BRING IT ON.
Look out, Lil' Marco! Drink your water fast, because Sheriff Demings is coming to arrest your sorry behind.
Well, probably not literally. But this morning, Orlando Rep. Val Demings all but confirmed that she's running for the US Senate in 2022 to put Marco Rubio out of Florida's misery.
I'm humbled at the encouraging messages I'm seeing today. I know the stakes are too high for Republicans to stand i… https://t.co/fJwmPAMXsV— Val Demings (@Val Demings)1621356495.0
Good luck running the RADICAL SOCIALISTS DEFUNDING COPS play on a 27-year law enforcement veteran who was the first woman to head the Orlando Police Department. But no one has ever accused Marco Rubio of being a fast learner.
"While Democrats are flailing to find their next candidate to advance their radical agenda, Senator Rubio is focused on delivering wins for the people of Florida," his spokesman huffed in response to Demings's announcement.
Florida is a complicated swamp with unseen gators lurking beneath the political algae blooms. Demings is in a safe seat but was in danger of being redistricted out in 2022 if Republicans jammed a bunch more Gippers in her district. She and fellow Democrat Rep. Stephanie Murphy could have been forced to compete against each other, and Murphy has also been reported to be contemplating a statewide run.
Demings has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Governor Ron DeSantis, who is also up in 2022. But DeSantis is wildly popular, in addition to being a fundraising juggernaut. With former Governor Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried already in the gubernatorial race, the prospect of three high-profile Democrats bloodying each other up and wasting campaign funds in the primary caused some indigestion for Florida Dems.
Florida Politics blog got the skinny from multiple Florida Democratic strategists who are thrilled to see Demings pick a lane this early in the race.
"Her background as a police chief prepares her to talk about two of the most urgent issues facing the country: Systemic racism and police reform," said one, while another noted that, notwithstanding progressives' distrust of police, "being a cop will be an advantage in the General."
(Hey, seeing how control of the Senate is on the line, how 'bout Team Blue tries not to spend the next year shouting ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS, mmmkay?)
No one has ever accused Florida Dems of being too prepared. (See: Biden's abysmal performance with Hispanic voters in 2020. See also: Bill Nelson losing his Senate seat in 2018 because Rick Scott bothered to learn Spanish.) But Politico reports that Demings is already working with The Collective PAC, which supports Black candidates and worked with Andrew Gillum when he narrowly lost to DeSantis in 2018. She's also bringing on Zach Carroll, who managed Jaime Harrison's 2020 run against Senator Lindsey Graham, so you know she's serious.
Unfortunately, there's no Stacey Abrams or Ben Wikler for Florida, and the clock is ticking for the state party to get its shit together and start registering voters. But with Demings hitting the ground running, at least we have a fighting chance.
So watch out Senator Bible Tweet, your days in DC may be numbered.
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It's your Sunday show rundown!
Liz Cheney was ousted from her GOP House leadership position last week, and it appears her revolution to "save" the GOP is off to a rough start. She was all over the Sunday shows, though.
There were moments when it appeared Cheney may not realize the extent of the rot in conservatism. On "Fox News Sunday," Chris Wallace set up the interview asking Cheney to respond to GOP Rep. Jim Banks's ridiculous statement about Cheney being a "distraction" from the very important hard work the GOP is doing opposing Joe Biden and trying to win back Congress in 2022. Cheney explained why she could not ignore the truth and just play along with Donald Trump's fantasies, so Wallace asked again with slightly different words:
Liz Cheney to Chris Wallace on Trump: "He is a continuing danger to our system. Those millions of people that you mentioned who supported [him] have been misled, they've been betrayed." pic.twitter.com/vdbi4jvxie
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 16, 2021
WALLACE: But I guess the -- the argument is, just as a practical politician, and you are a practical politician, what about the millions -- tens of millions of Republican voters who still support Donald Trump? Why alienate them? I guess the question is, you know, just ignore them, just don't take the bait and focus on your issues. He's -- he's a -- living in Mar-a-Lago.
