Why the GOP Can’t Unite

““This is a political-leaning conference right now, not a policy-leaning conference,” Ryan told me. Which makes sense, he added, because “our party is a populist-leaning party right now, not a policy-leaning party.”
In this sense, there’s some logic to Jordan ascending to lead Republicans in the House, the body which best reflects the sentiments of the GOP’s Trumpified rank-and-file.

“He’s a very articulate fighter on TV, with the gavel,” Ryan said. “He is the star of the conservative media industrial complex, he is their darling.”

Yet as we spoke, Jordan had just seen 20 of his GOP colleagues oppose his candidacy on the House floor, a day before the tally would rise to 22.

“He is where the center of gravity is,” Ryan added of Jordan, “but I think, we’ll see what happens here, there’s just enough institutionalists around still that…”

I interrupted: “He can’t get quite get there.”

Which was a nicer way of saying what I was thinking: There are still enough antibodies resisting the virus.

However, if we’re being honest, in the House, and the GOP writ large, increasingly it’s Jordan who’s the body and the pre-Trump Republicans the virus.”

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/10/18/gop-party-house-speaker-00122371

Trump’s become a runaway train in the GOP primary. Here’s why.

“They’re more conservative than other Republicans. More likely to be men. Less likely to have graduated from college.
And they’re way more confident they’ve made up their minds, even though the first primary or caucus is still four months away.

That’s the coalition former President Donald Trump has assembled in asserting his dominance over the Republican presidential primary.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/09/16/trump-gop-poll-voting-00116382

The Religious Right’s Grip on the GOP Is Weakening. That’s Working to Trump’s Advantage.

“Back in 2016, Trump ran away with the Republican nomination despite a crowded field of candidates, many of whom had real religious bona fides. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of a Southern Baptist Church in Houston, often quoted scripture during his stump speech. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted a Bible verse a day. Yet, despite lack of any religious credibility, Trump won half of the votes of Republicans who attended religious services weekly in 2016, while Cruz only got only 30 percent of their votes and Rubio earned 11 percent.
That was significant, but it would have meant little had he not earned huge support from Republicans who weren’t religious. During the nomination process, two in five Republicans described their religious attendance as “seldom” or “never” according to data from the VOTER Survey, a longitudinal study sponsored by the Democracy Fund that repeatedly interviews thousands of Americans. Among those who said that they never attended religious services, two-thirds were Trump voters in the 2016 Republican primary. Cruz, by contrast, managed just 16 percent of this group. Among those who described their attendance as “seldom,” Trump secured 57 percent of the vote while Cruz only tallied 22 percent.”

“In 2016, 39 percent of all Republican voters attended church less than once a year. In comparison, just 36 percent said that they attended religious services at least once a week.”

“In 2008, 44 percent of Republicans reported that they were in church at least once per week. By 2022, that number had slipped to just 35 percent. In comparison, the share of Democrats who attended weekly only declined five percentage points (23 percent to 18 percent) during the same time period.”

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/09/12/republicans-church-trump-00113565

The Republican Party’s plan to rule the state of Wisconsin forever, explained

“The state’s legislature is so aggressively gerrymandered that it is likely impossible for Republicans to lose control of it in an election. In 2018, for example, Democratic state assembly candidates received 54 percent of the popular vote in Wisconsin, but Republicans still won 63 of the assembly’s 99 seats.

There is, however, a light at the end of this tunnel both for small-d democrats and for large-D Democrats in the notoriously contentious swing state. Last April, Justice Janet Protasiewicz won a landslide election victory over a former, very conservative state justice. She took her seat at the beginning of August, giving Democrats a 4-3 majority on the state supreme court. (Technically, supreme court races in Wisconsin are nonpartisan, but every recent race has pitted a liberal supported by Democrats against a conservative supported by Republicans.)

Litigants challenging the gerrymandered state legislature filed a lawsuit, known as Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, the very next day.

A quirk in the state constitution, however, may allow Wisconsin’s gerrymandered legislature to strip Protasiewicz of her ability to decide cases, and to do so indefinitely. That would leave the state supreme court evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, and thus unable (or, at least, unwilling) to strike down the state’s gerrymander.
According to the New York Times, “Republicans in Wisconsin are coalescing around the prospect of impeaching” Protasiewicz. If the state assembly moved forward with impeachment, and then the gerrymandered state Senate convicted her, that wouldn’t actually be that big of a deal. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers could immediately appoint a replacement justice, who would then provide the fourth vote to strike down the gerrymandered maps.

But the state constitution also provides that “no judicial officer shall exercise [her] office, after [s]he shall have been impeached, until [her] acquittal.” So the state assembly could conceivably impeach Protasiewicz, and then the state senate could delay her trial forever — effectively creating a vacancy on the court that could last for a very long time.

