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The Trailer: Your hour-by-hour guide on what to watch in five states tonight


In this edition: How to watch primary night, what’s happening in the Squad’s primaries, and what Rep. Peter Meijer thinks of the campaign to beat him with a MAGA candidate.

My real name is Eric, and this is The Trailer.

It’s primary day again — the start of a busy month of intraparty battles that will decide everything from who could run the November 2024 election in swing states to whether members of the “Squad” will get to return to Washington. Here’s what to watch: (Local times below have been converted to Eastern time.) 

8 p.m. Polls will close across Missouri, all but four counties in Kansas, and all of Michigan except for a slice of the Upper Peninsula. Neither of those states has statewide primaries as competitive, and vicious, as the U.S. Senate contest in the Show-Me State. (As a rule, this newsletter avoids cutesy state nickname; when multiple PACs adopt “Show Me” branding, our hand is forced.) 

Twenty-one Republicans have filed to replace Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who’s retiring, but the money and momentum has shifted between three of them — ex-governor Eric Greitens, state Attorney Gen. Eric Schmitt, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.). By now, you probably know what happened with the Erics.

Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) has run a minimum-effort race, light on in-person campaigning and heavy on tweets that urged Trump to endorse him or made fun of Hartzler, while Mark McCloskey, the attorney who pointed a rifle at Black Lives Matters protesters marching into his St. Louis neighborhood, has run a scrappy campaign mostly ignored by other candidates. So has state Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, who loaned his campaign $2 million but left most of it unspent.

Schmitt never debated his rivals in the primary, and Democrats have spent their contest shadowboxing, too. Lucas Kunce, a Marine veteran who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, got in early with a populist, anti-monopoly message. That perked up liberals who had written off Missouri; as of mid-July, Kunce had raised more than $4.6 million and spent most of it, more than any other candidate of either party. 

But four months before the primary, Busch beer heiress Trudy Busch Valentine entered the race, offering Democrats a potential self-funding campaign that was heavy on image and lighter on substance. Other Democrats are on the ballot, but the primary’s final weeks became a slugfest between Kunce and Valentine; she ran ads about Kunce’s old and abandoned conservative views, while he went after her participation in exclusionary “veiled prophet” balls. (Look it up.)

Primaries in some of Missouri’s House seats could affect turnout today. In the 1st Congressional District, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) is facing challengers led by state Sen. Steve Roberts, who the freshman congresswoman has refused to debate. The rationale for that: Roberts has been accused of sexual assault and rape, which he denies. There are crowded GOP races to replace Hartzler in the 4th Congressional District, and to replace Long in the 7th Congressional District, following a familiar pattern — a battle over who the true conservative is

In the 7th District, the Club for Growth has spent more than $1 million against state Sen. Jay Wasson; among the opponents who could benefit is state Sen. Mike Moon, who was reprimanded earlier this year for wearing overalls on the Senate floor. In the 4th District, state Sen. Rick Brattin faces candidates with less political experience and baggage — Kalena Bruce, who’s endorsed by Gov. Mike Parson (R), and former Kansas City TV anchorman Mark Alford.

9 p.m. The final votes will be cast in Kansas, where voters will decide whether to end the state’s constitutional right to an abortion, the first such vote since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, and Michigan, where Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) faces his first primary since voting to impeach then-President Donald Trump last year.

Abortion rights groups have outspent their opponents in the fight over the Value Them Both Amendment, which was placed on the ballot by antiabortion legislators in Topeka. A “yes” vote would allow the legislature to ban abortion by altering the state Constitution, to clarify that it does not “create or secure a right to abortion.” But a last-minute misleading text message campaign has been suggesting that giving the GOP legislature the ability to ban abortion would safeguard “choice.” 

Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, is seeking reelection, and opponents of the abortion amendment have fretted about fewer Democrats turning out for their less-competitive primaries. Republican state Attorney General Derek Schmidt sidelined most of his potential challengers in the race for governor long before the primary. There’s a more contested race for the job he’s leaving: Kris Kobach, the former secretary of state who waged a Clouseau-esque pursuit of evidence of voter fraud, is running for his third office in four years. (Kobach lost a 2018 race for governor, then a 2020 primary for U.S. Senate.)

