Trump, right-wing evangelicals want the Supreme Court as an election issue, left says ‘bring it’

You might say the Trump campaign and evangelical right are playing right into the progressives’ hands with the new chatter about Trump agitating for a Supreme Court nomination before the election. Trump believes he could shore up the rabid base and get back older voters and (get this) women with a new Supreme Court justice, particularly if he chooses a woman. Because we are ready to have a fight over the Supreme Court, one that would leave a lot of Senate Republicans very bruised.

Trump is raging, apparently, about Chief Justice John Roberts, who helped deliver three big defeats in the past weeks on Dreamers, LGBTQ rights, and abortion. "So far, we’re not doing so well," he told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week. "It says, look, you've had a lot of losses with a court that was supposed to be in our favor." The Supreme Court is supposed to be his, and do his bidding. It's not so much that he cares about all these evangelical issues, but dammit, he's not supposed to be thwarted by his court.

He's also hearing from the right-wingers regularly that he has been wronged. Like from Mike Huckabee, who tweeted that Roberts has "stabbed the American people in the back" and should "Resign Now." American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp says: "If it were up to me, I'd start impeachment proceedings against John G. Roberts Jr. […] If he's not going to be impeached, he ought to resign and run for Congress." Interesting to see the right embrace impeaching judges, huh? There're one or two who might make good candidates for the left. Like Brett Kavanaugh, who lied his way through two different sets of confirmation hearings on his way to the SCOTUS.

Progressive groups are pushing to have the Supreme Court become a key election issue. They’ve created a new nonprofit advocacy project: Supreme Court Voter. It's kicking off with a $2 million digital advertising blitz in Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. "We can’t afford any more Brett Kavanaughs, or our court will be his court," one ad says over an image of Trump. "The future of the Supreme Court is on the line." Members from Demand Justice, American Federation of Teachers, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Voto Latino, the National Women’s Law Center, and Justice Democrats comprise the advisory board for the effort, and it's boosted by the participation of Sen. Elizabeth Warren. "The Supreme Court Voter project gives us a chance to mobilize progressives, stop Donald Trump's takeover of our courts and create a fairer more equal and just America," she said in a statement for the project’s debut.

Organizers of the project have done polling through Hart Research Associates, finding "overwhelming concern" from progressives and independents about more Trump Supreme Court justices. "The prospect of him being able to put one or two more justices on the Supreme Court is really a powerful image and scenario as a motivator for people to really care about this election,” said Guy Molyneux, senior vice president at Hart. He added that Kavanugh is especially "powerful as a symbol for a liberal audience of what is wrong with the court." Take that, Susan Collins.

Which takes us back to Trump wanting another Supreme Court fight before November, which so far McConnell is welcoming. Should an opening occur (and there're rumors from the right that Justice Samuel Alito is looking at retirement), Trump is going to want to nominate a fire-breathing, evangelical, far-right activist. McConnell says he'll fit that nomination in—in less than three months before the election—after adopting the supposed rule that a Supreme Court nomination couldn't be considered in an election year when Barack Obama was president.

If Trump and McConnell want to have that fight—at the same time Trump is arguing before the Supreme Court that the entire Affordable Care Act should be overturned! In the middle of a pandemic!—bring it. We'll take that fight.

Nadler mulling impeaching Barr as he lets one more deadline for holding Barr accountable slide

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler is inching toward holding Attorney General William Barr accountable for his vast lawlessness, but it's a case of one inch forward, two inches back. Nader is now saying he "may very well" pursue impeachment of Barr after ruling it out in a weekend interview as a "waste of time." Now he says: "I think the weight of the evidence and of what's happened leads to that conclusion."

"What's happened" being the blatantly political removal of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who was conducting investigations into Trump cronies in the Southern District of New York. This follows Nadler's threat to subpoena Barr issued earlier this week for a hearing on July 2. Yeah, about that July 2 date—Barr has now "accepted an invitation to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for a general oversight hearing on July 28th," the Justice Department said Wednesday. July 28. Not July 2. Sound vaguely familiar? It should, because Nadler has been playing this game with Barr since early February.

