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soleil
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« Reply #90 on: Jun 14, 2020, 02:41 PM »

Hi Rad,

Thanks for posting those articles. I was glad to see what Harry Enten and Jeff Greenfield had to say about the polls. The fact that the Democrats have the possibility of winning back the Senate is hopeful. We need that badly.

Even though Biden's poll numbers look good right now, I have a feeling Trump will do something shady to gain the advantage. He will definitely cheat again, and, since he seems to get away with everything, it concerns me he will again.

Although Trump is a an ignorant moron with an IQ of 12, the one thing he is good at is being relentlessly evil and corrupt. Do you think he'll find a way to get his numbers up or do you think his current downslide is a trend that's likely to continue?

Re Biden, I do think that who he picks as VP is extremely important. Do you think, as you've previously mentioned, that he's going to stick with a moderate like Amy Klobuchar or, as a result of the protests and pro-Black Lives Matter sentiment in the country, do you think he will pick an African American woman? I think the Democratic base would be more fired up by Stacy Abrams than Kamala Harris, but I have a feeling Abrams won't get picked.

I just hope we have a fair election so that Biden actually has a chance of winning. The U.S. Postal Service is about to run out of money, and without it, vote-by-mail will be difficult. Although the Heroes bill has enough funding to keep the USPS going for a while, McConnell has so far refused to pass it. Trump is also trying to prevent some key swing states from allowing no-excuse absentee ballot voting by suing in the courts. Any thoughts on this situation?

I keep hearing pundits say they're afraid Trump won't leave if he loses. I think putting that out there sends the wrong message----that we expect him to break the law and that no one will be able to stop him. I disagree with those pundits. If he loses, I think the U.S. Marshals will gladly escort him out.

I appreciate your feedback.

Thank you.

Soleil


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« Reply #91 on: Jun 15, 2020, 07:23 AM »

Hi Soleil,

There is nothing Trump can do that will increase his popularity. He will  continue to focus, as he always has, upon his 'base'. He and the Republicans will do all they can to keep him and themselves in power at all costs however. See the article below.

I feel at this point Biden will choose a black women for his VP. My sense right now is that will most likely be Kamala Harris but there are other very worth black women he can also choose from.

God Bless, Rad
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« Reply #92 on: Jun 15, 2020, 07:24 AM »

Investigative journalist predicts how Trump will steal the 2020 election

on June 15, 2020
By Chauncey Devega, Salon

As Election Day 2020 approaches, it would appear that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his party have much to celebrate.

Biden leads Donald Trump by an average of eight percentage points in national polling, with some surveys showing Biden ahead of Trump by as many as 14 percentage points.

Biden also enjoys huge leads among the Democratic Party’s key constituents, including black voters, Latinos and other nonwhites, college-educated white women and younger voters. Polls also show Joe Biden making gains among older white voters, a group that consistently supports Republicans and has been especially loyal to Trump. Biden also leads Trump in key battleground states such as Michigan and Wisconsin.

On closer inspection, however, matters are more complicated.

Election Day is still more than four months away, almost an eternity in electoral politics. Previous Democratic nominees such as Hillary Clinton and Michael Dukakis are object lessons in the cruel and mercurial ways of the political fates: Both appeared to hold big leads over their Republican opponents at this approximate point in the cycle, only to lose on Election Day.

There is also a not-insubstantial gap between what prospective voters tell pollsters and how they will actually decide to vote — if they vote at all.

Greg Palast is an investigative journalist whose work has been featured by the BBC, the Guardian, the Nation, Rolling Stone and here on Salon. He has become one of the nation’s foremost experts on vote suppression, vote theft and vote fraud. He is the author of the bestselling books “Billionaires & Ballot Bandits” and “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.” His new book is “How Trump Stole 2020: The Hunt for America’s Vanished Voters.”

In our most recent conversation, Palast warns that Joe Biden’s chances against Donald Trump are worse than the polls suggest because millions of Democrats will have their votes thrown out on Election Day. Moreover, many of those voters will have no idea that their votes were purged and therefore not counted.

Palast explains how the Republican Party has refined its strategy of voter suppression, voter intimidation and vote theft in elections across the country. Palast also highlights how the planned chaos during the recent Georgia Democratic primaries is a preview of how the Republican Party intends to steal the 2020 presidential election for Donald Trump.

Finally, Palast issues an ominous warning: Trump and the Republicans, he believes, are plotting to use the 12th Amendment to the Constitution to declare the popular vote and Electoral College results invalid, so that the 2020 presidential election will be decided in the House of Representatives — which, believe it or not, may well vote in Trump’s favor.

You can also listen to my conversation with Greg Palast on my podcast “The Truth Report” or through the player embedded below.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. Click here: https://www.rawstory.com/2020/06/investigative-journalist-predicts-how-trump-will-steal-the-2020-election/
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« Reply #93 on: Jun 15, 2020, 09:29 AM »


Democrats have an opportunity to dump Trump and ‘lock in Democratic majorities for decades’: conservative

on June 15, 2020
Raw Story
By Tom Boggioni

In her column for the Washington Post, conservative Jennifer Rubin stated that there has never been a better time for Democrats to seize control of both Congressional chambers and the White House and relegate the Donald Trump-led Republican Party to the sidelines for decades.

Calling it a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity, Rubin claimed that the combination of national outrage over the killing of African-Americans by police, and the coronavirus pandemic with the attendant economic collapse during the Trump administration makes taking control of the government easily attainable.

According to a report from NBC News noted by Rubin, there is a huge demographic shift going on in the country, with NBC reporting, “Republicans have actually grown their advantage among white voters who do not have a college degree. They now hold a 24-point party ID edge with that group. In 2015, the GOP held a 21-point lead with them.

But among whites with a college degree, the numbers have moved sharply in the other direction. Democrats and Republicans drew equal support among that group in 2015, 47 percent identified with each party. But in the latest data whites with a college degree leaned Democratic by 12 points.”

Many of those voters, the columnist points out, are suburban white women who are already voting overwhelmingly for Democrats, with Rubin suggesting the “gender gap has widened into a canyon.”

“For the first time, you have a significant majority of white Americans who think there is a need for systemic change,” she explained. “Coupled with the preference of most Americans for more government (spurred in part by the need for government action to battle the coronavirus and the ensuing economic recession), the party that is aligned with addressing racial inequity and that believes government can be a force for good has a huge advantage. Republicans anti-government ethos is entirely ill-suited to the time.”

As Rubin notes, Democratic voters have selected a moderate in former Vice President Joe Biden to oppose Trump and, in Biden, they have a candidate who call pull more independents and moderate Republicans into the Democratic Party.

“Democrats may have the voters and the ideological consensus not only to win big in November (a sweep of the House and Senate majorities and the White House is a distinct possibility) but also to drive a progressive agenda on criminal justice, health care, economic opportunity and education. Democrats will need to address several issues if they are to not only win big but also govern boldly,” she suggested.

“The public wants reform and change, but it is far from clear whether they want a radical agenda. Expanding Obamacare rather than doing away with it, creating a tax reform bill that undoes the excesses of the Trump era and equalizes the rates for capital gains and salary income, offering free community college tuition and advocating significant reforms in policing, sentencing and pot legalization would gain broad support. The Democrats will run into trouble if they put their energies into items such as single-payer health care,” she added before cautioning, “They have a narrow window to do real things; overreaching risks them getting very little.”

Rubin’s analysis falls in line with more reports over the weekend that GOP candidates once thought safe are now scrambling to hold onto their seats.

“Democrats must win and win big in November if they hope to gather support for what may amount to a new New Deal,” she wrote before concluding, “If they play their cards right, they can have as dramatic an effect on the scope of government and on the electoral landscape as did the original New Deal.”
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soleil
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« Reply #94 on: Jun 15, 2020, 06:55 PM »

Hi Rad,

Thanks for posting the link to the Greg Palast interview. What he has to say is eye-opening and chilling and is exactly what I've been concerned about---that the Republicans will steal the election using covert voter suppression where voters have no idea that their votes are being purged and not counted at all.

As for the Republicans plotting to use the 12th Amendment to declare all results invalid...that is a sickening scenario. Of course, it could only happen if no one gets 270 electoral votes. I may be wrong, but I don't think this plot will work.

Palast is right, though, that the Democrats are asleep at the wheel. I hope they wake up soon.

Thanks for your feedback.

Regards,

Soleil
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« Reply #95 on: Jun 17, 2020, 08:00 AM »

Supreme Court to decide the future of the Electoral College

on June 17, 2020
By The Conversation

Many Americans are surprised to learn that in U.S. presidential elections, the members of the Electoral College do not necessarily have to pick the candidate the voters in their state favored.

Or do they?

This month the Supreme Court will rule on the independent powers of electors, which will determine the meaning of the Electoral College in contemporary American politics.

An American invention

The constitutional system of presidential selection is a set of uneasy compromises worked out at the very end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

The framers could not decide whether the choice of a president should be made by Congress or the states.

They also could not agree whether all states should have equal power in the selection, or if more populous states should have more say.

And they didn’t agree whether a state’s choice should be made by local elites (state legislators) or the masses (all of the voters).

In the end, the Committee on Unfinished Parts created a unique governmental structure that compromised on all of these debates. Unlike many contemporary Americans, the founders were comfortable with such compromises and immediately approved the new mechanism of presidential selection.

