With new rules, the Texas GOP seeks to keep its elected officials in line

The state party plans to limit primaries to registered Republicans and keep elected officials it censured off the ballot. It’s unclear if it can without legislative approval.

By James Barragán, The Texas Tribune

Republican voters in Texas sent a strong message this primary season about their expectations for ideological purity, casting out 15 state House GOP incumbents who bucked the grassroots on issues like school vouchers or the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton.

At the same time this spring, the party itself has been making moves beyond the ballot box to keep its elected officials in line.

At its biennial convention last month, the Texas GOP tried to increase its party purity by approving two major rules changes: One would close the Republican primary elections so that only voters the party identifies as Republicans can participate. The other would bar candidates from the primary ballot for two years after they had been censured by the state party.

Jon Taylor, a political science professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said the moves are clear political shots by the increasingly dominant right wing of the party to root out dissenters and shape the party in its image.

“It says something about this battle, this civil war that’s broken out in the Republican Party of Texas that one side has gotten so concerned that they haven't been able to solidify their control of the party that they want to close their primary,” he said.

But the ideas have drawn pushback from inside and outside the party, with many questioning whether the GOP has the power to enact them without action from the state Legislature.

James Wesolek, a spokesperson for the Republican Party of Texas, said the party will be pursuing the policies regardless. He added that “an overwhelming majority” of Republican voters supported the ideas when they were included as propositions in the GOP primary this year.

“We hope the legislature takes action, but we will move forward as our rules dictate,” Wesolek said in an email last week.

Questions remain about how that would work.

Eric Opiela, a longtime Republican who previously served as the state party’s executive director and was part of the rules committee at this year’s convention, said moving forward on closing the primary without legislative action would lead to legal challenges.

Because party primaries are publicly financed and perform the public service of selecting candidates for elected office, they must adhere to the state’s election law, said Opiela, who has also served as a lawyer for the state party.

Currently, any voter can participate in a Democrat or Republican primary without having to register an affiliation. Without a change to state law, the Texas GOP could open itself to liability if it barred voters from participating in its primary elections, Opiela said.

Under the rules approved by the GOP, a voter would be eligible to cast a ballot in a primary if they voted in a GOP primary in the past two years or submitted a “certificate of affiliation with the Republican Party of Texas” prior to the candidate filing period for that election. They also could register with the state party, though the party hasn’t yet unveiled a process to do so.

A voter under 21 could also vote in the primary if it were their first primary election.

But critics are concerned that the party is underestimating the amount of work required to vet a person’s voting history. And Opiela also said that there are concerns about how to provide proper notification to new voters, especially military voters, who might have recently moved into the state and are not covered under the proposal as written. He said such concerns are why these changes should be left to the Legislature, where lawmakers can consider obstacles to implementation and come up with solutions.

“I don’t know that the process was given much thought,” said Opiela. “Those of us who have run an election know that this isn’t easy to pull off.”

Texas is among 15 states that currently have open primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Ten states currently have closed primaries.

Closed primaries are a particularly hot topic in the GOP due to frustration among some in the conservative grassroots over House Speaker Dade Phelan’s primary runoff victory.

Phelan oversaw the passage of major conservative victories including restricting abortion and loosening gun laws in recent years. But he has become a target of the hard right for failing to pass school voucher legislation, appointing some Democrats to chair legislative committees and presiding over the impeachment of Paxton, who is a darling of the hard right.

He finished second in his March primary, but won his primary runoff against right wing candidate David Covey by fewer than 400 votes. Covey and his supporters blamed Phelan’s victory on Democratic voters who crossed over into the GOP primary runoff to vote for Phelan.

It’s difficult to say whether that’s true; Texas doesn’t track party registration. About 4% of the people who voted in the GOP primary this year had most recently voted in the Democratic primary, according to data compiled by elections data expert Derek Ryan, a Republican. But party leaders, such as recently departed party Chair Matt Rinaldi, have pointed to the Phelan race as a reason for a need for change.

“The time is now for Republicans to choose our own nominees without Democrat interference,” Rinaldi said in May.

