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GOP Watch Keeping an Eye on Republicans for You - Page 12

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” ― Theodore Roosevelt Welcome to GOP Watch keeping an eye on Republicans for you. The Republican Party is using lies, hate, fear, alterative facts and whataboutism to stay in power and protect a comprised and corrupt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and Putin. The GOP is a danger to America and Americans.

Some conservatives have echoed the Kremlin’s misleading claims about the war and vice versa, giving each other’s assertions a sheen of credibility.
By Sheera Frenkel and Stuart A. Thompson

After President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia claimed that action against Ukraine was taken in self-defense, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the conservative commentator Candace Owens repeated the assertion. When Mr. Putin insisted he was trying to “denazify” Ukraine, Joe Oltmann, a far-right podcaster, and Lara Logan, another right-wing commentator, mirrored the idea. The echoing went the other way, too. Some far-right American news sites, like Infowars, stoked a longtime, unfounded Russian claim that the United States funded biological weapons labs in Ukraine. Russian officials seized on the chatter, with the Kremlin contending it had documentation of bioweapons programs that justified its “special military operation” in Ukraine. As war has raged, the Kremlin’s talking points and some right-wing discourse in the United States — fueled by those on the far right — have coalesced. On social media, podcasts and television, falsehoods about the invasion of Ukraine have flowed both ways, with Americans amplifying lies from Russians and the Kremlin spreading fabrications that festered in American forums online.

America's far right shares a common enemy with Putin and Russia: the West's liberal values and the cabal of elites they believe controls the economy and the media.
Will Carless, Jessica Guynn | USA TODAY

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there has been near unanimous denunciation of President Vladimir Putin, from President Joe Biden calling Putin a "war criminal," to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell describing him as a "ruthless thug." But the Ukraine invasion has found a significant pocket of support from prominent figures on the far right including white supremacist Nick Fuentes, who regularly gushes about Putin on his Telegram channel. The war is also a hot topic in QAnon chatrooms where Putin is often portrayed as a hero.

Russian president has enjoyed support among US conservatives, but Ukraine attack now prompts criticism.
By Chris Moody
Published On 4 Mar 20224 Mar 2022

As Russia’s deadly invasion of Ukraine continues, a number of prominent American conservatives who had previously been complimentary of Vladimir Putin have been forced to confront past comments praising the Russian president. For years, Putin has enjoyed support from an unlikely coalition of elected Republican officials, conservative Christian leaders and right-wing television hosts, whose praise has ranged from admiration of his intelligence to his hardline position against progressive cultural ideas.

The Russian leader is an autocrat with a homophobic and misogynistic worldview. No wonder he is admired by so many Republicans.
Arwa Mahdawi

Say what you like about Vladimir Putin; he may be slaughtering innocent Ukrainians, but, on the plus side, he has never once called the Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson a racist. Last Tuesday, Carlson, who is reportedly paid $10m (£7.5m) a year for his piercing insights and analysis, told Americans that they had been brainwashed into thinking Putin was a baddie. Think critically, Carlson instructed his depressingly large audience. Ask yourself this, he posited: “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? … Is he making fentanyl? Is he trying to snuff out Christianity? Does he eat dogs? These are fair questions – and the answer to all of them is no.” To be clear: these are inane questions and the answer to all of them is: “Turn off Fox News before the rest of your brain turns to mush.” Carlson, it should be said, has significantly toned down the pro-Putin rhetoric in the past few days. What is noteworthy, however, is the fact that Carlson is far from the only person on the US right to have a soft spot for old Vlad. While Donald Trump has called the Russian attack on Ukraine “appalling”, he has also called Putin’s actions “genius”, “savvy” and “smart”.

From Trump adviser Roger Stone to Fox Nation host Lara Logan to rocker Aaron Lewis, MAGAworld has unleashed a flood of praise for Putin
By Tim Dickinson

Vladimir Putin is ramping up his brutal assault on Ukraine, shelling civilians from Odessa to Kharkiv, and leveling the port city of Mariupol — leading President Joe Biden to denounce the Russian dictator as a “war criminal.” But if the initial days of the war were marked by some conservatives muting their admiration for the Russian state, a spate of notorious right-wing figures are now dropping the mask to defend Putin, and even claim his fight as their own. Over the weekend, former Trump adviser Roger Stone, MAGA media maven Cassandra MacDonald (née Fairbanks), and former Staind rocker Aaron Lewis all spoke out to praise Putin, denounce Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky — or both. This week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene joined the parade, blaming Ukraine for getting itself invaded, while insisting that the war is a lost cause and that Putin is “being very successful” in Ukraine. Then Lara Logan, the former “60 Minutes” correspondent who has her own show on the streaming service Fox Nation, trumped them all, touting Putin as a heroic global actor, declaring: “He’s the man who is standing between us and this New World Order.”

