Saturday, December 14, 2019

Last Call For Ejector Jeff

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew is not only coming out against impeachment, he's coming out against being a Democrat and is expected to switch parties to the GOP before the end of the year.

Officials said Saturday that Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a vocally anti-impeachment Democrat, will join the Republican Party in the coming days, following a Friday meeting with President Trump — delivering a political jolt to Democrats ahead of next week’s expected vote to impeach the president.

Two Democratic officials familiar with Van Drew’s discussions in recent days said they believe he has decided to switch parties. The White House meeting was confirmed by a Trump administration official and one of the Democratic officials.

Van Drew, his chief of staff and his communications director did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.

Van Drew, who won a previously Republican seat in 2018, has been a critical voice opposing impeachment inside the Democratic ranks, saying that the process is too divisive and comes too close to the 2020 presidential election. A member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, Van Drew has positioned himself at the rightmost flank of his party.

It's weird though, Van Drew's voting record is actually really anti-Trump.  His 538 Trump Score is a low 7.1%, putting him to the left of Democrats like Jerry Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries.  The DCCC recruited him to run in NJ-2, which was a district Trump carried in 2016 (South Jersey/Atlantic City).  It's rated R+1, and for twenty years the district belonged to Republican Frank LoBiondo.  Van Drew won by six points.

So why is he switching parties?

Because coming out against impeachment killed his re-election chances.

Van Drew and Rep. Collin C. Peterson, a veteran Minnesota Democrat who represents a much more conservative district than Van Drew’s, were the only two Democrats to vote against a House resolution in October formalizing the impeachment inquiry.

Van Drew’s decision to oppose impeachment badly alienated Democratic voters in his district, sparking a primary challenge that threatened his prospects for reelection.

A polling memo obtained by The Washington Post, citing results of a Dec. 7-10 survey of likely Democratic voters commissioned by Van Drew’s campaign, found that only 24 percent believed that he should be reelected, with 58 percent wanting another Democrat nominated for the seat.

Fine with me, saves the trouble of primary challenging him.  Perhaps the DCCC could recruit somebody who isn't going to jump to Trump in the middle of his term.

He's the anti-Amash, but unlike Amash he's skipping the Independent spoiler stage and going full Trump.  And Trump does love Atlantic City...

The Reach To Impeach, Con't

The Senate GOP was never going to convict Trump, but now they are openly mocking the idea of Senate trial, and it's becoming more likely that the entire impeachment process will simply be disposed of with a single vote.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a close ally of President Donald Trump, said he will do everything in his power to quickly end an expected impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate
"This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly," the South Carolina Republican said Saturday during an interview with CNN International's Becky Anderson at the Doha Forum in Qatar. 
The House Judiciary Committee on Friday approved two articles of impeachment against the President, paving the way for a final vote on the House floor expected next week. That will set up the Senate trial, for which lawmakers are now gearing up.

Asked if it was appropriate for him to be voicing his opinion before impeachment reaches the Senate, Graham replied, "Well, I must think so because I'm doing it." 
"I am trying to give a pretty clear signal I have made up my mind. I'm not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here," Graham said, adding, "What I see coming, happening today is just a partisan nonsense." 
In his opening remarks at the forum, Graham predicted the impeachment process would be over around mid-January.

They're not even pretending anymore that the Constitution exists.  It's whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it.  The Senate oath to be an impartial juror suring a Senate trial?  Meaningless, because they simply don't consider Democrats to have any legitimacy at all.

The Founders were never prepared for villainy of this nature, and so America will suffer, maybe for decades.  There was never any possibility set aside to deal with the notion that an entire political party who controlled the Senate and White House would simply commit mass crimes and that enough people would cheer those crimes on because they figured they would benefit from them, and that the political opposition would be rendered helpless.

I know we're short of the darkest days of American history, but we're pretty close and getting closer.

Hack The Planet, Con't

This year we saw major cyberattacks cripple the city governments of Atlanta and Baltimore, now New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has issued a state of emergency as the city's PC networks were attacked on Friday.
Phishing attempts and suspicious activity were detected on the city's network around 5 a.m., New Orleans chief information officer Kim LaGrue said during a press conference. 
By 11 a.m., technician investigators detected "a cybersecurity incident" and the city's information technology department began powering down servers and city computers as a precaution, the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said in a series of tweets
While ransomware was detected, no ransom has been demanded in the cyberattack, Cantrell said. 
At this time, the city does not believe any employee information was compromised during the phishing attempts that occurred. 
The incident is being investigated by the city with assistance from the Louisiana State Police, Louisiana National Guard, the FBI and Secret Service, according to the tweets. 
The city's 911 system was not affected by the attack, the city said. 
Cantrell said the attack is similar to the most recent attack on the state level. In July, several school systems in Louisiana were attacked by malware, prompting the governor to issue a state of emergency.