Taylor, the UTSA professor, said the push to close the primaries was in line with the right wing’s push to force GOP candidates to follow the party line.

“You’re engaging in a form of ideological conformity, you’re demanding 100% fealty to the party,” he said.

But Daron Shaw, a political science professor at the University of Texas, pushed back against those crying foul.

“It is completely unclear to me how it is the ‘right’ of a voter in Texas, particularly one that does not identify as a Republican, to vote in the selection of Republican candidates,” he said. “Ultimately, a party is a private association and if it chooses to select extreme candidates, then presumably the general electorate will react accordingly.”

The rule to bar candidates who had been censured by the state party has also been met with skepticism.

Opiela said that if a candidate turned in an application that otherwise met the requirements for running for office, a court would likely order the party to allow the candidate on the ballot. He also said the provision could open up precinct and county chairs to criminal liability for rejecting applications that met the requirements.

The state party rule tries to cover for that potential liability by stating it would provide legal representation for any party official who is sued for complying with the rule.

Asked by The Texas Tribune to assess the legality of the idea, Rick Hasen, a UCLA professor and election law expert, called it “dicey.”

Taylor, from UTSA, said the move was also a pretty transparent message to elected officials like Phelan and U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales to fall in line. Phelan was censured in February for overseeing Paxton’s impeachment and appointing Democrats as committee chairs. Gonzales was censured for supporting a bipartisan gun law in the wake of the 2022 Uvalde shooting, which occurred in his district, and his vote for a bill that codified protections for same-sex marriage.

The censure rule in particular has been denounced as undemocratic, an increasingly common criticism from the GOP’s loudest critics. At the same party convention, the state party changed its platform to call for a new requirement that candidates for statewide office must also win a majority of votes in a majority of Texas’ 254 counties to win office, a model similar to that of the U.S. Electoral College.

That proposal, which represents the official position of the party but does not have any power of law, has been panned as unconstitutional.

“There’s a very good argument that such a system would violate the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court,” Hasen said.

Under the proposal, the 4.7 million residents of Harris County would have the same voting power as the 64 residents of Loving County.

“It’s basically a tyranny of the minority,” Taylor said. “This is designed to potentially go a step further in nullifying the concept of one person-one vote.”

The proposals come even as the GOP has dominated Texas politics for decades, and the hardline conservative movement continues to grow its influence. Brian W. Smith, a political science professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin, questioned the moves on a political level.

“Texas is already gerrymandered to elect ideologically pure candidates. We’re not seeing a lot of Republicans or Democrats moving to the middle to attract a broad swath of voters,” he said. “The Dade Phelans of the world are not winning because of independents or Democrats, they’re winning because they’re more popular among Republicans than their opponents.”

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Tracking URL: https://www.texastribune.org/2024/06/10/texas-republican-closed-primaries-rule-changes/

At Texas GOP convention, Republicans call for spiritual warfare

By Robert Downen, The Texas Tribune

From his booth in the exhibit hall of the Texas GOP’s 2024 convention, Steve Hotze saw an army of God assembled before him.

For four decades, Hotze, an indicted election fraud conspiracy theorist, has helmed hardline anti-abortion movements and virulently homophobic campaigns against LGBTQ+ rights, comparing gay people to Nazis and helping popularize the “groomer” slur that paints them as pedophiles. Once on the fringes, Hotze said Saturday that he was pleased by the party's growing embrace of his calls for spiritual warfare with “demonic, Satanic forces” on the left.

“People that aren’t in Christ have wicked, evil hearts,” he said. “We are in a battle, and you have to take a side.”

Those beliefs were common at the party’s three-day biennial convention last week, at which delegates adopted a series of new policies that would give the party unprecedented control over the electoral process and further infuse Christianity into public life.

Delegates approved rules that ban Republican candidates—as well as judges—who are censured by the party from appearing on primary ballots for two years, a move that would give a small group of Republicans the ability to block people from running for office, should it survive expected legal challenges. The party’s proposed platform also included planks that would effectively lock Democrats out of statewide office by requiring candidates to win a majority of Texas’ 254 counties, many of which are dark-red but sparsely populated, and called for laws requiring the Bible to be taught in public schools.

