GOP doesn't care much for democracy.
It's normal for a political party to conduct an "autopsy" after suffering significant electoral losses. However, instead of altering their platform or messaging, Republicans have chosen instead to just dissect democracy as it squirms on the operating table. They've done this in broad daylight, aided by a media that's intent on covering their corruption as simply politics as usual.
The headline for Monday's New York Times article about Republicans' attacks on democracy reads like a press release from the RNC: "Stung by Election Losses, Republicans in the States Seek a Way to Neutralize Democrats." Boo-hoo, voters rejected Republicans in the midterms and they're all up in their feels about it. That's not relevant. What's relevant is that Republicans are cheating. Cheating is not an electoral strategy. This isn't a high-stakes poker game between card sharps.
Right now, Republicans are making efforts to overturn recent elections in Wisconsin and Michigan that didn't go their way. They plan to achieve this through barely legal trickery where they strip the incoming Democratic governors of any executive powers they find inconvenient. This morning, the Wisconsin state Senate approved its power-stripping bill on a 17-16 vote with all Democrats and a single scruple-possessing Republican voting against it.
John Dingell, the nation's longest serving congressman (retired to spend more time watching football and Being Best at Twitter), has a couple idears about our nation's current hellscape:
"There is a solution, however, that could gain immediate popular support: Abolish the Senate. At a minimum, combine the two chambers into one, and the problem will be solved. It will take a national movement, starting at the grassroots level, and will require massive organizing, strategic voting, and strong leadership over the course of a generation. But it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? 'Abolish the Senate.' I'm having blue caps printed up with that slogan right now. They will be made in America."
HI. DO YOU LIKE ELECTIONS? GO VOTE.
Georgia voters have a chance today to start fixing the multiple trainwrecks of fuckery that have led to voter suppression, long waits at the polls due to "technical issues," and concerns about the security of election computers and voting machines. Or they could elect another damn Republican and keep the trainwrecks, because look, cool twisted metal! A month after former Secretary of State Brian Kemp engineered a "win" against Stacey Abrams, voters go to the polls today in a runoff election to replace Kemp as secretary of state. The Democrat, former congressman John Barrow, has pledged to replace the state's hinky touchscreen voting machines with paper ballots and end the arbitrary purges that have removed millions from the voter rolls since 2012. The Republican, state Rep. Brad Raffensperger, thinks everything about Georgia's current voting system is just nifty.
Nancy Pelosi gonna stick em up Mitch McConnell's ass.
A big plus from throwing House Republicans out on their ears is that we don't have to worry as much about them trying to kill us. As recently as this summer, they were still planning another go at repealing the Affordable Care Act if they managed to unexpectedly survive midterms like the masked psychopath in a slasher movie. Now, after a bonafide blue wave, we not only can breathe easier, but our shiny new blue House might actually pass positive, non-citizen-murdering legislation.
Friday, Democratic leaders unveiled a sweeping political overhaul bill. It's been in the works for month, as part of the "For the People" campaign platform. People like to argue that Democrats have no message other than "Donald Trump sucks," but there was always something on their Web site. Once and future Speaker Nancy Pelosi has designated the bill "H.R. 1." Other bills might receive a House vote before H.R. 1 but it's still technically the "first one," sort of like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace but not garbage.
Pelosi and John Sarbanes, the plan's principal author, detailed specifics of the bill in a Washington Post op-ed titled "The Democratic majority's first order of business: Restore democracy." That's usually just political hyperbole but these days, it's a pretty sober assessment of the situation on the ground.
Thank heavens we stocked up on asterisks!
Last week, Yr Wonkette brought you the story of what looks like some seriously hinky shenanigans in the election for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, where Republican Mark Harris appeared to have beaten Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes. But the state's Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement voted last week to hold off on certifying the election, because there appears to be a hell of a lot of funky kicks going down in two counties, Bladen and Robeson. There were stories of odd people showing up at voters' doors to "collect" their mail-in ballots -- in unsealed envelopes, no less! It's illegal in North Carolina for anyone but the voter to submit an absentee ballot. And oh, golly, were there some statistical anomalies, as the New Yorker explains, because for all its vaunted fact-checking, the New Yorker isn't allowed to use the phrase "heinous fuckery most foul":
You guys didn't really want a Democratic governor, did you? That's OK, we got it.
One of several Nice Times in this year's midterms was the defeat of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by Tony Evers, just in time for a Hanukkah where, for the first time since 2014, the state's governor won't be wishing a hearty "Molotov!" to those observing Jewish Christmas. Fortunately, because Wisconsin is the traditional home of good-government types like the famous Robert La Follette, the orderly transition of power will go smoothly and without any partisan rancor, just as soon as the Republican-controlled legislature passes a few bills to prevent the new Democratic governor from governing too much.
