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.
Not even your birth certificate can save you.
The Trump administration's efforts to deport all the nasty horrible criming foreigners just keeps scoring wins! Along with all the undocumented moms and dads scooped up while dropping the kids off at school (total threats to the nation), the New Cruelty makes the occasional error, like targeting US citizens for deportation, which is quite the regrettable oopsie, but is really just the sort of thing that will happen from time to time. Isn't Making America Great Again worth a little overreach now and then? Still, troublemakers like the American Civil Liberties Union seem to think people have "rights," and now the ACLU is suing a county sheriff's office in Florida for having held a Philadelphia-born US citizen, Peter S. Brown, for three weeks while refusing to even check his repeated offers to prove his citizenship. After all, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had asked the Monroe County Sheriff''s Office to hold "Peter Brown" for deportation to Jamaica, and that was that. Serves the US-born Brown right for having such an exotic name.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
#FiveWhiteGuys are losing-est losers of all.
You've probably seen at least one of the many movies or TV shows where a group of young jerks tries to oust a perfectly qualified executive just because they're old. Democrats Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and some other goofy white boys are apparently too stupid to understand they're the heavies in this flick. Now we've entered the climax of the story where they meet their much-deserved comeuppance.
The #FiveWhiteGuys have tried for no reason to block Nancy Pelosi from a return engagement as speaker of the House. Pelosi just led House Democrats to their greatest electoral victory since Watergate, but because Pelosi has been able to vote since Watergate, these fools thought it was time for her to step down and let white men run things for a change. Sensitive to the optics of replacing the first woman speaker, Ryan stressed that there were some other "really competent females" (no, really) who could do the job. So, they flipped through their binder filled with "competent females" and came up with the competent-est one, Marcia Fudge from Ohio's 11th district. Fudge is not just "really competent" but she's younger and blacker than Pelosi.
Now, Marcia Fudge was never going to be speaker, because no one's ever heard of her. Not me. Not you. Not even members of the sister's own household. I bet Fudge was reading the news and thinking, "Who the hell is this Marcia Fudge people say is gonna challenge Nancy Pelosi? She'd have to be crazy."
But Fudge also made some good points that Democratic leadership was really white and didn't fully reflect the voters who put Democrats in power. Black women in particular are the most prominent and reliable Democratic voting bloc.
Mississippi senator also shamed into returning Seattle bigot's donation.
You know the political winds have turned against Republicans when they're worried about losing a Senate seat from Mississippi. But that's where they're at now and it couldn't have happened to a crappier group of super villains. Monday, the New York Times ran a story with one of its classic eye-rolling headlines: "In Mississippi, Issues of Race Complicate a Special Election." I didn't have coffee this morning. That "complicates" my day. We aren't talking about minor inconveniences here. Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has joked about public lynchings and voter suppression in a state with a shameful history of both. She's not auditioning for the hosting gig at the next White House Correspondents Dinner. She's trying to win the upcoming runoff election against Democrat Mike Espy.
At least not if you want there to be a democracy there in the future!
It is time for us to travel back to Georgia for a spell; but unlike Gladys Knight and the Pips, we are not taking the Midnight train, and we are not going back to find a "simpler place in time." (Ain't nobody nostalgic for the "good old days" because "racist.") Oh no, Dear Readers, we are going back to Georgia for a runoff election! Democrats, backing John Barrow for secretary of state in Georgia, are desperate to find a way to minimize the impact of voter suppression, while also hoping to find themselves victorious after a devastating loss* for Stacey Abrams. For many Americans nationwide, that questionable loss was not just a loss for Abrams, for Democrats, or for Black voters in the South; the outright vote theft was instead a loss for our democratic system of government. The Abrams race shined a light on the myriad of ways that the state's voting system could and had been manipulated by a secretary of state who was utterly lacking in integrity.
Ivanka's email problem, Trump doesn't want to #SupportOurTroops, and the military bails from the border. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
When it should be protecting them from Devin Nunes.
Remember when access journalist Maggie Haberman claimed Donald Trump would be a queer ally to the LGBT community? This wasn't quite Judith Miller level stupidity but it's starting to get there. The Trump administration has over the past two years proven overtly hostile to LGBT rights; they tried to bounce transgender soldiers from the armed forces and later attempted to completely "unperson" all trans people. Trump has never even acknowledged Pride month, unless you count his tweeting out support for a Supreme Court ruling in favor of a baker who refused to make a "gay" wedding cake.
Now, we learn the Trump administration doesn't even want LGBT kids in 4-H, the agriculture-oriented youth organization that teaches children responsibility and resiliency, the latter of which is especially useful if you're a LGBT kid in Trump's America. 4-H had published an inclusion guidance early this year that stated the group welcomed "all gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations and sexes."
Stacey Abrams Is The Evolution Of Our Struggle
"This is not a concession speech."
Stacey Abrams, who served as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017, is a living revolution wrapped up inside the package of a fierce, intelligent, and independent confederate flag burning black woman. At times, it has been said that surviving as a Black woman in the United States is a revolutionary act in and of itself. Revolutions are not won on just one battlefield, or at one time. Some revolutions are like a gentle breeze upon the sea, a breeze that builds waves, waves that roll and build into tsunamis; eventually those tsunamis break the levees of oppression, washing away old powers to make room for new coalitions.
But the levees of Georgia unfortunately held, and it took every underhanded, scandalous, unfair, sneaky, dirty, rotten trick to ensure they held. The levees of white dominance held this time... but its foundations are crumbling.
Also, when will Florida counties ever learn to design a damn ballot?
Florida's hand-counting of ballots is underway, and for all the Republican whining about Democrats trying to "steal" the elections for US Senate and governor (and floating insane conspiracy theories while they're at it), the recounts appear on track to confirm the results initially reported on election night: Florida's new governor will probably be Republican Rick DeSantis, and current governor and Voldemort impersonator Rick Scott will probably replace Democrat Bill Nelson in the US Senate. That doesn't necessarily mean anything is really settled, of course, because it's fucking Florida.
Can you believe this racist?
This is the third time this week we've covered the mixed up files of Mrs. Cindy Hyde-Smith. I'm as happy about it as you are, but the US Senator from Mississippi has a bad habit of confessing to bad things in front of cameras. She's clearly a politician best suited for a simpler, more racist time, or at least an alternate reality where cameras weren't invented. Even the most detailed sketch of her saying stupid stuff wouldn't have the same impact.
Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff election on Nov. 27. Video surfaced Thursday of her at a recent campaign stop in Starkville, Mississippi, promoting the practical benefits of voter disenfranchisement.
"And then they remind me that there's a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who ... maybe we don't want to vote," Hyde-Smith is heard saying. "Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that's a great idea."
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