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$1 NEWS // FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9
Republicans’ growing concern over election integrity is reflected in differences in public attitudes on policies like voting by mail and voter ID. (Pew)
Chart: Pew Research Center
A new national survey from Pew Research Center:
Americans broadly support paper ballot backups, voter ID, early voting and making Election Day a holiday.
However, Republicans generally oppose voting by mail, automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration (a solid majority of Democrats endorse all those policies).
95% of Republicans support voter ID requirements vs. 69% of Democrats.
How did we get here? Donald Trump’s claims the 2020 election was stolen from him, plus pandemic changes to voting procedures, led to a push among conservatives to make elections more secure. Since 2020, 21 (mostly red) states have passed 33 laws that limit mail-in voting.
How big is the problem? The consensus is there’s no evidence of widespread or systematic voter fraud in the U.S., and many fraud claims could charitably be described as outlandish. But there have been a number of isolated instances of election fraud. The right-leaning Heritage Foundation has documented more than 150 cases, many of which resulted in criminal convictions, since 2020.
What if the chaos plaguing today’s Republican Party is a feature, not a bug? (AP)
Here’s a list of GOP dysfunction from the past week:
House Republicans failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Later that day, Speaker Mike Johnson’s aid package for Israel failed in the House.
A foreign aid and border security package collapsed fell apart. Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, the lead negotiator on the bill, accused his fellow Republicans of scuttling the deal because they didn’t want to give President Biden a political win.
Go back a little further and there are more signs of disarray: Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted in October by a small group of “MAGA” House Republicans. After a weeks-long process full of drama and infighting, Johnson succeeded McCarthy. But he’s already facing opposition from the same hardline conservatives that got his predecessor booted.
Many commentators say the current state of the GOP is just the logical end point for a party that — especially since Donald Trump came along — has become increasingly skeptical of government, institutions and the direction of the country.
A critical assessment from Daily Beast columnist David Rothkopf: “For alienated voters who feel like life hasn’t gone their way and who don’t like the trends they see, lashing out at our system and at those in power is cathartic. … For today’s right, the only thing better than a functioning government is a dysfunctional government, and the best option is no government at all.”
A positive take from Club for Growth President David McIntosh: “In reality, the friction between the various GOP factions speaks to political markets at work, and the evolution of a much more effective Republican Party that, instead of being all things to various interest groups, will instead be very few things to a broader tent of voters with diverse priorities. Put another way, a Republican Party that can’t agree on policy priorities will have no choice but to pursue less policy, and less spending, and more freedom for voters to choose.”
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said Wednesday a conservative media personality threatened him over Lankford’s attempt to secure a bipartisan immigration reform bill. (The Daily Beast)
Lankford: “I had a popular commentator four weeks ago that I talked to, that told me flat out—before they knew any of the contents of the bill, any of the content, nothing was out at that point—that told me flat out, ‘If you try to move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year, I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election.’”
There have been multiple reports of conservative media figures influencing or trying to influence GOP politicians:
Fox News anchors Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade sent text messages to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 6, calling on President Trump to urge his followers to leave the Capitol.
In 2020, then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson met with Trump and encouraged him to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously.
Trump even made Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, his White House communications director.
Researchers have studied conservative media’s influence on politics: One 2007 study found the introduction of Fox News persuaded somewhere between 3% to 28% of people to vote Republican. A 2016 study found, “Fox News caused both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to increase support for the Republican Party position on divisive votes.” A 2017 American Economic Review study estimated Fox News increased the Republican presidential candidate’s share of the two-party vote by 3.59 points in 2004 and 6.34 points in 2008.
Political historian Brian Rosenwald on the power of conservative media hosts: “They are the most influential voices with the critical primary voters who determine the fate in a country that has geographically polarized. You've got hosts saying, look at these ‘RINOs,’ Republicans In Name Only. They promise you all this stuff they never deliver. And all of these listeners are out there saying, ‘Hallelujah, someone is saying what we're feeling.’... And they start saying, ‘well, we want the politicians who sound like our favorite hosts.’”
In a new interview with The New York Times’ Ezra Klein, American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Ruy Texeira makes the case that Democrats aren’t doing a good job serving working class Americans. (NYT)
Texeira on how Democrats are falling short of working class interests economically: “Working-class voters experienced deindustrialization, the sort of decline of resource extraction areas in the country, and just a general sense the country was moving away from them, and the Democrats weren’t really defending their way of life. They were promoting trade deals and deregulating finance, and basically didn’t seem to have the back of these voters in the way they used to think the Democratic Party did.”
Texeira on how Democrats are out of touch with working class voters culturally: “I think that the forces that dominate left parties today, including the Democratic Party in the United States, they’re much less worried about doing and saying things that seem kind of like out of the wheelhouse of working-class voters. They’re very concerned about being viewed as being on the right side of history by some of the more educated and activist and fervent supporters.”
Texeira on why educated professionals are such a core constituency for Dems: “The Democratic coalition has evolved, being increasingly dependent on the votes of educated, active people who pay close attention to politics, I mean, this is great for special elections. It’s great for off-year elections. In an odd sort of way, Democrats have become low-turnout election specialists. They actually benefit from lower turnout, not higher turnout.”
The deficit is expected to increase from $1.6 trillion this year to $2.6 trillion in 2034, as interest payments on the $34 trillion national debt climb to record highs. (Axios)
The Congressional Budget Office’s new 10-year Budget and Economic Outlook report:
Over the next 10 years, about 75% of the increase in the U.S. government's budget deficit will be due to the cost of paying interest on the national debt.
Net interest costs have almost doubled since President Biden took office and are expected to increase by another 142% by 2034.
This year, interest costs will exceed national defense spending for the first time.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a statement responding to the CBO’s report: “Congress ought to interpret CBO’s projections as a ‘call to action:’ the federal government must break from its irresponsible spending pattern. Otherwise, Americans will soon find themselves paying more to cover national debt and interest costs than to fund programs that matter.”
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