The Mail Ballot Factor Is A Wild Card
Early on, California election authorities decided to proactively send mail ballots to all registered voters, just as they did in the pandemic general election of 2020. They can be returned via enclosed postage paid envelopes or dropped off at voting centers on September 14. So, if California Democrats do become motivated to vote, it wont be hard for them to do so. And you do have to wonder if Donald Trumps demonization of mail ballots during and after the 2020 presidential election might still inhibit Republicans from voting that way, even if there remains an option for turning in ballots in person.
Newsom Is Embracing A Risky Message Telling Voters To Ignore The Replacement Race
Without question, the 2003 recall election haunts todays recall opponents. There is a strong belief that Davis lost because his lieutenant governor, Cruz Bustamante, jumped into the replacement race and drew voters into supporting the recall without mustering enough support to beat Schwarzenegger. So, Team Newsom not only kept credible Democrats from running to replace him; theyve also tried to discourage Democratic voters from answering the second question on the ballot about their preference among replacement candidates. As Politico noted recently, this one-and-done messaging may be confusing or even angering the very voters Newsom needs:
Its kind of counterintuitive to forgo your right to vote,;said;Barbara OConnor, director emeritus of the Institute for the Study of Politics and the Media at Sacramento State. Everyone is in a conundrum about what they should do.
What makes the pay-no-attention-to-the-replacement-candidate-behind-the-curtain instruction to Democrats especially confusing is a new round of anti-recall ads attacking replacement front-runner Larry Elder as to the right of Trump. If Elder is so evil, shouldnt Democrats vote for someone else in the field of 45 other candidates, some of whom identify as Democrats? Its unclear.
What If Trump Wins
For many people, the prospect of what might happen if Donald Trump wins a second term is too awful to contemplate. But, as we are witnessing with the coronavirus, not contemplating scenarios that have at least some chance of happening is a grave mistake. Indeed, its a mistake that helped elect Trump in the first place.
Ideally, the press corps would be hard at work exploring this question. Alas, it is not. In the thousands of presidential campaign stories that have been published this year, you will be hard pressed to find much reporting or informed speculation about what policies Trump might pursue if hes reelected, or what the consequences might be if he were successful in enacting them. Thats not because such things arent knowable in advance. If that were the problem, political reporters wouldnt have spent the last six months gaming out which candidates were, say, likely to win which primaries. The real reason campaign journalists dont do this kind of work is that its not what theyre trained to doand, perhaps, its not what most people want to read.;
Read Also: How Many Registered Republicans In Texas
The Gop Would Rather Nation Crumble Than Give Democrats Political Win On Infrastructure
Politics in Washington is full of playacting, but few recent charades have been as absurd as the extended negotiation between Democrats and Republicans over whether they can agree on a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Now it seems to be approaching its inevitable end: Republicans now say they’ll be making a counteroffer to the latest White House offer, even as everyone tells reporters how poorly negotiations are going.
All of which provides an excellent case study in how the two parties are motivated and constrained by their political incentives, regardless of what they might think about the substantive issue at hand.
Let’s start by considering three possible outcomes of this effort. First, Congress could pass a meaningful infrastructure bill with support from members of both parties. This is what both sides say they want .
Second, Democrats could pass an infrastructure bill with zero Republican votes. This is probably what will end up happening, provided that Sens. Joe Manchin III and Kyrsten Sinema , self-appointed guardians of bipartisan compromise, can be persuaded that the effort to win the support of Republicans was performed with sufficient enthusiasm.
Third, the bill could fail altogether, either because Manchin or Sinema pulls their support, or because a Democratic senator falls ill and can’t vote for it in the 50-50 Senate, or for some other reason.
What Motivates The Republican Party
The GOP seems wildly hypocritical and unprincipled, until you understand its guiding idea.
In the fall of 2014, the Obama White House was busy trying to stop the spread of Ebola. The administration sent advisers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assist the afflicted countries health ministries, and it sent troops to West Africa to build emergency hospitals. It began screening people arriving in the United States from at-risk nations. It isolated and treated several American medical personnel who contracted the virus abroad and brought it back home.
Toward the end of his new book, The Imposters, Steve Benen reminds us of what the Republican Party was doing while all of this was happening:
As Election Day neared . . . Kentucky Republican eagerness to exploit public anxieties started to spin out of control. Paul publicly questioned Ebola assessments from the actual experts, blamed political correctness for the Ebola threat, and traveled to battleground states questioning whether Obama administration officials had the basic level of competence necessary to maintain public safety.
He added soon after, describing a hypothetical flight, If this was a plane full of people who were symptomatic, youd be at grave risk of getting Ebola. If a plane takes twelve hours, how do you know if people will become symptomatic or not?
The Impostors:How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politicsby Steve BenenWilliam Morrow, 384 pp.
