Election 2024

Donald Trump ramps up Iowa campaign plans

DUBUQUE — Former President Donald Trump defended his position on abortion following criticism from some Republicans, saying that GOP politicians need to learn how to “properly talk” about the issue in order to win elections.

The former president made two stops in northeast Iowa Wednesday afternoon. After speaking in Maquoketa, Trump held a rally at the Grand River Conference Center in Dubuque. Trump told the crowd of more than 1,000 that he was the first Republican president to “get the job done” on abortion, pointing to the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade that was supported by Trump-nominated justices.

“They couldn’t get the job done, I got the job done,” Trump said. “I got it done. … With the three Supreme Court justices that I appointed, this issue has been returned to the states, where all legal scholars on both sides said it should be. Of course, now the pro-life community has tremendous negotiating power. You have none when you have Roe v. Wade, they could do whatever they want.”

Trump’s travel comes after he faced some pushback from fellow Republicans about his comments on abortion. In a September taping of MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump said he does not agree with the call for a 15-week federal abortion ban from some members of the GOP. He also criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, for signing into law a measure banning most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

“I mean, (DeSantis) is willing to sign a five-week and six-week ban,” Trump said in the interview. “I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds criticized Trump’s statements on social media. The Republican governor signed a similar measure into law in July following a special session. The so-called “fetal heartbeat” law, like Florida’s law, bans abortions after embryonic cardiac activity can be detected in an ultrasound — typically occurring around six weeks of gestation — with narrow exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

“It’s never a “terrible thing” to protect innocent life,” Reynolds said on X, formerly Twitter. “I’m proud of the fetal heartbeat bill the Iowa legislature passed and I signed in 2018 and again earlier this year.”

At the Dubuque rally, Trump said he believes the issue of abortion “cost us unnecessarily but dearly in the midterms” in 2022, when Democrats won in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. He said some other Republicans calling for a total ban on abortion could cost the GOP another election.

The crowd cheered when Trump said he supports exceptions to abortion bans for cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is at risk.

“Without the exceptions, it is very difficult to win the elections,” Trump said. “We would probably lose the majorities in 2024 without the exceptions, and perhaps the presidency itself. But you have to follow your heart. … But at the same time, we have to win elections. We don’t want to be back where we were.”

On “Meet the Press,” Trump said he would work with Democrats to find a compromise on a standard number of weeks after which abortion should be outlawed. He said at the rally that “pro-lifers” need to be better about portraying Democrats and abortion access supporters as radicals, claiming that some states’ abortion laws allow doctors to commit infanticide.

He asked the crowd to remember that he was the one who “delivered” on abortion restrictions through his Supreme Court appointments.

“The same people attacking us now are those who have been failing you for decades,” Trump said. “But unlike them, I don’t just talk, I get the job done. I got this job done and, and you have to take that issue and you have to say they’re the radicals, they’re willing to kill a baby in the seventh month, ninth month, eighth month after birth, after birth. There are some states that have legislation where you can do it after birth. Ok? They’re the radicals.”

Mary Lockwood said she came with a family member who supported Trump, but his speech at the rally “basically won me over.” Lockwood said she supported abortion access for much of her life, but now thinks there should be restrictions on late-term abortions — and thought Trump approached the issue “respectfully.”

“I think that as a woman and a mother, I don’t want to see babies being killed either,” Lockwood said. “I thought that was just propaganda, but I really think anything over a few weeks is not acceptable to me.”

Late-term abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy are rare, representing 1% of all abortions in the U.S., and are typically the result of medical concerns such as fetal anomalies or danger to the life of the pregnant patient, according to KFF.

Trump campaign plans more Iowa events in fall

Trump plans to make five more Iowa trips in the next six weeks, according to his campaign. While Trump still holds a sizable lead in Iowa, he has so far only held seven events in Iowa. Before his Wednesday events, he last was in Iowa attending the Iowa-Iowa State football game in Ames, and before that, holding dueling stops at the Iowa State Fair with DeSantis in August.

His rivals for the GOP presidential nomination are hoping to make a dent in the former president’s popularity with heavy investments of time and funding in Iowa. DeSantis, who was 23 percentage points behind Trump in the August Des Moines Register/Mediacom/NBC News Iowa Poll, has campaigned aggressively in Iowa with events hosted through the Never Back Down PAC. He has said he plans to campaign in all 99 counties.

In recent interviews with Iowa reporters, DeSantis has criticized Trump for taking a victory in the Iowa caucuses for granted.

“I think the former president believes he’s entitled to be nominated,” DeSantis told KCCI Monday. “He’s not doing the work it takes to really earn people’s votes, and I just view it differently. I don’t think we’re entitled to anything. I think you got to show up … answer the questions, you got to talk about the vision for the future of this country, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Other candidates, including entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, have picked up the pace on the Iowa campaign trail in hopes of building momentum following the first Republican presidential debate in August. Trump did not participate in the first debate.

Though Trump led in the Iowa Poll, more than half of the respondents who planned to caucus in 2024 answered they could still be persuaded to support a different candidate. An Emerson poll of Iowa Republicans conducted Sept. 7-9 found Trump holds a double-digit lead above other candidates, but that his support decreased from 62% in May to 49%.

His new campaign schedule in Iowa is focused on locking in the support he has in the state. In Maquoketa, Trump spoke to campaign volunteers for a “Team Trump Caucus Commitment” event. The town of just over 6,000 residents hosted more than 1,000 people attending the former president’s appearance, with supporters lined up outside the Jackson County Fairgrounds Expo Center hours before the event.

In 2016, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz won the Iowa Republican caucuses, with Trump finishing in a close second. But Trump told the group that he believes he will win in a “landslide” in the Iowa Republican caucuses in 2024, criticizing his 2016 team.

“They didn’t do the caucus thing too well and I learned a lot,” Trump said. “I don’t like second, though.”

Trump campaign staff went through the crowd gathering cards from Iowans who made a non-binding pledge to caucus for the candidate. Speakers asked supporters to sign up for texts and emails from the campaign and directed people online to a website with information on how to register to vote, how to caucus and how to volunteer.

In Dubuque, Trump said he would sign a law requiring single-day voting on paper ballots for all elections. But until then, Trump said, Republicans need to show up to the ballots — and Iowans need to show up to the caucuses. The 2024 election is “our final battle,” he said.