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Back on Feb. 12, Nadler announced Barr would testify on March 31, 2020 about all the things, from what Rudy Giuliani was doing working with Justice Department people to exactly what Barr was doing to interfere in the prosecutions of Roger Stone, Rick Gate, and Michael Flynn. The coronavirus stopped that testimony from happening, but later on in February Nadler wrote a sternly worded letter to Barr demanding information about what Barr has done to intervene in the Roger Stone case and the Michael Flynn case, with a March 13 deadline. And that was after another sternly worded letter on Feb. 10 demanding answers about what the hell Rudy was doing in Ukraine, and why there was an "intake process" in the DOJ for information from Giuliani.

What we haven't seen from Barr is any goddamned answers to any of these questions from Nadler. For all these months. What we have seen is Barr creating his very own armed force of cops to bash Black Lives Matter protesters heads in as he assumed control over a hodgepodge of security forces in Washington for days from a command center he set up. Barr "was effectively the general overseeing the operation that allowed the president his photo op" in front of St. John's Church. A general conducting war on Americans.

So, yeah. July 28. Barr is surely going to voluntarily show up this time. Nadler should start impeachment proceedings immediately, if only to force Barr to finally show up—if he would even bother in those circumstances. It's clear that Barr doesn't take Nadler or his threats seriously, and that Barr believes he himself is as much above the law as he thinks Trump is.

Senate Republicans worry that Trump’s racism will cost them in November

Donald Trump is tanking in the polls and threatening to take Senate Republicans down with him. That has some Republican senators wishing Trump would tone it down a little with the racism and the ranting. Sure, they’ve enabled him for three and a half years, but now the polls suggest it might have costs for them.

“He's good with the base,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune told CNN. “But all of the people who are going to decide in November are the people in the middle, and I think they want the President at a time like this ... to strike a more empathetic tone.” Trump shouldn’t be less racist because it’s the right thing to do—he should be less racist because he’s alienating voters he (and Senate Republicans) need in November.

To Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, “[i]t looks like something needs to be adjusted” on the Trump campaign. But talking about tactical campaign tweaks with reference to polling is, again, extremely different from condemning racism.

To Sen. Lindsey Graham, “[i]t's been a couple bad weeks, and structurally we got to up our game.”

What does that mean, though? Apparently, “I just think sort of the cultural wars, the Democrats are on the wrong side of that. But at the end of the day, I think a little more message discipline would help.”

What about Trump’s repeated use of the racist term “kung flu” for COVID-19? “Ask the president about that,” said Sen. Thom Tillis. “Every week you all try to get me into a running commentary on the President's comments about a variety of different things. I really don't have anything to add,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

These Republicans have been there for Trump at every turn, giving him their votes on issue after issue and unqualified judge after unqualified judge, and protecting him during the impeachment trial. Now they’re making it clear they don’t really care how racist he is. They just don’t want it to cost them anything.

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Judiciary Chair Nadler needs to do his job, he needs to impeach Barr

House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler said Sunday that while Attorney General William Barr deserves to be impeached, doing so would be a "waste of time." He told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," that instead the House would punish Barr by withholding $50 million in Justice Department funding.

"I don't think calls for his impeachment are premature any more than calls for the President's impeachment were premature, but they are a waste of time at this point," Nadler said, following Barr's firing of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Berman has been investigating Rudy Giuliani and others in the Trump circle, as well as whether Deutsche Bank, with all its ties to both Trump and Jared Kushner and his family, has been laundering money. That's on top of everything else Barr has done, encapsulated in this Twitter thread to show he will do anything to cover up for and protect Trump. Yes, he deserves to be impeached. No, Senate Republicans should not be allowed off the hook, they should be forced to reckon with the walking mound of corruption that is Bill Barr.