A small number of citizens called electors would meet in each state to decide the presidency collectively. Congress would enter the picture only if the electors did not reach a majority decision. The number of electors would equal the number of senators and representatives in Congress, which means that small states had greater power than their population would suggest, but still not as much as big states.

State legislatures could use their discretion about how to choose electors, which could result in elitist or popular forms of democracy in different states. Pennsylvania held a popular election in the very first presidential contest, allowing voters to choose electors aligned with the emerging parties. Some state legislatures appointed electors themselves until the mid-1800s.

As Americans embraced popular democracy in the decades following the founding, most people began to expect a majority vote in the state would determine its choice. In most states, the legislature gives the winning party the duty of choosing electors – who typically are party members who have pledged to vote for their party’s presidential candidate during a public meeting of the Electoral College in December.

When that happens, the state’s Electoral College votes go to the winner of the state’s popular vote. But it is possible for an elector to vote for someone else – which is why there is a case before the Supreme Court.

What are ‘faithless electors’?

When Donald Trump won enough states in November 2016 to be elected the 45th U.S. president, opponents turned to the Electoral College as a last attempt to alter the election’s result. This became known as the Hamilton Electors movement.

Alexander Hamilton was an advocate of elitist democracy who did not trust ordinary people to vote. He also thought highly of the Electoral College. In Federalist 68, he asserted that “if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent.”

His reason was that the selection of the president would reflect only “the sense of the people,” but truly be made by “a small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass.”

In Hamilton’s view, these electors would hold the necessary “information and discernment,” while the masses would likely vote for a president with the “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity.”

The Hamilton Electors’ explicit goal in 2016 was to convince enough electors to cast “faithless” votes – against the election results of their state – to switch the outcome. Several celebrities, including Martin Sheen, who played the president of the U.S. in “The West Wing,” urged Republican electors to be “an American hero” by blocking Donald Trump from winning.

Trump’s official tally in the Electoral College was 304 to Hillary Clinton’s 227. That doesn’t add up to 538 – the total number of electoral votes – because seven electors were unfaithful to their state’s popular decisions. Two Republican electors went their own ways, casting their ballots for John Kasich and Ron Paul. Five Clinton electors also refused to vote with their states’ majorities: Three chose former Secretary of State Colin Powell and one each chose Sen. Bernie Sanders and Native American activist Faith Spotted Eagle.

Those seven electors were not enough to change the outcome. But what if they had been?
Most of the country’s electors did as these six, from Nevada, did in 2016, and voted for the candidate who won their state’s popular vote, regardless of whom they had personally backed.

What do faithless electors mean for 2020?

The outcome in 2020 may be closer than in 2016. If Joe Biden wins a few states that Hillary Clinton did not – say Pennsylvania and Arizona – but Trump holds on to the rest of his 2016 states, the Electoral College outcome will be remarkably close. By my count, it could be 274 to 264 in the Electoral College. If it is that close, even a small number of faithless electors could change the outcome.

Election Day is always the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, but the day the Electoral College votes is the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.

If Americans believe on Nov. 3, 2020, that one person has been elected the next president, but find out on Dec. 14 that it is going to be a different person, it is difficult to predict what the public will think – or do.

Faithless electors at the Supreme Court

Even before the 2016 election, some states had tried to limit the discretion of electors. Colorado passed a law that allowed faithless electors to be replaced immediately with an alternate, and Washington imposed a US$1,000 fine for electors who voted differently from the public at large. Two faithless electors – Michael Baca and Peter Chiafalo – challenged the ability of states to restrict their discretion under the Constitution.

The debate at the court is about whether the U.S. still has elements of an elite democracy that cannot be altered by individual states, or if state legislatures can create a popular democracy within their borders by making electors simply registrars of the popular will – even though the constitutional text (and Alexander Hamilton’s plans) may suggest that electors should make their decisions freely.

What the Hamilton Electors are saying is that the old idea of an occasional block to the popular will is still useful. In their view, the rise of populism has made the old elitism important again.
Washington electors and state officials pose after meeting on Dec. 19, 2016. Four of the state’s 12 electors cast their votes for someone other than state popular-vote winner Hillary Clinton.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The supporters of faithless electors are taking a position grounded in the intent of the framers, the usually conservative theory known as originalism.

But that interpretation of originalism runs up against another one: The founders let states decide how to pick electors.

These two originalist positions divide between a higher regard for the original purpose of electors and the original means of selecting and regulating them.

On the other hand, the usual liberal position – living constitutionalism – is clear. It supports the idea that the U.S. has evolved into a popular democracy regardless of the original intent. Binding electors to the vote of the state is simply the mechanism to achieve the representative elections that most Americans believe the country already has.

If the states win, they will be allowed to set the future rules for how electors may vote. If enough states bind electors, then the election will proceed as the public expects. But if the faithless electors win, the 2020 election results may be unclear far beyond Election Day.
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« Reply #96 on: Jun 18, 2020, 03:03 AM »

Trump critics fear a major constitutional crisis if the president refuses to concede defeat: report

on June 18, 2020
By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

Some Trump critics and pundits have been asserting that a narrow victory over President Donald Trump on Election Night wouldn’t be good enough — and that former Vice President Joe Biden (the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee) needs a landslide win in order to show a thorough rejection of Trumpism. Anti-Trump pundits, including some Never Trumpers on the right, have also warned that if Biden’s victory is only a narrow one, Trump might claim that the election was stolen and refuse to concede. And journalist Peter Nicholas, in a June 16 article for The Atlantic, examines the possibility of Trump refusing to leave the White House in January 2021 even if he loses the election.

Nicholas explains, “Every four or eight years, the clock hits noon on January 20 — and the nation learns whether the old president accepts the legitimacy of the new…. That tradition’s endurance depends on Trump’s cooperation — or the resiliency of the country’s democratic institutions should he withhold it. There’s no assurance that Trump will accept the validity of the election results.”
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Nicholas goes on to explain why Trump might refuse to accept a Biden victory.

“He’s already described mail-in voting as a plot to steal the election,” Nicholas writes. “And he’s trolled critics with the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that, by popular demand, he might stay in office beyond the Constitution’s eight-year limit.”

In his article, Nicholas doesn’t rule out the possibility of Trump being reelected.

“Trump could win, of course,” Nicholas notes. “But if Biden sweeps enough battleground states in convincing fashion, any claim that Trump was robbed of victory would be ludicrous on its face. At noon on January 20, he’d no longer be president — and if he boycotted the rituals surrounding the presidential handoff and holed up inside the White House, he’d be squatting.”

The journalist adds that things could get messy if Biden’s win in the Electoral College is a narrow one and Trump insists that that the election was stolen.

“If Biden were to notch a narrow victory, Trump could look to contest the results and claim he’d actually won,” Nicholas warns. “He could put the military and other tools of presidential power in an awkward spot, pressuring them to pick sides and untangle competing claims about who won. A supine Justice Department led by Attorney General William Barr might bolster Trump’s claims by putting out statements that the vote was tainted.”

In the U.S., incumbent presidents who were voted out of office have a long history of conceding defeat and congratulating the winner — from Herbert Hoover in 1932 to Jimmy Carter in 1980 to George H.W. Bush in 1992. In 2000, Vice President Al Gore didn’t concede to George W. Bush right away but eventually acknowledged that Bush had won Florida and gave a concession speech. However, critics fear that Trump, unlike Gore, would maintain that he won the election.

Democratic Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told The Atlantic that he recently spoke to a senior White House official and expressed concerns that Trump would refuse to accept the election results if he lost.

According to Smith, “I said, ‘There’s a lot of concern that if your boss loses, he’s not going to leave.’ And he said, ‘No, that’s ridiculous. Of course he would.’…. (But) there’s a zero percent chance that he would gracefully transfer power. The best we can hope for is that he would ungracefully transfer power.”
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« Reply #97 on: Jun 22, 2020, 12:46 PM »


‘Systematic assault on legitimacy of our election’: Trump launches conspiratorial attack on mail-in voting

on June 22, 2020
By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

The president is “laying the groundwork for an election challenge,” warned Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics.

President Donald Trump on Monday launched a baseless attack on mail-in voting that critics charged is part of an effort to preemptively delegitimize the results of the 2020 election as his poll numbers continue to slide.

“Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history—unless this stupidity is ended,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “We voted during World War One & World War Two with no problem, but now they are using Covid in order to cheat by using Mail-Ins!”
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Trump’s tweet followed an earlier all-caps outburst in which the president warned, without providing a shred of evidence, that “millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries, and others.”

“It will be the scandal of our times,” Trump tweeted.

    This is a lie. Election officials have said this would be virtually impossible given the way they track ballots: https://t.co/vJqP4ZjFbC https://t.co/kWqRbzc9LT

    — Sam Levine (@srl) June 22, 2020

In a separate tweet just minutes earlier, the president cited Attorney General William Barr’s evidence-free claim during a Fox News interview Sunday that mail-in voting “absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud.”

“Those things are delivered into mailboxes,” Barr said. “They can be taken out.”

Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, warned the president is “laying the groundwork for an election challenge” with his attacks on mail-in voting.

“Barr’s corrupt enough to help him do it,” said Shaub. “That’s why the House must impeach Barr. Even if the Senate won’t convict, it puts down a historical marker that this is not OK and creates a factual record exposing Barr’s corruption.”

Dartmouth College political scientist professor Brendan Nyhan echoed Shaub, calling Trump’s tweets “a systematic assault on the legitimacy of our election.”

