should have seen the writing on the wall,” Jessica Marsden, counsel at Protect Democracy, told Brownstein in an email. “Almost two years later, after an attempted coup and a violent insurrection on our Capitol, election conspiracy theorists—including those who actually participated in January 6—are being nominated by the GOP to hold the most consequential offices for overseeing the 2024 election.”

“It’s all connected,” Lydgate said. “The playbook is to try to change the rules and change the referees, so you can change the results.”

They’ve got a very powerful referee on their side in the form of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

A casual observer might reasonably conclude that Ginni and Clarence Thomas are working in tandem to lay the groundwork for the next coup—with Ginni taking up the politics and Clarence handling the legal side. The symmetry between their work is remarkable. https://t.co/wUh5TiHk4q pic.twitter.com/tooRedMQJk

— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 23, 2022

Thomas won’t recuse himself from any of these cases, and as of now, a Democratic Congress doesn’t seem particularly interested in trying to force him to via the threat of investigation and impeachment.

“What’s past is prologue, and what was done sloppily in 2020 is being mapped out by experts for 2024,” Slate’s Stern and Dahlia Lithwick write. “It didn’t work in 2020 because the legal and political structures to support it weren’t in place at the time. Those pieces are being put into place as we type this.” That’s the story Brownstein is also trying to get to Democrats and the rest of the traditional media—anyone who will listen and can do something about it.

There are answers. There are ways to fix this. They start with electing enough Democrats to state offices to make sure the damage the fascists can do is limited. We can also elect enough Democrats to the House and to the Senate to make the two Republican-friendly, obstructionist Democratic senators irrelevant.

Then it’ll be a matter of convincing that Democratic majority and a Democratic president that none of this is blogger hysteria, but a very real threat to our freedoms that has everybody else’s hair on fire. Saving our representative democracy means expanding and reforming the court.

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Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, one of the 10 Republicans to back impeachment, retiring after 18 terms

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, who was one of the 10 Republicans that voted to impeach Donald Trump last year, announced Tuesday that he would not seek a 19th term this fall. Upton emailed his supporters that he believed “it is time to pass the torch,” though the person who will most likely be claiming that beacon in the new 4th Congressional District is his colleague and would-be primary foe, Trump-backed Rep. Bill Huizenga.

While it’s possible that Upton’s departure will entice someone else to run against Huizenga in the August GOP primary, they’d need to collect at least 1,000 valid signatures by the April 19 filing deadline. No notable Democrats have entered the race so far for the new version of the 4th, a southwestern Michigan seat Trump would have carried 51-47 in 2020.

Huizenga announced back in December right after the state’s new congressional maps were completed that he’d be seeking re-election in the new 4th, and he earned an endorsement from Trump last month. Upton, by contrast, spent months keeping the political world guessing whether he’d go up against Huizenga in the primary or retire, though until Tuesday, he’d sounded likely to run again. Upton in February even launched a $400,000 ad campaign where he told viewers, “If you want a rubber stamp as your congressman, I'm the wrong guy. But if you want someone committed to solving problems, putting policy over politics, then I'm asking for your support.”

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Upton, though, said he was still undecided about 2022, and his retirement announcement proves he wasn’t just playing coy. On Tuesday, he insisted that redistricting mattered more to him than any backlash from his impeachment vote, saying, “My district was cut like Zorro—three different ways.” However, it was Huizenga who, at least on paper, was more disadvantaged by the new map: While about two-thirds of the residents of the new 4th are currently Upton’s constituents, Huizenga represents only about one-quarter of the seat he’s now the frontrunner to claim.

Upton’s decision ends a long career in politics that began in the late 1970s when he started working for local Rep. David Stockman, and he remained on his staff when Stockman became Ronald Reagan’s first director of the Office of Management and Budget. Upton decided to seek elected office himself in 1986 when he launched a primary challenge to Rep. Mark Siljander, who had succeeded Stockman in the House in 1981, in an earlier version of the 4th District.

Siljander was an ardent social conservative well to the right of even Reagan: Among other things, he’d unsuccessfully tried to torpedo Sandra Day O’Connor’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 1981 because he didn’t feel she was sufficiently conservative, and he even threatened to vote against the White House’s properties to try and stop O’Connor. Siljander, though, had taken just 58% of the vote in his 1984 primary, which showed that a significant number of primary voters were unhappy with him.

Upton argued that, while both he and Siljander were “conservative Republican[s],” the incumbent had ignored his constituents to focus on international issues. Upton, by contrast, argued that he’d work better with the party’s leadership and seek committee assignments that would allow him to direct his energies to domestic concerns. The race took a truly nasty turn late in the campaign when audio leaked of Siljander telling local clergy members to aid him in order to “break the back of Satan,” arguing that his loss “would send a shock wave across America that Christians can be defeated in Congress by impugning their integrity and smear tactics.”

Upton ended up dispatching the congressman 55-45, a wide result both sides attributed to Siljander’s comments. Upton’s team, while denying that the outcome represented a loss for the religious right, predicted, “Fred’s tactics will be much more moderate and more reasonable.” Upton easily prevailed in the general election and had no trouble winning for decades: Siljander, for his part, was last in the news in late 2020 when Trump pardoned what an angry Upton described as “a series of federal crimes including obstruction of justice, money laundering and lobbying for an international terrorist group with ties to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida and the Taliban.”

