I just went upstairs to get dressed and I flipped on MSNBC. Corporate lawyer, Antonin Scalia clerk and conservative judge Michael Luttig was on talking about what a danger Trump is to democracy. After getting Clarence Thomas through the Senate confirmation process, Luttig was appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush— where he was decried as a far right extremist. He’s still very conservative… but not a fascist/MAGAt. I bet he didn’t read Amanda Marcotte’s column in Salon yesterday. Everyone should. She talked about the Ohio vote in terms on how it exposed the bitterness fueling the GOP war on democracy. She pointed out that “In every state where abortion rights have been put on the ballot, no matter how red, voters have turned out to protect their rights. And that includes Kansas, Montana, Kentucky, Michigan and now Ohio.
Instead of acceding to this reality, however, Republican leaders have decided that they will do whatever it takes to force abortion bans on resistant populations, even if the cost is dismantling democracy and grinding unrelated government functions to a halt. So it was in Ohio, when it became clear that pro-choice activists had already cleared the various high bars to put abortion rights on the ballot in November. The effort resulted in nearly half a million petition signatures in 55 counties, well above the number needed to get a proposed constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights before voters this fall.
Republicans know they can't win if it's up to the voters to decide. So they aimed to take that right away, scheduling another ballot initiative in August to raise the bar from a simple majority to 60% for future ballot initiatives to pass. By scheduling the vote in August and making it about election technicalities, Republicans hoped to trick voters into voting against abortion rights…. [M]ore than 3 millions voters turned out, a reminder that abortion rights aren't just popular, but a highly motivating issue for voters.
…It takes very little digging to see how the anti-democratic impulses behind this ballot initiative and the anti-abortion politics fueling it are so intertwined as to be inseparable. [Illinois billionaire Richard] Uihlein isn't footing the bill for Issue 1 [$4 million] just because he's hostile to reproductive rights. He's hostile to voters having the right to choose their own leaders and is a cheerleader for Trump's efforts to overthrow democracy. As the Ohio Capitol Journal reported in May: “[Uihlein] was a major contributor to the ‘March to Save America’ rally that preceded the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The younger Uihlein also has given nearly $8 million since 2016 to the Tea Party Patriots, another group that was instrumental in putting on the Jan. 6 rally. Uihlein has continued to support assaults on American democracy since. He gave support to Doug Mastriano, last year's failed gubernatorial candidate from Pennsylvania who attended the Jan. 6 rally and who falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from former Trump. Uihlein also supported Jim Marchant, an election denier and conspiracy theorist who lost his 2022 bid to become Nevada's top elections official.”
The press often treats the struggle over abortion rights and the struggle over voting rights as two discrete issues, but in ways large and small, they're the same issue. There's the 10,000-foot view, where both are ultimately a question over autonomy and self-governance. Republicans don't believe ordinary people should be allowed choices, whether it's over the choice to reproduce or a choice at the ballot box. It's also psychological. Conservative bitterness over abortion rights has come to justify their assaults on democracy. But, as these follow-the-money patterns show, it's also that anti-democratic forces exploit the abortion issue to drum up support for anti-democratic initiatives that end up having negative impacts on every aspect of life, from worker rights to environmental regulation.
What is remarkable about the abortion issue is how much it crystallizes voter attention on the larger issues of democracy. Even though the wording of Issue 1 was deliberately banal, voters knew full well what the result would be: Abortion bans, overriding the clear will of voters. So they turned out in astounding numbers, striking down a ballot initiative that would not just undermine abortion rights, but help dismantle the ability of voters to control their own governance. Turns out the people can and will rally for their rights. Sadly, that just means Republicans will get angrier and more determined to block the democratic process.