“With you at my side, we will demolish the deep state,” Trump said. “We will expel the warmongers from our government, they want to go to war with everybody. We will drive out the globalists. We will cast out the communists, Marxists and fascists, and we will throw out the sick political class that truly hates our country. … The great silent majority is rising like never before and under our leadership, the forgotten man and woman will be forgotten no longer with your help, your love and your vote.”

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

Potential for threats from Trump in 14th Amendment case sways Colorado judge

A lawyer for plaintiffs who are suing to block former President Donald Trump from the 2024 Colorado presidential ballot persuaded a judge to enter a protective order for witnesses and other people involved in the lawsuit, largely based on Trump’s history of “inflammatory” statements around other cases in which he is a defendant.

Denver District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace during a Friday hearing said she had concerns for the “safety for the parties, for the lawyers and frankly for myself and my staff, based on what we’ve seen in other cases.”

After special counsel Jack Smith in June filed an indictment against Trump for alleged crimes around Jan. 6, Trump responded on Truth Social, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” which prosecutors viewed as “inflammatory” and “intimidating.”

The plaintiffs’ lawyer who argued for the protective order, Sean Grimsley, also noted during the hearing before Wallace that Dave Williams, chair of the Colorado Republican Party, which this week joined the case as a so-called intervenor, called the filing of the Colorado lawsuit against Trump “treasonous” behavior.

“That’s code for, ‘The folks coming to court have committed a capital crime,'” Grimsley said.

The protective order bars “inflammatory” speech, based on remarks during the hearing.

The suit was filed Sept. 6 by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on behalf of six Colorado voters, who argue Trump is disqualified under a provision of the 14th Amendment that bars certain office-seekers who have engaged in insurrection.

The plaintiffs include former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island Claudine (Cmarada) Schneider, who now lives in Colorado; former Colorado House and Senate Majority Leader Norma Anderson, an unaffiliated voter who recently left the Republican party; Denver Post columnist and Republican activist Krista Kafer; Michelle Priola, Kathi Wright, and Christopher Castilian.

They argue Trump, the leading GOP candidate for president in 2024, is disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which says no person who took an oath to support the Constitution then had “engaged in insurrection … or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” can hold any office in the United States.

The suit says Trump “tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election” and incited and “engaged in” the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The defendants are Trump and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat.

Most of the Friday hearing concerned procedural matters. Trump’s lawyer in the case, Scott Gessler, a former Republican Colorado secretary of state, indicated he intends to try to get the case tossed under a recent Colorado law that protects people who exercise First Amendment rights from the threat of lawsuits — known as an anti-SLAPP law. The allegations against Trump in the case are all “based on his speech,” Gessler said.

“We believe it’s a winner,” Gessler said of the pending motion under anti-SLAPP — or “strategic lawsuits against public participation.”

Gessler had objected to the proposed protective order by arguing that witness tampering and intimidation are already outlawed and that Trump critics had also engaged in objectionable speech. He noted that Griswold has said Trump tried to “steal an election” and labeled the events of Jan. 6 an “insurrection.”

“That is definitely coming from other quarters,” Gessler said of what Grimsley had called “inflammatory” speech.

A five-day trial in the case is scheduled to start Oct. 30.

The case is seen as the first major test of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause since the Civil War era. Other similar cases, such as one filed by Free Speech For People in Minnesota, are expected in other states.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

'Monsters': These GOP 'state-level efforts' could be a 'near-fatal blow' to democracy in 2024

From Alabama Republicans' blatantly discriminatory congressional map, to the Wisconsin GOP's ousting of a the states' top election official and attempt to impeach a liberal Supreme Court justice, to North Carolina's decision to allow the majority-Republican legislature to appoint state and local election board members, News from the States reports these anti-democratic moves have all recently "generated national headlines" and stoked fears ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

"If they can impeach someone successfully to stop them from ruling in a way they don't like, what will they do after the 2024 election?" Ben Wikler, the chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party told the news outlet, referring to state Republicans' "threat to impeach" state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz. "It was one vote in our state Supreme Court that prevented the 2020 election from being overturned in Wisconsin. And they know who the justices were, so they could just suspend them. This would open the door to monsters that I don't think they'd be able to control."

News from the States points out other states like Ohio and Florida, which are also pushing anti-democratic legislation, have "flown further under the radar."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

According to the report, "In Ohio, the Supreme Court has ruled five times that the state's current legislative maps are unconstitutional gerrymanders favoring Republicans. But the bipartisan commission that's supposed to draw fair maps hasn't met since May 2022."

Furthermore, "Lawmakers' goal appears to be to run out the clock and ram through skewed maps with little public scrutiny. Because the Supreme Court now has a conservative majority, it's expected to green-light whatever lawmakers come up with."

In the Sunshine State, "Acting on a request from the speaker of the House, the state Supreme Court last month created a commission to study changing the way prosecutors and judges are elected," the news outlet notes, which one advocate warned "would almost certainly be a near-fatal blow against the reform prosecutor movement in the state."

The report notes while these types of "power grabs" within state legislatures are not new, "advocates say, these efforts are even more dangerous for democracy. That's because, by giving lawmakers more power over elections or over their state's judicial system, many of these schemes strengthen and reinforce the ultimate threat of outright election subversion."

READ MORE: Wisconsin Republicans 'vote to fire' state’s top elections official: report

Joanna Lydgate, Chief Executive Officer of pro-democracy group States United Action emphasized, "We should call this what it is: an effort to lay the groundwork to subvert the will of the voters in future elections. While the focus is often on the national picture, our elections are run by the states. That means we need to keep shining a light on state-level efforts that undermine our democracy. It's the only way to shut it down."

News From the States full report is available at this link.

Eleventh Circuit won’t bulge — reaffirms Florida’s 2021 voting restrictions law

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has refused to take a second look at a voter suppression law passed in Florida three years ago, over a dissent complaining that the court majority was breaking promises made in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments.

The effect is to let stand a split ruling by a three-judge panel of the same court in spring last year to allow enforcement of the law, SB 90, that will interfere with the right to vote using drop boxes and provide food and water to people waiting in line to vote, and that erects barriers in front of organizations seeking to register voters.

Gov. Ron DeSantis pressed the Republican-dominated Legislature to enact SB 90 following the 2020 elections to combat alleged voting fraud, even though negligible evidence of fraud emerged during what the governor himself praised as a well-run election.

Plaintiffs including the League of Women Voters of Florida filed suit, protesting that the new law would severely disadvantage minority voters. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker agreed following a two-week trial, citing “a decades-long pattern of voting legislation discriminating against Black people.”

Walker went further, ordering the state to submit any election-law revisions to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance under Section 3 of the VRA for 10 years.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office welcomed the outcome.

“Today, the full United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rightly voted against rehearing the reversal of an activist judge and affirmed, yet again, Florida’s common-sense elections provisions signed into law by Governor DeSantis in 2021. We will continue to fight to make Florida’s elections secure, efficient, and transparent,” press secretary Jeremy Redfern said in a written statement.

“The order from the Eleventh Circuit shows again that Judge Mark Walker’s ruling was clearly wrong. The printing costs of Judge Walker’s rulings far exceed the value of the rulings themselves,” Redfern added.

Friendly reading

In Thursday’s outcome, Chief Judge William Pryor wrote an opinion explaining his reasons for voting against a rehearing in which he viewed the facts as favorably as possible for the Legislature — noting, for example, that solid majorities in the House and Senate voted in favor of SB 90 without also observing that they were party-line votes.

Similarly, Pryor described language barring solicitation of voters waiting in line as benign, not mentioning that it bars provision of food and water. As for new restrictions on third-party voter registration organizations, Pryor didn’t mention evidence that the provision threatens large fines that could drive these groups out of business for reasonable mistakes.

“This case demonstrates that nearly 60 years later [following passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act], despite the promise of the Reconstruction Amendments and the successes of the Voting Rights Act, the struggle to purge our democracy of discrimination on the basis of race continues,” Judge Charles Wilson wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Jill Pryor. Judge Adalberto Jordan joined part of the dissent involving deference to trial judges’ findings of fact.

Wilson wrote in his dissent that the court was ignoring U.S. Supreme Court precedents governing whether a law has been passed with discriminatory intent. He noted Florida’s “history of discriminatory law working hand-in-hand with mob violence to suppress Black Floridians’ right to vote.”

Only recently, the high court reaffirmed the validity of considering a state’s history of discrimination in ordering Alabama to devise a congressional redistricting plan adding a second Black-dominated seat, he said.

But Pryor described Wilson’s dissent as “histrionic,” and swept aside Judge Walker’s description of discrimination against Black voters extending to the post-Reconstruction period and particularly “that, in the past 20 years, Florida has repeatedly sought to make voting tougher for Black voters because of their propensity to favor Democratic candidates.”

Pryor insisted: “The record reveals a stark lack of evidence of discriminatory intent of the present Florida Legislature.” (Emphasis in the original.)

Walker declared that the Legislature’s stated concern over voting fraud was pretextual but Pryor took the lawmakers at the word.

History’s relevance

“It is easy to see how a history of discrimination, when evinced in present-day data, is relevant not just to the historical background factor, but also to the foreseeability of a disparate impact and the government’s knowledge of that impact,” Wilson wrote.

“The Fifteenth Amendment attacks not only the simple-minded modes of discrimination, but also the more subtle sophisticated ones as well.

“When a present-day state government enacts a law that is neutral on its face, it is very much relevant whether or not the ‘neutral’ criteria it purports to utilize are in fact built upon a history of past racial discrimination. Simply put, our Constitution does not require us to overlook the truth that this nation’s history of discrimination is still reflected in the present.”

Wilson complained the court was abusing its authority in rejecting Judge Walker’s factual findings of discriminatory intent — an outcome he said sets a baleful precedent for the three states within the circuit court’s jurisdiction, which includes Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

That result “should raise eyebrows,” he wrote, adding: “Unfortunately, it is not all that surprising. In recent years, this court has picked up a troubling habit of too easily overriding district courts’ factual findings.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

Nevada Republicans called out for 'rigging the election' for Trump

In Nevada, conservative critics of former President Donald Trump have been hoping that someone other than him will receive the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. But Trump remains the clear frontrunner, leading the second-place candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by 47 percent in an Emerson College poll released on September 20 and by 46 percent in a Yahoo/YouGov poll released a day earlier.

According to Associated Press reporters Michelle L. Price and Gage Stern, new Nevada Republican Party rules will only increase Trump's advantage in the state's primary.

"The state GOP, which is led by Trump allies, is insisting on moving forward with a presidential caucus on February 8 despite a new state law that set a primary election two days earlier," Price and Stern explain. "Caucuses, which typically reward grassroots support and organizing, are expected to benefit Trump given his solid grip on the GOP's most loyal voters."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Ken Cuccinelli, a DeSantis supporter and former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), believes that Trump is giving himself an unfair advantage in Nevada.

Cuccinelli told AP, "Trump hates rigged elections, except when he's doing the rigging, like he's doing in Nevada."

Nevada Republicans who opposed the proposed rule changes complained, in a statement, "This process will hurt the Republican Party and our candidates in 2024. The Nevada Republican Party will give average voters the impression they don't care about them or their votes."

READ MORE:Revealed: Trump’s Project 2025 agenda aims for 'total control' of the federal government

Read the Associated Press' full report at this link.

'Shocking GOP proposals' for overhauling federal government ripped as clueless and dangerous

Over the years, countless Republicans and Libertarians have repeated President Ronald Reagan's famous line from a May 14, 1986 speech, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I’m here to help.'"

Shrinking the United States' federal government has long been a recurring theme on the right. But in 2023, MAGA Republican candidates, including GOP presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump, are going way beyond proposals to reduce or cut federal programs; Trump's Project 2025 agenda calls for fundamentally restructuring the United States' federal government.

POLL:Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

In a scathing article for The New Republic, the American Enterprise Institute's Norman J. Ornstein and the University of Maryland's Donald F. Kettl examine GOP presidential candidates' "shocking proposals" for changing the federal government — and slam them as both clueless and dangerous.

The reporters note that ultra-MAGA candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, for example, wants to "slash a million civil servants in his first year as president — and by 75 percent in his first term."

