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Political Wire logo Georgia Election Workers Fired for Shredding Forms
Pelosi Signals Scaling Back Reconciliation Bill
Biden’s ‘Tough Month’ Looms Over Democratic Races
The Trump Nightmare Looms Again
Boosters Undermine Getting More People Vaccinated
Biden Losing Trust on Handling Pandemic

Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Abortion Ban

Anti-abortion activists cheered when Texas passed a law effectively banning all abortions after 6 weeks into pregnancy. Then they booed when U.S. District Court judge Robert Pitman ordered the law suspended until the courts could fully adjudicate it. Then they cheered again late Friday when the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (one of the country's most conservative) reversed Pitman's order and again made abortions very difficult to get in Texas after 6 weeks. The case is not over yet, but maybe they will yet boo again when the Supreme Court finally gets the case. Or not. Currently, abortion is legal in the entire U.S. States have no power to ban it, unless they do it in a sneaky way, any more than they have the power to ban guns unless they do it in a sneaky way.

The appeal was brought by Texas AG Ken Paxton, who wrote that "A court cannot lawfully enjoin the world at large, let alone hold Texas responsible for the filings of private citizens that Texas is powerless to prevent." In other words, if people want to sue Uber drivers for taking women to abortion clinics, there is nothing Texas can do about it. After all, suing Uber drivers for taking people where they want to go is everybody's business. And suing abortion providers is such a basic right that even convicted criminals who don't live in Texas and who are currently in prison in Arkansas for tax evasion have that right. Nothing Texas can do about it. Courts do act quickly sometimes (e.g., to prevent executions), and the Fifth Circuit certainly wasted no time in reversing Pitman. It took all of 2 days.

Maybe the Supreme Court will take up this case and maybe not. On Dec. 1, it will hold oral arguments on a Mississippi abortion law that it could use to rescind Roe. v. Wade altogether. If it does that, then there will no longer be a constitutional right to abortions and states can pass whatever restrictive laws they want to, including banning the procedure completely. If the Court does that, the Texas case might be moot, except for the peculiar aspect of it allowing private citizens to sue anyone who helps an abortion take place. If that aspect holds, blue states might pass laws allowing private citizens to sue anyone doing something that is not constitutionally protected but which the state doesn't approve of, such as a restaurant providing a patron with a single-use plastic cup for a beverage, instead of pouring it into a washable glass. That could force the Supreme Court to rule on the "private citizen enforcement" aspect of laws. (V)

Reconciliation v2.0 Is Great News for Rich People

Now that a reconciliation bill that will raise and spend $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years is pretty much off the table, rich people can breathe a sigh of relief. The Democrats were planning to raise taxes on the rich to the tune of $3.5 trillion to pay for their spending. If the final bill comes out at, say, $2 trillion, they will probably raise taxes just enough to raise $2 trillion, even though raising taxes on the rich polls extremely well with both Democrats and Republicans, irrespective of what Congress wants to do with the money. In theory, Democrats could try to raise taxes by $3.5 trillion and use the excess $1.5 trillion to reduce the national debt (something Republicans say they want), but in practice they are sure to get cold feet and not do it. It is extremely hard for politicians to raise taxes, even when the public is clamoring for it and the opposition supports the use of the "excess" taxes for one of its pet projects.

Progressives see the writing on the wall and are not happy about it. Frank Clemente, head of Americans for Tax Fairness said: "We will make a lot of noise—we will not be very happy." But noise rarely gets much done. And some of the specific tax proposals being tossed around affect only the very rich. For example, if someone bought a lot of stock years ago and then dies, under current law, his heirs don't have to pay capital gains tax on it. Joe Biden has proposed making the gain subject to the usual capital gains tax. But if the Democrats aren't going to need more than $1.5-2 trillion, probably this is a nonstarter.

