Biden 303
image description
Trump 235
image description
Click for Senate
Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description
  • Strongly Dem (208)
  • Likely Dem (18)
  • Barely Dem (77)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (46)
  • Likely GOP (63)
  • Strongly GOP (126)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2019 2015 2011
New polls: (None)
the Dem pickups vs. 2020: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2020: (None)
Political Wire logo Majority Oppose Biden Impeachment Hearings
Republican Math
Trump Spoke to Fake ‘Union Members’
Second Trump Term Would Bring ‘Constitutional Crisis’
Quote of the Day
Trump Leads the Entire GOP Field Combined

Cory Booker Is Calling for Menendez to Resign

New Jersey's other senator, Cory Booker, yesterday called for the indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to resign from the Senate now. He said: "Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost. Senator Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case he must do so again." Booker added that serving in the Senate requires senators to uphold moral standards higher than merely not being criminals.

Booker's call is especially painful to Menendez because there is no bad blood between them. Booker has often described Menendez as a friend, ally, and mentor. They have often worked together on legislation and have appeared together at hundreds of news conferences; each has vigorously defended the other to New Jersey voters. Even when Menendez was put on trial earlier for corruption charges, Booker stuck with him. For the junior senator to turn against his long-time senior colleague is significant.

At least six Democratic senators have called for Menendez to step down now. Booker's call may open the floodgates, as he understands New Jersey politics better than the senators from other states. If dozens of Democratic senators follow his lead and also call for Menendez to go, it will certainly ramp up the pressure on Menendez. But even if he resists, it will show the country that when a Democrat breaks the law, other Democrats want him out. Hey, Republicans, how do you feel about that concept?

Perhaps noteworthy is that when Al Franken was forced out, the other senator from Minnesota, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN), didn't call for him to leave. Now that Menendez' direct colleague from New Jersey wants him gone, that gives all the other senators permission to say the same thing as Booker. It should be interesting to see how many take up the invitation in the coming days. (V)

Biden Pickets the Car Companies

Joe Biden claims he is for the working man and woman. Yesterday, he demonstrated it by joining striking UAW workers in Detroit. He said he would be the most pro-union president in history and he probably is. No sitting president has ever joined a picket line before. The other contender for most pro-union president in history is Franklin D. Roosevelt, but he would never have gone so far as to join a labor action. He preferred to work his magic behind the scenes.

Biden stood on a wooden platform and used a bullhorn to tell the union members that because the car companies were making record profits, they deserved a big raise for their role in making those profits possible through their hard work. He said: "You deserve what you've earned. And you deserve a whole hell of a lot more than you're getting paid now." The crowd was largely appreciative. So was UAW president Shawn Fain, who was with Biden.

This move could also be good politics. Democrats are having a lot of problems with blue-collar workers, some of whom are union members. Having Biden make it clear that he is pro-union could make some union members who otherwise like Donald Trump have second thoughts. On the one hand, they like Trump's macho style, but on the other, having a president who is clearly pro-union is also something to consider. Biden is also keenly aware that Michigan is a key swing state and his showing up there to support workers in the state will probably be remembered, at least for a while.

However, the situation is more complicated than it at first appears. The companies are arguing that if they pay the union workers more, they will have less money to invest in new plants making electric cars, something Biden also wants. Currently, most electric cars are made in nonunion factories. By siding with the unions and protecting jobs in factories making gasoline-powered cars, Biden could get blowback from environmentalists who prefer that those factories go away as soon as possible. They don't care where electric cars are made or by whom as long as they are made. It does put Biden in a squeeze.

Donald Trump will address an invite-only group of current and retired UAW workers at a non-union factory tonight. He is hoping that he can make himself, rather than the Republican debate, the story of the day. Of course, union members will be listening closely to what he says and looking to see whose side he seems to be on. If the stories Thursday are "Biden supports workers; Trump supports the theory that he won in 2020," that may not help Trump much with union members. (V)

Tonight Is the Second Republican Debate

There is nothing about the Second Republican Debate that we can tell you that you don't already know, so we won't try. Neither did FiveThirtyEight, which is now tightly integrated into current owner ABC News (even after Nate Silver's departure this May). But FiveThirtyEight's Galen Druke nevertheless made an interesting story about the debate by going to Simi Valley, the suburb north of Los Angeles where the Ronald Reagan Library is located (and where the debate will be held) to interview people there. Simi Valley has voted Republican ever since it was incorporated—except 2020, when it voted for Joe Biden. The story is about how pleasant suburbs like Simi Valley are going to play a big role in the 2024 election. The location of the Ronald Reagan Library is now a bellwether! If the Democrats can clean up in suburbs like Simi Valley, they will probably win in 2024.

