Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Excellent Choice, Ms. Abrams!

Per the Washington Post:

Abrams, speaking at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in Las Vegas, announced a 20-state voter protection initiative, using her experience challenging voting laws during her gubernatorial campaign last year in Georgia, which included widespread irregularities.

“We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020 because my mission is to make certain that no one has to go through in 2020 what we went through in 2018,” Abrams said…

The effort, expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million, will target 20 states, most of them battlegrounds in the Midwest and Southeast, and three states with gubernatorial elections this year: Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi…

In past election cycles, campaigns and state parties tended to wait until the start of general election campaigning to put together voter protection programs, which were often dismantled after elections. But with ongoing efforts by Republican state lawmakers to pass more restrictive voting laws, Groh-Wargo said, it was important that Democrats start working now to be ready to help voters navigate potential hurdles. Similarly, some states, such as Michigan and Nevada, have recently passed laws to expand access to voting, and party leaders and activists in those states need to make sure voters can take advantage of the changes…

The majority of the program will be run by Fair Fight PAC. Depending on the campaign finance laws of individual states, Fair Fight will make direct cash donations or will help groups raise money to hire staff, set up voter hotlines and develop public information campaigns…

Read the whole thing — it’s really uplifting!

Read more

Proud to Be A Democrat Open Thread: Good News Out of Georgia

Full props to Stacey Abrams!

Which reminded me, I hadn’t yet found a chance to post this great Washington Post profile, “Stacey Abrams: Being a black woman in politics isn’t ‘some fatal diagnosis’”:

In your book you describe just showing up to a [Spelman College] board of trustees meeting [while a student there]. Why did you crash it, and what did they make of you?

I did not understand why my tuition had to go up every year. I did not understand why financial aid did not keep pace with tuition. So I showed up to the meeting. When [Spelman president Johnnetta Cole] allowed me in, the person I sat beside was a partner at an investment firm. I didn’t know what an investment firm was. But he was very kind. Everyone was. He let me sit beside him and shifted his notebook over to me. And I’m looking at all of these numbers; I had no idea what I was looking at. And he leaned over and started explaining financial statements to me.

Then there was the highest-ranking woman at Coca-Cola. She started telling me things. And the president of Ben & Jerry’s. They saw it as an opportunity to educate me, and I was just so hungry for information. I was listening and learning so much so that over time, they forgot that I sort of barged in. They started telling me when the meetings were. And I eventually got my own notebook.

Sitting in those board meetings was incredibly eye-opening. It showed me that these things weren’t impossible to know. And you didn’t have to be “to the manner born” to learn. You just had to work harder…

To quote the great Shirley Chisholm: If there’s not a seat for you at the table, bring a folding chair!

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Democrats Are Pro-Voters; Repubs Are Not

The Washington Post, paper of record in the company town where national politics is the monopoly industry, has a good explainer:

The House approved a far-reaching elections and ethics bill Friday — one that would change the way congressional elections are funded, impose new voter-access mandates on states and, in one of several provisions targeting President Trump, force disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns.

Democrats dubbed the bill H.R. 1, a designation meant to signal its place as a centerpiece of their congressional agenda. The measure, which has more than 500 pages, contains dozens of provisions favored by liberal advocacy groups, labor unions and other Democratic allies.

“It’s a power grab, a power grab on behalf of the people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at an event on the Capitol steps ahead of the planned vote.

The bill is headed for a brick wall in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made clear it will not get a vote. However, Democrats and their allies said the bill’s passage would build momentum for action in coming years if and when Democrats solidify control in Washington.

“If Mitch McConnell is the immovable object, H.R. 1 is the unstoppable force,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the lead author of the bill. “We’ll keep pushing on it.”…

Read the whole thing for a full list of the bill’s (excellent!) provisions.

Ed Kilgore, at NYMag:

Aside from its scope, what’s most remarkable about HR1 is that every single House Democrat voted for it… And every Republicans voted against it, which means the GOP is determined to use barriers to full participation in elections — along with related abuses like partisan gerrymandering and unregulated campaign spending — to maintain its competitive position, regardless of public opinion….

The vote on HR1 should also provide something of a counterargument to all the recent “Democrats in disarray” story lines stemming from intraparty debates over socialism or Israel. No, the bill won’t even get a hearing in the Senate, where Mitch McConnell has denounced it as the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.” Mitch has a point: It might well help Democrats in the long run, for the rather honorable reason that they are defending rather than resisting the full expression of the popular will.

Monday Morning Open Thread: Selma Sunday

Matt Viser, at the Washington Post:

Several Democratic presidential hopefuls came here to a resonant remembrance of one of the bloodiest moments of the civil rights movement on Sunday, with Sen. Cory Booker talking emotionally about being a descendant of slaves and others urging a renewed defense of voting rights…

Booker hinted at the words of Martin Luther King Jr. to draw attention to what he depicted as a resurgence of racial animosity.

“The dream is under attack. The dreamers are in danger,” Booker said. “And we need each other more than we realize in this country.”

Selma has become an annual pilgrimage site for Democratic politicians, culminating with a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where on March 7, 1965, marchers advocating for voting rights were attacked by police in a day that has become known as Bloody Sunday. The Voting Rights Act was signed the same year. This year, the events marking one of the most searing moments of the civil rights movement took place over four days, including a Jubilee Golf Tournament on Friday and a “battle of the bands” on Saturday.

The main event, Sunday’s march across the bridge with linked arms, call-and-response, and gospel songs, was nearly derailed by thunderstorms. But the weather cleared enough for thousands to make the walk.

A trio of potential presidential candidates — Sanders of Vermont and Booker of New Jersey, who have announced their campaigns, and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is considering a bid — were here along with Clinton during the day’s events…

Sunday’s events provided a forum for the belief among many African American leaders that the GOP has been launching a renewed fight against voting rights, with such measures as voter ID laws and the curtailment of early voting.

“Make no mistake: We are living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy,” Clinton said. “There may not be, thank God, tanks in the streets. But what’s happening goes to the heart of who we are as a nation.”…

Brown, who told reporters that he will decide on a presidential bid by the end of March, also circulated among the mostly African American attendees, asking about their lives.

Asked how he could compete in a diverse field of candidates, and with an increasingly diverse electorate, Brown said he would let his record speak for itself.

“If I run, I’ll be the only Democrat on that stage who voted against the Iraq War. I’ll be the only Democrat on that stage who supported marriage equality 20 years ago. I’ll be the only person on that stage who has a longtime F from the NRA,” Brown said. He pointed to his face. “I can change a lot of things, but I can’t change this part of me, right?”

I don’t think Sherrod Brown will end up as our Democratic nominee (although plenty of people on twitter have suggested he’d be a great vp for Kamala Harris), but I am very interested in seeing what he’ll be saying over the next few months!

Election Fraud Open Thread: A Re-Run in North Carolina

Per the local Charlotte Observer:

The new campaign in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District kicked off Friday with a rally by Democrat Dan McCready, hints from several would-be GOP candidates and silence from Republican Mark Harris.

The flurry of action came a day after the North Carolina State Board of Elections ordered a new election following a hearing that detailed election fraud in Bladen County.

It made its decision after Harris stunned the hearing with his own call for a new election, after insisting for weeks that he won the vote last fall and should be certified…

The primary campaign would be relatively short. Though no schedule has been set, elections officials said one scenario would be for a May primary, a June runoff if needed and an October general election. The same officials have proposed a May 14 primary in the 3rd District, vacant since the death of Republican U.S. Rep. Walter Jones…

Former Mecklenburg County commissioner Matthew Ridenhour, a Charlotte Republican who lost his seat in November, said he’s received texts and emails since Thursday urging him to run. He expects to decide within a few days. And Republican legislators could run for Congress in a special election without fear of losing their seats, which are not up until 2020.

Despite McCready’s headstart, the 9th District still leans Republican. No Democrat has represented it for decades and President Donald Trump carried the district by 11 points. But some Republicans said the election fraud and Harris’ ties to Dowless have hurt the party’s label in the 9th.

“We have some work to do to repair our brand, and I’m not sure the current folks in leadership know exactly how to do that,” said Shaheen. “In my opinion party leadership in Raleigh made a fatal mistake by jumping out in front and being so supportive when they didn’t have the whole story.”…

Between the messy failure of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and the new State Court ruling on ‘racial gerrymandering’, it seems the GOP party leadership had a pretty good outline of the whole story — and since their guys were using those stolen votes to ‘win’ elections, they were just fine with that!

Read more