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Nadler said as much Sunday. "We've seen a pattern of […] Barr corruptly impeding all these investigations, so this is just more of the same," he told Tapper, noting that Berman's office had numerous cases involving Trump associates. Nadler also said that the Republican Senate is "corrupt" and that was demonstrated when it blew off Trump's impeachment this winter. But, he said, that would just happen again with Barr, so it's not worth the effort. Which is totally not how to demonstrate to the American voting public that the Senate Republicans are corrupt. A functioning House Judiciary Committee would have the impeachment hearings against Barr, calling in Berman and all the other casualties of Barr's corruption, and force the Senate to deal with it. That's what protecting the rule of law is supposed to be all about, which is Nadler's ultimate job, since he's the one holding that Judiciary Committee gavel.

The weekend's events just punctuated how important it is right now to shine a very bright light on Barr's corruption on behalf of Trump. In case you missed the bizarre episode over the weekend, Barr fired Berman in favor of his personal friend Jay Clayton, a corporate lawyer who's been Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission who has never once prosecuted a case, could get the job. The exchanges leading up to Berman's actual capitulation were bizarre, to say the least, with Barr initially stating on Friday evening that Berman was stepping down, which Berman emphatically denied. Then Barr said okay, he's not stepping down so Trump is firing him, to which Trump said nope, not him, this was all Barr's idea. In the end, Berman, a loyal Republican who had even donated $5,400 to Trump's 2016 campaign, capitulated.

Barr has proven again and again that he considers his job to be Trump's personal lawyer and protector, with a big dollop of racism authoritarianism on top. Barr was even responsible for that horrific Trump Bible photo op, "essentially assuming battlefield control over a hodgepodge of security forces in Washington for days from a command center he set up" to violently clear protesters from Lafayette Square for the publicity stunt. The man is dangerous. He must be held accountable, and the Senate Republicans have to be forced to decide whether they'll do it.

Trump is doing everything possible to make safe red-state Senate seats competitive

Senate Democrats are looking like winners in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina. Their leads are so large at this point that it’s hard to see, absent scandal, how they won’t win. Democrats are also looking good in the next tier of races, tied or leading in Iowa, both Georgia seats, and Montana. Kansas and Texas are in the third tier, which is lean or likely Republican, but within the realm of possibility. 

And then there are the fourth-tier races—those that are “likely or safe Republican.” While some early polling looks encouraging, it would be really tough for Democrats to pick up absent a massive Democratic wave. And here, I’m mostly talking about challenges in Kentucky and South Carolina, and our incumbent senator in Alabama. And yet, Trump’s national polling collapse threatens Republican holds on these seats even if they remain safely red in the presidential race. 

Alabama has been considered a lost cause almost from the moment that Democratic incumbent Doug Jones won the seat in a 2017 special election 50-48.3—a margin of just 22,000 votes—against a child predator, someone who even admitted approaching teenage girls while he was in his 30s. It has seemed inconceivable that Democrats would ever hold that seat during a presidential year in a state that gave Trump a 61-34 victory in 2016. 

And certainly Civiqs’ daily tracker of Trump’s job approvals in Alabama shows his job approval rating hovering in the 60-40 range for the last three years. But look what suddenly happened: 

That’s a fall from +20 net approvals during impeachment to single digits +9 today, or a net 11-point drop. That outpaces the drops we’ve seen nationally (around a net 5-point drop). 

The drop is even bigger in Kentucky, the third most pro-Trump state after Wyoming and West Virginia. 

That’s a drop from his high-water mark of around +25 net approvals (60-35) to +13 today (54-41), or a net 12-point drop.

The last of these three tough fourth-tier Senate states is South Carolina:

The drop here is actually in line with national results: a 5-point drop from +8 net approvals to +3 (50-47). 

Now, Trump will win all three of these states. And he’ll win them all easily. That’s not the point here. 

The point is that for Democrats to have any chance, they’ll need ticket splitters or voters who don’t fill the ballot past the presidential contest. The stronger the pro-Trump vote is, the tougher that task becomes.

In 2008, incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is the current Republican leader in the Senate, won his election race 53-47. That same year, on the same ballot, John McCain defeated Barack Obama 57-41. McConnell ran 10 points behind the top of the ticket. 