Yep, they’re the anti-democracy party— the fascist party… which explains why the portmanteau “Antifa” sends them into paroxysms of hysteria. Sadly, millions of Americans either don’t care, are too stupid to understand what that means or actively support it. How else could someone like Trump have “won” in 2016? (He only had 62,984,828 votes compared to Hillary’s 65,863,514.) And then, in 2020— after 4 years of his bullshit— 74,223,975 people voted for him. Thankfully 81,283,501 people voted against him. But here he is again, the clear frontrunner in the GOP nomination process— and running against a weak, frail and unpopular president with an even weaker and less popular vice president. The latest public poll (this week from Morning Consult) shows him with a commanding 59% and his opponents basically no where— DeSantis 16%, Ramaswamy 8%, Pence 6%, Haley 3%, Scott 3%, Christie 3% and everyone else 1% or less.
And meanwhile, Republican voters are eating up his martyrdom hogwash about how his indictments are about them. Nick Corasaniti and Trip Gabriel reported that “In his speeches, social media posts and ads, Trump has repeatedly declared the prosecutions a political witch hunt, and he has cast himself as a martyr who is taking hits from Democrats and the government on their behalf. ‘They want to take away my freedom because I will never let them take away your freedom,’ Trump told the crowd at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Tuesday. ‘They want to silence me because I will never let them silence you.’… The legal jeopardy he now faces from multiple indictments, he tells followers, is the sort of persecution that they, too, could suffer. There is evidence that the message is resonating… Portraying himself as a victim of the criminal justice system— and echoing themes from when he faced an investigation over Russian influence in the 2016 campaign and his first impeachment— has served to consolidate Republican support around Trump.”
Roughly an hour northwest of Trump’s rally on Tuesday night, former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, one of Trump’s toughest critics in the race, mocked the former president’s proclamations.
As I’m walking around Ukraine, he’s waltzing into a courtroom in Washington, D.C., to tell us that he’s being indicted for us. For us! How lucky are we! That we have such a selfless, magnanimous leader,” Christie said, prompting laughter and a sprinkling of applause. “Because you know that the government was coming to get you and on their way to get you, lo and behold, they came across Donald Trump and they said, ‘Okay, we won’t get you, we’ll get him, for you.’”
And… a trio of NY Times reporters wrote that there’s more evidence that Trump was trying to overturn the election and steal the presidency— more fake electors bullshit. Here’s the memo uncovered by Jack Smith’s office, “that prosecutors are portraying as a crucial link in how the Trump team’s efforts evolved into a criminal conspiracy… [Trump] lawyer, Kenneth Chesebro, acknowledged from the start that he was proposing ‘a bold, controversial strategy’ that the Supreme Court ‘likely’ would reject in the end. But even if the plan did not ultimately pass legal muster at the highest level, Chesebro argued that it would achieve two goals. It would focus attention on claims of voter fraud and ‘buy the Trump campaign more time to win litigation that would deprive Biden of electoral votes and/or add to Trump’s column… I recognize that what I suggest is a bold, controversial strategy, and that there are many reasons why it might not end up being executed on Jan. 6,’ Chesebro wrote. ‘But as long as it is one possible option, to preserve it as a possibility it is important that the Trump-Pence electors cast their electoral votes on Dec. 14.’ Three days later, Chesebro drew up specific instructions to create fraudulent electors in multiple states.”
Do you think Trump is going to show up for the GOP debates? He definitely wants to get out of them if he can without damaging his campaign. He’s senile and has a hard time debating and these would be on TV and would show him off as a fool. He’s pretty much already decided to avoid the Milwaukee debate this month and the Reagan Library debate next month. Libertarian media critic Jack Shafer agrees and thinks Trump should skip them all for everybody's sake, including his own. “He has such a stupendous start over Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and the rest of the Republican pack that the cosmos would have to split open and smite him to block his nomination… [N]o candidate has ever blown a summer-before-the-convention lead as big as Trump’s. A Trump collapse would be unprecedented. So, too, would a DeSantis turnaround. A person shouldn’t eat when he’s not hungry, drink when he’s not thirsty or debate when he’s already won. So if Trump has already acquired the nomination and stowed it in a box in his Mar-a-Lago bathroom for reopening on the week of the Republican convention, there’s no reason, outside entertaining his fans, for him to appear on the Milwaukee dais.