November 23, 2022
Although there were many significant political developments on Tuesday, I want to start by focusing on gratitude for what we achieved during the midterms. Because we were able to defy “conventional wisdom” about midterm losses by the party in power, we have fundamentally altered the political dynamic for the better going into 2024.
The threat to democracy remains, but Republicans are chastened rather than emboldened, and Democrats are emboldened rather than discouraged. It could have been otherwise—and would have been but for the incredible devotion of tens of millions of Americans who made incredible sacrifices to defend democracy.
Everyone who contributed to the victory should be proud in equal measure, no matter how large or small your contribution. Indeed, the simple act of voting in a system designed to suppress some voters can be a noteworthy accomplishment. So, I hope you will take a moment over the next few days to recognize the accomplishment achieved by Democrats in the 2022 midterms.
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post published a superb essay on gratitude. I recommend that you read the entire essay in WaPo. See Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, Opinion | Democracy defenders have many reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving.
I recommend that you read Rubin’s essay in full, but in case you don’t, here is a fair sampling:
I’m grateful not to wake up every morning with a sense of impending doom that a cast of election deniers will control key roles in administrating elections in 2024.
I’m grateful many in the media helped identify election deniers for Americans and educated them about the danger of granting them power to discard the will of voters.
I’m grateful to voters, who for the third consecutive election, showed there is a majority — even if a frightfully narrow one — that rejects authoritarianism, crude appeals to racism and xenophobia, and downright nutty and mean candidates.
I’m grateful younger voters are developing a habit of voting in midterms.
I’m grateful to the thousands of election officials, workers and volunteers who pulled off another exceptionally efficient and peaceful exercise in democracy.
I’m grateful to the lawyers who litigated in defense of voting access and impartial election administration.
I’m grateful voters did not ignore their concerns for democracy and women’s rights just because inflation is high.
I’m grateful that nearly all broadcast networks refused to break from regular programming to cover Donald Trump’s presidential campaign announcement.
I’m grateful voters are becoming accustomed to early voting and voting by mail.
I’m grateful President Biden disregarded cynical pundits and reporters to focus on the threat from MAGA extremism.
Jennifer Rubin’s list continues, but you get the point. I hope that you can see your contribution in the list above. We have much to be thankful for. Let’s find the time in the next few days to discern the reasons for gratitude in our lives. Those reasons are abundant—but we need to look for them amid the din and distractions of modern life.
More on GOP’s LGBTQ attacks.
Three days after the mass killing at Club Q, GOP candidate Herschel Walker released an ad that criticizes Raphael Warnock for supporting the rights of an LGBTQ athlete. See CNN, 'This ad is hate': CNN guest shreds Herschel Walker for anti-transgender ad hours after Club Q shooting. Of all of the issues that confront the American people, Herschel Walker chose to continue the culture war on LGBTQ. The insensitivity and cruelty of the timing speaks volumes about who Walker is . . . or at least, who the people are who are telling Walker what to say.
The ad features a female swimmer who complains about having to compete against a “biological male,” but she fails to mention that both she and the “biological male” were beaten by four female swimmers. That is what counts as a tragedy in the GOP culture war. But the point is not whether it is “fair” for transgender athletes to compete in college sports; it is that the GOP has chosen this moment and this issue for political advantage—before the victims of the Club Q mass murder have been buried.
Legal developments in the effort to hold Trump accountable.
In rapid succession, Trump suffered a series of setbacks in his efforts to evade accountability for his crimes. And in most instances, Trump didn’t merely lose—he lost “bigly.”
The Supreme Court rejected (9-0) Trump’s last-ditch efforts to prevent the House Ways & Means Committee from obtaining the last five years of his tax returns. See CNN, Trump tax returns: Supreme Court clears way for House to get former president's taxes. As a result, the Treasury Department must turn over the returns. The question is, “When?” Republicans will take over control of the Committee on January 3, 2023—and will likely rescind the request for the returns. Let’s hope that the Treasury Department moves with dispatch. But even so, the returns must remain confidential within the Committee; the public will not likely see the returns anytime soon. Still, the disclosure to a congressional committee is progress.