So yeah, if Trump wins Kentucky along the same lines as his 63-33 victory in 2016, then the Democrats won’t defeat McConnell, period. But as we’ve seen in recent polling, Trump’s share of the Biden versus Trump vote is closely correlated to his personal ratings. If Trump’s popularity continues to falter in the state (and the pandemic and job losses aren’t going anywhere any time soon), that presidential race could tighten, and that hill Democrats must climb gets easier and easier. Same goes for Alabama, South Carolina, and pretty much every single other state. 

Can Democrats win these three states? If the election were today, they wouldn’t. But given Trump’s inability to show anything akin to leadership in these critical times, the more he falls, the better our chances. 

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Senate Republicans refuse to even look at Trump’s tweet smearing 75-year-old attacked by police

This morning Donald Trump smeared a 75-year-old American citizen attacked by police in one of the impeached president’s most delusional tweets yet, and that is saying something. "Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?" tweeted the conspiracy-promoting crackpot who has barricaded himself in the White House. (A phone. The man was holding what is known in common circles as a "phone.")

For three years, Senate Republicans have evaded questions about Trump's most grotesque behaviors by insisting that they, America's most powerful lawmakers, have not seen them. It is such a tired game that reporters like Politico's Burgess Everett and Andrew Desiderio are printing out Trump's statements to show them to shut-in senators. The result? Senate Republicans refusing to even look at the paper as they flee.

Multiple reporters pressed Republican senators for their thoughts on Trump now peddling insane conspiracy theories about an American citizen who has been hospitalized after being assaulted by Buffalo police force.

Sen. Marco Rubio: "I didn't see it, you're telling me about it, I don't read Twitter, I only write on it." (Rubio "liked" another of Trump's tweets only four days ago, one of at least 1,663 tweets known to have been read by Sen. Insert Bible Verse.)

Sen. Dan Sullivan: “I don’t want to comment right now. I’m on my way to a meeting. I’ll see it when I see it.”

Sen. John Cornyn going for the cornpone I-am-an-idiot routine: "You know, a lot of this stuff just goes over my head."

Sen. Kelly Loeffler: Fled to an elevator.

Sen. Cory Gardner: Didn't "want" to look at it. Fled.

Sen. Ted Cruz: “I don’t comment on the tweets.” (Sen. Cruz does, however, comment on other presidential tweets.)

Sen. Lamar Alexander: “Voters can evaluate that. I’m not going to give a running commentary on the president’s tweets.”

Sen. Susan Fret-Level Collins: “I think it would best if the president did not comment on issues that are before the courts.”

Breaking Republican ranks with unusual admissions that they do at least know how to read:

Sen. John Thune: “Most of us up here would rather not be political commentators on the president’s tweets. That’s a daily exercise that is something you all have to cover.” But: “It’s a serious accusation, which should only be made with facts and evidence. And I haven't seen any yet.”

Sen. Mitt Romney: “It was a shocking thing to say. And I won’t dignify it with any further comments.”

With the exception of Romney, each of these Republican senators, and all the others, voted to dismiss impeachment charges brought against Donald Trump with similar defenses. They claimed they had not seen the evidence of Trump's actions, and that they were simply too busy to bother reading it when presented. It is based on cowardice, for the most part, but also on a more transactional calculation: So long as they support Trump, no matter what radicalism, authoritarian proclamations, promotion of violence, or crimes he may commit, the party can continue recrafting America into something more pleasing to their own racist eyes.

There has been no bottom, even after an attack on an American church so that Trump could commandeer it out from under clergy for his own purposes. There will not be one any time soon. They have betrayed their country countless times now; there is no going back.

�In case you didn�t see the tweet...� pic.twitter.com/eoYHYW02dz

— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) June 9, 2020

Democrats will win the Senate (only question is by how much)

No one should count their chickens before they hatch. This is not what I’m doing. What I’m saying is that if we keep doing what we’re doing, and that guy cowering in the bunker in the White House keeps doing what he’s doing, and Senate Republicans keep carrying water for the guy in the bunker … then yeah, Democrats will pick up the Senate. And I’m not going out on a limb in saying so. 