Druke is a bit overdramatic, but watching the video presentation of his findings is a worthwhile way to spend 5 minutes and 18 seconds. (ABC doesn't make it possible to embed videos, so all we can do is give you a link to it.) (V)

Senate Is Moving Close to a Continuing Resolution

As a general rule, there is somewhat less grandstanding in the Senate than in the House, possibly because it is easier for a crazy person to get elected in a deep red House district than in a whole state. In a red district, all he or she has to do is win the Republican primary. Then it's all over but the shoutin'. That doesn't happen in the Senate as much, in part because most states are more diverse than carefully gerrymandered districts and in part because the longer term gives every senator at least 4 years to concentrate on governing rather than starting to work on reelection. Consequently, cooler heads generally prevail in the Senate. Also, the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is very conservative, but he is also enough of an institutionalist to want to get the Senate to actually get stuff done once in a while. All Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) cares about is keeping his job.

As a result of all this, the Senate is far along on a bill that would keep the government funded until Nov. 17 while the battle over the budget goes on. It also provides billions for Ukraine. The problem is what happens when it gets to the House (the bill, not Ukraine). If McCarthy brings it up for a vote, it will probably pass because all the Democrats will vote for it and most likely many of the Biden 18 (Republicans in districts Joe Biden won in 2020) will vote for it as well.

The main problem is that McCarthy might not bring the bill up for a floor vote because then Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) would probably introduce a motion to vacate the chair. The Democrats might well join forces with the Freedom Caucus to support that motion, albeit each faction would have different reasons. The Democrats want to show that the Republicans can't govern. The FCers have a slight variant on that. They want to show McCarthy that the Republicans can't govern without them. Small difference, but important.

Still, the Senate bill has some chance since it is a moderately clean bill. It just funds the government at current levels and doesn't contain any poison pills, except it does fund Ukraine for a while. If McCarthy brings it for a vote and it passes, Gaetz has to worry about a scenario in which McCarthy is removed, a new election for speaker is held, and McCarthy wins again on the 15th ballot. Then the Floridian is the one who looks weak and stupid.

If McCarthy refuses to bring the Senate bill to the floor for a vote, there is a workaround, but it is slow and cumbersome: a discharge petition. If 218 members sign a petition to force a vote on a bill, the Speaker has limited power to block it. A vote based on a discharge petition has to wait for 7 legislative days before it can be held. There is not enough time left for it to succeed, but it could make the shutdown short (and see next item). At this point, anything is possible, but the Senate bill, if it passes, gives some hope. (V)

Shutdowns Have a Long and Not Glorious History

Since 1980, there have been 14 government shutdowns. Many were caused by the two parties not agreeing on what should be in the budget. In the past, they often ended up compromising since it was just about money. Now the Freedom Caucus wants to burn the house down. That is really different. It is hard to burn down half a house. Here is a brief rundown of shutdowns since 1980.

  • Started Nov. 20, 1981, 2 days: The Democratic House and Republican Senate passed different spending bills so the government shut down on Saturday night at midnight. Neither of them had the spending cuts President Ronald Reagan wanted. On Sunday, a conference committee worked out a compromise and both chambers passed it. On Monday, Reagan vetoed the compromise but later in the day the two chambers passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until a deal could be worked out, which it eventually was.

  • Started Sept. 30, 1982, 1 day: A year later there was another brief shutdown but for different reasons. Reagan invited all members of Congress to a barbecue at the White House while Democrats held a $1,000 per plate fundraiser. So both parties were away when the clock struck midnight. The next day Congress passed a bill to stop the shutdown.

  • Started Dec. 17, 1982, 3 days: The third shutdown during the Reagan administration was due to Reagan's objection to the Democrats moving billions of dollars from the MX missile program to a job creation program. Eventually there was a compromise bill that included funding for legal support for low-income Americans but no funding for the missile program. Everybody swallowed hard and Reagan signed the bill.

  • Started Nov. 10, 1983, 3 days: Reagan administration again, for the fourth time. House Democrats cut foreign aid and added $1 billion for education. Republicans didn't buy this. Eventually a bill passed with the cuts to foreign aid intact but the education funding dropped to $100 million. There was also some money for the MX missile program.

