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Political Wire logo Inside the GOP Plan to Retake the House
Democrats Target Republicans Against Relief Bill
Trump Talked Out of Early Ohio Endorsement
GOP Lawmaker Improperly Used Position
Hawley Defends Opposing Every Biden Cabinet Pick
Romney Knocked Unconscious In Fall

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Trump Wins Election
      •  Poll: Swing Voters Like the COVID-19 Relief Bill
      •  Republicans Are Hard at Work Making Voting Harder
      •  Trump Is Messing Up the Map
      •  Senate Primaries Are in Full Swing
      •  Trump Will Create a Revenge Super PAC
      •  Other Republicans Are Setting Up an Anti-Revenge Super PAC
      •  Democrats Are Winning the Twitter War

Trump Wins Election

Finally, Donald Trump won an election fair and square. The annual CPAC conference that concluded yesterday held a straw poll asking attendees whom they wanted to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2024. Trump got 55% of the vote, with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) coming in second at 21%. The other 15 candidates on the ballot all came in below 5%. The conference was in Orlando, FL, however, so there were undoubtedly a disproportionate number of Floridians present.

There was also a second poll asking whom the attendees preferred if Trump decided not to run. In that race DeSantis was first at 43%, with Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) second at 11%, and Donald Trump Jr. third at 8%. Tied for fourth were Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Pompeo at 7% each.

Trump's approval rating was 97%, and 95% said they wanted to continue with Trump's policies. Only 3% wanted to change directions and 2% weren't sure.

Some of the speakers got the message even before Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin announced the results. The kickoff speaker was DeSantis, who touted his handling of COVID-19. He said: "We are in an oasis of freedom in a nation that's suffering from the yoke of oppressive lockdowns." He supported building Trump's wall and other Trumpian ideas.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) also represented Florida at the conference. He noted that as chairman of the NRSC, he wasn't going to get involved in any internal party fights, but would fight for conservative values. In contrast, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) very much wants to get into internal party fights. He used his speech to attack the third-highest Republican in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) gets the chutzpah-of-the-week award for telling the CPAC audience how great the U.S. is because it liberated the slaves. He somehow forgot to mention that the Constitution protected slavery and was written to give the slave-holding states more power by counting each slave as 3/5 of a person. Under pressure, people forget things. It happens all the time. In 2024, we look forward to him congratulating the U.S. for liberating Japanese-Americans from the internment camps.

Pompeo gave a fiery speech, indicating that he is seriously considering a run (which seems plausible given that he could have had a Senate seat just by filing for it and didn't). He is squarely in the Trump lane, defending the former president all the way. He accused the Democrats of wanting to trade "Army green for AOC green." That is actually not true at all. AOC's plan calls for higher taxes on the rich, but does not call for cuts to the Army.

Trump was the final speaker at CPAC. He said that he doesn't plan on leaving the GOP or starting a new party (at least, for the moment) but he did put Republicans on notice by saying: "The Republican Party is united. The only division is between a handful of Washington D.C. establishment political hacks and everybody else all over the country." In other words, he sees Republicans who don't support him as the real enemy, even worse than the Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the most powerful Republican in the country, was not invited to come to CPAC. After all, in CPAC's view, Donald Trump is still the leader of the Party. McConnell is some minor political hack, so who needs to hear from him?

In case there is any doubt as to who is the Dear Leader, all you need to know is that one of the central "attractions" of this year's gathering was a golden Donald Trump statue:

It's Trump, but only 4-1/2 feet high, and he's wearing
a suit jacket and tie, but also American flag boxers and sandals, while holding the Constitution in one hand and a magic wand in the other.

Aren't these people supposed to be religious? Haven't they read The Bible? Don't they know that the Lord takes a dim view of idol worship, particularly when those idols are made from gold? You just can't make this stuff up (and that's before we talk about the stage in the shape of a white supremacist symbol). And if the golden Trump were not enough, in and of itself, it turns out that the statue was Mexico. Wonder if it was tough to get it over the border wall that Trump built? (V & Z)

Poll: Swing Voters Like the COVID-19 Relief Bill

A new poll sponsored by Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC, showed that ticket splitters in eight battleground states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) like the COVID-19 bill now making its way through Congress. Among voters who cast ballots for Joe Biden but Republicans downticket, 83% approve of the bill. Among voters who supported Trump but Democrats downticket, 69% support the bill.

