ATLANTA — As Republicans smarting from Herschel Walker’s defeat in Georgia continue the process of assigning blame , one man seems to be conspicuously above reproach: Gov. Brian P. Kemp. The state’s Republican governor — once derided as an unhinged far-right disrupter following a series of wildly provocative 2018 campaign ads — has emerged in the aftermath of Tuesday’s Senate runoff as one of his party’s savvier political operators. On Nov. 8, Mr. Kemp won re-election by a resounding eight-point margin — a remarkable transformation for a politician who went from being booed by conservatives at his own events in the May primary to defeating a national Democratic star, Stacey Abrams. His ability to deftly walk a fine line of providing just enough support to Mr. Walker without being damaged by his defeat was proof of Mr. Kemp’s formidable political instincts, Republicans inside and outside the state said. He has survived and even thrived in the face of Donald J. Trump’s … [Read more...] about The Georgia Republican Unscathed by Walker’s Defeat
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Now that the last nail is in the midterm coffin with Herschel Walker’s loss in Georgia , it’s time to turn our attention to the looming rumble within the GOP. The knives were already out, but this could get downright nasty. The biggest ones are pointed at Donald Trump . He thought his 2016 magic could be replicated by MAGA celebrities across the nation. This experiment failed spectacularly during his own re-election bid and again in the 2022 midterms, but Trump has another problem. Seven years after he came down the escalator, and six (or so) years since he consolidated the right behind him, a new generation of Republicans has had time to observe Trump’s style—and absorb his lessons. They are younger and increasingly more relevant than Trump. And they’re coming for him. Once the only game in town, consider Trump’s competition in today’s right-wing attention economy. Kanye West . Elon Musk. Kari Lake . Marjorie Taylor Greene. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. And, of … [Read more...] about MAGA Is Eating Itself After GOP’s Midterm Disaster
When he stepped inside a Phoenix polling place on the morning of Election Day on the way to work, Kevin Bembry was told that the tabulation machines were not functioning properly and he might want to vote somewhere else. “I’ve never had that happen before,” Mr. Bembry, 57, a security officer, said in a video later posted online. His testimony was one of many circulated on social media by activist groups, right-wing media outlets and Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor, whose campaign posted Mr. Bembry’s video along with several others on Thursday. Ms. Lake has vowed to keep fighting the election after her race was called by The Associated Press for her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs. Ms. Lake has claimed her defeat was the result of the “disenfranchisement” of her supporters in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and where technical problems on Election Day introduced delays, confusion and conspiracy theories. On Twitter, Ms. Lake’s campaign has claimed that … [Read more...] about Kari Lake Claims Her Voters Were Disenfranchised. Her Voters Tell a Different Story.
In the past week, Kanye West has done the unthinkable. He’s made Alex Jones look like the voice of reason . In case you missed it, on Alex Jones’ Infowars show, Jones attempted to throw the scandal-plagued star a lifeline. “I get the Hugo Boss uniforms [are] amazing,” Jones said, perhaps attempting to explain West’s antisemitism. “But just because you’re in love with the design—you’re a designer—can we just kinda say you like the uniforms, but that’s about it?” “No, there’s a lot of things I LOVE about HITLER,” West replied . “A LOT of things.” At this point, Jones had that same look on his face that Mike Myers had when Kanye said , “George W. Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” But that wasn’t the only example of right-wing podcast hosts trying to moderate West, only to be rebuffed. During a recent interview with Ye, podcast host Tim Pool tried to defend West from media criticism, saying, “I think they’ve been extremely unfair to you—” before West shot back, “Who is … [Read more...] about Right-Wing Hosts Try Saving Kanye but He’s Too Far Gone
Pay Dirt is a weekly foray into the pigpen of political funding. Subscribe here to get it in your inbox every Thursday. As conservatives re-up their criticism of Twitter for supposedly interfering in the 2020 election with its two-day ban on an unverified story about Hunter Biden’s laptop , it’s worth noting that Republican federal election officials already cleared the company of that specific charge. Last Friday night, Twitter CEO Elon Musk released “the Twitter Files,” a behind-the-scenes account of the social media giant’s controversial decision in the run-up to the 2020 election to temporarily restrict circulation of the New York Post ’s unconfirmed report about the contents of a laptop hard drive supposedly belonging to Hunter Biden. The platform reversed its decision in two days . But in that time, Twitter—citing company policy of restricting the spread of “hacked materials”—blocked all sharing of the story, and locked the New York Post out of its account. … [Read more...] about GOP Officials Said Twitter’s Hunter Biden Ban Wasn’t Corrupt