Taxes that might make it include raising the corporate rate to 25% (good for $400 billion) or 26.5% (good for $540 billion). Raising the regular capital gains tax to 25% generates $125 billion. Moving the top individual rate back to 39.6% is good for another $170 billion. Improving tax compliance could be worth another $200 billion. Dynamic scoring (also known as "magic") could count for another few hundred billion. Tightening tax rules on multinational corporations would produce another $300 billion. And there are other fairly easy things that raise a lot of money. Getting to $2 trillion wouldn't be all that hard even without socking it to the rich. For people whose big issue is inequality, though, just grabbing the low-hanging fruit and calling it a day is a big disappointment. There is zero chance of the top rate going back to 91%, where it was during the Eisenhower administration, or 70%, where it was during the Kennedy administration, or even the 50% it was during most of the Reagan administration. In fact, probably even 40% won't happen. A top rate of 39.6% is probably the maximum the Democrats can agree on. (V)

Trump Attacks McConnell over Debt Ceiling

At a rally in Iowa on Saturday, Donald Trump lit into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Turtles have hard shells and McConnell can take the incoming arrows, but out-and-out war between Trump and McConnell could hurt the Republicans' Senate prospects in 2022. That is especially the case if Trump decides to jump into some primary and support some (weak) candidate just to spite McConnell.

In Des Moines on Saturday, Trump attacked McConnell for giving the Democrats the time to produce a reconciliation bill to raise the debt ceiling by themselves. The Minority Leader certainly did not make any concessions on policy and made it clear that he was not going to help raise the ceiling without major concessions, such as killing their reconciliation bill. But Trump considers giving the Democrats more time to do what McConnell wants them to do—and may force them to do in December—as a failure of leadership. Trump said: "They can now have two more months to figure it out how to screw us, OK." In reality, giving the Democrats two more months doesn't really change their situation at all if McConnell won't budge.

Trump hates McConnell because the senator has blasted Trump's claims of election fraud as lies. In return, Trump called him a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack" after McConnell slammed Trump for his behavior on Jan. 6 during the attempted coup. The technical term for a situation like this is "they're both right." Trump also once called McConnell an "old crow," which McConnell said was quite an honor since "Old Crow" was the favorite bourbon of legendary Kentucky senator Henry Clay. Incidentally, if you search Google, you will find that passages like that one, which contain a reference to Clay or to Alben Barkley, are the only way that "Mitch McConnell" and "legendary Kentucky senator" ever end up in the same sentence. McConnell may be a shrewd operator, but he's built a legacy as thin as Saran Wrap.

Trump spoke for 90 minutes and rattled off a long list of campaign promises, but didn't announce that he was going to run again. As usual, he told the whipped-up crowd that the 2020 election was rigged against him. He also attacked Joe Biden and endorsed Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley is not terribly Trumpy, but since Grassley is virtually certain to win, Trump can later claim that people he endorses win. By endorsing sure winners, Trump thus raises his batting average. (V)

Senate Republicans Don't Want Trump to Run Again

Mitch McConnell is not the only Republican senator who is not a big fan of Donald Trump. An unsourced story in The Hill claims that with only a few exceptions, Senate Republicans do not want to see Trump run in 2024. It is not surprising that the senators did not want to go on the record telling Trump to stay home in 2024, since anyone who said that in public would instantly incur his wrath and be added to his list of people he wants to defeat. The senators especially do not want to have him announce a bid before the midterms, lest he make them a referendum on himself, which they think would hurt the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who golfed with the former president a few weeks ago, said that Trump is champing at the bit to get in. Graham said that Republicans should organize a "draft Trump" movement.

Graham is definitely an exception, assuming he really believes what he's saying here, which is never certain with the Senate's #1 chameleon. Another senator said: "[Trump]'s a clinical narcissist. He threw away the election in the debate with Biden and he threw away the Senate out of spite." Even Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who is about as Trumpy as they come, said that he wants the 2022 elections to be about Joe Biden's performance and that anything that distracts from that would be detrimental to the GOP. Johnson himself isn't answering questions about whether he will run for a third term. If he runs, he will be one of the Democrats' top targets.

