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.

RELATED STORIES:

GOP panic over two major Pennsylvania races headlines huge primary night nationwide

Tuesday brings us the biggest primary night of the 2022 cycle so far―in fact, one of the biggest we can expect all year―as voters in five different states across the country head to the polls. We have tons of must-watch and extremely expensive elections in store as each side selects its nominees in crucial contests for Senate and governor, as well as in numerous House races.

Below you'll find our guide to all of the top primaries, 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 Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. 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.

The Daily Kos Elections Team talks about how the MAGA civil war might be hurting the GOP in races across the country on The Downballot podcast

Our live coverage will begin at 7:30 PM ET at Daily Kos Elections when polls close in North Carolina. 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.

KENTUCKY

Polls close in the portion of the state located in the Eastern Time Zone, which includes the entire 3rd Congressional District, at 6 PM ET. They close in the rest of the state an hour later.

KY-03 (D) (60-38 Biden): Rep. John Yarmuth, who's spent a decade as Kentucky’s only Democratic member of Congress, is retiring from a Louisville seat that only underwent minor changes in redistricting, and two candidates are running for the nod to replace him: state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, who has Yarmuth’s endorsement, and state Rep. Attica Scott, who would be the state’s first Black member of Congress.

McGarvey, who has enjoyed a massive fundraising lead over Scott, has also received $1 million in support from Protect Our Future PAC, a group funded by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. Scott, who kicked off a campaign for this seat before Yarmuth announced his departure, has not benefited from any serious outside spending.

NORTH CAROLINA

Polls close statewide at 7:30 PM ET. Candidates must take at least 30% of the vote to avert a July 26 runoff, though the second-place finisher must officially request a runoff for one to occur. 

NC-Sen (R) (50-49 Trump): A total of 14 Republicans are competing to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr, but most of the attention has centered around Rep. Ted Budd and former Gov. Pat McCrory. Budd has the backing of Donald Trump and the well-funded Club for Growth, which along with its allies has spent $14.3 million on the congressman's behalf. 

While Budd's campaign appeared to be in rough shape as recently as late January, every recent survey has shown him far ahead and well above the threshold for avoiding a runoff. Former Rep. Mark Walker and businesswoman Marjorie Eastman are also running, but they’re unlikely to matter unless the polls are wrong and Budd struggles to win outright. The winner will face former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who doesn’t have any serious opposition in the Democratic primary. 

NC-01 (D & R) (53-45 Biden): Rep. G.K. Butterfield is retiring from this northeastern North Carolina seat that became slightly redder under the new congressional map imposed by the state courts after finding the GOP's districts were illegal partisan gerrymanders. Four fellow Democrats are running to replace the departing congressman. The two main contenders are state Sen. Don Davis, a prominent moderate whom Butterfield is supporting, and former state Sen. Erica Smith, who badly lost the 2020 primary for the U.S. Senate.  

Smith has gone after her opponent for supporting anti-abortion legislation, but she’s been heavily outspent by Davis and his allies. The senator has benefited from $2.9 million in spending from United Democracy Project, a super PAC funded by the hawkish pro-Israel group AIPAC, while the Working Families Party has deployed a considerably smaller $600,000 to promote Smith. A recent Davis internal, to which Smith did not respond, showed him up 44-31

Things got unexpectedly nasty in the final week of the GOP's eight-way primary when the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC close to party leadership, launched an ad campaign aiming to torpedo accountant Sandy Smith, who is running again after losing to Butterfield 54-46 in 2020. Smith’s most prominent intra-party foe appears to be Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson, who is the only elected official in the contest and has self-funded most of his bid. Other contenders to watch are attorney Billy Strickland, who failed to beat an incumbent state senator in a 2020 primary, and another self-funder, businessman Brad Murphy.

NC-04 (D) (67-32 Biden): Veteran Rep. David Price is retiring from a safely blue seat that remains anchored by the college towns of Durham and Chapel Hill, and eight fellow Democrats are competing to take his place. The contest includes two elected officials: Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, who in 2020 became the first Muslim woman to win elective office in North Carolina, and state Sen. Valerie Foushee, who would be the first Black woman to represent this area in Congress. Also in the running is Clay Aiken, the former "American Idol" star who unsuccessfully ran against Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers several maps ago in 2014 and would be the state’s first gay representative.

Outside spending has very much favored Foushee, with AIPAC and Protect Our Future, the crypto-aligned PAC, representing most of the $3.5 million that has been deployed on her behalf; by contrast, Allam has received about $330,000 in support from the Working Families Party and other groups, while there have been no independent expenditures for Aiken. A late April internal from Foushee’s allies at EMILY’s List showed her defeating Allam 35-16.  

NC-11 (R) (54-44 Trump): Far-right freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn pissed off lots of folks in western North Carolina when he tried to leave them behind to run for an even more conservative district in the Charlotte area that he had almost no ties to—a self-serving plan to boost his own profile that got derailed when the state's new court-drawn map replaced that Charlotte seat with a solidly blue district. 

Cawthorn now faces seven challengers in a constituency that’s virtually the same as the one he wanted to abandon, several of whom launched campaigns during the brief period that the congressman was trying to hop districts. Sen. Thom Tillis has thrown his support behind state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who has pitched himself as an ardent conservative alternative to the shameless, attention-seeking incumbent. A super PAC close to Tillis has spent $1.6 million on ads attacking Cawthorn and his litany of embarrassing behaviors while also promoting Edwards. 

The incumbent, though, retains Trump’s endorsement, and he could benefit if the other six candidates, including local GOP official Michele Woodhouse, split the anti-Cawthorn vote. Indeed, a late April survey from GOPAC, which isn’t backing anyone, showed that Cawthorn still led Edwards 38-21. The eventual winner will likely go up against Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who is the Democratic frontrunner. 

NC-13 (D & R) (50-48 Biden): Redistricting created a new swing seat in Raleigh's southern suburbs, and both parties have competitive primaries here. The Democratic side includes five candidates, with state Sen. Wiley Nickel and former state Sen. Sam Searcy the frontrunners. Nickel has enjoyed a spending advantage over Searcy in a contest where major outside groups haven’t gotten involved. 

Things are far busier on the Republican side, where eight contenders are squaring off. Both Donald Trump and the Club for Growth are supporting Bo Hines, a 26-year-old former North Carolina State University football player who has minimal ties to the area and. The Club, the nihilistic House Freedom Caucus, and assorted other groups have together spent over $2.3 million promoting Hines and attacking one of his many opponents, wealthy attorney Kelly Daughtry, while a PAC called Old North has dropped over $1 million to boost Daughtry and bash Hines. 

The other six candidates haven’t attracted as much attention. The field includes former Rep. Renee Ellmers, who represented part of the greater Raleigh area in the House from 2011 to 2017 in a brief career that was defined by some very wild swings of fortune; party activist DeVan Barbour; Army veteran Kent Keirsey; and pastor Chad Slotta. 

PENNSYLVANIA

Polls close statewide at 8 PM ET

PA-Sen (R & D) (50-49 Biden): Both parties have hosted expensive primaries to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in this key swing state, though the GOP contest has been a far more volatile affair. Until the final week, the main contenders were TV personality Mehmet Oz, who has Trump’s backing, and wealthy former hedge fund manager David McCormick. The two candidates and their allies have dumped millions on attack ads for months, which appears to have provided an unexpected opening for author Kathy Barnette, an election denier who badly lost to Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean last cycle in the 4th District. 

A survey taken for Fox News late in the race showed Oz with a 22-20 edge over McCormick, with Barnette just behind at 19%. The Club for Growth soon followed up with a $2 million infusion for Barnette, who has scarcely aired any ads on her own. Many GOP insiders are worried that she’d jeopardize the party’s general election prospects, and even Trump tried to knock her down Thursday. Also in the running are Jeff Bartos, who was Team Red's nominee for lieutenant governor; former Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands; and attorney George Bochetto, but they haven’t demonstrated any Barnette-like late surge. 

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has from day one enjoyed huge polling leads over his two main intra-party rivals, Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. The race never descended into anything like the bloody affair on the Republican side, though it did turn negative last month. A pro-Lamb super PAC tried to weaken Fetterman using an erroneous and since-corrected news report to falsely claim Fetterman is a "self-described socialist” (the spot was pulled off the air and an edited version had to be substituted), but there’s no indication this attack had its desired effect. Fetterman announced Sunday that he’d suffered a stroke two days before but was “well on my way to a full recovery” and would continue his campaign.  