The big picture: Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. Trump is going to lose. Therefore, Democrats need to pick up a net three seats to get to 50 seats, with the vice presidential tiebreaker putting the chamber in Democratic hands. 

We are probably going to lose the Senate seat in Alabama. That was a temporary gift won in a special election against a child molester. And we still barely won. In a normal year, against a normal Republican, with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket? If Democratic Sen. Doug Jones wins reelection, we’ve got a 60-seat majority landslide. So we assume he loses. 

The Daily Kos Elections crew just moved Arizona into “lean Democratic,” but that is probably still too kind.  

McSally (R) Kelly (D) Fox News (5/30-6/2) Highground (5/18-5/22) OH Predictive Insights (5/9-11)
37 50
41 51
38 51

Appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally already lost in 2018, and the whole state of Arizona seems to be moving strongly against Republicans. In that Fox News poll, Democratic presumptive nominee Joe Biden is leading 46-42. 

In Colorado, no one is pretending that Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has any chance. Even he realizes it—he spent his impeachment time aggressively defending Trump in a state in which Trump will lose by double digits. And so will Gardner. Two polls in early March had former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper leading by 17 and 18 points. No one has wasted time polling there ever since. 

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins saw her “moderate” veneer shorn off after voting both to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial, and voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. A poll last month had Democratic candidate Sarah Gideon with a 51-42 lead. The race has been underpolled, but Collins ranks amongst the most unpopular senators in the country in a state that will solidly go blue this fall. She can’t count on ticket splitters anymore. 

And in North Carolina, incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis is looking weak, weak, weak:

Tillis (R) Cunningham (D) PPP (6/2-3) Meeting Street Insights (5/9-13) Civiqs (5/2-4) Meredith College (4/27-28)
41 43
44 46
41 50
34 44

Any incumbent below 45% is generally considered to be toast. People are looking for an alternative. 

Losing Alabama but winning Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina gets us to a 50-50 Senate. At this stage of the cycle, given current trends, this is the most likely outcome. 

TIER TWO RACES

These are races in which Republicans currently have the edge, but are in play. 

Georgia has two Senate seats in play: a regular election and a special one. The only recent polling is courtesy of Civiqs, which found both Senate seats effectively tied. The reason the GOP has the edge is that Georgia has a Jim Crow-era law that requires candidates to win with 50% of the vote. If none get it in November, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff election in January. 

Historically, the GOP has done much better in those runoff elections. I suspect this time will be different, but gut feelings don’t trump history. This is a true tossup for both seats. 

Montana pits an incumbent Republicans against the current popular Democratic governor. Montana is notoriously difficult to poll, but the only one to try recently—a sketchy-looking Montana State University effort—had Democrat Steve Bullock ahead 46-39. Trump will win the state, so we’re relying on ticket splitters to carry the day. Luckily, 1) Montana has a long history of split tickets—it currently has a Democratic governor and Democratic U.S. Senator despite being solidly red at the presidential level, and 2) Trump’s approvals in Montana have been in a steady decline over the last 12 months, from a net +12, to +4 today. And the worse Trump does in the state, even if he wins it, the fewer crossover votes Bullock needs to win. 

Depending on how these two states shake out, the Democrats can end up anywhere from the barest 50-50 majority to a better-looking 53-47 one. 

TIER THREE RACES

Incumbent Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst had appeared relatively safe earlier this year. Lily-white Iowa looked like another 10-point Trump win, and Ernst seemed to be doing whatever it was that was necessary to cruise to reelection. But the coronavirus has hit Iowa hard, and the trade wars with China have hammered its farmers. And now, any hope of a positive resolution has evaporated as Trump has decided to blame China for his own failures. In fact, Trump’s approvals are underwater in Iowa 47-50, according to Civiqs’ daily tracker. 

Polling has been scant, but just yesterday Public Policy Polling released a poll showing the Democratic challenger up 45-43. Civiqs has a poll in the field right now and we’ll have results next Tuesday or Wednesday. This one may be soon graduating to the second tier. 

