More to ignore, Book 104...

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Right-wing pundits, poohbahs reach for the Copium after their ‘red tsunami’ fails to materialize

David Neiwert

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Steve Bannon assured his audience that the right-wing takeover was still imminent the day after the election.

After everyone in the Republican Party’s elite political circles—from Tucker Carlson to Donald Trump to the New York Times editorial board—cemented the belief among their perfervid True Believers that not only were they going to win Tuesday’s midterm elections, but that it was going to be a blowout victory, the reality of modest gains (at best) came as a shock to the base. On right-wing podcasts and on social media, massive amounts of copium were flowing.

The election denialists did their thing: Of course the failure of their “red tsunami” to materialize was the result of
voter fraud. Some of the senior scam artists, like ex-Trump adviser and MAGA guru Steve Bannon, quickly concocted scenarios where Republicans were still going to control both the House and the Senate and then take over the world from there. Or something like that.



Possibly the most hilariously pathetic of the lot was Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft, widely regarded the “dumbest man on the internet,” who began his coverage of Election Day with a breaking bulletin announcing:

Bye-Bye, Nancy! GOP wins enough new seats to retake US House—Another Dark Night for the Pelosi Family

In short order, though, this headline was replaced with a fresh one:

Oops! We Spoke too soon — FRAUD WINS THE NIGHT in US Midterm Elections – Democrats Somehow Survive After Two Years of Record Destruction

On Wednesday, Gateway Pundit’s top pinned post announced:

BLOOD MOON BLOODBATH… Democrats Steal Midterms, Communism Comes Home to America… Crime, Inflation, Record Gas Prices, War, Open Borders and Corruption WIN BIG

Leading election denialist Joe Oltmann likewise immediately (even as early results were still arriving) proclaimed that some kind of fraud was being manifested in the election during an appearance on the Conservative Daily podcast:

I’m still beside myself, as I’m looking here looking at all the things that we’re dealing with. And I’m saying to myself, ‘How?’ I have to look at this and go, ‘Kari Lake is down by 13 percent.’ With 70 percent of Maricopa reporting.

Another guest told him conspiratorially: “I toldja, they can’t let her be governor. She’ll investigate. They can’t let her have it.”

Oltmann shouted:

We can see the fraud. We can see the fraud in the machines! So we can see it, we can see it.

He then rattled off a list of unproven conspiracist claims about machine vote manipulation: Yes! Yes! Mail-in ballots, yes, yes, yes! Yes, the Eric system shares all these people, and the fraud of stealing people’s identities, and putting that in, and then frontloading the machines with this SQL database, which I said you could do, it showed it in Mesa County, you run the database right next to the thing.

Then there was Bannon, who was in no mood for folderol at his dead-serious “War Room” podcast on the morning after the debacle:

If you want to be entertained, you’re at the wrong place. If you want to talk about Ron DeSantis vs. Donald Trump or Donald Trump vs. Ron DeSantis or anything to do with 2024, you’re also at the wrong place.
This is not the place. We’re in a fight. OK, we’re in a fight to close any many seats as we can in the House of Representatives. We’re gonna fight to control the Senate. We’re gonna fight for some of these governor’s races, particularly in Arizona. … We’ve got fights all over the place, and what we need is maniacal focus. So for those that are ready to rumble, you’re ready to fight, you’re in the right place.
We’re packed with warriors this morning. Only fighters. Fight Club. All morning.

In reality, Tuesday was a very bad night for Bannon. In the weeks leading up to the midterms, he had predicted for his listeners: “We’re gonna win a 100-seat majority. We’re taking a hundred seats and we’re going to govern for a hundred years.” He had called it a “massive red tsunami.” He had also promised: “When we run the tables, there’s going to be some new sheriffs in town. We’re not playing by the old rules.”