  • Started Sept. 30, 1984, 2 days: Same cast of characters for Reagan #5. There were disputes over funding for measures against crime, water projects, and whether colleges that did not accept federal money were subject to Title IX's requirements. To end the shutdown, Congress passed and Reagan signed a 2-day continuing resolution.

  • Started Oct. 3, 1984, 1 day: The continuing resolution ran out and still nothing was resolved, so there was another shutdown 3 days later. This time Democrats caved on the water projects and civil rights funding and agreed to the funding for law enforcement.

  • Started Oct. 16, 1986, 1 day: Another mini-shutdown. Democrats wanted to add more funding for welfare and Republicans didn't. Eventually Democrats gave up to end the stalemate.

  • Started Dec. 18, 1987, 1 day: By now, Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress but Reagan was still president. Reagan wanted to provide aid to the Contras in Nicaragua and Democrats wanted to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine that the FCC repealed earlier in 1987. That doctrine required broadcasters to present both sides of controversial issues. Eventually Democrats mostly caved, approving "nonlethal" aid to the Contras but giving up on the Fairness Doctrine.

  • Started Oct. 5, 1990, 3 days: By 1990, Reagan was gone and George H.W. Bush was president. The Democrats still controlled both chambers of Congress. Bush threatened to veto any spending plan that did not reduce the deficit, so no spending bill was passed. Three days later he signed a continuing resolution to keep the government open so more negotiations could occur.

  • Started Nov. 13, 1995, 5 days: By 1995, the U.S. had a Democratic president but the wave election of 1994 gave Republicans control of both chambers of Congress. This was the first time in 40 years that Republicans controlled the House and Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) was definitely feeling his oats. He didn't like Bill Clinton's 1993 tax increase and wanted to reverse it. Eventually a 1-month CR was passed and signed.

  • Started Dec. 15, 1995, 21 days: After 3 weeks passed, nothing had been resolved and both sides dug their heels in. Now the shutdowns were starting to get serious. Again it was Gingrich vs. Clinton. It was the battle of the projections. The Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget projected very different situations over 7 years. Eventually, after 21 days, then-Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R) gave a speech on New Year's Eve saying that the shutdown had gone on too long, so he accepted the OMB projection.

  • Started Sept. 30, 2013, 16 days: With Democrats controlling the Senate, Republicans controlling the House, and Barack Obama now president, conflict was inevitable. Surprisingly, it took 4 years to boil over. The issue was the ACA ("Obamacare"). Republicans wanted to dismantle it. Democrats refused. Republicans shut down the government to make their point. After a bit over 2 weeks, Speaker John Boehner (R) threw in the towel, conceded that they were not going to be able to dismantle it with Democrats in control of the Senate, and passed a CR.

  • Started Jan. 19, 2018, 2 days: This one happened even though the Republicans had the trifecta under Donald Trump. Senate Democrats demanded protections for the "dreamers" (people who came to the U.S. illegally as small children). Republicans refused. Eventually, the Democrats caved.

  • Started Dec. 21, 2018, 34 days: Here is the biggie, more than a month. A key element was Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to pay for a wall on the Mexican border because Mexico was not keen on paying for it. When the shutdown began, Republicans had the trifecta. But on Jan. 3, 2019, Democrats took over the House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi got Congress to pass a CR and reopen the government. Three weeks later, Congress passed a budget that included $1.375 billion for the border wall, less than a quarter of what Trump wanted.

So as you can see, shutdowns have occurred regularly in the past. But they were often resolved within a few days when the two sides simply compromised. That seems unlikely now because the Freedom Caucus does not want compromise. It wants blood. (V)

Big Republican Donors Are Stuck

The big Republican donors didn't help Trump much in 2020 and now many of them want no part of him. Big donors tend to care about things like lower taxes, smaller government, a balanced budget, and stuff like that. They don't want to hear endlessly about election fraud and Trump's claim that he won in 2020. They are now frantically looking for someone else to support in the Republican primary and having a lot of trouble finding a viable candidate.

FEC data shows that donations of $250,000 or more are down 24% compared to 2016, when there was also a competitive Republican primary. Only 66 people have made that size donation to one of the Republican candidates' super PACs this year. But not having big donors is not hurting Trump much because he is a master at grift at fundraising from small donors. His supporters will skip lunch and give their last $10 to him if he asks for it.