Ornstein and Kettl observe, "(Ramaswamy) also wants to shutter five federal agencies: the Department of Education, the FBI, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Food and Nutrition Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms…. Ron DeSantis has proposed eliminating the Departments of Education, Commerce, and Energy, along with the IRS. Ramaswamy's plan makes DeSantis look like a raging moderate by comparison."

READ MORE:Revealed: Trump’s Project 2025 agenda aims for 'total control' of the federal government

Read The New Republic's full report at this link.

Unending 'chaos' among House Republicans could doom their majority in 2024: report

As the strong possibility of a federal government shutdown draws closer and closer, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is desperately trying to get funding bills passed —only to encounter resistance and animosity from members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus.

Countless pundits have predicted that if a shutdown occurs, voters will blame Republicans — not Democrats.

In an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on September 22, journalist A.B. Stoddard describes the state of "chaos" plaguing McCarthy's GOP majority.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Between that chaos, a likely shutdown, a flawed impeachment inquiry and bitter infighting among House Republicans —Stoddard writes — GOP strategists are growing increasingly worried about 2024.

"More than 13 months before next year’s election," Stoddard explains, "fatalism has infected the House GOP conference. Democrats have only a slight edge heading into next year's House contests, but Republicans are behaving as if they have no hope of staying in power. As one former member told me: 'Many would say we've squandered this, and we're going to lose.'"

McCarthy, Stoddard notes, is pushing for an impeachment inquiry in order to placate the "most feral" members of his caucus. But they "want to shut down the government" anyway.

"Months from now," Stoddard adds, "those same members will want a vote to impeach President Biden — a vote that McCarthy knows he will never have enough support to pass. And McCarthy knows that if he were to pressure Republicans in precarious seats — those in districts Biden won in 2020 — to vote for impeachment, the GOP would lose the House over it."

READ MORE:Did air conditioning pave the way for government shutdowns?

Read A.B. Stoddard's full article for The Bulwark at this link.

DeSantis’ flailing campaign is making him 'lose clout — in Florida': report

When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was reelected by 19 percent in 2022, his hardcore supporters praised him as the future of the MAGA movement. DeSantis, they argued, embodied former President Donald Trump's MAGA agenda, but with a lot more self-discipline. And they were confident that he was well on his way to the White House.

But DeSantis' presidential campaign has failed to take off, and he trails frontrunner Trump by 47 percent in an Emerson College poll released on September 20.

Moreover, an article published by Politico on September 22 stresses that DeSantis is even "losing clout in Florida."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Politico reporters Gary Fineout and Kimberly Leonard explain, "College boards, stacked with DeSantis appointees, are rejecting job candidates with ties to the governor…. Interviews with nearly two dozen lobbyists, political consultants and lawmakers revealed that DeSantis' struggles as a presidential candidate have already eroded his influence in Florida. There is a widespread expectation that his candidacy will end in failure."

Fineout and Leonard add, "His standing at home may depend on how long he slogs forward in the presidential campaign — and how he will manage his exit from the race if he eventually drops out."

A GOP consultant, interviewed by Politico on condition of anonymity, said of DeSantis' allies, "You don't get the assumption they are measuring drapes anymore — they are waiting for him to drop out."

READ MORE:Conservative slams DeSantis' 'failing, fumbling campaign' as it goes from bad to worse

Read Politico's full article at this link.

Joint Chiefs of Staff chair warns Trump will 'start throwing people in jail' in 2025 — himself included

During Donald Trump's four years in the White House, he clashed with a long list of Republicans in his administration — from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Even former Attorney General Bill Barr, once considered a Trump loyalist, fell out with Trump in the end.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pushed back against Trump as well. And according to The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, Milley believes that Trump will try to have him incarcerated if he is elected president in 2024.

In an article published on September 21, Goldberg explains, "Along the way, Milley deflected Trump's exhortations to have the U.S. military ignore, and even on occasion commit, war crimes. Milley and other military officers deserve praise for protecting democracy, but their actions should also cause deep unease. In the American system, it is the voters, the courts, and Congress that are meant to serve as checks on a president's behavior, not the generals."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Milley, Goldberg notes, was the first Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman to deal with a president who "would try to foment or provoke a coup in order to illegally remain in office."

Goldberg points out that Milley has warned that if Trump wins in 2024 and returns to the White House in January 2025, "He'll start throwing people in jail, and I'd be on the top of the list."

READ MORE:Revealed: Trump's Project 2025 agenda aims for 'total control' of the federal government

Read Jeffrey Goldberg's full article for The Atlantic at this link (subscription required).

'No vision': Disillusioned GOP consultant believes 'anger' has overtaken 'ideas' among conservatives

As the founder and president of Dyce Communications — a GOP consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina — Alfredo Rodriguez III has been involved in conservative politics for a long time.

But in an op-ed published by North Carolina's Herald-Sun on September 20, Rodriguez makes it clear that he is feeling very disillusioned with the GOP — which he believes has lost its way.

"In the simplest of terms," Rodriguez argues, "conservatism used to represent the ideals and principles encouraging personal freedom and responsibility, Judeo-Christian morals, innovation and entrepreneurship, American sovereignty, defense of our nation and its citizens, and democracy over totalitarianism."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Rodriguez goes on to stress that the GOP's "values" of the past "have been corrupted and abandoned in many instances."

"Today, anger about everything, immovable thinking and rationale, conspiratorial theories and extreme skepticism, hatred of the opposition, and a lukewarm defense of democracy are considered by many Republicans as conservative standards," Rodriguez observes. "It possesses no vision, optimism or ideas. It offers nothing. Our republic cannot exist under these emotions."

Rodriguez laments that former President Donald Trump has "corrupted conservatism for his own benefit."

Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, leading second-place candidate Ron DeSantis by 47 percent in an Emerson College poll released on September 20. But Rodriguez is hoping that ultimately, Trump won't be the nominee.

READ MORE:Republicans in disarray as government shutdown fight looms: report

"We must abandon Trump and his conspiracies and anger," Rodriguez writes. "The 2024 election provides conservatives this opportunity."

READ MORE:'Trump without the guardrails': Journalist warns that Trump 2.0 would be a 'much more radical prospect'

Read Alfredo Rodriguez III's full op-ed for the Herald-Sun at this link.

Trump's viciously anti-worker record in the spotlight ahead of Detroit trip

Posturing as a friend and ally of the working class, former President Donald Trump is planning to travel to Detroit next week amid the historic United Auto Workers strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.

But during his four years in power, Trump took an openly hostile stance toward workers, stacking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with anti-union officials, gutting Labor Department regulations aimed at protecting workers' wages and benefits, and nominating Supreme Court justices and agency heads with long histories of siding with companies over employees—all while delivering huge tax cuts to the rich and big corporations, including major automakers.

"At every turn, Donald Trump and his appointees have made increasing the power of corporations over working people their top priority," the Communications Workers of America wrote while the former president was still in office. "Trump has encouraged freeloaders, made it more difficult to enforce collective bargaining agreements, silenced workers, and restricted the freedom to join unions."

It's no surprise, then, that Trump's 2024 presidential campaign is glossing over the actual substance of his record as the billionaire former president and current Republican frontrunner attempts to insert himself into one of the most significant labor actions in decades.

The New York Timesreported Monday that the Trump team has "produced a radio ad that will begin running on Tuesday in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, trying to cast Mr. Trump as aligned with autoworkers."

The narrator of the spot declares that Trump "has always had their backs," even though he said on at least two occasions during his 2016 campaign that U.S. workers' wages are "too high" and spent much of his administration trying to disempower employees.

Trump is expected to speak to hundreds of workers—including autoworkers and plumbers—during his Detroit visit next Wednesday. According to the Times, the former president is also considering "an appearance at the picket line."

"The last time Donald Trump 'visited' striking union workers, it was to cross our picket line against 'The Apprentice' in 2004," the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees wrote in a social media post on Tuesday.

"Now he wants to visit a UAW picket line? When billionaires show you what they think of labor, believe them," the union added.

It's far from clear that Trump would get a warm reception from the roughly 13,000 autoworkers who are currently on strike in Missouri, Ohio, and Michigan—a number that's expected to grow in the coming days if management does not meet the UAW's demands for substantial wage and benefit improvements.

A majority of the U.S. public supports the strikes, which are the first simultaneous walkouts targeting the Big Three automakers in the UAW's history.

Just two days after the union launched the strikes, NBC News aired an interview with Trump in which the former president lashed out at UAW president Shawn Fain, claiming he is "not doing a good job in representing his union because he's not going to have a union in three years from now."

"Those jobs are all going to be gone because all of those electric cars are going to be made in China," Trump said. "The autoworkers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump."

Fain, the first UAW president directly elected by rank-and-file members, hit back in a statement on Monday.

"Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers," said Fain. "We can't keep electing billionaires and millionaires that don't have any understanding what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to get by and expecting them to solve the problems of the working class."

"Donald Trump's anti-worker, anti-union record is one of the key reasons Michigan rejected Trump in 2020."

Reports that Trump is considering a picket-line visit have generated some consternation among Democratic lawmakers and strategists, who fear that the former president is " outmaneuvering" Biden on the autoworker strike.

The day the walkouts began, Biden—whose NLRB has fought to strengthen workers' rights—said the Big Three automakers "should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW" and announced he would dispatch Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House senior adviser Gene Sperling to Detroit to support the contract negotiations, a move that reportedly frustrated UAW leaders wary of any outside intervention in the high-stakes talks.

The Biden administration has since decided against sending Su and Sperling to Detroit.

The Washington Post's Jeff Stein reported earlier this week that Biden is facing "increasing pressure from some Democratic lawmakers to do something none of his predecessors appear to have done in office: join striking workers walking a picket line."

"Numerous Democrats in Michigan and around the country have expressed concern as Biden's likely rival in next year's election, former president Donald Trump, tries to woo union voters and weaken a crucial Democratic constituency by making his own visit to a strike site," Stein wrote. (Biden beat Trump 57%-40% among members of union households nationwide in 2020.)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) told the Post that she believes "the UAW family would love the most powerful person in the world—the president of the United States—to come and hold a sign in solidarity with them."

"But I hope he does it in a way where he actually sits down and has a roundtable with some key people, and really listens to how hard it’s been," Tlaib added. "Of course, the president coming would be extremely important. But people want someone who's advocating for them and demanding a form of economic justice for them and their families—to come in solidarity."

Politicoreported Tuesday that "Biden's team has privately weighed whether to dispatch a top lieutenant to the picket line to stand alongside the UAW workers," but a decision has yet to be made.

One Democratic strategist, granted anonymity by Politico, expressed concern that Trump "scooped" the Biden administration by announcing a Detroit trip first.

"Now if we announce we're going, it looks like we're just going because of Trump," said a national Democratic strategist. "We waited too long. That's the challenge."

The Biden campaign waved away that assessment, arguing that Trump's visit provides "an opportunity to remind voters across the Midwest that as president he cut taxes for billionaires."

"Donald Trump's anti-worker, anti-union record is one of the key reasons Michigan rejected Trump in 2020 and sent Joe Biden to the White House," Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told Politico. "His failed presidency is defined by auto companies shuttering their doors and shipping American jobs overseas while lining the pockets of the wealthy and big corporations."

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) expressed a similar sentiment in a social media post earlier this week, writing: "Trump is not going to fight for pay increases, pensions, healthcare, benefits, or job security for workers. He will not work to strengthen our domestic auto industry during this transition and he’s not going to fight to keep these jobs in America."

"I hope people see exactly what this is about at a time when this industry and our workers are at a crossroads," Dingell added.

'Trump without the guardrails': Journalist warns that Trump 2.0 would be a 'much more radical prospect'

The events of 2023 are unprecedented in U.S. history. Despite facing four criminal indictments, Donald Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.

Trump and his allies have designed a scheme called Project 2025, which they envision as a radical makeover of the federal government. Trump's critics view it as a blueprint for authoritarianism.

During a Wednesday morning, September 20 appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," journalist Susan Glasser laid out some reasons why a second Trump term would be more dangerous than his January 2017-January 2021 term.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

When Trump was president, some members of his administration infuriated him by pushing back against his extremism — from former White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But under his Project 2025 plan, Glasser told a "Morning Joe" panel, a second Trump Administration would include only unquestioning MAGA loyalists.

Glasser, who co-wrote the new book "The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021" with New York Times reporter Peter Baker, warned, "Imagine Donald Trump without the guardrails..... It's a much more radical prospect than the first term."

Glasser told "Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, "I there (there are) two key words. One of them is 'terminate," as in terminate the Constitution. The other thing is retribution and revenge."

Glasser noted, however, that Trump has some hurdles to overcome before he can make that a reality — including four criminal indictments and winning the election.

READ MORE:Revealed: Trump's Project 2025 agenda aims for 'total control' of the federal government

Watch the video below or at this link.

Morning Joewww.youtube.com

How 'Trump’s psychopathologies' were exposed in Kristen Welker’s Meet the Press interview: journalist

Some of Donald Trump's critics have been cautioning journalists against treating the 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner like a "normal" candidate because he is anything but "normal."

Discussing Kristen Welker's interview with Trump for NBC News' "Meet the Press," the Los Angeles Times' Lorraine Ali warned, "Treating the former reality TV star like any other presidential candidate or victor before him assumes that he's playing by the same set of rules as his predecessors. News flash: He's not…. The sit-down may prove to be a ratings boon for the network, and perhaps even further boost Welker's career, but it failed to cut through the usual low-information bluster of past interviews with the former president."

In a listicle published by the conservative website The Bulwark on September 19, however, journalist Will Saletan defends Welker's interview — arguing that Welker "exposed, up close and at length, Trump's pathologies."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Welker goes on to list them: (1) "the 'rigged' election," (2) "Trump's indictments," (3) "The Georgia phone call," (4) "ignoring his lawyers," and (5) "the 187 minutes."

"If you came to this interview hoping that Welker or NBC News would refute every lie Trump told," Saletan argues, "you'll be disappointed. But I don't think exhaustive refutation is what we need…. People need to be reacquainted with the reality of Trump."

Saletan continues, "They need to be reminded how recklessly he makes decisions, how poorly he controls his impulses, how ruthlessly he lies, and how impervious he is to correction….They need to be reminded what a psychopath he is. That's what Welker accomplished. She has done her job."

READ MORE:'Militant — even militaristic': Why Trump appeals to white evangelicals' view of 'masculinity'

Find Will Saletan's full listicle for The Bulwark at this link.

'He's already toast': DeSantis has 'shrunk so low' that Trump no longer considers him worth attacking

Ron DeSantis' diehard admirers keep hoping that the far-right two-term Florida governor will turn his presidential campaign around, but polls released around mid-September offer little hope. DeSantis trails GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump by 47 percent (Fox News and Harvard University) or 50 percent (Quinnipiac).

In an article published on September 19, the Daily Beast's Jake Lahut stresses that Trump's campaign is easing up in its attacks on DeSantis because they no longer consider him a threat.

A Trump adviser, interviewed on condition of anonymity, told the Beast, "He still comes up in conversation, but the fire is gone because he's already toast. It was fun nuking him, though….. It doesn't take Einstein to see that DeSantis has shrunk so low in the polls, that at this point, he poses as much of a threat of winning the GOP nomination as Asa Hutchinson does."

POLL:Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Another Trump adviser, also quoted anonymously, told the Beast that Trump is now focused on attacking President Joe Biden — not DeSantis.

That adviser argued, "There's obviously a purposeful pivot to the general happening in Trumpworld, which is why you see an increased focus on Biden."

READ MORE:New Hampshire Democrats 'can’t get enough' of Chris Christie’s attacks on Trump: report

Read the Daily Beast's full report at this link (subscription required).

US elections at risk of political violence as guns and distrust in democracy spread: report

A report released Monday highlights how state laws across the U.S. fail to protect voters and election workers from the "growing risk of gun violence" tied to increasing firearm deregulation and sales as well as American political leaders fomenting distrust in democracy.

"The 2024 election will unfold in a transformed legal environment," warns Guns and Voting, the new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and Giffords—a gun violence prevention group founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who survived being shot in the head.

The publication explains that "in 2010, only two states let people carry concealed firearms in public without a permit or background check. Now, 27 states allow 'permitless carry.' While other states have strengthened gun regulations during this period, the Supreme Court has threatened their ability to do so."

"With more guns and more political polarization and violence, states need strong laws to limit risk."

"Last year, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, the court forced the six states with the strongest concealed carry laws, as well as Washington, D.C., to weaken their restrictions," the document details. "And it announced an entirely new test for evaluating the constitutionality of gun regulations, inviting a wave of litigation."

In the states impacted by the right-wing justices' majority opinion—which critics of denounced as "devastating"—applications to carry guns in public climbed after the ruling, and there have been over 450 related court decisions issued since June 2022.

U.S. gun sales and violence have also soared in recent years. As more than 42 million guns were sold in 2020 and 2021, there was a 15% jump in gun-related incidents, a 34% rise in nonfatal gun injuries, and a 28% increase in gun deaths from March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021.

"Meanwhile, American democracy has been facing new and unnerving pressure as the result of a growing election denial movement," the report notes. "In 2020, states expanded voting by mail and early voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. Endeavoring to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump and his allies launched massive disinformation campaigns targeting this expanded access to voting, claiming that the election was 'rigged' and that election administration officials were engaged in fraud."

"This election denial movement has spread beyond Trump and reached into state and local elections, fueled by conspiracy theories about mail voting, drop boxes, election officials, poll workers, and ballot counting," the report continues. "From its inception, threats of political violence marked this movement. The most prominent example, of course, was the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol."

Now, Trump is the top Republican presidential candidate for 2024, despite arguments that inciting the January 6 insurrection constitutionally disqualifies him from holding office again. Trump also faces four ongoing criminal cases, two of which are connected to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The GOP nominee is expected to face Democratic President Joe Biden, who is seeking reelection next year. While Biden has taken some limited executive action on guns and signed a bipartisan safety bill last year, Democrats' efforts to pass sweeping federal gun control and voting rights legislation have been thwarted by congressional Republicans.

"With more guns and more political polarization and violence, states need strong laws to limit risk," the new report argues. "In Bruen, the Supreme Court recognized that prohibitions on guns in 'sensitive places'—and specifically in 'polling places'—were 'presumptively lawful.' Yet today only 12 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit both open and concealed carry of firearms at poll sites."