A panel of the 11th Circuit eviscerated Trump’s arguments in defense of the special master appointment in the Mar-a-Lago search. Every observer agrees that the 11th Circuit will overrule Judge Cannon’s order appointing the special master—and may dismiss the case entirely. Trump’s lawyer, Jim Trusty, could not answer basic questions about why Judge Cannon should have exercised jurisdiction over Trump’s lawsuit. As a result, the DOJ (through special counsel Jack Smith) will be able to continue the Mar-a-Lago investigation without interference by Judge Cannon or oversight by special master Judge Dearie.
Trump’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully (for the third time) to dismiss the New York Attorney General’s civil suit against the Trump organization. New York state judge Arthur Engoron shut down Trump’s attorney time and again. Rather than accept defeat, Trump’s attorney blamed the judge. Alina Habba said,
This is why we shouldn't be before you. You have a clear bias against our client. You have for a year and a half. Every time we come to court, you're prepared to rule against us.
Of course, one explanation not considered by Ms. Habba is that Trump’s arguments are losers.
In the above lawsuit against the Trump Organization, Judge Engoron rejected a request by Ivanka Trump that her finances be excluded from oversight by a court-appointed monitor. The monitor, retired federal judge Barbara S. Jones has been charged with compiling a “full and accurate description of the corporate structure” of the Trump Organization. The Trumps, including Ivanka, must also inform the monitor 30 days in advance of shifting any assets. See The Daily Beast, Ivanka Trump Tried to Dodge Her Court-Appointed Financial Monitor.
There’s more, but you get the point. Trump is fighting multiple losing battles. One of them is bound to stick.
Kevin McCarthy’s performative drama.
Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene must have Kevin McCarthy in a “double chickenwing camel clutch” wrestling hold. To satisfy the two of them (and other extremists in the party), McCarthy is twisting himself into ridiculous positions to win their votes. On Tuesday, he demanded that DHS Secretary Mayorkas “resign or be prepared to be impeached.” See The Hill, McCarthy calls on DHS Secretary Mayorkas to resign, threatens impeachment inquiry.
McCarthy’s demand is simultaneously pathetic and outrageous. It is doubtful that the House would impeach Mayorkas, but the Senate would never convict. So, what’s the point? McCarthy would be pursuing the same grievance-fueled messaging that resulted in a disastrous midterm for Republicans. McCarthy must be desperate. Indeed, it appears that McCarthy has dwindling prospects for being elected speaker. See Charlie Sykes, The Bulwark / Morning Shots, Kevin McCarthy's "Crossover" Problem.
I know many readers are worried about the supposed onslaught of investigations in the GOP House during the next session of Congress. But there is reason to believe that those investigations will be a flop. See David Frum in The Atlantic, Another Flop From GOP Productions. The GOP broke its pick on ten Benghazi investigations for years and came up with nothing. As Frum notes, the most likely result of an investigation of Hunter Biden’s laptop will be the revelation that Joe Biden is a loving father who was desperately trying to help a son in trouble.
How do Republicans expect Americans to react to that disclosure? If congressional Republicans had empathy and decency, they would understand that Americans would find those disclosures endearing. So, let’s relax and see whether Republicans can do anything in their investigations and impeachments besides embarrassing themselves.
Helping the Georgia Alliance for Progress “get out the vote” for Senator Warnock.
For those of you looking to donate in the final push in Georgia, please consider joining Jessica Craven of Chop Wood Carry Water, along with Senate Circle, Markers For Democracy, Team Min, Downtown Nasty Women’s Social Group, and The Wednesday Group who are hosting Christine White of the Georgia Alliance for Progress. The group is working to fund the best grassroots organizations in Georgia—specifically their canvassing programs— who are still underfunded with only weeks to go. You can give here, and please feel free to share the link with friends and family who want to give. The Zoom is on Monday, November 28 at 8:00 PM Eastern/7:00 PM Central, /6:00 PM Mountain/5:00 PM Pacific/4:00 PM Alaska.
What Jennifer Rubin said.
Talk to you tomorrow!