“Elections have been held during wars and pandemics,” Nyhan said, “but never with the president attacking the result before it has even taken place.”

    A systematic assault on the legitimacy of our election. Elections have been held during wars and pandemics, but never with the president attacking the result before it has even taken place https://t.co/wEkya93m7J

    — Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) June 22, 2020

Advocacy groups and election experts say nationwide mail-in voting is the only way to safely hold the November elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic. But Trump has repeatedly attacked absentee voting as “corrupt”—despite having done it himself—and threatened to sue states that expand access to mail-in ballots.

In an interview with Politico last Friday, Trump openly admitted that he views mail-in voting as a grave threat to his reelection prospects.

“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump said, referring to the Republican Party’s multi-million-dollar legal effort to block expansions of absentee voting. “We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think—I think it puts the election at risk.”

Fearing that Trump could refuse to leave office if he loses reelection in November, advocacy groups Stand Up America and Indivisible are preparing to mobilize millions of people to ensure that the election results are protected.

“Trump has no respect for the rule of law, and we have no reason to believe he will leave willingly after losing reelection,” Ezra Levin, co-founder and co-executive director of Indivisible, said in a statement earlier this month. “Preparing for the possibility of Trump refusing to concede isn’t just reasonable, it’s the responsible thing to do.”
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« Reply #98 on: Jun 24, 2020, 05:38 AM »

Biden Takes Dominant Lead as Voters Reject Trump on Virus and Race

A New York Times/Siena College poll finds that Joseph R. Biden Jr. is ahead of the president by 14 points, leading among women and nonwhite voters and cutting into his support with white voters.

By Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin and Matt Stevens
NY Times
June 24, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET

NYT Upshot/Siena College poll

of registered voters

50%

Biden

36%

Trump

14%

Other
“Other” includes those who would vote for another candidate, would not vote or did not know.·Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 1,337 registered voters from June 17 to June 22.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken a commanding lead over President Trump in the 2020 race, building a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters and making deep inroads with some traditionally Republican-leaning groups that have shifted away from Mr. Trump following his ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new national poll of registered voters by The New York Times and Siena College.

Mr. Biden is currently ahead of Mr. Trump by 14 percentage points, garnering 50 percent of the vote compared with 36 percent for Mr. Trump. That is among the most dismal showings of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and a sign that he is the clear underdog right now in his fight for a second term.

Mr. Trump has been an unpopular president for virtually his entire time in office. He has made few efforts since his election in 2016 to broaden his support beyond the right-wing base that vaulted him into office with only 46 percent of the popular vote and a modest victory in the Electoral College.

But among a striking cross-section of voters, the distaste for Mr. Trump has deepened as his administration failed to stop a deadly disease that crippled the economy and then as he responded to a wave of racial-justice protests with angry bluster and militaristic threats. The dominant picture that emerges from the poll is of a country ready to reject a president whom a strong majority of voters regard as failing the greatest tests confronting his administration.

Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump by enormous margins with black and Hispanic voters, and women and young people appear on track to choose Mr. Biden by an even wider margin than they favored Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump in 2016. But the former vice president has also drawn even with Mr. Trump among male voters, whites and people in middle age and older — groups that have typically been the backbones of Republican electoral success, including Mr. Trump’s in 2016.

If the 2020 presidential election were held today, whom would you vote for?

Trump ahead

Biden ahead

All reg. voters

+14 pct. pts.

(n=1,337)

Female

+22

GENDER

(725)

Male

+3

(612)

18 to 34

+34

AGE

(245)

35 to 49

+23

(287)

50 to 64

+1

(356)

65 and older

+2

(400)

Black

+74

RACE AND

EDUCATION

(150)

Hispanic

+39

(145)

+28

White, college

(436)

+1

White

(870)

+19

White, no coll.

(427)

Democrat

+85

PARTY

IDENTIFICATION

(466)

Independent

+21

(401)

Republican

+85

(341)

+83

Very liberal

IDEOLOGY

(177)

Somewhat liberal

+69

(260)

Moderate

+33

(332)

Somewhat conservative

+32

(281)

Very conservative

+73

(195)
Sample sizes may not add to the total because some demographic characteristics of respondents are unknown.·Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 1,337 registered voters from June 17 to June 22.

Arlene Myles, 75, of Denver, said she had been a Republican for nearly six decades before switching her registration to independent earlier this year during Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial. Ms. Myles said that when Mr. Trump was first elected, she had resolved to “give him a chance,” but had since concluded that he and his party were irredeemable.

“I was one of those people who stuck by Nixon until he was waving goodbye,” Ms. Myles said. “I thought I was a good Republican and thought they had my values, but they have gone down the tubes these last few years.”

Ms. Myles said she planned to vote for Mr. Biden, expressing only one misgiving: “I wish he was younger,” she said.

Most stark may be Mr. Biden’s towering advantage among white women with college degrees, who support him over Mr. Trump by 39 percentage points. In 2016, exit polls found that group preferred Mrs. Clinton to Mr. Trump by just 7 percentage points. The poll also found that Mr. Biden has narrowed Mr. Trump’s advantage with less-educated white voters.

The exodus of white voters from the G.O.P. has been especially pronounced among younger voters, an ominous trend for a party that was already heavily reliant on older Americans.

Fifty-two percent of whites under 45 said they supported Mr. Biden while only 30 percent said they supported Mr. Trump. And their opposition is intense: More than twice as many younger whites viewed the president very unfavorably than very favorably.

Tom Diamond, 31, a Republican in Fort Worth, Texas, said he planned to vote for Mr. Trump but would do so with real misgivings. He called the president a “poor leader” who had mishandled the pandemic and said Mr. Biden seemed “like a guy you can trust.” But Mr. Trump held views closer to his own on the economy, health care and abortion.

“Part of you just feels icky voting for him,” Mr. Diamond said. “But definitely from a policy perspective, that’s where my vote’s going to go.”

Some unease toward Mr. Trump stems from voters’ racial attitudes. According to the poll, white voters under 45 are overwhelmingly supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, while older whites are more tepid in their views toward racial justice activism. And nearly 70 percent of whites under 45 said they believed the killing of George Floyd was part of a broader pattern of excessive police violence toward African-Americans rather than an isolated incident.

What’s striking, though, is that even among white seniors, one of Mr. Trump’s strongest constituencies, he has damaged himself with his conduct. About two-fifths of whites over 65 said they disapproved of Mr. Trump’s handling of both the coronavirus and race relations.

Mr. Trump retains a few points of strength in the poll that could offer him a way to regain a footing in the race, and the feeble condition of his candidacy right now may well represent his low point in a campaign with four and a half months still to go.

His approval rating is still narrowly positive on the issue of the economy, with 50 percent of voters giving him favorable marks compared with 45 percent saying the opposite. Should the fall campaign become a referendum on which candidate is better equipped to restore prosperity after the pandemic has subsided, that could give Mr. Trump a new opening to press his case.

The president is also still ahead of Mr. Biden among white voters without college degrees, who hold disproportionate influence in presidential elections because of how central the Midwest is to capturing 270 electoral votes.

Yet if Mr. Trump still has a significant measure of credibility with voters on the economy, he lacks any apparent political strength on the most urgent issues of the moment: the pandemic and the national reckoning on policing and race.

Nearly three-fifths of voters disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including majorities of white voters and men. Self-described moderate voters disapproved of Mr. Trump on the coronavirus by a margin of more than two to one.

Most of the country is also rejecting Mr. Trump’s call to reopen the economy as quickly as possible, even at the cost of exposing people to greater health risks. By a 21-point margin, voters said the federal government should prioritize containing the coronavirus, even if it hurts the economy, a view that aligns them with Mr. Biden.

Just a third of voters said the government should focus on restarting the economy even if that entails greater public-health risks.

That debate could become the central focus of the campaign in the coming weeks, as coronavirus outbreaks grow rapidly in a number of Republican-led states that have resisted the strict lockdown measures imposed in the spring by Democratic states like New York and California.

The public also does not share Mr. Trump’s resistance to mask wearing. The president has declined to don a mask in nearly all public appearances, even as top health officials in his administration have urged Americans to do so as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus. In the poll, 54 percent of people said they always wear a mask when they expect to be in proximity to other people, while another 22 percent said they usually wear a mask.

Just 22 percent said they rarely or never wear a mask.

Mr. Trump’s job approval on race relations was just as dismal. Sixty-one percent of voters said they disapproved of Mr. Trump’s handling of race, versus 33 percent who said they approved. By a similar margin, voters said they disapproved of his response to the protests after the death of Mr. Floyd.

Mr. Trump has sought several times in the last month to use demonstrations against the police as a political wedge issue, forcing Democrats to align themselves squarely either with law-enforcement agencies or with the most strident anti-police demonstrators.

The poll suggested most voters were rejecting that binary choice, as well as Mr. Trump’s harsh characterization of protesters: Large majorities said they had a positive overall assessment of both the Black Lives Matter movement and the police.

More voters feel strongly about Mr. Trump than they do about Mr. Biden

Voter impressions of ...