Bannon also brought on Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk, who hosts a podcast of his own on Bannon’s Real America’s Voice platform. Kirk and Bannon chatted over the vote in Arizona, with Kirk assuring Bannon that the remaining late-arriving ballots to be counted in the election are from conservatives who only delivered their paper ballots on Election Day (as part of a broader rejection of mail-in ballots in the state)—and thus, Republicans Kari Lake and Blake Masters were assured ultimate victories in their yet-undecided races for governor and the U.S. Senate.

[There’s a problem with Kirk’s thesis: Lake and Masters were only able to claw their ways back into the race after trailing badly in early voting because of a rush of Republican votes on Election Day at the ballot boxes. Those votes, however, have nearly all been counted, leaving mostly uncounted mail-in ballots, which have trended Democratic in most counts.]

Marjorie Taylor Greene, meanwhile, showed up to parrot her Republican stump speech and then ardently defended the honor of Donald Trump, who was not, repeat not at fault for the crappy outcome for the GOP Tuesday, which also was not a crappy outcome, because Republicans will be in charge.

Now, they’re trying to blame President Trump today. And I want to tell you how short-sighted and ridiculous that is. It is pathetic. The people that are running out, “It’s Trump’s fault”—no. That is a pathetic, wimpy, easy mindset. … Trump has been being politically persecuted for the past few years now, especially since Jan. 6. … He is being politically persecuted worse than any human being in our country’s history.

On social media, prominent right-wing figures like noted nativist Brigitte Gabriel’s tweet early Tuesday proclaiming: “The red wave is almost here … It’s time to save America!”

Later that day, she had changed her mind: “Generation Z is destroying America at the ballot box.”

Like most right-wing conspiracists who had been huffing the “red tsunami” exhaust, Pizzagate godfather Mike Cernovich seemed disoriented and confused because the only people he knows would never vote for someone like John Fetterman:

I need to meet some [Fetterman] voters. Most stuff I can accept. People are different. Such is life. This one, I legitimately can’t wrap my head around it.

Right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro lamented, as the results rolled in: “From red wave to red wedding.” He later added:

Last night was not a referendum on Democrats' excellence in governance; it was a referendum on Republicans lack of seriousness. Democrats will misread this and keep doubling down. So if Republicans get serious and drop the frivolous bulls***, 2024 could look very different. IF.

A lot of right-wing pundits whose anticipation of a full-on right-wing takeover like Matt Walsh simply moved the goalposts:

There was no red wave but neither was this any sort of resounding victory for the Democrats. We’re left with an electorate divided, confused, and uninspired. Neither party has a coherent message or competent leadership.

Red State founder/publisher Erick Erickson even acknowledged that maybe the whole Republican Supreme Court overturning Roe thing might have had an impact:

I do think abortion played a role in some races, but overall, seeing some GOP candidates who have the same stance on abortion do so well while others failed in the same area with the same voters suggests there's more too it. Trump support or lack thereof seems more likely.

Such talk may have outraged the likes of Greene, but even his old friends at the New York Post were ready to kick dirt on The Former Guy’s political carcass. “Ron DeSantis is the new Republican Party leader,” read their front page.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes rests case in Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trial

Brandi Buchman

On Wednesday, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers group, rested his case in the historic seditious conspiracy trial that has played out in Washington, D.C., for weeks.

By resting his case, Rhodes will present no further evidence on his own behalf and will call no further witnesses. But the road to the jury’s verdict does not end here for co-defendants Jessica Watkins, Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, and Thomas Caldwell. They will continue to make their cases in court before the Justice Department finally launches its rebuttal and closing arguments are finally presented.

The decision by Rhodes to rest comes just a few days after he took the witness stand. Rhodes’ testimony under direct examination by his own attorneys went smoothly, with the self-proclaimed history and legal buff eager to regale jurors with his musings on the Constitution, U.S. legal doctrine, and the results of the 2020 election that he still deems “unconstitutional.” These moments were wedged cleanly between his repeated assertions that neither he nor any other Oath Keeper on trial conspired to stop the transfer of power on Jan. 6.