Upton in 2002 easily turned back a primary challenge from state Sen. Dale Shugars 66-32 in what was now numbered the 6th District, but he was more vulnerable to an intra-party challenge in 2010 when the burgeoning tea party turned its wrath on the longtime establishment figure. His opponent was former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who had badly failed to unseat Democratic Sen. Carl Levin two years before but argued that Upton was insufficiently conservative. The congressman outspent Hoogendyk by an 18-to-1 margin but prevailed only 57-43, which enticed Hoogendyk to try again in 2012.

However, while the anti-tax Club for Growth ran commercials this time against Upton, who by now was ​​chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the incumbent worked hard to emphasize his opposition to the Obama administration and won by a larger 67-33 margin. That was the last time he faced a serious primary challenge at the ballot box, but in 2014 he went through his first expensive general election campaign when a law professor Larry Lessig directed his Mayday PAC, which he called his “super PAC to end super PACs,” against Upton.

Mayday spent over $2 million to aid a previously-unheralded Democrat named Paul Clements, and while Upton didn’t come close to losing in that red wave year, Democrats hoped his 56-40 showing meant he could be beaten in a better political climate. Clements sought a rematch in 2016, but Upton won by a 59-36 spread.

In 2018, though, he faced a considerably tougher battle against physician Matt Longjohn at a time when the GOP was on the defensive nationwide. Upton got some surprising help during that campaign when Joe Biden delivered a speech in his district that was paid in part by an Upton family foundation; Biden, who was apparently motivated to praise Upton because of the congressman's work on a bill called the 21st Century Cures Act, declared the congressman was "one of the finest guys I've ever worked with" and "the reason we're going to beat cancer." Ultimately, the congressman prevailed 50-46 in what was by far the closest race of his career.

Democrats hoped they could finally take him down in 2020, but Upton returned to form and beat state Rep. Jon Hoadley 56-40 as Trump was carrying his seat 51-47. Two months later, Upton responded to the Jan. 6 attack by voting for impeachment, a vote that arguably did more than anything else to close out his lengthy time in Congress.

Republican screwups on infrastructure hurt people from Kentucky to Michigan to Mississippi to NYC

The running joke of the Trump presidency—okay, one of the running jokes—was the constant pronouncements of an upcoming “infrastructure week” or that some kind of infrastructure deal was in the offing. Nothing. Ever. Happened. Meanwhile, ask the people of Jackson, Mississippi—who watched as the government at every level failed for decades to invest in keeping their city’s water system up to date, with some residents unable to access water for weeks—to find humor in Trump’s failure to deliver. We’ll come back to that story below.

Once again, infrastructure is the word flying around Washington, D.C., and it’s no longer a joke. There are ongoing conversations in the House and the Senate. We’ve seen a bipartisan deal announced laying out the framework on funding what’s called physical infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.), the urgent need for which will be our focus here. However, let me add that our government—with or without support from Republicans—absolutely must fund equally vital human infrastructure needs such as child and elder care, job training, and education, elements that are just as important in making our economy stronger. As President Biden pointed out in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on June 29, “the human infrastructure is intertwined with our physical infrastructure.”

Finally, the grownups are in charge.

For anyone who still needs convincing, the consulting firm McKinsey laid out the data on the benefits of serving the common good by investing in our country’s physical infrastructure: there is little doubt about the value of investing in good infrastructure. In 2015, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that every dollar spent on infrastructure brought an economic benefit of up to $2.20. The U.S. Council of Economic Advisers has calculated that $1 billion of transportation-infrastructure investment supports 13,000 jobs for a year. Beyond the numbers, infrastructure is critical to the health and well-being of the country: the United States could not function without the roads, bridges, sewers, clean water, and airports previous generations paid for.

As you can see below, after a nice bump early in the Obama-Biden years thanks to the 2009 stimulus package, infrastructure spending dropped off and fell to generational lows under the guy who followed them.

It would be impossible to provide even a partial list of the necessary infrastructure projects across the U.S., although this article does a nice job presenting a number of the highest priorities. The Biden White House has produced fact sheets that sum up each state’s physical infrastructure needs, demonstrating what it hopes to accomplish for Americans all across the country.

Images of the horrific water crisis in Flint, Michigan, are burned into all of our minds, but another city’s water-related tragedy may be less familiar. In Jackson, Mississippi, a city of 160,000 inhabitants, over 80% of whom are Black, the majority went without running water for weeks after a brutal mid-February storm. How brutal? An engineer at the state Department of Transportation expressed the following: “I sincerely hope that in 25 plus years from now, we are still talking about this event as the ‘worst one ever.” Even a month after the storm had passed, over 70% of people were still being told to boil their water before using it.

Why did the storm wreak such havoc in Jackson specifically? Because of a century-plus old municipal water system whose vulnerabilities were laid bare by the storm—which also pummeled Texas, killing hundreds and perhaps as many as a thousand people while knocking out that state’s power grid. Jackson residents reflected on the crisis in interviews with Good Morning America.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba specifically blamed Mississippi Republicans, who have dominated the state’s politics for decades, for failing to fund the necessary infrastructure repairs that would have mitigated damage from the storm: “I think that you find less willingness from the state to support a city like Jackson, because they don't necessarily feel that the demographics of Jackson, or even the politics of Jackson resemble the majority opinion.” In other words, they didn’t care one iota about a city full of Black Democrats.

The governor of Mississippi recently murmured something about assisting the city in looking around for low-interest loans. Yip-frickin-ee. The mayor estimated the cost of truly solving the problems faced by the city’s water system—Jackson’s water also has a lead problem rivaling that of the aforementioned Flint—at $2 billion. The Biden plan proposed to send what will hopefully be enough money to make things right for the people of Jackson.

Beyond Flint’s problems, there are dams all over Michigan that are simply falling apart. In May 2020, the Sanford and Edenville dams burst after heavy rains, flooding surrounding areas. Regarding the Edenville dam—aged 96 years—federal regulators revoked its license to generate hydropower in 2018, but the state regulators apparently dropped the ball in subsequent years. Overall, the dams failed because of “years of underfunding and neglect.”

Like in Mississippi, Michigan Republicans have controlled the purse strings for quite some time. They’ve maintained a state Senate majority since 1984, and have run the House since 2010—aided significantly by gerrymandering. From 2011 through 2019, the state’s governor was Republican Rick Snyder. While holding this trifecta of power, Michigan Republicans largely ignored the state’s infrastructure needs. In fact, Snyder, along with other members of his administration, were indicted earlier this year on criminal charges for their actions (or lack thereof) relating to Flint’s water fiasco.

On dams, the kind of flooding residents of Midland and Gladwin counties suffered is common in every part of the country. There are about 91,000 dams in the U.S. Of these, approximately 15,000-16,000 are located in spots where, if they broke, significant loss of life and property destruction would result. The Association of State Dam Safety Officials has determined that around one out of every six of those dams are “deficient.” That is a problem we need to address before the next storm.

The most infuriating, most foolish example of active Republican malfeasance originated in the time before President Caligula had made the transition from reality show buffoon to destructive demagogue. It took place at the center of the region with the largest economy of any in the U.S., and concerned its most important ground transportation hub—the one that connects the island of Manhattan to the mainland by train.

We’re also talking about a problem that Democratic President Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, with the support of local officials, had actually begun fixing over a decade ago. That was before New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie, doctrinaire conservative that he is, metaphorically stood athwart the train tracks yelling “STOP!” It’s a very long story, but it’s one that demonstrates how Republican ideology, Republican lies, and plain-old Republican shortsightedness put the kibosh on a project that remains just as necessary today.

There is only one train tunnel—which happens to be 110 years old—running beneath the Hudson River. For many years, we’ve known that that’s at least one tunnel too few. What was then called the ARC (Access to the Region’s Core) project would have built a second one, enabling twice as many trains to cross into the Big Apple. Roughly 200,000 people and 450 trains traveled through that sole, aging tunnel on a typical pre-COVID weekday. Other positive effects of the ARC project would have included: “alleviat[ing] congestion on local roads, reduc[ing] pollution, help[ing] the growth of the region’s economy and rais[ing] property values for suburban homeowners.” Oh, and it would have created 6,000 construction jobs right at the point during the Great Recession when unemployment was at its peak, at just about 10%.

The work was already underway when, in October of 2010, Gov. Christie suddenly reversed himself and cancelled the project. As late as that April, shortly after his inauguration, he had reiterated his long-standing support. Why, pray tell, did he take an action that “stunned other government officials and advocates of public transportation”? Even though the federal government, along with the states of New York and New Jersey, and the Port Authority, were all contributing to the bill, Christie claimed that New Jersey would end up bearing the burden of cost overruns, and so he pulled out.

It turned out that, as per a 2012 investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Christie was, to put it charitably, incorrect in just about everything he claimed as justification for cancelling the project. Looking back, it’s clear why he did what he did, based on where the money that had been dedicated to building the ARC tunnel ended up—namely in NJ’s “near-bankrupt transportation trust fund, traditionally financed by the gasoline tax.” In other words, he took the money so he wouldn’t have to raise gas taxes, and thereby earn the ill-will of the people who put him in office. What a bozo.

As bad as that decision was at the time, it was rendered even more foolish by a little thing called Hurricane Sandy, which slammed the region in 2012. A year earlier, what had been the ARC project had been tweaked somewhat and re-proposed as the Gateway project, again centering on the building of a new Hudson River tunnel. After Sandy resulted in severe flooding, an Empire State Building-sized amount of dirty, salty water ended up in the tunnels. Repairing the damage with only one tunnel in operation would cause a nightmare for commuters.

But, after initial steps were taken during Obama’s second term that culminated in a cost-sharing agreement between the states—who together would pick up half the tab, with the federal government paying the other half—a new president took office in 2017. And he was a New Yorker, born and bred, so certainly he’d make sure the Gateway project happened. Unfortunately, The Man Who Lost An Election And Tried To Steal It not only physically abandoned his Fifth Avenue penthouse—he now makes Florida his primary home—he 100% abandoned the city that made him a household name. Progress on the Gateway tunnel ground to a halt, and the funding dried up, as Trump took an “obstructionist stance.”

That brings us back to the Biden-Harris administration, which formally approved the Gateway project just over a month ago. In the last days of June, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg toured the tunnel himself. He made clear that his boss was 100% on board, and fully understood the necessity for the whole of the American economy of the project. Shutting down even one of the two tubes in the existing tunnel for repairs without having first built the additional Gateway tunnel would mean, as the one-time Mayor Pete noted: “you would be feeling the economic impact all the way back in Indiana, where I come from.” To be more specific, a study by the non-profit Regional Plan Association found the impact could run as high as $16 billion, and cost 33,000 jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York gave thanks to the White House on behalf of the region, and took a dig at the twice impeached former Gotham-dweller: “Now we can announce that the hostage that was the Gateway tunnel under the previous administration has been freed,” and added: “We are full speed ahead to get Gateway done.” The project could begin as early as next year, or else in 2023, according to the senator. Still, Christie and Trump set the region back years—perhaps a decade. All of us are still crossing our fingers that not only will the project happen, but also that the new tunnel is completed before the old one gives out.