PA-Gov (R) (50-49 Biden): Republicans have to sort out a crowded, bitter primary before they can focus on trying to replace termed-out Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, a contest Team Blue has taken a deep interest in. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a QAnon ally and Big Lie proponent whom many Republicans fret would be a toxic nominee, posted a 29-17 advantage over former Rep. Lou Barletta in a mid-May Fox News poll despite spending little money. Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has no intra-party opposition, even ran commercials ostensibly attacking Mastriano that are actually designed to help him appeal to Trump fans; Trump himself also delivered a late endorsement to Mastriano on Saturday.  

GOP leaders who aren’t Trump have hoped that they could consolidate behind one non-Mastriano candidate, prompting state Senate leader Jake Corman and former Rep. Melissa Hart to drop out just days before the primary and endorse Barletta, an anti-immigration zealot who is anything but a moderate. However, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, self-funding businessman Dave White, and several contenders even further behind in the polls have stayed put. McSwain himself has spent heavily, but he got the worst news possible last month when Trump attacked him for not doing enough to advance the Big Lie and urged Republicans not to vote for him. 

PA-12 (D) (59-39 Biden): Five Democrats are campaigning to succeed retiring Rep. Mike Doyle in a Pittsburgh-based seat that looks very much like the 18th District he currently serves.  

Doyle and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald are both backing Steve Irwin, a former chief of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission. The other major contender is state Rep. Summer Lee, a progressive who would be the first Black woman to represent the Keystone State in Congress. In Lee’s corner are Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and the influential SEIU Pennsylvania State Council. There's also law professor Jerry Dickinson, who challenged Doyle in the 2020 primary and lost 67-33. Dickinson, like Lee, is a Black progressive, and it's possible the two will be competing for the same sorts of voters. 

A late March poll for Lee’s supporters at EMILY’s List showed her beating Irwin 38-13, but Irwin’s allies have ramped up their spending since then. A total of $3.1 million in outside spending has gone towards promoting Irwin or attacking Lee, with the bulk of it coming from AIPAC. The Working Families Party and Justice Democrats, meanwhile, are responsible for most of the $1.7 million that’s aided Lee. 

PA-17 (D & R) (52-46 Biden): Two Democrats and three Republicans are campaigning to succeed Senate candidate Conor Lamb in a suburban Pittsburgh seat that’s very similar to the old 17th District. On the Democratic side, Navy veteran Chris Deluzio has outspent party operative Sean Meloy in a race where outside groups haven’t gotten involved. Deluzio has the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council on his side, while Meloy, who would be the state’s first LGBTQ member, has the support of neighboring Rep. Mike Doyle. 

The GOP race is a battle between former Ross Township Commissioner Jeremy Shaffer and Jason Killmeyer, a national security analyst who often appears in conservative media. Shaffer has spent the most money, though Killmeyer has made sure to highlight the fact that Shaffer unseated an incumbent state senator in the 2018 primary only to narrowly lose the general election and cost the GOP a crucial seat. The third Republican, business owner Kathleen Coder, has little money. 

IDAHO

Polls close in the portion of the state located in the Mountain Time Zone at 10 PM ET/8 PM local time. Polls close in the rest of the state an hour later.

ID-Gov (R) (64-33 Trump): Gov. Brad Little faces seven fellow Republicans in this overwhelmingly red state, but the most prominent of the bunch is Trump-endorsed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who is also an ally of far-right conspiracist groups. Little, however, has enjoyed a massive financial lead, and he posted a huge 60-29 lead over McGeachin in an independent poll conducted in mid-April. 

ID-02 (R) (60-37 Trump): Longtime Republican Rep. Mike Simpson faces a primary rematch against attorney Bryan Smith, whom he beat 62-38 in 2014, in an eastern Idaho constituency that barely changed following redistricting; three little-known contenders are also on the ballot. 

Just as he did eight years ago, Smith is arguing that the congressman is insufficiently conservative, though this time he’s also attacking Simpson for the doubts he expressed about Trump in 2016. The incumbent, for his part, is once again portraying the challenger as a greedy lawyer. Pro-Simpson groups have spent $1.7 million here, while Smith’s allies have dropped $680,000. 

ID-AG (R) (64-33 Trump): Five-term Attorney General Lawrence Wasden faces an intra-party challenge from former Rep. Raúl Labrador, who spent his four terms in the House as one of the most prominent tea party shit-talkers before losing his 2018 bid for governor in the GOP primary. Conservative activist Art Macomber is also in the mix. The Club for Growth has run commercials attacking Wasden for refusing to join other GOP attorneys general in suing to overturn Biden’s win, and Labrador has also taken him to task for not working with hardline conservatives in the legislature. A trio of polls, including a Club internal, have found Labrador in the lead

OREGON

Polls close in most of Oregon at 11 PM ET/8 PM local time; they close an hour earlier in the small portion of the state in the Mountain Time Zone, but few if any votes will be reported before 11 ET.

OR-Gov (D & R) (56-40 Biden): Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is termed-out of an office her party has held since the 1986 elections, and both sides have competitive races to succeed her. The two candidates who emerge Tuesday will be in for an expensive general election that will also feature former state Sen. Betsy Johnson, a conservative Democrat-turned-independent who's been a strong fundraiser.

There are 15 different Democrats in the running, but the only two serious contenders are state Treasurer Tobias Read and former state House Speaker Tina Kotek, who would be the first lesbian elected governor anywhere in the country. Kotek’s ads have emphasized her role in passing progressive policies, while the more moderate Read has argued that he represents a “new approach” for the state. A mid-April Reed internal had Kotek ahead 25-20.

The 19-person GOP field is similarly crowded but more in flux. The only recent poll we’ve seen was an independent survey from early May that showed former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan leading former state Rep. Bob Tiernan, who has been self-funding, 19-14, with 2016 nominee Bud Pierce at 10%. The field also includes 1998 nominee Bill Sizemore; consultant Bridget Barton; businesswoman Jessica Gomez; Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten; and Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam. 

OR-04 (D) (55-42 Biden): Veteran Rep. Peter DeFazio is retiring from a district along the state’s south coast that Democrats in the legislature made several points bluer, and eight fellow Democrats are running to replace him. 

The top fundraiser is state Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle, who has endorsements from DeFazio and Sen. Jeff Merkley. Around $580,000 in outside spending has gone to supporting Hoyle, with most of that coming from the crypto-aligned Web3 Forward. Also in the race are former Airbnb executive Andrew Kalloch; Corvallis school board chair Sami Al-Abdrabbuh; and Doyle Canning, who badly lost the 2020 primary to DeFazio. The winner will go up against 2020 GOP nominee Alek Skarlatos, a National Guard veteran whose 52-46 loss last cycle represented the closest re-election contest of DeFazio's career.

OR-05 (D & R) (53-44 Biden): Rep. Kurt Schrader, who has long been one of the most visible moderates in the Democratic caucus, faces a challenge from the left in a central Oregon seat that he currently represents just under half of. Schrader’s sole intra-party foe is Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who would be Oregon's first LGBTQ member of Congress and has attacked the incumbent for his ties to special interests. 

McLeod-Skinner has raised a serious amount of money, but Schrader has still massively outspent her. The congressman has also received $2.1 million in outside support, with most of it coming from super PACs dedicated to electing centrist Democrats, while the Working Families Party has deployed about $340,000 for the challenger. Biden has also endorsed Schrader.

Five Republicans are facing off as well. The two serious contenders are former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who lost two competitive races for the state House in 2016 and 2018, and businessman Jimmy Crumpacker, who took fourth place in the 2020 primary for the old 2nd District.

OR-06 (D & R) (55-42 Biden): Democrats have experienced a massively expensive nine-way race for this brand-new seat in the mid-Willamette Valley that the state earned in reapportionment, though the bulk of the outside spending has benefited just one of them. That candidate is economic development adviser Carrick Flynn, who's been backed by a staggering $11.4 million from cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried's super PAC, Protect Our Future. House Majority PAC, a decade-old group that exists to help Democrats in general elections, has also spent $940,000 to support Flynn, an unprecedented departure condemned by Sen. Jeff Merkley. A third super PAC called Justice Unites Us is running ads for Flynn as well.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a heavy donor to HMP that was furious about the PAC's intervention, has spent around $1.5 million to support state Rep. Andrea Salinas, who would be Oregon’s first Latina member of Congress. The field also includes state Rep. Teresa Alonso León; self-funding perennial candidate Cody Reynolds; Oregon Medical Board member Kathleen Harder; former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith; and cryptocurrency developer Matt West, though none of them have received any outside support. An early May Salinas internal poll showed her edging out Flynn 18-14, with everyone else in single digits.

