The Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, which seeks unification with Ireland, hailed a “new era” Saturday for Northern Ireland as it captured the largest number of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time in a historic win.
With almost all votes counted from Thursday’s local U.K. election, Sinn Fein secured 27 of the Assembly’s 90 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party, which has dominated Northern Ireland’s legislature for two decades, captured 24 seats. The victory means Sinn Fein is entitled to the post of first minister in Belfast — a first for an Irish nationalist party since Northern Ireland was founded as a Protestant-majority state in 1921.
The centrist Alliance Party, which doesn’t identify as either nationalist or unionist, also saw a huge surge in support and was set to become the other big winner in the vote, claiming 17 seats.
The victory is a major milestone for Sinn Fein, which has long been linked to the Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary group that used bombs and bullets to try to take Northern Ireland out of U.K. rule during decades of violence involving Irish republican militants, Protestant Loyalist paramilitaries and the U.K. army and police.
“Today ushers in a new era,” Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O’Neill said shortly before the final results were announced. “Irrespective of religious, political or social backgrounds, my commitment is to make politics work.”
O’Neill stressed that it was imperative for Northern Ireland’s divided politicians to come together next week to form an Executive — the devolved government of Northern Ireland. If none can be formed within six months, the administration will collapse, triggering a new election and more uncertainty.
There is “space in this state for everyone, all of us together,” O’Neill said. “There is an urgency to restore an Executive and start putting money back in people’s pockets, to start to fix the health service. The people can’t wait.”
While the Sinn Fein win signals a historic shift that shows diminishing support for unionist parties, it’s far from clear what happens next because of Northern Ireland’s complicated power-sharing politics and ongoing tussles over post-Brexit arrangements.
Under a mandatory power-sharing system created by the 1998 peace agreement that ended decades of Catholic-Protestant conflict, the jobs of first minister and deputy first minister are split between the biggest unionist party and the largest nationalist one. Both posts must be filled for a government to function, but the Democratic Unionist Party has suggested it might not serve under a Sinn Fein first minister.
The DUP has also said it will refuse to join a new government unless there are major changes to post-Brexit border arrangements known as the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Those post-Brexit rules, which took effect after Britain left the European Union, have imposed customs and border checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. The arrangement was designed to keep an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, a key pillar of the peace process.
But the rules angered many unionists, who maintain that the new checks have created a barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. that undermines their British identity. In February, the DUP’s Paul Givan resigned as first minister in protest against the arrangements, triggering a a fresh political crisis in Northern Ireland.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said he will announce next week whether he will return to the government.
“We will consider what we need to do now to get the action that is required from the government. I will be making my decision clear on all of that early next week,” he told the BBC.
Saturday, May 7, 2022
Idaho’s dominant Republican Party is at war with itself up and down the ballot ahead of its May 17 primaries.
It’s not just Gov. Brad Little, whose reelection campaign became national news when Donald Trump endorsed a primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin. The state attorney general is staring down a challenge from a former rabble-rousing member of Congress. The senior of Idaho’s two GOP House members is facing a primary that has drawn millions in spending. And contentious open races for lieutenant governor and the secretary of state — Idaho’s chief election official — echo some of the national divisions within the party.
There is bound to be some infighting in a state where ambitious pols only have a few routes up the ladder. But there’s more to it in Idaho, where the party’s longtime control over the booming state has bred sharp differences and fierce enmity between two wings of the GOP.
“Some people would describe it as conservative, and then far-right conservative,” said Tom Luna, the chair of the state Republican Party. That “far-right” camp, Luna continued, “would call themselves conservatives and everybody else moderates.”
“We’re probably a microcosm, in some ways, of a lot of places around the country,” said Tommy Ahlquist, a developer who finished third in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary.
The normally invisible secretary of state race illustrates the situation. Two of the three candidates running in the GOP primary — state Sen. Mary Souza and state Rep. Dorothy Moon — said they did not believe that President Joe Biden fairly won the 2020 election. Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, who oversees elections in the state’s most populous county, said that Biden did win the election.
