Category Archives: Primaries

The Plutocrat civil war for control of the GOP

There has been much reporting this past week about a GOP civil war. But this is really a civil war between the wealthy Plutocrat donors of the GOP over which one of them will control the party. It is a case study in how money — especially dark money — has corrupted our political system. This is what the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and its progeny have wrought.

Stephen Bannon of Breibart News,and two of his longtime benefactors, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, are putting together a political coalition designed to ensure that the victory of a Republican insurgent in the Alabama senate primary this past week was just the beginning of the surprises that await the party establishment. The New York Times reports,  Alabama Victory Provides Blueprint for New Bannon Alliance:

Mr. Bannon brings to the effort the political and promotional skills he showed as President Trump’s chief strategist and advocate for populist stances on issues like immigration and trade. His benefactors, the billionaire hedge fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, bring wealth and their own proven anti-establishment streak.

The obstacles Mr. Bannon and the Mercers face are formidable: the well-funded resistance of mainstream Republicans; a shortage of viable anti-establishment candidates like Roy Moore, the victor in Tuesday’s Alabama Republican Senate primary; an absence of political infrastructure for supporting them; and their own reputations for not always following through on big political plans.

But the Bannon-Mercer alliance is likely to be a potent factor in widening the divisions laid bare by the Alabama race and the intraparty battles that have crippled the Republican agenda in Congress. It could put Mr. Bannon and the Mercers on a collision course with not just the Republican establishment but with other donor-driven political organizations, including the one built by the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch — and potentially with Mr. Trump.

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The GOP is failing the ‘Roy Moore Test’

Last week, disgraced former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore, twice removed from the bench for unethical conduct in violation of the judicial code of ethics, nevertheless easily won the Alabama special election GOP primary for U.S. Senate.  Moore was supported the by far-the right fringe, in particular, white nationalist Stephen Bannon from Breitbart News and his billionaire financier Robert Mercer, who are waging a war on the GOP “establishment.”

Moore served as a columnist for years at the right-wing conspiracy site  World Net Daily. Moore was a leading proponent of the “birther” conspiracy theory, which posited, without evidence, that former President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Moore took exception to Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minn.), a Muslim, taking his oath of office with his hand on the Quran. Moore questioned  Ellison’s qualifications to be a member of Congress” because, he wrote, Islam is “directly contrary to the principles of the Constitution.” (The Constitution prohibits a religious test for office). Moore has argued on multiple occasions that America’s secular shift is responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and recent “shootings and killings.” He regularly rails against abortion, and argued in 2005 footage reported by CNN that homosexuality should be illegal. Roy Moore’s five most controversial remarks.

Roy Moore has been a household name for years among the Christian Right nationalists who want a theocracy in America. Yet Senate Republicans are pretending that they don’t know anything about him. Senate Republicans have never heard of Roy Moore:

Senate Republicans say they know almost nothing about Roy Moore, their wildly controversial candidate in the Alabama special election. But they really, really want him to be elected to the Senate.

What about Moore’s history of racially insensitive comments? Haven’t heard anything. Homophobic remarks? Nada. Moore’s claim that some American communities are living under Sharia law? Crickets. Moore’s statement that 9/11 happened “because we’ve distanced ourselves from God”? Nothing for you on that. Moore’s assertion that Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress because he’s a Muslim? We’ll get back to you. Moore saying Mitch McConnell should be replaced as Senate majority leader? Uhh, zip.

[T]he only thing that matters for party leaders is what Moore does from now on — not what he’s done before. And that he wins the Dec. 12 runoff against Democrat Doug Jones.

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Rep. Kyrsten Sinema to run for U.S. Senate

I have never been a big fan of Representative Kyrsten Sinema, even when she was in the state legislature. My discomfort with her is that she appears to me to be “all show and no substance.” She is not much of a policy wonk, and has a slim legislative record. Of course, she has always been in the minority, so that is a contributing factor.

And as Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly points out, “Sinema has had a colorful career in politics, starting out as a green in her idealistic youth and growing into the kind of moderate Democrat who votes with the Trump/congressional GOP agenda agenda nearly half the time.

After her election to the House of Representatives, Sinema joined the conservative Democrat Blue Dog Coalition, and more recently the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus with her fellow Arizona congresswoman Martha McSally.

I’m not sure how one evolves from being a Ralph Nader Green Party “lefty” liberal to a conservative Blue Dog Democrat. That seems rather chameleon to me, adopting whatever one’s circumstances dictate in order  to survive politically. That speaks to more ambition than a principled politician. But then, this is Arizona where this can be said just about every politician.

The Arizona Republic reports, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema enters Senate race, hoping to unseat Jeff Flake:

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is running for the Senate seat held by Jeff Flake, ending months of speculation about her political future and giving Democrats a top-tier fundraiser with experience on Capitol Hill.