The big donors are still shopping around. Billionaire cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder met with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) after giving up on Trump, and is now intrigued by Nikki Haley. The problem that the big donors have is that they are all very familiar with the term "return on investment" and know that investing in a candidate who loses the primary yields zero return. So they tend to be torn between going with a candidate they like, but don't think can win, and a candidate they like less, but think has a better chance. It's tough being a billionaire donor. You can't always get what you want.

Billionaire John Catsimatidis, the CEO of the Gristedes supermarket chain, said the mood of the high-end donor class is confusion. He said: "Republican donors want a pro-business, no nonsense person and they want a person that's capable of having the sex appeal to be able to win 51 percent." However, Catsimatidis did say that he might contribute to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s campaign, on the theory that he could hurt Joe Biden at least. That's better than doing nothing. Many of them think that Trump won't be able to win the general election. Some billionaires, like Ken Griffin and Thomas Peterffy, are just staying on the sidelines and not wasting their precious money. (V)

But Trump's Base Is Not Stuck

The Bulwark's publisher, Sarah Longwell, is back to running focus groups. She's run several of them this past summer asking over 100 people about Donald Trump's legal problems. The bottom line is that Donald Trump has 91 problems, but the base isn't one of them.

Among two-time Trump voters, 44 said they supported Trump more on account of the indictments, 48 were neutral, but only 8 supported him less. Longwell calls this the "rally round Trump effect." Before the indictments, focus group participants were breaking 44-26 for Ron DeSantis over Trump for the GOP nomination. After the indictments, it shifted dramatically to 64-25 for Trump. It is a huge change.

Part of the problem is that Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg went first. Massive strategic error, but Bragg put his own parochial interests above the country's. No one is taking that one seriously. And once people start thinking that prosecutors are completely biased, they didn't even listen to the details of later cases. It was just: "They hate Trump."

About the Mar-a-Lago case, one voter said: "If it is against the law what he did, then let's apply it equally to every else that had documents. Especially Hillary Clinton, Mike Pence, Obama, Clinton, and especially Biden." Another said: "It frustrates me that it doesn't seem to be like equal amount of resources being devoted to Hunter Biden's laptop." A third said: " When you have a current president who is siccing all of the DoJ on a potential candidate, that's never happened. Right. Yeah. Unless you're in Venezuela." A fourth one said: "It's just nakedly partisan, and, like, to me, weaponizing the FBI against a political rival is beyond the pale." A fifth one said: "It's become quite boring. You know, you hear it, okay, another one. Who cares? Every day it is something. You just block it out." A sixth said: "If he weren't running, there would be no charges. They are just trying to smear him."

About the Georgia RICO case, one voter said: "Are they going to make an example of him? What are we going to do about Bush v. Gore? That was also about trying to overturn an election." Another said: "If I were him I would feel cheated because wasn't there a lot of issues with them mailing ballots to people who have been deceased or to the wrong address?" A third said: "I haven't gone back to the recording, but I've seen the transcript and I do not believe he was asking Raffensperger to somehow manipulate the situation and come up with votes." A fourth one said: "I don't think when he said find those votes he meant manufacture votes."

Also interesting is how these double Trump voters reacted to the E. Jean Carroll verdict. One said: "He didn't rape her. He did something else. And what's $5 million to Trump?" Another said: "I don't think there is enough evidence. They blame him for everything." A third one said "Carroll is delusional." A fourth one said she's a money grubber. None of them think that Trump did anything wrong. They all think he was framed.

What is interesting is that few people are arguing the facts of the cases. Most people aren't saying "He didn't do it" or "It was legal." It was just "They are out to get him." or "I'm tired of hearing about this." That said, keep in mind that the base is a given for Trump. His problem is he needs some votes beyond that 36% or so of the population. The criminal cases are likely to hurt with those additional voters, particularly if there are convictions, even if the base holds firm. (V)

Judge Rules Trump Defrauded Banks and Insurance Companies

Donald Trump is sure getting bad news from the courts these days, even if his base doesn't want to hear it. Yesterday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that the former president repeatedly defrauded banks and insurance companies as he built his real estate empire. This decision is in a case NY AG Letitia James brought. Note however, this case has a ways to go yet. The Supreme Court is not the top court in New York State. That is the Court of Appeals.

The trial is a bench trial. There is no jury involved. In essence, the judge ruled that Trump made his money by lying and cheating. The lies he told on his annual financial statements about how valuable his properties were got him favorable terms for loans and insurance. Lying on financial statements presented to banks and insurance companies is a crime in New York State. Maybe Trump isn't the brilliant businessman he claims to be. Maybe he is just a brilliant con man, who was able to successfully defraud big banks and insurance companies with carefully constructed fake financial statements. Of course, they could have done better due diligence, but it is hard for a bank to evaluate how much some golf course in Scotland is actually worth when the data it is presented with is fake.