Expect this to become all the more familiar in the months ahead as we head towards the 2020 elections.  The Trump regime has done everything possible to leave federal, state and local government networks wide open to attack, with Mitch McConnell regularly killing legislation that would strengthen system defenses.

This will only get worse.

It's About Suppression, Con't

A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of precinct closures in predominantly black areas of Georgia by GOP lawmakers and then Secretary of State Brian Kemp ahead of the 2018 elections found that the closures kept as many as 85,000 Georgians from voting last year.

The AJC mapped Georgia’s 7 million registered voters and compared how distance to their local precincts increased or decreased from 2012 to 2018. During that time, county election officials shut down 8% of Georgia’s polling places and relocated nearly 40% of the state’s precincts.

Most of the precinct closures and relocations occurred after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 ended federal oversight of local election decisions under the Voting Rights Act.

The AJC’s analysis, vetted by two nonpartisan statistics experts, showed a clear link between turnout and reduced voting access. The farther voters live from their precincts, the less likely they are to cast a ballot.

Precinct closures and longer distances likely prevented an estimated 54,000 to 85,000 voters from casting ballots on Election Day last year, according to the AJC’s findings.

And the impact was greater on black voters than white ones, the AJC found. Black voters were 20% more likely to miss elections because of long distances.

Without those precinct relocations, overall Election Day turnout in last year’s midterm election likely would have been between 1.2% and 1.8% higher, the AJC estimated.

“Seems to me, they’re making it harder for us to vote,” said Coleman, who voted in the November election for governor but didn’t cast a ballot in the primary. “I hate that they closed that place down because it was more convenient. Maybe I wouldn’t miss elections if it was still open here.” 
The AJC’s analysis accounted for both large, rural precincts and small, urban precincts by measuring how far voters had to travel as a percentage of their precinct’s geographic area. Both groups were impacted, the AJC found.

The average Georgia voter’s distance to a polling place more than doubled from 2012 to 2018, according to the AJC’s analysis.

While the state made it easier to register to vote, they made it much harder to actually cast that ballot.  And even though Georgia's midterm election turnout was 57% in 2018, it could have been as high as 59 or 60% if the closed precincts had remained open.

The GOP plan is to get people in rural areas registered to vote and make it easier for them to vote, and to do just the opposite in urban counties and predominantly black ones.

Still, the AJC is careful to say that Kemp still would have won, even with the additional turnout, but the racial disparity still remains.

Once freed from federal oversight, precinct closures accelerated in areas previously covered by the Voting Rights Act. At least 1,688 polling places were shut down since 2012, according to the Leadership Conference Education Fund. The AJC reported last year that 214 of those precinct closures were in Georgia, third most of states previously covered by the act’s preclearance provision.

Before the ruling, voters of all races were barely affected by their distance to the polls, accounting for a 0.2% and 0.4% reduction in turnout, according to the AJC’s analysis of election data from 2012. The number of Georgia voters who missed elections because of distance more than quadrupled in 2018 compared to 2012, the AJC found.

Turnout by black voters would have been between 1.3% and 2.1% higher on Election Day in 2018 if they all lived near their polling places.

Overall, black voters are also significantly more likely to live farther from their precincts than white voters, the AJC found. About 30% of black voters must now travel across half of their precinct to reach their poll compared to less than 20% of white voters.

The AJC’s analysis shows the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling, said Donald Verrilli Jr., the U.S. solicitor general at the time of the court’s decision in 2013. The court’s majority said the Voting Rights Act covered states based on their history rather than on recent evidence of discrimination.

“This is exactly the kind of updated data the justices in the majority said was lacking,” Verrilli told the AJC. “Exactly the kind of data that suggests that the judgment of the majority of the court — the South has changed — may be in need of amendment. Maybe the South hasn’t changed as much as one would have hoped.”

Voter suppression through precinct closing may not have been the sole reason Kemp won, but it definitely helped.
Related Posts with Thumbnails