In Michigan, Republicans have let Trump shape their statewide primaries, which were dramatically altered when half of the GOP candidates for governor were knocked off the ballot due to problems with their petitions. (Several, including former Detroit police chief James Craig, are now running write-in campaigns.) Trump eventually endorsed conservative pundit Tudor Dixon for governor, over a field of male conservative activists who’d battled pandemic restrictions and, in one case, been charged over his conduct in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Trump-backed candidates for attorney general and secretary of state have no remaining competition for their nominations.

In west Michigan, Trump and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have both pitched in to help John Gibbs, a former HUD official in Trump’s administration, win in the 3rd Congressional District primary over Meijer. Gibbs, who would be the first Black member of Congress from the Grand Rapids area, was running a competitive race even before the DCCC spend nearly half a million dollars on ads about his Trump-centric views. Their bet: On the new map, which added heavily Democratic precincts to the district, Gibbs would be beatable in November.

The Democrats’ most competitive races are all in southeast Michigan, where the new map consolidated Detroit and its closest suburbs from four districts to three. Money has poured into the 11th Congressional District to help Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) defeat Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), after the congressman — the son of a former congressman and nephew of the state’s longest-serving senator — opted to run where he lives instead of moving districts. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came to Pontiac on Friday to help Levin, and to boost Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who’s running in a new 12th Congressional District, which includes Dearborn, where there is large a the Arab American population. For the third cycle in a row, Tlaib also got lucky with her enemies: Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey didn’t clear the field of challengers, raised little money, and the Urban Empowerment PAC created by a CNN pundit to help her beat Tlaib did very little with its own cash.

While a pro-Israel PAC has spent money to beat Tlaib here, highlighting a 2020 tweet in which she called for defunding police, the new lines moved some of the Black voters who previously voted against her into the 13th Congressional District. But the race for that Detroit-centered seat may be the state’s messiest; local Democrats worry that, for the first time since the 1960s, Detroit will have no Black representation in Congress. 

The reason: state Rep. Shri Thanedar, an immigrant who made a fortune in the medical testing industry and, since 2018, has poured it into campaigns for political office. After losing a 2018 race for governor, but running strong around Detroit, he won a majority-Black district in a 2020 primary and joined the state House. Thanedar has led in some polls over multiple Black candidates, including state Sen. Adam Hollier, state civil rights commissioner Portia Roberson, and John Conyers III, the politically inexperienced son of Detroit’s longest-serving congressman who recycles the patriarch’s old logo on his campaign signs. No clear favorite emerged before Tuesday, but Thanedar’s occasional criticism of Israel inspired donors to one PAC to try to beat him.

10 p.m. Polls close across Arizona, another state where the GOP’s races have been molded by Trump’s false claims about and campaign to overturn the 2020 election. That’s even a little true of the Democrats’ primaries; Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is the heavy favorite to win the party’s nomination for governor, after taking a high-profile role defending Arizona’s election systems from conspiracy theories, and after her chief competitor dropped out of the race. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) has no credible challenge, either, with the party’s frustrated activists seeing him as an ally and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) as a menace.

Republicans have very different races to settle. A break-glass endorsement from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) has helped Karrin Taylor Robson, who he’d appointed to the state university board of regents, close the gap in the gubernatorial primary with Trump-endorsed ex-TV news anchor Kari Lake. The race for U.S. Senate hasn’t divided party leaders in the same way; Blake Masters, the former president of Peter Thiel’s personal foundation, established himself early as the Republican who would have fought harder to overturn President Biden’s 2020 victory in the state. (Multiple recounts, and a ballot review paid for by Republican activists, reaffirmed Biden’s win.)

That separated him from Arizona Attorney Gen. Mark Brnovich, who (like Ducey) accepted Trump’s defeat, and rewarded him with a Trump endorsement. In the race for Secretary of State, Trump is backing Mark Finchem, a conspiracy theorist who has said that Biden wouldn’t have won the state had he held the state’s top election office that year. If elected, he favors eliminating electronic voting machines and mail voting, widely used by both parties ahead of the 2020 election. Democrats will pick either ex-Maricopa County recorder Adrian Fontes or state House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding to face the winner of the GOP primary.