Kansas. Kansas! Yes, Kansas. I explain Kansas here. Botton line: It’s tough, but given Kansas’ high education levels and an ongoing civil war between the state Republican Party’s moderate and crazy wings, we have a shot. 

Texas also gets included in this tier. Incumbent Republican John Cornyn isn't as hated as Ted Cruz, who was almost defeated in 2018. And there is no public polling to give us a sense of the state of this race. But the state is trending blue, and a Public Policy Polling poll released today showed the state a 48-48 tie in the presidential election. Honestly, not sure I buy it, not without additional confirmation. But the demographic trends are certainly in our favor. Have they moved enough to put this Senate seat in contention? I’m hopeful but skeptical.  

TIER FOUR RACES

These are races in which we have great candidates who are raising buttloads of cash, but they are in tough Republican states. 

In Kentucky, odious Republican Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is unpopular, but 1) he delivers more bacon than anyone else in the Senate—Kentucky is the ultimate mooch state, and 2) Kentucky gives Trump some of his highest approval ratings in the country (a rough count says seventh highest). 

Those are some pretty strong headwinds to fight no matter how good your candidate is and how much money she has. 

And in the same vein, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham is protected by the partisanship of his state—the only one on both coasts that gives Trump a positive approval rating. Civiqs has the race tied 42-42, but undecideds are heavily Republican and the state suffers from extreme racial polarization. Southern whites, in general, just don’t vote Democratic. 

The Senate will be at least 50-50. Our job is to drag as many of these races across the finish line as we can. Can we make it 55-45? Or even more than that? 

Donate to our slate of Senate races. And if you live in any of these states, fight hard! 

Despite all right-wing efforts to demonize Nancy Pelosi, it’s Mitch McConnell who America hates

Conservatives have spent more than a decade demonizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has mostly gotten a pass. Part of that is our lack of a truly partisan liberal media network. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and all their endless offspring can hammer Pelosi relentlessly, but on the left? Daily Kos, a few Facebook memes, and some MSNBC shows are all we have. 

Yet despite all that, would you believe that Nancy Pelosi is far more popular than Mitch McConnell? 

It’s true! Civiqs has public tracking polls for both leaders (Pelosi and McConnell). Here’s how their numbers compare: 

Pelosi (D) McConnell (R) ALL Male Female Democrat Republican Independent
40-53 27-58
33-61 32-54
46-46 22-62
80-11 2-91
3-95 61-16
30-60 22-61

Pelosi is a net 18 points more popular than McConnell. That disparity is driven in huge part by a massive gender gap—40 points among women

Pelosi is +69 among Democrats, and McConnell is only +45 among Republicans, showing that Democrats are far more united around their leader than the opposition is. Frankly, that is shocking, given how McConnell is singularly responsible for the conservative majority on the Supreme Court. Yet he consistently plays the role of villain for conservative wackos. Meanwhile, Pelosi has a 7-point advantage among independents, who mostly hate both of them. 

Pelosi (D) McConnell (R) 18-34 35-49 50-64 65+
38-49 17-66
40-52 23-61
40-55 31-54
43-54 35-52

McConnell has comically bad numbers among young voters, at -49 among 18-34 year olds. Pelosi looks wildly popular in comparison, at -9 net favorabilities. In fact, Pelosi is more popular in every age group, including seniors. 

And you know what’s crazy? McConnell is close to his all-time high favorabilities! 

His numbers go up during partisan movements as Republicans rally in support (during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh and during impeachment, most notably). He’s now fading as voters sour on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that there’s no urgency to do anything (a dynamic that’s particularly startling among independents). 

Meanwhile, Pelosi has benefitted most from two major successes—taking control of the House in 2018 (when Republicans put her in pretty much every ad they ran that cycle), and impeachment: 

Pelosi even got a little bump after she tore up impeached president Donald Trump’s speech at this year’s State of the Union address. 

