Chris Whipple/New York Times:
Mark Meadows Is a Warning About a Second Trump Term
The courts will sort out his legal fate in this and other matters. If convicted and sentenced to prison, Mr. Meadows would be the second White House chief of staff, after Richard Nixon’s infamous H.R. Haldeman, to serve jail time.
But as a cautionary tale for American democracy and the conduct of its executive branch, Mr. Meadows is in a league of his own. By the standards of previous chiefs of staff, he was a uniquely dangerous failure — and he embodies a warning about the perils of a potential second Trump term.
After An Eventful Month, Trump Has Lost Support In The GOP Primary
But he still has a dominant lead.
To be sure, a measly three polls conducted 15 months before the election are not the final word on Trump’s fate in the court of public opinion. The case against Trump in Georgia (really, all of his indictments) could hurt or help him more as time drags on, particularly if he is convicted or acquitted before the election. It’s also possible that this entire exercise is flawed, given that the “before” polls in this analysis all came within two weeks of Trump’s third indictment; perhaps Trump’s polling numbers in this period were already depressed because of those (similar) allegations.
But looking at the big picture — including FiveThirtyEight’s averages of the national Republican primary and Trump’s overall favorable and unfavorable ratings — it’s clear that public opinion about Trump has not changed in a major way in several months, even after he was indicted on nearly 100 criminal charges in four different jurisdictions. After what is expected to be his final indictment, he remains the strong favorite in the GOP primary and a competitive candidate in the general election.
Republican Women, Fearing Backlash on Abortion, Pivot to Birth Control
A group of politically vulnerable G.O.P. women has backed legislation that purports to expand birth control access but would have little effect. Critics say the bill is meant to distract from their anti-abortion stances.
She had barely opened her town hall to questions when Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican from a competitive district in Iowa, was pressed to defend her opposition to abortion rights.
“One of the main functions of the federal government is to protect life,” Ms. Miller-Meeks, who won election in 2020 by just six votes, told a sparse crowd this month in Iowa City, a younger, more progressive part of her district where she rarely campaigns.
Ms. Miller-Meeks then quickly pivoted to politically safer terrain, telling her constituents about how she had also sponsored legislation aimed at expanding access to contraception.
“The best way to prevent abortion is to prevent pregnancy,” she said.
It is an increasingly common strategy among vulnerable House Republicans — especially those in politically competitive districts — who are trying to reconcile their party’s hard-line anti-abortion policies with the views of voters in their districts, particularly independents and women.
Molly Jong-Fast/Vanity Fair:
From Trump to Vivek: The GOP Is Primed for Another Charismatic Phony
Ramaswamy’s post-debate blitz speaks to the priorities of the media—and state of the Republican base.What’s important about Ramaswamy is not his ideology—he has no coherent one—but how susceptible our political and media ecosystem is to a charismatic phony. He’s become a recurring character on cable news, recently claiming on CNN that he was misquoted in The Atlantic when raising questions about the 9/11 attacks. But The Atlantic’s John Hendrickson had the tape, which of course included Ramaswamy asking, “How many police, how many federal agents were on the planes that hit the Twin Towers?” Denying something that is actually on tape, how very Trumpy.
Perhaps we shouldn’t find this surprising, as Fantasyland author Kurt Andersen put it in an email, “Americans historically have a special weakness for charismatic charlatans especially in religion—from Joseph Smith two centuries ago to the past half century of televangelists. Now that we have a political party dominated by quasi-religious and actually religious charlatanism, voilà.”
In Vivekmentum we see that Trumpism (or the con that is Trumpism) can in fact scale. Stuart Stevens, a former GOP operative who is firmly in the Never Trump camp, told me on the phone, “The party has become less educated and with that comes a higher susceptibility to conspiracy, fraud, and snake oil salesman.”
How Trump’s Election Lies Left the Michigan G.O.P. Broken and Battered
Infighting between Trump acolytes and traditionalists has driven away donors and voters. Can the Michigan Republican Party rebuild in time for the presidential election?