Arizona’s semi-nonpartisan redistricting process, which produced a good map for Democrats 10 years ago, drew better lines for Republicans this cycle. There are competitive House races across the Sun Valley, starting in the new 1st Congressional District, where Scottsdale Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) faces voters for the first time since paying a $125,000 campaign finance violation. The scandal behind that fine gave Schweikert a single-digit race for reelection in 2020; he’s now in an expensive primary with Elijah Norton, a vehicle insurance entrepreneur who calls the congressman “Shady Schweikert.” 

In the new 2nd Congressional District, Republicans are climbing over each other to face Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.), led by state Rep. Walt Blackman; if elected, he’d be the first Black member of Congress from Arizona, and join most of the delegation in having supported “Stop the Steal” protests of the last election. (Ron Watkins, a key figure in the development of the QAnon conspiracy theory, is also running.) 

Republicans are also optimistic that the new map can put the 4th Congressional District and 6th Congressional District in play, and the national GOP is pulling for diverse candidates in both; respectively, former Phoenix Suns VP Tanya Wheeless and former Ducey aide Juan Ciscomani. Both face more MAGA-lane rivals, while Democrats have less competition in their races. Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.), the low-profile former mayor of Phoenix, is seeking reelection, and state Rep. Daniel Hernández Jr., who was an aide to ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot and nearly killed, is facing like-minded Democrat Kristen Engel.

11 p.m. The final ballots are cast in Washington, a vote-by-mail states where lopsided races get called quickly and close results can take months to validate. As readers of this newsletter learned last month, the state’s top-two primary system could protect two Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump last year — Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.). It could also end their careers, if neither incumbent beats their Trump-endorsed challengers or Democratic opponents for one of those runoff slots.

The race in Herrera Beutler’s 3rd Congressional District has been one of the cycle’s most expensive, which might help her, because Trump-endorsed veteran Joe Kent has spent some of his money fending off conservative competition. Heidi St. John, a home schooling activist, raised more than $1 million for a campaign that questioned Kent’s credentials and his “America First” agenda, arguing that it leaned too far into libertarianism and too far away from conservatism. 

Between her St. John’s own campaign, a supportive PAC, and spending on behalf of Herrera Beutler, more than than $2 million has gone into ads attacking Kent. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, an auto repair shop owner endorsed by local Democrats, is the only member of her party competing for a runoff slot. It’s the same in the 4th Congressional District, where business consultant and restaurant owner Doug White is the only Democrat on the ballot. 

Trump has endorsed ex-sheriff and 2020 gubernatorial nominee Loren Culp over Newhouse, but Republicans are divided there, too, and Culp shares the ballot with ex-NASCAR driver Jerrod Sessler and state Rep. Brad Klippert, Both criticize Newhouse’s impeachment vote, but have courted less controversy than Culp, who for weeks refused to concede his 14-point defeat to Gov. Jay Inslee (D); Sessler’s camp filed a “no contact order against Culp’s manager, accusing him of invading his personal space after a debate. (The campaign manager, Chris Gergen, denied that version of events.)

“Trump endorses ‘ERIC’ in Missouri primary, a name shared by rivals,” by David Weigel

Two Erics enter. Two Erics leave.

“In races for governor, Democrats see a silver lining,” by Jonathan Martin

The changing weather in the states.

“Three more GOP impeachers face their primary juries,” by Paul Kane

The plot to beat the Republicans who wanted Trump gone.

“The Kamala conundrum,” by Gabriel Debenedetti

A nominee-in-waiting? Not exactly.

“Misleading Kansas abortion texts linked to Republican-aligned firm,” by Isaac Stanley-Becker

Sunflower state skullduggery.

“Kansas’s abortion vote kicks off new post-Roe era,” by Alice Miranda Ollstein

On the ground for the day’s biggest abortion battle.

“In Michigan, a pro-Israel group works to beat a Jewish Democrat,” by David Weigel

The last days, maybe, of the Levin dynasty.

DETROIT — One by one, the members of the “Squad” walked across the Cass Technical High School stage and took their places on the interview couches. A DJ spun unique theme songs for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). When Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) arrived, the DJ played “All I Do Is Win.”

Tlaib is favored to win her Aug. 2 primary. After some expensive primaries two years ago, every current member of the “Squad” is in that position — the original four, whose Squad Victory Fund organized the Detroit rally, plus Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), who they’ve campaigned for.

