Today, voters in Kansas overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to their state constitution that would have stripped it of protections for abortion rights. With 86% of the vote in, 62% of voters supported abortion protections; 37% wanted them gone. That spread is astonishing. Kansas voters had backed Trump in 2020; Republicans had arranged for the referendum to fall on the day of a primary, which traditionally attracts higher percentages of hard-line Republicans; and they had written the question so that a “yes” vote would remove abortion protections and a “no” would leave them in place. Then, today, a political action committee sent out texts that lied about which vote was which.
Republicans really are The Enemy of the People.
But - like the Battle of Midway we weren't supposed to win - the path to victory has been revealed by the voters of Kansas: organize against the lies (they informed people what the correct vote was, and they got out the news of the fake text instructions today, and they worked to get people out to vote) and instead of the usual 200-300,000 voters showing up, 700,000 voters showed up and they won. They won because they just put their heads down and their shoulders to the wheel and they didn't moan and complain about being "disappointed." And they won. Lots of people who weren't Democrats voted HELL NO in that election, because there aren't enough Democrats in Kansas to win like that.
So the next time you run across a "genius" telling you how we can't win in November, tell the moron to either pull his head out of his ass and get to work, or get the hell out of the way.
It's panic time in Trumpland. I expect Democrats to use the Kansas landslide vote to bludgeon Republican candidates at every level of government. My prediction would be that the Trumpistas are going to lie about the Kansas referendum result, because that's what they do. They're going to claim that the referendum vote was rigged, and that there were a hoard of ghost ballots from California that were secretly flown in from San Franciso. The runner-up in the Arizona Secretary of State race is already claiming that the election was rigged.
There is a potential remedy for these brazen tactics, and that would be to sue the offending candidates seeking to disqualify them on grounds that their past behavior in denying the outcome of the 2020 election is evidence of their moral turpitude, meaning they are presumptively dishonest, as shown by their earlier behavior since the 2020 elections denying that Joe Biden legitimately won that election.
The bogus Arizona ' election audit' was a complete fiasco. These candidates cannot be trusted to honor their oaths of office because of their public statements. They are completely untrustworthy.
Zowie, what an intense collection of emerging action. Thank you so much for this one.
Interesting little side note on the missing phone info - I used to assist with communicating records protocols at my boring little federal agency back in the day. Very typically, "disregard" for records protocols meant that records were left in place... not deleted.
I could blither on about that but instead would be interested if GSA, which provides offices and computer and phone services had records of phone replacement schedules for those agencies and departments. That would be revealing.
Firstly, thank you, Heather Cox Richardson, for this amazing news. Thank you, Kansas, for your vote for freedom. Thank you, Jon Stewart and Company for pushing back to get the PACT Act passed (or as Heather would say, "Oopsie Poopsie!") Thank you, Family Reunification Task Force for your continuing efforts to reunite families at the border. Thank you to all of the "text erasure" investigators for using your flashlights.
And, finally: yesterday, I advocated for our dear professor to be a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I would like to add Rusty Bowers and Alexander Vindman to that list.
Thank you, Team of Heather!
Has the tide turned toward saving democracy? Indeed it has. But November is an entirely new challenge. Voter suppression laws, gerrymandering, threats not to certify results, and a growing GOP call for volunteer poll “watchers.” They won’t just be watching. They’ll seek to intimidate voters and cause chaos in Democratic strongholds.
The new-found optimism will mean nothing without a voter turnout for the ages.
"Still, voters turned out to protect abortion rights in such unexpectedly high numbers it suggests a sea change."
Voters usually do not just turn out. People work very hard to Get Out The Vote. Certainly the news has been full of reporting on abortion rights activists doing just that in Kansas. And in doing so they were able to overcome all the obstacles Republican right wing extremists threw in their path - including really dirty tricks. And also their successful efforts disproved all the voter suppression messaging from the Left - that your vote doesn't count and the system is too broken to work.
Here on Mt. Desert Island where Federalist Society honcho, Opus Dei acolyte, civil rights opponent, Dark Lord of Dark Money shell corporation shell games, Susan Collins funder, and all around stinker Leonard Leo cavorts and conspires at his NorthEast Harbor citadel, locals have been legally protesting his role in stacking the Supreme Court with lying like minded racist right wing religious extremists. Leo called in the police, claiming that a young protestor had yelled at his 11 year old. The protestor claims he only tried to engage Leo himself. It is a 'he said, he said' with no witness or evidence to confirm details of either claim. It is thought Leo had this protestor arrested to scare off others and that Leo brought in mention of his daughter to skew the narrative and claim victimhood for himself - to obscure the disproportionate power he has to embroil a young man of very modest means and no clout in a judiciary process which Leo has been instrumental in corrupting. It is like Susan Collins calling in the police against people chalking their thoughts on the sidewalk near her home. The young man was arrested, taken to the county jail, and released on payment of bail. It seems ominous that police rushed to this step rather than deescalation. In my experience, while there are some decent police here, there are also some jerks. Meanwhile ... Leo goes on with his vacation and this local family is paying a steep price for their activism.