But of course it’s not only urban centers that have dire infrastructure needs. Martin County is in eastern Kentucky, with a population that is, incredibly, over 99% white. Since 1999, both U.S. Senate seats from Kentucky have been held by Republicans, one of them by Mitch McConnell, who has led the Republican Party in that body since 2007. In the House, Martin County has been represented by Republican Hal Rogers since 1981.

In a video produced by the Biden White House, Barbi Ann Maynard detailed what she and her neighbors don’t have, because their infrastructure is so lacking: “People talk about Eastern Kentucky is poor, and they don't really have anything. Well, how are we ever going to have anything if our government won’t invest in our infrastructure? We’re people too. We’re American citizens. And we deserve access to clean, affordable drinking water.” Running the tap at her kitchen sink, she pointed at the not at all clear liquid flowing out of it and stated simply: “this water disgusts me. I’m afraid of this water.”

Maynard described the language that has appeared “for decades” as a warning on the back of the water bills Martin County residents receive: “If you are pregnant, infant, elderly, have a compromised immune system, consult a physician before consuming this water. If consumed over many years, it causes liver damage, kidney damage, central nervous system damage, and twice it says increased risk of cancer.” I drink New York City tap water every day, multiple glasses of it, without thinking twice. So while my region has its infrastructure deficiencies, folks in Eastern Kentucky have it even worse in their daily lives, right now.

Maynard continued by talking about the need for roads and bridges, which are either in disrepair or nonexistent across the county, as well as other priorities. The Nolan Toll Bridge was the only way for people in the area to get to the interstate. After being damaged badly, it was closed off rather than repaired. She lamented: “When you lose bridges, roads, you lose opportunities to grow. Businesses can’t come if they can’t get their product out,” and added “because we have [a] lack of infrastructure, that causes companies to not want to come and invest in Martin County.” Maynard has been fighting for increased infrastructure spending in her county for more than twenty years, and summarized the situation thusly: “I know what we could have. I know what it could be like. And I want that for my people.”

The Orange Julius Caesar took up shop in the Oval Office in January 2017, and his party controlled the House and the Senate. Using the reconciliation process, they could easily have passed a massive infrastructure package, or even a medium-sized one, with or without Democrats. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s infrastructure on Trump’s watch in 2017, he came up with little more than some paper towels to toss the island’s way. Puerto Ricans continue to suffer from Maria’s damage as well as, for just one example among many, earthquakes that revealed serious vulnerabilities in the design of hundreds of schools across the island—another major infrastructure need.

Even after Democrats won the House in the 2018 midterms, Trump still could have accomplished something major on infrastructure. Trump blew off Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fuming about impeachment. Republicans can bleat about how they believe in infrastructure, how they support infrastructure. When the rubber met the (in dire need of repair) road, they failed to deliver.

The Biden-Harris team, along with congressional Democrats, are going to do the work of funding our country’s infrastructure needs in every region, just as they’ve done the work on so many issues—ranging from carrying out a nationwide vaccination program, to rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, to passing the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, among other accomplishments. This White House knows that strengthening our physical as well as human infrastructure is good politics as well as the right thing to do for the American economy, and for the American people.

Ian Reifowitz is the author of  The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh's Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump (Foreword by Markos Moulitsas)

Reality bites: Michigan voters go to war with truth and the GOP congressmen who dared to accept it

Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Donald Trump over his incitement of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol—and two of them, or 20%, represent West Michigan. The region once known for the political moderation and modesty embodied by former Congressman and eventual President Gerald R. Ford, a Grand Rapids native, is now home to a contingent of Republican voters awash in conspiracy theories and charged with anger.

That's the reality facing GOP Reps. Peter Meijer, a 33-year old political newcomer elected in 2020, and Fred Upton, a 68-year-old veteran lawmaker currently serving his 18th term.

Meijer, who served eight years in the Army Reserve and deployed to Iraq, was recently informed by a voter of his impending (and completely imaginary) arrest to stand trial before a military tribunal. He told The New York Times that it's nearly impossible to disabuse people of their fervently held and constantly reinforced beliefs.

“People are willing to kill and die over these alternative realities,” said Miejer.

In large part, that is because a bunch of political opportunists are more than happy to capitalize on the fears and disinformation spread by Donald Trump and his allies about the so-called ‘deep state’ and the 2020 election being stolen.

Tom Norton, for instance, who lost to Meijer in the 2020 GOP primary, is pushing for an Arizona-style “forensic audit" and has expressed certainty of widespread election fraud.

Unfortunately for Norton, the GOP-led state Senate in his own state issued a report just last month that found "no evidence" of systemic fraud in 2020. The Republican state senator who led the investigation, Ed McBroom, also said he had reason to believe the conspiracy pushers were "purposely defrauding people."

As the report concluded, “The committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain."

But the flood of opportunism coming from people like Norton—whether it's driven by shameless ambition or self-delusion—has entirely eclipsed reality for many voters.