Trump

Biden

Very

favorable

Very

unfavorable

Very

favorable

Very

unfavorable

27%

50%

26%

27%

ALL REG. VOTERS

(n=1,337)

NONWHITE

Age 18 to 29

11%

68%

21%

15%

(88)

Age 30 to 44

15%

61%

29%

14%

(100)

Age 45 to 64

22%

62%

45%

19%

(150)

Age 65 and older

13%

70%

60%

16%

(85)

WHITE

Age 18 to 29

23%

46%

4%

28%

(89)

Age 30 to 44

17%

58%

20%

22%

(156)

Age 45 to 64

36%

39%

22%

35%

(305)

Age 65 and older

42%

38%

27%

38%

(320)
Sample sizes may not add to the total because some demographic characteristics of respondents are unknown.·Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 1,337 registered voters from June 17 to June 22.

The picture of Mr. Biden that emerges from the poll is one of a broadly acceptable candidate who inspires relatively few strong feelings in either direction. He is seen favorably by about half of voters and unfavorably by 42 percent. Only a quarter said they saw him very favorably, equaling the share that sees him in very negative terms.

Mr. Trump, by contrast, is seen very favorably by 27 percent of voters and very unfavorably by 50 percent.

Harry Hoyt, 72, of York County in Southern Maine, said he has sometimes voted for Republican presidential candidates in the past and cast a grudging vote for Mrs. Clinton in 2016. He felt better this time about his plan to vote for Mr. Biden.

“Biden would be a better candidate than Trump, simply because he’s a nice person,” Mr. Hoyt said. “One of the most important things to me is the character of the man in charge of our country.”

Significantly, one group that saw Mr. Biden as far more than just acceptable was black voters. Fifty-six percent of black respondents in the poll said they saw Mr. Biden very favorably, a far more enthusiastic judgment than from any other constituency.

The limited passion for Mr. Biden among other Democratic constituencies does not appear to be affecting his position against Mr. Trump. Though only 13 percent of people under 30 said they had a very favorable opinion of the former vice president, that group is backing Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump by 34 percentage points.

Nicholas Angelos, a 20-year-old voter in Bloomington, Ind., who said he supported Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, said he would vote for Mr. Biden as the “lesser of two evils.” He said he believed the former vice president would “try his best,” in contrast to Mr. Trump, whom he described as “an autocrat” and “anti-science.”

“We all have to compromise,” said Mr. Angelos, who described himself as very liberal. He added of Mr. Biden, “I don’t think he’s anything special.”

For the moment, voters also appear unpersuaded by one of the primary attack lines Mr. Trump and his party have used against Mr. Biden: the claim that, at age 77, he is simply too old for the presidency. Mr. Trump, 74, has mocked Mr. Biden’s mental acuity frequently over the last few months and his campaign has run television advertisements that cast Mr. Biden as absent-minded and inarticulate.

But three in five voters said in the poll that they disagreed with the claim that Mr. Biden was too old to be an effective president. The percentage of voters who agreed, 36 percent, exactly matched Mr. Trump’s existing support in the presidential race.

Lindsay Clark, 37, who lives in the suburbs of Salt Lake City, was among the voters who said she would probably vote for Mr. Trump because she was unsure Mr. Biden was “physically and mentally up to the task” of being president. But Ms. Clark expressed little admiration for Mr. Trump, whom she called unpresidential.

Ms. Clark, who voted for a third-party candidate in 2016, said she was hard-pressed to name something she really liked about Mr. Trump, eventually settling on the idea that he expressed himself bluntly.

“I was just trying to think if I could think of something off the top of my head that I was like, ‘Yes, I loved when you did that!’” she said of Mr. Trump. “And I kind of just can’t.”
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« Reply #99 on: Jun 27, 2020, 06:09 AM »


Trump bruised as polls favour Biden – but experts warn of risk of dirty tricks

The president has had a difficult period and is trailing his rival by double digits. But he has time to fight back – and fight dirty

David Smith in Washington
Guardian
Sat 27 Jun 2020 10.00 BST

It was the death of a salesman. With tie undone and crumpled “Make America great again” cap in hand, Donald Trump cut a forlorn figure shambling across the White House south lawn on his return from his failed comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some observers likened him to Willy Loman, the tragic protagonist of Arthur Miller’s benchmark drama.

The US president, critics say, has spent years selling a bill of goods to the American people. Now they are no longer buying.

The thinly attended rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last weekend was the physical manifestation of what poll after poll is showing: Trump is trailing his Democratic rival Joe Biden by double digits and seemingly on course for a historic defeat in November’s presidential election.

But seasoned commentators warn against complacency. Trump still has time to fight back – and fight dirty.

“You look at the polls and think ‘he can’t win’,” tweeted Bill Kristol, who served in two Republican administrations. “But Trump’s path to victory doesn’t depend on persuading Americans. It depends on voter suppression, mass disinformation, foreign interference, and unabashed use of executive branch power to shape events, and perceptions, this fall.”

It was a reminder that the polls only tell part of any election story. In 2016, Trump nearly always appeared to be heading to defeat by Hillary Clinton. This time polls appear to point to a Biden landslide. The former vice-president leads Trump by 14 percentage points in a national survey of registered voters by the New York Times and Siena College.

As expected, the poll showed Biden well ahead among women, young people and African American and Hispanic voters. Alarmingly for the president, Biden had also drawn level among white voters, men, and middle-aged and older voters – typically the pillars of Trump’s support. This and numerous other polls also show Trump trailing badly in six swing states likely to decide the all-important electoral college.

At the start of the year Trump was confident of victory, but the research suggests voters are punishing him for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, exacerbation of the economic crisis and violent response to Black Lives Matter protests. This week he continued to downplay the virus, and staged campaign events with few face masks and little physical distancing, even as the national death toll topped 120,000 and the infection rate soared to the highest level since April.

But Trump’s foes have learned to write him off at their peril. He once famously boasted that he could shoot someone on New York’s Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. He still has the significant advantages of incumbency and, opponents say, of being entirely untroubled by a moral conscience: the president will stop at nothing to cling to power.

Kristol, editor at large of the Bulwark website and director of the advocacy organisation Defending Democracy Together, said in an interview: “The special circumstances with Trump are his total abandonment of any constraints and even more important, perhaps, his having people around him who’ve abandoned any constraints on the way in which they’ll use the federal government, the executive branch, to say things, do things, pretend to do things.

“Richard Nixon did a little of that in 1972, and of course presidents always tout good news in the months before the election. But this time, it’s the degree to which you could have a real sustained effort to suppress minority voting and not make it easy for young people to vote.

“It’s the degree to which you could have foreign intervention and also Trump colluding, not in the sense of coordinating but just welcoming it and making it easier. It’s the degree to which you could have Putin deciding if he wants Trump re-elected. to give Trump a ‘foreign policy victory’ weeks before the election, which will turn out to be not a real victory months later.”

Kristol added: “It’s the use of loyalists at the office of the Director of National Intelligence and to some degree the state department and justice department. It’s the degree to which we’ll get ‘new’ news about Biden and [his son] Hunter Biden, sort of based on something but wildly exaggerated and trumpeted and on Fox News.

“If you put all that together and you have a circumstance where someone is really shameless and a lot of the normal constraints have weakened, it’s conceivable that the reluctant Trump voter from 2016 who’s become a reluctant Biden voter in 2020 goes back to being a reluctant Trump voter. That’s what worries me the most.”

Voter suppression has haunted US elections for decades but the pandemic presents Trump with new opportunities. States are seeking a massive expansion of mail-in ballots so people do not have risk their health by queuing and voting in person. The president has intensified claims that this will lead to widespread cheating, even though several studies have shown that voter fraud is extremely rare.

“RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS,” was a false claim he tweeted this week in capital letters. “IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!”

His wild words are often backed by organizational muscle and action. The Republican National Committee has devoted $20m to oppose Democratic lawsuits across the country seeking to expand voting. Republicans are also reportedly aiming to recruit up to 50,000 people in 15 key states to serve as poll watchers and challenge the registration of voters they believe are ineligible.

Monika McDermott, a political science professor at Fordham University in New York, said: “What we’re seeing in some primary states is the closures of polling places in African American dominated areas and mistaken purging of Democrats from the voter rolls. Some of this is anecdotal, but it is worrying all the same. And it will, no doubt, continue through the general election.”

Only two incumbent presidents have been defeated for reelection since the second world war: Jimmy Carter and George HW Bush. Trump has the advantages of the bully pulpit, support from Fox News and other conservative media, a huge data harvesting operation and more cash than Biden. He is traveling the country, throwing virus caution to the winds, as the Democrat remains mostly confined to his basement.

But critics fear that the president could also bend state apparatus to his advantage, noting the loyalty of officials such as attorney general Bill Barr, who ordered security forces to use tear gas against peaceful protesters outside the White House so his boss could stage a photo op.

Trump has repeatedly asserted a baseless conspiracy theory called “Obamagate”, claiming that former president Barack Obama and Biden concocted fake allegations about Trump’s links to Russia in a “coup” to deny him the White House. He could pressure Barr and Republicans in Congress to focus on this, as well as on Biden’s son Hunter’s business activities in Ukraine, as election day nears.

Lawrence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, said: “He could announce, perhaps without any basis at all, in mid-October that a new vaccine has been found, and he could pressure the FDA Food and Drug Administrationto approve it and that could mess with the vote. He could get help of the sort he has already asked for from China and Russia to interfere with the vote.”

“He could engage in conspiratorial vote suppression in which a number of people are prevented from voting by a sudden announcement that there is a spike in the coronavirus in certain jurisdictions. The power that he has as president to both manipulate the votes actually cast, and in addition to that, to launch challenges where his manipulation has not been sufficiently successful is enormously broad.”