From Tucker Carlson to Tulsi Gabbard, these prominent Moscow apologists tried to tell you Ukraine’s fate shouldn’t matter to America
By Tim Dickinson

As Vladimir Putin ramps up his military offensive against Ukraine, not everyone is upset that the Russian bear is mauling its European neighbor. Across the American right, prominent figures from Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones to senate candidate J.D. Vance and CPAC star Tulsi Gabbard, have been cheering Putin on, broadcasting their disdain for Ukraine — or both.

Tucker Carlson
Fox News host Carlson has long toasted to Ukraine’s ill health. As far back as 2019, Carlson said out loud that he was for Moscow in its clash with Kyiv. “Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?” Carlson asked of a guest. “Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which, by the way, I am.”


Many Republican leaders have praised Vladimir Putin and misled Americans about the facts of his record as a dictator. This MSNBC report documents some of those claims, featuring them in contrast to recent reporting and footage about Putin's invasion of Ukraine. This is part of a larger report by MSNBC’s Ari Melber.

Stephanie Foggett, Mollie Saltskog, and Colin Clarke

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s quest to “de-Nazify” Ukraine has found a fertile audience in the United States, especially online. For those of us monitoring the virtual spaces inhabited by far-right and white supremacist extremists, it is evident that Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has been a major topic of conversation, with sharp disagreement. This isn’t surprising, necessarily. The individuals, groups, and networks that comprise the violent far-right online ecosystem have never been a monolith. At their ideological core, these groups view the world — and the events taking place within it — through the lens of their political aspirations for the creation of a white ethno-state and the destruction of Western liberal societies. This violent cornerstone is a good starting point for understanding the narratives shaping the American far right’s online discourse around Ukraine.

Some are already too deep into conspiracy theories to break with Russia, or at least to side cleanly with Ukraine.
By Emily Tamkin

WASHINGTON DC – There is broad support from both parties for working with America’s allies and partners in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. Most Democrats and Republicans, for all of their disagreements, agree on this. And yet one corner of the American right continues to support Russia, or at least Russian talking points, despite the lack of any clear political reason for it to do so. Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, for instance, has accused the US government of funding neo-Nazis in Ukraine. This is an apparent reference to fears that foreign funding would get into the hands of Ukraine’s far-right militia the Azov Battalion, and echoes Russian president Vladimir Putin’s claims that he is seeking to “de-Nazify” Ukraine, a country run by a Jewish president, and where Ukrainian Jews are currently under siege from Russia’s war.

by Jackson Katz

Mocking the “manhood” of Democratic leaders has been a tried-and-true strategy for years, helping to shape the American right’s current confused and sometimes counterintuitive responses to the Russian attack. Many insightful scholars of European and American fascism over the past century—straight through to the present—have explained how the “strongmen” leaders around which far-right movements coalesce typically possess a visceral understanding of the ways in which their popularity depends on their ability to project a certain kind of cartoonish machismo. Many on the left side of the political spectrum have ridiculed Vladimir Putin’s famous bare-chested photo-ops on horses, and also mocked Donald Trump’s similar attempts to present himself as a tough guy. But as NYU historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat has noted, we dismiss these hypermasculine performances at our own peril, given how powerfully they resonate with their most ardent and loyal followers. “We might want to laugh at Mussolini or Putin posing bare-chested,” Ben-Ghiat, the author of the book Strongmen, said in a recent interview. “But such displays of virility are actually a strategy of political legitimation and an important component of authoritarian rule.”

The GOP is lying to you again oil companies are making record profits and the GOP blames Biden instead of the oil companies.

Bob Brigham

Republicans have a new strategy designed to exploit voter frustration over gas prices as the 2022 midterms heat up. "The Republican National Committee is launching an initiative to register voters at gas stations in response to the record surge in gas prices that has Americans paying over $6 per gallon in some areas," Fox News reported Saturday. According to AAA, the average price nationwide is $4.27 a gallon for regular gasoline. The RNC began it's efforts in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. In New York, right-wing activist Scott Presler launched his own voter registration drive "on Staten Island, in Queens, Nassau, & Suffolk." "This is going to be big!" he predicted.