From left: Conservative activists Steven Hotze and Jared Woodfill enter the Senate gallery during the afternoon session of Day 1 of the Ken Paxton impeachment trial in the Texas Senate on Sept. 5, 2023.

Those moves, delegates and leaders agreed, were necessary amid what they say is an existential fight with a host of perceived enemies, be it liberals trying to indoctrinate their children through “gender ideology” and Critical Race Theory, or globalists waging a war on Christianity through migration.

Those fears were stoked by elected officials in almost every speech given over the week. “They want to take God out of the country, and they want the government to be God,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Thursday morning.

“Our battle is not against flesh and blood,” Sen. Angela Paxton, Republican of McKinney, said Friday. “It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

”Look at what the Democrats have done,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, said Saturday. “If you were actively trying to destroy America, what would you do differently?”

Controlling elections

The Texas GOP’s conventions have traditionally amplified the party’s most hardline activists and views. In 2022, for instance, delegates approved a platform that included calls for a referendum on Texas secession; resistance to the “Great Reset,” a conspiracy theory that claims global elites are using environmental and social policies to enslave the world’s population; proclamations that homosexuality is an “abnormal lifestyle choice”; and a declaration that President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected.

The 2024 convention went a step further.

It was the first Texas GOP convention set against the backdrop of a civil war that was sparked by the impeachment of Attorney General Ken Paxton and inflamed by scandals over white supremacists and antisemites working for the party’s top funders, West Texas oil billionaires Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks. This year’s convention was also sparsely attended compared to past years, which some longtime party members said helped the Dunn and Wilks faction further consolidate their power and elect their candidate, Abraham George, for party chair.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks during the Texas GOP Convention on Thursday, May 23, 2024 in San Antonio.

“What we're seeing right now is a shift toward more populism,” said Summer Wise, a former member of the party’s executive committee who has attended most conventions since 2008, including last week’s. “And the [party’s] infrastructure, leadership, decision-making process, power and influence are being controlled by a small group of people.”

That shift was most evident, she said, in a series of changes to the party’s rules that further empower its leaders to punish dissent. The party approved changes that would dramatically increase the consequences of censures—which were used most recently to punish House Speaker Dade Phelan for his role in impeaching Paxton, and against U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales for voting for gun safety legislation.

Under the changes, any person who is censured by the party would be banned for two years from appearing on GOP primary ballots—including judges, who are elected in partisan races but expected to be politically neutral once on the bench. The party also voted to unilaterally close its primaries, bypassing the Legislature, in a move intended to keep Democrats from voting in Republican primaries.

“It’s pretty hypocritical,” Wise said of the changes, which legal experts and some party members expect will face legal challenges. “Republicans have always opposed activist judges, and this seems to be obligating judges to observe and prioritize party over law—which is straight-up judicial activism.”

The convention came amid a broader embrace of Christian nationalism on the right, which falsely claims that the United States’ founding was God-ordained and that its institutions and laws should reflect their conservative, Christian views. Experts have found strong correlations between Christian nationalist beliefs and opposition to migration, religious pluralism and the democratic process.

Wise said she has seen parts of the party similarly shift toward dogmatic political and religious views that have been used “to justify or rationalize corrupting the institution and stripping away its integrity, traditions, fundamental and established principles"—as if “‘God wants it, so we can rewrite the rules.’”

“Being Republican and being Christian have become the same thing,” she said. “If you're accused of being a (Republican in Name Only), you're essentially not as Christian as someone else. … God help you if you're Jewish.”

The “rabbit hole”

Bob Harvey is a proud member of the “Grumpy Old Men’s Club,” a group in Montgomery County that he said pushes back against Fox News and other outlets that he claims have been infiltrated by RINOs.