After eluding prosecution in the United States for decades and escaping from prison twice in Mexico, the crime lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo, appeared on Friday in federal court in Brooklyn and pleaded not guilty to charges that he had overseen a multibillion-dollar drug empire. Prosecutors said the operation had moved at least 200 tons of cocaine into the United States, had earned $14 billion in profits and had been protected by an army of assassins who killed thousands of people. Mr. Guzmán’s arraignment, in Federal District Court, was both a news media spectacle and a pro forma counterpoint to his sudden extradition from Mexico on Thursday afternoon, when a police jet flew him from the border to MacArthur Airport in Islip, on Long Island. The brief court proceeding took place under tight security, with police vehicles, heavily armed guards and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling the grounds outside the courthouse. Dressed for his arraignment in a blue V-neck … [Read more...] about U.S. Prosecutors Outline Case Against Mexican Drug Lord El Chapo
After yet another disappointing showing for Republicans in Georgia’s Senate runoff on Tuesday, some conservatives — like Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich and Kevin McCarthy — have begun to point to a surprising culprit: a failure to take advantage of early voting. The theory seems to be that Republicans are losing because early voting is giving Democrats a turnout edge. It follows a similar conversation after the midterm elections, when a chorus of conservatives said Republicans needed to start encouraging mail voting. But as more data becomes available on turnout in this year’s election, it is quite clear that turnout was not the main problem facing Republicans. In state after state, the final turnout data shows that registered Republicans turned out at a higher rate — and in some places a much higher rate — than registered Democrats, including in many of the states where Republicans were dealt some of their most embarrassing losses. Instead, high-profile Republicans … [Read more...] about Turnout by Republicans Was Great. It’s Just That Many of Them Didn’t Vote for Republicans.
As Georgia Democrats won their third Senate runoff election in two years, the party proved it had crafted an effective strategy for triumphing in a decades-old system created to sustain segregationist power and for overcoming an array of efforts to making voting more difficult. Republicans, meanwhile, were quietly cursing the runoff system, or at least their strategy for winning under a state law they wrote after losing the last election. The various post-mortems over how Georgia’s runoff rules shaped the state’s Senate outcome on Tuesday put a spotlight on a major voting law passed by the Republican-led General Assembly last year. Some Republicans acknowledged that their efforts to limit in-person early voting days might have backfired, while others encouraged lawmakers to consider additional restrictions next year. With Georgia poised to remain a critical political battleground and with Republicans holding gerrymandered majorities in both chambers of its state legislature, … [Read more...] about Losing Another Runoff, Georgia Republicans Weigh an Election Shake-Up
The GOP took the House in the 2022 midterms , but even before Democrats have officially left the House majority, some members are already thinking about 2024 and how their party can win back control from Republicans. Eying the GOP’s slim majority—they won by just nine seats—some Democrats believe the House is prime territory for a flip. That sort of quick turnaround for House control would be a rarity. Democrats last held the House for four years, Republicans held it for eight before that. And yet, House progressives say that at least on their end, the inner workings of that goal are already underway. They’re hoping to be the key for it all—to mobilize voters en masse next election around Democrats’ left-most ideas and candidates. The work to do so starts now, they say. Of course, the minority isn’t where Democrats, including progressives, wanted to be after the 2022 cycle. But defying widespread forecasts of a red wave, the party has been meticulously … [Read more...] about Rep. Pramila Jayapal Wants to Grow Congressional Progressive Caucus and Move Dems Left
WASHINGTON — When the Senate passed landmark legislation last month to mandate federal recognition for same-sex marriages, the vote was lauded as a rare moment of bipartisanship at a time of deep political polarization in the country. But the narrow coalition of 12 Republicans that joined every Democrat in support of the measure — which is poised to pass the House on Thursday and be signed by President Biden shortly thereafter — did not spring up spontaneously in a groundswell of cross-party harmony. Behind the scenes, a group of influential Republican donors and operatives, including some of the party’s most prominent gay leaders with long experience prodding their party to embrace L.G.B.T.Q. rights, banded together with the bill’s proponents in Congress for a coordinated, $1.7 million campaign to persuade G.O.P. senators that backing it would give them a political edge. Their quiet work helps explain how a bill to ensure recognition of same-sex marriages across the country went … [Read more...] about Prominent Gay Republicans Helped Smooth the Way for Marriage Bill