Tribe added: “If we know nothing else about this man, we know that his priorities are entirely personal and narcissistic. We know that he is not worried about the stability or the safety of the country and, given that set of psychological realities, it would take a much more ironclad process than we have to warrant any degree of confidence that we will have a smooth and peaceful transition to a new president next January.”

Another of Kristol’s warnings is about foreign interference.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller identified 272 contacts between Trump’s 2016 campaign team and Russia-linked operatives, including at least 38 meetings. Last year, asked by ABC News if he would take dirt on an opponent from a foreign source, the president said candidly: “I think I’d take it.”

Trump was impeached for asking the president of Ukraine to investigate Biden on baseless charges in return for $400m in military aid. And in his new memoir, former national security adviser John Bolton alleges that Trump pleaded with China’s president Xi Jinping to help him get re-elected by buying more US agricultural products.

Neil Sroka, a spokesperson for the progressive group Democracy for America, said: “We already know he’s actively solicited the help of a foreign government in this election from the Bolton book.”

And concerns persist that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are still doing too little to weed out foreign-based accounts that spread disinformation aimed at dividing Americans and potentially helping Trump.

Sroka added: “I don’t think we have any reason to believe that foreign actors would be successful in intruding in our voting systems, which means that the way in which they have an impact is through disinformation and trying to stoke up divides within ourselves. That’s another reason why it’s so important that we make sure we win big.”

Scarred by 2016, Democrats know their greatest threat could be complacency, especially among younger voters who might decide to stay at home on a rainy day and not get around to voting. Biden, who held a virtual fundraiser with Obama this week, tweeted: “Ignore the polls. Register to vote.”

With four months to go, anything could happen.

Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist based in Columbia, South Carolina, agreed that Trump should not be underestimated. “We should adopt the philosophy that there’s no education in the second kick of the mule,” he said.

“If someone finds success in something before, they’re going to try to use those same ingredients to find success again. He is willing to do, to say, to have and be a part of anything that will position him to come across the finish line first, even if it means doing what is not in the long term best interests of this country.”

*********

Trump blows into the dog whistle and ...

Senate panel demands testimony from ex-Obama officials in revived Biden probe

The request came from the chairman of the Homeland Security committee, Ron Johnson.

By NATASHA BERTRAND and ANDREW DESIDERIO
Politico
06/27/2020

A Senate committee is re-engaging former Obama administration officials as part of an investigation targeting Joe Biden’s son, demanding transcribed interviews and documents for the Republican-led probe.

The renewed scrutiny from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee comes amid intensifying efforts by President Donald Trump to target Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, over what the president and his allies portray as a corruption scandal that disqualifies the former vice president.

The panel, chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), reached out this week to former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken; former Special Envoy for International Energy Amos Hochstein (though the letter referred to him by an informal title, as a former senior adviser on international energy affairs to Biden); former senior State Department officials Victoria Nuland and Catherine Novelli; and David Wade, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry, a spokesperson for the committee confirmed.

The request this week — a follow-up from December, when the panel asked the same former officials for documents and testimony during the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s Ukraine dealings — followed the Tuesday release of former national security adviser John Bolton’s memoir, in which he confirmed that Trump withheld military assistance aid to Ukraine last year in exchange for the promise of an investigation targeting the Bidens.

And on Monday, Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani with links to Russian intelligence, held a press conference to announce the release of new recordings he says he obtained of then-Vice President Biden speaking to former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. It was the second such press conference he has held in just over a month. Derkach has long made unsubstantiated corruption accusations against Biden and his son, and the release of the tapes has echoes of Russia’s hacking-and-dumping operation in 2016 in an effort to tip the election to Trump.

The committee said the requests were part of an investigation into “whether certain officials within the Obama administration had actual or apparent conflicts of interest, or whether there was any other wrongdoing, because of Hunter Biden’s role in Rosemont Seneca and related entities, and as a board member of Burisma Holdings,” according to letters the panel’s chief counsel sent at the time.

Last month, the committee on a party-line vote authorized Johnson to issue a subpoena to Blue Star Strategies, a Democratic public-affairs firm, as part of the investigation. Johnson has zeroed in on allegations that the firm sought to leverage Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma in order to influence matters at the Obama-era State Department.

Democrats uniformly oppose the GOP-led investigation, dubbing it an effort to boost Trump’s reelection prospects. Others have gone further in their criticisms, saying the probe itself jeopardizes U.S. national security and contributes to Russian disinformation campaigns. The former GOP chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr, privately warned Johnson that the investigation could aid the Kremlin’s efforts to sow chaos and distrust in the U.S. political system.

Johnson’s investigations have fueled raw partisan tensions in public committee meetings as well as behind closed doors. In March, senators got into heated arguments during a classified election-security briefing as Democrats asserted that Johnson was participating in Russia’s interference in U.S. elections.

Trump has openly encouraged the Senate’s investigations, including similar efforts to probe the origins of the Russia investigation and the actions of the Obama administration during the presidential transition period in late 2016 and early 2017. Johnson’s panel and the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), secured authorizations from Republican senators earlier this month to issue subpoenas as part of those probes to a slew of former Obama administration officials, many of whom have drawn Trump’s ire in recent years.

Democrats initiated impeachment proceedings last year over the effort to spur Ukraine-led investigations that would benefit the president politically, during which Trump’s legal team focused on Biden’s son Hunter and his role on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his father was vice president and in charge of Ukraine matters.

Trump's team presented no evidence that Biden used his role as vice president to benefit his son, nor alleged anything improper other than the “appearance of a conflict,” and allegations of wrongdoing have been widely discredited.

But Senate Republicans appear to be reviving the issue less than five months before election day — and Johnson has said he intends to release an interim report on the Biden probe over the summer, thrusting the issue back into the spotlight as the 2020 campaign kicks into high gear.

Johnson has insisted that the investigations have nothing to do with the election, though Trump’s reelection campaign has touted many of the revelations from Johnson, including a list of Obama White House officials who might have been involved in efforts that “unmasked” former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s name from intelligence intercepts. Biden’s name was on the list, but there is no evidence that he acted improperly, as Trump and his campaign have claimed.
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« Reply #100 on: Jun 27, 2020, 09:11 AM »

Four ways William Barr is already subverting the 2020 elections

Safeguarding the vote would be the top priority of a normal attorney general. It’s the opposite now.

By Joshua A. Geltzer
Joshua A. Geltzer, a former Justice Department and National Security Council lawyer, is executive director and professor of law at Georgetown’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.
June 27, 2020
WA Post

A normal attorney general of the United States right now would be focused on protecting the integrity of the fast-approaching November elections. Instead, the attorney general we have — William P. Barr — is intent on doing the opposite: unraveling the government’s efforts to hold accountable those who infected our last presidential election, in 2016, and undermining the integrity of the vote in 2020. It’s so bad that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who last weekend said it would be a “waste of time” to try to impeach Barr, is now reconsidering. (For the moment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi says impeachment is not happening.)

There are four ways that Barr’s approach to running the Justice Department imperils the vote: He’s letting off the hook those who contributed to interference in the last election; he’s undermining confidence in the government’s ability to protect the coming election; he’s signaling to bad actors that helping President Trump win will garner them special treatment under the law; and he’s spreading disinformation about the potential for voter fraud.

First, Barr is actively undoing work by the very department he oversees to address the counterintelligence threat exposed during the 2016 elections. At the core of Russia’s effort to distort American democracy was its move to obtain influence over a presidential candidate and his team. That’s what the FBI was investigating when it interviewed Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in January 2017. The criminal charges brought against Flynn for lying during that interview — to which he pleaded guilty twice — affirmed federal law enforcement’s commitment to investigate counterintelligence threats and disrupt them.

But Barr is deliberately unwinding that work. He has overseen the unprecedented attempt by the Justice Department — over the objections of the career prosecutor who handled the case — to drop the charges against Flynn despite his guilty pleas and based on legal theories invented by the department for the Flynn case alone. In a nod to the department’s obviously unusual handling of the case, a dissenting judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit this past week criticized the opinion issued by his two fellow judges, a ruling he said “transforms the presumption of regularity into an impenetrable shield” blocking the trial judge from even scrutinizing why the department took such a bizarre approach to this case. A normal attorney general would be ratcheting up counterintelligence efforts as the 2020 elections approach; Barr is standing down.

Second, Barr is impugning the work by federal law enforcement that sought to hold accountable those who undermined the 2016 elections. “The Russia investigation,” as it is now known, was the FBI’s effort to understand the scope of Moscow’s meddling. Once Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, that work shifted to the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, which brought criminal charges against Trump associates Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, as well as Russian military intelligence officials. Mueller’s project was partly an attempt to protect against further election interference in 2020.

But here we are, just months from that election, and Barr is telling us that this work might’ve been all wrong from the start. That’s the thrust of the “investigation of the investigators” that he has asked federal prosecutor John Durham to oversee, with unusual support and involvement from Barr himself. And it’s despite essentially the same ground having been covered by the Justice Department’s inspector general, who deemed the initiation of the Russia investigation justified and valid. The message: Foreign meddling in our democracy isn’t a big problem.

Barr tried to exonerate Trump. That’s not how the special counsel rules work.

Third, Barr is making clear that those who help Trump in his electoral ambitions will get special treatment from the Justice Department should he be reelected. The message radiates from the department’s abrupt reduction of its sentencing recommendation for Stone — also over the objections of the career prosecutors who handled the case, as one laid out in detail Wednesday in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Stone has been implicated in the apparent coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks regarding the release of hacked emails to damage Hillary Clinton, and he was convicted of impeding and lying to investigators.