“It’s just this national rhetoric, and running to a narrative created by Trump that he started when he knew he was going to lose, and started telling the lie,” said Ahlquist, who is critical of the far-right slate of candidates. “And that filters down to Republicans in our state. And in a state as red as ours, that’s still the narrative because that’s what they do to get elected.”
In the state attorney general’s race, former Rep. Raúl Labrador — a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus — and his allies have cast five-term Attorney General Lawrence Wasden as a weak link in the national fight against Democrats.
The Club for Growth, a longtime backer of Labrador’s in Congress, has spent nearly $300,000 on TV ads in the race, according to AdImpact, an ad tracking firm. Though the group hasn’t formally endorsed Labrador, who finished second in the 2018 gubernatorial primary, they have gone after Wasden.
“Lawrence Wasden is no general,” the narrator of the Club ad says, knocking him for not joining multi-state actions that other GOP attorneys general backed — including the 2020 lawsuit led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that tried to toss out the results of the last presidential election.
But it’s the governor’s race that will headline the GOP primaries in Idaho, with Little facing down a challenge from McGeachin after years of public feuding between the two, especially over coronavirus policies. Their horn-locking reached farcical levels: More than once, McGeachin used her power as acting governor while Little was out of the state to issue an executive order on the pandemic, which Little would angrily rescind shortly after returning.
Little is one of two sitting Republican governors whom Trump is opposing, joining Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whose primary against former Sen. David Perdue is later this month. But unlike Kemp — who had a well-documented public breakup with Trump in 2020, over his unwillingness to help Trump overturn the election results — Little never publicly drew the former president’s ire.
McGeachin, however, was one of Trump’s earliest supporters. She also has ties to the far right, having appeared at the same conference hosted by a white nationalist that drew condemnation and criticism for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). (McGeachin accused a Boise TV reporter of trying to play guilt “by association” by raising the conference, saying she didn’t know the organizer before she spoke.)
With the fall of Roe virtually assured, Republicans are lining up to destroy the next big barrier to Gilead, Griswold v Connecticut, and they're making it very clear they are coming after birth control, contraception, and bodily autonomy by "returning" these issues "to voters" next.
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturns women’s constitutional right to abortion this summer, one Arizona Republican candidate for U.S. Senate thinks judges should also take aim at the right to buy and use contraception.
Blake Masters, a Tucson-based venture capitalist, boasts on his website that he will only vote to confirm federal judges “who understand that Roe and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided, and that there is no constitutional right to abortion.” Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decided in 1973 and 1992, respectively, both upheld a constitutional right to abortion access.
But the ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 protected a married couple’s right to buy and use contraceptives without government restrictions. The case centered on a Connecticut law that banned the use of contraceptives, which the court determined violated a married couple’s constitutional right to privacy, establishing the basis for the right to privacy with respect to intimate practices.
Masters’ stance puts him on the opposite side of the issue from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of GOP senators, which has advised candidates on talking points following the leak of a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
In a section instructing candidates on how to “forcefully refute Democrat lies” about Republicans’ positions on abortion and health care, the NRSC declares that “Republicans DO NOT want to take away contraception.”
Elsewhere in the talking points memo to GOP Senate candidates, the NRSC advises them to say, “I’m not in favor of putting women or doctors in jail. I would never take away anyone’s contraception or health care. That’s just the typical BS you get from politicians.”
Yes, the typical BS from Republican politicians, who absolutely want to have American women as kept breeding slaves like Bene Tlielax axolotl tanks from Dune.
And if you don't think the decreasing share of white folk in America has everything to do with overturning Roe, Casey, and Griswold, I have bad news for you. America's been a white ethnostate for, you know, centuries, and forcing births of white babies for Millennials and especially Zoomers has been the plan for some time now.
Republicans are coming for everything that has allowed diversity in America and they continue to lie to you about it until it will be far too late.
Count on that.