11.5.18 “There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.”
Considering Texas’s usual abysmal voter-turnout rates, it’s astonishing that our state this past week led the country in first-time voter numbers, with more than 200K new voters voting already. We lead the next-largest new-voter turnout, in California, by more than double (at 90K).
Early turnout for voting in Texas has increased 508% among voters under 30, a stratospheric jump being attributed largely to enthusiasm among younger voters for Beto O’Rourke. Turnout levels across all demographics has been extraordinarily high.
But don’t get complacent.
Now more than ever, every vote counts—here are ten times elections came down to a single vote. Vote like your rights and our democracy depend on it—because they do. Call friends to encourage them to vote; offer rides; post on social media. And no matter how things go on Tuesday, here are some ways to make sure we aren’t contributing to the nation’s divisiveness and anger.
In a hopeful sign for future elections, Maine is instigating ranked-choice voting in the first general election ever, in an effort to avoid nasty and expensive runoff battles.
In other news, this week thousands of Philadephians—as well as the mayor, as well as the former president of the synagogue where the victims were shot, who called Donald “a purveyor of hate speech”—asked Donald not to come to their town until the victims of the right-wing terrorist who shot 11 Jewish people in a synagogue last Saturday had been buried. He went anyway, though congressional leaders declined to go with him. One of the victim’s family, whom Donald offered to meet, declined his visit. The “very stable genius” said the Pittsburgh protest was “small” and he didn’t see it. Here’s the actual protest, a scant mile from where Donald was. Mike Pence showed up with a “rabbi”—who preached Jesus as savior (to JEWISH people) and asked them to pray for Republicans. (I wish this were satire, but it’s true.)
Republicans Against the Law
It was quite a week for legal smackdowns of the GOP.
This week judges ruled that:
- The suit brought by Maryland and the District of Columbia against Donald for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution can go forward.
- The climate-change suit brought by a group of young people against this administration can go forward.
- The Supreme Court ruled that they would allow a trial on Wilbur Ross’s adding of a citizenship question to the 2020 census in violation of the Constitution, despite the GOP administration’s efforts to stall the case.
- After Ohio improperly purged a rash of voters over the last six years, federal judges ordered the state to allow them to vote in the midterms.
- A judge ruled against Georgia’s GOP and forced secretary of state (and gubernatorial candidate) Brian Kemp to count 3,000 ballots he tried—not coincidentally—to block. In the wake of the voter suppression efforts, Georgian former president Jimmy Carter called on Kemp to resign.
And a new lawsuit has been brought to federal court alleging that Donald and three of his children used the Trump name to intentionally mislead vulnerable people to invest in sham corporations.
At least three probes by the inspector general of the Interior department are underway against Ryan Zinke for violations of ethics and rules—one of which has been referred to the Justice department.
Former House speaker Joe Straus penned an op-ed calling for unity and civility, and denouncing the current GOP administration for its divisiveness.
Even Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report was appalled by FOX’s reporting of the recent right-wing terrorist attacks.
Even Paul Ryan rejected Donald’s dog-whistle distraction of threatening to end birthright citizenship by executive order.
Even Kanye West is realizing he’s been a political pawn and announced he will be removing himself from politics (to the relief of a grateful nation)—but not without a parting statement, of course, and one that seems to belie everything else he’s spewed in the last months: “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in…. I support holding people who misuse their power accountable.
I believe in love and compassion for people seeking asylum and parents who are fighting to protect their children from violence and war.”
The Wall Street Journal—a bastion of conservative thought—reported that the U.S. Treasury expects to issue more than $1 TRILLION of debt in 2018, thanks to the GOP tax break for corporations and the wealthy.
Speaking of the conservative financial sector, for the first time in a decade, more Wall Street political money is going to Democrats than Republicans—not necessarily great news for those who understand the damage big-money interests wreak on our government, but certainly a powerful statement about the current state of our country that the typically Republican-leaning financial sector is distancing itself from GOP corruption.
Michael Cohen can’t stop revealing terrible truths about Donald—most recently that Don John frequently used racist language during the 2016 campaign and before. (Meanwhile Donald’s racist ad stating that Democrats allowed a Mexican man accused of killing two policemen into the country hilariously backfired when it was revealed that the man came into the country under George Bush and was released by racist felon sheriff Joe Arpaio.)
Mitt Romney railed against Donald’s repeated attacks on the media as the “enemy of the people,” saying “Denigrating the media diminishes an institution that is critical to democracy, both here and abroad…it comes with a large cost to the cause of freedom,” and stating the that media are “very much our friend.”
Social and Civil Rights Advances
Thousands of Google employees across the world staged a walkout last Thursday to protest the company’s payouts of departing executives accused of sexual harassment, and Google’s silence about the allegations.
More than 56 corporations, including giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook, confronted the GOP administration over its recent efforts to attack the civil rights of transgender people.
GoDaddy is the latest business to withdraw from Gab, the far-right hate-speech social media site where Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers was active, following PayPal, Medium, Stripe, and Joyent.
Undaunted by GOP attacks on free speech and civil protest of shootings of African Americans, an NFL cheerleader for the San Francisco 49’ers knelt for the national anthem.
University of Maryland football coach DJ Durkin, under whose leadership a player died of heatstroke, lost his job a day after his school announced he’d keep it, after an upswelling of student and lawmaker outcry.
Feel-good Stories of the Week
The New York Times is “failing” all the way to the bank and millions of readers—circulation soared past the 4 million mark this past quarter, a previous record, profits jumped 30 percent, and the stock has gained almost 24% in the last month. Attacks on the press seem to instill a new respect and gratitude for it.
Ben and Jerry’s has resistance ice cream! $100K of profits for Pecan Resist will go to progressive causes “to lick injustice and champion those fighting to create a more just and equitable nation for us all.”
I’d love to say “tens of people” showed up for a rally Steve Bannon tried to hold in Kansas, but in reality the number was only 17. Ten-and-two-thirds of people, I guess…. J
Shepard Smith continues to be the sole voice of reason and fact at FOX News with this extraordinary commentary amid Donald’s baseless fearmongering about the asylum seekers from Central America: “There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.” There are over 2,000 miles between Mexico’s southern border and the US, Smith pointed out, and a similar previous incident resulted in only 14 arrests: “We’re America. We can handle it.”
Oprah damn Winfrey went to Georgia and literally campaigned door to door for Stacey Abrams, and it. Was. Awesome. She also gave a phenomenal introduction to the gubernatorial candidate at an Abrams rally that smacked of awesomeness.
Here’s a visual representation of how much we can accomplish when we work together: When a beloved bookstore in Southampton, England, had to move to a new location nearby, more than 200 patrons showed up to help, forming a human conveyor belt passing books along one by one until the entire store was relocated.
Keep this idea in mind when you VOTE.