You know it's going to be a great package of measures when the Republican state senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, announces that the rare lame-duck session of the state lege isn't even worth looking at:
"It's real kind of inside baseball, kind of legislative stuff that it's hard for me to believe people will get too excited about," Fitzgerald said three days before the plan was released.
Nothing to see here! Just a few little piddling mechanical tweaks to make sure the new Democrat governor won't wreck all the great stuff done under the Walker administration. Oh, and while they're at it, the Republicans are also going to do what they can to hamstring Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, another Democrat. Look, democracy is all fine and dandy, but there's no reason folks should expect the people they elected to be able to do anything. The midterms didn't return Republicans to the top spots, so obviously the vote was some weird fit of irrational choices.
At least he's on brand!
Kyrsten Sinema flipped a Senate seat in Arizona, but we shouldn't gloss over the fact that the state is still pretty racist. For years, Arizona refused to take a day off if it had to thank a black guy for it. But Republican State Representative David Stringer ranks pretty high on the Cindy Hyde-Smith scale of racism even for Arizona!
Back in June, Stringer said that immigration was "politically destabilizing" and an "existential threat" that will drastically alter US demographics for the worse. He pointed out that 60 percent of public school students were minorities, so there weren't "enough white kids to go around" to keep those schools from being shitholes, I guess. Republicans tiptoed away from him after these comments. He never actually apologized and later appeared at an event held in the "Chicken Coop" room of a local Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles, where he tried to convince a crowd of black people that they'd been "supplanted" by an influx of not-good-immigrants, "principally people from south of the border."
Black folks' newest BFF was re-elected on November 6. A couple weeks later, he spoke with Arizona State University students, at least some of whom are black, and pointed out how much we sucked. He claimed diversity in this country is "relatively new," which is an interesting statement considering European settlers -- and some less-than-willing folks from Africa -- literally diversified the existing population. But for totally non cross-burning reasons, Stringer has no problem with the European immigrants.
MOTHERFUCKER THAT WAS A FOR REAL EARTHQUAKE.
Welcome to Alaska! A state where elections are won by dead people via a coin toss that they were not alive to shout out "Heads!" for. So, don't get happy, we only visit the Last Frontier when we have a situation where, once again, Alaska behaves like Florida's frigid northern cousin and completely fucks up an election. As an Alaska resident -- yes, I live here. Yes, I'm cold --I expect nothing but pure fuckery anytime Alaska starts trending in the news.
You are now very curious about just why there seems to be a bit of negativity, yes? Well, have you ever had control of your state legislature come down to ONE BALLOT that hasn't been counted because someone happened to find it just chillin somewhere on a precinct table, leading to a bunch of adults spending weeks deciding whether to count it, not count it, open it, not open it, or just say fuck it and have an asteroid hit the earth so nobody had to make a decision? Welcome to Alaska!! It's dumber than Florida.
Jesus Christ, what's going on in North Carolina?
There's some underhanded shadiness going on in North Carolina. There's always some underhanded shadiness going on in North Carolina. Remember when Democrat Roy Cooper defeated anti-gay hatemonger and bathroom busybody Pat McCrory, and the GOP-controlled state legislature cooked up some bills to ensure Cooper had the same executive powers as the local dogcatcher? Well, it wouldn't be an election season without more shenanigans from the state.
Republican Mark Harris narrowly beat Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District. FiveThirtyEight's election forecast rated the race as a tossup. This was despite a partisan lean of almost 14 points in favor of Republicans. Unfortunately for Harris, the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement hasn't certified his 905-vote "victory" over McCready and have no immediate plans to do so, either. The hold-up is related to a mounting evidence of fraud.
Mueller's is eyeballing the entire Trump family. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Strap in, here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Counting votes, how does it work? Paul Ryan ain't know!
Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan said his goodbyes to Congress today after spending 20 years working tirelessly to steal from the poor and give to the estate of Ayn Rand. During a speech on the House floor, the soulless Men's Wearhouse model expressed gratitude to the people of Wisconsin's 1st District for always coming second to his billionaire donors. Ryan's tenure is only notable for the degree to which he buckled under completely to Donald Trump while making sad-eyed-doe faces about how hard it was to be blamed for buckling under completely to Donald Trump, so it's only fitting that he also took some time today to engage in the president's favorite pastime: making baseless accusations of voter fraud.
Before retiring to go hunt elderly Social Security recipients he's trapped on a private island, Ryan gave an interview with the Washington Post Live where he commented on the curb stomping Democrats delivered to Republicans in California. It was basically a slow-motion electoral poisoning, with one GOP representative after another clutching their throats and falling to the floor in a twitching heap. However, Inspector Ryan has examined the scene, sniffed a few wine glasses, and suspects ... foul play!
Considering his tenure as speaker, we see why he has trouble with the concept of "counting" "votes."
You're right, NYT, she's no Paul Ryan!