Another senator summed up Trump's impact by saying that he is an asset if he is with you in the primary but a liability in the general election. For candidates in a tough primary, getting through the primary has to be done first, so most Republicans welcome his support initially, but then they are stuck with him in the general election as the Democrat constantly reminds the voters that they are running against a Trump clone.

Many Senate Republicans privately blame Trump for the loss of the majority and thus their loss of the ability to block Biden. By claiming that the Democrats rig all elections, Trump effectively convinced enough Georgia Republicans not to bother to vote in the Senate runoffs, thus handing unexpected victories to Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA). (V)

Democrats May Stop Iowa Caucuses from Being First

For years, many Democrats have been gnashing their teeth at Iowa's oversized role in selecting presidential nominees. It is a very atypical state, being almost all white and almost all rural (the biggest city has 215,000 people) and it doesn't even vote Democratic anymore. The voting process for the caucuses is complex, time consuming, and discriminates against people who can't get to or spend an entire evening in the middle of the winter at some school or firehouse. Why should the Democrats allow such a state to winnow the field? In 2020, the Iowans couldn't even count the votes properly, with the result that we will never know for sure who won the caucus. That may be the proverbial straw that caused the camel to head to the vet for immediate spinal surgery.

Former DNC chairman Tom Perez is out-and-out against Iowa going first. He said: "We need a primary process that is reflective of today's demographics in the Democratic Party." Iowa clearly fails the test. An unnamed Democratic insider put it this way: "Iowa had no friends before the 2020 race, or it had very few friends. And it certainly doesn't have any friends after the 2020 race."

The current DNC chairman, Jaime Harrison, hasn't taken a stand yet, in effect passing the buck to that well-known place where the buck stops. But Joe Biden hasn't made a decision yet, either. Typically the schedule is set early in the midterm year, which means next spring. Biden clearly has skin in the game, since if he decides to run in 2024, he could possibly get a primary challenger and would prefer that the challenger was whacked hard in the first nominating event. That might not be Iowa, a state where Biden came in fourth in 2020.

The DNC has no power to prevent Iowa Democrats from holding caucuses on Jan. 2, 2024 if they want to, but it does have the power to refuse to seat any delegates chosen in those caucuses. That would probably be enough to prevent any candidates from campaigning there. It should be noted that while primaries are generally run by state governments, caucuses are run by state parties, so even if the Democrats tell Iowa to hold its caucuses in April, the Republicans could go ahead with January or February caucuses if they like. The parties are not required to hold their nominating events on the same day, although for primaries, states almost always do that to save money.

Even if the DNC vetoes the Iowa caucuses, it still has to decide what it actually wants. The least disruptive change would be to move the first event to a more diverse Midwest state, preferably one that votes Democratic. Michigan is the obvious candidate here because Illinois is too big and Wisconsin is too white. But there is a problem with letting a fairly large state go first (or even early): To compete, a candidate would need first to raise a ton of money, meaning that only well-known candidates or candidates with the backing of wealthy donors could run.

Another option would be to change the order to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and then maybe Michigan. This would put a heavily white state first and a heavily Black state second. But some Democrats chafe at the idea of any unrepresentative state going first. New Hampshire is not much better than Iowa in that respect, although it usually at least votes for Democrats in presidential elections and has two Democratic senators instead of two Republican senators like Iowa. Nevada and South Carolina would be better choices for the leadoff position. However, Nevada is also wonky, because nearly all of the Democrats are located in the same place, letting a would-be president basically take a room at the Luxor, and then campaign in a 10-mile radius. It also has a much more vocal and active labor vote than most states. Letting Las Vegas pick the nominee is especially weird given the city's unofficial motto: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