Senate judiciary committee chair Dick Durbin says Hawley’s attacks should be ignored in confirmation hearings this week
Martin Pengelly

The Missouri Republican Josh Hawley is wrong to attack Ketanji Brown Jackson, Joe Biden’s supreme court nominee, and should be ignored in confirmation hearings this week, the Senate judiciary chair said. Hawley, the Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin said, is “part of the fringe within the Republican party … a man who was fist-bumping the murderous mob that descended on the Capitol on 6 January of the last year. “He doesn’t have the credibility he thinks he does.” If confirmed, Jackson will be the first Black woman on the court. If Democrats hold their 50 votes she will be installed, via Kamala Harris’s vote as vice-president. more...

Conservatives and U.S. media are regurgitating a fake conspiracy theory that’s being used to justify Putin’s assault on Ukraine.
Jared Holt

In the information era, a lie can make its way around the world and, in short order, make millions of people sympathetic to an unjustifiable war of aggression. False claims that Russia has been targeting sinister U.S.-backed “biolabs” in Ukraine were popularized among conspiratorial American audiences by QAnon believers shortly after Russia launched its invasion in late February. Mainstream Republican voices have since dragged the old Russian propaganda at its roots across the forefront of the U.S. political stage. The Kremlin has for years accused the U.S. of operating a shady network of biolabs in foreign countries conducting dangerous experiments, including some in Ukraine that have allegedly targeted unsuspecting locals. Though the U.S. does support medical and biodefense labs across the former Soviet Union, there is no evidence to support claims that the labs are used to develop bioweapons programs. China has peddled similar propaganda; it tag-teamed with Russia last year to rehash an old accusation that COVID-19 may have been manufactured in U.S.-supported labs—a narrative that has been nurtured by pro-Kremlin sources since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. more...

By Jason Lemon

GOP Senator Thom Tillis has charged that Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn is being used by Russian state propaganda after he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a "thug" and his government "evil." Russian state media have repeatedly played clips of Cawthorn after his comments were first reported last week, NBC News foreign correspondent Raf Sanchez reported on Thursday. Remarks from other prominent conservatives—including former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Fox News host Tucker Carlson—have been used by Russia's state propaganda as well. Video of Cawthorn making the controversial anti-Ukrainian remarks amid Russia's assault on the country was first published last Thursday by local North Carolina station WRAL-TV. "Remember that Zelensky is a thug," the Republican congressman said in the clip. "Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies." more...

Is the Republican Party’s “Putin wing” large? Not really. But Marjorie Taylor Greene’s newest video is a reminder that it definitely exists.
By Steve Benen

After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed members of the U.S. Congress yesterday, the overwhelming majority of American lawmakers responded by endorsing increased aid to the country trying to fend off Russia’s brutal invasion. But members weren’t completely unanimous on this point. The Washington Post highlighted a video Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene released last night, in which the Georgia Republican pushed a very different kind of message. more...

The conflict highlights the party's craven hypocrisy around its inability to take on Trump and their favorite right-wing media personalities for their troublesome ongoing affinity for Putin.
By Tara Setmayer

The Republican Party doesn't only have a Donald Trump problem. It also has a Vladimir Putin problem. As the GOP tries to politically weaponize the Ukraine conflict to question President Joe Biden's leadership, it also spotlights the party's craven hypocrisy around its inability to take on Trump for his troublesome record with Russia and ongoing affinity for Putin. This is not only a political vulnerability for Republicans, but it's also a moral failing. No matter how many statements they put out condemning Putin's invasion of Ukraine or how many blue and yellow flag lapel pins they wear, the Republicans cannot escape Trump's role, or the role of their favorite right-wing media personalities, in carrying Putin's water for years. more...

John Kruzel

The revelation this week that Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, attended the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol has renewed questions about Justice Thomas's impartiality. Critics say the new detail is just the latest example of Ginni's political activity posing an ethically troubling overlap with her husband's judicial position. "Virginia Thomas should be able to back whatever causes motivate her. The problem is that Justice Thomas continues to participate in cases related to her political activities," said Steven Lubet, a professor of legal ethics at Northwestern University Law School. "He is the one whose conduct should be questioned." Judges on lower federal courts are bound by a code of conduct that requires recusal for conflicts of interest, or even if their impartiality might be reasonably questioned. But Supreme Court justices are permitted to decide for themselves whether or not recusal is appropriate in a given case. more...