They’re winning at an overall unhappy moment for their party. Centrist colleagues blame them on the record for the Democrats’ branding problems. Some left-wingers who’d cheered their victories have turned on them, from YouTube hosts who say they’re “standing between you and health care” (because they did not demand a floor vote on Medicare-for-all last year) to protesters like the one in Detroit who screamed “What about Ukraine? Stop funding the war!” and was hauled out of the auditorium.

“We are exhausting every tool available, pulling every lever,” Pressley told the crowd, after Omar mentioned a Twitter critic who accused Ocasio-Cortez of not fighting for universal health care. The tweet from a New York activist has been shared nearly 1500 times.  

“[When] all you do is demand more, it is really no different than the exploitation of the Black and Brown workers, which we have experienced for centuries,” she added. 

There was a burst of applause. “They are perpetuating White supremacy,” Pressley continued. “The same four or five women of color are using every tool available, and what you do is demand more — only of us. None of us is sitting here in victimhood. We’re just doing truth-telling.”

Pressley has no primary challenger, but Tlaib is running in a new district, with a new pro-Israel PAC created just to beat her. Bush, who’s also on the ballot today, has a challenge from Roberts that she has largely blown off; as of mid-July, she’d spent $1.7 million, and Roberts had spent less than $400,000.

In an interview after a stop at a St. Louis retirement home, Roberts said that his strategy to unseat Bush was highlighting the ways she’d fought with Democratic leadership — including a high-profile sit-in outside Congress to get a rent moratorium extended. It was more relevant to St. Louis, he said, that she’d opposed last year’s infrastructure bill.

“White progressives, like the Democratic Socialists of America — they think this is the greatest thing ever,” he said. “We need to try to find compromise. I think folks are sick of this idea that I need to get everything that I want or nothing at all.”

Bush’s campaign had a reason for ignoring Roberts, pointing the allegations he has faced. (Roberts denied that he had committed a crime.) Bush’s campaign also scaled back its final week of public events, as the first-time member of Congress dealt with damage from flooding in distressed parts of St. Louis and another potential squad rally was canceled.

Bush’s allies expected her to win over a flawed opponent anyway, and flawed opponents have been a theme of this year’s anti-Squad challenges. The Minneapolis Star Tribune, which has never endorsed Omar in a Democratic primary, endorsed opponent Don Samuels this week, but Omar has outspent Samuels, $2 million to around $700,000. Two years ago, she held off a different primary challenger, who spend nearly $4.5 million against her, in an early test of whether pro-Israel donors could convince Democrats to get rid of incumbents who criticized the country’s government. 

“The people I represent know the work I do, and I predict they will reelect me by a huge margin,” Omar told MinnPost last week.

At an earlier rally in Detroit, the same day — last Sunday — Ocasio-Cortez told a crowd about the reinforcements that would be arriving after 2022. In Texas, she had rallied for Greg Casar, a shoo-in to win an Austin-based seat; in Pennsylvania, the left had helped state Rep. Summer Lee win the nomination in an open seat after a last-minute ad buy against her. The Squad was holding its ground, even as it was denied some of what it wanted — and what activists had hoped for — when the members took office.

“A young, multiracial coalition turned out in 2020 and delivered seats in Congress,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “They saved Senate seats. They delivered the presidency. And that has given us a critical element of power, because a lot of people know that if young people and a multiracial coalition does not turn out again, that they’re in trouble.” Step one, she explained, would be President Biden — who was not involved in any of their races — forgiving more student debt.

Save Missouri Values, “Fraud.” The battle of the PACs in Missouri went far beyond Greitens. To promote Schmitt, this PAC ripped into Hartzler for — among other sins — the fact that “President Trump refused to endorse” her. Trump’s late-June decision to attack Hartzler, who was gaining steam when he did so, helped Schmitt with Republicans who wanted to stop Greitens, and suddenly feared that Hartzler couldn’t.

NRSC and Dr. Oz for Senate, “John Fetterman: Dangerous Ideas.” Ahead of the Democratic primary, opponents of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman warned that a 2013 incident where he chased down an unarmed Black jogger after hearing gunshots would hurt him in November. Was that misreading of the general election landscape and how Republicans view this race? 

Perhaps. This Oz spot attacks Fetterman over his work with the state’s pardon board, characterizing statements he’s made about “trying to get as many folks out as we can” as a desire to free violent criminals. Just two years ago, the Trump campaign was still running ads in Pennsylvania that attacked Joe Biden for legislation that locked up too many people.