But when under cross-examination by federal prosecutors, his confidence gave way to a simmering impatience. Amid the parading of his ego—he “never needed a bodyguard,” he knows karate and in the bedroom, he’s the ‘dominant’ type—Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy drilled down on discrepancies between his words and his alleged actions.
........
Before Rhodes rested his case Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from Michael Greene, also known as Michael Simmons. In group texts with Oath Keepers, Greene was known as “Whip” or “Whiplash.” According to prosecutors, Greene was tapped by Rhodes to lead operations for the group’s “mission” in D.C. after another Oath Keeper, Donald Siekerman, fell ill with COVID-19. Greene, a onetime contractor for Blackwater, was also tapped to serve as a bodyguard to Trump ally Roger Stone on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6.

Greene, a 39-year-old Black man from Indianapolis, Indiana, was indicted in June alongside other Oath Keepers for conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding as well as four other charges tied to his alleged conduct on Jan. 6.

But Greene risked taking the stand for Rhodes, a man he described on Wednesday as “pretty cool” though admittedly, he said, not someone he would consider a close friend.

Greene testified that when he first learned of the Oath Keepers, he was turned off by the group. He saw members—identifiable by their logo-stamped garb—at a gun show standing around with “known white supremacists,” he said. But when Greene learned from his friend Greg McWhirter that he was an Oath Keeper, it put him at ease.

Greene once told the outlet Mother Jones that Rhodes cast out racists from the ranks of the Oath Keepers. It was that outlet that first confirmed Greene was handpicked as operations leader by Rhodes.

McWhirter, also a Black man, was once the group’s vice president. McWhirter was expected to testify for the defense this week but a medical emergency precluded his appearance. After the trial hiccup, he was expected to appear remotely but before he got the chance to testify, McWhirter was unmasked as a confidential informant to the FBI.

The New York Times reported the detail about McWhirter on Tuesday, citing sources familiar. But then, the Justice Department effectively confirmed the report in a motion it published to the public docket it meant to keep under seal. The motion asked presiding U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta to probe the defense attorneys about the origins of the leak, citing McWhirter’s “tremendous anxiety” over his exposure.

Greene didn’t speak much about McWhirter on Wednesday beyond describing his initial introduction to the Oath Keepers. While he described McWhirter as a “friend,” Greene would later describe the “friendship” in a more chilly way saying he had “maybe two” conversations with McWhirter and Rhodes from 2017 through the fall of 2020. One of their last conversations, Greene said, pertained to a disagreement over a “personal security detail” issue.

Greene went to Louisville, Kentucky, at Rhodes’ request in the fall of 2020. He was hired by the group to conduct a “security assessment” for a local business as civil unrest exploded over the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

Greene said several times from the stand that he was not a member of the Oath Keepers and bristled at the suggestion by the Justice Department that he was a “mercenary” during his time with Blackwater.



Prosecutors, however, showed Greene pictures and video of himself appearing in an Oath Keepers propaganda video donning the group’s logo on his vest.

Like Rhodes, Greene pinned blame for riots in 2020 squarely on “antifa” and “BLM,” or the Black Lives Matter movement.

“There were riots going on all over the country. It was no big deal for me to go in and do a security assessment,” the former Blackwater contractor said. (Blackwater has changed names twice: first to Academi and then to Contellis.)

When defense attorney Philip Linder asked Greene how he felt about groups like Black Lives Matter, he replied bluntly: “I didn’t give a damn one way or another. I was just doing a job,”

After Louisville, Rhodes called on Greene to protect Kellye SoRelle, Rhodes’s girlfriend and self-proclaimed attorney to the Oath Keepers, at a ‘‘Stop the Steal’ event in Georgia hosted by right-wing conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander. SoRelle was there to talk about “election fraud” she claimed to have witnessed and according to Greene, she feared she would be attacked by antifa there, too.

Greene later joined Oath Keepers for events like the Million MAGA March in D.C. in Nov. 2020 and then again at the Jericho March that December. His final event was Jan. 6.

