Monday, July 24, 2023

Last Call For The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

One of the actually correct, legal, and constitutional Supreme Court decisions handed down last month was the determination that Alabama's gerrymander was so racist that it actually violated the Voting Rights Act that Chief Justice Roberts has spent more than a decade gutting. Alabama Republicans of course don't give a damn, and are simply submitting a 99% as racist gerrymander eliminating Black voting power in the state and daring anyone to do anything about it.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, seemed to defend the legislature’s insolence in the face of the federal courts’ orders when it approved the new map Friday.

“The Legislature knows our state, our people and our districts better than the federal courts or activist groups,” she said in a statement.

CNN’s Dianne Gallagher noted in her report that the old congressional map was invalidated by a three-judge federal district court panel that included two judges nominated to the bench by former President Donald Trump.

They concluded the plan by which Alabamians selected their congressional delegation in 2022 likely violated the Voting Rights Act because Black voters have “less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress.”

Before the 2022 midterm election, the US Supreme Court had tabled action on Alabama’s map, which helped Republicans win the barely there four-seat House majority they currently hold.

Gallagher and CNN’s Tierney Sneed wrote last month that the Allen v. Milligan decision could have consequences for other states and reignite a series of lawsuits in multiple states.

“Outright defiance of the Supreme Court’s order,” is how Janai Nelson, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, described the new map to CNN’s Dana Bash Monday.

In this moment, it is up to our federal courts to protect Black voters and also to protect their own authority here,” she later added.

The background here is that Alabama’s population is about 27% Black, but the Black population in the state is focused on a number of counties that are overwhelmingly African American – an area known as the state’s Black Belt, although it is named for the area’s fertile soil. The interest of giving the voters of the Black Belt, many of whom are Black, representation in Congress, is all over the Supreme Court’s decision.

Coincidentally, earlier this year, President Joe Biden named Alabama’s Black Belt, site of many key moments in the Civil Rights Movement, as a National Heritage Area.

o Nelson, the math suggests that since Black Alabamians represent about a quarter of the state’s population, they should get representation from more than one of the seven lawmakers representing Alabama in Congress.

But the issue is larger than simple math since Alabama, both historically and currently, is marked by polarized voting conditions.

“This is a mandate by civil rights laws to make sure that there’s fairness in our systems, that Black voters and other voters who have been historically discriminated against have an opportunity to have representatives who will speak to their interests and give voice to their concerns,” she said.
Alabama's solution is a near majority Black congressional district that Republicans will win by just 20 points instead of 40. The state will still have six Republicans in the US House and one Democrat, but of course now it's more fair! 

Like Ohio Republicans, who ran out the clock on gerrymandering until a federal judge ordered the state to allow voting with districts that are unconstitutional under state law, Alabama will just do the same. Republicans don't care. They will control the state forever and will change the rules to assure they always will.

No matter how many Black voters they have to permanently disenfranchise.


Beshear Audacity Of It All

Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear continues to be broadly popular in 2023 heading into his reelection race against GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron later this year. 
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear — a Democrat running for re-election this year in a deep-red state — remains among America’s most popular governors ahead of the November contest. His approval rating among GOP voters is stronger than any other Democratic governor, resisting drag from President Joe Biden’s poor standing in the Bluegrass State and setting up a formidable challenge for Republicans hoping to unseat him.

The other incumbent governor up for re-election this fall, Republican Tate Reeves of Mississippi, is among the country’s least popular, according to our latest quarterly data. His state’s partisan bent and the power of incumbency are likely to be enough to push him across the finish line in November, though strengthened antipathy from the state’s large share of Black voters could make him sweat.

A strong 64% majority of Kentucky voters approve of Beshear’s job performance, while 32% disapprove, according to our second quarter surveys conducted April 1-June 30. This marks Beshear’s highest approval rating since Biden took office in January 2021.

Along with receiving solid marks from Kentucky Democrats and independents, Beshear wins approval from roughly half of the state’s Republicans, making him the country’s most popular Democratic governor with GOP voters.

Even with his father’s esteemed name in state politics, Beshear’s current standing is remarkable given Kentucky’s partisan bent. While he defeated Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in 2019 by a razor-thin margin due largely to the incumbent’s deep unpopularity, Trump would go on to win the state by 26 percentage points in 2020.
Despite that wide presidential margin, Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball have rated the race as leaning Democratic, with Cook citing Beshear’s approval rating in Morning Consult surveys, buoyed by his handling of natural disasters and Kentucky’s economic performance. (Another race-rater, Inside Elections, currently sees the contest as a toss-up.)

Beshear is entering the heat of the campaign with strong popularity despite voters’ deep dislike of Biden in his state. Kentucky voters are 37 points more likely to disapprove than approve of Biden’s job performance (30% to 67%). But to Beshear’s credit, even those who dislike the president more often than not give the governor positive marks.
Cameron keeps attacking Beshear as a liberal, but even half of Republicans here say he's doing a good job. We'll see what polling looks like after Labor Day, but Beshear has a really good shot.

Trump Cards, Con't

Congrats to Team WIN THE MORNING who have finally figured out what any ZVTS reader could have told you a decade ago: the only thing that matters to Republican voters is owning the libs.
The mesh trucker hats, “Bud Right” koozies and “Abolish the FBI” yard signs Republican presidential candidates are feverishly hawking are, on the surface, all about amassing enough small-dollar donors to qualify for the first debate.

But there’s something else revealing about the candidates’ emporiums of red meat. In the modern GOP, owning the libs is what sells.

“Forty years ago, it would’ve been ‘Free Ukraine,’ next to Reagan’s picture,” said Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist. “Freedom and liberty for all is not … the incentive structure in our politics, unfortunately.”

In the merchandising arms race of today, it’s not the economy, stupid. It’s Ron DeSantis’ $37.47 “Build the Wall” trucker hat, Nikki Haley’s “Strong & Proud, Not Weak & Woke” t-shirt or a Perry Johnson “I identify as non-Bidenary” sticker.

Once the “party of new ideas,” the culture wars are the new platform, not simply a plank.

“We’re kind of anti-woke,” said Johnson, the businessperson and longshot presidential contender from Michigan who is selling a mug with the promise to “keep kids off socialism.” “In fact, I think the whole party is pretty much anti-woke.”

It’s not hard to understand why Republicans are emphasizing cultural issues — not Reagan’s image — in their sales. They’re following the example of a more recent president, who seven years ago turned his red MAGA hat into a ubiquitous symbol of the right. Whole wardrobes materialized in homage to his Hillary Clinton-inspired chants of “Lock her up!”
The difference as to why Trump is winning by 20 points in Florida over DeSantis in Florida, 30 points in South Carolina over Nikki Haley and Tim Scott and 30 points in Iowa is very simple. Trump's the guy who won't just own the libs, he'll destroy them using the power of the US government.

Trump voters want "those people" destroyed to the point where the Obama/Biden coalition never dares to lift a voice to speak, a hand to vote, or eyes to see. They're voting for Trump so that happens. They want revenge, retaliation, and revanchism. and Trump will give it to them. A war is coming and they want to be on the winning side.

Politico seems to think it's just about merchandising.

It is not.

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