Secretary of State David Whitley - who oversaw a botched investigation that questioned the citizenship of nearly 100,000 Texas voters - is officially out of a job.
Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Whitley, a former top aide, to the position in December after the previous secretary of state resigned. But just before lawmakers finished the 2019 session Monday afternoon without confirming him, the embattled elections chief resigned “effective immediately.” …
Democrats pounced after Whitley’s resignation, proclaiming it a victory for voting rights in Texas.
“It was long overdue for David Whitley to vacate his office and now it’s time for Governor Abbott to appoint a new Secretary of State who will respect our democracy and our great state,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.
Usually a perfunctory act, Whitley’s nomination became a flash point this session after his office questioned the citizenship of nearly 100,000 Texas voters. …
Whitley’s short tenure was marked by controversy from the beginning.
In January, just a month after he was chosen, Whitley issued an advisory claiming that approximately 95,000 people who identified themselves as noncitizens when applying for a driver’s license at the Department of Public Safety also appeared on the state’s voter rolls. About 58,000 of them had voted in one or more elections since 1996. Whitley’s office sent letters to county election administrators urging them to investigate the names on the list for possible voter fraud.
But critics quickly pointed out a flaw in the advisory’s logic: People could have become U.S. citizens between the time when they applied for a driver’s license at DPS and when they registered to vote. (Noncitizens who are in the country legally can be issued a driver’s license in Texas.) Driver’s licenses last for six years, and state laws do not require people to return to update their license if they become U.S. citizens before the expiration.
Within days of the advisory’s release, state officials were quietly calling counties to tell them their initial lists were flawed and included people who had already proven their citizenship to DPS. In Harris County, more than half of the 30,000 names on the state-provided list were placed there in error. In McLennan County, all of the people on the list were citizens. …
The majority of senior aides and advisers on the top-tier Democratic presidential campaigns are women, and roughly a quarter identified as women of color, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.
The Democratic Party is in the process of picking a contender to challenge President Trump in 2020, and the full field of 23 candidates is the most diverse in the party’s history. While the analysis found 58% of the candidates’ senior staff identified as white, it also demonstrated how the top candidates have worked to diversify their staff to steer their campaigns through the wide-ranging Democratic base.
The Journal compiled data provided by the campaigns of former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.); Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.); Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.); South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. Those campaigns represent nine of the 10 campaigns that were atop the Real Clear Politics average of surveys as of early last week.
Here’s someone who reads all the Elections very carefully and makes this difficult projection - Congress must impeach, if we want him not re-elected.
In short: Lichtman is someone the political world should listen to. So I reached out to him on Tuesday to see what he thought of Trump’s current chances at a second term next November.
Here’s what he told me:
“Trump wins again in 2020 unless six of 13 key factors turn against him. I have no final verdict yet because much could change during the next year. Currently, the President is down only three keys: Republican losses in the midterm elections, the lack of a foreign policy success, and the president’s limited appeal to voters.”
Again, here’s Lichtman:
"Democrats are fundamentally wrong about the politics of impeachment and their prospects for victory in 2020. An impeachment and subsequent trial would cost the president a crucial fourth key – the scandal key – just as it cost Democrats that key in 2000. The indictment and trial would also expose him to dropping another key by encouraging a serious challenge to his re-nomination. Other potential negative keys include the emergence of a charismatic Democratic challenger, a significant third-party challenge, a foreign policy disaster, or an election-year recession. Without impeachment, however, Democratic prospects are grim. "
“And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams and good intentions when at the end of the ride their daughter got up first and stretched her young body.”
— Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis
Jaime Harrison just launched his 2020 senate campaign for Lindsey Graham’s seat.
Smash that donate button here
Unlike the first and second rounds of debates, when candidates must cross either a donor or polling threshold to qualify, candidates will need to surpass both bars to make the stage for the third and fourth debates. For the September event, candidates will have to hit 2 percent in four qualifying polls, versus 1 percent in three polls for the first debates, and they will need 130,000 individual donors, up from 65,000.
Although the polling threshold increase is modest, it could represent a significant barrier for many candidates who have struggled to hit that mark in early polling.
According to a POLITICO analysis, just eight candidates have received more than 2 percent of support in four early polls: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas.
This should be investigated - now all the old machines are to be replaced. And Ivan Trump makes money!
Joe Biden got a D-minus on a climate change report card ranking Democratic presidential candidates released Thursday by the liberal environmental group Greenpeace.
Biden, the Democratic front runner, has yet to release a detailed plan on how he will combat climate change. But the scorecard evaluated 19 candidates on their commitments to ending the use of fossil fuels and support for environmental policies based on statements, legislative records and published plans. Some candidates also responded to a 29-question survey from the environmental group.
The report comes as the issue of climate change has emerged as a marquee issue for Democrats on the 2020 campaign trail following the release of New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ambitious plan to fight climate change called “The Green New Deal.” Support for that initiative was part of the Greenpeace score.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who is basing his run for president on the need to fight climate change, received the highest score, an A-minus, on the report card. The next highest were Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who each received a B-plus from the group.
Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who has been supportive of his state’s abundant oil and gas industry, also received a D-minus. The report gave both GOP presidential candidates Bill Weld and President Donald Trump an F.
Jay Inslee A-
Bernie Sanders B+
Cory Booker B+
Kirsten Gillibrand B
Elizabeth Warren B
Tulsi Gabbard B
Beto O’Rourke B-
Marianne Williamson C
Pete Buttigieg C
Kamala Harris C-
Eric Swalwell C-
Amy Klobuchar C-
John Delaney D+
Andrew Yang D+
Julián Castro D+
Steve Bullock D
Tim Ryan D-
Joe Biden D-
John Hickenlooper D-
Bill Weld F
Donald Trump F
Warren wants Congress to pass a law allowing the sitting president to be indicted. Read more in this Medium story from her campaign.
Glad there is an upswing in younger voters…and more so than the Baby Boomers, who continue to be a strong force in consistent voters.
Midterm voter turnout reached a modern high in 2018, and Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X accounted for a narrow majority of those voters, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available Census Bureau data.
The three younger generations – those ages 18 to 53 in 2018 – reported casting 62.2 million votes, compared with 60.1 million cast by Baby Boomers and older generations. It’s not the first time the younger generations outvoted their elders: The same pattern occurred in the 2016 presidential election.
Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers all set records for turnout in a midterm election in 2018.
For nearly 40 years, the turnout of voters over age 45 has significantly outpaced that of younger Americans. In the 2016 presidential election, for example, 71 percent of Americans over 65 voted, compared with 46 percent among 18- to 29-year-olds, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. While analysts point to increased energy among younger voters over the past couple of elections, people over 65 continue to show up at the polls far more than any other age group. At the same time, the number of voters who fall into the category of “older” keeps rising.
Cue Florida Man Memes
Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Friday that he will be holding his official 2020 campaignlaunch at the 20,000 seat Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on June 18, joined by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence.
Why it matters: While Trump has held rallies throughout his 2016 campaign and continued into his presidency, this launch signals the beginning of his official dive into 2020. Meanwhile, Democrats are already ramping up for primary debates and swarming early battleground states.
Between the lines: Florida, arguably the largest swing state, is a key target for Trump. Launching there could be an indication of increased focus, having only won the state by 48.6% in 2016 to competitor Hillary Clinton’s 47.4%.
But Gillibrand’s biggest moment — and a potential viral clip — came during an exchange with Fox News’ host Chris Wallace, who asked Gillibrand to explain her tweet from December 2018, when she said the future was “female” and “intersectional.”
“We want women to have a seat at the table,” Gillibrand said. At that, Wallace jumped in and asked: “What about men?”
“They’re already there — do you not know?” Gillibrand said, greeted by one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night. “It’s not meant to be exclusionary, it’s meant to be inclusionary,” she said.
“All right, we’re not threatened,” Wallace responded.
Trump officials are zeroing in on New Mexico, Nevada and New Hampshire, where they insist there’s an opening despite heavy losses Republicans suffered there in the midterms. They’ve deployed around a half-dozen staffers to New Hampshire and several to Nevada, an unusually early investment in places that favor Democrats. And the campaign is doing polling to tease out Trump’s level of support in New Mexico, a focal point for campaign manager Brad Parscale, and they have discussed dispatching aides to the blue state.
The maneuvering underscores how Trump is trying to capitalize on his vast financial and organizational advantage over Democrats. Yet it also illustrates how the president, whose own polling shows him falling behind in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, is seeking out additional routes to a second term.
“Every candidate for president needs multiple paths to 270 electoral votes. Last time, they had one path and it worked. But since no one can run the table every time, better to have multiple paths to 270,” said Republican strategist Karl Rove, who, as the architect of George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection, oversaw a successful effort to win several states Republicans lost four years earlier.
“Even in a reelection, you cannot count on repeating what you did before,” Rove added. “Sometimes, the nature of the opposing candidate changes the playing field, opening possibilities and closing others.”
Still, there’s considerable skepticism that Trump can make a serious play in the states — especially Nevada and New Mexico. Republicans have not won a presidential race in Nevada or New Mexico since 2004, and the last time they carried New Hampshire was in 2000. Democrats won every statewide race in New Mexico last year; in Nevada, they seized a Senate seat as well as the governorship. In New Hampshire, Democrats won control of both state legislative chambers.
Trump’s unpopularity was a big factor in that success, Democrats say.
Interesting play. I still don’t believe Trump can expand his base. I was a remote volunteer in that Nevada race and the Dems had it pretty sewn up. We finished all our work before noon and were shopped out to help Missouri and Florida.
Shields up on the voter registration data bases and balloting machines in those three states! Of course this applies to all states, but those three states in particular should be especially hardened against cyber attacks as they will undoubtedly be a prime target for GRU hackers. It will also be critical to monitor foreign incursions into social media across the nation and especially in those states.