Under cross-examination, prosecutors probed Greene about the “quick reaction force” Oath Keepers established for the events. Rhodes wanted the “QRF” in November 2020 because he feared former President Donald Trump would be forcibly removed from the White House by “antifa.”

“I told Stewart, that’s crazy, nobody is going to storm the White House, they have a ****ing arsenal. They’ll slaughter everybody,” he said.

But Rhodes wanted it anyway.

Rhodes told the jury this week that he had no part in the QRF that was stationed at a hotel in northern Virginia for Jan. 6. Oath Keeper Terry Cummings told prosecutors at the start of the trial, the QRF in Virginia contained more guns in one place than any he had seen since leaving the military.



Texts extracted from Oath Keeper devices, however, show Rhodes and co-defendant Kelly Meggs discussing the QRF. On Jan. 5, for example, prosecutors found a text where Meggs tells Rhodes “we are just outside of town, unloading at the QRF.”

“See you soon,” Rhodes replied.

Greene told jurors too that he didn’t know Meggs got the rooms with North Carolina Oath Keeper leader Paul Stamey. When he learned Arizona Oath Keeper Ed Vallejo was at the hotel in Arlington, Virginia, Rhodes said, he didn’t realize Vallejo considered it a QRF.

On Wednesday, Greene testified: “We didn’t have a plan for the QRF” on Jan. 6.

“Sir, you keep saying ‘we’ but I’m asking you, Michael Greene, you were not aware of a QRF? You didn’t know Ed Vallejo was sitting in a hotel waiting with all these guns?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler asked.

“No,” Greene said.

Nestler seized promptly on conflicting details between Greene’s testimony and the exhibits in evidence, namely text messages and pictures extracted from his device by the FBI after his arrest.

In one message sent to Greene during the early morning of Jan. 6, a person he could not identify Wednesday told Greene he was referred to him. At 1:41 p.m., after rioters had already breached barricades at the Capitol and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a curfew, the person messaged Greene again.

“Amazing day,” they wrote.

A minute later, Greene replied: “Storming the Capitol.”

“Amazing because people were storming the Capitol?” Nestler asked.

Greene said the response was merely him informing the person that people were storming the building, generally.

Nestler then pulled up a text sent by Greene to a person with a phone number featuring a Detroit, Michigan area code. Greene said he did not recognize the number or recall who he was speaking to when he wrote: “were storming the capitol.” [original]

Prosecutors and FBI agents tasked to work the case have said that “were” was a typo that Greene made for the phrase “we’re” or “we are” at least six times on Jan. 6.



On Wednesday, Greene deflected, saying that he received thousands of texts messages on Signal that he never saw. Like Rhodes, Greene testified that the cell phone connection around the Capitol on Jan. 6 was spotty and often failed to connect phone calls. Signal was problematic too, he testified.

This message to the person in Detroit must have been a mistake, or something that got crossed on Signal, he said.

But, Nestler told him, this message wasn’t found on his phone. It was extracted from another person’s device. And it wasn’t a Signal message. It was a T-Mobile-based text. And T-Mobile captured all network text messages and provided them to the FBI.

On Jan. 6 at 2:31 PM, Greene called Rhodes, phone record metadata shows. The call lasted 40 seconds. Before Nestler even prompted him, Greene volunteered that he couldn’t say whether that phone call was actually connected. He made maybe 20 or 30 attempts to call Rhodes, he testified.

“I didn’t ask you whether they were connected,” Nestler said.

Greene said it might have gone to voicemail or didn’t connect, he wasn’t sure.

After 40 seconds, Meggs called Rhodes moments later. Phone records show Rhodes then merged the call with Greene to make a three-way conference call. When Nestler asked if the three men were talking just moments before Meggs proceeded to enter the Capitol in a stack formation with fellow Oath Keepers, Greene spoke fast.

“It could have been him. I’m talking to Rhodes, Meggs calls and Rhodes clicks over, I don’t know about a merged call. I don’t remember being on a merged call with Meggs and Rhodes, ever on the 6th or it could have been—“ he said before Nestler cut in.