“People trust Fox News, and they need to get outside of that and find alternative news and like-minded people,” Harvey, 71, said on Friday, as he waited in a long line to meet Kyle Rittenhouse, who has ramped up his engagement in Texas politics since he was acquitted of homicide after fatally shooting two Black Lives Matter protesters.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, wave to attendees during the Republican Party of Texas convention in San Antonio on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Rather, Harvey’s group recommends places such as the Gateway Pundit, Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News or the Epoch Times, a far-right website that also had a booth at this year’s convention and is directly linked to the Falun Gong, a hardline anti-communist group.

Such outlets, Harvey said, are crucial to getting people “further down the rabbit hole,” after which they can begin to connect the dots between the deep-state that has spent years attacking former President Donald Trump, and the agenda of the left to indoctrinate kids through the Boy Scouts of America, public schools, and the Democratic Party.

Harvey’s views were widely-held by his fellow delegates, many of whom were certain that broader transgender acceptance, Critical Race Theory, or “diversity, equity and inclusion” initiatives were parts of a sinister plot to destroy the country and take over its churches.

The culprits behind the ploy differed—Democrats, socialists, or “globalists,” to name a few. But their nefarious end goals loomed over the convention. Fearing a transgender takeover of the Republican Party of Texas, delegates pushed to explicitly stipulate that the party’s chair and vice chair must be “biological” men or women.

At events to recruit pastors and congregations to ramp up their political activism, elected leaders argued that churches were the only thing standing between evil and children. And the party’s proposed platform included planks that claim gender-transition care is child abuse, or urge new legislation in Texas that's "even more comprehensive" than Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools.

“Our next generation is being co-opted and indoctrinated where they should have been educated,” Rep. Nate Schatzline, Republican of Fort Worth, said at a Friday luncheon for pastors and churches. “We are in a spiritual battle. This isn't a political one.”

Kyle Rittenhouse shakes hands with conventioneers at a meet and greet during the Texas GOP convention on Thursday in San Antonio.

For at least a half-century, conservative Christian movements have been fueled by notions of a shadowy and coordinated conspiracy to destroy America, said Mark Chancey, a religious studies professor at Southern Methodist University who focuses on movements to put the Bible in public schools.

“It's like the boogeyman that won't go away, that gets summoned whenever a justification is needed for these types of agendas,” he said. “They say that somebody is threatening quintessential American freedoms, and that these threats are posed by some sort of global conspiracy—rather than just recognizing that we're a pluralistic democracy.”

In the 1950s, such claims were the driving force behind the emergence of groups such as the John Birch Society, a hardline anti-communist group whose early members included the fathers of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Trump. After decades of dwindling influence, the society has seen a revival since Trump's 2016 election. And in the exhibit hall last week, so-called Birchers passed out literature and pamphlets that detailed the New World Order's secret plans for "world domination."

Steve Oglesby, field director for the Birch Society's North Texas chapter, said interest and membership in the group has been on the rise in recent years—particularly, as COVID-19 lockdowns and international climate change initiatives have spurred right-wing fears of an international cabal working against the United States.

"COVID really helped," he said, adding that the pandemic proved the existence of a global elite that has merely shifted its tactics since the 1950s. “It’s not just communism—it’s the people pulling the strings.”

Throughout the week, prominent Republicans invoked similar claims of a coordinated conspiracy against the United States. On Friday, Patrick argued that a decadeslong decline in American religion was part of a broader, “Marxist socialist left” agenda to “create chaos,” including through migration—despite studies showing that migrants are overwhelmingly Christian. Attorney General Ken Paxton echoed those claims in his own speech minutes later, saying migration was part of a plan to "steal another election."

“The Biden Administration wants the illegals here to vote,” he said.

As Paxton continued, Ella Maulding and Konner Earnest held hands and nodded their approval from the convention hall’s front row. Last year, the two were spotted outside of a Tarrant County office building where Nick Fuentes, a prominent white nationalist and Adolf Hitler fan, was hosted for nearly seven hours by Jonathan Stickland, then the leader of Dunn and Wilks' most powerful political action committee. They eventually lost their jobs after The Texas Tribune reported on their ties to Fuentes or white nationalist groups.

Ella Maulding and Konner Earnest watch as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks during the Republican Party of Texas convention in San Antonio on Thursday, the first day of the gathering.