Engoron's summary judgment resolves one of the seven claims in James' case. The actual trial on the other six claims will begin on Oct. 2. James is seeking a fine of $250 million and a ban on Trump doing business in New York State. No matter how the case turns out, Trump will not go to prison as this is a civil trial. But a fine of $250 million is something that pennypincher Trump would notice. Voters who support him because they think he is a great businessman might also be affected by Democratic ads saying that a judge has determined that he is a con man, a liar, and a cheat who defrauded multiple companies. Of course, some of them may think: "Boy, what a smart guy. He was able to swindle the big banks. I love it!" But others may be less impressed. (V)

Government Files an Antitrust Suit against Amazon

Republicans often complain about the big tech companies. Now the Biden administration is actually doing something about one of them: Amazon. The government has sued to break up the company. If the government wins, it could have far reaching implications for consumers, small businesses, and even large businesses. It is a critical moment for Lina Khan, the FTC's hard-charging chair, who has often called for the breakup of Amazon.

It will be a difficult case to win both in court and in the court of public opinion. The government won't be able to prove that Amazon has used its monopoly power to charge prices higher than they would have been without a monopoly. The reason is simple: Amazon is often the cheapest supplier, not the most expensive. It strives for more market share above all else, killing off the competition. If Amazon's profits suffer as a result, so be it. Jeff Bezos & Co. are playing the long game and accept that.

The main argument will probably be the stifling effect Amazon has on the thousands of small businesses that sell their wares on Amazon. It has a stranglehold on them. If they don't agree to Amazon's terms and conditions, nobody will ever find them and they will lose out to competitors who agree to those conditions. Thus the argument in court will probably be this is how Amazon misuses its market power.

In the court of public opinion, it will be a tougher sell. There are over 100 million Amazon Prime members, most of whom like the low prices, free shipping and free movies. Amazon also does a good job at customer service most of the time. Convincing them that Amazon is evil may not be easy. On the other hand, the argument is that Amazon is so powerful that even a company as big and rich as Walmart can't compete against them and if Amazon were broken up, there would be more companies to choose from.

Politically, this could help the Democrats, though. Many people are unhappy with the big tech companies for various reasons. Having the government finally taking on one of them could resonate with them. It is a bit awkward for the Republicans to say "Big tech companies are good for you" when they have been railing against them for years. On the other hand, Amazon can afford the best lawyers in the business and will argue that although they are almost the only game in the e-commerce business, for virtually every kind of product, they have offerings from many vendors, so they encourage, not stifle, competition.

One of us (V) recently wanted to send fuzzy socks to a far-away friend who is not well. He went to Amazon and typed "fuzzy socks" in the search box. About 500 products popped up. He could imagine Amazon's lawyers saying: "Some guy wanted to send fuzzy socks to a friend. We have 500 kinds, from scores of companies, in every price range. Please explain how we are stifling competition." Of course, that misses the point that the guy had to go to Amazon because it is sort of the only game in town. The competition that is missing is between e-commerce sites, not between sock manufacturers. The case is expected to go on for years. (V)

Chutkan Demonstrates Her Stuff

Judge Tanya Chutkan will preside over the federal case in which Donald Trump (alone) is accused of conspiracy against the United States and voters. It will probably be the first case against Trump to go to trial. It is currently scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024. A big question is: What kind of judge is Chutkan? Will Trump be able to wrap her around his little finger? We won't know for sure until the trial, but there are some clues.

Specifically, she just handled a lower-profile, but related, case. An Indiana man, Antony Vo, was charged with breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. So, did she think this was just an ordinary tourist visit by a guy trying to cut the line, or what?

Well, for one thing, when Vo claimed that Trump gave him permission to enter the Capitol, she didn't buy it. She ruled that Trump's incendiary speech did not authorize anyone to enter the restricted Capitol grounds. Nice try, but no. The case was not thrown out as Vo wished.

In the voir dire, Chutkan asked all the potential jurors if they had strong feelings about people who don't accept the 2020 election results. Some did, but if they also said they would follow the facts and the law, strong feelings were not disqualifying.

