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January 6— Lucas Kunce Launches His Campaign For U.S. Senate

What Better Day To Start The Process Of Removing Insurrectionist Josh Hawley?

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley was complicit in the sacking of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He should have been removed then. Next year he’ll have to face Missouri voters and explain himself. Today he got the opponent best equipped to hold him to account and to represent the interests of Missourians in the Senate— Lucas Kunce.

In his announcement this morning, Kunce, a 13-year Marine veteran, said “When things get tough, Missourians deserve someone who will stand up for them, not run for the nearest exit. Our politicians have betrayed Missouri. They've forgotten that their job is not only to defend our democracy, but also to fight for the people in it. Josh Hawley is 0 for 2. The frontline in the fight for democracy is right here in Missouri. Communities across our state have been stripped for parts by power-hungry politicians who have no idea what it's like to live a single day as an average Missourian. Unlike Hawley, I’m no stranger to real life. When times were tough for my family growing up in Jeff City and we were on the edge, our community came together and supported us. Everyday people know what it means to look out for each other, to serve their community, and to fight for the place they call home. Those are the Missourians I'm fighting for this race. Those are the Missourians who are fed up with Josh Hawley being a fraud and a coward. And that's why we’re going to beat him.”

As Americans look on in horror as extremists in the House— Hawley’s fellow insurrectionists— bring the government to a halt fighting with each other. And how ironic would it be for McCarthy to be elected speaker on January 6, the anniversary of the coup he— and Hawley— countenanced? This morning Politico reported that even mainstream conservatives are furious at the extremists. “Some members are privately angry that McCarthy is empowering hard-liners with rules changes to the point that they worry it will be difficult, if not impossible, to govern. There’s also concern about policy commitments he’s considering for the far right, including a vote on steep budget cuts that defense hawks will never swallow. Many Republicans are fed up with his apparent willingness to hand plum committee posts to his detractors— especially, talk of possibly awarding them gavels.” This is the kind of nihilism people like Josh Hawley have built performative careers around, while accomplishing nothing for Missourians.”

Meanwhile, this morning, members of Congress gathered at the Capitol to mark the second anniversary of the January 6th riots. Hawley was not among them. In fact, the only Republican member of Congress who was, was Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, who told reporters “There’s a lot of terrible emotions. A terrible day that we can never let happen again.” True enough. Does Hawley feel the same way? I don’t think so. AP reported today that “The homes or offices of four elected Democratic officials in New Mexico have been hit by gunfire over the past month.” Bernalillo County Commissioners Adriann Barboa and Debbie O’Malley, plus state Senators Linda Lopez and Moe Maestas were attacked by this extremists straight from the Hawley wing of the Republican Party. No one was killed— this time.

Since Blue America has been active in trying to recruit Lucas to run, you can imagine that we have endorsed him this morning. Please consider contributing to his 2024 campaign here. Watch that video again and then give what you can and what you’re moved to.

This morning Jonathan Chait wrote that “The right-wing rebels contesting the vote for Speaker of the House have floated a wide array of complaints against the Republican Party leadership— ranging from the budget deals to ‘cultural Marxism.’ But there is one point of action in particular looming ominously on the horizon of their fevered imaginations: the federal debt ceiling. Representative Ralph Norman, one of the holdouts, told reporters that his demands of the new Speaker include a willingness to hold the full faith and credit of the government hostage to as-yet-unspecified demands. ‘Is he willing to shut the government down rather than raise the debt ceiling?’ Norman warned. ‘That’s a non-negotiable item.’ While Norman appears to believe that shutting down the government and refusing to lift the debt ceiling are the same thing, they are, in fact, different and unrelated. Shutting down the government happens when Congress fails to authorize funding to keep it open. The debt ceiling is a weird quirk of U.S. law that requires Congress to hold a separate vote to authorize paying its debts after it has already incurred the debt. If Congress votes to spend more money than it raises, then refuses to pay the people who lent it the money to make up the difference, it would devalue the dollar as a global currency and possibly trigger a global financial crisis… Republicans view this episode as a success and their best model for enacting spending cuts. The Republican fiscal agenda is deeply unpopular, and rather than try to enact it when they win power (the method most parties use to enact their agendas), Republicans now see Democratic administrations as the best time to advance it. The strategy is that they can force Democrats to accept unpopular spending cuts, thereby relieving Republicans of the backlash… [P]icture trying to sell a bipartisan negotiation to a member of Congress who thinks breaching the debt ceiling and keeping the government open are the same thing or that forest fires were caused by the Rothschilds via a secret space laser.

As Lisa Lerer and Reid Epstein wrote in the NY Times yesterday, “As the chaos and confusion on the House floor stretched into a third day, Republicans made it abundantly clear who was leading their party: absolutely no one… [T]he party is confronting an identity crisis unseen in decades. With no unified legislative agenda, clear leadership or shared vision for the country, Republicans find themselves mired in intra-party warfare, defined by a fringe element that seems more eager to tear down the House than to rebuild the foundation of a political party that has faced disappointment in the past three national elections.”

A good day to help Lucas get his campaign underway? Please help him do just that here. Gaetz, Boebert, Biggs, Good, Norman… there’s not a centimeter of difference between Hawley and any of them. John Fredericks, a syndicated right-wing radio host and former chairman of Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns in Virginia told the Times reporters that “Nobody is in charge. Embrace the chaos. Our movement is embracing the chaos.”

That ideology of destruction defies characterization by traditional political labels like moderate or conservative. Instead, the party has created its own complicated taxonomy of America First, MAGA and anti-Trump— descriptions that are more about political style and personal vendettas than policy disagreements.
This iteration of the Grand Old Party, with its narrow majority in the House empowering conservative dissidents, represents a striking reversal of the classic political maxim that Democrats need to fall in love while Republicans just fall in line.
“The members who began this have little interest in legislating, but are most interested in burning down the existing Republican leadership structure,” said Karl Rove, the Republican strategist who embodies the party’s pre-Trump era.Their behavior shows the absence of power corrupts just as absolutely as power does.”

Missouri has 2 very different kinds of runners

Elizabeth Sena, Lucas' pollster, told reporters that “Missouri presents the most compelling case for Democrats to flip a GOP-held Senate seat next cycle. At the ballot initiative level, Missourians continue to vote on issues championed by Democrats— raising the minimum wage, fighting back against Right to Work, and passing medical marijuana. It will take a different kind of Democrat— someone who can speak to moderates and independents and make the direct contrast with an extremist like Josh Hawley.” That thermometer below is a live link. Please click on it to contribute to Lucas' campaign.

One reminder about who exactly Josh Hawley is, this one from Juan Cole this morning, who termed him “one of the slimiest creatures ever to crawl into the halls of America’s legislature, gloried in a raised fist toward the assembled fascist hordes of the far right summoned by the lunatic-in-chief. A member of the DC police told the committee that she found the gesture deeply offensive, more especially since Hawley thought himself safe in the halls of Congress after having riled up a crowd she had to face (and which gave Officer Brian Sicknick two fatal strokes after nearly crushing him to death in a doorway to the Capitol– while injuring 146 other policemen). When the crowd he had helped instigate invaded his supposedly safe space, did Hawley greet them with another raised fist? Did he join them in their mission? No. He lit out like a craven poltroon, whose frantic flight is impossible to watch without a melancholy hilarity. The mirth wells up from the Warner Brothers cartoon-like reversal that led to his frenzied retreat, the melancholy from watching a benighted fool to whom the misguided people of Missouri had unwisely entrusted their fates. I propose that we alter the American idiom ‘to haul ass’ from now on, substituting ‘to hawley ass.’”

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