Audra Johnson, another pro-Trump activist who plans to challenge Meijer, seems more than keen to capitalize on conservative voters' deep-state paranoia. She helped organize the armed protests of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the state Capitol and also attended Trump's Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally. She said she didn't storm the U.S. Capitol but knows people who did and insists they were peaceful—because nothing is more peaceful than joining a mob of rioters calling for Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and others to be hanged.

“Honestly, they’re terrified that the F.B.I. is going to come knock on their door,” Johnson said of the people who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Yep, that's what happens when you join an attack on the U.S. government—the FBI might knock on your door.

“People are terrified,” Johnson added, “We’re heading toward a civil war, if we’re not already in a cold civil war.”

And then there's state Rep. Steve Carra, who has introduced legislation to force another audit of the state vote but hasn't bothered to read the Senate report, according to the Times. Why get into the weeds if it's going to slow your roll? Carra hopes to unseat Upton.

“To say that there’s no evidence of widespread fraud I think is wrong,” Carra said, while providing zero evidence of widespread fraud.

Another Upton challenger, former Marine Jon Rocha, spoke to attendees of the so-called Festival of Truth.

“This country is under attack,” warned Rocha, who is Mexican American. “Our children are being indoctrinated to hate the color of their skin, to hate this country and to believe this country is systemically racist and meant to oppress anybody with a different skin pigment. I can attest to you, as an American Mexican, that is not the case.”

At one point, ‘Festival of Truth’ organizer Larry Eberly told the crowd, “I will die first before they shove that needle into my arm.”

As Meijer said, “People are willing to kill and die over these alternative realities.”

Meijer and Upton both have the advantages of incumbency, high name recognition, and deep pockets. Though Upton has been in office slightly longer than Meijer has been alive, Meijer's great-grandfather founded an eponymously named grocery store chain that has made Meijer a household name in West Michigan.

So they may just survive yet. But that isn't going to solve the problem that many of their constituents have bought into Trump's lies hook, line, and sinker. It’s a nationwide epidemic of delusion, and unfortunately we can’t vaccinate our way out of it.

Mitt Romney Is Awarded JFK ‘Profile In Courage Award’ For Impeachment Vote

On Friday, the John F. Kennedy Library announced it would give its Profile in Courage Award to Sen. Mitt Romney for his “historic vote” to impeach President Trump during his first impeachment trial.

Part of the reasoning was Romney’s willingness to break with the rest of his party to cast a controversial – to Republicans – vote.

Caroline Kennedy, Former Ambassador and daughter of President Kennedy, said in a statement, “Senator Romney ‘s commitment to our Constitution makes him a worthy successor to the senators who inspired my father to write Profiles in Courage.” 

“He reminds us that our Democracy depends on the courage, conscience and character of our elected officials,” she added.

RELATED: Chris Wallace: Biden Relied On ‘White House Talking Points’ During Foreign Policy Questions

Romney Was Only GOP Vote In Trump’s First Impeachment Trial

According to The Hill, “Romney was the sole Republican senator to vote to impeach Trump on a charge of abusing his power last February over the former president’s effort to press Ukraine to investigate now-President Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine.”

“In doing so, Romney made history – he became the first U.S. senator to vote to convict a president of his own party on an impeachment charge,” the outlet added.

Romney responded to his award, “I’m humbled by the Kennedy family’s recognition today. But I see courage every week from my colleagues in the Senate, many of whom make tough decisions to do what they believe is right even though it may be politically unpopular.”

Romney And Six Other Republicans Voted To Convict Trump In Second Trial

In Trump’s second impeachment trial over his alleged role in inciting the Capitol riot on January 6, Romney and six other Republican senators voted to impeach Trump.

Romney said on Friday, invoking his father and former Michigan Governor George Romney, that he “did what was right regardless of consequence.”

RELATED: Joy Behar Launches Attack On Judge Jeanine Pirro – ‘I Used To Like You, What The Hell Is Going On With You?’

“I aspire to his example, though I have failed from time to time,” Sen. Romney said. “We must subordinate our political fortunes to the causes of freedom, equal opportunity and truth, particularly as they are under assault here and abroad.” 

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation created this award in 1989 to honor the 35th president’s commitment to public service and is presented each year on Kennedy’s birthday to leaders who exhibit “politically courageous leadership.”

 

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This Week in Statehouse Action: Spring Cleaning edition

Confession time.

I … [[deep breath]] am a hoarder.

I hoard web browser tabs.

I open something I mean to read or use for research, and four times out of five it just … sits. Unused. Unread.

In the Chrome window I’m using to write this week’s missive, I have 38 tabs open.

I’m not proud.

It’s time to admit that I have a problem.

So I’ve decided: Out with them.

This week, I’ll click on them, and then I’ll use them and/or close them forever.

From right to left—everything to the left of this window is important: Google docs and sheets, necessary-for-everyday-work tabs, that kind of thing.

Campaign Action

Okay, here goes.

Far-leftmost tab: Ah, yes, the GOP-controlled West Virginia legislature is trying to amend the state’s constitution to allow lawmakers to successfully execute the kind of high-court coup they failed to pull of back in 2018.

This is both weedy and based on a political event that was esoteric at the time and ancient history now.

But considering that I covered the Republicans’ attempt to oust and replace Democratic justices with GOP appointees way back when, you’re in good hands.