Maulding has been particularly vocal about her support for Great Replacement Theory, a conspiracy theory that claims there is an intentional, often Jewish-driven, effort to replace white people through migration, LGBTQ+ acceptance or interracial marriage. Once a fringe, white nationalist worldview, experts say that Great Replacement Theory has been increasingly mainstreamed as Republican leaders, including some who spoke last week, continue to claim that migration is part of a coordinated effort to aid Democrats. The theory has also been cited by numerous mass shooters, including the gunman who murdered 22 Hispanic people at an El Paso WalMart in 2019.

Five hours after Paxton and Patrick spoke, Maulding took to social media, posting a cartoon of a rabbi with the following text: “I make porn using your children and then make money distributing it under the banner of women’s rights while flooding your nation with demented lunatics who then rape your children.”

David Barton

Kason Huddleston has spent the last few years helping elect Christians and push back against what he believes is indoctrination of children in Rowlett, near Dallas. Far too often, he said, churches and pastors have become complacent, or have been scared away from political engagement by federal rules that prohibit churches from overt political activity.

Through trainings from groups like Christians Engaged, which advocates for church political activity and had a booth at this year’s convention, he said he has been able show more local Christians that they can be “a part of the solution” to intractable societal ills such as fatherlessness, crime or teen drug use. And while he thinks that some of his peers’ existential rhetoric can be overwrought, he agreed that there is an ongoing effort to “tear down the family unit” and shroud America’s true, Christian roots.

David Barton, left, of WallBuilders, at a Texas Eagle Forum reception at the Republican Party of Texas convention in Fort Worth on June 7, 2012.

“If you look at our government and our laws, all of it goes back to a Judeo-Christian basis,” he said. “Most people don’t know our true history because it’s slowly just been removed.”

He then asked: “Have you ever read David Barton?”

Since the late 1980s, Barton has barnstormed the state and country claiming that church-state separation is a “myth” meant to shroud America’s true founding as a Christian nation. Barton, a self-styled “amateur historian” who served as Texas GOP vice chair from 1997 to 2006, has been thoroughly debunked by an array of historians and scholars—many of them also conservative Christians.

Despite that, Barton’s views have become widespread among Republicans, including Patrick, Texas Supreme Court Justice John Devine and U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson. And his influence over the party was clear at last week’s convention, where his group, WallBuilders, maintained a booth and delegates frequently cited him.

This year’s platform, the votes for which are expected to be released later this week, included planks that urged lawmakers and the State Board of Education to “require instruction on the Bible, servant leadership and Christian self-governance,” and supports the use of religious chaplains in schools—which was made legal under a law passed by the state Legislature last year.

Warren Throckmorton, a former Grove City College professor and prominent conservative, Christian critic of Barton, told the Tribune that the platform emblematized Barton’s growing influence, and his movement’s conflicting calls to preserve “religious liberty” while attempting to elevate their faith over others. The platform, he noted, simultaneously demands that students’ religious rights be protected, and for schools to be forced to teach the Bible.

“What about the other students who aren’t Christians and who don't believe in the Bible?” he said. “This is not religious liberty—it’s Christian dominance.”

As Zach Maxwell watched his fellow Republicans debate and vote last week, he said he was struck by the frequency and intensity with which Christianity was invoked. Maxwell previously served as chief of staff for former Rep. Mike Lang, then the leader of the ultraconservative Texas House Freedom Caucus, and he later worked for Empower Texans, a political group that was funded primarily by Dunn and Wilks.

He eventually became disillusioned with the party’s right wing, which he said has increasingly been driven by purity tests and opposition to religious or political diversity. This year’s convention, he said, was the culmination of those trends.

“God was not only used as a tool at this convention, but if you didn’t mention God in some way, fake or genuine, I did feel it was seen as distasteful,” he said. “There is a growing group of people who want to turn this nation into a straight-up theocracy. I believe they are doing it on the backs of people who are easily manipulated.”

