Wisconsin and Chicago elections expose liabilities in GOP case for ’24
The crime-related political attacks didn’t land.
“Voters showed that they understand public safety to be much more nuanced than the way the Republicans try to frame it. That this is not just about having adequate law enforcement on the streets to promote public safety, but also about investing in mental health and substance use treatment and addressing poverty,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said in an interview with POLITICO. “There are not just the short-term efforts to address crime, but also the long-term efforts.”
Wisconsin’s stunning outcome puts MAGA Republicans in a serious bind
The Wisconsin results suggest a trend that developed in the 2022 midterm elections will continue. Candidates who stood up for abortion rights — and emphasized that protecting democracy is critical to safeguarding those rights — defeated anti-choice, election-denying MAGA candidates everywhere.
That’s the message Protasiewicz and Wisconsin Democrats employed against Kelly, who lent support to Donald Trump’s lies about his 2020 reelection loss. Democrats argued that a liberal court majority would likely overturn the state’s abortion ban.
But Democrats also spent heavily on spots that cast a conservative court as a threat to democracy. Democrats argued that a right-wing court could subvert the state’s 2024 presidential outcome, and noted that a liberal court might overturn the state’s extremely gerrymandered legislative districts. This combination helped drive the size of the Wisconsin victory, the state Democratic Party believes, as well as record turnout for a state Supreme Court race totaling 1.8 million votes.
The pulsating state politics that could shape America more than Trump’s legal woes
This remarkable series of local battles is not always noticed in Washington, where lawmakers are gearing up for a looming debt ceiling crisis and arguing about aid to Ukraine.
But political brushfires that begin in states can later rage at the national level and define future general election clashes. It’s already clear, for example, that gender and transgender issues will be a dominant question in 2024, as Republicans slam Democrats for embracing policies that they describe as “woke.”
Donald Trump Is on the Wrong Side of the Religious Right
Evangelical leaders are abandoning the former president, and his Republican rivals are scrambling to win their support.
Piety aside, raw political calculation was at work. Trump’s relationship with the evangelical movement—once seemingly shatterproof, then shaky after his violent departure from the White House—is now in pieces, thanks to his social-media tirade last fall blaming pro-lifers for the Republicans’ lackluster midterm performance. Because of his intimate, longtime ties to the religious right, Pence understands the extent of the damage. He is close personal friends with the organizational leaders who have fumed about it; he knows that the former president has refused to make any sort of peace offering to the anti-abortion community and is now effectively estranged from its most influential leaders.
According to people who have spoken with Pence, he believes that this erosion of support among evangelicals represents Trump’s greatest vulnerability in the upcoming primary—and his own greatest opportunity to make a play for the GOP nomination.
But he isn’t the only one.
Here’s what happened (Tennessean): “With a bullhorn, Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, and Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, led protestors in the galleries in several chants calling for gun reform.”
Rep. Jones and Rep. Pearson (who are Black) were later expelled from the Tennessee House. Rep. Johnson (a white woman) was not.
Those young Representatives will be back. They’ll either be reappointed or re-elected by local councils. But they’ll come back stronger than when they left, with national profiles.
Great job, Republicans.
The Trump Indictment Reveals More About Our Politics Than It Does About the Ex-President
Is the effort to hold Trump accountable showing the limits of our “politics of revelation”?
Trump’s actions have remained consistent over time. He started his presidential bid with a clear track record on race and immigration, paying debts, and following the law. At nearly every turn, Trump has been exactly who his words and actions told us who he was. It’s the response to them that has changed, and that has told us who we are.
What has surprised at least some observers is the reaction to Trump from political leaders, the media and the public. From insulting John McCain in 2015 to the Access Hollywood tape to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., to Jan. 6, elected Republicans have mostly kept their criticisms tepid, and the president’s public support has remained steady. The media has often relied on the “unprecedented” frame, talking about Trump’s actions as norm-breaking when they should have talked about them as republic-breaking.
The last 48 hours revealed the GOP’s intractable 2024 dilemma
Trump and pro-lifers own the Republican Party. That’s bad for its political future.
In the past 48 hours, three major news events have revealed a fundamental problem for the Republican Party’s political future.
First, Donald Trump was formally indicted in New York — a move by prosecutors that appears to have unified the party around him, cementing his already rising poll numbers and making it harder to imagine the GOP ever moving on. This is despite the fact that 60 percent of Americans approve of the indictment, and he remains politically toxic among the majority of Americans.
Second, Republicans lost control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in an off-year election — a campaign where abortion was “the dominating issue,” per University of Wisconsin political scientist Barry Burden. The repeal of Roe v. Wade brought back an 1849 state law, never technically repealed, that banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy (with an exception for the mother’s life). Janet Protasiewicz, the liberal candidate in the Supreme Court race, openly campaigned on her support for abortion rights. She won by a comfortable margin in a closely divided state — yet another sign that strict abortion bans are seriously unpopular.
Third, the Florida Senate on Monday approved a six-week ban on abortion — a bill pushed and supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The GOP’s most plausible non-Trump candidate has now tied himself to one of its most unpopular policy positions with a proven capacity to power Democratic electoral wins.
The developments capture the Republican Party’s problem in a nutshell.
THE HUMILIATION OF DONALD TRUMP
He was forced to return to the island that rejected him—not in triumph, but in disgrace.
No one predicted that he would look quite so humiliated.
Of course, becoming the first ex-president in American history to be charged with a crime is not exactly a coveted résumé line. But Donald Trump’s indictment yesterday marked a low point in another way too: For a man who’s long harbored a distinctive form of class anxiety rooted in his native New York, Trump’s arraignment in Manhattan represented the ultimate comeuppance.
The island of Manhattan plays an important role in the Donald Trump creation myth. In speeches and interviews over the years, Trump has repeatedly recalled peering across the East River as a young man, yearning to expand the family real-estate business and compete with the city’s biggest developers. For a kid born in Queens—even one who grew up in a rich family—Manhattan seemed like the center of the universe…
But Trump was never really accepted by Manhattan’s old-money aristocracy. To the city’s elites, he was just another nouveau riche wannabe with bad manners and a distasteful penchant for self-promotion. They recognized the type—the outer-borough kid who’d made good—and they made sure he knew he wasn’t one of them. With each guest list that omitted his name, with each VIP invitation that didn’t come, Trump’s resentment burned hotter—and his desire for revenge deepened.