Marjorie Taylor Green is wrong or she is taking Putin side. The people of Ukraine are fighting for their homes, their lives, their families, their friends, their people and their lands. Would you give up if someone attacked your Country killed your people and destroyed your lands for no reason?

Brad Reed

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on Wednesday slammed President Joe Biden for sending more military aid to Ukraine, and said that things would be better off if Ukrainians just gave up their efforts to resist the Russian invasion. In a Facebook address to her supporters, Greene laid out the case against helping the Ukrainians with more weapons. "If we truly care about suffering and death on our television screens, we cannot fund more of it by sending money and weaponry to fight a war they cannot possibly win!" she said. "The only effect of more arms and more money from America will be to prolong the war!" Greene went on to say that America was giving Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his people "false hope about a war they can't win." more...

David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

Consider these explosive headlines from Fox News over the past several months: "Democrat-run cities overwhelmed by crime surge," "Murder and crime rates spike in Democrat-run cities - is it a control play?" or, "Democrat-run cities experience record breaking homicide rates." Ten days before Christmas last year House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy falsely blamed Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a "crime wave" that's "spreading across the country." "Speaker Pelosi should look in the mirror to see what caused the ‘attitude of lawlessness’ spreading across the country," he wrote. "Democrat politicians defunded police, raised money for rioters, and pushed policies that are soft on crime. They own this crime wave." And here's McCarthy just days ago, again lying, claiming crime is "created by Democrats." more...

Oil companies are making record profits on the backs of the American people, but Republicans blame Biden while giving oil companies and gas stations a pass.

Critics say party has seized on price hikes to exploit war in Ukraine for its own benefit – ‘an unconscionable act of political cowardice’
David Smith in Washington

“I’m proud to stand with my Republican and Democrat colleagues” to send help to Ukraine, Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the US House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee, said this week. Imports of vodka will be halted in retaliation against the invasion of Ukraine. But even as they express solidarity with Joe Biden’s stance on Russia with one hand, Republicans are launching partisan attacks against the president with the other. The party has, critics say, seized on soaring US gas prices to exploit the tragedy in Ukraine for its own political benefit. Since war broke out last month Republicans have honed a message that America achieved “energy independence” under Donald Trump only for it to be squandered by Biden, whose preoccupation with the climate crisis hurt domestic production, drove fuel prices up and strengthened oil-rich rivals such as Russia. more...

Republicans are the anti-American party

While most U.S. officials have expressed support for allies in Kyiv, Madison Cawthorn said Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a “thug” leading an “evil” government.
By Steve Benen

As the crisis in Ukraine continues, most elected officials in the United States have expressed support for their allies in Kyiv. There are however, some notable exceptions. WRAL in North Carolina reported this morning on Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who told a group of supporters this past weekend that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a “thug” leading an “evil” government. more...

By Joanna Robin in Washington DC

On the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, conservative media commentator Tucker Carlson used his nightly Fox News platform to ask why the Democratic establishment was being hostile towards Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Since the day that Donald Trump became president, Democrats in Washington have told you it’s your patriotic duty to hate Vladimir Putin," Carlson said. "Anything less than hatred for Putin is treason." He mused that hating Putin had become "the central purpose of America’s foreign policy", which, he argued, could force the United States into a conflict in Eastern Europe — something no one from either side of politics has called for. Mr Carlson insisted his audience ask themselves: "Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist?" more...

By Mary Papenfuss

Justice Clarence Thomas , whose conservative activist wife has battled to throw out the results of a legitimate presidential election, ironically warned in a speech Saturday that efforts to politicize the Supreme Court could compromise its credibility. “You can cavalierly talk about packing or stacking the court,” Thomas told an audience Friday at a Salt Lake City hotel, the Guardian reported . “You can cavalierly talk about doing this or doing that. At some point the institution is going to be compromised.” “By doing this, you continue to chip away at the respect of the institutions that the next generation is going to need if they’re going to have civil society,” he added, according to the Associated Press . more...