How Far Can A Governor Take Emergency Powers
Republicans have criticized Newsoms use of emergency power during the coronavirus pandemic, saying hes exerted too much control without the usual checks and balances. As the pandemic sidelined normal work in the Legislature last year, Newsom issued as many executive orders in 2020 as his predecessor did in eight years.;
Assemblymember Kevin Kiley a Rocklin Republican now running in the recall election sued Newsom to try to limit his emergency power, but ultimately lost in court. With that ruling that a governor has broad authority to change or rescind laws during an emergency, GOP candidates are now talking about how theyd use such power themselves.
I would not use executive authority to create new laws and new policies, as this governor has, Kiley said in an interview with CalMatters. But I would use it to unwind things that never shouldve been there to begin with.;
Kiley said he would end Newsoms pandemic emergency declaration, which would set the stage for reversing related public health rules, such as the requirement that children wear masks at school and that state employees and health care workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 . Other GOP candidates also pledge to reverse Newsoms mask and vax orders.;;;
But the major Republican recall candidates are talking about using emergency powers for a lot more than the pandemic.;
Kevin Faulconer, the Republican former mayor of San Diego, said he would to speed up prevention efforts to clear trees and brush.;
Republican Party Faces Rage From Both Pro
13 Min Read
WASHINGTON – After riots at the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trumps supporters, the Republican Party is facing defections from two camps of voters it cant afford to lose: those saying Trump and his allies went too far in contesting the election of Democrat Joe Biden – and those saying they didnt go far enough, according to new polling and interviews with two dozen voters.
Paul Foster – a 65-year-old house painter in Ellsworth, Maine – is furious at party leaders for refusing to back the presidents claims that the election was stolen with millions of fraudulent votes. The party is going to be totally broken if it abandons Trump, Foster says, predicting Trump loyalists will spin off into a new third party.
I just wish he would run away with his tail between his legs, Cupelo says.
Though Republicans have now lost control of the White House and both houses of Congress in just four years, Trumps base remains a potent electoral force in the party. That base helped him capture more voters some 74 million than any Republican in history. The vast majority of his supporters, including 70% of Republicans, remain loyal, according to new Reuters/Ipsos polling conducted days after last weeks riot at the Capitol, and many activists say theyre willing to abandon the GOP for any perceived slight against their leader.
You May Like: Did Republicans And Democrats Switch Names
Theres Even More Drama On The Horizon
Sparse polling of the recall election has shown a tightening contest on whether or not to remove Newsom. Elder also has a growing lead in the replacement race, though at least one poll has YouTube financial advisor and self-identified Democrat Kevin Paffrath actually topping the field. Team Newsom probably has mixed feelings about future polling, fearing both confirmation of the trend favoring Newsoms removal and less alarming numbers that might let Democrats relax back into complacency and indifference.
The anti-recall effort has the resources to dominate paid advertising down the stretch , but it will need to settle on a consistent message and combat the growing word of mouth among Republicans that this is the moment theyve all been waiting for. Another variable involves the internal dynamics of the replacement race. With no general election on tap , Elders Republican rivals have no reason to hold back from savagely attacking him from one angle as Democrats attack him from the other. If late polls show a rival catching up with the talk-show host, it could have a hard-to-predict effect on turnout or might even vault Paffrath into the governorship should Newsom fall.
What If 19 Alternate Histories Imagining A Very Different World
Alternate history, long popular with fiction writers, has also been explored by historians and journalists. Here are some of their intriguing conclusions.
1. What if the South won the Civil War?
Effect: America becomes one nation again in 1960.
Explanation: In a 1960 article published in Look magazine, author and Civil War buff MacKinlay Kantor envisioned a history in which the Confederate forces won the Civil War in 1863, forcing the despised President Lincoln into exile. The Southern forces annex Washington, DC renaming it the District of Dixie. The USA moves its capital to Columbus, Ohio now called ;Columbia but can no longer afford to buy Alaska from the Russians. Texas, unhappy with the new arrangement, declares its independence in 1878. Under international pressure, the Southern states gradually abolish slavery. After fighting together in two world wars, the three nations are reunified in 1960 a century after South Carolinas secession had led to the Civil War in the first place.
2. What if Charles Lindbergh were elected President in 1940?
Effect: America joins the Nazis.
3. What if Hitler successfully invaded Russia?
Effect: The Fuhrer is revered in history as a great leader.
4. What if James Dean had survived his car crash?
Effect: Robert Kennedy survives his assassination attempt.
5. What if President Kennedy had survived the assassination attempt?
Effect: Republicans win every election for the next 30 years.
6. What if Christianity missed the West?
Read Also: How Many Federal Judges Are Republicans
‘combative Tribal Angry’: Newt Gingrich Set The Stage For Trump Journalist Says
All these factors combined to produce a windfall for Republicans all over the country in the midterms of 1994, but it was a watershed election in the South. For more than a century after Reconstruction, Democrats had held a majority of the governorships and of the Senate and House seats in the South. Even as the region became accustomed to voting Republican for president, this pattern had held at the statewide and congressional levels.