The seven-person Republican primary is similarly crowded but far cheaper. The field includes three candidates who have histories in older versions of the 5th District, from which the new 6th draws the bulk of its DNA: former Rep. Jim Bunn, who was elected to his only term in the 1994 Gingrich revolution; Mike Erickson, who was the GOP's unsuccessful 2006 and 2008 nominee for the next incarnation of the 5th; and former Keizer city councilor Amy Ryan Courser, who lost to Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader in 2020. Also in the running are Army veteran Nate Sandvig, state Rep. Ron Noble, Dundee Mayor David Russ, and Air Force veteran Angela Plowhead.

I’m Just Going To Say This: Trump’s Endorsement Of Dr. Oz Is The Wrong Move

Former President Trump has issued a full-throated endorsement of Mehmet Oz – better known as Dr. Oz – in the Pennsylvania GOP primary for the U.S. Senate.

Trump issued a statement late last week which uncharacteristically did not simply contain the usual soundbites we’ve become accustomed to in his endorsements.

Rather, it’s a long-winded effort, seemingly designed to convince GOP voters of why they should support Oz even if he isn’t the perfect candidate.

“This is all about winning elections in order to stop the Radical Left maniacs from destroying our country,” Trump said.

“The Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to Save America by electing the brilliant and well-known Dr. Mehmet Oz for the United States Senate.”

RELATED: Candidate Trump Endorsed To Replace Liz Cheney Called Him ‘Racist And Xenophobic’

Trump Endorsement of Oz is a Bad Move

But this isn’t just about winning elections. It’s about winning elections with candidates that aren’t useless RINOs like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and are, in fact, conservative, America-first politicians.

Here are just a few of Oz’s views that should have made Trump skeptical enough to never endorse the good doctor.

Oz’s comments on abortion alone are alarming. In a 2008 interview with the National Review of Medicine, Oz actually argued that his politics would be similar to that of Oprah Winfrey in many aspects.

“I’m not socially conservative,” he added. “I don’t believe that we should be intruding into the private lives of homosexuals and we should not be creating obstacles during the difficult time that women have when trying to terminate a pregnancy.”

In a 2019 interview on the Breakfast Club radio show, he noted that he dislikes abortion on a “personal level” but suggested he would not want to “interfere with everyone else’s stuff” because “it’s hard enough to get into life as it is.”

Dr. Oz On Abortion

Trump’s endorsement states that Oz is “pro-life,” something the Daily Beast claims is a “shameless flip-flop.”

“Not only was Oz supportive of abortion rights, he seemed puzzled that people would spend time fighting abortion rights—going so far as to say that, as a physician, he was ‘really worried’ about the anti-abortion movement and that eliminating Roe would have negative effects on women’s health,” they wrote.

RELATED: Report: Biden’s Brother James, Son Hunter Received 150+ ‘Concerning’ Payments

Dr. Oz On Guns

Trump, aside from lauding Dr. Oz for being pro-life, also claims the Pennsylvania Republican “will always fight for and support our under-siege Second Amendment.”

But will he?

Oz’s campaign site seems to confirm: “He opposes anti-gun measures like red flag laws and liberal gun grabs. Dr. Oz knows we cannot compromise our ability to protect ourselves.”

Interesting thing, those red flag laws. Here he is in a 2019 interview stating such laws “help protect you and your family” and have been shown to prevent mass shootings.

Go ahead and look at that clip again. In the same segment, Dr. Oz goes on to suggest he’d like to see an anonymous call-in system for people to report concerns over others’ social media posts.

“Part of the hope I gather is that we’ll make a system so that I can call in and say there’s evidence besides my testimony that this person is dangerous,” he states. “Look at their Facebook feed or social media postings or comments they’ve made to other co-workers.”

Government surveillance and infringing on God-given rights based on social media posts doesn’t seem like a warrior for conservatism.

Dr. Oz On Obamacare

Oz was a strong advocate during the Obama years of health insurance mandates and even bragged that he helped get Obamacare passed by serving on President Obama’s council.

CNN reports that while he doesn’t fully support Obamacare, “Many of Oz’s statements on health care align with some of the key tenets of the Affordable Care Act.”

Dr. Oz On Fracking

Oz, who is running in a state where fracking is of tantamount importance, often raised concerns about the practice in the past.

In multiple columns Oz co-authored with Dr. Mike Roizen, former chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, the two raised concerns about health risks involved in the practice.

Inside Climate News writes that “the two physicians cited the environmental and health risks associated with fracking on several occasions and, in one column, warned expecting mothers who live near natural gas wells against drinking the water and counseled them to keep three kilometers away from fracking fields.”

Now, he’s fracking’s number one fan.

We live in a time where too many Republicans try selling their conservative wares just to get elected only to start functioning like barely-disguised left-of-center RINOs once they get into office.

Trump should know better.

Trump Endorsements All Over Map

Trump has also thrown his support in Wyoming to Harriet Hageman, the attorney running against Liz Cheney in an upcoming primary.

Hageman vociferously supported Cheney during her 2016 congressional campaign, and strongly opposed President Trump at the time.

In fact, she tried to stop Trump from getting the Republican nomination in 2016, and called him “racist and xenophobic.”

The GOP Needs True Conservatives

Mr. Trump, to quote comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, “What are you doing?”

There’s little doubt one of the greatest failures of the Trump presidency was his inability to clear out the deep state riffraff within his own administration.

Too many faux conservatives kneecapped his presidency and continue to destroy his legacy to this day. Winning elections isn’t everything. Winning them with actual conservatives is. And the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

If Trump wins in 2024, what exactly will change if he continues to hire and support people that actively want to destroy him and conservative values along the way?

It’ll be the same stalled agenda. The same impeachment proceedings. The same effort to destroy America just so Democrats can get power back in 2028.

The post I’m Just Going To Say This: Trump’s Endorsement Of Dr. Oz Is The Wrong Move appeared first on The Political Insider.

‘It’s really bad news for Republicans’: Continued GOP defections could upend party primaries

The great GOP exodus continues in some of the very states that will prove most critical in the battle for control of Congress in the midterms. In Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that some 19,000 voters have left the Republican Party since Donald Trump's Jan. 6 siege at the Capitol. And while that represents a tiny slice of the state's 8.8 million registered voters, the number of voters who have left the GOP accounts for about two-thirds, or 64%, of overall defections—up from a third or less in typical years, according to the Inquirer.

The data on exactly who is leaving the GOP—pro-Trumpers or never-Trumpers—are still a little murky. Based on interviews, the Inquirer concludes that the defections are fueled more by a swath of older, formerly loyal and highly engaged Republicans who have been turned off by Trump's takeover of the party. 

"Former Republicans interviewed largely were united in why they left," writes the outlet, "They saw it as a protest against a party that questioned the legitimacy of their votes and the culmination of long-simmering frustration with Trump and his supporters, who now largely control the GOP."

Lifelong Republican Diane Tyson, 68, renewed her license at the DMV on Jan. 5 and opted to wait until after the pro-Trump Jan. 6 rally in Washington before deciding whether to change her party affiliation. The attack that unfolded along with her watching her congressman vote to nullify the Keystone State's election results sealed the deal. Tyson officially became an independent on Jan. 7.  

“I knew I could not be a Republican anymore,” she said. “I just can’t—it’s not who I am. The Republican Party has gone down a deep hole that I want no part of. I don’t want an ‘R’ after my name.”

Similarly, 70-year-old Tom Mack, who has been a Republican since the late 1970s, offered, "It’s not the Republican Party I know. ... It’s drifted far away from my beliefs."

If the Inquirer is right about about the demographics of the GOP defectors and the trend holds, the Republican Party could end up saddled with a slew of right-wing primary winners heading into the 2022 general election contests. The party will also be losing some of its most active and loyal voting base—the people who are more likely to turn out in off-year elections and non-presidential cycles. 

The whole cocktail will make it that much harder for Republican candidates who prevail in the primaries to muster the votes to beat Democrats in the midterms. “If these voters are leaving the party permanently, it’s really bad news for Republicans,” Morris Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford University, told Reuters.

Reuters homed in on GOP defections in the three battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina and found that roughly three times more Republicans as Democrats had left their party in recent weeks. In all three states, the outlet also noted that defections were concentrated in the urban and suburban areas surrounding big cities—areas where sagging GOP support for Trump helped deliver the presidency to Joe Biden.

Based on interviews, Reuters also concluded that Trump was the main catalyst fueling the exodus, though some party switchers did say they don’t believe the Republican Party was supportive enough of Trump. 

But the sentiment of Nassau County Floridian Diana Hepner, 76, suggests that Republican Party leaders really blew their opportunity to pivot away from Trump following the election and reestablish itself as something beyond a cult of personality.

“I hung in there with the Republican Party thinking we could get past the elements Trump brought,” Hepner said. “Jan. 6 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Now Hepner is hoping to be a "centrist influence" on the nominating contests in the Democratic Party. 