Those are huge margins. If Republicans in the Senate all oppose the bill when it comes up for a vote, that vote could come back to haunt them when they next face the voters. And by then, it could be worse because now the idea of getting a check for $1,400 is abstract. By 2022, the voters will actually have gotten their checks and Democratic candidates will be saying: "My opponent tried to block your check." That won't be a popular position.

Some Republicans hope that the reply to the Democrats will be: "But the bill wasn't bipartisan. Gotcha!" That probably won't work, as 72% of the swing voters want Biden to "act as fast as possible, even if no Republicans support him." This supports what we have long said. Most voters want results and don't care about the process. If Biden can deliver to the American people, no matter what parliamentary tricks Senate Democrats need to pull to pass bills, the Democrats might avoid getting slaughtered in 2022. If they don't deliver, saying that those nasty Republicans wouldn't let them, it will be a massacre. (V)

Republicans Are Hard at Work Making Voting Harder

Republicans believe that large turnouts help the Democrats. That may or may not be true. Turnout was enormous in 2020 and Republicans did extremely well in the Senate, the House, and the state legislatures. Nevertheless, Republicans everywhere are convinced that their only hope for winning elections going forward is to reduce turnout, ideally by suppressing specific demographic groups that skew Democratic. So, truth be damned, Republicans in many states are working furiously to pass laws to make voting more difficult. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU has counted 253 bills in 43 states that tighten the rules for voting. There are also 704 bills that make voting easier. However, since Republicans control far more state legislatures than Democrats, more of the former are likely to pass than the latter.

The bills being introduced aim at these areas:

  • Cutting down on absentee voting: The big effort here is to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting. In many of the bills, only narrow categories of voters would be allowed to vote absentee. Also, the time windows for applying and returning ballots would be shortened, as would the time interval in which returned ballots would be counted. In some states, proposed laws would require absentee-ballot applications to be accompanied by photocopies of valid ID cards and/or witness statements. Other bills would forbid secretaries of state from automatically mailing out applications for absentee ballots. Bills limiting counties to one dropbox are also popular.

  • Reducing early voting: In Iowa, Republicans did well in elections for president, Senate, and the state legislature. Nevertheless, on a straight party-line vote, Republicans voted last week to cut early voting by 9 days and also close the polls an hour earlier. State Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D) said the Republicans want "a voting system tailored to the voting tendency of older white Republican voters." In Georgia, a bill would sharply reduce voting on the Sunday before Election Day, when many Black churches have "souls to the polls" buses ready to take people to vote.

  • Tweaking the Electoral College: Nebraska lawmakers want to junk its system of allocating electoral votes by congressional district and go winner-take-all to prevent Democrats from getting one electoral vote in Omaha. In contrast, New Hampshire Republicans want to adopt Nebraska's system so they could pick up an electoral vote in the more conservative NH-01 district, even if they are swamped in the more liberal NH-02 district.

  • Managing the courts: In Wisconsin, gerrymandering has been a big success (for the GOP). Democrats received 46% of the vote for the Assembly but got only 38% of the seats. The state Senate was just as lopsided. So the legislature has appropriated at least $1 million to fight the expected lawsuits. In Pennsylvania, Republicans want to have state Supreme Court justices elected by district (rather than statewide), so they can gerrymander the districts and get more Republicans elected.

  • Clamping down on citizen initiatives: In five Republican-run states, the legislature wants to make it harder for citizen initiatives to get on the ballot. After all, initiatives allow the voters to override the legislature, and the legislators have no interest in that.

  • Outlawing private donations for election administration: Mark Zuckerberg has never revealed how he voted, but he did provide $400 million to allow counties to buy protective equipment for workers, rent drop boxes, and other election needs. Lawmakers in various states want to outlaw these kinds of private donations intended to make elections run more smoothly.

There are also other measures being proposed here and there. In Arizona, for example, a bill would allow the legislature to ignore the presidential election results and just pick the electors themselves. Cutting out the middleman makes the process more efficient, after all.

