2018 Midterms

Mark Meadows is even more of an idiot than you thought

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He doesn't understand how Parliaments work, but he likes them (now):

So he began reading about how coalition governments work in countries with parliamentary systems. He has been studying how other minority parties worked when dealing with a powerful House majority, what strategy they can employ and which moves have an impact. So far, those tactics have been relatively tame.

Angry about the wording of a resolution condemning federal government shutdowns, Meadows’s allies forced a vote asking to adjourn the House on Tuesday — it received just 14 votes. “I’ve been preparing for this for six months, so just stay tuned,” he told reporters just off the House floor Wednesday afternoon.

Bolding mine, because the Freedom Caucus has some 35 members, but meadows only got 14 votes with his little stunt. And now a quick primer on coalition governments: While the larger parties need small groups to push them over the plurality threshold, those groups are only valuable if they can deliver their (own) votes to said coalition on controversial issues. And there is (theoretically) a give and take, in which the coalition will support that small group on a handful of "must have" issues. Even if it was a relevant comparison to the U.S. House (it isn't), Meadows just shot himself in the foot by proving he can't deliver all the Freedom Caucus' votes. Not even half of that sad little number. Back to the idiot, who (once again) can't decide if he should be associated with a government shutdown:

Biden praised Republican in paid speech, Democrat lost race

There really is no good way to spin this:

Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience. Alluding to Mr. Upton’s support for a landmark medical-research law, Mr. Biden called him a champion in the fight against cancer — and “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.”

Mr. Biden’s remarks, coming amid a wide-ranging discourse on American politics, quickly appeared in Republican advertising. The local Democratic Party pleaded with Mr. Biden to repair what it saw as a damaging error, to no avail. On Nov. 6, Mr. Upton defeated his Democratic challenger by four and a half percentage points.

That's right, while Barack Obama was busting his ass (and not getting paid for it) to help make the Blue Wave happen, good ol' Joe was earning $200,000 to help get a Republican re-elected. Of course, his people deny this, and try to play it off as some sort of coincidence, but this was a scant three weeks before the election. Both Biden and his staff had to know this was a monumentally bad idea, which makes these rationalizations even more infuriating:

Congressional Democrats vow to intervene if court tries to force certification of Harris

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And it appears they have the authority to do just that:

The House Democratic investigations could pave the way for a new election in the district, even if the court orders the board of elections to certify Harris as the winner instead of the board ordering a re-vote itself. The House Administration Committee, now controlled by Democrats, has the authority to call for another election after investigating the 2018 results.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who is slated to chair an election-focused subcommittee of the House Administration Committee, told POLITICO that the House will intervene if the North Carolina court ordered the election certified for Harris before the state investigation has concluded. Any House member could object to seating Harris and block him, triggering an investigation by Fudge's committee.

It might seem like a trivial detail, but you'll notice from the headline above I didn't say, "...court tries to certify Harris." Because it does not have that authority. It does, however, have the authority to "direct" the NC BoE to certify Harris, via Writ of Mandamus. But Congress itself has the final say, apparently:

2018 at a glance: Florence flooding and Blue Wave cleansing

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Kirk Ross rounds-up a chaotic year:

Although this year started with a continued focus on the GenX story that broke the year before, the two biggest news events of 2018 came much later in the year. On Sept. 14, Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach and began its slow, devastating journey through the state and into the history books as North Carolina’s worst natural disaster.

Seven weeks later, in a usually sleepy blue moon election cycle, voters turned out in record numbers to unseat enough GOP incumbents in the state House and Senate to end supermajorities in both chambers. The consequences of those two events at the end of the year will drive the public policy debates in the year ahead.

Since this is New Year's Eve, and Democrats have earned the power to help sustain Vetoes by Governor Cooper, it's as good a time as any for them to resolve to do just that. While I do believe Senate and House Dems need to use their influence to "temper" the Legislation put forward from their respective bodies, it is equally important they not allow that activity to undermine efforts by the Governor to also temper that Legislation. Just because you voted for a bill, possibly because you were concerned it would get worse after being tweaked, it doesn't automatically follow you are bound by that prior vote if said bill is Vetoed. You won't be labeled a hypocrite if you sustain a Veto; not by anybody that matters, anyway. And make no mistake, the #1 goal of BergerMoore going forward will be to divide and conquer Democrats. The last thing the Governor needs is a handful of Dems ready to cross the aisle and block his attempts to govern, because he's been fighting to retain that authority during every session:

Parsing the 9th District's embarrassing election fraud situation

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And the NC GOP's all-over-the-map efforts to handle it:

The Earth shook and the seas parted as politicos from both parties appeared to join hands, perhaps taking in the gathering evidence that a Republican operative may have hacked our election apparatus, piloting an alleged spider web of a get-out-the-vote campaign or perhaps more appropriately, a get-the-vote-out campaign, accused of illegally handling – or, worst-case scenario, destroying – thousands of absentee ballots.

The accord was over before you could fully appreciate it, shattered Monday when top Republicans in the 9th urged members of the state’s elections board to certify the results of Baptist minister Mark Harris’ supremely suspect victory if they cannot produce evidence of wrongdoing by Congress’ return in January.

Which merely drives home the message the 9th District is incapable of policing itself. There is a *lot* of evidence, including direct testimony, that considerable wrongdoing occurred. Yes, much of that evidence was discovered/compiled by local media outlets, as opposed to the state Board of Elections. But it exists, nonetheless. That fraudulent cat is not going back in the bag, no matter how much local Republicans want it to. As to having another Primary, Rob Schofield has (once again) brought my better angels to the surface:

Hearing on NC09 postponed until after new Congress is seated

Better to have no Representative than a fraudulently-elected one:

An evidentiary hearing on allegations of absentee ballot fraud in a North Carolina congressional district election has been rescheduled. The N.C. State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement announced Friday that the public hearing initially scheduled for Dec. 21 will now be held on Jan. 11, 2019.

In a letter Monday, board chairman Joshua Malcolm had suggested more time may be needed to decide whether a new election would be necessary for the 9th Congressional District. Malcolm said those subpoenaed in the case said they need more time to produce additional records.

I don't like the idea of the 9th District not having a Representative any more than the next person, but keep this in mind: Of the 435 district seats in the US House, there are always a handful that are unfilled. In 2018, 7 Representatives resigned and one died, and in 2017, 9 resigned, several of them to fill positions in the Trump administration. In other words, it's not a Constitutional crisis. But what *is* a Constitutional crisis is the distinct possibility that over 1,000 voters in the 9th District had their ballots destroyed:

Democratic candidates are winning the social media campaign

Hopefully that will play out in the ballot box as well:

A New York Times analysis of data from the Facebook and Instagram accounts of hundreds of candidates in next month’s midterm elections reveals that Democrats — and especially Democrats running for House seats — enjoy a sizable national lead in engagement on the two influential platforms.

Measuring total interactions on social media is an imperfect way to gauge a candidate’s electoral chances, in part because it does not distinguish between types of engagement. A negative comment left on a Republican candidate’s page by an angry Democrat would still count as an interaction, for example. In addition, it does not account for the fact that some candidates have more followers than others. But social media engagement can be a crude measure of popularity, and a bellwether of shifts in public opinion that often turn up in polls days or weeks later.

I've been keeping an eye on this for several months now and, strangely enough, some of our state-level candidates have been drawing more "likes" than those running for Congress. It's not odd to see over a hundred accumulate within a few hours of a posting. While this appears to be fantastic news for US House races, the Senate situation doesn't appear to be so promising:

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