Moving Nevada into the leadoff position also runs into other problems. New Hampshire has a state law saying that its primary must be the first primary and that authorizes the secretary of state (Bill Gardner for the past 45 years) to pick a date that ensures that. However, Iowa has a law saying that its caucuses must be a week before any other nominating event. Democrats control the trifecta in Nevada and could pass a law requiring its primary to go first. Then New Hampshire and Nevada could duke it out. Possibly they could agree to vote on the same day, but requiring candidates to spend lots of time in two states so far apart again means that only well-funded candidates need apply. Also, Iowa could try to appease the DNC by making its caucuses more like a primary, but then Gardner could decide that Iowa is trying to sneak a primary under his nose and set off a war about who will go first. Halloween 2023? Labor Day 2023? Memorial Day 2023? Hell, why not make it on Election Day 2022? Actually, there's some merit to that latter option from the Democrats' perspective, since it would force Donald Trump to show his cards before the midterms. (V)

Side Effect of Redistricting: More Partisanship

Now that the 2020 census data is out there, the state legislatures and independent commissions are starting to draw maps. As we have discussed repeatedly before, when a party gets the chance to gerrymander the map, it has to decide how greedy it wants to be and how much risk it wants to take. If it goes for maximum greed and tries to draw as many districts as it can to favor itself, it has to reduce its margin in each of them, risking a loss if its candidate stumbles for any reason, or if there are unexpected population shifts later in the decade. Alternatively, it can be less greedy and shore up its incumbents to make them sure-fire bets, at the cost of gobbling up fewer seats.

So far, it appears that at least some states are going the latter route: fewer but safer seats. Although that is not really part of the partisan game plan, this approach has an important side effect: a less functional House. If nearly everyone in the House is in a safe seat, they don't have to worry about losing an election to the other party. Their only worry is a primary. Republicans are almost never primaried from the left but they do have to worry about primaries from the right. This makes them take on right-wing positions that they might not otherwise take. Incumbent Democrats rarely worry about primaries from the right, but primaries from progressives are always a danger for moderates. This could push them somewhat farther to the left than they might prefer.

The consequence of even more safe districts, due to choices the gerrymanderers are making, is a House that is even more polarized than it is now. Republicans are being pushed to the right and Democrats are being pushed to the left. This leaves almost nothing in the middle and very few possibilities for compromise on anything, since voters in both parties tend to see compromise as "selling out our values."

The statistics aren't in yet, but in the current House, only about 50 seats were won by 5 points or fewer—that is, they are swing districts. Of these, only about 36 are really competitive because an election can sometimes be close in a very partisan district due to a bad candidate who underperforms the district's PVI. Experts think that the number of truly competitive districts could be reduced to maybe something like 24 after redistricting. That means that something like 411 of the 435 members will not be worried about what voters from the other party care about and thus will not be prepared to compromise with them. They will only be worried about primaries from their flanks.

The intense partisanship in Congress has multiple causes, but gerrymandering is a biggie. If most of the members needed support from voters of the other party to win elections, they would be much less likely to dismiss them out of hand and much more likely to forge compromises that please some of the opposing party's voters.

A related issue is that when one party gerrymanders the hell out of the map, it simultaneously reduces the size of the other party's bench. Ohio, for example, has only four D+x districts (out of 16). This means that state senators have a hard time moving up with so few viable seats and when a U.S. Senate seat opens up, there are fewer representatives who potentially could make a run for it. Same is true for statewide office. Ohio is going to lose a seat and the Republicans are (ultimately) in charge of the mapmaking, although it is a bit complicated. They are certain to eliminate one of the Democratic seats, making the delegation 12R, 3D, even though Joe Biden got 45% of the vote in the Buckeye State. A smaller bench means less success down the road so it is a vicious cycle. But it is not only the Republicans. Maryland's House delegation is 7D, 1R and the Democrats in the state legislature are determined to make that 8D, 0R.

But even when the legislature is taken out of the picture, things can go south. Virginia has an independent commission with four lawmakers and four private citizens from each party. Each side drew its own partisan map. The process has ground to a halt as a result. If the 16-member commission gives up and can't get a map that a majority agrees to, the state Supreme Court gets to draw the map. Of course, none of the seven justices have any experience in mapmaking, so the best that can be hoped for is that they appoint a special master who is knowledgeable and hopefully nonpartisan and direct the master to draw a neutral map. (V)

Is This the High-Water Mark for the Democrats?