There’s a very strong argument that this impeachment plan violates the First Amendment. So, if Republicans actually move forward with this plan, Protasiewicz or some other interested party would likely file a federal lawsuit seeking to restore her to office. But, even if that lawsuit succeeds, that could take years.

And there’s no guarantee that the federal judiciary, and especially a US Supreme Court with six GOP-appointed justices, would honor past precedents indicating that Protasiewicz cannot be suspended from her office. Indeed, one member of the Supreme Court, Justice Samuel Alito, has already signaled that he will intervene to ensure that Republicans keep their stranglehold on the state legislature.”

“if Protasiewicz’s court also is not allowed to strike down these gerrymanders, the people of Wisconsin will be left with no lawful recourse whatsoever against permanent Republican control of their state legislature.”

https://www.vox.com/scotus/23861973/wisconsin-gerrymander-republican-impeachment-justice-protasiewicz-supreme-court

‘This Is a Really Big Deal’: How College Towns Are Decimating the GOP

“In state after state, fast-growing, traditionally liberal college counties like Dane are flexing their muscles, generating higher turnout and ever greater Democratic margins. They’ve already played a pivotal role in turning several red states blue — and they could play an equally

House GOP flirts with Jan. 6 extremism

“At times, GOP lawmakers insist they’re uninterested in relitigating an attack that is political poison for the party outside of deep-red areas. But at other times, some Republicans have stoked narratives that falsely pin blame for the attack on police, Democrats or far-left agitators — or downplay the violence at the Capitol. The latter approach has seen a noticeable uptick of late.
And it’s not just far-right conservatives who fall in that group — some House GOP leaders and key committee chiefs have shown they’re willing to flirt with the fringe without an outright embrace. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has shared security video of that day with far-right media figures who have minimized or fed inaccurate portrayals of the attack.

Yet they’re also batting down some of those same false conspiracy theories and preparing to focus on at least one area of bipartisan concern: Capitol security vulnerabilities, many of which remain unresolved since the attack. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who faced scrutiny from the Jan. 6 select committee for a Capitol complex tour he gave on Jan. 5, 2021, is warning allies against automatically accepting certain claims.”

GOP Sen. Tuberville blocked 184 military promotions in his ongoing abortion fight with the Pentagon

“Warren and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin say the promotions are critical to military readiness, and Tuberville is blocking pay raises and preventing key leaders from taking their posts.
“One senator is jeopardizing America’s national security,” Warren said on the Senate floor.

The promotion of Shoshana Chatfield to vice admiral and as the U.S. representative to the NATO military committee is especially urgent, Warren said.

“At this critical juncture of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, we need her leadership in NATO now more than ever,” she said.

Blocking military promotions leaves America more vulnerable, Austin said last month during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“There are a number of things happening globally that indicate that we could be in a contest on any one given day,” he said. “Not approving the recommendations for promotions actually creates a ripple effect through the force that makes us far less ready than we need to be.””

GOP killed Big Business. Biden buries the corpse.

“President Joe Biden ditched Trump’s brawling style. But he is keeping some of the former president’s key policies in place that are disliked by CEOs — including tariffs on imports from China and the EU and pressure on U.S. companies to cut their vast overseas supply chains to manufacture in America.

Biden has also stocked key agencies with people who have dedicated their careers to antitrust enforcement — including Lina Khan at the Federal Trade Commission and Jonathan Kanter at the Justice Department. In the last week alone, regulators have moved to blow up both a proposed airline merger and a major Wall Street deal, while attacking lucrative fees slapped on consumers by banks, cable providers and myriad other businesses.”

GOP to energy companies: We’re here to help. Industry: Meh.

“NEPA itself isn’t really the main problem, former regulators say.
While the NEPA process gets the blame for hold-ups, it’s merely a tracking process for all agency and permitting decisions along the timeline of a project, said Ted Boling, a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie who represents the companies building Cardinal-Hickory Creek.

Delays are more often a result of agency capacity and inadequate information provided by project sponsors, he said. He noted that Congress used the Inflation Reduction Act to provide $1 billion for beefing up agencies’ permitting staff, but that effort has not yet been realized.

“Everyone’s looking for their bright idea on how to make it all taste better and be less filling,” said Boling, who was a permitting official at the Interior Department and CEQ during both Republican and Democratic administrations. “Everybody is in relentless pursuit of improvements to the point where we’re tripping over ourselves.”

In addition, the vast majority of energy projects nationwide fall outside NEPA, so the changes Republicans are seeking would not affect them.”