The House Democratic Caucus voted Wednesday to nominate Nancy Pelosi for a second tour of duty as speaker. This was perhaps the most foregone of foregone conclusions. Pelosi's opponents in the House still think they can block her on the floor but they're morons. I'm not the next speaker so I said that less diplomatically than Pelosi would, but that's the sentiment clearly expressed in a comment longtime Pelosi foe Kathleen Rice actually went around repeating.
RICE: Nancy Pelosi said it herself: Power is not given to you. You have to take it. And that's what this effort is all about.
Basically, Pelosi told Rice that she's a fool if she thinks that some ragamuffin Democrats are going to bully her into stepping down and giving them a clear, unobstructed path to power. If they want her gavel, then make their move. Otherwise they can get lost.
Note how Pelosi is such a political Svengali she has Rice quoting her cold diss like it's some ancient Chinese secret: "Like Confucius says, I'm a big moron with a big stupid head."
Mike Espy pushed his state further toward actual democracy.
Racist lynch humorist Cindy Hyde Smith won, as expected, Mississippi's US Senate runoff yesterday against Democrat Mike Espy. Yeah, I know I promised I wasn't writing anything else about Senator Skeletor, but why are you keeping track of what I say? Stop stalking me.
Hyde Smith's margin of victory was relatively narrow (54 percent to Espy's 46 percent) for a deep-red state that Donald Trump carried by almost 20 points. It seemed no poll tax was too steep to keep black people from the ballot box, even if we did come up short. And we made Republicans spend money -- real US dollars not Confederate trumpaloos -- on an election in Mississippi. As Richard III said, "If not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell." That's what a resistance looks like. Make them sweat and fight for every win. Stacey Abrams's "defeat" in Georgia is not a total loss when it registers new voters and exposes the depths of Republican corruption.
The Mississippi special election exposed to the world the state's longstanding racial dynamics. Sunlight is an excellent disinfectant, but like a frat boy's bathroom, one thorough scrubbing isn't enough to fully sanitize Mississippi's politics.
We've put it off long enough, Wonkers. It's time to discuss THE CENSUS LITIGATION. Bow-chicka-bow-bow! But first, let's watch the president of the United States attack the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on Twitter.
Literally none of this is true, of course. But leaving that aside, what kind of idiot attacks the judicial body which will be adjudicating his fate in short order? Answer: The Giantest Fucking Idiot that ever parked his Russian-owned keister in the Oval Office.
And how will Trump help?
This is most likely the last time I'll write about Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. She faces Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff election Tuesday, which she's favored to win because it's Mississippi. If tradition holds, Hyde-Smith will continue representing the poorest state in the union and voting in line with Donald Trump 100 percent of the time. She offers no suspense in the Senate so no one really cares what she does. She voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but in fairness to her, she didn't tease us about it like Maine's Susan Collins, who required several "Meet the Press" interviews and a big, flashy speech on the Senate floor to make up her mind.
Now, if by some seasonally appropriate miracle, Espy does prevail tomorrow and, most importantly, doesn't vanish before the next session of Congress, Hyde-Smith will probably wander the state of her birth in perpetual shame. She'll become the political equivalent of the attorney who somehow lost the Daily Mirror's case against Liberace when he sued them for claiming he was gay. She certainly won't get invited to any of the good public hangings.
Either way, I plan to erase Hyde-Smith from my memory effective Wednesday, but while we wait, let's take a look at what the senator's been up to during the run-up to the runoff.
The Gray Lady is a doddering fool.
The New York Times is in many ways your typical godless commie rag, as evidenced by its "peas in guacamole" recipes, but in all the ways that actually matter, like its political coverage, it enjoys regularly knocking Democrats like the stereotypical sitcom mother-in-law who will always find something to criticize about her son's wife.
Saturday, Utah's Mia Love officially left for that separate-but-equal black Republican rest home in the sky. This brought Democratic gains in the House to 39 seats. Also on Saturday, the Times ran the latest in its "Democrats in disarray" series that no one demanded. The Twitter headline alone is such potent stupidity you shouldn't operate heavy machinery after reading it: "After painful losses, Democrats in the South face a dilemma: Appeals to progressives cost them the rural white voters who often decide elections."
Painful losses? Really? This is like calling my failed audition for Killmonger in Black Panther a "painful loss." I got to say "Hey, Auntie" to Angela Bassett before security showed up. Overall, I consider it a win. Yes, Stacey Abrams "lost" the governor's race in Georgia, and Beto O'Rourke and Andrew Gillum failed to win in Texas and Florida, where voter suppression was not as overt and repulsive as in the peach state. (Hey, geniuses at the Times, maybe you should write about that!) But Abrams and O'Rourke also performed better than any Democrat had in decades. Hell, in Texas, Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson regularly murdered her opponents for almost two decades. Democrats stopped considering these Senate races elections and treated them more like Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." They were begging not to run: "Please don't make me! I won't break 40 percent. I have kids!"
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