Democrats are aware of all of these shenanigans, but in states where the Republicans have the trifecta, such as Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Georgia, there is no way to stop them at the state level. So the Democrats' plan is for Congress to step up. In particular, the House will soon pass H.R. 1 strictly along party lines and send it over to the Senate. Here are some of its features:

  • Modernize voter registration: About 20% of eligible voters are not registered to vote. The U.S. is the only modern democracy that puts the burden of registering (and re-registering after a move) on the voters. In much of the country, the system is still pen-and-paper, which leads to many errors, such as a clerk entering a name incorrectly into the voter database, which then results in the voter being denied the right to vote. These old systems are also expensive. In Maricopa County (Phoenix), a study shows that it costs 83 cents to register a voter the old way vs. 3 cents if the voter enters the data into the computer directly. H.R. 1 modernizes the old system by automatically digitally registering every eligible voter whenever they have contact with a designated state agency. This is Motor Voter on steroids. When Vermont adopted this, registrations went up 60%. In Georgia, they went up 94%. H.R. 1 would mandate this nationally. Experience shows that more registrations leads to higher turnout. The bill also allows people to register at their polling place on Election Day. The original reason for requiring advance registration was to prevent someone from showing up at eight different polling places on Election Day and registering and voting at all of them. Now with a computerized statewide system, the second time a voter tried to register on Election Day, the poll worker could see that the voter already tried this trick elsewhere 48 minutes ago. Yet another feature of the bill is that it would make (intentional) flawed voter purges much harder. If a man named James Washington was convicted of a crime, the system wouldn't allow a county to scratch everyone named James Washington, just the one felon.

  • Reenfranchise felons: Over 3 million citizens are denied the right to vote due to a prior criminal conviction for which they have already served their time. These laws date to the Jim Crow era and were intended to have a greater impact on Black voters than on whites. H.R. 1 tackles this head on. It states that if you are a citizen 18 or older and out of prison, you are entitled to vote in federal elections, no matter what state laws say. This provision is surprisingly popular. In Florida, an initiative to this effect got a two-thirds majority. Then the legislature quickly passed a law requiring felons to first pay all fines and court costs, thus de facto reversing the initiative. A federal law would override such state laws.

  • Strengthen absentee voting: While Republicans are putting an enormous effort into reducing absentee voting, a provision of H.R. 1 would nullify all their efforts. It states that every eligible voter has a legal right to vote by mail. It also requires states to provide postage-paid envelopes for all election materials, both ballot applications and the ballots themselves. It further requires states to provide drop boxes for ballots to be returned, just in case voters don't trust the USPS anymore. Additionally, it requires states to use an existing system used by California and other states that allows voters to see online that their ballot has been received, accepted, and counted. This is not pie-in-the-sky. It simply requires all states to do what California did in 2020 with no problems.

  • Institute nationwide early voting: Holding elections in the middle of the day on a Tuesday is a relic of the 19th century. It was done for the convenience of farmers driving a horse and buggy to the county seat on Election Day. H.R. 1 would mandate early voting for at least 2 weeks before Election Day, with consistent hours nationwide, and would require a certain number of voting locations per thousand voters. In Texas last year, some large counties had one voting location that required some voters to drive over an hour to get there. H.R. 1 would eliminate that sort of voter suppression.

  • Blocking deceptive practices: Some partisan groups try to mislead people in ways that may trick them, such as putting official-looking leaflets in people's mailboxes telling them that "Election Day" has been extended, so they can also vote on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of "Election Week." The bill criminalizes this kind of behavior and sets penalties for it. It also empowers citizens to sue groups that do this. Finally, it requires state and county election officials to send correct voting information to all voters.

