Friday, May 12, 2017

Last Call For Depression Of Suppression

As I keep saying, the best ally Republicans have right now is the suppression of the black and Latino vote in purple and red states to make sure they stay that way, and the evidence is now in on why 2016 was so badly missed by the pollsters: voter suppression worked better than even the GOP imagined.

A record 137.5 million Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Overall voter turnout – defined as the share of adult U.S. citizens who cast ballots – was 61.4% in 2016, a share similar to 2012 but below the 63.6% who say they voted in 2008. 
A number of long-standing trends in presidential elections either reversed or stalled in 2016, as black voter turnout decreased, white turnout increased and the nonwhite share of the U.S. electorate remained flat since the 2012 election. Here are some key takeaways from the Census Bureau’s report, the data source with the most comprehensive demographic and statistical portrait of U.S. voters. 
The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012. The 7-percentage-point decline from the previous presidential election is the largest on record for blacks. (It’s also the largest percentage-point decline among any racial or ethnic group since white voter turnout dropped from 70.2% in 1992 to 60.7% in 1996.) The number of black voters also declined, falling by about 765,000 to 16.4 million in 2016, representing a sharp reversal from 2012. With Barack Obama on the ballot that year, the black voter turnout rate surpassed that of whites for the first time. Among whites, the 65.3% turnout rate in 2016 represented a slight increase from 64.1% in 2012.

The Latino voter turnout rate held steady at 47.6% in 2016, compared with 48.0% in 2012. Overall turnout remained flat despite expectations heading into Election Day of a long-awaited, historic surge in Latino voters. Due largely to demographic growth, the number of Latino voters grew to a record 12.7 million in 2016, up from 11.2 million in 2012. Even so, the number of Latino nonvoters – those eligible to vote who do not cast a ballot, or 14 million in 2016 – was larger than the number of Latino voters, a trend that extends back to each presidential election since 1996. Meanwhile, the Asian voter turnout rate increased to 49.3% in 2016, up from 46.9% in 2012 and surpassing Hispanics for the first time since 1996. Asians continue to represent a smaller share of voters than Hispanics: Overall, about 5 million Asians voted in 2016, up from 3.8 million in 2012.

Yet black and especially Latino voters were the most engaged voters in the polls, time after time.  If you factor in GOP voter suppression, these numbers make a lot more sense, particularly in states that passed voter suppression laws after 2013.  Those resulted in rock-bottom turnout for midterms and halted or completely reversed presidential election turnout model growth for both groups.

It worked so well, Donald Trump won.

I'll Have The Prosecutor Special, Please

It's clear now that Republicans will never allow a special prosecutor in the FBI Trump/Russia investigation.  Greg Sargent says that Senate Dems in particular could try to force one,

Trump also claims Democrats have no business attacking him for firing Comey, since they protested Comey’s conduct. But Democrats can still be furious with Comey’s handling of the newly discovered Clinton emails, while also pointing out that Trump’s firing of Comey is highly suspect and demands a special prosecutor. 
Regardless, multiple GOP senators — such as John McCain, Bob Corker, Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake and Richard Burr — are also troubled by that firing. But they can do something more about this if they wish to. The FBI’s investigation will now be led by Rosenstein. But Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey persuasively argue that the firing of Comey, amid an active investigation of his own campaign, “violates profoundly important norms of an independent, non-political FBI” and that Rosenstein, having already participated in this “tawdry episode,” can’t “credibly lead this investigation any longer,” necessitating an independent prosecutor. 
Wittes and Hennessey add, however, that senators and members of Congress “have tools at their disposal” that could help compel the appointment of an independent prosecutor. I contacted Wittes, a legal observer at the Brookings Institution who runs the Lawfare blog, to ask what these might be. 
Wittes suggested several ideas to me. He noted that, with all Democrats and a handful of Republicans upset about the Comey firing, there are enough senators “to create a blocking majority for the next FBI director,” who must be confirmed. This blocking majority, Wittes said, could theoretically condition its support for nominees to that post, insisting that the Justice Department produce a fuller accounting of the recommendation into the Comey firing or that the department appoint a special prosecutor on the Russia probe. 
Alternatively, Wittes noted, individual senators — in either party, but especially in the majority — can employ other tactics to force the issue. They could try to oppose funding for various other Justice Department priorities or block other nominations to the department. “I would not give that cooperation until the Justice Department names a special prosecutor,” Wittes said.
Finally, Democrats — with or without a handful of Republican allies, but preferably with them — can basically try to grind the Senate to a halt, by refusing cooperation on any legislation or nominations or anything, until GOP leaders and/or the White House agree to some form of independent investigation. “Every time they’re asked to cooperate on something, this needs to be front and center,” Wittes says. “They needs to be focused like a laser beam on that every time they’re asked to give unanimous consent.”