Political observers generally agree about the inflated rate of GOP defections, what remains to be seen is whether the trend continues and how it affects the contours of the nominating contests that are already taking shape.

In North Carolina, for instance, the GOP saw a slight uptick in party affiliations following Trump's acquittal, a reversal after weeks of declining registrations following the lethal Jan. 6 riot. There’s still a lot of time between now and next year, but the Jan. 6 riot does appear to be an inflection point. And despite Trump’s acquittal, the impeachment trial really gave Democrats an opportunity to reinforce for voters Trump’s culpability for the murderous assault on the Capitol.

Last week, following the vote to acquit Trump, there was a slight increase in weekly NC Republican Party registration changes, reversing the downward trend pic.twitter.com/ufrBnwuYOj

— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) February 21, 2021

Don’t look now, but GOP already in disarray over Senate battleground races

With any luck, Donald Trump will apply the very same kiss of death he did in the Georgia Senate runoffs to at least a half dozen 2022 races that stand to decide the fate of the Senate.

In fact, we are already seeing Trump's toxic sludge begin to seep into those races in critical states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania, swing states with open seats that are potentially fertile ground for Democratic pick ups.

In Pennsylvania, the vote of retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey to convict Trump has already pitted county parties against Republican moderates like former Rep. Ryan Costello, who is eyeing a bid to replace Toomey. In saner times for the GOP, Costello might be the type of statewide candidate with crossover appeal that the Mitch McConnell wing of the party would champion. 

But Costello has made the fatal error of defending Toomey's vote against Trump. "Former Trump aides, in turn, are making plans to torpedo Costello before he announces a campaign," writes Politico.

Cue Trump-pardoned grifter Steve Bannon. "Any candidate who wants to win in Pennsylvania in 2022 must be full Trump MAGA," Bannon, a former member of the most corrupt White House cabal in American history, told Politico. Bannon also called Costello a "sellout to the globalists" in a separate statement.

Costello had the temerity to claim the rush to censure to Toomey will "hurt Republican candidates," and he even called a censure resolution drafted by his home county, Chester County Republicans, "staggeringly dumb."

The statement of one GOP county official that went viral really summed up the Trump loyalty test and why the inanity of his cultists is anathema to any reasonable voter. “We did not send him there to vote his conscience. We did not send him there to do the right thing, whatever he said he was doing,” Washington County Republican chair Dave Ball told Pittsburgh television station KDKA Monday. “We sent him there to represent us, and we feel very strongly that he did not represent us.” 

Of course, Toomey represents nearly 13 million constituents and a majority of Keystone State voters rejected Trump at the ballot box last November.

As Trump advisers promise to take aim at Costello, the former congressman dismissed the effort. “They can say whatever they’d like, it won’t bother me,” he said. “It might help my fundraising, to be honest with you.” Costello has also dissed "Sloppy Steve" Bannon's broadside because "he's forever indebted for his pardon."

So Pennsylvania is off to a rousing start, but North Carolina isn't any less intriguing. Similar to Toomey, the state's retiring GOP senator, Richard Burr, voted to convict Trump. But Burr is vacating his seat under the cloud of a trading scandal in which he dumped a bunch of stock just before the pandemic tanked the market. While Trump lost Pennsylvania by about 80,000 votes, he narrowly won North Carolina by roughly 74,000 votes.

But Burr's conviction vote forced state Republicans to choose sides with nearly all of them lining up behind Trump. According to CNN, the state party censured Burr, he was banned from at least one county GOP headquarters, and every Republican eyeing his seat took Trump's side. So much for moderation—whoever wins that primary will almost surely be the most Trumpy of the bunch. And certainly the prospect of Trump daughter-in-law Lara Trump potentially entering the race is already pushing the GOP primary to extremes.

The problem isn't lost on GOP strategists in the state, who fear Trump's brand took a big hit in the aftermath of Capitol insurrection. But they also aren't speaking openly about it. "They're all making a play for the primary," one state Republican strategist told CNN anonymously. "But my worry is that we're going to lose the seat because we get the Trumpiest guy of the bunch."

On the flip side of the equation, Trump's influence already has Republican strategists fretting he could doom their chances in potential pick-up races. In particular, they fear Trump's tinfoil hat loyalists such as Arizona GOP party chair Kelli Ward and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene could kill whatever chances they have to defeat Democratic incumbent Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.  

These races and more are likely to offer a bevy of Trump-inspired surprises for Republicans throughout the 2022 cycle. 

Voting Rights Roundup: Georgia Senate wins pave way for Democrats to pass historic election reforms

Leading Off

Congress: With victories in Georgia's Senate runoffs, congressional Democrats now have the opportunity to pass the most important set of voting and election reforms since the historic Voting Rights Act was adopted in 1965. These reforms face a challenging path to passage given Democrats' narrow majorities, but their adoption is critical for preserving American democracy amid unprecedented attacks upon it by Republican extremists both in and outside Congress.

Chief among these proposals is the reintroduction of H.R. 1, the "For the People Act," which House Democrats passed in 2019 and would enact groundbreaking reforms by (1) removing barriers to expanding access to voting and securing the integrity of the vote; (2) establishing public financing in House elections to level the playing field; and (3) banning congressional gerrymandering by requiring that every state create a nonpartisan redistricting commission subject to nonpartisan redistricting criteria.

Democrats have also called for enacting a new Voting Rights Act, which the House passed in 2019 and subsequently named after the late Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement who died last year. Finally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to bring a bill to the floor to finally end the disenfranchisement of 700,000 Americans by making Washington, D.C. a state, which House Democrats also approved last year. We'll detail each of these major reforms below.

Pelosi has indicated that passing H.R. 1, symbolically named as the first bill of the session, will be a top priority for the new Congress. This bill would adopt the following reforms for federal elections:

  • Establish automatic voter registration at an array of state agencies;
  • Establish same-day voter registration;
  • Allow online voter registration;
  • Allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register so they'll be on the rolls when they turn 18;
  • Allow state colleges and universities to serve as registration agencies;
  • Ban states from purging eligible voters' registration simply for infrequent voting;
  • Establish two weeks of in-person early voting, including availability on Sundays and outside of normal business hours;
  • Standardize hours within states for opening and closing polling places on Election Day, with exceptions to let cities set longer hours in municipal races;
  • Require paper ballots filled by hand or machines that use them as official records and let voters verify their choices;
  • Grant funds to states to upgrade their election security infrastructure;
  • Provide prepaid postage on mail ballots;
  • Allow voters to turn in their mail ballot in person if they choose;
  • Allow voters to track their absentee mail ballots;
  • Require states to establish nonpartisan redistricting commissions for congressional redistricting (likely not until 2030);
  • End prison gerrymandering by counting prisoners at their last address (rather than where they're incarcerated) for the purposes of redistricting;
  • End felony disenfranchisement for those on parole, probation, or post-sentence, and require such citizens to be supplied with registration forms and informed their voting rights have been restored;
  • Provide public financing for House campaigns in the form of matching small donations at a six-for-one rate;
  • Expand campaign finance disclosure requirements to mitigate Citizens United;
  • Ban corporations from spending for campaign purposes unless the corporation has established a process for determining the political will of its shareholders; and
  • Make it a crime to mislead voters with the intention of preventing them from voting.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, meanwhile, would restore the protections that the Supreme Court's conservatives eviscerated in an infamous 2013 decision. That ruling removed a requirement for a number of largely Southern states and localities with a pervasive history of racial discrimination to "preclear" all efforts to change voting laws and procedures with the Justice Department. The VRAA would establish new criteria for deciding which jurisdictions would fall under the preclearance requirement after the 2013 court ruling struck down the old formula.​

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​Under the new setup, any state where officials have committed at least 15 voting rights violations over a 25-year period would be required to obtain preclearance for 10 years. If the state itself, rather than localities within the state, is responsible for the violations, it would take only 10 violations to place it under preclearance. In addition, any particular locality could individually be subjected to preclearance if it commits at least three violations.

Based on this formula, the VRAA would put 11 states back under preclearance: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. While most of these states are still in the South (and also under Republican control), the list also includes the two largest Democratic-leaning states in the country, California and New York.

Lastly, the bill to grant statehood to D.C. would shrink the federal District of Columbia down to a handful of important federal buildings surrounding the National Mall while admitting the rest of the district as a new state. All but one House Democrat (who is now no longer in Congress) voted for D.C. statehood last summer, and 46 of the 50 incoming members of the Democratic Senate caucus either sponsored last year's bill or have expressed public support, while the remaining four have yet to take a firm position.