This turmoil is one measure of the way Donald J. Trump’s lies about the 2020 election have rippled through his party. While Mr. Trump has just begun to wrestle with the consequences of his fictions — including two indictments related to his attempt to overturn the 2020 results — the vast machine of activists, donors and volunteers that power his party has been reckoning with the fallout for years.
As the party looks toward the presidential election next year, the strains are glaring.
Mr. Trump’s election lies spread like wildfire in Michigan, breaking the state party into ardent believers and pragmatists wanting to move on. Bitter disputes, power struggles and contentious primaries followed, leaving the Michigan Republican Party a husk of itself.
Allison Slater Tate/New York magazine:
Don’t Say Gay, or He, or She, or They
Florida schools under DeSantis are in a panic over pronouns.
With no specific guidance from the state yet on how to comply with the new laws, school districts and their attorneys scrambled to interpret the new rules, leaving a patchwork of different regimes across the state. Seminole County, where Burkhart lives, is trying to head off trouble by sending out what’s being called the “nickname form.” If a parent neglects to complete and submit the form, schools can only refer to students by their legal names — regardless of whether students use it themselves. (Some parents and students have returned the forms with nicknames like “Your Majesty,” “Luke Skywalker,” “Megatron,” “My Lord,” “Schmookie Poo,” and “Queen.”)
John Stoehr/The Editorial Board:
For the Republicans, shooting massacres have practical use
If the party can’t dominate democratically, it can attempt to by empowering white vigilantes to take “the law” into their own hands.
Earlier this week, Republican Ron DeSantis attended a candlelight vigil that was held in memory of three Black people who were shot to pieces over the weekend at a Dollar Store in Jacksonville by a young white supremacist.
Florida’s governor did what he could to avoid bringing up the true cause of the massacre. He called the shooter “a major-league scumbag” and said “we are not going to let people be targeted based on their race,” despite creating, wrote Monique Judge, “a sunny Utopia for anti-Black white supremacists to flourish.” He’s telling his base, she said — through both words and actions — “that he is as anti-Black as they are, and he’s going to do all that he can to uphold white supremacy.”
While his hypocrisy is worthy of attention, getting the most attention was the crowd’s reaction to him. According to the AP’s reporting at the scene, “DeSantis — who is running for the GOP nomination for president, who has loosened gun laws in Florida and who has antagonized civil rights leaders by deriding ‘wokeness’ — was loudly booed as he addressed the vigil.” So “anti-woke” is anti-Black.
And everyone knows it.
Piper French/Bolts magazine:
Jeff Landry’s Bid for Louisiana Governor Has Been a Crusade Against Its Cities
As attorney general, Landry has relentlessly targeted New Orleans and other largely Black cities, and shielded its police from reforms. Now he’s bringing that message to his new campaign.
In 2022, he assisted a Republican lawmaker in unveiling a bill, House Bill 321, that would have made public the criminal records of young people between ages 13 and 18 who are accused of a violent crime—but only in Caddo, East Baton Rouge, and Orleans, all parishes with some of the highest concentrations of Black residents in the state. Landry made news appearances advocating for the bill and spoke at the press conference announcing it, later using portions of his speech for campaign ads attacking those three parishes’ DAs.
Bruce Reilly, a formerly incarcerated criminal justice reform advocate who testified against the bill at the Capitol, sat behind Landry as he spoke in favor of HB321. “If you think this is a good thing, why wouldn’t you do it in your own town?” he wondered.
It’s not uncommon for Republican candidates to blame Democrats for crime rates in the cities they control as a way of establishing conservative bona fides. But Landry’s campaign rhetoric isn’t just bluster. During his seven-plus years as attorney general, he has used the power of his office in standard, unorthodox, and at times highly controversial ways to single out New Orleans and the state’s other big cities.
Cliff Schecter on Vivek Ramaswamy: