Cup of Joe – November 7, 2022

“Former President Donald Trump is predicting America’s destruction if his fellow Republicans don’t deliver a massive electoral wave on Tuesday. Democrats, led by President Joe Biden and two other former presidents, are warning that abortion rights, Social Security and even democracy itself are at stake,” the AP reports.

“Three of the six living presidents delivered dire closing messages Saturday in battleground Pennsylvania entering the final weekend of the 2022 midterm elections, but their words echoed across the country as millions of Americans cast ballots to decide the balance of power in Washington and in key state capitals.“

House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) told Fox News on Sunday he believes “democracy will be ending” if Democrats lose the 2022 midterms.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said that he’ll “absolutely” accept the results in Tuesday’s midterm elections but then suggested Republicans would do so if they determine the contests are “free and fair,” The Hill reports.

Said Scott: “Absolutely. But what we’re also going to do is do everything we can to make sure they’re free and fair, and if there’s any shenanigans, we are ready to make sure. We support our candidates to make sure that these elections are fair and every ballot is counted the right way.”

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told CNN that “we’ll accept the results” of the midterms as long as the “process plays out.”

“If we lose the House and Senate it’s going to be a horrible two years. The good news is that I’ll have the veto pen.”

— President Biden, quoted by the Associated Press.

New York Times: “Mr. Biden has suggested that he would be more likely to run if Mr. Trump enters the race, with people close to the president saying they believe he is the Democrat best positioned to defeat his former opponent. Still, Mr. Biden, who will turn 80 this month, has shown signs of political weakness, even among his base.”

“But whether significant midterm losses for Democrats would weaken Mr. Biden’s argument for a re-election bid remains an open question. Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster and a longtime ally of the president, said the midterm outcome would not affect his decision.”

Said Lake: “He is running. Did Obama not run? Did George Bush Sr. not run? No. They all run. They all have bad first midterms, and they all run.”

“President Biden on Saturday said people holding signs calling him a socialist were idiots, while warning that Republicans want to cut health care benefits for Americans three days before Election Day,” The Hill reports.  Said Biden: “I love those signs when I came in — socialism. Give me a break, what idiots.”

“The Biden administration is privately encouraging Ukraine’s leaders to signal an openness to negotiate with Russia and drop their public refusal to engage in peace talks unless President Vladimir Putin is removed from power,” the Washington Post reports.

“The request by American officials is not aimed at pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table, these people said. Rather, they called it a calculated attempt to ensure the government in Kyiv maintains the support of other nations facing constituencies wary of fueling a war for many years to come.”

“The discussions illustrate how complex the Biden administration’s position on Ukraine has become, as U.S. officials publicly vow to support Kyiv with massive sums of aid ‘for as long as it takes’ while hoping for a resolution to the conflict that over the past eight months has taken a punishing toll on the world economy and triggered fears of nuclear war.”

“President Biden’s top national-security adviser has engaged in recent months in confidential conversations with top aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to reduce the risk of a broader conflict over Ukraine and warn Moscow against using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The officials said that U.S. national-security adviser Jake Sullivan has been in contact with Yuri Ushakov, a foreign-policy adviser to Mr. Putin. Mr. Sullivan also has spoken with his direct counterpart in the Russian government, Nikolai Patrushev.”

“The aim has been to guard against the risk of escalation and keep communications channels open, and not to discuss a settlement of the war in Ukraine.”

New York Times: “It is part of what the group and other researchers have identified as a new, though more narrowly targeted, Russian effort ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. The goal, as before, is to stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system. This time, it also appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.”

“It has specifically targeted Democratic candidates in the most contested races, including the Senate seats up for grabs in Ohio, Arizona and Pennsylvania, calculating that a Republican majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives could help the Russian war effort.”

“The campaigns show not only how vulnerable the American political system remains to foreign manipulation but also how purveyors of disinformation have evolved and adapted to efforts by the major social media platforms to remove or play down false or deceptive content.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland “has long said that the Justice Department is up to the task of investigating former President Donald Trump, whose final weeks in office included his supporters attacking the Capitol as he refused to acknowledge his election loss,” the New York Times reports.