Critics say party has seized on price hikes to exploit war in Ukraine for its own benefit – ‘an unconscionable act of political cowardice’

In a Washington riven by discord, it can seem like a throwback to a gentler time. “I’m proud to stand with my Republican and Democrat colleagues” to send help to Ukraine, Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the US House of Representatives’ foreign affairs committee, said this week. Imports of vodka will be halted in retaliation against the invasion of Ukraine. But even as they express solidarity with Joe Biden’s stance on Russia with one hand, Republicans are launching partisan attacks against the president with the other. The party has, critics say, seized on soaring US gas prices to exploit the tragedy in Ukraine for its own political benefit. more...

Reshaping the Capitol riot probe into a political weapon if Republicans take the majority is an idea with high-profile conservative fans — but an uncertain fate.
By Olivia Beavers and Kyle Cheney

A faction of pro-Trump House Republicans is escalating calls to preserve Democrats’ Jan. 6 select panel — but use it to serve their own purposes. Not all of the conference is convinced. The idea of keeping the Capitol riot committee alive if the GOP retakes the majority this fall, with a wildly different focus, has high-profile fans on the right. Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) said it would be “asinine” for a GOP majority to disband the panel, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has called for using it to pursue unfounded theories about the Justice Department’s involvement in the Jan. 6 attack. more...

Conservatives are promoting the "independent legislature" theory, which would hand vast election powers to GOP legislators in battleground states.
By Zach Montellaro

A legal argument lurking in two Supreme Court cases could give Republican legislators in battleground states sweeping control over election procedures, with ramifications that could include power over how states select presidential electors. Republicans from Pennsylvania and North Carolina challenged court-ordered redistricting plans in their states based on the “independent legislature” theory. It’s a reading of the Constitution, stemming from the 2000 election recount in Florida, that argues legislators have ultimate power over elections in their states and that state courts have a limited ability — or even none at all — to check it. more...

No man is above the law. If Trump broke the law, he should be prosecuted just like anyone else.

By Alexander Bolton

Republican lawmakers are warning that any Department of Justice prosecution of former President Trump will turn into a political battle, setting a high bar for Attorney General Merrick Garland to act on an expected criminal referral from the House’s Jan. 6 committee. The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol previewed its likely referral to the Justice Department in a court filing made public last week and experts say the evidence assembled by House investigators would provide a strong impetus for prosecutors to act. more...

Kevin McCarthy, who said on Jan. 6 that Trump bore some responsibility, is determined now to keep Trump from being held responsible.
Margaret Carlson

Trump flunky Kevin McCarthy, rarely known for effective leadership, is doing his damndest to undermine Speaker Nancy Pelosi even before the opening gavel comes down Tuesday at her consolation hearings investigating Jan. 6—a substitute for the independent 9/11-type commission that the attack warranted but Republicans killed even before it was born. more...

The GOP has long made school curricula part of the culture wars.
By Alex Samuels and Kaleigh Rogers

In the 1960s and 70s, conservatives were waging a war against what they considered an existential threat infiltrating America’s public schools. Pamphlets were circulated by the John Birch Society, a right-wing extremist group, declaring it a “filthy Communist plot.” And then-Governor Ronald Reagan of California decried it as a “moral crisis” that needed to be eradicated. What was poisoning the minds of America’s youth? Sex education. These days, sex ed is more widely accepted, especially following the HIV/AIDS epidemic (though conservatives have still managed to beat back more progressive school curricula when it comes to sexual health), but the Republican Party’s habit of identifying a bogeyman in America’s education system hasn’t wavered. more...

By Melanie Zanona, CNN

(CNN) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is finalizing a House GOP roster for a Democratic-led investigation into the deadly January 6 insurrection, canning the idea of a boycott on adding Republicans to the panel on the theory that it's better to join in and play an active defense. Initially, there was an internal debate inside the House GOP about whether the California Republican should appoint members to the select committee or just skip it altogether as a way to paint the entire effort as partisan. But McCarthy indeed plans to place Republicans on the high-profile panel, CNN has learned, according to multiple GOP sources familiar with his intentions, and is in the process of making his selections. The thinking among Republicans is that the perch will enable them to shape a counternarrative to a probe that could ensnare not only Donald Trump, but also other members of their party. more...

Brendan Morrow, Staff Writer

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has reportedly issued a "stark warning" to Republicans, warning them not to accept an appointment to the Jan 6. select committee. McCarthy, Punchbowl News reports, during a meeting with freshman lawmakers warned that if any Republican accepts an appointment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to serve on a select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, "they better be ready to get all their committee assignments from her." He warned them that Republicans must get their committee assignments from Republicans and not Democrats, "or else," Punchbowl writes. more...