But in November 1994, in a single day, the majority of Southern governorships, Senate seats and House seats shifted to the Republicans. That majority has held ever since, with more legislative seats and local offices shifting to the GOP as well. The South is now the home base of the Republican Party.
The 2020 aftermath
No wonder that in contesting the results in six swing states he lost, Trump seems to have worked hardest on Georgia. If he had won there, he still would have lost the Electoral College decisively. But as the third most populous Southern state, and the only Southern state to change its choice from 2016, it clearly held special significance.
Trump Says Republicans Would Never Be Elected Again If It Was Easier To Vote
President dismissed Democratic-led push for voter reforms amid coronavirus pandemic during Fox & Friends appearance
Donald Trump admitted on Monday that making it easier to vote in America would hurt the Republican party.
The president made the comments as he dismissed a Democratic-led push for reforms such as vote-by-mail, same-day registration and early voting as states seek to safely run elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Democrats had proposed the measures as part of the coronavirus stimulus. They ultimately were not included in the $2.2tn final package, which included only $400m to states to help them run elections.
The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if youd ever agreed to it, youd never have a Republican elected in this country again, Trump said during an appearance on Fox & Friends. They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save.
I dont want everybody to vote, Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist, said in 1980. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.
The urgency of getting election officials those resources should not be lost in the political fighting, said Myrna Perez, director of the Brennan Centers voting rights and elections program.
Also Check: What Do Republicans Think About Healthcare
Reality Check 2: The Fight Is Asymmetricaland Favors The Gop
While Democrats gesture on Twitter at building new systems, Republicans are working the current one with ruthless effectiveness.
The threats to a free and fair election that have emerged since last November are realand require nothing more than the willingness of state legislators to use and abuse the existing tools of government. Arizona, whose two new voting rules were just validated by the Supreme Court, also took the power to litigate election laws away from the Secretary of State and gave the power to the Attorney General. In at least 8 states, Republicans are advancing legislation that would take power away from local or county boards. Many more states are moving to make voting harder. It might be anti-democratic, but it falls well within the rules.
Also within the rules: How McConnell helped build a federal bench almost certain to ratify the power of those legislatures to pass laws far more restrictive than the Arizona rules upheld last week. He creatively eviscerated Senate norms to keep Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court and hand Donald Trump an astonishing three nominations in a single term. And hes recently suggested that, should a Supreme Court vacancy open, hed block even consideration of a Biden nominee if the Republicans take the Senate back in 2022. This is abnormal, anti-democratic and a cynical abuse of powerbut its legal within the existing rules.
The Plausible Solution: Just Win More
Whether the public sees Democratic demands for these structural changes as overdue or overreaching, the key point is that they are currently exercises in futility. The only plausible road to winning their major policy goals is to win by winning. This means politics, not re-engineering. They need to find ways to take down their opponents, and then be smarter about using that power while they have it.
They certainly have issues to campaign on. In the few weeks, we have learned that some of Americas wealthiest people have paid only minimal or no federal income tax at all. Even as the Wall Street Journal editorial writers were responding to a Code Red emergency , the jaw-dropping nature of the reportfollowed by a New York Times piece about the impotence of the IRS to deal with the tax evasions of private equity royaltyconfirmed the folk wisdom of countless bars, diners, and union halls: the wealthy get away with murder.
Of course this is a whole lot easier said than done. A political climate where inflation, crime and immigration are dominant issues has the potential to override good economic news. And 2020 already showed what can happen when a relative handful of voices calling for defunding the police can drown out the broader usage of economic fairness.
- Filed Under:
Can Democrats Avoid A Wipeout In 2022
Bidens plan: Go big or go home.
The good news for Democrats who watched Joe Biden unveil a historically ambitious agenda last night is that newly elected presidents have almost always passed some version of their core economic planparticularly when their party controls both congressional chambers, as Bidens does now.
The bad news: Voters have almost always punished the presidents party in the next midterm election anyway. The last two times Democrats had unified controlwith Bill Clinton in 199394 and Barack Obama in 200910they endured especially resounding repudiations in the midterms, which cost Clinton his majority in both chambers and Obama the loss of the House.
Theres a very different strategy this time, David Price, a Democratic representative from North Carolina and a former political scientist, told me. Theres an openness now to the sense that a bolder plan, ironically, might have greater appeal for independents and others we need to attract than trying to trim and split the difference with Republicans.
There is this recognition of this moment and how fleeting it is, and an evaluation that, absent the trifecta of control, it is very hard to move big policy, said a senior official at one of the partys leading outside advocacy groups, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal strategizing. So you have to take your shot. I think thats part of what undergirds Go big.