“You have a lot of theories about these calls,” the prosecutor quipped.

At 2:33 PM, 90 seconds after Rhodes merged the call, Meggs hopped off, Nestler said.

Evidence shows Greene and Rhodes stayed on the line for over three minutes once Meggs hung up.

“It’s an awfully long time to stay on the phone without talking,” Nestler said.

Jurors will receive instructions that reminds them: “the government is not required to show that two or more people sat around a table and entered into a solemn pact, orally or in writing, stating they had formed a conspiracy to violate the law and spelling out all the details.”

Whether the conspiracy is implied or explicit, is no matter. It is rare that a conspiracy can be proven by an explicit agreement, the jury instructions note.

The defense has nonetheless made a point to elicit testimony from their witnesses, including Greene, stating that no one ever received direct orders from Rhodes to stop the transfer of power on Jan. 6.

When defense attorney James Lee Bright asked Greene, who deployed for a year to Iraq with the U.S. military, whether he ever went off on any mission with an “implict plan” alone, Greene said no.

That, he said, would be stupid.

“Nothing is implied in the military. Everything has a plan in the military,” he said, adding a moment later that there was never any implicit plan.

After Rhodes rested, Meggs’ defense attorney Stanley Woodward called witness Stephen Brown to the stand. Brown, the owner of an event planning company known as Resource Group, was hired by Ali Alexander to help Alexander plan his “One Nation Under God” rally. The name of the rally, according to ‘Stop the Steal’ organizer Kimberly Fletcher, was an alias for ‘Stop the Steal’ because Alexander didn’t think the permit would be granted by U.S. Capitol Police otherwise.

The seditious conspiracy trial reached a milestone with the resting of Rhodes’ case but Woodward announced Wednesday that he still needs to call Oath Keeper Mike Adams for testimony as well as Andrew Smrecek, the owner of a shooting range. A few others may be called, Lawfare reported. It is not yet clear whether Meggs will testify but Woodward said he expects their case in chief will be done by Monday.

Judge Mehta asked Brad Geyer, the defense attorney for Kenneth Harrelson, to make his case on Monday as well. Jessica Watkins’ attorney Jonathan Crisp must be ready by Nov. 15 and Thomas Caldwell must be ready to present his case on Nov. 16. There will be a rebuttal, Nestler said but he expects it to be short.

Mehta predicted closing arguments would take up to two days and then, the case would be handed off to jurors before Thanksgiving on Nov. 24. That would mean jurors would be asked to return on Nov. 28.

Judge Mehta will meet with attorneys on Nov. 10 to discuss jury instructions only since there was a change to witness schedules. The trial resumes Monday, Nov. 14.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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TTM note:

Iggy Pop has a new album on the way.

He’s released the first single, called: ‘Frenzy’

His rhythm section is Duff from Guns n Roses and Chad Smith of RHCP.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump melts down bigly on Truth Social as Republican vultures circle the wreckage

Walter Einenkel

On Tuesday the United States discovered that when more Americans come out to vote, the MAGA world and its surrogate Republican Party are really unpopular. One of the grand delusions in the traditional media is that Donald Trump, a man who never received the popular vote in the history of ever, was somehow popular. It’s a relative term, of course. Donald Trump is popular with the MAGA crowd that believes they will ascend into heaven on his back. Donald Trump is less unpopular than many of his fellow conservative leaders within his own party. But he isn’t really popular. A large part of this is because Donald Trump is a terrible person, and most people can see that.

The Republican Party and its operatives are scrambling to see who can wrestle for control over the internally warring political party. Tuesday night’s results showed that Americans, by and large, are not interested in Big Lie promoters and relitigating the 2020 election. This has opened a sliver of light to GOP operatives who hope they can wriggle free of Trump before 2024. To that end, the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post released a very disparaging front-page story Thursday morning pointing the finger at Trump. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board released an opinion piece with the headline, “Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser.”

