Friday Talking Points -- The Blunderful Blizzard Of Oz

[ Posted Friday, May 20th, 2022 – 17:55 UTC ]

We were reminded of the whole Wonderful Wizard of Oz metaphor early this week, when we saw Mehmet "Dr." Oz at a last-minute Pennsylvania campaign rally, holding up his smartphone to the crowd, as the disembodied voice of the great MAGA Dear Leader bellowed forth bombast and nonsense to the crowd. All it needed was some smoke and fireballs at the sides of the stage, really. It seemed to us (but then we do have a rather warped sense of humor...) that Oz was begging the crowd to please pay lots of attention to the man behind the curtain.

We must admit, we haven't seen the ads that ran in the Keystone State during the Republican primary, but we wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them has just had to go with an L. Frank Baum-inspired metaphor. It's there for the taking, with his last name, right? So why not?

However, it is now Friday, and even though we have no idea who will emerge the victor of the Senate GOP nominating contest, Donald Trump is already teeing up a new round of "I wuz robbed!" on Oz's behalf. We do have to wonder if this blizzard of bovine excrement is going to have any repercussions in the fall, though -- repercussions which could wind up helping the rather-impressive Democratic candidate in the race. Could this be a gigantic blunder in the making? One can only hope....

The margin of the race, as of this writing, is now within 1,100 votes -- out of over a million cast. And there are still tens of thousands of votes to count. What this guarantees is that no matter which candidate is proclaimed the winner, there will be an automatic recount which will take weeks. During this period, the fierce internecine battle will rage on between Trump's "Big Lie" universe (where any election that didn't come out your way is automatically illegitimate) and the saner members of the Republican Party. This will likely happen no matter who eventually wins. Since it was a multi-candidate race, the winner will be crowned with not even one-third of the total Republican votes (the final percentage will likely be below 32 percent). All this squabbling will tarnish both candidates, meaning whichever one does eventually emerge from the recount rubble will be operating at a disadvantage from the get-go in the general election campaign.

Consider: if Oz wins, Trump will be happy. But Oz already -- even before Election Day -- had the highest rates of Republican-voter disapproval of any of the GOP candidates in the race (by far). His numbers were badly underwater, with many Republicans expressing a strong dislike of Oz. He is just seen as "too Hollywood" by too many, or a carpetbagger from New Jersey, and/or only a very recent convert to Republican politics (much less MAGA politics). In a word: a phony. And all these attitudes were present before the tense counting and recounting had even begun. With Trump blundering onto the stage already, it looks like everyone in Pennsylvania is in for an epic weeks-long tantrum -- and if Trump is leading the baseless claims of fraud and a rigged election, you can bet your bottom dollar that plenty of his acolytes will be banging the same drum as loudly as possible. Even if Oz emerges as the winner at the end of this process, it's going to leave a very bad taste in the mouths of a lot of Republican voters. This could depress turnout in November within the Republican ranks.

Now consider the flip side -- what if Oz loses? What if David McCormick is proclaimed the winner? Will Trump graciously accept the loss and urge all his followers to respect party unity and fall in line behind McCormick for November? Or will Trump continue his imitation of a 2-year-old who has been denied one more cookie? Which do you think is more likely? If Trump gets all pouty and petulant, and especially if he launches a second version of his Big Lie (call it the "Medium-Sized Lie," perhaps?) and insists that McCormick's nomination is illegitimate, what do you think that is going to do for Republican turnout in November?

The more the two Republicans fight -- and the nastier that fight gets -- the more it benefits the Democratic nominee in the race, John Fetterman (more on him in a bit). And ("because, because, because, because... be... cause!") that could be the most wonderful thing Oz does.

OK, we will stop, we promise (before we break out into song and start skipping down a canary-colored adobe pathway). After all, this was just one race out of many, and the primaries weren't the only political news of the week.

The most amusing news from Tuesday's primaries, though, came out of North Carolina, where the voters rejected sending Madison Cawthorn back to Congress for a second term. So we can all now start to refer to him as: "Madison Cawthorn... LOSER!" His fellow Republican Adam Kinzinger responded to this news with: "It's good for the country, it's good for the party, it's good for the 11th District of North Carolina... it's good to see him lose." No, really -- we can all feel free to indulge in some schadenfreude at Cawthorn's expense, seeing as how if anyone deserved such a fate it was definitely him. Just think, come next January, he'll move over to Fox News or someplace even more rabid, and we can all start to totally ignore him forever! So there's that to look forward to....

Kidding (and snark) aside, though, Cawthorn then threw a hissy fit and started issuing threats to his fellow Republicans, but we're going to save that part of the story for the talking points section.

But we would like to adopt Cawthorn's term "Dark MAGA," since it is so fitting and appropriate in so many circumstances these days. A horrendous racist hate-filled terrorist attack on a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, put the focus on how dangerous White supremacist rhetoric has become mainstream Republicanism. From a Washington Post article:

But the problem goes well beyond the rhetoric of a few Republican officials and opinion leaders. Elected Republicans haven't merely inspired far-right extremists. They have become far-right extremists.

A new report shows just how extensively the two groups have intertwined.

The study, released on Friday by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, a decades-old group that tracks right-wing extremism, found that more than 1 in 5 Republican state legislators in the United States were affiliated with far-right groups. The IREHR (which conducted a similar study with the NAACP in 2010 on racism within the tea party) cross-referenced the personal, campaign and official Facebook profiles of all 7,383 state legislators in the United States during the 2021-22 legislative period with thousands of far-right Facebook groups. The researchers found that 875 legislators -- all but three of them Republicans -- were members of one or more of 789 far-right Facebook groups. That works out to 22 percent of all Republican state legislators.

"We have met the enemy and he is us," as Pogo Possum famously remarked. The article then goes on to track the insidious "Replacement Theory" which used to be the province of only the fringe -- only White supremacists, in other words -- but is now being spewed by almost too many Republicans to count:

This idea, expressed by the alleged Buffalo killer (11 of the gunman's 13 victims were Black), has found support from [Representative Elise] Stefanik (N.Y.), the No. 3 House Republican. She accused Democrats of "a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION" in the form of an immigration amnesty plan that would "overthrow our current electorate."

Variations of this have been heard from Republicans such as: Rep. Scott Perry (Pa.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus ("we're replacing... native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape"); Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (Democrats "want to remake the demographics of America to ensure... that they stay in power forever"); Rep. [Matt] Gaetz of Florida ([Tucker] Carlson "is CORRECT about Replacement Theory"); [J. D.] Vance, the party's Senate nominee for Ohio ("[President Joe] Biden's open border is killing Ohioans, with... more Democrat voters pouring into this country"); and [Newt] Gingrich, former Republican House speaker ("the anti-American left would love to drown traditional, class Americans... to get rid of the rest of us").

Are these people directly responsible for the massacre in Buffalo? Of course not. But they, like the 1 in 5 Republican state legislators trafficking in far-right groups, have mainstreamed the extreme. The consequences have been, and will continue to be, catastrophic.

Precious few Republicans are denouncing this, however, which should really come as no surprise. Tucker Carlson flat-out asserted that the shooting had nothing whatsoever to do with "hateful right-wing rhetoric," all evidence to the contrary. One Republican immediately trotted out a "false flag" theory to explain it, accusing the federal government of somehow orchestrating the massacre. Donald Trump tried to distract everyone with a blatant (and easily-proven-false) lie, when the subject came up: "In 18 months in Afghanistan, we lost nobody."

Far too few Republicans are denouncing what has happened to their party. The Republican Party has become dangerously infected with hatred and violent rhetoric. One such voice crying in the wilderness was Michael Gerson, who used to write speeches for President George W. Bush:

But the racist ideas closely associated with such killing are being granted impunity daily within the Republican Party. The problem is not just that a few loudmouths are saying racist things. It is the general refusal of Republican "leaders" to excommunicate officials who embrace replacement theory. The refusal of Fox News to fire the smiling, public faces of a dangerous, racist ideology.

This much needs to be communicated -- by all politicians and commentators -- with clarity: No belief that likens our fellow citizens to invaders and encourages racist dehumanization is an American belief.

We should mention that this isn't even the only danger emanating from the Republican Party these days, or (as we'll get to in the talking points) the "Dark MAGA Party." We also learned this week that the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote to Arizona legislators urging them to just flat-out ignore the will of their voters and instead magically (and unconstitutionally) declare victory for Donald Trump in the 2020 election. A "Christian nationalist" and fervent spouter of Trump's Big Lie just won the Republican nomination for governor in Pennsylvania. And it turns out those rumors may well have been true; that Republicans in Congress were actually conducting personal tours (to better coordinate the attack) to rightwing groups on the day before the January 6th insurrection attempt on the United States Capitol (and United States Congress, and United States Constitution).

The dangers are there, for all to see -- right out in the open. The only question is whether enough people will realize it before it is too late, or not.


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Before we get to the actual awards, we do have to offer our congratulations to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who just confirmed her engagement to longtime partner (they met in college) Riley Roberts. Our best wishes for the happy couple!

We have to begin by handing a well-deserved Honorable Mention to all of the progressive candidates who won their races this Tuesday, many of them fighting an avalanche of PAC money spent against them. Most prominent in the news were Democrats like Summer Lee, Andrea Salinas, and Jamie McLeod-Skinner (who beat "the Joe Manchin of the House" in Oregon). But there were others as well, although some will have very tough races in November (instead of skating to victory in a very blue district). All of these brave and successful candidates are moving the Democratic Party further away from the hangovers of its cozy Democratic Leadership Council corporate love-fest, and thus a whole lot closer to the issues that average voters actually care about and want to see Congress achieve. Or, to put it another way, it looks like The Squad is going to have a few new members come next January (we wrote about what a good night progressives had earlier in the week).

But the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award this time around clearly must go to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman. Just for grit and endurance alone -- Fetterman suffered a minor stroke last weekend (right before Election Day) and then had to get a pacemaker implanted on the day of the election. That might have tanked the chances of any normal political candidate, right there -- voters are always leery about choosing someone with health problems, after all. But it didn't.

Fetterman's victory in the contest for the open Senate seat from Pennsylvania (Republican Pat Toomey is retiring) was impressive for other reasons as well as just overcoming medical adversity. His margin of victory was incredibly impressive, in fact -- he pulled in 59 percent of the vote to opponent Conor Lamb's 26 percent. That is a whopping 33-point margin, in a race that many expected to be a whole lot closer.

The thing that most impressed us, however, was Fetterman's campaign style. We cannot believe we haven't been regularly hearing this as a theme or constant comparison, but the politician Fetterman most reminds us of is Jesse Ventura, the ex-professional wrestler and ex-governor of Minnesota. The most obvious reason is physical resemblance, of course. Fetterman stands either six-foot-eight or six-foot-nine-inches tall (accounts vary) and sports a bald/shaved head and a goatee. He is physically imposing and easily might be mistaken for a former professional wrestler. Adding to this image is his distaste for formal clothes -- or even long pants. He campaigns in gym shorts and a hoodie. This is not a typical Democratic candidate for the Senate (or any office), in other words.

It's not just looks or dress, either -- Fetterman is brash, he speaks in working-class language, and he is not polished or groomed by consultants or focus groups. He tells it like it is. And in the age of Trump, that is exactly what the national Democratic Party needs a good jolt of. Which is why, as we said, it absolutely mystifies us that more pundits haven't begun noting the similarities between Fetterman and Ventura.