David Shor, a Democratic strategist, data geek, and pollster who worked on Barack Obama's reelection campaign, has argued that 2021 is the high-water mark for the Democrats for years to come, and that their influence and power will wane for the next decade. His previous analyses have been very accurate. He says that if the Democrats can't fix democracy, admit D.C. as a state, or carry out their program now, their chances of doing it any time in the near future are very dim. Ezra Klein wrote a long article about Shor's model that is worth reading.

Shor's thesis is that the Democrats are sleepwalking into catastrophe. In 2018, votes for Democrats outnumbered votes for Republicans by 18 million—and Democrats still lost 2 seats in the Senate. The model shows that if Democrats beat Republicans 52% to 48% in 2022, they have only an even chance of holding the Senate. It is kind of now or never for them, and they don't seem to realize it.

But there is more to Shor's work, which is attracting a lot of attention (and controversy). Shor believes that the highly educated liberal young staffers who run the institutional Democratic Party, and who feed the media the stories it publicizes, are out of touch and too far to the left of the voters the Democrats need to capture in order to win. And he ought to know, since he used to be one of those liberal young staffers. As a result, Democrats spend a lot of time talking about issues that matter to highly educated white liberals but not so much to the moderates of different races that they need to win. In one study, 23% of staffers thought that inequality was the biggest problem the country was facing. Among voters it was under 1%.

Klein's piece has triggered other pieces responding to it, including one in Politico Magazine entitled "The Democrats' Privileged College-Kid Problem." It points out that while liberal young voters dominate the Democratic Party, their turnout rate is far below the national average, so maybe catering largely to them is not good politics.

This state of affairs is a result of educational attainment being the main divider between the parties, more than income. A high school dropout who owns a successful pest extermination company may have the same income as a software engineer, and an adjunct professor may have a salary comparable to a plumber's apprentice. But the software engineer and the adjunct professor probably vote the same way, as do the pest exterminator and the plumber. Most Democratic staffers have at least a bachelor's degree, whereas two-thirds of voters do not. The consequence is things that are perfectly "obvious" to the staffers are not obvious to the voters. Saving the planet is a no-brainer for educated liberal white people, but just talking about it to other people makes you sound like a liberal white person. That is not necessarily a good thing.

Shor believes that picking which issues to talk about is more important than what you say about them. Among people who support universal health care but oppose amnesty for undocumented immigrants, 60% voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and 41% voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The difference? Clinton talked about immigration and Obama didn't. In retrospect, Clinton should not have engaged Trump on immigration but just ignored him and talked about health care and economic issues, which polled better.

Shor's prescription is both obvious and hard to follow. He says Democrats should do extensive polling and then talk about the issues that people care about the most. He calls it "popularism," which is different from "populism." This means, for example, if merely talking about, say, "racial justice" makes people think Democrats want to give goodies to minorities, they shouldn't even talk about it. What they say doesn't actually matter. They should talk about the things the voters care about, not what the young staffers or politicians care about. In practice, that means Democrats need to cater to the preference of low-socioeconomic-status voters if they want to win their votes. If the voters care about inflation and taxes and not the environment and inequality, well, that's where most of the votes are. Giving up on things they care about and focusing on things the voters want will be tough for staffers and politicians alike.

Not everyone buys this, though. Anat Shenker-Osorio, founder of the progressive communications firm ASO Communications, says that the voters the Democrats need most are paying the least attention to politics. They are only half-listening while their kids are yelling and the bill collectors keep calling. Nuances in policy aren't going to work with them.

Another thing Shor says, and that not all Democratic politicians want to hear, is about the persuasion-versus-turnout debate. Progressives say that victory depends on increasing turnout, not persuading working-class white people to switch parties. But at least one study shows that only one in four nonvoters is a liberal; the rest are moderate or conservative. Consequently, getting nonvoters to cast a ballot may be counterproductive unless the registration drives are narrowly targeted on demographic groups likely to vote Democratic. This is what Stacey Abrams did in Georgia in 2020.