CHENEY: Well, you know, I wish we could do that, Chris, but, unfortunately, as I've said over the course of the last several weeks, former President Trump continues to be a real danger. What he's doing and what he's saying, his claims, his refusal to accept decisions by the courts, his claims continued as recently as yesterday that somehow this election was stolen. You know, what he's doing is he's causing people to believe that they can't count on our electoral process to actually convey the will of the people. […] Those millions of people that you mentioned who supported the president have been misled. They've been betrayed. And certainly as we see his continued action to attack our democracy, his continued refusal to accept the results of the last election, you see that ongoing danger.
But Trump is not just "living in Mar-a-Lago" enjoying his retirement, Wallace. He's actively STILL encouraging the rhetoric that led to the January 6 attack. He's set up a
quasi-shadow presidency blog while being encouraged by the Republican Party, releasing "official" declarations as if he still was the President.
If telling the truth or acknowledging reality alienates Republicans, then what is the point of taking the Republican Party seriously? They should be looked at the same way we look at Libertarian Party "debates" or Dan Crenshaw's faux-action movie political ads.
Speaking of Dan Cringeshaw, he appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press," where he encountered a rare anomaly: Chuck Todd pushback. When Crenshaw tried the same Jim Banks "distraction" talking point and tried to blame the press for it, Todd actually called him out.
Dan Crenshaw doesn't like Chuck Todd bringing up the fact that he signed onto the Texas lawsuit to toss out swing s… https://t.co/HUWWPBUaXk— Justin Baragona (@Justin Baragona)1621172356.0
Before we overpraise Chuck Todd or make him feel like he actually did his job, we should note his pushback was more being incredulous that Crenshaw would call him or the press "liberal." When Todd is not busy trying "both sides" everything, he's busy insuring the GOP has his full megaphone.
Meet the Press, the top-rated Sunday show, is roaming in plain sight as a vehicle for Republican talking points and… https://t.co/1mIU5q0rYl— Matt Negrin, HOST OF HARDBALL AT 7PM ON MSNBC (@Matt Negrin, HOST OF HARDBALL AT 7PM ON MSNBC)1621178093.0
This is not unique to NBC News, of course. On ABC's "This Week," Martha Raddatz wasted time and money flying to Wyoming to air out the grievances of Trump supporters.
ABC traveled to Wyoming to interview random Trump supporters. One was given airtime to push a wild conspiracy theor… https://t.co/lAmT1s6GfI— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1621174956.0
Because when Trump was elected, we needed to understand his voters' views and why they elected him. Now that Biden has been elected, we need to understand Trump voters' views and why they are cool with insurrections to undo democracy. Seems fair, no?
This is the same Martha Raddatz and ABC News that also flew everyone and made a makeshift set "at the border" to cover "the crisis" two months ago.
So while we can respect Liz Cheney for not going along with insurrections or supporting Trump's Big Lie, because it at least shows there is a red line left for a handful of Republicans, we have to understand that no amount of reason will make a lot of "sane" GOP voters suddenly vote for Democrats.
Hell, even Cheney made that clear to Jonathan Karl on a pre-taped interview on "This Week":
KARL: Did you vote for Donald Trump in 2020?
CHENEY: I did.
KARL: Do you regret that vote?
CHENEY: Look, I think that the --
KARL: I mean, how could you not regret that vote, given what's happened?
CHENEY: Yeah. I mean, look, I was never going to support Joe Biden, and I do regret the vote.
As a wise writer once said: "If you have a steakhouse competing with a vegan restaurant, even if the steakhouse is run by Nazis, most steak lovers won't become vegan on principle."
Same goes with Republicans: They will not become Democrats no matter how much you "understand" or try to "sway them." We do need an opposition party, just not a crazy one encouraged by Trump or a befuddled press platforming it.
Have a week.
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He’s still better than a Republican, but ... damn.
Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia is obsessed with bipartisanship. He probably can't name anything good or helpful for the American people that bipartisanship has produced during his entire Senate career, which admittedly isn't that long or distinguished. When he won the special election to replace the late Robert Byrd in 2010, Amy Klobuchar was already in the Senate. Patty Murray has represented Washington since Nirvana was releasing records but she doesn't share Manchin's curious devotion to the filibuster or, as it's known in practice, the "Democrat Face Puncher 9000."
The Senate is currently debating the For the People Act, which is in essence a “Stop Republicans From Cheating" bill. Even really dumb Republicans such as Ron Johnson and Marsha Blackburn, who can barely find their couch in their living room, aren't dumb enough to support a "Stop Republicans From Cheating" bill. This is why the bill is DOA as long as Republicans have the "Democrat Face Puncher 9000" handy.
But Manchin is convinced there's a bipartisan solution. He's the one who deserves the nickname "Sleepy Joe"; he obviously hasn't been awake for the past decade. Manchin favors more “measured voting reform," so presumably a “Stop Republicans From Cheating Too Much" bill. He said he'd support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which is more “narrowly tailored" legislation. It would specifically restore elements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that the Supreme Court gutted because Chief Justice John Roberts thought racism was over. (He'd probably just fallen asleep while watching The Help.) We should definitely pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, but it's already died once in committee because Republicans won't willingly stop cheating. They have to do it. It's part of their lifestyle.
Here's what Manchin told ABC News's Rachel Scott:
I believe Democrats and Republicans feel very strongly about protecting the ballot boxes, allowing people to protect the right to vote, making it accessible, making it fair and making it secure and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, if we apply that to all 50 states and territories, it's something that can be done — it should be done. It could be done bipartisan to start getting confidence back in our system.
I'm not sure I agree 100 percent with his police work there. I've seen no evidence that Republicans "feel very strongly" about "allowing people to protect the right to vote." They keep passing "Help Republicans Cheat More" bills, which seems like a hint and half for Manchin's ass. But Manchin thinks we need “more measured voting reform" to regain confidence in the system from the very people who lie about election fraud so they can suppress the vote. Manchin also supports “more measured gun safety laws," by which we mean none. He opposes the House's gun safety bill and is still pushing the compromise hack job he put together with Senator Pat Toomey. Their so-called “Gun Sense" bill stalled in the Senate, even after children were massacred at Sandy Hook, because Republicans wipe their asses with bipartisanship.
Republicans uniformly oppose the For the People Act, calling it a “partisan power grab." When people freely vote, Democrats sometimes win, and Republicans won't stand for it. Senator Ted Cruz called the bill “Jim Crow 2.0" because he's gross enough to think that's appropriate rhetoric from a political party with three Black members in its entire congressional caucus. He also won re-election with only 10 percent of the Black vote. Black people don't like Ted Cruz. It's what we have most in common with white people.
Cruz and other Republicans have wasted everyone's time with proposed amendments to the For the People Act, and Maine Senator Angus King cut through the crap Tuesday and asked Cruz if he'd even vote for the bill if the amendments passed.
Cruz responded that the answer is essentially no:
"To be candid, it is difficult to imagine a set of amendments being adopted that would cause me to vote for this bill — it would have to be a fundamentally different bill."
"That being said, each of these amendments is a designed to strike out egregious aspects of this bill, so if some of these amendments were adopted, it might conceivably convince some Republicans to support it, if it ceased being a partisan power grab."
Republicans pulled the same scam with Biden's COVID-19 relief package. They successfully added amendments but still voted against the final bill. That didn't keep them from later going out and taking credit for all the good stuff, which only passed with Democratic votes. They are just that shameless. However, they have nothing to gain politically from a "Stop Republicans From Cheating" bill, no matter how bowdlerized. The same applies for the John Lewis Voting Act. The Supreme Court's hit job on the VRA likely helped the one-term loser win the Electoral College in 2016. It was easier to buy a gun than it was to vote in most red states, and five years later, Republicans are still talking about the “purity of the ballot box." You don't need a ring from Little Orphan Annie to decipher that code.
Black people are only three percent of West Virginia's population, which is within the margin of error, so maybe defending our voting rights isn't a big priority for the real "Sleepy Joe." He's probably not actively opposed, but he doesn't want to abandon “bipartisanship." Not that it will matter either way when he's up for re-election in 2024. This is West Virginia, a state that the twice-impeached thug carried last year by almost 40 points. A lot's changed since 2012 when Manchin won his first full term with 61 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2018 with just under 50 percent of the vote and will likely lose his seat in 2024 with no percent of the vote. He might as well do the right thing while he still has a chance, but with today's GOP, the right thing is rarely bipartisan.