The Dems are opting to go for doors two and three so far.  They're starting to place holds on the many deputy/assistant level cabinet positions that the Trump regime is trying to fill, and they are slow-walking all other Senate business with procedural moves to piss off Mitch.

How effective this will be, I can't tell you.  We'll see, but I'm thinking the Dems will eventually have to do something about Comey's replacement, and they will need at least some Republican help for that.

Speaking of Ben Wittes ar Lawfare Blog, he does have another option for a special prosecutor that would involve Deputy AG Ron Rosenstein choosing to go out like a hero after Trump hung him out to dry yesterday:

The trouble is that while Rosenstein got what he wanted, Trump’s idea of correcting the record was to say publicly exactly the thing about a law enforcement officer that makes his continued service in office impossible: That Trump had used his deputy attorney general as window dressing on a pre-cooked political decision to shut down an investigation involving himself, a decision for which he needed the patina of a high-minded rationale. 
Once the President has said this about you—a law enforcement officer who works for him and who promised the Senate in confirmation hearings you would show independence—you have nothing left. These are the costs of working for Trump, and it took Rosenstein only two weeks to pay them. 
The only decent course now is to name a special prosecutor and then resign.

I wouldn't count on that happening unless we get some bombshell news on the investigation (which is entirely possible).  But it could happen.

The much larger question is if any of it actually matters anymore.

Sex, Lies, And Videotape In NKY

The big local story this week in Northern Kentucky is the precipitous fall of former Campbell County district Judge Tim Nolan, a major player in the state's GOP and Trump's county campaign chair.  Nolan has been involved in the Kentucky Republican party since before I was born, so it was a huge shock around here to see a grand jury charge him last week with multiple counts of rape, human trafficking of a minor, human trafficking of five adults, witness tampering and prostitution.  Nolan was in court yesterday on arraignment, and things got weird.

Tim Nolan pleaded not guilty to an 11-count indictment that included rape, witness tampering, human trafficking of a minor, human trafficking of five adults, unlawful transaction of a minor and prostitution.

But then his attorney Margo Grubbs made impassioned arguments and accusations that prompted Kenton County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Lape to remark that this was a bond hearing and “not a comment on the justice system.”

Among the things revealed:
  • Grubbs said they believe one of the grandmothers of the victim is a tenant on Nolan’s sprawling farm in southern Campbell County and pays rent to him.
  • There are nine alleged victims covered in the indictment, according to prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General Barbara Whaley.
Grubbs argued the bail was too high, accused police of not interviewing all the witnesses and said someone, they believe mother of one of the victims, has tried to contact Nolan to see if he’s all right. She also revealed she believes that the accusations against Nolan are connected to a lawsuit.

She confirmed to the press after the hearing the lawsuit she referred to was the defamation suit Nolan filed against some Republicans behind

It's another bizarre wrinkle in what has become a convoluted case that has shocked Northern Kentucky.

Nolan, dressed in a gray suit, sat calmly in court as his attorney unfurled arguments why she thinks authorities violated his rights. The Campbell County police went into his rural farmland “with guns ablazing” when they searched his property in February, Grubbs said in court.

Nolan could face more than 100 years in prison if convicted on all counts. He’s maintained his innocence. After the hearing, he tried to talk to the press as his attorney desperately tried to pull him toward the courtroom elevators.

“This is my attorney and my attorney tells me I cannot make any statements,” Nolan said. “I’d love to other than I can tell you we have a great Constitution and I have a great attorney and we will vigorously defend this.”

This is about as close to "Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard ending up in court on sexual assault crimes" as it gets, folks, and I guarantee you that this case is going to get far uglier as it goes on.  I'll keep an eye on it as things go but this is going to be huge around here.

We'll see.


Related Posts with Thumbnails