The Judge also made it clear that she has little patience with defendants who do not comply with the pretrial restrictions they agreed to in order to get free on bail. When she learned that Vo had been attending nightly vigils outside the D.C. jail holding Jan. 6 defendants, a violation of the restrictions placed on his activities in the D.C. area, she said: "I could, in my discretion, allow you to become more familiar with the D.C. jail. But I'm not going to." Instead she imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on Vo. She said she had no problem with his beliefs about the other defendants, but she was not happy with his violating the conditions he had agreed to. That could obviously apply to Trump, who is violating them left and right daily. She has already said that his inflammatory remarks might force her to move the trial date to some date before March 4.

Chutkan reached the boiling point when Vo's defense attorneys attempted to introduce evidence they had not previously shared with her. Attorneys are required to disclose evidence in advance, so the judge can decide if it is admissible. She said they were trying to conduct a "trial by ambush," and that "If they [the prosecutors] had done this to you, I would be seriously entertaining your motion for a mistrial." In the end, she said she was bending over backwards to be fair and allowed the evidence. If Trump's lawyers try this stunt, will they get away with it? Maybe once, but probably not a second time.

From the very beginning, Chutkan made it clear that she values the jurors' time and comfort. She doesn't like stunts that keep the jurors waiting. She also noted that she likes to keep her courtroom warm for the jurors, even though some judges like to keep it freezing to keep the jurors awake. She often smiled at the jurors and sometimes made little jokes to amuse them.

All in all, there is little about how Chutkan handled this case that will give Trump's lawyers ideas about how they can take advantage of her. Nothing Vo's lawyers tried is likely to work. Vo was found guilty on all counts. (V)

Hunter Biden's Laptop Is Back in the News

Remember all those breathless stories about Hunter Biden's laptop? For a while, it was the most famous computer in the land, even more famous than Hillary's e-mail server. If there were an Electronics Hall of Fame, both of them would be famous enough to qualify easily. Very briefly, as a refresher, Biden left his laptop at a repair shop and forgot to pick it up. The owner was a Republican who realized what he had in his hands and told Republican officials about the treasure he had, full of d**k pics and more. Eventually Rudy Giuliani got a hold of the hard disk and began bragging about his haul.

Now the jig is up. Biden has sued Giuliani for invasion of privacy, citing, among other things, both state and federal privacy laws that Giuliani broke by looking at personal data that he had no business looking at—and then bragging about it in public. Giuliani recently lost a lawsuit to two Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shay Moss, and has other lawsuits pending. He is also a defendant in the Georgia RICO case. And, by the way, he's broke and he still hasn't sold his apartment. It has been on the market for 61 days now and is still priced at $6.5 million. He may well have a mortgage on it, in which case his net could be far less than $6 million in the end. The amount he owes the two Georgia election workers is certain to be in the millions and his legal fees for the various trials will also be in the millions. In addition, his long-time lawyer is suing him for unpaid bills. Now this lawsuit from Biden, who has a strong case. Talk about chickens coming home to roost.

Giuliani's woes also show what kind of person Donald Trump is. Giuliani has been as faithful as a hound dog to Trump. Trump could give him a few million and pay the gift tax himself as a reward for years of support. But with Trump, loyalty is a one-way street. Trump's tightfistedness is also stupid beyond belief because while Giuliani can't get out of the civil suits, he could get out of the criminal prosecutions by flipping, thus saving half a million or more in lawyers' fees. He might be tempted. Trump could end that temptation by bailing him out, but nope.

Back to the laptop, in Feb. 2023, Giuliani's "America's Mayor Live" podcast had a segment in which Giuliani held up a laptop and said: "This belongs to Hunter Biden." In court he is going to have to explain what he was doing with it. He could say: "When Biden didn't pick it up after 90 days, the repair shop gave it to me" but what is he going to say when Biden's lawyer asks: "Since you knew who owned it, why didn't you just return it to him?" Under Delaware law, when property is abandoned, it must be turned over to the state, which then lists it on its website, so the rightful owner can then claim it. Giuliani had no business having it at any time.

To make things worse, in the podcast, Giuliani said he copied the data to his own computer. He certainly had no right to do that, and that is where the invasion of privacy case kicks in. Merely waving a closed laptop in the air is bad enough, but if he never turned it on, that might not be an invasion of privacy. However, copying the data to his own computer? That's looking for trouble and now he has found it. (V)

Supreme Court Rejects Alabama's Appeal

The Democrats won a House seat yesterday—and they did it without there even being a special election. After the 2020 census, the Alabama state legislature drew a new map eliminating a majority Black district—because they could. Alabama neither gained nor lost a House seat, so there was no need to change the map very much. At most, some minor tweaks to account for population change would have been enough, but the Republicans got greedy and decided to divvy up one of the two majority-Black districts. Democrats went to court and the Supreme Court ruled that the map was an illegal racial gerrymander. It ordered Alabama to draw a new map.

