Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Last Call For The New Mayor In The Queen City

Across the river in Cincy, Aftab Pureval has become the city's first Asian mayor, succeeding John Cranley in a relatively easy win over Republican David Mann.
Aftab Pureval is Cincinnati's next mayor, nabbing a whopping 66% of the vote.

He defeated longtime Cincinnati politician David Mann, who conceded the race at 10 p.m.

"We made history in Cincinnati," Pureval said to supporters who gathered to celebrate his win.

He'll be the first Asian-American mayor in the city's history and the only one in the Midwest.

Pureval's mother and brother were with him during his victory speech at Lucius Q in Pendleton.

Pureval told the crowd of their journey "to a place called Ohio" from New Delhi for a better life.

"What on earth were they thinking?" He said to laughter. "They came to this country to provide a better life for their sons. Because of that incredible decision, our family went from being refugees to mayor of Cincinnati."

Mann was gracious, tweeting: "Congratulations to Aftab on his well-deserved victory. I have spoken with him and wish him nothing but the best, and it has been the honor of my lifetime to serve this community as a councilman, mayor, and member of congress throughout my career. Thank you, Cincinnati!"


In City Council elections, after an ugly bribery scandal left no fewer than four council members facing criminal charges over bribery and misconduct over the past two years, voters cleaned house and elected 8 Democrats and one Republican, Liz Keating, who squeaked in at 9th place. Only Democrat Greg Landsman remains from 2019.

We'll see what Pureval and the new City Council can do. They have a lot of problems ahead.

Insurrection Investigation, Con't

Donald Trump and Republican politicians in the House spent nearly a million bucks with digital advertising firm Event Strategies to advertise the January 6th terrorist attack, and used right-wing social media propaganda platforms like Gab and Parler to do it.
When then-President Donald Trump held his “Stop the Steal” protest on Jan. 6, he turned to a firm called Event Strategies to set up the rally. And while the violent results of that protest may give other politicians pause about using that firm again, Event Strategies has instead become Trump’s preferred staging group—as well as a new go-to for other GOP committees in the months after the riot.

A review of public financial disclosures shows that multiple entities involved in the Jan. 6 rallies have continued to rake it in after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, with various Republicans and GOP groups continuing to give these entities business even as investigators look into their roles with the insurrection.

Public records also show a number of curious payments on and around Jan. 6—including more than $25,000 in advertising that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) paid to right-wing social media platform Parler, with one transaction on the day of the riot.

In total, Trump’s fundraising apparatus has paid Event Strategies roughly $800,000 since Jan. 6, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, with the latest payment coming on Aug. 13. That $31,358 expense was for “event staging,” and footed by Make America Great Again Action—the Trump-endorsed super PAC run by former top aide Corey Lewandowski which was shuttered earlier this month amid allegations that Lewandowski had sexually assaulted a donor.

None of the other top event management firms on Trump’s payroll between October 2020 and the riot have worked for him since Jan. 6.

But Trump is hardly the only Republican to pay Event Strategies this year.

In April, the National Republican Congressional Committee—the official national committee for House Republicans—reported spending about $3,675 with the firm for “facility rental,” and dropped another $6,000 for “audio visual/staging” expenses on June 29. And in late August, the Alabama Republican Party and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), a key player in efforts to overturn the election, shelled out $200,000 and $7,038 to the company, respectively, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

In the 2020 cycle, Trump’s groups paid more than $4.3 million to people and companies involved in organizing the Jan. 6 rally, OpenSecrets reported this week. Of that amount, about $2.8 million went to Event Strategies, records show. But the only 2020 payments other committees made to the firm came after the election, in connection to the Georgia Senate runoffs.

FEC data shows that the NRCC had not paid Event Strategies since 2009, and neither Brooks nor the Alabama GOP previously contracted the company.

Bluebonnet Fundraising, the firm run by rally organizer and former Trump campaign adviser Caroline Wren—who last month was subpoenaed by House investigators—raked in tens of thousands of dollars after the riot.

Some of that cash came from the leadership PAC belonging to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who paid Bluebonnet $1,280 in fundraising fees six days after the attack, per FEC records. Lynda Blanchard, a Republican challenging Brooks in the 2022 Alabama Senate race, also forked over $22,000 in consulting fees to Bluebonnet in May. And in late January, Bluebonnet also got an $86,800 boost from Save the US Senate PAC, a group founded last year by associates of Donald Trump Jr
Trump's propagandists of choice are more than glad to take GOP dollars to drum up hatred and division, and they're making millions doing it. Maybe they should actually pay a price.

Coming Up Short In Virginia

Virginia reverted to form with the party out of power in the White House winning the Governor's Mansion a year later. The only person to beat that curse in the last 40+ years was...Terry McAuliffe in 2009. That didn't happen last night as Slate's Jim Newell explains.
Republican Glenn Youngkin, a private equity magnate turned friendly sweater-vest campaign dad, defeated former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday, leading by nearly three points when networks called the race. It’s Republicans’ first gubernatorial win in Virginia since 2009. This now makes it 11 out of the last 12 governor’s races in the state that the party not controlling the White House has won. (The lone exception was McAuliffe in 2013, who pulled off a squeaker against ideologue Ken Cuccinelli. So at least he has that.)

While there will be plenty of miscalculations for Democrats to pick over in the coming days and weeks, it’s that last statistic, about the out-party traditionally winning the Virginia gubernatorial race, that provides the architecture of McAuliffe’s loss.

This pattern is not a coincidence. One year after an election, the base voters of the party that just lost a presidential race are going to be pissed off, and wake up each morning dreaming of the next time they can vote against the president’s party. (There’s a critical addendum to this in Virginia’s case, too: Republicans had lost every statewide race for nearly a decade in a state they used to dominate. Each loss irritated them more! They were ready to go this time.) The president’s party’s base, meanwhile, can’t match that level of enthusiasm. The president, about whom everyone was so excited to elect the previous year, takes ownership of national problems and sags, or plummets, from their post-election high. This is also the basic structure of why the president’s party typically loses ground in midterm elections the following year. (Just wait!)

In this case, Democrats’ problems accumulated over the summer with a messy withdrawal from Afghanistan; the Delta variant, which brought a new, post-vaccine wave of the pandemic; and inflation and supply chain kinks that turned voters’ opinions of the economy sharply negative. As I pointed out earlier this week, an NBC News national poll from this weekend showed that only 22 percent of voters felt the country was on the right track, compared to 71 percent who said it was on the wrong track. Joe Biden’s average approval rating is 42 percent. I’m not sure which closely contested election Democrats expect to win when that’s the case.

Terry McAuliffe, a lifelong Democratic operative, is not a generational political talent. But Washington also didn’t give McAuliffe much material to work with. As I write, we are on month… 3… 4… 17?…of congressional Democrats saying they’ll pass a monumental pair of bills any day now. This week? Eh, might have to push it to next week. How does your December look? This meant McAuliffe had little-to-nothing to point toward as examples of what Democrats can get done if you just give them the chance.

So, McAuliffe basically ran on Trump. His opposition to Youngkin largely hinged on tying him to Trump. This will be treated in the punditry as a catastrophic mistake and extrapolated into broader conclusions about the futility of even bothering to mention Trump from now on. But such conclusions would be news to the Youngkin campaign, which worked strenuously, and oftentimes awkwardly, to keep its distance from Trump (who was eager to embrace Youngkin) and to keep General Election Youngkin sequestered from Primary Election Youngkin, when the latter said an awful lot of nice things about Trump and the need to ensure “election integrity.”
No state, with the exception of Pennsylvania, is more "We're not with the guy in DC, that asshole" than Virginia when it comes to governors, but it sure didn't help that Democrats still haven't passed the Build Back Better plan or the Senate infrastructure bill after talking about it for over a year, and then winning the White House and both chambers of Congress. 
Yes, I know the problem is Manchin, Sinema, and the filibuster. Yes, the Democrats are still being jerked around by the pair. Yes, it's hurting the Democrats as a whole, making them look comically ineffective. That wasn't Terry McAuliffe's fault at all.

But he lost because a 75% white electorate voted 60% for the Republican. That's 45% for the Republican before a single non-white vote is counted, and that's a guaranteed Democratic loss scenario.

And in particular, McAuliffe was completely undone by non-college White voters, who made up 36% of the electorate.

And this is with the Biden-passed stimulus and child tax credit putting thousands in the pockets of working-class white parents, and with Northam at the state level legalizing weed, ending the death penalty, and restoring voting rights to 70,000 people.

White voters simply reverted to the Southern state norm, voting overwhelmingly Republican. It wasn't voter suppression in Virginia, Democrats in the state made it easier to vote than in 2020 and expanded early voting. Turnout for an off-year governor's contest was a record. McAuliffe won college-educated white voters by 6. He lost non-college white voters by 52.

The people who showed up were overwhelmingly white, and they voted overwhelmingly for Youngkin.

Dems continue to ignore GOP propaganda at their own peril. Trumpism without Trump wins. If they can't find a solution to at least stay closer than a 50-point loss with non-college white voters, it's going to be ugly from here.

And Biden's popularity in the low 40's isn't helping. At all.

Vote like your country depends on it, because it does.


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