  • It all started in fall of 2018, when reports began to surface that the justices had indulged in exorbitant spending on expensive furniture amid lavish renovations of their chambers (in the neighborhood of $700,000 for things like fancy couches, elegant flooring, and pricey rugs).
  • Fast forward to June 2018, when prosecutors indicted Republican Justice Allen Loughry on state and federal charges (54 in all!) of fraud, witness tampering, making false statements, and more.
    • He was swiftly suspended from the bench, but he refused to resign.
      • His suspension gave Democrats an ostensible one-seat majority on the court. (Republicans made elections for the state Supreme Court officially nonpartisan after they took control of the legislature in 2014.)
    • Then, in early July, Democratic Justice Menis Ketchum announced his resignation, although he faced no criminal charges or formal allegations of ethics violations at the time. (He did later plead guilty to one count of fraud.) 
  • If impeachment proceedings had been concluded by Aug. 14 of that year, the resulting vacancies on the court would have been on the ballot in November 2018’s general election, and West Virginia voters would have had the chance to elect new justices.

But why would the GOP-controlled legislature want that when foot-dragging would let them game the state’s election deadlines and allow the Republican governor to just appoint the replacements himself?

  • In early August 2018, Republicans in the legislature finally got around to passing 14 articles of impeachment against all four remaining justices, and the full House convened the day before that Aug. 14 deadline to consider the matter.
    • Lawmakers approved 11 of the articles (mostly along party lines), but a trial still had to be conducted by the (also GOP-controlled) state Senate.
  • So by waiting until August to start proceedings, Republican lawmakers essentially guaranteed that the impeachment process couldn’t wrap up in time to let voters select replacement justices.
  • And if the state Senate had voted to remove the remaining three justices, replacement GOP appointees would have served two years on the bench before facing voters.

Remember, prior to this entire debacle, Democrats held a three-to-two majority on the Supreme Court.

  • But just in case you think this is anything but a brazen Republican attempt to usurp an entire branch of government through GOP appointments, consider this:

And why entertain timely steps to remove allegedly corrupt justices when you can slow your roll and execute a Supreme Court coup instead?

  • Anyway, in a surprise move on the morning of Aug. 14, 2018, Democratic Justice Robin Davis announced her resignation just in time to trigger a special election to replace her in November.
    • The crucial timing of her maneuver helped mitigate—but not obviate—Republican lawmakers’ scheme to fill the entire court with GOP appointees.

The drama continued for months.

  • Then-justices Margaret Workman and Allen Loughry and current Justice Beth Walker underwent impeachment trials in the state Senate.
    • Loughry resigned in November 2018, after he was found guilty on some of those 54 charges mentioned above.
    • Justice Walker, a Republican, was acquitted but censured by the Senate.
    • Workman, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit in October seeking to halt the proceedings.
      • Because it’s obviously pretty messed up for state Supreme Court justices to rule on a case impacting their own ability to remain on the bench, five district court judges were temporarily elevated to hear the case.
      • They ruled 5-0 that the House had erred in its adoption of the resolution of impeachment and, in doing so, had essentially run afoul of the whole separation-of-powers thing.
    • The GOP-run Senate tried to continue the Democrat’s impeachment trial anyway, but the justice presiding over the affair didn’t show (the court ruling effectively prohibited him from participating).
  • None of the other justices stood trial.
    • And Republicans in the legislature have been salty about it ever since.

Okay, finally, back to that pesky tab.

  • The article that piqued my interest enough to preserve it in tab form is about an amendment to the state’s constitution proposed by the GOP-controlled legislature.
    • House Joint Resolution 2 specifically prohibits any West Virginia court from intervening in any impeachment proceedings conducted by the legislature.
      • Despite the fact that there are some pretty obvious separation-of-powers issues inherent in such a proposal, the proposed amendment passed the House and is waiting on Senate action.
      • If the state Senate passes it with a two-thirds majority before the legislature adjourns on April 10, West Virginia voters will vote on it in the November 2022 election.

In a nutshell, because Republicans in the state House got sloppy in their fervor to game the impeachment of Supreme Court justices to benefit their own party (remember, the court was 3-2 Democratic when this got underway), they want to permanently usurp the power of a whole branch of government.

Something to remember when the GOP screams about Democratic efforts to expand federal courts, which, by the by, is extremely legal and would very much not require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

… as I found out in my next open tab, the YouTube page with this week’s episode of Daily Kos’ The Brief, for which I was a surprise guest co-host on my first day back from vacation.

But it was fun, and I learned things, and because I’m me, I managed to find a state legislative angle on D.C. statehood.

Which conveniently brings me to my next tab, which is an article about various legislatures debating the merits of (and passing resolutions for and against) Washington, D.C., becoming an actual state.

Which, by the by, it should.

  • To help raise awareness, improve understanding, and build support for statehood, organizers have encouraged lawmakers across the country to introduce resolutions in their legislatures encouraging Congress to make D.C. a state.
  • Republicans, who can’t see past their horror at the likelihood of two additional Democratic members of the U.S. Senate to consider the underlying issues of basic fairness and democracy and taxation without representation and racial equity and self-determination, are pushing their own anti-statehood resolutions in various legislatures.
    • The first legislative push against statehood reportedly came from South Dakota (a state with a population that only barely exceeds D.C.’s), where the resolution’s sponsor cited fear that two D.C. senators would “dilute” his state’s power in the chamber.
    • Meanwhile, in a hearing on Arizona’s anti-statehood resolution, GOP Rep. Kevin Payne had words for residents of the District who want a voice in Congress:

If they want representatives, move. That’s what they made Mayflower for.

Jackass

  • As of last month, Democrats in six states had introduced pro-statehood resolutions.