Various studies have shown that what motivated Trump voters in 2020 wasn't economics. It was barely disguised racism. If what the white working-class voters really want is more and better racism, the Democrats obviously can't cater to that.

Harry Enten at CNN makes points that cast light on some of these issues. Take vaccine mandates, for example. Among Democrats who are very enthusiastic about voting next year, 15% say mandates are unacceptable. But among Democrats who are not enthusiastic about voting, 27% say they are unacceptable. Should Democrats cater to the latter group in order to get their votes? It matters. Since 1978, Republican turnout in the midterms was 6% higher than their number of registered voters. How do you goose turnout among Democrats who don't agree with the Party's positions? In one data set of verified voters, Democrats who didn't vote in 2014 were less likely to call themselves very liberal than those who did vote. It is unlikely that things have changed that much, so increasing turnout, which the progressives want, could simply increase the number of moderate Democrats elected, creating more internal problems for the Party. Nobody said politics was easy. (V)

North Carolina Group Wants to Emulate Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams pretty much gave Joe Biden Georgia's 16 electoral votes and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer two new members of his caucus this year by registering hundreds of thousands of new voters, many of them people of color. Now a group has been formed in North Carolina to try to replicate Abrams' feat. The New North Carolina Project is run by Aimy Steele, a Black woman who lost two elections by fewer than 3,000 votes each time. Steele is going to try to get a million eligible Tar Heel voters of color who didn't vote in 2020 to vote in 2022. The group has already raised $2 million. It is allowed to engage in political activities. There is also a sister organization, the New North Carolina Project Foundation, which can accept tax-deductible donations to register voters but cannot engage in partisan political activities. Thus the former group can register voters and also tell them who to vote for. The latter group can register voters but has to let the voters figure out on their own who to vote for. But it can focus its registration efforts in neighborhoods where the demographics favor the Democrats.

Steele said that you can't parachute into communities at election time and expect to register them and get them to vote. You need a year-round community organizing infrastructure, which she is trying to build.

State statistics show that 1.9 million registered voters in North Carolina identify as members of one or more minority groups (excluding Latinos). Of these, 33% did not vote in 2020. By way of contrast, about 25% of white registered voters failed to show up in 2020. Steele sees an opportunity here and is focused on getting early voting way up among minorities in 2022. Early The group will go door to door, hold events, call people, and send text messages. They see going door to door as the key. Black men will be especially targeted. If the group can achieve its goals, that could have a big impact on North Carolina's crucial open-seat Senate race in 2022. (V)

Are Anti-Trump Republicans Toast?

Washington Post reporter David Montgomery drove 2,100 miles back and forth across Wyoming to find out what people there think of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). His article is more like a report on a 60-person focus group than a scientific poll, but it does give a feeling for how things are on the ground in the "Cowboy State" (actually, officially the "Equality State").

Everywhere Montgomery went, rage against Cheney erupted as regularly as Yellowstone's Old Faithful geyser. Early on he talked to an actor who played Butch Cassidy in a show in Cody. He voted for Cheney in 2020, but is now viscerally offended by her. He said: "She hasn't just turned on Donald Trump—she has turned on Donald Trump's supporters." It is not that he or anyone doubts Cheney's conservatism. She is pro-gun, pro-fossil fuel, pro-tax cuts, pro-defense spending, and anti-abortion. She voted with Trump 93% of the time. But her being a conservative isn't enough. Matt Micheli, the former state GOP chairman, said: "What is the future of the conservative movement in America? Is it one that's styled after the Ronald Reagan brand of conservatism, or the more populist, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene brand of conservatism?" Cheney is more of a Reagan conservative and that may be going out of style in Wyoming.