“That assertion was part of Mr. Garland’s desire to show that the department could operate above partisanship, acting as neither the weapon nor the enemy of any president or party. The real and perceived political land mines that accompany an investigation into Mr. Trump could be navigated, Mr. Garland suggested, by strictly following the rule of law.”

“But Mr. Garland’s hopes are being tested by Mr. Trump’s apparent plan to announce that he will run again for the White House, a step that would transform him from a former president into an electoral opponent of President Biden at a time of extreme political polarization — an environment leading the Justice Department to weigh whether to appoint a special counsel to handle open criminal inquiries related to Mr. Trump.”

“The White House is planning a post-midterms push for antitrust legislation that would rein in the power of the world’s largest tech companies, a last-ditch effort to get a stalled pair of bills through Congress before a predicted Republican takeover in January,” Bloomberg reports.

Politico: “Polls show most voters have no idea Congress even passed the legislation — let alone that it’s already set to provide tens of billions of dollars to projects such as rail tunnels under the Hudson River, Everglades restoration work in Florida or a bridge replacement in Tennessee.”

“The run-ups to the most recent presidential elections in the Western Hemisphere’s two largest democracies were remarkably similar,” the New York Times reports.

“Down in the polls, the right-wing president claimed, without evidence, that the election could be rigged. He suggested that he might not accept a loss. And millions of his followers vowed to take to the streets at his command.”

“But the outcomes, at least so far, have been drastically different.”

“Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called for a political ‘reorganization,’ on Friday, hinting at the possibility of a presidential run next year as speculation builds about her candidacy,” Bloomberg reports.

“Kirchner, considered by many the most powerful leader in her ruling coalition, didn’t explicitly speak of running. But she told an arena full of union workers that ‘we were happy people’ in December 2015 when her two-term presidency ended.”

Said Kirchner: “I’m going to do whatever I have to do so that our people, our society, can reorganize ourselves in a direction for the country that recovers the hope, strength and happiness of our people.”

“Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that Japan must be prepared for any action by other nations that poses a threat to peace and security,” Bloomberg reports.

“While Japan continues to follow its path as a peace-loving nation, the government will carefully clarify to the public and international community its plan to strengthen defense capabilities.”

“Thousands of people are expected to hold a demonstration in London on Saturday, demanding an immediate general election, as well as action to combat the worsening cost of living crisis,” The Guardian reports.

“Within hours of the brutal attack last month on Paul Pelosi, the husband of the speaker of the House, activists and media outlets on the right began circulating groundless claims — nearly all of them sinister, and many homophobic — casting doubt on what had happened,” the New York Times reports.

“Some Republican officials quickly joined in, rushing to suggest that the bludgeoning of an octogenarian by a suspect obsessed with right-wing conspiracy theories was something else altogether, dismissing it as an inside job, a lover’s quarrel or worse.”

“The misinformation came from all levels of Republican politics.”

Astead Herndon: “If the Republicans take back the House, it would change the scope of U.S. policy. We know they’d try to stop President Biden’s agenda. A Republican House would hurt Biden’s ability to respond to domestic challenges on his terms, like inflation, and to global crises — Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader, has signaled that Republicans might stop approving aid for Ukraine.”

“We’ve also seen a global rise in fears of democratic collapse. If the U.S. elects lawmakers who spread conspiracy theories about elections and who promise to tear down tenets of democracy, that will embolden autocratic leaders in other countries and weaken the United States’ standing in the world.”

“These midterms also matter because they could signal the start of an even more divisive era of politics. We should not assume we are at the floor of division — we’re going to get lower.”

President Biden called out Elon Musk, saying the billionaire had purchased a social media platform that “spews lies all across the world,” CNN reports.

Meanwhile, Axios reports Musk said that Twitter has experienced “a massive drop in revenue” due to advertisers leaving the platform.

After vowing to make Twitter a bastion of “free speech,” Elon Musk announced a new policy that will remove accounts engaging in the type of “impersonation” that comedians have used to protest his takeover of the social network.

Said Musk: “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Twitter has asked a number of people it fired this week to return to the company, because it actually still needs their skills.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the committee cannot pay former President Trump’s legal bills if he announces a bid for the White House in 2024, The Hill reports.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) said it would be a “terrible idea” for former President Donald Trump to announce a 2024 presidential candidacy before Christmas, Politico reports.

Said Sununu: “People are really going to be happy one way or another that the election is over come Tuesday. And everyone’s going to want to take a breath.”

A Trump campaign could also interfere with a possible runoff in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race if neither candidates wins a majority.

“The expected indictment of Donald Trump is looming over the midterm elections as both parties are preparing for a major battle after Election Day if Attorney General Merrick Garland moves forward with an unprecedented prosecution of a former president,” The Hill reports.

“Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and the House are warning they will put up a staunch defense of Trump if the Department of Justice announces an indictment, which some GOP aides and strategists expect to come in the first 60 to 90 days after Election Day.”

Washington Post: “Even in a midterm marked by misinformation, conspiracy theories and false or misleading attacks, nobody does it like Donald Trump.”

“The former president, in a burst of campaigning for Republican candidates while he readies his own third bid for the White House, is honing a stump speech based around juxtaposing current conditions with those during his presidency — a contrast he heightens by misrepresenting and exaggerating on both ends. His speech Thursday at a rally in Sioux Falls, Iowa, contained at least 58 false or misleading statements, and he added at least another 24 distinct falsehoods at a Saturday speech in Latrobe, Pa.”

“Many of the inaccuracies were repeat offenses for Trump and consistent with his exhaustively documented record of dispensing with the truth. But lately his speeches have also become a clearinghouse for the vast array of rumors, memes and myths that spread in right-wing media and fill up many other Republicans’ campaign speeches and ads.”

Sara Goddard: “Apparently, many of us who say we vote, actually don’t. In fact, as a group, ‘environmentalists’ have a terrible voting record. Research by the Environmental Voter Project shows that registered voters who identify the environment as their number one priority simply don’t vote.”

“In 2016, for example, over 10 million didn’t vote (representing 50% vs 69% of all registered voters); and during the 2018 ‘Blue Wave’ mid-term elections, only 53% (vs 57% of registered voters) of ‘environmentalists’ showed up at the polls.”

“House Republicans are threatening to investigate the Treasury Department, if they win back the majority, over the mid-October timing of 9 million letters the Internal Revenue Service sent out reminding Americans of their eligibility for certain tax credits,” Axios reports.

“That includes the third round of stimulus checks, child tax credits and the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

Said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee: “The suspicious timing of these letters right before an election appears political.”

USA Today: “Americans in 27 states will see candidates for secretary of state on their ballot. At least 13 of these races will include a 2020 election denier as a choice.”

Indiana secretary of state candidate Diego Morales (R) “riding in the tailwind of Donald Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ movement appears to have lived in one county while voting in another — which would be a violation of an Indiana election law he’s now running to uphold,” the Indianapolis Star reports.

A U.S. District Court judge appointed by Donald Trump ordered members of Clean Elections USA to stay at least 75 feet away from drop boxes and not to follow or speak to voters in Arizona, CNBC reports.

They were also told they couldn’t openly carry weapons.

Tom Nichols: “Near the end of the 1972 movie version of the Broadway musical 1776, John Adams is by himself in the congressional chamber after all of the delegates, friend and foe, have walked out on him. He has refused to budge on abolishing slavery in the new Constitution, and now all is lost, or so it seems. Alone in the dark, Adams asks, ‘Is anybody there? Does anybody care?’”

“I thought of this scene while watching Joe Biden at Union Station last night pleading with his fellow citizens to not abandon our democratic institutions and norms. Biden seemed disheartened, and understandably so. He was making a closing argument for American democracy, and he seemed to be wondering if anybody is out there to hear the message—and whether anybody cares.”

“In his second rally of the weekend, Donald Trump spewed his typical racism and election lies, but he also issued an apology ‘on behalf of the country,’” Rolling Stone reports.

“The apology was to Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who for many months was under investigation for alleged sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl, bringing women across state lines for prostitution and obstructing justice.”

Said Trump: “The word we can’t say, I am not going to say, but he went through things having to do with that and it was terrible how he got treated. He is so tough, so strong, and everybody says he is smart and he loves this state and this country. Matt Gaetz. Great man, great man. Really great, thank you. We apologize to you on behalf of the country, all of us do, because what you went through is just terrible and so unnecessary.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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