Of course, none of these resolutions for or against making Washington, D.C., a state have any sort of force of law.

But the fact that they’re being considered at all is quite new, and it speaks to the sudden salience of the issue.

Okay, next tab … 

  • The GOP-controlled Arkansas legislature has passed (and the governor has signed into law) a near-total ban on abortion in the state.
    • The law permits abortions only to save the life of the mother.
    • There are no exceptions for fetuses conceived via rape or incest.

And next tab … oh hey it’s another Arkansas story.

  • A sitting Arkansas state senator has left the Republican Party over its continued fealty to former President Trump.
    • Now-independent Sen. Jim Hendren, who was particularly horrified at the Trump-promoted violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, is the nephew of current Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, which is a nice touch here.

Conveniently, my next tab is story that dropped this week about the growing hold of right-wing extremism in state legislatures.

It’s certainly not the first piece on the topic. And it does a nice job of covering familiar (to you, as an erudite consumer of this missive) legislative leaders who have become standard bearers of Trump-flavored Republicanism.

Like our old pal, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.

  • You remember, the Mike Shirkey initially feigned outrage at the Capitol violence on Jan. 6 and then privately met with one of the organizers of the earlier, practice riot at the Michigan capitol to discuss the poor “optics” of the situation.
  • The Mike Shirkey who publicly cozied up with members of violent militias and spoke at one of their rallies. 
  • The Mike Shirkey who was caught on video claiming that the Capitol riot was a “hoax” staged to make Trump supporters look bad.
  • The Mike Shirkey who’s arguably the most powerful Republican in Michigan.

But of course, he’s far from alone.

We can’t forget Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem.

Anyway, all this is to say that GOP lawmakers’ extremism might once have been brushed off as a fringe-y distraction with few material consequences, but we can’t afford to take this with anything but grave seriousness now. The Trump wing of the Republican Party holds real power in statehouses.

But not only does their rise to power poses an existential threat in statehouses across the country; the upcoming round of redistricting could cement—even expand—that power for the rest of the decade.

[[shudder]]

Welp, I didn’t clear out all those unused tabs, but I made progress! There’s a little breathing room in my browser window.

I’ll take my wins where I can get them, and you should, too. Maybe knock off early, call it a week, spend some time closing some of your, ah, spiritual browser tabs.

Just print this out and show it to your boss, she probably has more tabs open than I do.

Gretchen Whitmer Defends Cuomo – Whines About ‘Different Standard’ Compared To Trump

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) just spoke out to defend New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) after he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, whining that he was being held to a “different standard” than former President Donald Trump.

Whitmer Appears To Defend Cuomo 

“Is there a different standard for different sides of the aisle? We just had a president who lasted all four years with numerous allegations against him, so far as rape,” Whitmer told Politico.

“No one on his own side of the aisle was making observations about whether or not he should stay in office,” she added. “So is there a different standard? I guess one could conclude that.”

Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior in the workplace by multiple female former aides. Whitmer’s latest comments on his situation appear to be her backtracking from prior comments that she made, as she previously called for Cuomo to be investigated.

Related: Gretchen Whitmer Turns On Cuomo – Demands ‘Thorough Investigation’ Into Sexual Misconduct Claims

Whitmer’s Previous Comments On Cuomo

“I think the allegations here are very serious and need to be taken seriously and I do think that an impartial, thorough, independent investigation is merited and appropriate,” Whitmer said earlier this month.

CNN host Jake Tapper then asked the Michigan governor if she thinks Cuomo “sexually harassed (former aide) Charlotte Bennett.”

“These are serious allegations and if accurate and true, and um, I think we have to take action,” she responded, noticeably not elaborating on what “action” she wants to see be taken.

Tapper went on to ask Whitmer about her “emotional reaction” to the allegation, at which time she said that she had a “gut-wrenching” response that she thought “a lot of women in America did.”

Related: AOC Turns On Cuomo – Says He ‘Must Resign’

Democrats Turn On Cuomo 

Numerous Democrats have turned on Cuomo in the wake of this scandal and called on him to resign. As of this writing, Cuomo has stubbornly refused to resign, defiantly telling lawmakers that they will need to impeach him if they want him gone.

This seems like a real possibility, as New York lawmakers have already begun the initial part of the lengthy impeachment process against him.

This piece was written by James Samson on March 15, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
Meghan McCain Confronts Schumer On His Hypocrisy About Biden’s Border Policies Compared To Trump’s
HR 1 Could Depend on Manchin and Sinema
Pelosi Refuses To Demand Cuomo Resign – Says He ‘Should Look Inside His Heart’ To See If He Can Lead Effectively

The post Gretchen Whitmer Defends Cuomo – Whines About ‘Different Standard’ Compared To Trump appeared first on The Political Insider.

Report: National Guard Members Sickened After Being Served Undercooked Food While Guarding Capitol

Fifty Michigan National Guard troops have complained of “gastrointestinal” issues after being served undercooked meals and food contaminated with metal shavings, Fox News reports.

The tainted food complaints began in mid-February, were initially resolved, and resurfaced this past weekend.

In a letter to the National Guard, the entire Michigan delegation in the House reported that “contracted meals” were being used “to support the entire federal response stationed at the Capitol.”

“However, it is clear that these contracted meals are poorly prepared, oftentimes inedible, and highly inadequate to support our soldiers,” the letter states, urging them to switch contractors.

It goes on to describe as “completely unacceptable” the fact that “men and women serving in Washington D.C. are being hospitalized due to the food they are being provided.”