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Tracking URL: https://www.texastribune.org/2024/05/28/texas-gop-convention-elections-religion-delegates-platform/

Republican favorability ratings in battleground districts sink even lower

As House Republicans weigh launching an impeachment proceeding against President Joe Biden for who the hell knows what, new polling shows nearly 7 in 10 voters (68%) in battleground congressional districts across the country believe House Republicans have prioritized “the wrong things," while just 20% say they have prioritized the right things.

The findings come from a Navigator Research survey of 61 battleground districts in late October. And the poll suggests that sentiment is shared at roughly the same rate among voters represented by Democratic and Republican incumbents alike.

Voters' assessments of House Republican priorities have also plummeted since July, when Republicans were just 16 percentage points underwater on the question versus being 48 points underwater now—a net shift of -32 points in only three months.

Republican incumbents in Biden-won districts also have a net -10 favorability rating among their constituents (34% favorable, 44% unfavorable).

But wait, there's more: Republican incumbents in Trump-won districts are also underwater in terms of both favorability (-4 points on net, 41% favorable to 45% unfavorable) and job approval (-6 points, 37% favorable to 43% unfavorable).

Navigator says these are House Republicans' lowest ratings since the group's first battleground survey in April.

By contrast, throughout Navigator’s battleground series this year, Democratic incumbents have remained above water and improved over time. In this latest survey, Democratic incumbents are 9 points above water on favorability (42% to 33%) and 8 points above water on job approval (40% to 32%).

Survey responses continued to highlight economic anxiety among voters across the districts, with a 48% plurality rating the economy as "poor," and 54% expressing concern over being able to set aside money for savings. Inflation and the cost of goods remain key concerns.

When taking stock of their personal financial situation, however, 54% rated it positively, with 7% saying "excellent" and 47% saying "good."

But whatever their economic outlook, battleground voters overwhelmingly believe Republicans have not prioritized the economy, with 70% saying they haven't focused on economic issues, compared with just 17% who say they have.

With some 70% of battleground voters agreeing Republicans have prioritized “the wrong things" and haven't focused enough on economic issues, Republicans have the perfect fix: impeachment.

What’s that old phrase, again? It's the impeachment, stupid. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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Trump Reelection Chances May Be Hurt By Falling Economy

American voters usually make their election decisions on two factors, peace and prosperity. The first looks good for the president. The second is getting worse by the day.

Yes, I know, it is not his fault. This is true and irrelevant. Voters vote on results and Trump has always asked to be judged on results. If too many are out of work in the fall, if too many businesses close, if the national economic psychology is trending downwards then the president may have a rough going.

He is partially saved by the fact that Joe Biden is a weak candidate. You could call him a speech-impaired Dukakis. He will not know how to strike the right tone between sorrow over the virus and indignation at the president’s supposed shortcomings. Biden will just spew, and incoherently at that.

True, an economic rescue package is on the way and the president is doing a good job in fighting the virus. But $1,000 per person will go quickly, may be a headache to distribute, and will be long forgotten by November. The virus should be mainly over by the fall and the president is liable to get much credit for his handling of the crisis.

MORE NEWS: Hillary Clinton blasts Trump for his handling of coronavirus outbreak

But will that credit overshadow an empty pocket or the loss of a job and wages? Not likely.

The president has a sharp political team and they are no doubt factoring this in to their reelection campaign. They will emphasize the probable low virus mortality rate compared to other countries and argue the president deserves votes for saving the nation from possible mass death.

They will have a point. But they will not be starting from the halcyon time of only a couple of months ago, when exoneration over impeachment and a booming economy made reelection look like a sure thing.

Trump still has an advantage because the jury is out on the economy in the fall. If it comes back guilty, if unemployment is sharply up and GDP is down, if stocks are low compared to a year ago, if business closures are numerous, then the sentence of the electoral jury may not be to the president’s liking.

This piece was written by David Kamioner on March 18, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
McDonald’s worker gets nasty dose of karma after allegedly rubbing bun on floor and spitting on it before serving it to cop
Trump wins another Democrat debate, Biden and Sanders go surreal
Iran condemns its citizens to death by coronavirus

The post Trump Reelection Chances May Be Hurt By Falling Economy appeared first on The Political Insider.