My parents and many other African Americans in Southern states could not cast ballots until President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Donna Brazile

This is personal to me. Senate Republicans have won an important battle in their disgraceful war on democracy, but it was a major defeat for the American people and our right to vote – a fundamental right long denied to millions of Black Americans, including my enslaved ancestors and my own grandparents and parents born in the South after slavery ended. Coming just a week after congressional Republicans joined Democrats to designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday marking the end of slavery, the Republican opposition to even debating the For the People Act makes a mockery of their support for the new holiday. Making Juneteenth a holiday shines a long overdue spotlight on America’s immoral embrace of slavery and racism. But suppressing the votes of Black Americans and other Americans is a fresh assault on our rights. more...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) Republicans justify their plan to block sweeping voting rights legislation in the Senate this week by arguing that it's a huge federal power grab. But their past words and actions suggest they are again prioritizing their own political advantage over defending democracy. When former President Donald Trump lost last year's election, most Republicans didn't do what most losing parties do -- agonize over how to modify their message and appeal to a majority to deliver them future power. Instead, party leaders in Washington and the states dedicated themselves to enshrining his anti-democratic behavior as GOP orthodoxy and whitewashing events that led to Trump's disgrace, including his pandemic failures, lies about non-existent major electoral fraud and the Capitol insurrection. more...

Republicans are pushing hundreds of bills to limit voting access. Some measures may get in the way of their own voters
Joan E Greve

As the coronavirus wreaked havoc around the world, lawmakers in the US were faced with a monumental task: carrying out a presidential election in the middle of a once-in-century pandemic. Concerned about the possibility of virus spread at polling places, Democrats pushed the federal government to approve more funding for states to expand absentee and early-voting options. But Donald Trump was against the idea for a single reason: he thought it would make it harder for Republicans to win. Trump said in a Fox News interview in March of last year that, if early and absentee voting options were expanded as Democrats wanted, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” Other Republicans have echoed Trump’s argument in recent months, as the party has pushed hundreds of bills to restrict voting access in dozens of states. more...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) The Republican Party has turned to another page in the authoritarian playbook as it whitewashes the history of Donald Trump's presidency. It's as if the fawning over Vladimir Putin never happened. Or Trump's assurance that Covid-19 would simply "go away" never passed his lips. Trump's acolytes have, meanwhile, rebranded the worst assault in American democracy in modern times into a January 6 tourist jaunt as they seek to cleanse the reputation of the former President who told rioters to "fight like Hell" and, months later, still holds enormous sway over the GOP. Trump and conservative propaganda media are also assailing Dr. Anthony Fauci to expunge the ex-President's neglect of a pandemic that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans on his watch. more...

Mitch McConnell and the republicans are trying to pack the Supreme Court. Mitch McConnell is planning to steal another Supreme Court seat; this is not how our democracy is supposed to work. Mitch McConnell and the republicans are once again depriving the American people who voted their rights and their votes.

By Mark Joseph Stern

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he would refuse to let President Joe Biden fill a Supreme Court seat in 2024 if Republicans win the Senate next year. McConnell also suggested that he would not let Biden fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2023, even if the president nominated “a normal mainstream liberal.” These comments are not remotely surprising. The Republican Party has outsourced much of its agenda to the federal judiciary, a strategy that requires its lawmakers to ruthlessly extinguish Democrats’ influence over the courts. To that end, a GOP-controlled Senate will never again confirm a Democratic president’s Supreme Court nominee. Not in an election year or any other year. Not in your lifetime or mine. Never. more...

Mitch McConnell and the republicans are trying to pack the Supreme Court. Mitch McConnell is planning to steal another Supreme Court seat; this is not how our democracy is supposed to work. Mitch McConnell and the republicans are once again depriving the American people who voted their rights and their votes.

Chelsey Cox | USA TODAY

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested Monday that he would block a Supreme Court nominee in 2024 if Republicans regain control of the Senate after the 2022 midterm elections. The Kentucky senator told conservative talk radio show host Hugh Hewitt that he would oppose a confirmation because, he says, it is not typical for a Senate of the opposite party of the president to confirm a nominee during an election year. "In fact, no, I don’t think either party if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election," McConnell said. more...