While Democrats winning full control of Congress and the presidency makes it possible to pass the above reforms, their success is far from guaranteed. For starters, Democrats would need unanimous support in the Senate and near-unanimous backing in the House given that every Republican is likely to oppose these reforms.

The most important hurdle, however, is the legislative filibuster, and the fate of these reforms will depend on Senate Democrats either abolishing or curtailing it. Progressive activists have relaunched a movement to eliminate the filibuster entirely following the Georgia victories, while some experts have suggested that Democrats could carve out an exception for voting rights legislation. Either way, Democrats will need to address the filibuster in some fashion, since Senate Republicans have made it clear they will not provide the support necessary to reach a 60-vote supermajority on any of these measures.

Voting Access

Connecticut: Democratic Secretary of State Denise Merrill and legislative Democrats are pushing to pass a series of voting reforms, including the adoption of no-excuse absentee voting, early voting, and automatic voter registration. Last year, lawmakers passed a statute to temporarily expand the definition of illness to allow all voters to cast absentee ballots without needing a specific excuse, and Democrats are considering passing similar legislation this year for upcoming local and special elections with the pandemic still ongoing.

Democrats may also try to permanently remove the excuse requirement by passing a constitutional amendment, as well as once again approving an amendment they passed in 2019 to allow up to three days of early voting. Unless the GOP has a change of heart and supplies enough votes for a three-fourths supermajority, amendments must pass in two sessions with an election in between before going to a voter referendum.

Delaware: Democratic lawmakers in Delaware have introduced two constitutional amendments to expand voting rights: The first would remove the excuse requirement to vote absentee by mail while the second would enable same-day voter registration. Last year, the state temporarily waived the excuse requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amendments in Delaware must pass the legislature with two-thirds supermajorities in two consecutive sessions, so lawmakers could enact the no-excuse absentee voting amendment this session since they passed it the first time in 2020. (The same-day registration amendment could not go into effect until the 2024 elections at the earliest.) However, since Democrats are just shy of the two-thirds mark in the state House, they will need at least two GOP votes in support. Uniquely among the 50 states, Delaware does not require constitutional amendments to be approved by voters.

District of Columbia: In late November, the Democratic-run Washington, D.C. Council advanced a bill to make permanent a measure temporarily adopted in 2020 that let voters cast ballots at any "vote center" citywide in 2020 instead of just their local polling place. Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser has yet to sign the bill, which also requires a polling place at the city jail, into law.

Hawaii: Hawaii election chief Scott Nago plans to ask the Democratic-dominated legislature to pass legislation giving voters more time to complete their ballots and to expand the number of in-person "vote centers," where any voter in a county can cast their ballot, to better accommodate voters who can't readily vote by mail or don't want to.

Additionally, voting rights advocates have announced that they will renew their push to ask lawmakers to adopt a bill enacting automatic voter registration through the state's driver's licensing agency and potentially other state agencies, too. The state Senate and House each passed separate bills to adopt automatic registration in 2019, but the proposal failed to become law after the two chambers couldn't agree on a single version.

Illinois: State House Democrats have passed legislation in committee that would make permanent some of the reforms lawmakers adopted in 2020 due to the pandemic, including: counting absentee mail ballots without postage; allowing officials to set up drop boxes for mail ballots; and continuing curbside voting for mobility-limited voters. However, the bill wouldn't extend the practice of sending applications for mail ballots to all voters who have cast ballots in recent election years.

Louisiana: Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has proposed an emergency voting plan for lawmakers to approve for upcoming local elections and the March 20 special elections for the 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts. Committees in the state Senate and House both advanced the proposal to their respective full chambers earlier this month.

The plan would let voters cast absentee ballots by mail if they are at higher risk for COVID-19, seeking a diagnosis for it, or are subject to a physician's isolation order or caring for someone under isolation. However, it would not waive the excuse requirement for all voters or expand the number of early voting days.

Maine: Democratic Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, who was elevated to the post by Maine's state legislature last month, will push for lawmakers to adopt online voter registration and prepaid absentee ballot postage. Meanwhile, several Democratic legislators have introduced various bills to codify the use of drop boxes, implement a system for letting voters track their absentee ballots, and let absentee ballots be counted earlier.

Maryland: Maryland Democrats have introduced legislation intended to strengthen voting access on college campuses, military bases, retirement homes, and other "large residential communities." Sites like these would be able to request an in-person voting location, and colleges would also be required to establish voter registration efforts on campus and give students an excused absence to vote if needed. The bill would let military service members register online using their identification smart cards issued by the Defense Department.

New Jersey: Committees in both chambers of New Jersey's Democratic-run legislature have declined to advance a measure that would have adopted two weeks of early voting for this year's state-level general elections and some municipal races in May. The New Jersey Globe reported that it was unclear why the bill failed to move forward but also noted that legislative leaders have yet to reach an agreement on the specifics of early voting, including whether to extend it to primaries, despite supporting the idea in principle. Committees in both chambers also passed early voting bills last year, but they did not advance further in 2020.

New York: The past three weeks have been a busy period for voting rights expansions in New York, beginning when Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law an automatic voter registration measure that will involve a variety of different state agencies. Democratic state senators also passed several other reforms this week, including measures to:

The proposals to enact same-day registration and permanently remove the absentee excuse requirement are constitutional amendments that previously passed both legislative chambers in 2019 and must pass again before they can appear on this November's ballot, while the other measures are all statutory and can become law if the Assembly and Cuomo sign off on them.

Oregon: Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has called for several voting reforms in her budget proposal to the Democratic legislature, including reinstituting same-day voter registration; counting mail ballots that are postmarked by Election Day instead of only those received by Election Day; increasing the number of mail ballot drop boxes; and expanding Oregon's automatic voter registration system from just the DMV to include other agencies.

Same-day voter registration would likely require lawmakers to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot thanks to an especially bizarre chapter in state history. Oregon previously offered same-day registration, but lawmakers amended the constitution to repeal it in 1986 after a religious cult called the Rajneeshees attempted large-scale voter fraud in concert with biological warfare that left hundreds of residents poisoned in their unsuccessful plot to take over rural Wasco County's commission in 1984. However, 21 states and D.C. use same-day registration today without problems.

Vermont: Both chambers of Vermont's Democratic-run legislature have passed a bill that lets municipalities decide whether to mail every active registered voter a ballot for the upcoming March 2 "Town Meeting Day" or let them postpone the elections to the spring if needed due to the pandemic. Town meetings are a form of direct democracy unique to New England, during which localities can hold public votes on budgetary and other matters.

Virginia: Virginia Democrats have introduced several major voting reforms, which would expand on the sweeping changes they passed in 2020. This year's measures include:

Democrats have full control of state government, but constitutional amendments must pass both legislative chambers in two consecutive sessions with a state election taking place in between before going to a voter referendum. The felony voter reforms, therefore, could not become law before 2022 at the soonest. While civil rights groups and progressive Democrats support the amendment that would outright abolish felony disenfranchisement, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam backs the competing amendment that would keep those who are in prison, on parole, or on probation unable to vote.

Voter Suppression

Georgia: Republican state House Speaker David Ralston says he is open to considering removing oversight of Georgia's elections from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office, and Ralston claims he wouldn't need a constitutional amendment to do it.

Raffensperger recently incurred the ire of fellow Republicans after he refused to go along with Trump's illegal efforts to steal the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, prompting Raffensperger to release a recording of an incriminating phone call early this month during which Trump had pressured him to "find" 12,000 fake votes that would allow Trump to claim victory. The New York Times reported on Friday that state prosecutors are increasingly likely to open a formal criminal investigation into Trump over the incident.

Separately, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has called for adding a voter ID requirement to absentee voting, which Republicans exempted when they initially adopted a voter ID law in the mid-2000s. Up until 2020, absentee voting was disproportionately used by elderly Republican voters, but the GOP's push for new voting restrictions on the practice comes after mail voting heavily favored Democrats, both in November and the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs.

Many Georgia Republicans also want to reinstate the requirement that voters present an excuse in order to request an absentee ballot, along with calling for banning mail ballot drop boxes and restricting who can send ballot applications to voters. Ralston, however, says he opposes eliminating excuse-free absentee voting.

Kansas: The U.S. Supreme Court last month declined to take up Kansas Republicans' appeal of a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last year that had struck down a law requiring voters to provide documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, effectively dooming the measure. The law was the signature legislative achievement of former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who rose to national notoriety as the leader of Trump's bogus "voter fraud" commission.

By the time it was blocked in 2016, the Kansas law had led to one in seven new voter registrations being suspended for lack of documentation, affecting 30,000 would-be registrants in total—a group that was disproportionately young and Latino. The lower court that eventually struck down the law also eviscerated Kobach's credibility and seriously undermined his reputation even among Republicans.

