The State Superintendent at the Forefront of the GOP’s Education Crusade

“Walters has tried to use his office to back a courtroom battle over the nation’s first public religious charter school — a Catholic institution that would be financed by taxpayers but free to teach, enroll and expel students based on faith-based doctrines just like a private parochial school.”

The Surprising Takeaway From My Survey on How Trump Got a Grip on the GOP Grassroots

“Last February, the county chairs were less supportive of Trump than Republican primary voters as a whole. Yet as time went on, and Trump consolidated support among rank-and-file voters, the chairs fell in line. It’s a reflection of the state of the GOP that has existed since 2016 when Trump first snatched the nomination away from the establishment and took over the Republican Party.
In the pre-Trump era, GOP leaders clearly played more of a role in steering the direction of the party. The 2012 campaign is instructive: Many different candidates were briefly the favorites of rank-and-file Republican voters, from Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum. But throughout the cycle, party elites’ money and endorsements stayed focused on Mitt Romney, and that’s who got the nomination. This year’s ongoing survey of county chairs illustrates how Republican elites are now more responsive to the grassroots rather than the other way around — either because they lack the interest or the ability to do anything else.”

House Republicans had a bad day

“It was the last vote for Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., the conservative hard-liner who was all but banished from the party after he insisted that its leaders stop spreading lies about the 2020 election and accept that former President Donald Trump lost. He resigned from Congress on Friday, leaving his seat empty for now.

Buck voted “no” on the spending bill, and said he’d have voted “hell no” if possible. But despite his unassailable fiscal conservative credentials, he lost his stature on the right for insisting his party reject the stolen-election claims, reflecting a new litmus test.”

College-educated voters aren’t saving Nikki Haley — yet

“even as Haley’s support has grown among these types of Republicans, she’s still far from Trump’s levels of support. Instead, Haley has found herself on par with DeSantis, who started the cycle in a much stronger position but has steadily declined. Even among college-educated voters, where Haley has experienced the greatest growth, she’s trailing Trump by about 30 points nationally and is only ahead of DeSantis by about 5.”

Nikki Haley’s “rise” and the Republican flight from reality

“We live in a world where nearly 80 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of Donald Trump. These voters are, in many cases, authentic Trumpists: About 70 percent of Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen. New research by political scientists Larry Bartels and Nicholas Carnes found that House Republicans who opposed Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election were considerably more likely to lose in a primary or be forced into retirement than Trump-supporting peers.
Trump is not some kind of aberration, a flash in the pan akin to candidates like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann in previous cycles. He and — crucially — his worldview are so popular among Republican primary voters that they can’t be beaten by throwing money at someone like Nikki Haley.

That means the 2024 election is not a competition between an ordinary Democrat and an ordinary Republican. It is a choice between an ordinary Democrat and a Republican running on an increasingly open platform of tearing down American democracy. Instead of acknowledging this reality, AFPA has simply chosen to live in a fantasy land where the GOP is still the party of limited government libertarianism — and where Democrats are, implausibly, Trumpism’s mirror image threat to American democracy.

It’s easy to understand the reasons for this flight of fancy. From the point of view of someone who deeply believes in traditional small government conservatism, this election truly is an agonizing choice.

With the exception of free trade, Trump’s last term largely served the super-wealthy’s interests in economic matters — passing a massive regressive tax cut and slashing environmental regulations. But he also poses an existential threat to American democracy, promising a term of instability that could shatter the political calm necessary for the economy to function.

Biden, on the other hand, has worked to bring stability to American democracy. Yet he also has moved to the left on economic matters, in ways that threaten the billionaire vision of an American night-watchman state. In a contest between Trump and Biden, the superrich can’t get what they want the most: political stability paired with a continuing assault on the welfare state.

The support for Haley is a way of avoiding what they see as a terrible choice. It’s a desperation play designed to stave off what they see as certain calamity, an 80-yard Hail Mary thrown to a receiver in sextuple coverage.”