So the Alabama legislature got to work and drew a new map, also with only one majority-Black district. So Democrats sued again. Yesterday, the Supreme Court had enough of this game and ruled that the courts may have a special master draw a map with two majority-Black districts. This virtually guarantees a second Black Democrat in the Alabama delegation starting in 2025. Similar cases are pending in Louisiana, Florida, and other states. The Democrats might well be able to pick up the four seats they need to reclaim the majority on court rulings alone. In short, Democrats' House prospects got a bit brighter yesterday. (V)

New Hampshire Also Has House Races

New Hampshire gets a lot of attention due to its first-in-the-nation primary, but it is good to remember that it is also a swing state and the Republican majority in the House is currently only 4 seats (due to a vacancy in Utah), so House races in all the swing states are important. Especially in New Hampshire, where both districts are competitive. NH-01, in the populous southeastern part of the state, has a PVI of EVEN. NH-02, in the sparsely-populated rest of the state, has a PVI of D+2. The two seats are currently occupied by Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Annie Kuster (D-NH), respectively. However, the Republicans hold the trifecta in state government, so the Granite State really is a swing state. Its House seats will be bitterly fought over.

The victory this week of the Democrat in a special election for a state House seat is a warning for the Republicans. The Democrats are now one seat away from a 50-50 split in the state House and there is an upcoming special election in a vacant deep-blue district. The GOP seems resigned to losing their trifecta in the November special election for the vacant seat.

They are also worried that if Trump is the Republican presidential nominee, that is going to hurt their chances of winning either or both U.S. House elections. After the 2020 census, Republicans wanted to gerrymander the map to make one of the two districts Republican leaning, but Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) didn't want that. He wanted both seats to be competitive, giving the Republicans at least a chance of winning both. But having Trump on the ballot is going to make that harder.

Even though NH-01 is EVEN, Charlie Cook is rating it "leans Democratic." The Republicans want to run the owner of a water treatment company, Russell Prescott, against Pappas, but Prescott might get competition, forcing a primary. Pappas is an incumbent and won't get any serious primary competition.

NH-02 will feature incumbent Annie Kuster, who won the general election in 2022 56%-44%. At least three people have filed to run for the Republican nomination, one of whom is a Trumpist who got 90 days in jail for his role in the Jan. 6 coup attempt. If he wins the primary, Kuster will be a shoo-in.

What this means is that things look relatively good for the Democrats in New Hampshire at the moment, but it's still worth watching, because a wave (or even a ripple) in either direction could easily catch both New Hampshire seats in its wake. (V)

FCC Reinstates Net Neutrality

This is kind of inside baseball, but it is important given the role the Internet plays in elections nowadays. On Monday, new FCC commissioner Anna Gomez was sworn in. This gave Democratic appointees a 3-2 majority. It took Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworcel exactly one day to reverse a key ruling made by the FCC when Donald Trump's appointees held the majority. Rosenworcel reinstated net neutrality, something that was abolished during the Trump administration. The basic idea is that all Internet traffic is equal and no Internet traffic is more equal.

For example, it is no longer legal for AT&T, Comcast, T-mobile, or any other Internet carrier to say to,, and a few hundred million other websites: "If you want your content delivered speedily and without interruption to your customers, just pay us $10 million/month and we will make sure it happens." All the carriers must treat all content equally. They can no longer sell "fast lanes" to the highest bidders or blackmail sites into paying them for carriage. They can also no longer do anything to advantage (or disadvantage) one site over another. For example, Comcast can no longer provide high-speed service for its own "NOW TV" streaming service while intentionally slowing down Amazon Prime streaming, so people give up on the latter and switch to the former. It can also no longer discriminate against the hundreds of millions of small websites around the country and focus on blackmailing the 100 biggest ones into paying for great service. From the point of view of the carriers, this decision is a real bummer. From the point of view of consumers and people running the hundreds of millions of small websites, it is a winner. We're not biased here at all. This was the right thing to do. Go Jessica! Here is a photo of her.

Jessica Rosenworcel

Rosenworcel said that in the modern era, Internet service is a basic necessity, like water and electricity. An electricity company in some region cannot decide to provide electricity to big factories and office buildings in its service area and tell households to go buy a generator. They must provide service to anyone in their area, big or little. Now that holds for Internet as well.

