Clarity (and fog) after the primaries as all eyes on KansasAugust 3, 2022
Red-state romp backing abortion rights changes 2022 calculations
The push to allow lawmakers to ban abortion in Kansas backfired spectacularly.
In putting the issue before voters on a mid-summer primary day, conservatives in Kansas were banking on a low-turnout affair that would pave the way for an abortion ban in a reliably red state.
What they got instead was a lopsided loss that preserved the status quo yet also changed a whole swath of calculations about 2022.
The push to allow lawmakers to ban abortion in Kansas backfired spectacularly. It woke up suburban voters and even those in conservative parts of the state who didn’t want to pursue something that was practically invited by the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Joe Scarborough called Republican positioning on forced birth a “rapist’s bill of rights” this morning. Even the rural counties in KS underperformed in supporting YES, and turnout was massive (900K, that’s general election level). People will come out and vote on this issue.
Concern about abortion explodes among Democrats, fueling a push to vote
Concern about abortion access exploded among Democratic voters as an election issue over the past month, a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll found, as the repercussions of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade reverberate.
Sixty-four percent of Democrats say the court’s action makes them more likely to vote in November, potentially a crucial factor in midterm elections that traditionally have low turnout. That’s more than double the 29% of Democrats who expressed that view in a USA TODAY/Suffolk survey taken in June after a draft of the landmark decision was leaked.
The growing power of the issue in propelling turnout among abortion-rights supporters could boost Democratic prospects to limit losses in the House and contest control of the Senate in the midterms. GOP hopes of a “wave” election that would sweep Republican candidates into office have been fueled by a campaign driven by economic anxiety.
Look for an elections roundup later today from Daily Kos.
And in other news…
House panels: DHS officials interfered in effort to get lost Secret Service texts
After the inspector general’s office requested the Secret Service’s January 6 communications, the effort was shut down
Top officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general’s office interfered with efforts to recover erased Secret Service texts from the time of the US Capitol attack and attempted to cover up their actions, two House committees said in a letter on Monday.
Taken together, the new revelations appear to show that the chief watchdog for the Secret Service and the DHS took deliberate steps to stop the retrieval of texts it knew were missing, and then sought to hide the fact that it had decided not to pursue that evidence.
Nice job, Democrats.
David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:
Biden Keeps a Promise With His Zawahiri Strike
The president pledged to keep the pressure on terrorists when he took the U.S. out of Afghanistan. Monday’s assassination of al Qaeda’s chief shows he was as good as his word.
For years, even as vice president during the Obama years, Biden had argued that America’s “endless war” in Afghanistan needed to be brought to a close, troops brought home, and a new strategy for combating terror employed. He and those close to him recognized that the immense costs of waging what the Bush administration had characterized as a “Global War on Terror” was a misallocation of resources. Instead, as a senior aide to Biden said me to me shortly after he took office, “the focus should be… as it probably always should have been… on managing targeted counterterrorism efforts led by the intelligence community, supported by law enforcement and the military, and implemented using over-the-horizon technologies and, where required, special operations.”
Pulling troops out of Afghanistan last year not only brought America’s longest war to a close but it created a put-up or shut-up moment for the preferred Biden approach. Political opponents, members of the military, and other critics argued leaving would create a void that terrorists would certainly fill and which in turn would put Americans at risk.
Biden argued it would not. In a speech defending his decision to exit just 50 weeks ago, on Aug. 14 of last year, after explaining his rationale for withdrawal, he went on to say: “We’ll not take our eye off the terrorist threat. We’ll reorganize our counterterrorism capabilities and the substantial assets in the region to prevent re-emergence of terrorists—of the threat to our homeland from over the horizon. We’ll hold the Taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorists to threaten the United States or its allies from Afghan soil… And we’ll focus our full attention on the threat we face today.”
Analysis Deems Biden’s Climate and Tax Bill Fiscally Responsible
Despite Republican claims, the new legislation would be only a modest corporate tax increase, Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation found.
An analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation, a congressional nonpartisan scorekeeper for tax legislation, suggests that the bill would raise about $70 billion over 10 years. But the increase would be front-loaded: By 2027, the bill would actually amount to a net tax cut each year, as new credits and other incentives for low-emission energy sources outweighed a new minimum tax on some large corporations.
That analysis, along with a broader estimate of the bill’s provisions from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, suggests that the legislation, if passed, would only modestly add to federal spending over the next 10 years. By the end of the decade, the bill would be reducing federal spending, compared with what is scheduled to happen if it does not become law.
Ignore GOP scaremongering about Dems’ tax plans. They’re worth doing.
In reality, the tax-side changes are so narrow that relatively few people should even notice. Even the biggest chunk of the revenue raisers — on megacorporations — is effectively only a partial clawback of the huge GOP corporate tax cuts passed in 2017.
“If you’re not a tax cheat, hedge fund manager or a corporation making over $1 billion, you’re not affected,” summarizes Steven M. Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.
Let’s go through the measures one by one.
Over half of U.S. voters say abortion is “very important” for midterms elections
The big picture: While abortion is a motivating issue for some voter groups, it’s eclipsed by inflation, including rising gas prices, which 74% of respondents say is “very important.”
Yes, but: “Lower-turnout midterm elections can be a game of inches, and abortion could make a difference, especially if gas prices continue to fall,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said.
The U.S. Owes Veterans. A New Burn-Pit Bill Would Write That Into Law. So Why Are Republicans Opposing It?
Now, as Stewart has pointed out, the bill that came up for a vote last week was no different from the bill that the Senate passed in June. There was no new provision added to it. So it’s not clear why something that most Republican senators had no problem with last month has suddenly become unacceptable.
Having said that, it’s not the case that Republicans only brought up this supposed budgetary gimmick after the fact. It’s possible — perhaps even likely — that Republicans like Cruz flipped their votes last week essentially out of spite over the fact that Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer secretly negotiated to pass the so-called Inflation Reduction Act. But Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey has been complaining about the provision at issue — and offering an amendment to change it — for more than a month now. Indeed, unlike most of his Republican colleagues, Toomey voted against the PACT Act the first time around because of it.
So what’s Toomey’s problem with the bill? It’s a fairly esoteric point. Essentially, Toomey is unhappy that the bill converts the roughly $40 billion the government currently spends every year on health care for these veterans from discretionary spending to mandatory spending. There’s currently a cap on how much discretionary spending Congress can authorize every year. So if $40 billion of veterans’ healthcare spending no longer counts against the cap, Toomey argues, Congress will now go ahead and spend another $40 billion on things he would prefer they didn’t spend it on. This is the supposed “gimmick” that he’s trying to excise from the bill.
I find this twitter account very droll.
Michigan’s undecided Republican voters search for a fighter, but also a winner
A faction of Michigan Republicans who have struggled for months to make up their minds in the primary race for governor could swing Tuesday’s election as they say they weigh their desires to nominate a fighter against their hopes to win in November.
The five-candidate GOP primary field for the state’s top office features all political newcomers without voting records for the public to scrutinize. Most of the contenders have not raised enough money to consistently run television ads to introduce themselves.
And former President Donald Trump didn’t issue an endorsement until Friday night, four days before the election. He’s now backing conservative commentator Tudor Dixon of Norton Shores.
The circumstances, according to political observers, have left an unusually large amount of undecided voters, forcing them to study candidates’ personalities and actions and make judgments about whom they believe is best suited to beat Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.