But all that aside, the most impressive thing about Fetterman all around (and his victory Tuesday night) is what he chose to campaign on against his centrist opponent. Conor Lamb is a former darling of the Democratic establishment. He achieved this status by pulling off an improbable victory in a special election for a Pittsburgh-based House district. This was a very Republican district, but Lamb squeaked out a victory nonetheless. So some Democrats saw him as the wave of the future -- a moderate Democrat who could win over Republican voters.

Unfortunately, these days when you think of conservative Democrats, one name springs to mind -- Senator Joe Manchin of neighboring West Virginia. Manchin actually endorsed Lamb in this week's race. Fetterman, on the other hand, explicitly promised not to be a Manchin-style Democrat, swore he would vote to toss out the Senate filibuster, and urged his party to get some stuff actually done instead of endlessly talking (or, worse, squabbling) about it all.

And that's exactly what the voters of the Keystone State responded to. In a big way. Fetterman is a fighter. He is looking forward to taking on not only Dr. Oz or the establishment GOP guy, but to eviscerating the entire MAGA agenda during the campaign. This has left some in the Democratic Party scratching their heads wondering why the candidate they favored -- despite being endorsed by Joe Manchin and raking in millions in Wall Street donations -- could possibly have lost. This is a gigantic wakeup call for any Democrat who is wondering anything remotely like that, to be blunt.

The Democratic Party could use a few more candidates like Fetterman in a whole bunch of places nationwide. Which is why there really wasn't any question this week -- John Fetterman was the easy and obvious choice for Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. We wish him well on the campaign trail, and we will be following this race closely right up to November.

[Congratulate Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman on his official contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney caused quite a stir this week. New York state tried to heavily gerrymander their House district map, but unfortunately the courts took a dim view of the attempt and threw the map out. Instead, a court-appointed "special master" drew up an alternate map, and Democrats are now figuring out how to deal with it. In this new map, Maloney's district (NY-18) moved slightly to the right, but his home was redrawn into the district next door (NY-17). Maloney then announced he'd be running for his new home district's seat.

Unfortunately, NY-17 already has a Democratic member of Congress, Mondaire Jones. Maloney made his announcement in a tweet, without taking the time (or courtesy) of informing Jones of this beforehand. That was rude, obviously. But what's even ruder is that he encouraged Jones to run for a different district, NY-16, instead. Which is currently represented by incumbent Jamaal Bowman, who successfully primaried a longtime incumbent Democrat last year. Bowman is a staunch progressive who immediately joined The Squad. Jones is also a solid progressive, and one of only two Black L.G.B.T.Q. members of Congress.

What this all means is that Maloney is essentially telling two Black progressive incumbent members that they should run against each other, while he coasts to victory in his chosen district. Maloney is White (as you've probably already guessed, considering his very-Irish name). He's also a "No Labels" Democrat, meaning he's a centrist (or a corporatist, take your choice).

Now, this all might seem like some technical intraparty fight that might have flown beneath most people's radar (people who didn't live in one of these districts, in other words). But Maloney has another responsibility -- he chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the partisan group which is designed to elect as many Democrats to the House as possible. This is supposed to mean investing in prominent candidates who might flip Republican seats, but mostly it means protecting incumbents, since getting re-elected is almost always easier than flipping a seat.

But here Maloney is, trying to force two progressives to run against each other -- which would necessarily mean one fewer of them in the new Congress, no matter what. And that has bred a lot of resentment within the progressive wing of the party, to put it mildly.

Here's how Bowman put it:

Two Black men who worked hard to represent their communities, who fight hard for their constituents in Congress and advocate for dire needs in our communities should not be pitted against each other all because Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney wants to have a slightly easier district for himself. Congressman Maloney should run in his own district. I'll be running in mine.

Ouch. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has now called on Maloney to step down from chairing the D.C.C.C. So far, she's the only one to say so publicly, but there are reportedly a whole lot of other House Democrats who feel exactly the same way.