By Jason Johnson

Across the country, Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are fighting against critical race theory, even if they don’t know what it is. Professor Ibram X. Kendi joined us on Friday’s episode of A Word to explain critical race theory, so even racists can understand. He’s the author of How to Be an Antiracist and the director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He’s also the host of a new podcast, Be Antiracist With Ibram X. Kendi. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. more...


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — When Minnesota Republican Tyler Kistner announced his candidacy for the U.S. House in April, he asked voters to ponder two questions: “What America will we leave for our children?” and “Will they be taught to hate their police?” Across the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, Republicans in the 3rd Congressional District aired a digital ad this spring to demand that their Democratic congressman “stand up to attacks on law enforcement.” And in Iowa, a Republican governor who had promised additional checks on police conduct after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer plans to sign a law making it harder for police to be sued on the job. more...

The way Republicans have pushed the myth marks a dangerous turn from generalized allegations of fraud to refusing to accept the legitimacy of elections, experts say
Sam Levine | guardian.org

Just a few days after the polls closed in Florida’s 2018 general election, Rick Scott, then the state’s governor, held a press conference outside the governor’s mansion and made a stunning accusation. Scott was running for a US Senate seat, and as more votes were counted, his lead was dwindling. Targeting two of the state’s most Democratic-leaning counties, Scott said there was “rampant fraud”. “Every person in Florida knows exactly what is happening. Their goal is to mysteriously keep finding more votes until the election turns out the way they want,” he said, directing the state’s law enforcement agency to investigate. “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida.” more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Everywhere you look within the Republican Party these days there is an effort to forget -- and minimize -- what happened at the US Capitol on January 6. A Senate report released this week -- aimed at examining the security failures that led to the riot -- left the word "insurrection" entirely out except when quoting someone using the term. The reason? "Aides also steered clear of language that could turn off some Republicans, including not referring to the attack as an 'insurrection,' " reported CNN. Republican leaders have insisted that it's time for the country to move on -- and that Democrats' only motivation in pushing for a commission to investigate what happened on January 6 is to score political points. more...

The Arizona audit will only undermine faith in democracy.
David A. Graham | Staff writer at The Atlantic

For critics who say that an audit of 2020 votes in Maricopa County, Arizona, is just a costly exercise in misinformation, the Republican state senators who ordered the count have a simple question: If you’re sure that the votes were counted correctly, then what’s the harm in counting them again to reassure voters who aren’t convinced? “We are here to make sure Arizona voters can have faith and confidence that elections conducted in this state and this county have integrity,” Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state working for the state Senate on the audit, said in April. “We’re going to be able to tell everyone in Arizona in a few weeks that they can have complete trust in their elections—or we have some areas that can be improved.” more...

Conservatives may disagree with one another about what happened in 2020, but they’re converging on a belief that Democrats win close elections only through fraud.
David A. Graham | Staff writer at The Atlantic

Former President Donald Trump has been speaking publicly about running to reclaim the White House in 2024, but he’s also reportedly expecting to make a comeback before then. “Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August,” Maggie Haberman, the New York Times’ ace Trump reporter, tweeted Tuesday. There’s no such thing as reinstating a president, but Trump is echoing claims made by Sidney Powell, the lawyer who briefly pursued his specious election-fraud claims in court after the November election. Trump “can simply be reinstated,” she said this weekend. “A new inauguration date is set, and Biden is told to move out of the White House, and President Trump should be moved back in.” Powell is the same person who argued in a court filing this spring that no reasonable person would believe her election-fraud arguments. more...

"We truly are in uncharted waters," one expert said, calling the efforts more than six months after the 2020 election "unsustainable" for U.S. democracy.
By Allan Smith

Republican-led efforts to re-examine last fall's vote are spreading as experts and election officials warn that the proliferation amounts to a grave threat to U.S. democracy. At the center of the push is Arizona, where the private company hired by the Republican-controlled state Senate continues its review of more than 2 million Maricopa County ballots, despite prior audits finding no evidence of fraud. With former President Donald Trump and others on the right following that count closely — despite it having no legal ability to overturn the result — GOP officials and voters have pushed for similar probes in at least five other states. In Georgia, a judge last month awarded a group of plaintiffs, led by a known conspiracy theorist, a limited review of mail-in ballots in Fulton County. (That effort is still being litigated.) In Wisconsin, the Republican state House speaker recently hired a team of retired police officers and an attorney to probe the 2020 election. more...