Separately, Kobach's successor as secretary of state, fellow Republican Scott Schwab, reportedly won't implement a bipartisan 2019 voting reform until 2023. That law allows counties to replace traditional local polling places with countywide "vote centers" where any voter in a county may cast their ballot. A provision of the law requires it to first take effect for odd-year local elections before it can be implemented for even-year federal and state elections, so if Schwab's foot-dragging delays it past this year, it couldn't take full effect until 2023.

North Carolina: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in December unanimously overturned a lower federal court ruling that had temporarily blocked a voter ID statute passed by North Carolina Republicans from taking effect last election cycle while the case proceeded on the merits. The appellate judges ruled that the lower court had "abused its discretion" by blocking the law.

The lower court had found that there were significant similarities between this law, which Republicans approved in a 2018 lame-duck session, and one they passed in 2013, which another federal court had struck down in 2016 for being part of a package of voting restrictions that they deemed had targeted Black voters "with almost surgical precision."

The 4th Circuit, however, held that the lower court had erred by not presuming that lawmakers had acted in "good faith" when passing the laws, despite the many times that Republican legislators have had their voting laws struck down in court for discrimination. The plaintiffs are in the process of filing a petition to ask the entire 4th Circuit to rehear their case over the preliminary injunction while the case proceeds on the merits.

However, even if they succeed at the 4th Circuit, there's a strong risk of the U.S. Supreme Court eventually reversing them, which is why voting rights advocates may have better odds of blocking the voter ID law in state court instead. Last year, in fact, a state court issued its own preliminary injunction that blocked the law for the November election, and that case is also still ongoing.

Unfortunately for voting advocates, though, the 2020 elections complicated their odds of success at the state level. Democrats suffered three close losses in last November's state Supreme Court elections, leaving them with a slim 4-3 advantage on the bench

The contest for control of the court and the narrowing of Democrats' majority may have implications not only for the voter ID dispute. It could also play a role in the resolution of ongoing litigation over a separate constitutional amendment that authorized the voter ID statute, as well as with cases over North Carolina's felony voter disenfranchisement law, and upcoming lawsuits over redistricting, where the court is the lone bulwark at the state level against renewed GOP gerrymandering.

Texas: The U.S. Supreme Court's right-wing majority has refused to take up state Democrats' appeal in a lawsuit that sought to overturn a Republican-backed restriction that's used in Texas and several other red states to require that only voters under the age of 65 must have an excuse to vote absentee by mail. By refusing to take up the case, the high court left in place a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the Texas law in defiance of the 26th Amendment's ban on age discrimination by using logic that if applied to race would effectively result in the revival of Jim Crow voting laws.

Meanwhile, in the Texas state Senate, several GOP senators have introduced a bill that would ban the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballots applications. Populous Democratic-run counties such as Houston's Harris County sought to send applications to all voters in 2020 due to the pandemic, but Republicans convinced the GOP-dominated state Supreme Court to block them.

Existing Senate rules required 19 votes to bring bills to the floor, but after Republicans were reduced to just 18 seats following the November elections, they lowered that threshold for the third time in recent years so that they can overcome Democratic objections and pass new voting restrictions and gerrymanders.

Post Office: One key consequence of Joe Biden's victory and Democrats winning the Senate is that Biden will be able to appoint members of his choosing to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, who in turn could fire Donald Trump's postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who was instrumental in Trump's attempt to sabotage mail voting last year. With Mitch McConnell unable to block him, Biden can now fill three vacancies on the nine-member board, which currently has four Republicans and two Democrats, thereby giving it a new Democratic majority that could sack DeJoy.

Felony Disenfranchisement

Alabama: Federal District Judge Emily Marks, a Trump appointee, granted Republican defendants' motion for summary judgment in December in a lawsuit where the plaintiffs had sought to strike down a state law that serves as a de facto poll tax by requiring people with felony convictions who have served their sentences to also pay off any court fines and fees before regaining the right to vote. The plaintiffs say they are considering whether to appeal.

Minnesota: The ACLU is now asking a state appellate court to overturn a lower court's dismissal last August of their lawsuit that sought to strike down Minnesota's ban on voting for people serving out parole or probation for a felony conviction. If the effort succeeds, only people who are currently incarcerated would remain unable to vote.

Tennessee: Voting rights advocates have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to simplify Tennessee's cumbersome process for people with felony convictions who have completed their sentences to regain their voting rights. Plaintiffs in particular object to the GOP's de facto poll tax requirement that requires affected individuals to first pay off all court fines and fees, which they argue violates state law.

Redistricting and Reapportionment

Illinois: Democratic legislators have passed a bill in both chambers that will end the practice of "prison gerrymandering" for state legislative redistricting, sending it to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The bill would count incarcerated people for redistricting purposes at their last known address instead of where they are imprisoned.

Iowa: The liberal blog Bleeding Heartland reports that top-ranking GOP state legislators won't rule out using their power to implement gerrymanders by amending the maps submitted to lawmakers by Iowa's nonpartisan redistricting agency. Republicans are in a position to do so because they hold unified control of state government in a redistricting year for the first time since the 1980s, when the nonpartisan agency first came into place.

Maryland: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has issued an executive order to create an advisory commission that will propose new congressional and legislative maps for the upcoming round of redistricting. The nine commissioners will include three Democrats, three Republicans, and three independents, three of whom will be chosen by Hogan while the other six will be ordinary citizens who can apply here.

Hogan has the power to submit legislative maps to the Democratic-run legislature at the start of the legislative session, but if Democrats pass their own maps within 45 days, Hogan can't veto them. The commission's congressional map, meanwhile, would be strictly advisory in nature. While Hogan could veto new congressional districts, Democrats have the numbers to override him. The commission's proposal could nevertheless influence a court in the event of litigation.

New York: In addition to the voting access measures in our New York item above, Senate Democrats also passed a third constitutional amendment that would make it easier for Democrats to gerrymander new maps next year by lowering the threshold for overriding the state's new bipartisan redistricting commission from a two-thirds supermajority to just three-fifths. Democrats already passed this amendment in 2020, and it would also appear on the November ballot if Assembly Democrats again follow suit. However, it's possible that the lowered threshold won't even matter for the upcoming round of redistricting, since Senate Democrats gained a two-thirds supermajority in November.

The amendment also includes some nonpartisan redistricting reforms, including enshrining in the constitution an existing statutory ban on "prison gerrymandering"; freezing the number of state senators at 63; sharply limiting how cities can be split among Senate districts to prevent a repeated of the anti-urban gerrymandering that occurred when the GOP drew the lines after 2010; and authorizing state to conduct its own census if the federal count is tainted.

Pennsylvania: State House Republicans have passed a constitutional amendment out of committee by a single vote that would effectively gerrymander the state Supreme Court and Pennsylvania's two intermediate appellate courts by ending statewide judicial elections and replacing them with elections based on districts that GOP legislators would draw.

This move comes as retaliation for the state Supreme Court's Democratic majority striking down the GOP's congressional gerrymander in 2018 and protecting voting rights in 2020. Republicans could place it on the May primary ballot if it passes in both chambers for the second required time after the GOP approved the amendment in 2020.

2020 Census: The Trump administration has confirmed in federal court amid ongoing litigation that it will not release key data needed for Donald Trump to implement his attempt to unconstitutionally remove undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census population counts that will be used to reapportion congressional seats and Electoral College votes among the states. The Census Bureau said that it had in fact stopped work on producing those counts altogether.

Instead, the bureau won't compile that data until at least after Biden is sworn in, meaning the incoming president will have a chance to reverse Trump's memo ordering its production and release. The U.S. Supreme Court in December had overturned one of the three lower federal court rulings that had blocked Trump's executive memo, holding that it wasn't yet ripe for adjudication, but the delays will likely moot that litigation.

In addition to the postponed release of reapportionment data, the more granular data needed to conduct actual redistricting itself will likely be delayed past the existing March 31 deadline set by federal law. That could in turn cause several states to delay or even entirely postpone redistricting for elections taking place this year. Some states, however, have deadlines for redistricting written into their constitutions, meaning that late-arriving data could cause unpredictable legal havoc.

Electoral College

Electoral College: Republicans in three key states have proposed altering how their states allocate Electoral College votes in different ways that would have each given Donald Trump more electoral votes in 2020. It's unclear whether these plans have widespread GOP support, and two of them face long odds of passage, but they're by no means the first time that Republicans have floated efforts to manipulate the Electoral College for short-term partisan advantage, and they raise the specter that the GOP will one day go through with it.