That would, in normal times, be an important deterrent to others close to Trump not to aid his reelection through foul play. But not under Barr. In response to angry tweets by Trump, the Justice Department reduced its recommendation for Stone’s sentence. As former Stone prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky told Congress, there was only one explanation he heard: Trump wanted it for a buddy. As Zelinsky put it in his opening statement, “What I heard — repeatedly — was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President.” That’s become the message under Barr: Government lawyers should give friends of Trump lenient treatment or risk their careers. This is also the obvious takeaway from the abrupt ouster of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, who reportedly had been investigating Rudy Giuliani’s role in recruiting information from Ukraine that might harm Trump’s presidential opponent. That takeaway appears reinforced by new reporting in The New York Times that Barr clashed with Berman over his office’s decision to pursue charges against Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Fourth, any normal attorney general would be augmenting efforts to fight disinformation in the run-up to Election Day. Russia’s spread of disinformation was a major component of its 2016 interference, and even America’s private sector — in particular, technology companies — has pledged to do a better job of addressing the issue this year. The FBI has shown signs of trying to do the same, including establishing a task force dedicated to tackling the problem in a coordinated way.

We knew what Barr would do. Now it’s too late to stop him.

But Barr is doing the opposite. He isn’t just failing to take demonstrable steps to fight election-related disinformation; he’s actively spreading disinformation himself. He echoes Trump’s debunked claims that mail-in ballots — which will be crucial during the pandemic — somehow leave the country vulnerable to election fraud and interference. Barr recently told Fox News that these votes could “open the floodgates of potential fraud,” without providing any basis for the claim. In 2016, Americans faced disinformation predominantly from abroad. In 2020, it also comes from inside our own government.

The threats to this election — not just from Russia but from the coronavirus — would be formidable enough if there were an attorney general acting in good faith to lead federal law enforcement’s response to them. We have the opposite: The country’s top lawyer turns a blind eye to these threats, taking us backward rather than forward in addressing them, and even worsening them himself. That makes an already dangerous situation dire. And it means that the calls for Barr’s impeachment shouldn’t be seen as backward-looking or retributive against an administration that may be on its way out anyway. They’re forward-looking — if Americans believe that the country deserves an attorney general who protects not one presidential candidate but all citizens as they prepare for a crucial vote.
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« Reply #101 on: Jun 28, 2020, 06:08 AM »

Trump admits it: He's losing

Amid a mountain of bad polling and stark warnings from allies, the president has acknowledged his reelection woes to allies.

By ALEX ISENSTADT
Politico
06/28/2020

Donald Trump knows he's losing.

The president has privately come to that grim realization in recent days, multiple people close to him told POLITICO, amid a mountain of bad polling and warnings from some of his staunchest allies that he's on course to be a one-term president.

Trump has endured what aides describe as the worst stretch of his presidency, marred by widespread criticism over his response to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide racial unrest. His rally in Oklahoma last weekend, his first since March, turned out to be an embarrassment when he failed to fill the arena.

What should have been an easy interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday horrified advisers when Trump offered a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question about his goals for a second term. In the same appearance, the normally self-assured president offered a tacit acknowledgment that he might lose when he said that Joe Biden is “gonna be your president because some people don't love me, maybe."

In the hours after the interview aired, questions swirled within his inner circle about whether his heart was truly in it when it comes to seeking reelection.

Trump has time to rebound, and the political environment could improve for him. But interviews with more than a half-dozen people close to the president depicted a reelection effort badly in need of direction — and an unfocused candidate who repeatedly undermines himself.

“Under the current trajectory, President Trump is on the precipice of one of the worst electoral defeats in modern presidential elections and the worst historically for an incumbent president,” said former Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg, who remains a supporter.

Nunberg pointed to national polls released by CNBC and New York Times/Siena over the past week showing Trump receiving below 40 percent against Biden.

If Trump's numbers against erode to 35 percentage points over the next two weeks, Nunberg added, “He’s going to be facing realistically a 400-plus electoral vote loss and the president would need to strongly reconsider whether he wants to continue to run as the Republican presidential nominee.”

Behind the scenes, Trump and his team are taking steps to correct course. In the week since his Tulsa rally, the president has grudgingly conceded that he’s behind, according to three people who are familiar with his thinking. Trump, who vented for days about the event, is starting to take a more hands-on role in the campaign and has expressed openness to adding more people to the team. He has also held meetings recently focusing on his efforts in individual battleground states.

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who effectively oversees the campaign from the White House, is expected to play an even more active role.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale was blamed internally for the Tulsa rally failure. Some people complained about him trumpeting that 1 million people had requested tickets, a boast that fell flat when thousands of seats sat empty during Trump's speech.

Parscale has been a target of some Trump allies who argue the campaign is lacking a coherent strategy and direction. But people close to the president insist that Parscale's job is safe for now. Trump, who visited the campaign’s Arlington, Virginia headquarters a few months ago, has told people he came away impressed with the sophistication of the organization.

Parscale, whose background is as a digital strategist, has received some reinforcements in recent weeks. Longtime Trump adviser Bill Stepien was given added responsibilities in the campaign, including working with political director Chris Carr and the Republican National Committee on voter turnout. And Jason Miller, a veteran of the 2016 campaign, was brought back to serve as a chief political strategist, a position that had been unfilled.

But those internal moves have done little to calm Republican jitters about the president's personal performance. Fox News host and Trump favorite Tucker Carlson issued a blunt warning on his show this week that the president “could well lose this election.” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another close Trump ally, told reporters that the president needs to make the race “more about policy and less about your personality.”

Trump's team insists the president’s numbers are bound to improve as he steps up his public events and intensifies his attacks on Biden. People involved in the campaign say they have settled on two main avenues to go after the former vice president: That he’s beholden to liberals who want to do away with law and order, and that he’s a consummate Washington insider.

The campaign has begun a massive TV ad campaign going after the 77-year-old former vice president, including over his mental capacity and his nearly five-decade political career. Hoping to make inroads with African-American voters, Trump's campaign is running ads slamming Biden over his central role in the 1994 crime bill.

The commercials are airing in an array of states including Georgia, a traditionally red state where Trump suddenly finds himself in a fight. The cash-flush campaign is expected to remain on the TV airwaves in a host of key states through the election.

Veterans of Trump’s first presidential campaign liken their current predicament to the nightmarish summer of 2016, when he was buffeted by an array of self-inflicted scandals — from his criticism of a Gold Star family to his attack on a federal judge of Mexican ancestry.

Then as now, Trump trailed badly.

“There was similar fretting in 2016 and if it had been accurate, Hillary Clinton would be in the White House right now. Joe Biden is the weakest Democrat candidate in a generation and we are defining him that way,” said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh. “We are four months from Election Day and in the end it will be a clear choice between President Trump’s incredible record of achievement and Joe Biden’s half-century of failure in Washington, D.C.”

Still, Trump advisers acknowledge that tearing down Biden will require a level of discipline he isn’t demonstrating. They have pleaded with Trump — who has used his Twitter account to vilify critics from MSNBC host Joe Scarborough to former National Security Adviser John Bolton — to stop focusing on slights that mean little to voters.

Biden's low-profile during the pandemic has made it that much harder for Trump to land a punch, his advisers said.

But Republicans say he and his campaign need to figure out something soon.

“The key factor has been that Biden has been able to stay out of the race,” said David McIntosh, the president of the pro-Trump Club for Growth. “Republicans have to start defining Biden and put resources and effort and consistent messaging behind it.”
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« Reply #102 on: Jun 29, 2020, 05:00 AM »

How the Trump Campaign Is Drawing Obama Out of Retirement

By Glenn Thrush and Elaina Plott
NY Times
June 29, 2020

Just after Donald J. Trump was elected president, Barack Obama slumped in his chair in the Oval Office and addressed an aide standing near a conspicuously placed bowl of apples, emblem of a healthy-snacking policy soon to be swept aside, along with so much else.

“I am so done with all of this,” Mr. Obama said of his job, according to several people familiar with the exchange.

Yet he knew, even then, that a conventional White House retirement was not an option. Mr. Obama, 55 at the time, was stuck holding a baton he had wanted to pass to Hillary Clinton, and saddled with a successor whose fixation on him, he believed, was rooted in a bizarre personal animus and the politics of racial backlash exemplified by the birther lie.

“There is no model for my kind of post-presidency,” he told the aide. “I’m clearly renting space inside the guy’s head.”

Which is not to say that Mr. Obama was not committed to his pre-Trump retirement vision — a placid life that was to consist of writing, sun-flecked fairways, policy work through his foundation, producing documentaries with Netflix and family time aplenty at a new $11.7 million spread on Martha’s Vineyard.

Still, more than three years after his exit, the 44th president of the United States is back on a political battlefield he longed to leave, drawn into the fight by an enemy, Mr. Trump, who is hellbent on erasing him, and by a friend, Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is equally intent on embracing him.

The stakes of that re-engagement were always going to be high. Mr. Obama is nothing if not protective of his legacy, especially in the face of Mr. Trump’s many attacks. Yet interviews with more than 50 people in the former president’s orbit portray a conflicted combatant, trying to balance deep anger at his successor with an instinct to refrain from a brawl that he fears may dent his popularity and challenge his place in history.