This bill isn't the only one Democrats want to pass. H.R. 4 creates a new Voting Rights Act that gets around the objections the Supreme Court had to the original one. The House will soon pass this one as well. The problem with both bills is that Senate Republicans will filibuster both. So the only way to pass them will be to reform the filibuster. That could be done by having the Senate declare that voting bills, like judicial nominations, can't be filibustered or else by requiring actual Jimmy Stewart-style filibusters and then enforcing them to the millimeter. For example, if the speaking senator leaves the podium for 10 seconds to fetch something from his desk, then all debate is terminated instantly and a vote is called on the bill, even at 3 a.m. (V)

Trump Is Messing Up the Map

Within a few months, states will know how many House seats they will have for the next decade. In fact, all states already know it, ±1 seat, so they can begin drawing up at most three maps, for each of the possibilities. The big problem in the states where the legislature draws the map is that Donald Trump is not going gentle into that good night. He is hanging around and intends to be fully engaged in politics. This could impact politics until 2032, even if he were to die tomorrow.

We have discussed redistricting before (and will discuss it again in the future). In a way, it is more important than even a presidential election, since a president gets only 4 years before having to face the voters again. Under almost all circumstances, a House map lasts 10 years, and it gets very little attention considering how important it is. Fortunately, Politico seems to understand this, and has another article on the subject.

In all states where one party controls drawing the map, the big question now is: "Do we use 2018 or 2020?" Gerrymandering is a very data-driven process. The goal is to maximize the number of House seats the party can win with only a small probability of getting it wrong. Suppose a state has 10 congressional districts and about 3 million voters. This means that a district should have close to 300,000 voters or there will be court challenges. Further suppose that half the voters are Democrats and half are Republicans. Wisconsin comes pretty close to this. What the Republican-controlled legislature would ideally like to do is draw up nine districts with 160,000 Republicans and 140,000 Democrats and one district with 60,000 Republicans and 240,000 Democrats. The latter district would have a strange shape, but since we had, until 2018, a district (PA-07) that looks like Goofy kicking Donald Duck, anything clearly goes. The problem is figuring out who is a Republican.

Specifically, should the mapping software be fed the 2018 House election data (when Trump was not on the ballot) or the 2020 data (when he was)? In other words, going forward, will 2018 be the new norm or will 2020? Case in point: CA-48. In 2018, the Democrat (Harley Rouda) won 53.6% to 46.4%, a margin of +8.2%. In 2020, Rouda lost, 48.9% to 51.1%, a margin of -2.2%. So the change between two consecutive elections was 10.4 points. That's huge. If the mapping software is given the most recent data, and those carefully plotted 160,000 to 140,000 districts go 10 points more Democratic in 2022 (and thereafter) because Trump isn't on the ballot, then all 10 districts will go Democratic. That's not what the Republican mapmakers had in mind. Of course, this kind of mischief doesn't apply to states like California that have an independent commission that draws the maps but it does apply to states like Wisconsin where the legislature does it (in most cases subject to a veto by the governor though).

Consequently, mapmakers (in both blue and red states) have to make a guess at how powerful the Trump effect will be when Trump is on the sidelines yelling, but not actually on the ballot. Maybe it will be like 2018, which was sort of the same thing, but then Democrats were enormously motivated to capture the House in order to block all the laws Trump wanted on immigration, wall construction, taxes, and much more. Will Democrats be equally motivated in 2022, when: (1) turnout may be low and (2) many Democrats do not realize that reapportionment alone may give the Republicans a House majority?

Adam Kincaid, the executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, the Republicans' gerrymandering helpdesk, said: "If you think of American elections as a stock market, did we go through this kind of bubble? Or are we kind of in this new kind of bear market for a little bit?" In other words, was the Trump effect a strange bubble that is now over and we revert to the old normal?

Where the Democrats are in charge of the gerrymandering, they have a similar problem, which they converted to a housing question rather than a stock market one. They are wondering if they "rented" or "bought" the affluent, college-educated suburban voters who used to be Republicans but voted Democratic with Trump in the White House. Were they simply expressing their distaste for Trump and will they now revert to being Republicans in 2022 and beyond? Or have they had it permanently with the party of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO)? Tom Binier, the CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic election data firm, put it gently: "We're going to have a lower level of confidence in our ability to predict outcomes based on the historical election data." In other words, he doesn't know what to do.