We all know how thin-skinned the disgraced former guy is. Will he have a meltd—
.......

Yes he will!



On Truth Social, Donald Trump pressed his thumbs together and began a rant the likes of which we have all experienced before. I will be putting it in here, typos and all.

“Now that the Election in Florida is over, and everything went quite well, shouldn't it be said that in 2020, I got 1.1 million more votes in Florida than Ron D got this year, 5.7 million to 4.6 million? Just asking?”

That was early on for The Donald. Not so bad, maybe this won’t be a bi—

“Incredible how dishonest the Fake News Media is. The failing New York Times has gone crazy. So many of the people I Endorsed went onto victory on Tuesday Night, nobody was even close, and they literally make up a story refusing to write the facts, and only quoting enemies and losers. Almost all of the people I endorsed WON, yet if you read the story from two Trump hating writers (who only do as they are told!), you would not even recognize the truth. They truly are, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!!!”

Yes. That got turned up fast. Hopefully things are cooling down over at MAGA headquar—

“… 219 WINS against 16 LOSSES IN THE GENERAL ELECTION, and yet, the Fake News writes only unrecognizable junk. No wonder they are all doing sooo badly!”

Okaaaay.

“There is a Fake Story being promulgated by third rate reporter, Maggie Hagaman of the Failing New York Times, that I am blaming our great former, First Lady, Melania, and Sean Hannity, that I was angry with their pushing me to Endorse Dr. Oz. First of all Oz is a wonderful guy who really worked hard, and was a very good candidate, but he WAS LONG IN THE RACE before I ever Endorsed him, they had NOTHING to do with it, he was not a ‘denier’ (his mistake!), and I was not at all ANGRY. Fake News!”

Somebody looked at their Word of the Day calendar! At least he doesn’t sound angry, amiright?

“I'd like to apologize to Melania and Sean Hannity for all of the Fake News and fictional stories (made up out of thin air, with no sources despite them claiming there are!), being dumped on you by reporters and ‘News’ Organizations who know the stories are not true. The Fake News Media is “Crazed” and totally out of control. I only wish the public could understand how really corrupt and crooked they are. They MAKE UP stories and then push them down your throats. Our Country is in big trouble!”

To be honest that doesn’t really sound like much of an apolo—

“… 219 WINS against 16 LOSSES IN THE GENERAL ELECTION, and yet, the Fake News writes only unrecognizable junk. No wonder they are all doing sooo badly!”

You said that already.

“Despite having pick so many winners, I have to put up with the Fake News. For me Fox News was always gone, even in 2015-16 when I began my “journey,” but now they're really gone. Such an opportunity for another media outlet to make an absolute fortune, and do good for America. Let's see what happens?”

Let’s see.

“For those many people that are being fed the fake narrative from the corrupt media, that I am Angry about the Midterms, don't believe it. I am not at all angry, did a great job (I wasn't the one running!), and I'm very busy looking into the future. Remember, I am a “Stable Genius.”

Sort of like seeing a band you never liked do their greatest hits, which you didn’t care for in the first place.

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Alex Jones ordered to pay nearly half a billion dollars to Sandy Hook families in additional damages​

A Connecticut judge on Thursday ordered right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay an additional $473 million in punitive damages over the lies he told about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis awarded the families over $323 million in common law punitive damages for attorney’s fees and costs and $150 million in damages under a state law called the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, which prohibits unfair competition and deceptive acts.

“The record also establishes that the defendants repeated the conduct and attacks on the plaintiffs for nearly a decade, including during the trial, wanton, malicious, and heinous conduct that caused harm to the plaintiffs,” Bellis said in her decision. “This depravity, and cruel, persistent course of conduct by the defendants establishes the highest degree of reprehensibility and blameworthiness.”.....
 