That calculus, though, may be changing in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by the police in Minneapolis. As America’s first black president, now its first black ex-president, Mr. Obama sees the current social and racial awakening as an opportunity to elevate a 2020 election dictated by Mr. Trump’s mud-wrestling style into something more meaningful — to channel a new, youthful movement toward a political aim, as he did in 2008.

He is doing so very carefully, characteristically intent on keeping his cool, his reputation, his political capital and his dreams of a cosseted retirement intact.

“I don’t think he is hesitant. I think he is strategic,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a top adviser for over a decade. “He has always been strategic about using his voice; it’s his most valuable commodity.”

Mr. Obama is also mindful of a cautionary example: Bill Clinton’s attacks against him in 2008 backfired so badly that his wife’s campaign staff had to scale back his appearances.

Many supporters have been pressing him to be more aggressive.

“It would be nice, for a change, if Barack Obama could emerge from his cave and offer — no wait, DEMAND — a way forward,” the columnist Drew Magary wrote in a much-shared Medium post in April titled “Where the Hell is Barack Obama?”

The counterargument: He did his job and deserves to be left alone.

“Obama has now been out of office for three and a half years, and he is still facing this kind of scrutiny — no one is pressuring white ex-presidents like George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter the same way,” said Monique Judge, news editor of the online magazine The Root and author of a 2018 article arguing that Mr. Obama no longer owed the country a thing.

Mr. Obama’s head appears to be somewhere in the middle. He is not planning to scrap his summer Vineyard vacation and is still anguishing over the publication date of his long-awaited memoir. But last week he stepped up his nominally indirect criticism of Mr. Trump’s administration — decrying a “shambolic, disorganized, meanspirited approach to governance” during an online Biden fund-raiser. And he made a pledge of sorts, telling Mr. Biden’s supporters: “Whatever you’ve done so far is not enough. And I hold myself and Michelle and our kids to that same standard.”

On Thursday, during an invitation-only Zoom fund-raiser, Mr. Obama expressed outrage at the president’s use of “kung flu” and “China virus” to describe the coronavirus. “I don’t want a country in which the president of the United States is actively trying to promote anti-Asian sentiment and thinks it’s funny. I don’t want that. That still shocks and pisses me off,” Mr. Obama said, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by a participant in the event.

Mr. Obama speaks with the former vice president and top campaign aides frequently, offering suggestions on staffing and messaging. Last month, he bluntly counseled Mr. Biden to keep his speeches brief, interviews crisp and slash the length of his tweets, the better to make the campaign a referendum on Mr. Trump and the economy, according to Democratic officials.

He has taken a particular interest in Mr. Biden’s work-in-progress digital operation, the officials said, enlisting powerful friends, like the LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and the former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, to share their expertise, they said.

Yet he continues to slow-walk some requests, especially to headline more fund-raisers. Some in Mr. Obama’s camp suggest he wants to avoid overshadowing the candidate — which Mr. Biden’s people aren’t buying.

“By all means, overshadow us,” one of them joked.

‘Obama Will Not Be Able to Rest’

From the moment Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Obama adopted a minimalist approach: He would critique his policy choices, not the man himself, following the norm of civility observed by his predecessors, especially George W. Bush.

But norms are not Mr. Trump’s thing. He made it clear from the start that he wanted to eradicate any trace of Mr. Obama’s presence from the West Wing. “He had the worst taste,” Mr. Trump told a visitor in early 2017, showing off his new curtains — which were not terribly different from Mr. Obama’s, in the view of other people who tramped in and out of the office during that chaotic period.

The cancellation was more pronounced when it came to policy. One former White House official recalled Mr. Trump interrupting an early presentation to make sure one staff proposal was not “an Obama thing.”

During the transition, in what looks in hindsight like a preview of the presidency, one Trump aide got the idea of printing out the detailed checklist of Mr. Obama’s campaign promises from the official White House website to repurpose as a kind of hit list, according to two people familiar with the effort.

“This is personal for Trump; it is all about President Obama and demolishing his legacy. It’s his obsession,” said Omarosa Manigault Newman, an “Apprentice” veteran and, until her abrupt departure, one of the few black officials in Mr. Trump’s West Wing. “President Obama will not be able to rest as long as Trump is breathing.”

When the two men met for a stilted postelection sit-down in November 2016, the president-elect was polite, so Mr. Obama took the opportunity to advise him against going scorched-earth on Obamacare. “Look, you can take my name off of it; I don’t care,” he said, according to aides.

Mr. Trump nodded noncommittally.

As the transition dragged on, Mr. Obama became increasingly uneasy at what he saw as the breezy indifference of the new president and his inexperienced team. Many of them ignored the briefing binders his staff had painstakingly produced at his direction, former Obama aides recalled, and instead of focusing on policy or the workings of the West Wing, they inquired about the quality of tacos in the basement mess or where to find a good apartment.

As for Mr. Trump, he had “no idea what he’s doing,” Mr. Obama told an aide after their Oval Office encounter.

Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, made an equally indelible impression. During a tour of the building he abruptly inquired, “So how many of these people are sticking around?”

The answer was none, his escort replied. (West Wing officials serve at the president’s pleasure, as Mr. Trump would amply illustrate in the coming months.)

When the Kushner story was relayed to Mr. Obama, aides recalled, he laughed and repeated it to friends, and even a few journalists, to illustrate what the country was up against.

A White House spokesman did not deny the account, but suggested Mr. Kushner might have been talking about security and maintenance personnel rather than political appointees.

During other conversations with editors he respected, including David Remnick of The New Yorker and Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, Mr. Obama was more ruminative, according to people familiar with the interactions. At times, he would float some version of this question: Was there anything he could have done to blunt the Trump backlash?

Mr. Obama eventually came to the conclusion that it was a historic inevitability, and told people around him the best he could do was “set a counterexample.”

Others thought he needed to do more. During the transition, Paulette Aniskoff, a veteran West Wing aide, began assembling a political organization of former advisers to help Mr. Obama defend his legacy, aid other Democrats and plan for his deployment as a surrogate in the 2018 midterms.

He was open to the effort, but his eye was on the exits. “I’ll do what you want me to do,” he told Ms. Aniskoff’s team, but mandated they carefully screen out any appearances that would waste time or squander political capital.

Mr. Obama was, then as now, so determined to avoid uttering the new president’s name that one aide jokingly suggested they refer to him as “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” — Harry Potter’s archenemy, Lord Voldemort.

Mr. Trump had no trouble naming names. In March 2017, he falsely accused Mr. Obama of personally ordering the surveillance of his campaign headquarters, tweeting, “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

It was an inflection point of sorts. Mr. Obama told Ms. Aniskoff’s team he would call out his successor by name in the 2018 midterms. But not a lot.

It was telling how Mr. Obama talked about Mr. Trump that fall: He referred to him less as a person than as a kind of epidemiological affliction on the body politic, spread by his Republican enablers.

“It did not start with Donald Trump — he is a symptom, not the cause,” he said in his kickoff speech at the University of Illinois in September 2018. The American political system, he added, was not “healthy” enough to form the “antibodies” to fight the contagion of “racial nationalism.”

The pandemic has, if anything, made him more partial to the comparison.

The virus, he said during his appearance with Mr. Biden last week, “is a metaphor” for so much else.

Golf Going ‘Better Than My Book’

Mr. Obama felt one of the best ways to safeguard his legacy was by writing his book, which he envisioned as both a detailed chronicle of his presidency and as a serious literary follow-up to his widely praised 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father.”

In late 2016, Mr. Obama’s agent, Bob Barnett, began negotiating a package deal for Mr. Obama’s memoir and Michelle Obama’s autobiography. Random House eventually won the bidding war with a record-shattering $65 million offer.

The process has been a gilded grind. One former White House official who checked in with Mr. Obama in mid-2018 was told the project “was like doing homework.”

Another associate, who ran into the former president at an event last year, remarked at how fit he looked. Mr. Obama replied, “Let’s just say my golf game is going a lot better than my book.”

It was not especially easy for the former president to look on as his wife’s book, “Becoming,” was published in 2018 and quickly became an international blockbuster.

“She had a ghostwriter,” Mr. Obama told a friend who asked about his wife’s speedy work. “I am writing every word myself, and that’s why it’s taking longer.”

The book’s timing remains among the touchiest of topics. Mr. Obama, a deliberate writer prone to procrastination — and lengthy digression — insisted that there be no set deadline, according to several people familiar with the process.

In an interview shortly after Mr. Obama left office, one of his closest advisers had predicted that the book would be out in mid-2019, before the primary season began in earnest, an option preferred by many working on the project.

But Mr. Obama did not finish and circulate a draft of between 600 and 800 pages until around New Year’s, too late to publish before the election, according to people familiar with the situation.

He is now seriously considering splitting the project into two volumes, in the hope of getting some of it into print quickly after the election, perhaps in time for the Christmas season, several people close to the process said.

Mr. Obama’s other big creative enterprise, a multimillion-dollar 2018 contract with Netflix to produce documentaries and scripted features with his wife, has been a tonic, and quick work by comparison.

Mr. Obama got a kick out of screening dozens of potential projects and offered specific suggestions — scrawled onto the yellow legal pad he used to write his book — to directors and writers. His production firm, Higher Ground Productions, is run out of a small bungalow on a Hollywood studio lot once home to Charlie Chaplin’s company, and he spent a day kibbitzing with its small staff during a visit in November.