In South Florida both of these effects converged. In some districts, Republicans did better among working-class voters of all ethnicities while simultaneously doing worse with suburban voters. Is this the new normal, or will everything go back to how it used to be? If you are drawing a map giving your side a modest edge, like 160,000 to 140,000, you need to know this. If you aren't sure and have to play it safe, maybe stuffing 160,000 Republicans into a district isn't enough, and you need to put in 170,000. But then you can't have nine lopsided districts; there aren't enough Republicans.

Texas is also a major question mark for the GOP. They did very well with Latinos along the Rio Grande in 2020, but were beaten badly in the suburbs. Is this the new normal? While Republicans can draw any map they want in Texas, they don't know how greedy they can be. Tom Cole, a former chairman of the NRCC, put it bluntly: "I've watched us get in trouble by stretching the rubber band too great." In other words, creating districts with a small Republican advantage based on the 2020 data could backfire when Trump is not on the ballot and the inexorable march of demographics takes its toll. Texas' House delegation is currently composed of 21 Republicans and 14 Democrats; it wouldn't take too many gerrymandering errors to flip those numbers. (V)

Senate Primaries Are in Full Swing

As soon as one election is finished the next one starts. The 2020 election is finally finished, so here comes 2022. In particular, the Democratic primaries for winnable Republican Senate seats are going full blast already. Given that the Senate is currently 50-50 and that the president's party usually loses seats in Congress, it's not surprising that there is a lot of attention to the 2022 Senate races already. Competitive primaries in all the key states are likely. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows (well, forces) the candidates to work on their fundraising and hone their messages before the general election.

The hottest races (and best pickup opportunities) are in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, which will be open seats, and Wisconsin, which might be open since Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) promised to retire after two terms, though he could change his mind. Getting in before the crowd gives you lots of undivided media attention and gives more time to crank up the fund-raising from small donors before each donor is getting 20 requests/day. It also gives you the opporunity to sign up the best consultants and pollsters before they are taken.

In Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA) is already in and will tower over the other candidates (he is 6' 8"). He has a working-class background and will certainly be the favorite of the progressive wing and probably of the unions as well. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta has youth going for him—he is only 30. He is also Black, which will surely help in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but not so much in the Alabama (or Kentucky, if you prefer) part of the state. At least one moderate Democrat is sure to enter the race, possibly Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA), who has talked about it.

In North Carolina, Democrats are looking for a candidate whose zipper is stuck in the closed position (or a candidate who doesn't have one). State Sen. Erica Smith, who is Black and very progressive, is going to try again. She came in second to Mr. Zipper in the 2020 primary. However, she is not alone. Her state Senate colleague Jeff Jackson, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, is also definitely in. A third state senator, Sydney Batch, may well join them, along with former state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley. If Lara Trump goes for it on the Republican side, that will clear the field and completely change the dynamics of the race.

In Wisconsin, County Executive Tom Nelson has been in since before Election Day 2020. Last week he was joined by Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry. State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who has been in office only 2 years, is also seriously considering the race. If Johnson doesn't run, expect a bunch of additional candidates to throw their hats in the ring.

So far, the DSCC has not picked any favorites, but that could change as the candidates demonstrate their strengths and weaknesses. One thing the DSCC definitely does not want—but has little power to stop—is Bernie vs. Hillary, part 93. (V)

Trump Will Create a Revenge Super PAC

The 2022 Senate and House races are about to get a new fun factor: revenge! Donald Trump is not one to let bygones be bygones. He is going to make sure the House members who voted for his impeachment and Senate members who voted for his conviction are punished—ground into the dirt, as it were. The instrument he has chosen is a new revenge super PAC, which is distinct from the grift leadership PAC he used to extract money from gullible supporters for a giant slush fund he can use to pay his family big salaries and other things.

Trump's long-time ally and one-time campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, will run the new PAC. His most recent campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and Stepien's deputy, Justin Clark, will be advisers. In particular, they will help determine who was naughty and who was nice and thus who should be targeted and in what priority order, and for how much money. With Trump, everything ultimately comes down to money.