"Ironically, the states with the strongest gun regulations—which had restricted the ability to carry guns in public generally, rather than prohibiting guns in particular locations—were made most vulnerable in the wake of Bruen," the publication warns. "In fact, only one of the six states that had their laws struck down by the decision specifically prohibited guns in polling places at the time of the decision."

After laying out in detail the recent changes in U.S. gun control legislation, how disinformation has sown the seeds of political violence, and increases in extremism and gun violence—including mass shootings—the report offers policy recommendations.

"States should broadly prohibit firearms, including concealed carry, at and around all voting sites—including drop boxes—and places where votes are being counted and elections are being administered," the document asserts. "In addition to prohibiting guns wherever protected voting or election activity occurs, states can strengthen voter intimidation laws."

Guns and Voting co-author Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of local policy at Giffords Law Center, echoed the report's call to action in a statement Monday.

"Though American elections have remained safe and secure, both political and gun violence pose significant risks to the safety of voters and people bravely conducting our elections," she said. "The 2024 presidential election brings an unprecedented confluence of factors that heighten these risks."

"Ahead of next year's elections, it is critical that states take the steps recommended in the report to ensure that elections remain free from violence," Anderman added. "Our leaders must act to protect our democracy."

Young voters are showing up for 2024 — and election officials need to be ready

We’re about to see a lot of polls (hello 2024!) that talk about “young voters ages 18-29.” But young voters are not a monolithic group, politically or administratively.

That group, after all, contains all of these people: An 18-year-old Ivy League freshman attending college full-time; a 20-year-old bartender working full-time; a 25-year-old single mother attending community college part-time; and a recently-divorced 29-year-old in cosmetology school.

These people likely do have very distinct political views, only partially influenced by their age. All four would also interact with their local election system — from registering to vote to casting a ballot — in very different ways.

All of this has obvious implications for election administration. In 2018, Michigan kicked off same-day voter registration — that resulted in very long lines of newly eligible kids at the two biggest colleges in the state in 2022, when turnout surged. And while many worried the uptick in changes to voting laws across the country would make it harder for young voters to show up, 2022 marked the second highest turnout in a midterm for young voters in three decades.

Last week, I went to California to moderate a panel on youth voter participation for the Education Writers Association and it had an absolutely all-star lineup: Jonathan Collins, a political scientist at Brown who studies youth voter engagement (especially among black voters); Abby Kiesa, the deputy director for the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University; Courtney Hope Britt, chairman of the College Republican Caucus; and Victor Shi, strategy director for Voters of Tomorrow and Joe Biden’s youngest delegate in 2020.

In a five-minute overview of what we mean when we say “youth voters,” Abby pointed out that only about one-fourth of 18-year-olds are enrolled in college, making it important that both campaigns and election offices target younger voters outside of schools as well as inside of them. Similarly, Jonathan offered that people between the ages of 18 and 29 are plugged into the economy in extremely different ways, meaning that their political values — and resulting eagerness to turn out to vote — will necessarily shift over time.

If you aren’t familiar with CIRCLE or with Jonathan’s research, I recommend both. Though, I was most impressed — sorry to my fellow non-youths on the panel! — with Courtney and Victor. Both were clear-eyed about the ideological divide we face and the impact it’s having on our policies. Courtney pointed out that Republicans largely “don’t think about youth voters” at all. That results in policies that ignore and disadvantage youth at the expense of other communities. Victor explained that most youth voters aren’t Democrats or Republicans, having been dissuaded from engaging by general nastiness. Both were also more coherent and thoughtful than many in their parties several years their senior.

We know that the old trope that “young people don’t vote” is becoming less and less true. Jonathan and Abby (and a bunch of other smart people) believe this category of folk will turn out in 2024, and it makes sense to start thinking about their needs now.

Victor and Courtney are, of course, the type of people journalists tend to go to when selecting younger voters to feature in a piece — extremely politically engaged young people who are formally affiliated with a party. They’ll tell you themselves they don’t represent the norm. Victor, for example, pointed out that most people his age are neither Republicans nor Democrats but classify themselves as independents, skewing the types of voices we hear in their generation further. And Courtney, having started higher education as a community college student, reminded everyone in the room that community college students tend to be far more plugged into the community — and therefore more likely to participate in local elections — than the local university community.

Courtney and Victor both stressed the importance of journalists and election officials speaking to a range of “young” audiences, and encouraged these groups to resist the temptation to do college outreach and assume that will reach all young voters in your community.

“Walk up to people in the grocery store!” said Courtney; “Young people go the same places you do — talk to them,” said Victor.

In 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, lowering the federal voting age from 21 to 18. While a majority of Americans supported the move (it followed a pretty public war in which 18-year-old men were drafted), a handful of states — Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Utah — never took any action on ratifying the amendment. South Dakota symbolically ratified the amendment in 2014. Reads the Argus-Leader of the effort, championed by state Sen. Chuck Jones (R-Flandreau): “Jones also might want to look at the 21st Amendment, which repealed prohibition, and also has never been ratified here.”

From Votebeat Arizona: “Where’s Celia?” An Arizona elections official becomes the target of a virtual manhunt by GOP activists on a public records crusade.

From Votebeat Michigan: Intimidation and harassment of Michigan election workers could land violators in prison under new legislation

From Votebeat Texas: What’s at stake in the long-awaited trial over Texas’s sweeping 2021 elections law

Jessica Huseman is Votebeat’s editorial director and is based in Dallas. Contact Jessica at jhuseman@votebeat.org.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

Dem leader: Loss in 2024 GOP primary could weaken DeSantis with the Florida legislature

Would losing the Republican presidential nomination mellow Gov. Ron DeSantis?

The leader of the state House Democrats doesn’t necessarily think so, but she does think the balance of power between the Capitol’s Plaza Level and Fourth Floor might shift.

The Plaza contains the governor’s office; the House and Senate chambers are on the Fourth Floor.

“Tallahassee was broken in a lot of ways before this governor, but this governor in particular has found ways to exploit that brokenness and bend it and wield it to his advantage in a way that we’d not seen before,” Fentrice Driskell, representing the Tampa area in the House, said on a Zoom call with reporters Monday.

“Should DeSantis lose the Republican primary, he comes back here, he’ll have to face all of these problems that he’s either ignored or created in Florida. And I think he comes back to a Legislature as a lame duck [governor] and he’s also weaker. So, I don’t know that the Legislature is going to play ball with him in the same way that they have previously,” she continued.