Democrats have long fought for net neutrality (i.e., carrier must be neutral regarding content and can't favor one content producer over another), but Republicans have sided with the carriers who sought to make money by essentially blackmailing large content producers like Netflix, Disney, Facebook, Amazon, etc., into paying extra just for their content to be carried. Maybe an analogy might help here. Imagine that the USPS decided that first class packages from Amazon would be delivered promptly (because Amazon was paying the USPS a "fee" for "special service"), but first class packages from Walmart and eBay would sit in warehouses until there happened to be some empty space on a USPS truck. They can't do that. It is illegal. Essentially the postal system has something like net neutrality, too. All customers have to be treated equally. Now that applies to the Internet as well.

A decision of the FCC can be revoked by the FCC. If a Republican is elected president and is able to replace one of the Democratic commissioners by his or her own appointee (not that we think the next president will be a "she" unless Donald Trump picks Nikki Haley as his veep and then he eats one Big Mac too many), then net neutrality could be as dead as Ron DeSantis' presidential hopes. It would be better if Congress embedded net neutrality into federal law, but Republicans in Congress would never go for it, so it remains something for the FCC to decide and re-decide whenever the partisan balance on the commission changes. (V)

If you wish to contact us, please use one of these addresses. For the first two, please include your initials and city.

To download a poster about the site to hang up, please click here.

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep26 Today's Corruption News, Part I: Bob Menendez
Sep26 Today's Corruption News, Part II: Clarence Thomas
Sep26 Newsom-DeSantis Tilt Looks to Be Locked and Loaded
Sep26 Today's Bad Poll: Trump Up 10 on Biden?
Sep26 Today's Strange Conspiracy Theory: Obama for President?
Sep26 What Is Wrong With These People?, Part I: Corey Lewandowski
Sep26 What Is Wrong With These People?, Part II: Paul Gosar
Sep25 The Menendez Story Continues
Sep25 Less Than a Week Until the Coach Turns into a Pumpkin
Sep25 Democrats Are Running on Abortion Everywhere--Even in Kentucky
Sep25 DeSantis' Campaign Actually Achieved Something--It Made Him a Lame Duck in Florida
Sep25 Democrats Are Doing Well in Special Elections
Sep25 Donald Trump and the Seven Dwarfs
Sep25 How Do You Flip People Who Have Been Brainwashed?
Sep25 Jim Jordan Is Now Going after Disinformation Researchers
Sep25 Trump v2.0
Sep24 Sunday Mailbag
Sep23 I Am Not a Crook. Rinse and Repeat
Sep23 Saturday Q&A
Sep22 McCarthy to House GOP: You Never Give Me Your Money
Sep22 Rupert Murdoch: Let It Be
Sep22 Polling in 2023: Keep the Customer Satisfied
Sep22 This Week's Senate News: Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win
Sep22 My Gift Is My Song: All Apologies
Sep22 This Week in Schadenfreude: You Know I'm No Good
Sep22 This Week in Freudenfreude: Oh My Heart
Sep21 Democrats Are Not Going to Bail McCarthy Out
Sep21 Democrats Did Bail Tuberville Out, However
Sep21 Garland to Congress: I Am Not Your Prosecutor
Sep21 Hunter Biden Whistleblower Is Undercut by New Witnesses
Sep21 Biden Adviser Tells Nervous Democrats: Calm Down
Sep21 Biden Campaign Will Go after Misinformation Directly
Sep21 Trump Lawyer Flips
Sep21 Both Chambers of Congress Might Flip in Opposite Directions
Sep21 Trump's Electoral College Edge May Be Fading
Sep20 Democrats Hold Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Sep20 Trump Legal News: Happiness is a Warm Gun
Sep20 Tommy Tuberville Will Try to Work Around... Tommy Tuberville
Sep20 Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Worse
Sep20 Welker Blew It
Sep20 He Who Has the Power to Destroy a Thing, Controls It
Sep20 Put a Cork in It, Bob
Sep19 Democrats Just Can't Win: Five Americans Freed in Iran
Sep19 A Shutdown Is Growing Much More Likely
Sep19 Trump Makes It Official, Part I
Sep19 Trump Makes It Official, Part II
Sep19 Two Questions for Merrick Garland
Sep19 Wexton Is Out
Sep19 Cisneros Is In
Sep18 Trump Goes on Meet the Press