The target list hasn't been assembled yet, but it may include people other than the Senate and House members who voted to get rid of him. One big target will be Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA), who refused to intervene and change the Georgia election results for Trump. If Trump succeeds in having a Trumpist beat Kemp in the Republican primary, that will result in an open-seat election, thus increasing the chances that Stacey Abrams can win the governor's mansion on her second try.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) is also a likely target. If Trump manages to have him defeated, that will also help the Democrats because some Georgia Democrats no doubt respect him for standing up to Trump, recording their call, and turning it over to the Fulton County D.A. for possible prosecution. If the GOP nominee for secretary of state is some unknown, but very Trumpy, state senator, almost no Democrats will vote for him or her, increasing the chances for the Democratic nominee.

Getting even with people is hard work, so Trump has also called upon a specialist: his son. Junior is expected to campaign for the candidates Trump selects and may play a role in overseeing the political apparatus. Jared Kushner was not present at the initial meeting, held at Mar-a-Lago, so it is not clear what role, if any, he will play with the new PAC.

Also relevant for 2022 is whom Trump will endorse. Many Republicans are actively seeking his endorsement. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is running for governor of Arkansas, already has it, as does Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). Sanders can certainly use his endorsement because she is completely unqualified for the job and would otherwise have a tough time in a primary with competent conservatives. Moran doesn't need any help. There is no reason to think he will face a serious primary opponent, and he beat his Democratic opponent by 30 points in 2016.

The only sitting senator up in 2022 who voted to convict Trump in January is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). She's made of tough stuff and is definitely not hiding under her desk. In 2010, she lost the Republican primary to a tea partier, ran as a write-in candidate, and won. However, the ground rules changed last year. As a result of Ballot Measure 2, which passed in Nov. 2020, there are no partisan primaries in Alaska anymore.

Instead, there is a single primary for all candidates, regardless of party. The top four candidates will advance to the general senatorial election in November 2022. That election will use ranked-choice voting, where the voters rank each candidate from 1 to 4. This system gets around a problem that has plagued California's top-two primary system, where in some general-election races, both candidates were from the same party, effectively shutting the other party out. Murkowski is certainly the best-known politician in Alaska. Even if Trump spends a fortune in the primary and gets his candidate to come in first, she is virtually certain of being in the top four and thus on the November ballot.

We can envision at least two scenarios for the general election. First, there are Democrats in Alaska. Fisherman Al Gross got 40% of the vote in the 2020 senatorial race. Presumably most of them will vote for the Democrat in both the primary and general election. Consider these possibilities:

    Scenario 1
  1. Some Democrat: 35%                    
  2. Lisa Murkowski: 30%
  3. Trump's candidate: 25%
  4. Libertarian candidate 10%

    Scenario 2
  1. Some Democrat: 35%
  2. Trump's candidate: 30%
  3. Lisa Murkowski: 25%
  4. Libertarian candidate: 10%

Now look at scenario 1. When the fourth place finisher's votes are redistributed, no one will be over 50%. Now everything hinges on whether Trump's supporters hate Murkowski more than they hate Democrats. It could go either way. Finally, consider scenario 2. Will Murkowski's supporters give their second place vote to the Democrat or to the Trumpist? Anyone who tells you how this will go has been smoking something that is legal in the Last Frontier and inhaling it. (V)

Other Republicans Are Setting Up an Anti-Revenge Super PAC

Yes, Donald Trump is going to set up a super PAC try to take down members of Congress who voted against him, but Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and others are setting up a super PAC to support precisely the members Trump is trying to take down. Both Trump's PAC and Kinzinger's can take unlimited amounts of dark money. This means that big Republican donors who don't like Trump but dare not say it in public can donate to Kinzinger's PAC. If Trump makes a very public effort to defeat a dozen or so members and fails to take most of them down, the headlines are going to read: "Trump has no influence anymore."

Whether Kinzinger's group can raise enough money to make a difference is not clear yet. However, the situation is similar to what the Lincoln Project faced when it started. It ended up raising millions. In the end it fell apart due to mismanagement, grift, and a sexual harassment scandal. But it did raise a lot of money. George Conway, one of the Lincoln Project's founders, said that a lot of the money came from Democrats. But he added that Kinzinger's PAC could get money from Libertarians and anti-Trump Republicans.

Kinzinger intends to back the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump as well as Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict.

It goes without saying that Trump will not take this lying down. He is absolutely certain to put a lot of effort into defeating Kinzinger in a primary in 2022. (V)

Democrats Are Winning the Twitter War

Donald Trump used to dominate Twitter. He can't do that anymore because Twitter kicked him off. The result is that since the 800-pound orange-utan went back to the jungle (well, the subtropics at least), Democrats have more followers than Republicans. According to Axios, that is true not only on Twitter, but also on Instagram:

Democrats vs. Republicans on social media; Top 10
Democrats have 102.1 million Twitter followers and 76.1 million Instagram followers while the Top 10 Republicans have 23.1 million and 5.7 
million, respectively

The chart above shows the combined number of followers for the top 10 Democrats and the top 10 Republicans. If Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are left out of the count, the Democrats still have three times as many followers as do the Republicans. On Instagram last month, the top 10 Democrats drove 76 million interactions vs. 6 million for the 10 top Republicans.

Part of the reason is that over the past 4 years, the Democrats had many stars with large followings. These include Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and many others. On the Republican side, the aforementioned orange-utan overshadowed everyone else and made it nearly impossible for them to acquire large numbers of followers when all the action was in one account. The Republicans with the largest numbers of followers now are Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Marco Rubio (FL), and Rand Paul (KY).

Instagram, especially, has become the home for young progressives, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) leading the pack with almost 9 million followers. Only one elected Republican, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), has more than a million. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Feb28 Sunday Mailbag
Feb27 Saturday Q&A
Feb26 MacDonough to Schumer: "Sorry, Charlie!"
Feb26 Biden's Team Is Being Put in Place...Slowly
Feb26 House Passes Equality Act
Feb26 McConnell Says He Would "Absolutely" Back Trump in 2024
Feb26 CPAC Begins Today
Feb26 The Horse Is Officially out of the Barn
Feb26 Governors in Hot Water
Feb25 Manchin Will Back Haaland
Feb25 DNC Will Get Involved in Midterms
Feb25 Postmaster General DeJoy May Soon Get a Special Delivery Letter
Feb25 Secretaries of State Are Hot
Feb25 Net Neutrality Scores a Big Win in California
Feb25 Democrats Might Make a Huge Unforced Error That Could Cost Them Next Year
Feb25 Virginia Gubernatorial Election Is Often a Bellwether
Feb25 Rush Limbaugh and the Battle of the Flags in Florida
Feb25 O'Rourke Is Back
Feb25 Democrats Introduce a Bill to Strip Presidents Convicted of a Felony of Their Pension
Feb24 COVID-19 Bill Will Be a One-Party Show
Feb24 Putting 500,000 in Context
Feb24 Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
Feb24 Perdue Chickens Out
Feb24 Texas Democratic Postmortem Is In
Feb24 Gonna Turn My Red State...Blue
Feb24 They Were Trump Before Trump, Part III: Henry Ward Beecher
Feb23 SCOTUS Pokes Trump in Both Eyes
Feb23 Tanden in Deep Trouble, Haaland Not Far Behind
Feb23 Garland Is in the Clear
Feb23 Sanders and Co. Work to Save Minimum Wage Hike
Feb23 Florida Republicans Apparently Have Their Candidate
Feb23 Low Blows on Joe
Feb23 Dominion Voting Systems to Go to the Mattress with MyPillow Guy
Feb22 COVID-19 Death Toll in U.S. Hits Half a Million
Feb22 Garland to Appear before Senate Judiciary Committee Today
Feb22 The Race to Replace Neera Tanden Has Already Begun
Feb22 The Two McC's Are Playing Different Games
Feb22 Trump Will Address CPAC on Sunday
Feb22 Democrats Are Doing an Autopsy of the Election
Feb22 Republicans' Strength in the State Legislatures Was Built Up over 40 Years
Feb22 Poll: Republicans Are Still with Trump
Feb21 Sunday Mailbag
Feb20 Saturday Q&A
Feb19 Ted Fled
Feb19 It Ain't Easy Being Prez
Feb19 Shadow Boxing
Feb19 Poll: It's Still Trump's Party
Feb19 Trump to Haley: Pound Sand
Feb19 Ivanka Is Out
Feb19 Video Killed the Radio Star