In a video announcing her bid,the Arizona Democrat recounts her upbringing in a family that fell from the middle class into homelessness. She made her way to Congress, Sinema says, with hard work and help from “family, church and, sometimes, even the government.”

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“I really feel like I have a duty to serve and give back to this country, which has given so much to me,” she said in an interview with The Arizona Republic. “Working hard is all I know; it’s who I am. I believe I’ll be the hardest worker for Arizonans in the United States Senate.”

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Devil’s Bargain and Shattered: Read Both

I’ve now read both Devil’s Bargain, by Joshua Green, and Shattered, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Together, these two books provide insight into the 2016 election that you could never get from either alone. I highly recommend reading both, starting with Shattered.

Trump’s election really was the perfect storm, but not in the sense that he got really lucky. There was far more to it than that. And there are lessons to be learned.

The most important lesson, politically speaking, is that primaries have a purpose, and when the primary process is manipulated to clear the field, it likely won’t work out well in the end. We’ve seen this in prior campaigns, but 2016 will be the textbook case for decades to come. I’ll return to this point later in the post. Continue reading

Donald Trump’s ‘Pity Party’ in Phoenix

Did you know that there was only one victim in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it wasn’t Heather Heyer? Oh no, the victim was our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief at the hands of a “dishonest” media that accurately reported his words live on TV.

Donald Trump came to Phoenix to throw himself a “pity party” among his sycophant supporters with a long list of perceived grievances against all those whom he feels have done him wrong. He’s the victim in his revisionist history. The Daily 202: Trump’s penchant for revisionist history on display during Arizona rally.

This is in keeping with the conservative white grievance sense of victimhood, that they are “victimized” for their whacked-out conspiratorial non-factual beliefs in utter nonsense for which they are fed a steady diet from the conservative media entertainment complex. This sense of victimhood is the unifying “tribalism” around which they rally in this anti-intellectual movement led by the most dangerous demagogue in American history.

The Washington Post reports, Trump threatens government shutdown, suggests controversial pardon at Arizona rally (paragraphs have been reordered):

President Trump’s freewheeling comments came at a boisterous campaign rally here during which he went on an extended diatribe about the media, blaming reporters for the negative fallout he has received over his responses to the hate-fueled violence in Charlottesville.

At the outset of the rally, Trump selectively recounted the series of statements he made in the days following the melee in Charlottesville, arguing that he “spoke out forcefully against hatred and bigotry and violence” but that the media — whom he called “sick people” — refused to report it properly.

“You know where my heart is,” Trump said, before pulling a copy of his first of three statements on the violence out of his suit coat and reading it to his audience. He later accused the media of giving a platform to the hate groups that were central to the violence in Charlottesville that led to three deaths.

Following his comments last week, Trump was criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for blaming “both sides” for the violence and saying that “fine people” had marched along with white supremacists to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.

Trump did not mention either of those remarks in his diatribe against the media on Tuesday. He lied by omission to his sycophant supporters in his revisionist history, and his sycophant supporters didn’t care. Facts simply do not matter to these people, they are in thrall to Trump lies, President Trump has made more than 1,000 false or misleading statements, all that matters to them is their unquestioning devotion and loyalty to their “Dear Leader.”

Trump also never mentioned Heather Heyer, the woman mowed down by a white supremacist with his vehicle in Charlottesville. In Trump’s revisionist history, he was the only victim that day.

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Donald Trump to darken Arizona’s doorway again

Donald Trump is under intense political fire for his defense of Neo-Confederate and Neo-Nazi white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

When in trouble, Trump sets up a campaign rally in a state that he won so he can appear before his cult followers and bask in their unquestioning adulation.

So naturally, Trump is coming to Phoenix where former Governor Jan Brewer defends President Donald Trump’s Charlottesville remarks, and Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature have uniformly voted in favor of Neo-Confederate and “Tenther” legislation for years, as we have documented at this blog. These are his people.

President Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign-style rally in downtown Phoenix next Tuesday, making his first presidential trip to the West as his administration confronts an uproar over his tepid response to a deadly white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Donald Trump makes it official: He’ll hold a downtown Phoenix rally:

Trump will take the stage at the Phoenix Convention Center on Tuesday at 7 p.m., according to an announcement Wednesday morning. Attendees must register to obtain tickets.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wrote in a statement Wednesday he was disappointed to learn of Trump’s visit so close to the violent events in Charlottesville. The mayor called on Trump to delay the visit.

“If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation,” the statement said.

Break out those Confederate and Nazi flags! As the “Unite the Right” alt-right protestors in Charlottesville chanted, “Heil Trump!” Show us your true colors. Trump has made it acceptable for you to come out of the shadows and to let your freak flags fly.

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