Kansas did the right thing by a 20 pt margin. I thought we might have a chance to squeak out a win but 60-40 is a delightful surprise. Turnout was huge, too. Double what it was in the last off-year primary. Here’s a nice WaPo comment from a Jayhawker (special pts for the historically significant bit about Missouri, the always-been-awful state):
mountaincricket (commenter’s handle)
Yep - people don’t generally understand Kansas politics. Abortions were allowed here prior to Roe. The history of the abortion debate in Kansas over the last thirty years is fascinating.
Kansas is not Missouri.
Kansas is not Oklahoma.
Kansas is not Texas or Nebraska.
Kansas is definitely Kansas.
The extent of complicity - even if it was just to cover their asses - is revealing. That Trump appointees ran roughshod over career employees is ominous. Maybe they were thinking of Alexander Vindman and the price he paid for doing the right thing.
The fact is, without a Democratic majority to investigate, all of this would have been buried. And if we do not preserve the Democratic majority it will be. With Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and the GOP out for blood and perverting government, again. Now is the time to unite and Get Out The Vote for Democratic candidates.
Trump Tide ebbing. Whale has beached.
Who will follow Kansas's lead? Welcome positive news! On the other hand:
"The Defense Department reportedly wiped the phones of key Trump Pentagon officials at the end of the former president’s administration, erasing any texts from key witnesses to events surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, CNN reported." What the hell? Unbelievable.
First! Evening & many thanks, Heather. ♡
The massive scope of the sedition, treason, plotting and planning at all levels of the government, it seems, is mind-boggling.
To throttle Rusty Bowers? Unsurprising. If you have any dignity or scruples or moral compass, TFG's administration will turn on you, as they did with the noble Vindman brothers.
Kudos to Kansas. Methinks Republicans will squeal come midterms in November when the American public starts to throw the trash out. Too bad we can't do the same for the Supreme Judicial Court which cannot extricate itself from the weight (and erroneous entanglement) with religion.
What a day! Thanks for everything you’re doing to help save our democracy. 🙏🏼
From the NY Times: This is the conspiracy-theorist/do our own electors/in DC on Jan. 6 person who won the GOP nomination for Secy of State in Arizona. "A Michigan transplant, Mr. Finchem, 65, has spent more than seven years as a lawmaker from a district outside Tucson, which during a recent visit was a boiling 115-degree valley set amid mountains and cactuses. He has embraced a sun-baked sheriff aesthetic, favoring large cowboy hats that belie his Detroit birthplace, and was the Arizona coordinator for the Coalition of Western States, a group that once supported the armed occupation of federal land in Oregon.
He speaks in sober and serious tones and presents himself as a common-sense family man. When asked about his family life by one interviewer, he said his “kids are all grown and gone” and added that nowadays, “I’m thinking about my grandkids” in battles he takes on.
But his family life has been rocky. He has been married four times and estranged for more than two decades from two adult children, and he does not know their children, family members said. (He also has two stepchildren.)
He talks frequently about his experience as a police officer and firefighter in Kalamazoo, Mich. But personnel records obtained from that city’s Department of Public Safety, which he left in 1999, include this note in his file: “Retired, poor rating, would not rehire.” A department spokesman declined to comment."
Many instances of obstruction, destruction of evidence, requests for pardons from various people. How to tie together in an indictment? Was it from, orders above or from several 'associate directors' of actions, disparate self-directed instances of malfeasance. Given GOP history of 'falling in line' and Trump's obsessive micromanagement and demands for loyalty, disparate self-directed instances of malfeasance sounds unlikely. Who are the keys to this puzzle such that, if unlocked by facing a lengthy prison sentence, their memory become clear?
"Americans Will Always Do the Right Thing — After Exhausting All the Alternatives"
"Because the former administration did not keep records of the children or where they were sent, reunifying the families has been difficult, and as many as 1000 children out of the original 5000 who fell under this policy remain separated from their parents."
If this was a declared war, would this not be a war crime? "The former administration did not keep records..." What must it be like to be one of those families? What kind of regime does things like this? What kind of political organization?
What is this psychosis that has infected the GOP to continue hanging on to the lies of the former president? Extremists last night won a majority of the county commissioner seats in what has been a conservative, but well-run, county in MI. They will eliminate our county's DEI office, attempt to hamstring the county health department, and try to run the public schools. They are scary people.