Republicans think abortion is a messaging problem—one they can win

Second Amendment


Tom Edsall/The New York Times:

The Republican Strategists Who Have Carefully Planned All of This

The expulsion of two Black state representatives by the Republican majority in Tennessee received widespread publicity this past week.


But their expulsion, as spectacular as it was, is just the most recent development in a pattern of attempts by Republicans to fire or limit the powers of elected Democrats in Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and elsewhere. This includes Gov. Ron DeSantis’s decision in August 2022 to suspend Andrew H. Warren, the elected Democratic state attorney of Hillsborough County, who had signed a statement saying he would not prosecute those who seek or provide abortions.


I guess Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are vying for the coveted Orbán endorsement.

Richard L. Hasen and Dahlia Lithwick/Slate:

The Effort to Suppress the Vote Is Spreading to the Republican Mainstream

They’ve been at it for a long time, and they’re picking up steam.

It’s bad enough when a trio of voter suppression groups led by charlatans gets together at an annual secret conference that is sponsored, in part, by a group created by the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo to talk about all the ways they might make it harder for people to register or vote in future elections. But it is much worse when the participants in that secret conference also include secretaries of state and other top election officials from 13 Republican-led states, plus Don Palmer, a member of the United States Election Assistance Commission, plus counsels to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the House Administration Committee’s Republican staff, and a sitting Texas state senator. The entire conference—whose existence was revealed in a blockbuster report by the Guardian and Documented last week—shows that there is a thriving network of interlocking organizations working with elected and election officials to use unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud to try to mess with fair elections for partisan advantage.

It is understandable if this particular report flew below the radar for you. We are all living in Steve Bannon’s Trumpian dreamworld in which “flooding the zone with shit” has become a remarkably successful political tactic. From the past week’s stories of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failing to report lavish free vacations, including a $500,000 jaunt on a private plane, to a bonkers anti-abortion ruling from a Texas judge that bans an abortion drug and lays the groundwork for recognizing a fetus as a human being entitled to full constitutional protection, to the expulsion of two Black state legislators from the Tennessee Legislature because they had the temerity to protest gun violence fueled by a Supreme Court stuck in the 1790s to—yes—more mass shootings, it is too easy to be distracted. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are people meeting, behind closed doors, to plot out new paths to voter suppression, with direct implications for the type of democracy that we may have in the United States in 2024 and beyond.


Philip Rotner/The Bulwark:

Sorry Doubters, But Bragg Was Right to Indict Trump

No, the case isn’t too weak. No, it’s not too politically explosive. And no, Bragg should not have waited for other indictments to come first.

But what are they really saying?

To argue that [DA Alvin] Bragg should not have indicted Trump at all requires one to believe that even if Bragg can prove everything alleged in the indictment and the accompanying statement of facts filed in New York last week, he still shouldn’t have brought the case.

That’s a heavy lift. Too heavy.

Tressie McMillan Cottom/The New York Times:

Why I Keep My Eyes — and My Mind — on the South

We like to look to the horizon instead of to the soil because we bury the people we do not care about in the South. It is where we have put migrants and poor people and sick people. It is where we put the social problems we are willing to accept in exchange for the promise of individual opportunity in places that sound more sophisticated. But the South is still a laboratory for the political disenfranchisement that works just as well in Wisconsin as it does in Florida. Americans are never as far from the graves we dig for other people as we hope…

I keep my eyes on the South for a lot of reasons. This is my home. It is the region of this nation’s original sin. Nothing about the future of this country can be resolved unless it is first resolved here: not the climate crisis or the border or life expectancy or anything else of national importance, unless you solve it in the South and with the people of the South.


Republicans facing a reckoning later this week

An NRA convention and an RNC confab in Nashville come at an inopportune time.

Days after a mass shooting in Louisville, Ky., many declared and undeclared 2024 candidates will be brandishing their Second Amendment bona fides at the National Rifle Association’s annual leadership forum in Indianapolis. From there, a number of the candidates will travel south on I-65, where they will make their cases to Republican National Committee grandees for a gathering in Nashville — the site not only of another mass shooting, but also the state GOP-led ejection of two Black Democratic lawmakers last week.

“Talking at the NRA meeting in Indianapolis then going to the RNC meeting in Nashville all fits together,” said Paul Helmke, the former Republican mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., and president and CEO of the Brady Center/Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “You’re giving a single unified message: You don’t brook dissent or disagreement on guns.”



Tenure of new Michigan GOP chair who spread Beyoncé paganism conspiracy theory is off to a rocky start

[Kristina] Karamo has claimed in the past that Beyoncé was secretly recruiting Black Americans to Paganism through a new album; that “demonic possession is real” and transferred via “intimate relationships”; and that acceptance of gay and transgender Americans will lead to the acceptance of pedophilia.

She has said that the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement are “Marxist witches”; that the theory of evolution is “one of the biggest scams ran on us in human history”; and that doing drugs is “witchcraft.” She has compared abortion to Pagan child sacrifice.


After losing every statewide office and full control of the state government for the first time in nearly 40 years, Michigan Republicans elected Karamo – who made these comments and many others within the last few years – as their new state party chairwoman and the first Black person to lead the state party.

Karamo, an election denier who believes the 2020 presidential race was stolen, has also refused to concede her own 2022 race for Michigan Secretary of State, which she lost by 14 percentage points – the most lopsided loss of any statewide candidate last year.

I wonder why the Michigan GOP is having trouble raising money?


Biden administration urges action on child labor from meat companies

Meat companies should examine their supply chains for evidence of child labor, the Biden administration said in a letter sent to top meatpacking companies on Wednesday.

The letter is part of an effort by several agencies, led by the Department of Labor, to curb the use of illegal child labor across sectors. Since 2018, illegal employment of children has risen 69% in the U.S., according to the agency.

Be it COVID-19 risk or child labor, meat companies do not have a stellar record of adhering to the law. Keep an eye on this, as child labor issues are making headlines.

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