"Given the resources that he has at his helm, it creates a conflict of interest," [Representative Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez said at the Capitol, noting that [D.C.C.C. Chair Sean Patrick] Maloney declined to run in another district where most of his current constituents now live. "If he's going to enter in a primary and challenge another Democratic member, then he should step aside from his responsibilities at the D.C.C.C."

. . .

Ocasio-Cortez said Maloney's actions are "particularly shameful as a member of Democratic leadership, especially as the leadership of the D.C.C.C., who asks all of us to make sacrifices in one way or another, who asks progressives to make sacrifices on their stances in order to preserve a majority."

Maloney, she said, "cannot seem to take his redistricting on the chin and be able to run in a district that is still 70 percent his."


For causing all this consternation, and for being a corporatist Democrat trying to pit two progressives against each other, we have to agree that Sean Patrick Maloney is the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week. Nothing about this is final -- he could change his mind (the map won't even be finalized until today) -- and we strongly urge him to consider doing so, either by running in his current district or by taking A.O.C.'s advice and passing the D.C.C.C. baton to someone more neutral.

[Contact Representative Sean Patrick Maloney on his House contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 663 (5/20/22)

We've got a rather full plate in the talking points department this week, which includes several excerpts which are longer than the average soundbite. But we felt it was important in each case, so you'll have to excuse the length (if you've read this far in this column, then maybe this isn't too much to ask... ahem).

In fact, we didn't even have room for a traditional humorous last item to end the list, so we'll provide one here as a bonus. This is kind of a "make your own" talking point -- one that all the late-night comics already had a field day with, last night.

George W. Bush gave a speech the other night, where he tried to condemn Russia in no uncertain terms. He condemned them for their sham elections and for the brutality of Vladimir Putin's warmongering. But in what some are calling the biggest Freudian slip of all time in American politics, his subconscious sidetracked him: " was the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq."

Dubya quickly realized what he had just said, and quickly added: "I mean, of Ukraine." Then, under his breath he sighed: "Iraq too, anyway."

Again, we leave this as an exercise in political messaging (and ridiculing) for the reader. [Hint: It is a rarity to hear someone admit to war crimes in such a fashion and then joke about it.]


   Fetterman's got the right idea

We expect that John Fetterman's campaign -- from now right up until November -- is going to provide us with many talking points that other Democratic candidates would do well to imitate. Today, we begin with a general encouragement along these lines.

"John Fetterman won the nomination for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania by being authentic. By being an average Joe. By talking straight to the voters, without all the consultant-speak or focus-group-tested nonsense. There's a big lesson in all of this for other Democratic candidates to take heed of. Fetterman won by over 30 points -- over a moderate centrist who had been endorsed by Joe Manchin. But that is not what Democratic voters are looking for right now. They want to see someone who will fight for them. They want to see someone who will light a fire under all the other Democrats in Washington to get something done. They want someone that talks to them like they are not idiots. They want to believe in someone who won't just ask for their votes every re-election, but will actually care about and fight for the things they believe in. Elections are not just about good policy ideas and white papers -- they are first and foremost about emotion. John Fetterman knows this, and I would hope plenty of other Democrats learn this lesson as well."


   "Replacement theory" is White supremacy, period

Obviously, this is all in response to the hate-inspired racial massacre in Buffalo. And it's about time that Republicans are called on what they've been saying and brushing under the rug on their side of the aisle.

"The Buffalo shooter -- a domestic terrorist -- was a believer in what is called the 'Great Replacement Theory.' Joe Biden is right -- this is nothing more than racist White supremacy, folks. And what is truly shocking is how the Republican Party either embraces this dangerous hate-filled idiocy or allows it to fester within their ranks. We're not just talking some fringe members, either. The number-three ranking Republican in the House has openly espoused this. You remember her, the woman who replaced Liz Cheney in GOP House leadership? Well, here's what Cheney had to say about her own party, in a tweet after the shooting:"

The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.