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.....In key purple states...abortion rights seem to have lifted Democratic candidates, and although some races are still outstanding, Democrats have already won most of the state-level races that will shape abortion access going forward. In Pennsylvania, where Republican legislators were making noises about stricter abortion bans, Democrat Josh Shapiro won the governor’s race handily, defeating an opponent who was one of the most ardent anti-abortion advocates in the statehouse. Regardless of what happens in the Pennsylvania General Assembly — which, in a surprising turn of events, Democrats may also have a shot at winning — Shapiro has promised to veto any new abortion restrictions, which means that abortion will remain legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy (with some restrictions, like waiting periods) in Pennsylvania for the foreseeable future.

Democrats also managed to stave off a Republican supermajority in the North Carolina General Assembly — a down-ballot victory that will have big implications for the thousands of women who already appear to be traveling to North Carolina for abortions. The governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, is a Democrat, so anti-abortion Republicans were hoping for a veto-proof majority that would allow them to pass a stricter abortion ban than the state’s current 20-week limitation. But that didn’t happen, and North Carolina will likely continue to accommodate thousands of out-of-state abortion patients from across the South as a result.[...]

How did Democrats manage to defy those expectations? We don’t know yet. But it seems like abortion access may be mobilizing some groups that the Democrats have long struggled to turn out reliably, like young voters. There were signs going into the election that young women were particularly upset by the Supreme Court’s ruling, and that’s reinforced by the exit polls, which found1 that abortion was the top issue for 44 percent of voters under the age of 30 — far more than the share that picked inflation. Women were also more likely than men to say that abortion was their top issue in the exit polls (33 percent vs. 22 percent), but the gap wasn’t huge, and it could be at least partially explained by the fact that women are more likely to vote for Democrats. We’ll have to wait until we get more reliable turnout numbers to dig into this further — but for now it’s clear that abortion is motivating many Democratic voters, despite a sour economy and general discontent with the state of the country. Going into 2024, we will likely see more Democratic primary candidates running on the issue of abortion, as many of this year’s primaries were over by the time the Dobbs decision came out.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Opinion Biggest loser of the midterm elections? The media.

...I was baffled. What were they seeing that I and, more important, the Democratic operatives I spoke to weren’t seeing? Back in mid-August, I wrote a column titled “Why that red wave might end up a ripple.” I noted that Democrats had pulled even on the “generic ballot” — which party voters prefer for Congress — at a time in the cycle when the incumbent president’s party is almost always losing ground. Democrats’ standing receded slightly since then, but the contests remained extremely tight. The races were stable, both in public polling and in the private polling I had seen.

So what happened? Political journalists were suckered by a wave of Republican junk polls in the closing weeks of the campaign. They were also swayed by some reputable polling organizations that, burned by past failures to capture MAGA voters, overweighted their polls to account for that in ways that simply didn’t make sense. And reporters fell for Republican feints and misdirection, as Republican operatives successfully created an artificial sense of momentum by talking about how they were spending money in reliably blue areas.

An extraordinary profusion of bad partisan polling flooded the media late in the campaign, coming from GOP outfits such as Trafalgar (which had Blake Masters over Mark Kelly in the Arizona Senate race, Don Bolduc over Maggie Hassan in the New Hampshire Senate race, among others) and Rasmussen (which gave Republicans a five point edge in the generic ballot).....
 

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....We were led to believe that Hispanics were defecting from Democrats in shocking numbers. The truth appears to have been more nuanced. According to exit polls, which we always have to take with a grain of salt, the slippage may have been about 5 percent in some parts of the country, but some candidates (like Beto O’Rourke in Texas) held on to Hispanics at the same rate President Biden did in 2020, or even increased that level of support (like Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada).

We were led to believe that Black men were also drifting away from the Democrats. That’s not entirely true. Look at Georgia, where the great fear was that Black men wouldn’t vote for Stacey Abrams: A slightly higher percentage voted for her in this election in that state than voted for Biden in 2020, according to exit polls.

