Biden’s Party Is Still Boosting Those ‘MAGA Republicans’ the President Warned Us About

“The ads may have taken different tacks, but all have the same emphasis: presenting moderate Republican candidates as less appealing to the party’s base. If Republican primary voters choose candidates further from the mainstream, then Democrats hope to have an easier time beating them in the general election. By now this is a familiar pattern: In states from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Michigan, Democrats have collectively spent tens of millions on ads painting Republican candidates as “too conservative” or “handpicked by Trump.”

It’s a bad idea in any context, but the tactic looks especially craven in light of President Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia earlier this month.

From Independence Hall, Biden warned that “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” He said they “promote authoritarian leaders,” “fan the flames of political violence,” and are “committed…to destroying American democracy.” Opposing these forces constituted “a battle for the soul of this nation.”

But Biden’s warning rings hollow while his party is spending a fortune propping up MAGA Republican candidates, hoping to make them just electable enough for primary voters but not quite electable enough for the general public. It’s a considerable gamble that could easily backfire.”

How logging, a Nike founder, and the alt-right warped the Oregon governor’s race

“Oregon is known nationally for being solidly blue, but its internal politics are more nuanced. The biggest source of friction is in the state’s environmental politics, because outside blue Portland, the eastern area of the state is home to both old-growth forests and a large logging industry.
“Timber is to Oregon what coal is to West Virginia,” Pedery said. “There’s legacy logging money that funds all of our right-wing causes in the state.”

The timber industry’s power makes for more unusual politics than the typical left-right divide on climate change. You can find plenty of Democrats who, like Sen. Joe Manchin in West Virginia, are supported by an industry that opposes climate change policies.”

“Johnson trails far behind both Kotek and Drazan in polling. She’s endured in the race this long because she is also the best-funded candidate, thanks to the state’s richest man, Knight, the co-founder and chair emeritus of footwear giant Nike.

He has single-handedly flooded Johnson’s campaign with $3.75 million in cash, and another $2 million to a PAC dedicated to electing more Republicans to the Oregon legislature. In October, he contributed his first $1 million to Drazan’s campaign.

A third candidate’s presence, boosted by Knight’s cash, has upended all normal expectations for the race. In a “normal” cycle”

“as Johnson is a former Democrat, her candidacy is pulling away support that might otherwise go to Kotek. “There’s a real attempt to stop Democrats from defecting to Johnson,” said Horvick. If Kotek loses, it could be Knight’s money that’s to blame.”

“If Johnson’s presence does manage to tip the race to the Republican, the use of a third candidate to siphon off Democratic support could become a model in reliably blue states to reverse climate action. All Republicans would need is a deep-pocketed backer and a viable moderate or conservative Democrat.”

It was a great day in the Supreme Court for anyone who wants to bribe a lawmaker

“The case is Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate, and it involves a federal law intended to prevent campaign donors from putting money directly into the pockets of elected officials. Specifically, the law permits candidates to loan money to their own campaigns, but forbids the campaign from repaying more than $250,000 of that loan from funds raised after the election takes place.

Typically, federal law draws a sharp line between money donated to a campaign, which can only be spent on the election effort, and money given directly to a candidate, which is ordinarily not allowed. But loan repayments exist in a gray area between these two kinds of donations. Yes, money repaid to a candidate ostensibly just reimburses that candidate for money they fronted during the campaign. But any dollar given by donors to repay such loans still goes into the pocket of a former candidate who may very well be a powerful elected official by the time they receive the money.

Without a cap on loan repayments, elected officials with clever accountants could profit off of their donors. In 1998, for example, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) made a $150,000 loan to her campaign at 18 percent interest (though she later reduced that interest rate to 10 percent). By 2009, she’d reportedly raised $221,780 to repay that loan, meaning that she earned at least $71,000 in profits.

Thus, should this challenge to the repayment cap succeed — and it appears overwhelmingly likely to succeed — elected officials could potentially make enormous loans to their campaigns at high interest rates, and then use those loans as a vehicle to accept bribes from lobbyists and other donors who want to trade money for access to the official.”

Bloomberg to transfer $18 million to national Democrats’ 2020 battleground efforts

“Bloomberg’s contribution appears to rely on the campaign finance loophole allowing campaigns to transfer unlimited funds to party committees in an election year.

As an individual, Bloomberg is only allowed to contribute approximately $35,000 a year to the DNC. But he can transfer unlimited money to his own campaign, which in turn can transfer an unlimited amount of funding to the party.”