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The confederacy of dunces that is the Republican Party is still at war with itself.
Much has been made about Wyoming representative Liz Cheney, daughter of Dick, almost certainly losing her GOP House leadership position for consistently affirming that Donald Trump lost the election and incited the January 6 insurrection. While Wonkette won't be crying tears of sorrow for a Cheney, we can also recognize that Republicans replacing her for not being beholden to a tinpot dictator wannabe is insane.
Take Indiana GOP Rep. Jim Banks, who is leading the charge to remove Cheney, on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace. Wallace began by pointing out that the person that Republicans want to replace Cheney with, New York FOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, is not quite as conservative as Cheney, which means this decidedly is not about policy, but rather something else:
(Unfortunately we have no embeddable video clip for you on this, but if you want to watch it, you can click here and skip forward to the hour and 12 minute mark.)
WALLACE: I want to put up their voting records because it's pretty interesting. Take a look. Cheney has an 80 percent voting record from the conservative group Heritage Action. Stefanik's score is 48 percent. Cheney voted with Trump positions these last four years 93 percent of the time. Stefanik voted with Trump positions 78 percent of the time.
If Cheney is being replaced and -- and she's clearly, it seems, more conservative than Stefanik, is it just because of the fact that she's not as loyal to Donald Trump?
Banks said loyalty to Trump isn't the reason Cheney is being replaced, but a lack of focus on opposing President Joe Biden's agenda. Wallace pushed back on this while Banks tried to deflect:
WALLACE: What is it about Liz Cheney that isn't focusing on this mission? She opposes Joe Biden's agenda very strongly.
BANKS: Well, that -- that -- that has not been as seen as much as most of us in the Republican conference would like to see. […] And, at this point, the reason, Chris, that you and I are talking about Liz Cheney on this important program on Sunday morning is -- is exact -- the exact evidence that she's failed in her mission as the chief spokesperson of our party. We shouldn't be talking about Liz Cheney, we should be talking about pushing back against the radical Biden agenda. And this is all a distraction from our ability to be able to do that. That -- that's why she will likely be replaced this week.
Cheney is being replaced is because the news of her replacement is distracting? That's some very strange circular logic. It's like saying, "I will stop hitting you as soon as you stop crying because I'm hitting you."
The reality is that Banks isn't complaining about Cheney herself being the focus of a the story, but that she insists on acknowledging a reality they are trying to ignore.
Here's more Banks -- this time with video! -- trying to have it both ways.
Jim Banks refuses to acknowledge that Donald Trump bears any responsibility for the January 6 insurrection he encou… https://t.co/HlVcPyZXSN— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1620568466.0
This isn't Schrödinger's presidency, Banks. You can't "stand by" your vote to call the election illegitimate and try to overturn it AND pretend like you have accepted that Joe Biden is president.
To Republicans like Banks, Joe Biden is "technically" president, while Trump is still their president. The unyielding loyalty to a guy who lost them control of House, Senate and White House is ludicrous.
In other news of Sunday show Republicans, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy just wants all the Republicans to get along, the ones who agree with Liz Cheney, and the ones who are destroying Liz Cheney right now. Can't they just all be friends so they can win together
NEW: Can the GOP grow without Donald Trump? @SenBillCassidy says "for us to win in 2022 and 2024, we need everybody… https://t.co/LxQtTtWmx5— Meet the Press (@Meet the Press)1620566737.0
CASSIDY: Before COVID hit, we had the best economy we've had in my lifetime. Now, I would argue that there are some who still see [Trump] as the messenger of that set of policies that they felt was incredibly positive for our country. […] And so, for us to win in 2022 and 2024 we need everybody. […] Now ultimately, it's about the policies. You see that Cheney, Cassidy support those policies. Those policies are our ticket to victory. And I think those policies are the ones that bring us back in 2022.
A few things, Cassidy:
- If Trump's "policies" worked for a majority of people he might have actually won the election.
- Saying "before COVID hit" to excuse Trump's failure to address the pandemic is like saying we never had a major terrorist attack during George W. Bush's presidency before September 11. It's a pretty large fucking caveat.
In conclusion, there's only one thing Democrats need to do about this GOP infighting:
Have a week.
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