In Carbon County, which surprisingly has lots of wind farms, Montgomery talked to Joey Correnti IV, the county GOP chairman, who was dressed like a cowboy, including a gun. He said: "I don't see any reason not to have a firearm with me at all times." On the day of the impeachment vote, Correnti put together a Zoom meeting of 50 people. Three days later it was 150. The next day the county GOP committee censured Cheney. Nearly all the other counties quickly followed suit.

Then Montgomery went to Buffalo, WY, and saw a Biden sign there—the only one he saw while driving 2,100 miles criss-crossing the state (and later he went back and discovered it's actually a "F**k Biden" sign." He talked to David Iverson, creator of the "Cowboy State Politics" podcast. Iverson said: "If Liz Cheney wins this race, that's going to send a signal to the left that they have pretty much flipped Wyoming." To him, Cheney is a leftist.

Masses of people told Montgomery that Cheney's impeachment vote was either illegal or unconstitutional, despite the vote following House rules that both parties have used for decades. They are especially angry with her because on an issue important to her constituents, she went against them. They especially don't want her to lecture them that Trump started a riot and needed to be impeached.

Montgomery did something very Wyoming: He went to a rodeo. There he met Marissa Selvig, a former mayor of Pavillion, WY, who has the chorus of a Christian anthem tattooed on her arm in case she forgets it. She is running against Cheney because, in her words, "I want to give the people of Wyoming someone who is like them." Candidate Denton Knapp was also there. He later told Montgomery: "If [Cheney] wins, Wyoming is going to take a hard look at itself because that's the last thing you want to happen." Despite Trump's endorsement of Harriet Hageman, they are not dropping out.

Also not dropping out is State Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R). When he was 18 he impregnated a 14-year-old girl. The couple got married. Then she committed suicide. Bouchard said: "When push comes to shove, [voters] are going to see that I have the experience, not to mention the fortitude, to stand up to what's really wrong." Maybe we are off here, but his sense of what's "wrong" may not fly in Wyoming.

Montgomery also talked to Hageman. He asked her who won the 2020 presidential election. She said there are legitimate questions about the outcome. He also asked her what she would do differently from Cheney. She said she wouldn't enable the Democrats.

Cheney declined to talk to Montgomery and is not holding any events to which the public is invited. Instead she is holding private gatherings and invitation-only conference calls. She raised $3.4 million in the first half of the year, a huge amount for Wyoming, and that is before George W. Bush holds a fundraiser for her in Dallas later this month. If she loses, it won't be for lack of funds. Her campaign is likely to be carpet bombing the airwaves with people talking about her very conservative voting record and what she has done for Wyoming. People who like her have told her to lay off Trump, but she refuses. She told them: "If Republican leaders don't stand up and condemn what happened, then the voices in the party that are so dangerous will only get louder and stronger."

There is one other factor that could play a role here: Wyoming law allows people to switch party registration up until primary day. Democrats know that no Democrat has a prayer of winning the general election, so many might conclude that their best bet is electing the least bad Republican, and that is Cheney. If Democrats reregister en masse and all support Cheney, she might be able to pull it off. It would be tough for Cheney to directly address Democrats, but she could encourage an outside group to call itself "Democrats for Cheney" and raise money to tell Democrats they can reregister and vote for her. It has to be done carefully though because running TV ads talking about her impeachment vote will remind Republicans of it. Targeted direct mail and email campaigns might be able to operate under the radar though.

Now let's zip across the country to Georgia, where Trump is trying mightily to defeat two Republicans, Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Kemp just ignores Trump, but Raffensperger won't shut up. During a rally in Georgia, Trump mock-endorsed Stacey Abrams, who still hasn't conceded her 2018 loss to Kemp. So what did Raffensperger do? He wrote an op-ed for USA Today comparing Trump to Abrams. Raffensperger said both of them planned their "stolen election" claims well in advance, and after they lost, used those lies to raise money. Abrams is not terribly popular among Georgia Republicans, so showing that Trump is like Abrams might make some soft Trump supporters take his criticism of Raffensperger with a tablespoon of salt.