Republican efforts to paint Pelosi as the nation’s worst villain have failed. See this 2018 ad by the National Republican Campaign Committee in a Houston-area congressional district: 

The ad ominously claimed, “[Democratic nominee Lizzie Fletcher] wants to fit in with Nancy Pelosi and her liberal agenda. That’s not Texas. Neither is Lizzie Fletcher.” 

Fletcher ousted 18-year incumbent John Culberson by five points. So either 1.) Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda is Texas, or 2.) no one gave much of a shit about Nancy Pelosi. And that story was repeated all over the country as Democrats gained 41 seats in their massive wave victory. 

As much as we despair over the state of our nation (Trump’s approval ratings should be 12% or lower), there are bright spots. The fact that the entire might of the conservative right-wing media machine has been unable to drag Pelosi down is one of them. The fact that McConnell is as unpopular as he is, despite a lack of liberal mass media, is another. 

Sometimes, people do pay attention, and make the right choices. And thinking McConnell is a piece of shit is, undoubtedly, the right choice. 

A ‘very concerned’ Collins just rubber-stamped another Trump nominee. Of course

Back in March, Sen. Susan Collins was concerned about Rep. John Ratcliffe, impeached president Trump's pick to serve as director of national intelligence. That was when the nomination was fairly new, after Ratcliffe had already been considered and rejected as a "chicken-plucking liar" in Mark Sumner's perfect words. Since that time, Ratcliffe proved his fealty to Trump in a completely over-the-top impeachment hearing process/Republican shouting competition.

So of course Trump nominated him officially, no doubt appreciating a fellow fabulist, which gave Collins heartburn. As she loves to remind anyone who will listen, she sponsored the legislation which created the DNI position. Back in March, she fretted "I don’t know Congressman Ratcliffe. As the author of the 2004 law that created the director of national intelligence position, I obviously am very concerned about who the nominee is, the qualifications and the commitment to overseeing the intelligence community in order to provide the best-quality intelligence." So much for that.

Collins voted for him in committee Tuesday, in a closed hearing. Which means Collins didn't have to comment on it again. Go figure.

Let's make sure her time is up. Please give $1 to help Democrats in each of these crucial Senate races, but especially the one in Maine!

Senator’s cellphone seized amid federal investigation of stock trades made ahead of COVID-19 spread

Months after it was revealed that he had made dozens of questionable stock trades ahead of a global pandemic—and advised wealthy constituents to do the same—Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina had his cellphone seized by federal agents Wednesday night. The agents were at the senator’s Washington, D.C., residence.

Burr, who is a member of the “Gang of Eight” and the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sparked scrutiny in mid-March after making 33 transactions in February, that rid him of a significant chunk of his stock portfolio and netted him anywhere between $628,000 and $1.72 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. The transactions came after briefings on the potential impact of the novel coronavirus from the U.S. Department of Health.

While NPR broke the story about the private warnings to rich Tar Heels, ProPublica was the first to report on the selloff. 

ProPublica’s analysis indicated that the Feb. 13 selling spree was Burr’s “largest selling day of at least the past 14 months.”

As the head of the intelligence committee, Burr, a North Carolina Republican, has access to the government’s most highly classified information about threats to America’s security. His committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings around this time, according to a Reuters story.

A week after Burr’s sales, the stock market began a sharp decline.

[...]

Burr is not a particularly wealthy member of the Senate: Roll Call estimated his net worth at $1.7 million in 2018, indicating that the February sales significantly shaped his financial fortunes and spared him from some of the pain that many Americans are now facing.

The newest and wealthiest member of the Senate, Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler, also got in on the secret selloff, making 29 transactions that add up to millions.  It’s worth noting that Burr is just one of three senators (and the only one still in office) who voted against the 2012 STOCK Act, which, as McClatchy puts it, “explicitly prevents members of Congress and their staffs from using nonpublic information for insider trading.”  Both the FBI and the DOJ have refused comment, as has Burr’s team; however, as the LA Times notes, the search warrant indicates “a significant escalation” in the investigation into Burr’s possible violation of the STOCK Act.