DeSantis will retain the power to veto budget items dear to individual House members and senators, retaining that leverage, Driskell said. And the Republican Party will retain control of the “triumvirate” of Florida governance: the executive, including governor’s office and independently elected Cabinet members, the House, and the Senate, she added.

“There are no real checks and balances in terms of making sure that the voices of all Floridians are heard,” she said.

Republicans won supermajorities in the state House and Senate last year. They used their power to push through severe restrictions on abortion, permitless carry rights for gun owners, and insurance reforms that have done little to control premiums while crimping policyholders’ ability to sue for non- or underpayment of claims.

DeSantis trails Donald Trump in the latest FiveThirtyEight average of national polls, with 14.2% support to 55.5% for Trump.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

Trump could win even if he loses the popular vote, Electoral College and 'all his legal cases': analysis

Former President Donald Trump could "lose the popular vote, lose the electoral college, lose all his legal cases and still end up president of the United States in an entirely legal manner" in 2024, The Guardian’s Stephen Marche warns in a Monday opinion column. "It's called a contingent election."

Marche explains, "A contingent election is the process put in place to deal with the eventuality in which no presidential candidate reaches the threshold of 270 votes in the Electoral College. In the early days of the American republic, when the duopoly of the two-party system was neither desired nor expected, this process was essential.

Marche notes, "There have been two contingent elections in US history. The first was in 1825. The year before, Andrew Jackson, the man from the $20 bill, had won the plurality of votes and the plurality of Electoral College votes as well, but after extensive, elaborate negotiations, John Quincy Adams took the presidency mostly by offering Henry Clay, who had come third in the election, secretary of state. Jackson, though shocked, conceded gracefully. He knew his time would come. His supporters used the taint of Adams' 'corrupt bargain' with Clay to ensure Jackson's victory in 1828." According to Marche, a similar scenario could play out next year.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

"The possibility of the Electoral College releasing a confusing result, or being unable to certify a satisfying result by two months after the election, is quite real," Marche writes. "The Electoral College, even at its best, is an arcane system, unworthy of a 21st-century country. Maine and Nebraska don't necessarily have every elector go to the party that won the state as a whole. There have been, up to 2020, 165 faithless electors in American history – electors who didn't vote for the candidate they had pledged to vote for."

Marche recalls, "In 1836, Virginia faithless electors forced a contingent election for vice president. If the 270 marker has not been reached by 6th January, the contingent election takes place automatically. And the contingent election isn’t decided by the popular votes or the number of Electoral College votes. Each state delegation in the House of Representatives is given a single vote for president. Each state delegation in the Senate is given a single vote for vice president."

Marche adds, "All that would be required, from a technical, legal standpoint, is for enough Electoral College votes to be uncounted or uncertified for the contingent election to take place, virtually guaranteeing a Republican victory and hence a Trump presidency. It would be entirely legal and constitutional. It just wouldn't be recognizably democratic to anyone. Remember that autocracies have elections. It doesn't matter who votes. It matters who counts."

If this were to occur, Marche concludes, "The real danger of 2024 isn't even the possibility of a Trump presidency. It's that the electoral system, in its arcane decrepitude, will produce an outcome that won't be credible to anybody. The danger of 2024 is that it will be the last election."

READ MORE: Here's why Trump finally met his match with the Georgia judge overseeing that trial: report

View Marche's editorial at this link.

Why the 14th Amendment may not disqualify 'loathsome' Trump from running for president

Some of Donald Trump critics have been arguing that he is disqualified from running for president in 2024 under Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment. And those critics aren't necessarily Democrats.

According to retired Judge J. Michael Luttig — a staunch conservative — Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results disqualify him because Section 3 prohibits "insurrection or rebellion."

Another conservative legal figure who has made a Section 3 argument against Trump is Steven Calabresi, a founder of the right-wing Federalist Society. But Calabresi, the New York Times' Adam Liptak reports, has changed his mind.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Calabesi, who teaches at Northwestern University in the Chicago area, recently said, "Trump is ineligible to be on the ballot, and each of the 50 state secretaries of state has an obligation to print ballots without his name on them."

But Calabresi is now saying that he no longer believes Section 3 applies to Trump.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal on September 12, Calabresi said, "Former President Donald Trump isn't covered by the disqualification clause, and he is eligible to be on the ballot in the 2024 presidential election."

Calabresi said he changed his mind because of an argument by former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush.

READ MORE:A 'risky' 14th Amendment strategy to get rid of Trump could have unintended dire consequences: legal expert

Writing for the libertarian Reason on September 16, Calabresi argued, "Trump is loathsome, but because of a technicality in the drafting of the disqualification clause of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the clause does not apply to Trump. So, Trump's name should appear on election ballots in the 2024 presidential election, but I strongly urge my fellow Americans to vote against Trump, almost no matter what else is the alternative."

READ MORE:Don't bet on the disqualification of Donald Trump

The New York Times' full report is available at this link (subscription required).

Backfire: Fear of 'extremists' is bolstering California Democrats in the state's MAGA-strong rural counties

Before the 1990s, California was very much a red state. Republicans carried California in every presidential election during the 1980s; Orange County south of Los Angeles was a major hotbed of GOP activism; and the Golden State was home to conservative Republican governors who included Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian.

In 2023, however, California is a deep blue state.

California still has its GOP-leaning districts, including the one where House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has had no problem getting reelected. But according to reporting in the Sacramento Bee, Democrats have been making headway even in a rural Northern California area that favored former President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

"Rural north state Democrats have long understood that the real action for their party is in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Sacramento," the Bee explains in an article published on September 18. "Even though the region north of Sacramento is geographically enormous, its population and wealth simply aren't enough to influence state politics. But these days, rural Democrats, in Siskiyou especially, feel surrounded by increasingly empowered conspiracy theorists, separatists, and extremists. They sense that grassroots organizing is more important than ever."

In Northern California's rural Siskiyou County, the Bee reports, Democrats have "garnered some seemingly small, but consequential, wins by organizing at the grassroots level for local candidates."

READ MORE:DeSantis' agreement to debate Gavin Newsom 'a sign of' his 'desperation': Miami mayor

Read the Sacramento Bee's full report at this link.

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