Jon Ward | Yahoo News

The Republican Party finds itself in befuddling circumstances as former President Donald Trump prepares to hold political rallies again, beginning this weekend with an appearance in North Carolina. Trump was one of the only Republican candidates to lose a high-profile competitive race in 2020. GOP candidates won the majority of close races across the country, in the U.S. Senate, in the U.S. House and in state legislatures and gubernatorial races. Yet the party remains stuck with Trump as its standard bearer for the foreseeable future, due to his intense popularity with a vocal portion of the party. A substantial majority of Republicans also say they believe his claims that the election was stolen from him, according to a recent Yahoo News/YouGov survey, and he leads the rest of the hypothetical GOP field in some early polls for the party’s nomination in 2024. more...

In states where Republicans control the legislature, American life is rapidly changing.
Ronald Brownstein

It’s not just voting rights. Though this year’s proliferation of bills restricting ballot access in red states has commanded national attention, it represents just one stream in a torrent of conservative legislation poised to remake the country. GOP-controlled states—including Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Iowa, and Montana—have advanced their most conservative agenda in years, and one that reflects Donald Trump’s present stamp on the Republican Party. Across these states and others, Republican legislators and governors have operated as if they were programming a prime-time lineup at Fox News. They have focused far less on the small-government, limited-spending, and anti-tax policies that once defined the GOP than on an array of hot-button social issues, such as abortion, guns, and limits on public protest, that reflect the cultural and racial priorities of Trump’s base. more...

Democratic campaigns can overcome some, but not all, of the Republican Party’s efforts to disenfranchise voters.
By Ian Millhiser

Democrats — and democracy — won what is likely to be a very temporary victory in Texas this past weekend. On Sunday evening, Texas Republicans expected to pass Senate Bill 7, which contains several provisions making it harder to cast a ballot in Texas. But Democrats took advantage of two procedural constraints to temporarily block the bill. The legislative session expired at midnight, placing a hard deadline on all bills that Texas lawmakers hoped to enact, and the state House must have two-thirds of its members present to conduct business. So Democrats ran out the clock by abandoning the House chamber before Republicans could call a vote on the bill. more...

Miles Parks

To Matt Masterson, the review of 2020 ballots from Maricopa County, Ariz., that's underway is "performance art" or "a clown show," and definitely "a waste of taxpayer money." But it's not an audit. "It's an audit in name only," says Masterson, a former Department of Homeland Security official who helped lead the federal government's election security preparations leading up to November's election. "It's a threat to the overall confidence of democracy, all in pursuit of continuing a narrative that we know to be a lie." By lie, he means the assertion from former President Donald Trump and some of his allies that election fraud cost him a second term in the White House. more...

Christopher Wilson

A partisan audit of the 2020 election in Arizona continued this week, with further accusations of ineptitude against the firm running it and a gubernatorial campaign launch from a top Democrat opposing it. The audit of votes in Maricopa County, which has drawn criticism from a number of local Republican officials, will not affect the actual results of November’s election but has been used in right-wing media to justify the widespread belief among Republicans that the 2020 results were fraudulent. It’s being spearheaded by Cyber Ninjas, an obscure Florida-based cybersecurity firm whose CEO has promoted election conspiracies, and which was hired by the GOP-controlled state Senate to handle the process. more...

By Cammy Pedroja

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he would withhold pay from Texas lawmakers by vetoing the section of the state budget that funds their paychecks. His announcement comes just hours after Texas Democrats walked out of the House, breaking quorum, and blocking the possibility of a vote before a midnight deadline. "I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities," Abbott tweeted Monday afternoon. "Stay tuned." more...

By Eric Bradner and Dianne Gallagher, CNN

Austin, Texas (CNN) Texas Republicans' push to enact a slew of new voting restrictions was stymied -- at least for now -- by Democrats who walked off the state House floor late Sunday night, leaving majority Republicans without the quorum they needed to approve the bill in the final hours before a midnight deadline. Their move effectively killed Senate Bill 7 for this year's legislative session. But it could soon be revived: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Sunday night that he is adding "election integrity" to a list of topics lawmakers will address in a special session he plans to call. "Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session," Abbott said. Democrats left the chamber at about 10:45 p.m., CT, leaving Republican Speaker Dade Phelan to concede that the House did not have the 100 members necessary for a quorum and to adjourn the House for the night. more...

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