Ever since impeachment, independents have gotten really clear on which party cares about them

Donald Trump’s impeachment and subsequent acquittal have clearly focused the minds of independent voters as to which party really gives a damn about them. When asked whether Democrats or Republicans are "more concerned with the needs of people like you?”, respondents consistently moved toward Democrats over the course of the impeachment process, and strikingly so after Senate Republicans acquitted Trump, according to data from Civiqs

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first announced the inquiry, a plurality of 34% of independent respondents said “neither” party cared, while 31% said Democrats, and 29% said Republicans. But over the course of the inquiry, the “neither” contingent dwindled, with most poll respondents concluding Democrats cared more about their personal concerns.

By the time House Democrats impeached Trump, a plurality of 33% of respondents said Democrats were more concerned with them, while “neither” and Republicans tied at 31%. But after Senate Republicans acquitted Trump, the share of independent voters saying Democrats cared about people like them shot up to 37%, while Republicans stagnated at 31% and “neither” dwindled down to 27%.

Civiqs Results

This data reinforces recent polling from Gallup showing that nearly 60% of voters think their congressional representative deserves to be reelected, the highest level of public satisfaction with congressional members since 2012. Both surveys bode well for Democrats in November.

But hey, impeachment was supposed to doom Democrats’ politically and pundits tell us Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is masterful for selling out our country. Apparently, independent voters don’t agree.

Chris Matthews Frets: If Bernie Wins the Nomination ‘We’ll Lose 49 States’

MSNBC host Chris Matthews is sounding the alarm suggesting that if the Democrat party goes all-in on radical socialist, Bernie Sanders, President Trump will wipe the floor with them on Election Day.

In discussing how the other candidates have withheld their fire against Sanders and his radical policies, Matthews predicted the ultimate outcome would be Trump winning 49 of 50 states. Or is it 57, Barack?

“They’re [other candidates] just pandering to the Bernie people and you know what pandering gets you? Nothing,” the MSNBC host complained. “It certainly doesn’t get you respect.”

“They’ve got to get out there and say I disagree with socialism; I believe in the markets; I think he’s wrong,” Matthews continued. “I think you’ll never get it done and this country will never go that direction, by the way we’ll lose forty-nine states.”

Safe to say, Chris has no thrill going up his leg for Bernie’s socialist candidacy.

RELATED: Chris Matthews: Obama’s Presidency ‘Still Thrilling to Me’

Let’s Analyze Those Comments

There is a lot to unpack in Matthews’ comments, not the least of which is how his prediction will probably come true. We’ll get to that in a minute, however.

Let’s begin with how the MSNBC host, who wants to convince viewers that he and his network are not an arm of the Democrat party, framed the comment.

We’ll lose forty-nine states.”

Why would he consider that a personal loss? A rhetorical question, of course.

Also worth considering, Mr. Matthews, is the possibility that Democrats aren’t exclusively pandering to Bernie’s people. Perhaps they have conformed to the extreme elements of the fringe left and are supportive of his socialist policies and platforms.

It’s not exactly a far-fetched notion for a party that has conformed to Bernie’s acolytes on impeachment hoaxes and theatrics from top to bottom.

RELATED: Chris Matthews Admits the Trump/Russia Collusion Story is Toast

He’s Right

Now back to our initial analysis – that Matthews may very well be right when he says the Democrats will suffer incalculable electoral losses on Election Day.

A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows the socialist curmudgeon dominating the field while more palatable choices amongst party moderates are plummeting.

And while Bernie-mania and his dreams of American socialism are popular amongst the extreme left, it remains extremely unpopular to the rest of America.

new poll found only 28% of Americans have a favorable view of socialism, while 58% have an unfavorable impression.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) believes Sanders’ name on the Democrat ticket will result in overwhelming losses for the party in November. Perhaps enough that the House could be flipped.

“Bernie Sanders and House Democrats’ socialist agenda will put an end to Nancy Pelosi’s unsuccessful second stint as Speaker,” NRCC Spokesman Michael McAdams said in a statement.