A spokesman for the National Guard indicated that 50 members had been treated for “gastrointestinal complaints,” but none were hospitalized.

The Detroit News reveals that “service members, who often stand outdoors for shifts of up to 12 hours, are increasingly spending their own money to eat because they don’t trust the food from the contractor.”

RELATED: Biden Suggests Former Military, Police Are Helping To Fuel Growth Of White Supremacy

Contaminated Food Is Just One More Way National Guard Troops Have Been Mistreated

National Guard troops receiving contaminated food comes just two months after they were hauled into the Capitol during President Biden’s inauguration, only to later be banished to a parking garage.

One Guardsman at the time accused lawmakers of using them as a prop, though the order came from the Capitol Police themselves.

“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service,” he said.

“Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage,” the Guardsman added. “We feel incredibly betrayed.”

Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a spokesman for the joint task force that commands the Capitol security mission, told the Detroit News that the contaminated food problem is not “systemic.”

“So far we haven’t found substantial issues that we’ve recorded,” he told a reporter. “The contractors know that we are watching, and they have been cooperative and responsive to our concerns.”

One soldier last month wrote to a lawmaker, however, indicating “multiple soldiers have been getting sick and vomiting after eating, and most of the food is being thrown away,”

“Morale is very bad,” the message reads. “Many have served overseas and cannot believe the quality of food they are being fed here.”

RELATED: Democrats Seeking To Root Out ‘White Supremacists’ From The Military

Leaving in Mid-March

A spokesperson for the Pentagon believes the National Guard troops will be ending their mission in the nation’s capital sometime in mid-March.

“There’s no incidents to report,” the spokesperson told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto. “Things are safe and secure right now.”

7,000 troops have remained at the Capitol during the Senate impeachment hearings, due to concerns about “civil unrest,” down from the 25,000 sent there during Biden’s inauguration.

Democrats have been actively smearing the military and veterans ever since the riot at the Capitol on January 6th.

President Biden last month suggested that former military and former police officers are helping to fuel the growth of white supremacy and white supremacist groups in America.

“You see what’s happening — and the studies that are beginning to be done … about the impact of former military, former police officers, on the growth of white supremacy in some of these groups,” Biden said during a town hall.

Leading up to Biden’s inaugural address, National Guard troops were vetted for ‘extremist’ views despite there being “no intelligence indicating an insider threat” to the event.

And last month, Democrat lawmakers reportedly sought to add language into this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would keep alleged white supremacists from joining the military.

The post Report: National Guard Members Sickened After Being Served Undercooked Food While Guarding Capitol appeared first on The Political Insider.

Gretchen Whitmer Rebuffed By Michigan County As Residents Are Told To ‘Self-Determine’ Safety Measures

A Michigan county defied Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) this week by passing a resolution that tells residents to do what is in their own self-interest when it comes to safety measures regarding COVID-19.

Michigan County Rebels Against Whitmer

Missaukee County commissioners directly went against Whitmer in saying that it is “the right and responsibility of individuals to self-determine what is best for their own health, liberty and pursuit of happiness is necessary and ensured by our Constitution, which we have taken an oath to defend and uphold,” according to meeting minutes from February 9.

“The Missaukee County Commission calls upon the Michigan Legislature to exercise their co-equal authority by adopting constitutionally sound measures which limit the unchecked exercise and abuse of executive power, which restore individual responsibility and accountability, and which return Michigan to the ranks of freedom-loving governments everywhere,” the commissioner added.

The Missaukee County Commission went on to say that it would not support county funds being used “for the purpose of arrest and prosecution of any person accused of violating” orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

This is the agency that Whitmer utilized when her executive orders were ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in October.

Related: Gretchen Whitmer Claims She ‘Can’t Stand People Who Have One Rule For Others, Different One For Themselves’

Commissioner Speaks Out 

Commissioner Star Hughston, the sponsor of the resolution, told Breitbart that the commissioners just want residents to be treated like adults, as they believe they can make their own decisions.

Hughston added that this is not about the science behind COVID-19, and is instead about whether the governor has the right to “come down with these rules.”

“No one had the right, especially her, to tell us that we have to” wear masks, close businesses, and her various other orders, he said, adding, “We are not idiots. We can decide what is best for us, and if you choose to wear a face mask and you have health concerns, then in my opinion, you would need to wear one. But if you don’t choose to wear one, then it’s your right.”

Related: Gretchen Whitmer Finally Relaxes Restaurant Restrictions After Biden Is Inaugurated

This comes one month after Chippewa County called on Whitmer to reopen the state “immediately.”

“At this point it just doesn’t make sense anymore that we’re closed,” Commissioner Scott Shackleton told 9&10 News. “Wisconsin is open for dining—in house dining. Indiana is, Ohio is, Minnesota is, and here we sit closed up tight.”

Whitmer has become infamous in many circles over the past years for enacting some of the strictest COVID-19 measures in the country on her state.

This piece was written by James Samson on February 13, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
James Clyburn Issues Brutal Warning To Trump – ‘This Is Just The Beginning’
Van Der Veen Owns Impeachment Trial Fourth Day
Lindsey Graham Predicts ‘Not Guilty’ Impeachment Votes Are Growing After ‘Absurd’ Arguments From Democrats

The post Gretchen Whitmer Rebuffed By Michigan County As Residents Are Told To ‘Self-Determine’ Safety Measures appeared first on The Political Insider.