Nikki Fried for Governor, “47.” Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist is leaving Congress to make a third run at the Florida governor’s mansion. His advantage: He’s the only Democrat in the race who’s ever won it, in 2006. Fried, the state agriculture commissioner who won in 2018 as her party lost other statewide races, puts all her contrasts with Crist in this ad. Walking past all-male mannequins, she says that the state has never elected a female governor, and repeatedly mentions a candidate who goes “wherever the wind’s blowing,” wasn’t always supportive of abortion rights, and was once supported by the NRA. That’s Crist.

In 2024, who would be your first choice for the presidential nomination? (Suffolk University/USA Today, July 22-25)

Republican nomination if Trump runs (414 registered voters)

Donald Trump: 43%
Ron DeSantis: 34%
Mike Pence: 7%
Nikki Haley: 3%
Liz Cheney: 3%
Chris Christie: 2%
Mike Pompeo: 1% 

Democratic nomination if Biden doesn’t run (440 registered voters)

Kamala Harris: 18% 
Bernie Sanders: 18%
Pete Buttigieg: 16% 
Amy Klobuchar: 11% 
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 10% 
Gavin Newsom: 9% 
Hillary Clinton: 8% 

Longtime readers of this newsletter have heard our rants about presidential primary polling, and how it’s always iffy to ask a national audience a question that is usually asked first only in Iowa. But it’s unusual for this many Americans to wonder about the next presidential election so far in advance. In Suffolk’s data, most Americans want Biden to retire after one term; 69 percent of all voters don’t want Biden to run, and 65 percent don’t want Trump to.

Most voters are confounded about what to do next. While Suffolk didn’t ask Republican voters about a Trump-less race, it finds more than half of them ready to support an alternative. There’s not much room in the “Never Trumper” aisle; the combined support for people who’ve criticized Trump after Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob and are not named “Mike Pence” is 8 percent. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is in a stronger position for the GOP nomination than any Democrat is in a Biden-less primary. A fifth of Democrats support the vice president, while less than a third support a candidate identified with their party’s left — either Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez.

Last January, Meijer became the first freshman member of Congress to impeach a president of his own party. His political career changed in instant. A millennial Iraq War veteran from a family supermarket fortune would end up being denounced by Trump and battling Gibbs, a former Trump administration appointee, for the GOP nomination in west Michigan.

Meijer talked with the Trailer about his race after the DCCC made a nearly half-million dollar investment in ads — confident that Gibbs was easier to beat, and ready to help MAGA voters retire an independent-minded Republican. This is an edited transcript of the conversation.

The Trailer: What was your first reaction when you saw the DCCC ad?

Peter Meijer: Honestly? Not surprised. The notion that the high-minded rhetoric that my Democratic colleagues spoke in public would translate into consistency — or at the very least, not galling hypocrisy? I never truly believed that.

It’s funny, there are plenty of vulnerable Democrats who are not fans of the fact that outside groups that could be coming in to help them save their hides in the general election are instead blowing millions backing folks that Democrats view as unelectable. My guess is that my Democratic opponent had polling that looked pretty good. She wanted Nancy Pelosi to come help her choose her opponent so she’d have to raise less money in November.

TT: Before that, were you finding any support from Democrats who appreciated the impeachment vote?

PM: I did find a lot of voters in the district who said: Listen, I don’t expect to agree with 100 percent of your policy positions, but I want someone who represents me to think for himself. Sort of that Burkean notion, of a representative owing someone their judgment and their conscience, and not just voting a party line. I found that sentiment to be pretty widespread. Justin Amash, my immediate predecessor — he clearly fit that bill. Gerald Ford, who held this seat half a century ago. It’s not a district that puts forward yes-men.

TT: Some of your colleagues who took this vote were censured by their local Republicans. There was some of that in your district, but it wasn’t as intense as we’ve seen, for example, in Wyoming. Why not?