The post Chris Matthews Frets: If Bernie Wins the Nomination ‘We’ll Lose 49 States’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

Buttigieg: 63 Million People Might Have Voted for Trump But All of Them Are Still Racist

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has said time and again that he believes Americans who voted for President Donald Trump are racist. On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Buttigieg if he regretted saying this.

Does Pete Buttigieg Really Believe 63 Million Americans are Racist?

“Republicans have been seizing, including in a new Trump ad, a statement you made that ‘Anyone who supported this president is, at best, looking the other way on racism.’ You’ve also said that on my show,” Tapper explained. “That’s almost 63 million Americans who you’re painting with a pretty broad brush. Do you regret saying that at all?”

Buttigieg responded without hesitation.

RELATED: Team Trump Airs Super Bowl Ad Touting President’s Important Criminal Justice Reform

“No. I’m very concerned about the racial division that this president has fostered,” the former South Bend, Indiana mayor explained. “And I’m meeting a lot of voters who are no longer willing to look the other way on that, looking for a new political home.”

Polls Show Trump Approval is Up with Minority Voters

If Buttigieg believes Trump and his supporters represent racism, a host of recent polls might bely that argument.

An Emerson poll in early December put Trump at 35 percent with black voters and 38 percent with Hispanics.

“If you add in Asian voters at 28 percent approval,” notes Emerson’s director of polling Spencer Kimball, “our number is very close to the new Marist poll,” which finds Trump’s approval at 33 percent among non-white voters. Trump received 34 percent approval among black voters in a recent RasmussenReports poll, and a CNN poll puts Trump’s approval among non-white voters at 26 percent.

Rush Limbaugh said of these polls, “We’ve got three polls today showing Donald Trump at 30 percent or higher with black voters. We’ve got Emerson, we’ve got Rasmussen and we’ve got Marist!”

RELATED: Biden’s Strange New Anti-Trump Ad: Same Old Message, Same Likely Result

‘You can’t dispute the fact that African-Americans have been benefiting from President Trump’s policies’

“You can’t dispute the fact that African-Americans have been benefiting from President Trump’s policies,” said Katrina Pierson with the Trump campaign. “Four years ago, the president asked the black community, ‘What do you have to lose;’ now we are thinking, ‘Imagine what we stand to gain!’”

No doubt the unemployment rate falling to a 50-year-low has something to do with Trump’s rising popularity with non-white voters.

Buttigieg can continue to call Trump supporters racist all he wants. He’ll be lucky to get anywhere near the Democratic nomination–much less the only poll that counts in November.

The post Buttigieg: 63 Million People Might Have Voted for Trump But All of Them Are Still Racist appeared first on The Political Insider.

Popular Georgia minister jumps into U.S. Senate race with huge endorsement from Stacey Abrams

When former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams backs someone for office, that candidate is worth a look. That certainly is the case for the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. once presided over the pulpit. Abrams announced Thursday she is endorsing Warnock in the race against incumbent U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and conservative Rep. Doug Collins, who also recently announced the launch of his campaign. Abrams pushed for supporters to donate to the pastor’s campaign on Twitter, and called Warnock a “true ally in our fight for justice.” “That’s why I'm proud to endorse him for U.S. Senate here in GA,” she said.

Warnock announced the launch of his campaign Thursday with a video describing an inherited work ethic that took him from a Savannah public housing project to leading the congregation of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. "I had 11 sisters and brothers. We were short on money but long on love and faith," Warnock said. "Our parents taught us the value of hard work." The son of a mother who picked cotton and a father who was a veteran, small-business owner, and preacher, Warnock said simply that he loves his country and has always envisioned a path “to make it greater.”

"Somebody asked why a pastor thinks he should serve in the Senate. Well, I've committed my whole life to service and helping people realize their highest potential," Warnock said in his campaign video. "I've always thought that my impact doesn't stop at the church door. That's actually where it starts." In his campaign announcement, the senior pastor advocated for families who can't afford to pay for treatment for their medical diagnosis, for workers who are underpaid and pushed aside for the likes of  Wall Street, and for struggling families in general. "Like my father used to tell me every morning: Whatever it is, be ready," Warnock said. "And I think Georgia is ready."

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