The only walls that should be going up between now and 2020 are cyber walls. Although Trump bloviates endlessly about his precious Mexico wall, we hear not one peep about protecting our elections. Shameful.
Corruption and vanity, that’s all it is
Campaign Money Helping Make Up For Tenant Shortage At Trump Tower
With commercial tenants fleeing his Trump Tower, President Donald Trump continues to spend $37,500 a month of campaign money for office space there — with some of that cash destined for his own wallet ― even as thousands of square feet go unused at a newly opened office in northern Virginia.
No more than “four or five” campaign staffers work at Trump’s Manhattan base, according to an informal adviser close to the White House, where the campaign rents a few thousand square feet as its “headquarters.” The per-square-foot cost is likely at least triple what the Republican National Committee pays for the much larger space it shares with the campaign in Arlington, according to a HuffPost analysis.
This is appalling. Consider the profound effect these types of disinformation campaigns will have on our upcoming election. And the effect they have even today as they help bolster the approval ratings of Trump that are the real thing propping him up right now. And all along Trump cozies up to Russia. Of course! They are aiding and abetting his treasonous behavior.
Fourteen Russia-backed YouTube channels spreading disinformation have been generating billions of views and millions of dollars in advertising revenue, according to researchers, and had not been labeled as state-sponsored, contrary to the world’s most popular streaming service’s policy.
The channels, including news outlets NTV and Russia-24, carried false reports ranging from a U.S. politician covering up a human organ harvesting ring to the economic collapse of Scandinavian countries. Despite such content, viewers have flocked to the channels and U.S. and European companies have bought ads that run alongside them.
The previously unpublished research by Omelas, a Washington-based firm that tracks online extremism for defense contractors, provides the most comprehensive view yet of the Russian government’s success in attracting viewers and generating revenue from propaganda on YouTube, which has 2 billion monthly viewers worldwide.
YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, introduced a policy in February of 2018 to identify channels predominantly carrying news items and are wholly or partly funded by national governments, in order to help users make informed viewing decisions.
YouTube said on Wednesday that following inquiries from Reuters it added the state-funding disclaimer to 13 additional Russian channels, including eight of the channels spreading disinformation.
Twelve other Russia-sponsored channels identified by Omelas with misleading or inaccurate news reports already had the state-funding label.
Collectively, the 26 channels drew 9 billion views from January 2017 through December 2018, Omelas found. Another 24 Russian channels with no apparent ties to disinformation attracted an additional 4 billion views, Omelas said.
Omelas estimated those 13 billion total views could have generated up to $58 million from ads, including some from Western advertisers. It estimated that Russia could have received $7 million to $32 million under YouTube’s standard revenue-sharing program, while YouTube itself would have pocketed from $6 million to $26 million.
“YouTube continues to enable the monetization of state propaganda, fringe conspiracies and intentional outrage,” said Ryan Fox, chief operating officer of cybersecurity firm New Knowledge.
Here are the candidates who the DNC said have made the cut, in alphabetical order:
- Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
- Former Vice President Joe Biden*
- New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker*
- South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg*
- Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro*
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
- Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard*
- New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand*
- California Sen. Kamala Harris*
- Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee*
- Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar*
- Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke*
- Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan
- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders*
- California Rep. Eric Swalwell
- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren*
- Writer and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson*
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang*
In order to qualify, all candidates had to hit either a fundraising or a polling threshold. For fundraising, candidates had to have at least 65,000 donors and at least 200 donors in each of 20 states. For polling, candidates had to garner at least 1% support in at least three national or early-state polls.
Candidates marked with an asterisk (*) above met both thresholds according to the DNC.
On Friday, the DNC is set to announce which 10 candidates will take the stage on each night of the debates on June 26 and 27.
Of the 23 major candidates in the race, three did not make the first debate: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam; and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton.
The Democratic National Committee announced the lineups for the first party-sanctioned presidential debates, after a random drawing Friday in New York.
June 26 lineup: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Elizabeth Warren
June 27 lineup: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang
The debates will air on NBC and Telemundo affiliates across the country, along with MSNBC on cable.
But we should believe everything else he says…
Data from President Donald Trump conducted in March, obtained exclusively by ABC News, showed him losing a matchup by wide margins to former Vice President Joe Biden in key battleground states.
Trump has repeatedly denied that such data exists.
The polling data, revealed for the first time by ABC News, showed a double-digit lead for Biden in Pennsylvania 55-39 and Wisconsin 51-41 and had Biden leading by seven points in Florida. In Texas, a Republican stronghold, the numbers showed the president only leading by two points.
ABC News did not obtain the poll’s early matchups against other candidates.
The New York Times was first to report the existence of the internal polls.
I’m sure Susan Collins will be “very disappointed” when she loses her senate seat.
Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat, is expected to formally announce in the coming weeks that she’s running for Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ seat in 2020, five Democratic sources confirmed to HuffPost.
She will likely launch her campaign shortly after the close of the state’s legislative session on June 19, the three Democratic sources in Maine and two national Democratic strategists said.