We were told that Biden and the Democrats had made a huge mistake by focusing so much attention on abortion and a fragile democracy at the expense of crime and the economy. That, too, was wrong. Abortion was a tremendously animating issue in this election, and voters rebuffed many prominent election deniers in the night’s biggest, most competitive races.

In fact, you could say that voters rebuffed Trumpism itself — and the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. It may be too optimistic to say the fever broke, but Tuesday night, we saw enough people in enough states shake it off, allowing us to imagine a day when Trump no longer dominates the Republican Party.....
 

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...and the surprise remains that the Trumps—and the Party in their thrall—ever thought it could have been otherwise. Americans, historically speaking, do not like losers, and Trump has amassed what, in a different political era, could only be considered a big loser of a record: twice defeated in the national popular vote, Trump became the first incumbent President since Herbert Hoover to see his party lose the White House, Senate, and House in just four years. He remains the subject of multiple criminal investigations by the Justice Department. A House select committee will soon make public a scathing report, likely putting the blame on him personally for the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. Many of the preëlection pundits who leaned hard into predictions of Republican victory focussed too much on President Biden’s poor approval ratings—and not enough on Trump’s even higher unfavorable ratings. The national exit polls on Tuesday showed that was a mistake.

Trump’s refusal to accept his forced retirement in 2020 was hardly surprising. The most narcissistic politician of our lifetimes was never going to just walk away gracefully. The political aberration was that Republicans, faced with what should have been the easy choice to abandon Trump, chose to stick with him. That they did so, even after he became the only President in American history to seek to overturn the election results and remain in power, turns out, two years later, to have been one of the decisive political factors of the 2022 midterms. In seeking to play the role of Republican kingmaker this year, Trump succeeded in proving that the country did not want more outsider, extremist candidates in his own image. Voters from Pennsylvania to Michigan to New Hampshire rejected high-profile Trump endorsees who had won primaries on the strength of the former President’s word. His tainted brand was magic to the Republican base, and proved to be toxic to everyone else.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
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Mehmet Oz did something that shouldn’t be remarkable after his loss​

At 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, Mehmet Oz did something that used to be de rigueur: He called John Fetterman to concede the Pennsylvania Senate race.

And then he released a statement saying, in part: “We are facing big problems as a country and we need everyone to put down their partisan swords and focus on getting the job done. With bold leadership that brings people together, we can create real change.”

Which is gracious. And kind. And the sort of thing that was once an accepted part of campaigns – especially losing ones

But that is not the moment we are in. Especially for candidates, like Oz, who were endorsed and promoted by former President Donald Trump.

Trump has spent the last two years insisting, falsely, that the 2020 election was stolen from him and making that election denialism a litmus test for candidates who want his support.

The former president endorsed Oz in a crowded Republican primary race in the spring.

“This is all about winning elections in order to stop the Radical Left maniacs from destroying our Country,” said Trump in announcing the endorsement.

When the race was close between Oz and businessman Dave McCormick, Trump counseled Oz to follow his 2020 playbook. “Dr. Oz should declare victory,” Trump said via a tweet truth on his Truth Social site. “It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find.’”

Oz did not take that advice, choosing instead to wait it out until the final count showed that he had won – narrowly. (How novel!)

Oz has always been a bit of an odd fit in Trump’s coterie of endorsed candidates.

Unlike many of those candidates, Oz has not claimed the 2020 election was stolen, though he did say there was “definitely fraud.” At an April debate in which he came under considerable fire from his Republican opponents as insufficiently conservative, Oz said: “We cannot move on from the 2020 election.”

Later on, Oz said he would have voted to certify the results of the 2020 election if he were in office. “I would not have objected to it,” Oz said in September.

And while Oz and Republicans sought to highlight Fetterman’s health for much of the general election, Oz focused on bringing “balance” to the Senate in the final days of the race – casting himself a moderate voice who could navigate between the extremes within the two parties.


Oz’s decision to formally concede, call his opponent and release a statement urging cooperation after a hard-fought campaign stands out in today’s Republican Party. Which is a real pity.