Abrams didn't exactly swallow this. Seth Bringman, her spokesman, said: "Abrams succeeded in court to count more Georgians' votes, with reputable attorneys presenting coherent arguments, and the courts agreed and counted those votes. It surprises us that Raffensperger equates counting eligible votes based on fact with throwing out the will of the people based on the Big Lie."

Raffensperger also wrote a book entitled Integrity Counts, due out next month. When interviewed by Politico, Raffensperger was crystal clear: "We're out setting the record straight: No. 1 is that President Trump did not carry the state of Georgia."

Raffensperger's frontal assault on Trump is widely viewed as doomed in a state in which a majority of Republicans believe the election was stolen. But they might also be upset that Trump said that Abrams would be an improvement over Kemp. Raffensperger could try to ride this horse to victory, but it won't be easy.

Trump is expected to come back to Georgia again to campaign for Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), who is running against Raffensperger in the Republican primary. Hice's campaign platform is more or less that if Trump asks him to find more votes, then he will find more votes. If he wins the primary and the general election, that will say something about the state of the Republican Party and democracy in Georgia. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct10 Sunday Mailbag
Oct09 Saturday Q&A
Oct08 It Wouldn't Be the Senate without Some Drama
Oct08 Senate Judiciary Committee Releases Report on the 2020 Election
Oct08 Be Careful of What You Wish For: Trump Endorsement Edition
Oct08 Bond. James Bond. 007...and White?
Oct08 Time to Put That Mystery Behind Us
Oct08 This Week in Schadenfreude
Oct07 Can Kicked Down the Road
Oct07 Biden Wants to Trim and Slash
Oct07 Abortion Is Back to Being Legal, at Least for Now
Oct07 Three Gubernatorial Races Are Crucial for 2024
Oct07 Senate Rundown
Oct07 Why Doesn't the Senate Work?
Oct07 Constitutional Reform Comes in Waves
Oct07 Americans Want Things That Are Contradictory
Oct07 Pence Is Gearing Up for a 2024 Run
Oct07 New Ratings for Colorado House Seats
Oct07 Trump Drops Off Forbes' List of 400 Top Billionaires
Oct06 Debt Ceiling Limbo Continues
Oct06 Panama, Meet Pandora
Oct06 TrumpWorld Legal Blotter, Part I: Georgia
Oct06 TrumpWorld Legal Blotter, Part II: Rudy
Oct06 This Week's 2022 Candidacy News
Oct06 Results Are in from California
Oct05 Mitch McConnell Is a Real Asana
Oct05 Some Trump-era Rules Are Worse than Others, It Would Seem
Oct05 Trump 2024 Is Clearly a Go
Oct05 Mark Zuckerberg: 21st-Century Robber Baron
Oct05 Our Final Yang Item
Oct04 Tough Choices Ahead
Oct04 Manchin Is Striking Out in His Other Quest
Oct04 Opponents of the Texas Abortion Law Demonstrated All over the Country on Saturday
Oct04 COVID-19 Deaths Pass 700,000
Oct04 New Details Emerge in Case against Weisselberg
Oct04 Climate Change Deniers Are about to Get an Unpleasant Surprise
Oct04 Can Sinema Be Recalled?
Oct04 Alito Says Supreme Court is Not a "Dangerous Cabal"
Oct04 Congressional Fight over Biden's Agenda Is Spilling over into Virginia
Oct03 Sunday Mailbag
Oct02 Saturday Q&A
Oct01 Right Now, D.C. Is Funkytown
Oct01 Ghosts of Administrations Past
Oct01 "U.S." Is a Rather Larger Stage than "S.D."
Oct01 Hogan for President
Oct01 Time for Liz and Adam to Step Up?
Oct01 This Week in Schadenfreude
Sep30 Congress Averts Government Shutdown
Sep30 Pelosi Is Furious with the Centrists
Sep30 Manchin and Sinema Could Sink...the Centrist Democrats