"Other Republicans are calling on their party to do the same thing -- either denounce these members or just expel them from their ranks. White supremacy has no place in American politics. Or, it shouldn't, at any rate. Unfortunately for us all, this is not true now, because one American political party just looks the other way when their own members spout such hate-filled incitement. I agree with Liz Cheney: this has to stop."


   What Republicans are against will stun you

This was a notable week for votes. So point it out!

"A jaw-dropping 192 Republicans in the House just voted against money for the Food and Drug Administration to help fix the infant formula shortage problem. And we're talking relative pennies, when it comes to federal spending. They voted against 28 million dollars -- that's million, mind you, not billion or trillion -- because they would much rather have the issue to bash Democrats with than to help babies get their food. They've been making lots of political hay by accusing Joe Biden of causing this problem, but then they won't lift a finger to help fix it. This isn't the only shocking vote, either. Remember when Republicans were the party of law-and-order and the party against terrorism? Yeah, those days are long gone. Now they are the party that is actually soft on terrorism. A stunning and disgraceful 203 Republicans voted this week against bolstering federal resources to combat domestic terrorism, in the wake of the lone wolf Buffalo terrorist attack. Republicans also voted against banning price-gouging by gas companies -- think of that the next time you fill up your car or truck. And more and more Republicans are voting against aid to Ukraine as well. The Republican Party is telling voters everywhere exactly who they are, by what they vote against. I hope the voters are paying attention -- and even if they don't, I hope Democrats do a good job of pointing it all out in the midterm campaign."


   Going to the extremes

This is getting downright frightening.

"Republicans in state legislatures across the country are in a race to see which state can outdo all the others in passing the most extreme abortion ban imaginable. Oklahoma just passed a bill that would outlaw all abortion from the instant of fertilization -- which would mean in-vitro fertilization options would also disappear from the state. Other states are passing abortion bans which would force victims of rape or incest to bear their children -- no matter how traumatic that might be for these victimized women. This will lead to a rash of suicides from women without the means to travel to blue states, mark my words. Republicans don't care about 'life' -- if they did, they'd have already voted to help pregnant mothers or mothers get formula for their babies or help mothers live above the poverty line. They're against all that, though. The only thing they care about is forced and compulsory birth, period. And some are already thinking about going further -- some Republicans openly admit they'd ban all birth control too, if they get the chance. Don't let them -- vote blue if you care about women's rights. Or human rights. Because if you don't, we're going to see these extreme laws devastate the lives of countless Americans."


   Are you there, Congress? It's Judy Blume.

The following is from an extraordinary letter sent to Congress (currently holding hearings on book banning) by well-known and award-winning author Judy Blume -- and about a zillion other children's and young adult authors and illustrators. It is a powerful statement, which is why we felt an extended excerpt from the letter was appropriate (the whole letter is only a page-and-a-quarter long, followed by over eight pages of the names of the cosigners, so it is well worth the time to read in full):

When books are removed or flagged as inappropriate, it sends the message that the people in them are somehow inappropriate. It is a dehumanizing form of erasure. Every reader deserves to see themselves and their families positively represented in the books in their schools. These books are important for all children. Reading stories that reflect the diversity of our world builds empathy and respect for everyone's humanity. At a time when our country is experiencing an alarming rise in hate crimes, we should be searching for ways to increase empathy and compassion at every turn.

A particularly insidious feature of the current attacks is the flood of accusations that anyone who seeks to give readers access to diverse books is a "groomer," "radical," or "pedophile." These charges are abhorrent and without merit, and they have been leveled against not only authors, but against teachers and librarians. We strongly condemn this slander against our colleagues and our nation's educators.

A book may not be for every student, but -- as we know from the many letters we receive from young readers -- a single book can matter deeply to an individual student. Nearly all campuses have an existing system to handle a parent's concern with their own child's reading material. Pro-censorship groups seek to overwhelm these systems by pressuring schools to pull entire lists of books from shelves "for review." Some extremists have intimidated authors, educators, and school board members online and even threatened them with violence....