In Michigan, GOP Congressman Bill Huizenga called for switching his state from winner-take-all to allocating electoral votes by congressional district, which of course happens to be gerrymandered by the GOP in a way that would have resulted in an 8-8 split in 2020 despite Joe Biden winning the state (Michigan Democrats in fact did this very same scheme way back in the 1892 election cycle). Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could veto such a proposal if the GOP actually tries to pass it, but she faces a potentially competitive re-election contest in 2022 that could leave the GOP with full control of the state heading into the 2024 presidential election.

In Wisconsin, meanwhile, Republican state Rep. Gary Tauchen went further and actually introduced a bill that would similarly assign electoral votes by congressional districts that were gerrymandered by Republicans, a bill that would have given Trump a 6-4 majority in November even though Biden carried the state. As in Michigan, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers could veto the bill if the GOP were to make a serious push to pass it, but he could also be defeated next year, leaving Republicans with unfettered power.

Lastly, Republican state Sen. Julie Slama introduced a bill that would move Nebraska in the opposite direction by abolishing the allocation of electoral votes by congressional district after Joe Biden won the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District and its lone electoral vote. Unlike in the other two states, Republicans already have full control over state government, but they narrowly lack a filibuster-proof two-thirds supermajority. However, the GOP could eliminate the filibuster rule with a simple majority.

These schemes may or may not work as intended and could even backfire on Republicans in the long term, especially if Wisconsin and Michigan one day turn reliably red. However, these proposals are all motivated solely by partisan self-interest rather than any good-faith concerns about the fairness of the Electoral College.

This is in fact the third straight election to which Republicans have reacted by putting forth plans to tilt the Electoral College in their favor, even though they benefited more from its skew in both 2016 and 2020 than in any elections in a century, according to one analysis.

Two-thirds of Republicans in the U.S. House and several in the Senate unsuccessfully voted last week to overturn Biden's Electoral College victory and steal the 2020 election for Trump mere hours after far-right insurrectionists incited by Trump ransacked the Capitol building itself. That followed an unsuccessful effort by Trump and his allies to agitate for disenfranchising countless voters by asking state legislatures to reject Biden's win and use their gerrymandered majorities to directly install a slate of Trump electors instead.

If the GOP entirely gives up on trying to win the popular vote and instead focuses exclusively on translating its minority support into an Electoral College majority, it's likely only a matter of time before Republicans successfully overturn a Democratic presidential victory, whether through a vote in Congress or state-level schemes to manipulate electoral vote allocation even when Democrats win the popular vote. Doing so risks sparking a far worse crisis than the one America has been living through this past month.

Electoral Reform

Alaska: The Alaska Independence Party, a right-wing fringe party that advocates for the state to secede from the union, filed a lawsuit in state court last month seeking to overturn a statute enacted by voters at the ballot box in 2020 that replaces traditional party primaries with a "top-four" primary and instant-runoff general election. Republicans are considering whether to join the legal challenge.

New York City, NY: A state court rejected issuing a temporary restraining order last month that would have blocked the use of instant-runoff voting ahead of an upcoming City Council special election after opponents of the new law, approved in 2019, filed a lawsuit in early December. The plaintiffs have announced that they will appeal, arguing that the law will lead to confusion that disenfranchises voters in communities of color unless changes are made, a charge that other candidates of color dispute.

Elections

Pennsylvania: Democratic state Sen. Jim Brewster was finally seated by the Pennsylvania Senate's Republican majority after federal District Judge Nicholas Ranjan, a Trump appointee, upheld Brewster's narrow victory last year. Republicans sparked outrage after they had refused to let Brewster take the oath of office for another term even though election officials had certified his victory and the state Supreme Court had upheld it. GOP lawmakers even ejected Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman from presiding over the chamber after he had objected to their power grab.

Republicans rejected the legitimacy of several hundred mail ballots that lacked a handwritten date on the outer envelope, even though the Supreme Court said they were otherwise valid and should be counted. Mail ballots favored Democrats by a lopsided margin thanks to Trump's demagoguery against mail voting, even though it was Republican lawmakers who pushed for a state law that, among other things, removed the excuse requirement to vote by mail in 2019.

This ordeal is an example of state-level Republicans following the lead of Trump and their congressional counterparts in trying to reject the outcome of elections after they've lost. Particularly worrisome for the rule of law is that the GOP refused to abide by the decisions of Democratic state Supreme Court justices and election officials and only capitulated after a Trump-appointed judge rejected their ploy.

Jim Jordan Calls Out Dems’ ‘Double Standards’ – They ‘Objected To More States In 2017 Than Republicans Did Last Week’

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) took to the House floor on Wednesday to call out Democrats for their hypocrisy, reminding Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) that he stood as the “first objector” to the election results during the same process in 2017, after Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton.

Jordan Calls Out Democrats 

“In his opening remarks, the Democrat chair of the Rules Committee said that Republicans last week voted to overturn the results of an election,” Jordan said of McGovern. “Guess who the first objector was on January 6, 2017? First objector. The Democrat chair of the Rules Committee. And guess which state he objected to? Alabama. The very first state called.”

Jordan went on to point out that Trump actually won the state by a massive margin.

“They can object to Alabama in 2017 but tell us we can’t object to Pennsylvania in 2021,” he continued before highlighting concerns he’s had over the Pennsylvania election process.

“Pennsylvania where the state’s Supreme Court just unilaterally extended the election to Friday?’ Jordan questioned. “Pennsylvania where the Secretary of State unilaterally changed the rules — went around the legislature in an unconstitutional fashion.”

‘Pennsylvania where county clerks in some counties … let people fix their ballots against the law,” he added. “Cure their ballots, their mail-in ballots — [a] direct violation of the law. And they tell us we tried to overturn the election.”

Related: Rep. Jim Jordan Says Trump Should Not Concede: ‘Instinctively Everyone Knows’ The Election Is Flawed

Jordan Doubles Down

Not stopping there, Jordan also reminded his fellow lawmakers that the person managing impeachment for the Democrats, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), also objected to electoral votes in 2017.

“Americans are tired of the double standards. They are so tired of it,” Jordan said. “Democrats objected to more states in 2017 than Republicans did last week, but somehow we’re wrong.”

“Democrats can raise bail for rioters and looters this summer but somehow when Republicans condemn all the violence, the violence this summer, the violence last week, somehow we’re wrong,” he added.

Related: Jim Jordan Grills Fauci On Coronavirus Spread And Democrats Encouraging Protests

Jordan pointed out how absurd it is that Democrats have spent four years investigating Trump and have already tried to impeach him once, yet they “not look at an election that 80 million Americans —  half the electorate, 80 million, Republicans and Democrats — have their doubts about.”

While Jordan admitted that he does not know where all this is going, he urged his colleagues to shoot down the impeachment resolution for the good of the nation.

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

Read more at LifeZette:
Trump Takes Blame For Assault On The Capitol
Man Arrested After He Allegedly Discussed ‘Putting A Bullet’ In Pelosi Via Text
Top GOP Senator Claims Trump Impeachment ‘Clearly Is Not Going To Happen’

The post Jim Jordan Calls Out Dems’ ‘Double Standards’ – They ‘Objected To More States In 2017 Than Republicans Did Last Week’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

Republicans in both Michigan and Pennsylvania join Trump scheme to halt certification of vote

Donald Trump is seeking to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 election and install himself as dictator for life. There’s no doubt about that part. The whole idea is outlandish, infuriating, and should be such a remote possibility that it can be dismissed out of hand. Except, after everything that has happened over the last four years, it’s really quite difficult to completely rule out this daylight coup. That’s especially true because Republicans keep lining up for the role of minions in this criminal scheme.

On Saturday, more Republicans picked up their democracy-burying shovels. That includes the chair of the Michigan GOP and Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly, both of whom are taking different routes to the same goal—disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Black voters so that Donald Trump can eek out a “victory.” And just to underscore that the rot goes deep, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel has added her support to the effort. 

At first glance, the letter from Michigan Republican Chair Laura Cox should be the easiest to simply wave away. Cox has absolutely nothing to do with tallying the votes, certifying the results, or selecting the electors. So on the surface, her demand that the state board of canvassers “adjourn for 14 days” to conduct an audit and address “credible reports of procedural irregularities" that do not exist should be moving directly to the nearest circular file. But it’s this effort where McDaniel has also signed her name, making it clear that this—in addition to wining and dining Republican legislators—is an officially sanctioned part of Trump’s plan to derail the process in a state where he lost by 155,000 votes.

The second effort, with Rep. Kelly as the headliner, is an actual court filing. It claims that the expansion of mail in ballots under a Pennsylvania law called “Act 77” is unconstitutional, and as a remedy, asks that all mail in ballots in the state, with the exception of military ballots, be thrown out. That would be roughly 2.5 million ballots discarded—about 1.6 million of them Democratic ballots. It also amounts to well over a third of all ballots cast in Pennsylvania, which might put Kelly in the running for all-time disenfranchisement king. 

When listing members of Congress who are the biggest Trump lackeys, Kelly’s name doesn’t come up often. But considering that Kelly compared the impeachment of Trump to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and way back in 2017 told his constituents that Barack Obama was continuing to run a “shadow government” that was undermining Trump … maybe he should move up in the rankings. He certainly will after this stunt. Joining Kelly in his lawsuit are a collection of failed candidates for state office in Pennsylvania. and a scattering of “regular” voters who just don’t want Black people to vote.

Kelly’s lawsuit doesn’t just suggest that millions of votes be discarded. In case there’s some problem with working out how that would affect the outcome, he has a ready alternative that would prevent the need for anyone to break out a calculator. Instead he asked the judge to “direct that the Pennsylvania General Assembly choose Pennsylvania’s electors.”

While he’s at it, Kelly asks the court to pay for his expenses for trying to throw out the votes of millions of Pennsylvanians. Because why the hell not?

This Week in Statehouse Action: Wolverine-al Failure edition

Republican legislators in key swing states still aren’t ruling out elector-related shenanigans designed to steal the election for Donald Trump, but there’s still a pandemic on, and a bunch of domestic terrorists just got arrested for plotting to overthrow Michigan’s government, so I’m going to shift focus a little this week.

To me, my statehouse action!

(But for real, the guy who wrote the law review article that inspired all of this and helped establish Pennsylvania as a potential Ground Zero for legislator-instigated elector-related constitutional crisis still thinks that this scenario is very much in play. And given what I’ve learned from working in and writing about state legislative politics for the past decade or so, I do, too.)

Anyway.

Campaign Action

House of M: Michigan is hands-down the most action-packed state that hasn’t or isn’t about to play host to a vice/presidential debate.

  • First, late last week, the state Supreme Court struck down Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive authority to issue emergency orders, which she’s of course been doing to help her state fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The decision was 4-3, which matters because
      • Conservatives have a 4-3 majority on the court
      • The decision was straight along partisan lines
      • Progressives have a chance this fall to flip the Michigan Supreme Court to a 4-3 conservative minority.
  • The retirement of a conservative justice has created an opportunity to shift the highest court in this key swing state away from the GOP.
    • Democrats have a lot of balls in the air right now for sure, but Republicans have a history of not sleeping on court elections.
    • Dems, on the other hand … have yet to really get their act together when it comes to investing in these incredibly important, high-stakes, and infrequent (state supreme court terms are at least six years; in Michigan, justices serve eight-year terms) races.
      • Daily Kos has endorsed progressive Michigan Supreme Court candidate Elizabeth Welch in this race, but it’s not clear that the Democratic establishment outside of the state is paying any attention at all.

le sigh

  • So, the state Supreme Court’s ruling against Whitmer’s emergency executive powers last Friday threw her coronavirus-related orders into legal limbo.

Good, right?

  • But given that the Senate majority leader is opposed to a statewide mask requirement, and
  • GOP House members are feigning outrage because the governor is working to help elect a Democratic majority to the state House (and never mind that Republican lawmakers have been fighting Whitmer on her coronavirus-related executive orders for many months already),
    • … the outlook for real progress on protecting the state from the pandemic looks less than rosy.

And this all brings us to Thursday, when 13 white guys (well …. probably white. I haven’t found an article yet that describes them as anything but, and in my experience, news outlets tend to not mention someone’s race unless they’re NOT white, in which case, they ALWAYS mention it. Please feel free to hit me up with any examples you find that contradict this) were charged for participating in an alleged domestic terrorism plot that involved kidnapping Michigan’s governor and possibly murdering her or other state leaders they perceived as “violating the U.S. Constitution.”

  • And these weren’t just a bunch of disgruntled assholes.
  • After their arrests were announced Thursday, Whitmer tied these men to
    • Trump’s failure last week to condemn white supremacist (with which which Michigan’s militias have flirted) and extreme right-wing groups and
    • Trump’s tweeted encouragement to “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” earlier this year in response to protests of the governor’s coronavirus safety measures.

Yes, let’s blame the victim

So, yeah, the Wolverine State is having a super normal one.

The Dark Keystone Saga: But just because Pennsylvania GOP legislative leaders aren’t currently, right at this moment, actively working to steal the state’s electors for Donald Trump, don’t think for a second there aren’t shenanigans afoot there.

  • A shady resolution (read: Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf can’t veto it) establishing a “Select Committee on Election Integrity” charged with investigating and reviewing “the regulation and conduct of the 2020 general election” still awaits a full House floor vote, which it may get as soon as Oct. 19, when the legislature reconvenes.
    • This committee will be made up of three Republicans and two Democrats, has subpoena power, and is authorized to “prepare and file pleadings and other legal documents” (emphasis mine).

… like, say, a certificate of ascertainment for Trump’s electors ..?

  • The subpoena and investigatory power the resolution endows this “Select Committee” with with the power to find supposed “facts” designed to demonstrate that the election was not run properly or fairly.
    • The resolution appeared “out of nowhere” on last week—literally a day after Trump claimed during the presidential debate (somehow that was JUST LAST WEEK) that “bad things happen in Philadelphia” (he also encouraged his supporters to intimidate voters at polls there, but that’s a whole other matter).
  • And speaking of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court …

But!

  • If Democrats can flip one of Pennsylvania’s legislative chambers (28 R/21 D Senate, 109 R/92 D House [2 vacancies]) next month, this GOP power-grab will die a delicious and deserved death.

Age of Coronapocalypse: In Virginia, where lawmakers are still meeting in special session to deal with racial justice, police reform, and coronavirus-related budget issues, one Republican may have put her legislative colleagues in grave danger.

  • State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel attended the Rose Garden event announcing the nomination of conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court—an event now notorious for likely being responsible for numerous attendees’ subsequent COVID-19 diagnoses.
    • Just a couple of days after attending the gathering, at which photos reveal social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines were most definitely NOT followed, Vogel returned to Richmond for two days of in-person session with many of her Senate colleagues.
      • Vogel reports that she has since tested negative for COVID-19, but it’s not clear that those results came back before session last week—or that she even got tested before other Rose Garden event attendees’ coronavirus diagnoses came to light.
  • Vogel’s not alone in placing her colleagues in unnecessary danger when it comes to the coronavirus.

… just something to bear in mind the next time Republicans rail about “transparency” and “good faith.”

Welp, that’s a wrap for this week. (Better than a rap, because my rhymes would be almost as bad as my puns, and better than a rap sheet, because we’re not white domestic terrorists who’ve been arrested for plotting to overthrow state governments, hm?)

Hang in there. We have a few laps yet to put behind us before we cross anything resembling a finish line in this election.

Maybe you’re tired.

Stressed.

Sick.

Sad.

Something else entirely.

Some unfortunate combination of any of those things.

I see you. And I hope you’ll do something to take care of yourself this week.

Because you’re important.

And we need you.

‘Thanks Mitt!’: Trump Praises Romney For Supporting Him On Vacant SCOTUS Seat Vote

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump thanked Senator Mitt Romney for saying he would support a Senate vote on his Supreme Court nominee choice.

“He was very good today, I have to tell you, he was good,” Trump said during his rally Tuesday night in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. “Now I’m happy. Thank you Mitt. Thank you.”

RELATED: Romney Says He Will Support Senate Vote On Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

‘Thanks Mitt!’

Romney said in a statement on Tuesday, “The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Accordingly, I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee.”

“If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” Romney added.

Trump Calls Out Romney For His Impeachment Vote

But Trump did remind his rally supporters that one Republican senator voted for one of the House’s articles of “fake impeachment” against the President.

“Who was the half? I can’t imagine” Trump said, without naming Romney.

Trump praised Republicans for generally being unified regarding his upcoming Supreme Court pick to fill the vacant seat left by the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

RELATED: Joe Biden Says Voters Shouldn’t Know Who He Would Appoint To Supreme Court

‘We’re Going To Pick An Incredible, Brilliant Woman And Watch The Abuse She Will Take’

But Trump also alluded to two Republicans who have publicly said whoever wins the election should make the choice – Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

“There’s always got to be the two, those two,” Trump said.

President Trump said again that he planned to announce his SCOTUS pick on Saturday.

“We’re going to pick an incredible, brilliant woman and watch the abuse she will take,” Trump said, predicting Democratic opposition will be fierce during the confirmation hearings.

The post ‘Thanks Mitt!’: Trump Praises Romney For Supporting Him On Vacant SCOTUS Seat Vote appeared first on The Political Insider.