PM: There’s a small portion of the electorate that just wants obedience. There’s another portion – and these are some of the most fun people you meet when you knock doors – who love Trump because he was a maverick and he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and do something even if it was unpopular. I was coming out of a community food bank, and there were a couple of guys in biker attire, parking their Harleys. Someone goes “Hey, are you Meijer?” I thought: “Okay, I’m not really sure which direction this is going to go.” But I say yes, and I run over to them and ask, how can I help you guys? One dude says: “Hey, man, you’ve got balls! I f’in love it!” He slapped me on the back and went about his day. The reaction is a lot more interesting than may be evident from the national level.

TT: What do Trump supporters tell you?

PM: They still hold a lot of the policy successes of the Trump administration in high regard, as do I. They don’t want to be perceived as repudiating the entirety of 2017 to 2021. There are a lot of voters feel like they have to preface things by saying, “I know the guy wasn’t perfect, but.” The best thing for Donald Trump’s popularity has been the staggering incompetence of the Biden administration. We’ve seen Trump’s approval rating rise and Biden’s approval rating fall in our polling.

TT: What do they miss about him?

PM: People miss a roaring economy. They miss gas at $2 a gallon. They miss inflation not being at 9 percent. If you were off Twitter and just looking at how the world was operating, things were pretty good. The gnashing of teeth and the cultural police didn’t really translate into everyday life.

I will say that the tone has shifted from, from “Why did you vote to impeach?” as an accusation versus: “Well, why did you vote to impeach?” as a question. And given the bureaucratic and administrative incompetence we see right now, we’re trying to support a national agenda that actually tackles a lot of the challenges and frustrations and anger that folks are feeling. Making government be limited, and effectively rebalancing powers between the legislative and the executive branch so we can actually accomplish things. It’s a little bit different message than “Orange Man, bad!”

TT: Have you watched the Jan. 6 committee hearings? What have you thought of the product? You voted to create a version of this committee, and this isn’t the one you voted for, but Gibbs has used it against you.

PM: Right, there’s a difference between the committee as it’s currently constituted and the one that got 35 House Republican votes. I don’t want to judge the committee until I’ve seen the final product. There are certainly some Democratic members of the committee who are using it for their own personal political advancement. You don’t put Rep. Adam Schiff on something like that for the interest of the country. There’s some who clearly want to weaponize the conclusion of the committee rather than de-escalate the growing trend on both sides of the aisle to undermine our institutions. 

I will reserve ultimate judgment until we’ve seen this thing come to its conclusion in 2025 or 2026 or whenever. My goal in Congress is not hollow victories you use for brand-building or fundraising. I think there’s a tremendous opportunity right now with domestic energy production. I think there are opportunities around border security. In order to build trust, to get something done, you have to be seen as somebody who’s not going to bring someone down for quick advancement.

TT: One gripe I hear from MAGA conservatives about the commission is that Congress is focusing on Jan. 6 instead of issues they think are more pertinent, whether that’s the exit from Afghanistan or the financial and legal mess around Hunter Biden.

PM: With Hunter Biden, there are some sincere questions and concerns that can be asked about influence peddling, about selective prosecution – whether federal law enforcement was declining to pursue clear evidence of wrongdoing. That’s one thing, rather just playing clips nonstop of Hunter Biden with … crack cocaine. The latter will play better on cable news, but the former is getting legitimate questions. The challenge is that there’s a group of folks whose goal isn’t to win the majority in order to advance policy and make the country a better place.

TT: The Democratic argument for investing here is pretty simple: Whichever Republican wins, he’s going to vote to make Kevin McCarthy the speaker of the House, and we know who that puts into power. How would you respond to that?

PM: The difference is that I have a set of core convictions and principles that I am willing to prioritize and place above my political, and in some cases physical, self-interest. I don’t know that our policies look dramatically different if Speaker Kevin McCarthy has a 28-seat majority or a 30-seat majority. But I do think things are dramatically better for Democratic fundraising if McCarthy has a handful of absolutely harebrained folks doing and saying anything. They’ll be rolling in the dough and the body politic will continue to disintegrate and degrade. And consultants are only paid off of one of those two metrics. 

TT: Would you vote for Donald Trump in 2024?

PM: By my count, the election is three times further away than the amount of time my opponent has lived in this district. My focus is solely on 2022.

… two days until primaries in Tennessee
… seven days until primaries in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and the special House election in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District
… 11 days until primaries in Hawaii
… 14 days until primaries in Alaska and Wyoming
… 21 days until primaries in Florida and runoffs in Oklahoma
… 98 days until the midterm elections

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