One of the first efforts was “Crip Camp,” an award-winning documentary about a summer camp in upstate New York, founded in the early 1970s, that became a focal point of the disability rights movement.

Mr. Obama saw the project as a vehicle for his vision of grass-roots political change, and provided feedback during the 18 months the movie was in production.

“We saw footage that the filmmakers had just begun to cut together and sent it to the president to look at,” said Priya Swaminathan, co-head of Higher Ground. “He wanted to know how we could help the filmmakers make this the best telling of the story and they were into the collaboration. We watched many, many cuts together.”

A ‘Tailor-Made’ Moment

Part of what Mr. Obama finds so appealing about filmmaking is that it allows him to control the narrative. In that respect, the 2020 campaign has been a disorienting experience: His political career is supposed to be over, yet he has a semi-starring role in a production he has not written or directed.

Nowhere has that low-grade frustration been more apparent than in his complicated relationship with Mr. Biden, who is concurrently covetous of his support and fiercely determined to win on his own.

Mr. Obama was supportive of Mr. Biden, personally, from the start of the campaign, but he promised Senator Bernie Sanders, in one of their early chats, that his public profession of neutrality was genuine and that he was not working secretly to elect his friend, according to a party official familiar with the exchange.

Moreover, Mr. Obama has always been cleareyed about his friend’s vulnerabilities, urging Mr. Biden’s aides to ensure that he not “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy,” win or lose.

When a Democratic donor raised the issue of Mr. Biden’s age late last year — he is 77 — Mr. Obama acknowledged those concerns, saying, “I wasn’t even 50 when I got elected, and that job took every ounce of energy I had,” according to the person.

Still, he is an enthusiastic supporter, and played a central role in pushing Mr. Sanders to “accelerate the endgame” that led to Mr. Biden’s earlier-than-expected victory in April. He spent the next few weeks tidying up a few messy political loose ends, working to improve his chilly relationship with Senator Elizabeth Warren, who irked him by criticizing his Wall Street speaking fees as emblematic of the scourge of money in politics, calling it a “snake that slithers through Washington.”

He has never seen Mr. Biden’s campaign as a proxy war between himself and Mr. Trump, his aides insist. But he is, nonetheless, tickled by the lopsided metrics of their competition of late.

Mr. Obama monitors their respective polling numbers closely — he gets privately circulated data from the Democratic National Committee — and takes pride in the fact that he has millions more Twitter followers than a president who relies on the platform far more than he does, people close to him said.

The former president devours online news, scouring The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlantic sites on his iPad constantly, and keeps to his White House night-owl hours, sending texts and story links to friends between midnight and 2 a.m. Even during the pandemic he does not sleep late, at least on weekdays, and is often on his Peloton bike by 8 a.m., sending off a new round of texts, often about the latest Trump outrage.

Mr. Obama was already stepping up his criticism of Mr. Trump before Mr. Floyd’s killing in May. Ms. Aniskoff organized an online meeting with 3,000 former administration officials whose purpose, in part, was to soft-launch his tougher line. (Democrats close to Mr. Obama helpfully leaked the recording of his remarks.)

Yet the rising cries for racial justice have lent the 2020 campaign a coherence for Mr. Obama, a politician most comfortable cloaking his criticism of an opponent — be it Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump — in the language of movement politics.

Mr. Obama’s first reaction to the protests, people close to him said, was anxiety — that the spasms of rioting would spin out of control and play into Mr. Trump’s narrative of a lawless left.

But peaceful demonstrators took control, igniting a national movement that challenged Mr. Trump without making him its focal point.

Soon after, in the middle of a strategy call with political aides and policy experts at his foundation, an excited Mr. Obama pronounced that “a tailor-made moment” had arrived.

Mr. Obama has lately been in close contact with his first attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., sharing his outrage over the way the current attorney general, William P. Barr, personally inspected the phalanx of federal law enforcement officers who tear-gassed demonstrators to clear the path for Mr. Trump’s walk to a photo op at a historic church near the White House.

Mr. Holder has few qualms about calling Mr. Trump a racist in the former president’s presence. Mr. Obama has never contradicted him, but he avoids the term, even in private, preferring a more indirect accusation of “racial demagoguery,” according to several people close to both men.

His response to the Floyd killing was less about hammering Mr. Trump than about encouraging young people, who have been slow in embracing Mr. Biden, to vote. When he chose to speak publicly, it was to host an online forum highlighting a slate of policing reforms that went nowhere in Congress in his second term.

In that sense, the role he is most comfortable occupying is the job he was once so over.

On June 4, an hour or so before Mr. Floyd’s memorial service in Minneapolis, the former president called his brother, Philonise Floyd — a reprise of the calls he made to grieving families over his eight years in office.

“I want you to have hope. I want you to know you are not alone. I want you to know that Michelle and I will do anything you want me to do,” Mr. Obama said during the emotional 25-minute conversation, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was on the call. Two other people with knowledge of the call confirmed its contents.

“That was the first time, I think, that the Floyd family really experienced solace since he died,” Mr. Sharpton said in an interview.
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Darja
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« Reply #103 on: Jul 01, 2020, 03:44 AM »


‘Green light to suppress votes’: Federal court reinstates Wisconsin GOP’s early voting restrictions amid pandemic

7/1/2020
By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

“They let this case collect dust for three years. And they decide today, four months out from Election Day, that ‘early voting is not a fundamental right’ in the middle of a pandemic. Just outrageous.”

A panel of three federal judges on Monday upheld a slate of Republican-authored restrictions on early voting and absentee ballots in Wisconsin, a decision rights groups warned could suppress votes and heighten the risk of spreading Covid-19 in upcoming elections.

The trio of Republican-appointed judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago overturned a 2016 lower court decision and ruled that a Wisconsin law restricting early voting to just two weeks before an election must be reinstated.
Defend democracy. Click to invest in courageous progressive journalism today.

“Right-wing judicial activists just gave their Republican allies in Wisconsin’s legislature a green light to suppress votes.”
—John Nichols, The Nation

“Early voting is not a fundamental right in itself; it is but one aspect of a state’s election system,” Judge Frank Easterbrook, a Reagan appointee, wrote in the 27-page ruling. “As we have stressed, Wisconsin’s system as a whole is accommodating.”

The panel also ruled that faxing and emailing absentee ballots to prospective voters is unconstitutional and said people must live in a district for at least 28 days, rather than 10, before voting there.

The court did not explain why its ruling came more than three years after it first heard Wisconsin Republicans’ 2017 appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down several voting restrictions the state GOP enacted after taking full control of the legislature in 2011.

“They let this case collect dust for three years,” tweeted Courtney Beyer, communications director for the Wisconsin Democratic Party. “And they decide today, four months out from Election Day, that ‘early voting is not a fundamental right’ in the middle of a pandemic. Just outrageous.”

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, advocacy group Common Cause Wisconsin called the ruling “a huge blow to voting rights in a state that already had among the most restrictive and extreme voting laws in the nation, and not to mention just weeks before the next election in August.”

“One positive is that the judges ruled that expired photo student IDs can be used as proof of identity to vote,” the group noted.

John Nichols, national affairs correspondent for The Nation and a Wisconsin native, tweeted that “right-wing judicial activists… just gave their Republican allies in Wisconsin’s legislature a green light to suppress votes.”

“If there is a Covid-19 surge,” warned Nichols, “the court’s decision will make voting more dangerous.”
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Chocolate Astrologer
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« Reply #104 on: Jul 01, 2020, 02:25 PM »

Supreme Court to decide the future of the Electoral College

on June 17, 2020
By The Conversation

"If Americans believe on Nov. 3, 2020, that one person has been elected the next president, but find out on Dec. 14 that it is going to be a different person, it is difficult to predict what the public will think – or do."

Hola Rad and community,
I have been thinking deeply about the upcoming elections and reflecting on the potential of Trump refusing to leave office if not re-elected. Now with this realization of the electoral college and 'faithless electors' who may choose not to vote in line with the majority of their state has profound implications of how Trump may validate his refusal to leave office. Compounding this is the fact that Mercury will still be Rx (25 libra) and in third quarter square to Saturn (26 Cap), Pluto (22 Cap) and Jupiter (21 Cap) on Nov. 3, 2020, and station direct the following day, the 4th of Nov. 2020. A third quarter square is a crisis in consciousness and Mercury Rx in Libra can be a whole lot of unbalance. I am anticipating much confusion as to who won the election on Nov 3rd and 4th of 2020; with both sides claiming victory, and the masses reacting based on their be(lie)fs, and affiliations (libra). Be(lie)fs lead to impulsive passionate responses that in these polarized times have proven to be violent and destructive. What's going to happen when one polarized side claims victory and then to deemed not?

As the article further states, it is guesstimated the the electoral votes will be extremely close, allowing for faithless electors and potential influencers to change the direction and course of the election. This can lead to massive protests and reactions based on Be(LIE)f. Fueling this reaction on a collective level is the eminent 3rd and final conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn on Nov 12, 2020. With the heightened polarization between Trump and his racist, gun-touting "base," and the moderate to liberal democrats desperate and demanding for change, the outcome sounds and feels dangerous, and vulnerable at best.

And as I quoted before, "If Americans believe on Nov. 3, 2020, that one person has been elected the next president, but find out on Dec. 14 that it is going to be a different person, it is difficult to predict what the public will think – or do."
I look forward to any comment on these upcoming astrological alignments and potential outcomes.
Thank you,
Chocolate Astrologer
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