Libraries are bastions of the First Amendment. They provide equal access to a wealth of knowledge and ideas for all public school students. When individuals and organizations seek to advance their own political agendas or personal beliefs by censoring books, they infringe upon students' constitutional rights.


   Thanks, Madison!

We wrote a whole article about this yesterday, in case anyone's interested.

"President Biden is right to call out how extreme the Trumpian base of the Republican Party has become, but freshman Congressman Madison Cawthorn came up with a much better way to put it -- after he lost his primary to an actual sane Republican. Here was his petulant and angry reaction to getting spanked at the polls:"

It's time for the rise of the new right, it's time for Dark MAGA to truly take command. We have an enemy to defeat, but we will never be able to defeat them until we defeat the cowardly and weak members of our own party. Their days are numbered. We are coming.

"This is the Republican Party of today, folks. Right here. As the late great Molly Ivins famously said of a Pat Buchanan speech 30 years ago, it 'probably sounded better in the original German.' This is the new 'Dark MAGA' -- people who are threatening to 'take command' from their own fellow Republicans. Cawthorn actually warns them that 'their days are numbered.' I mean, has anyone contacted the F.B.I. about these overt threats -- from a man who has been stopped twice while trying to bring a gun onto an airplane? And please remember, this is what Dark MAGA politicians say about their fellow Republicans. If they're this threatening towards their own party, then one shudders to imagine the violent and dangerous things this trend towards Dark MAGA might mean for Democrats. Your vote is important this time around, because everyone needs to send a clear message: vote against might-makes-right and vote against naked fascism -- vote blue in November."


   Calling all sane Republicans... anyone? Hello?

The Las Vegas Sun published a rather stark plea for some sanity from Nevada GOP candidates this week. The editorial goes on at length about the rot infecting Republican thought in their own state, where it came from, and why they reject it. All while pleading for some sane Republicans to step forward that they could possibly endorse. This is an extraordinary commentary on how extreme the party has become as a whole, which is why it is worth excerpting at length:

The Editorial Board, and Nevadans as a whole, are facing an agonizing problem. We have endorsed Republicans in the past and might do so again in the future. Yet as we survey the field of Republican candidates across the state, we are struggling to identify those who are not an active threat to American democracy or the institutions of government that have sustained our republic for 250 years.

. . .

Of the five leading Republican candidates for the governorship of Nevada, every one of them has gone on record as both supporting and contributing to the Big Lie. In doing so, they have all made a choice to subvert our democracy, undermine the integrity of our elections, and ignore the Constitution of the United States.

Will GOP leaders stand up for the rule of law and free and fair elections by rejecting autocracy and lies? Or will they continue to debase themselves and their formerly great party by kneeling to their unhinged demigod, Donald Trump, and his dreams of authoritarianism.

. . .

As we are working on evaluations for our primary endorsements, we are pained to admit that it's difficult to find honesty and integrity in the GOP hopefuls on this ballot.

If you are a Republican running for office who believes in truth, believes that the last election was fair, who rejects the deranged calls to destroy our democracy, we need to hear from you. Nevada needs to hear from you. We want to endorse sanity, honesty, integrity and moderation.

As it stands right now, voters are faced with a slate of GOP candidates -- nearly across the board -- who aren't fit for elective office because they buy into the Big Lie and its attempt to derail democracy. We hate finding people in the public sphere who want to destroy the very elections they now seek to win. We hate efforts to disenfranchise voters and rig future elections. We yearn for a dignified, honest and pro-democracy Republican leadership. We yearn for the Republicans of years past. Patriots, not insurrectionists.

So please, if you are such a Republican and are running for office, stand proud and reach out to us. We want to present a list of heroes trying to rescue their party from the madness afflicting it. We want to share your perspective with our readers and let them know that Republican candidates for office still exist who believe in the Constitution, who believe in democracy, and who believe that the peaceful transition of power among our duly elected officials is a hallmark of what not only has made America great in the past, but what can help us continue to be a great country moving forward.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground