What Would Nellis Say?

August 2022

How abortion rights organizers won in Kansas:  Horse parades and canvassing.

 

When abortion rights organizer Jae Gray sent canvassers out into the Kansas City suburbs for the state’s upcoming referendum, they armed them with talking points aimed at all voters — not just liberals according to an August 3, 2022 Washington Post report.

 

“We definitely used messaging strategies that would work regardless of party affiliation,” said Gray, a field organizer for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom. “We believe every Kansan has a right to make personal health-care decisions without government overreach — that’s obviously a conservative-friendly talking point. We were not just talking to Democrats.”

 

The effort paid off. On Tuesday August 2nd, Kansas voters decisively defeated a ballot measure that would have set aside abortion protections in the state’s constitution, paving the way for additional restrictions or even a total ban. That victory was fueled by an opposition coalition that mobilized a large swath of the state’s electorate — including Republican and independent voters — to turn out in historic numbers.

 

The stunning defeat of a well-organized antiabortion movement in a conservative state surprised many observers and even the organizers themselves, who said they capitalized on voter anger after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June. Voter registrations in Kansas spiked dramatically in the hours after the decision was announced, according to KSVotes.org, an online voter registration service.

 

Nearly 60 percent of voters ultimately rejected the amendment, with more than 900,000 turning out to the polls — nearly twice as many as the 473,438 who turned out in the 2018 primary election.

 

“Kansas turned out in historic numbers ... because we found common ground among diverse voting blocks and mobilized Kansans across the political spectrum to vote no,” Rachel Sweet, the campaign manager for Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, said at a news conference Wednesday.

 

Sweet said that organizers mobilized Republican and nonaffiliated voters through partnerships with groups like Mainstream Coalition, a nonpartisan advocacy group based in Johnson County, Kan., a populous Kansas City suburb that turned blue for the first time in the 2020 presidential contest. About 1 in 5 Republican primary voters turned out in favor of abortion rights, a Washington Post analysis shows.

 

“It’s a referendum on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and as a society we don’t want to go backwards with our laws,” said Mandi Hunter, 46, a Republican attorney from Johnson County who voted “no” to the amendment. “People don’t want the government in charge or ruling on their personal lives.”

 

Kansans for Constitutional Freedom also reached out to voters in more rural and conservative areas of the state, Sweet said. An abortion rights rally in western Kansas earlier this week featured horses, a Dolly Parton playlist and T-shirts with a pink uterus in a cowboy hat. The slogan? “Vote Neigh.”

 

Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, 21, a Dodge City resident and the event’s organizer, said that the Vote Neigh campaignwas designed as a fun way to reach younger, rural voters. They did well, he said. “No” voters won the state’s populated urban counties, but also some smaller rural counties such as Saline and Geary as well, results showed.

What would Nellis say?

The Roe vs Wade decree is just the first of what will be many future decisions to reverse every piece of legislation that benefitted the rights of women or minorities passed over the last hundred years as payback to the ultra-right-wing evangelical community for their support for the Republicans since Billy Graham delivered the Christian vote for Richard Nixon more than a half-century ago.

Expect future restrictions on birth control, invitro fertilization, gay and interracial marriage, women’s and minority voting rights, etc. The fascist judges, installed by Trump and his Republican Congress, are just getting started with their campaign to restrict individual rights and cementing their control on power.

Recent speeches and policy papers by Republican politicians and think tanks suggest a renewed effort to eliminate or “privatize” Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security if they take control of the federal government after the next two elections.

While the vote in Kansas offers hope that real Americans are beginning to grasp the depth and depravity of the Republican party and the Supreme Court, voters need to understand that only you can prevent these people from occupying any office from your school board to the Oval Office. 

Your vote is our only defense against the fascist autocracy the Republicans are trying to install! Get involved! Stand up for your democracy!

Fox News, Once Home to Trump, Now Often Ignores Him.

The former president hasn’t been interviewed on the Rupert Murdoch-owned cable network in more than 100 days, and other Republicans often get the attention he once did.

It’s been more than 100 days since Donald J. Trump was interviewed on Fox News according to a July 29, 2022 New York Times report.

The network, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch and boosted Mr. Trump’s ascension from real estate developer and reality television star to the White House, is now often bypassing him in favor of showcasing other Republicans.

In the former president’s view, according to two people who have spoken to him recently, Fox’s ignoring him is an affront far worse than running stories and commentary that he has complained are “too negative.” The network is effectively displacing him from his favorite spot: the center of the news cycle.

On July 22, as Mr. Trump was rallying supporters in Arizona and teasing the possibility of running for president in 2024, saying “We may have to do it again,” Fox News chose not to show the event — the same approach it has taken for nearly all of his rallies this year. Instead, the network aired Laura Ingraham’s interview with a possible rival for the 2024 Republican nomination, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. It was the first of two prime-time interviews Fox aired with Mr. DeSantis in the span of five days; he appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show shortly after talking to Ms. Ingraham.

 

When Mr. Trump spoke to a gathering of conservatives in Washington this week, Fox did not air the speech live. It instead showed a few clips after he was done speaking. That same day, it did broadcast live — for 17 minutes — a speech by former Vice President Mike Pence.

 

Mr. Trump has complained recently to aides that even Sean Hannity, his friend of 20 years, doesn’t seem to be paying him much attention anymore, one person who spoke to him recalled. The snubs are not coincidental, according to several people close to Mr. Murdoch’s Fox Corporation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the company’s operations. This month, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, both owned by Mr. Murdoch, published blistering editorials about Mr. Trump's actions concerning the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the Capitol.

 

The skepticism toward the former president extends to the highest levels of the company, according to two people with knowledge of the thinking of Mr. Murdoch, the chairman, and his son Lachlan, the chief executive. It also reflects concerns that Republicans in Washington, like Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, have expressed to the Murdochs about the potential harm Mr. Trump could cause to the party’s chances in upcoming elections, especially its odds of taking control of the Senate.

What would Nellis say?

Murdoch’s fascist network reversed course from supporting even more radical candidates like Florida’s DeSantis and Texas’ Abbott, after the recent FBI operation to retrieve classified documents from Trump’s compound in Florida. Initial reports indicate that the stolen papers that were kept in an unsecured storeroom in Mar-a-Logo, included top-secret information about our nuclear capabilities. 

 

While the Hate Network and the Republican party have backed away from the former president since the invasion of our Capitol, they were suddenly vocal in their defense of his larceny and defiance of national security norms with condemnations of a judge’s ruling supporting the collection of these documents to protect our national security. 

 

Recent reports indicate that the members of the radical base of the Republican Party are calling for armed reprisals against Federal agents and a second civil war to return our country to the white-supremacist rule accepted in 1850. 

 

Only you can prevent American fascism from destroying our democracy! Vote as if our children and their children's future depend on you.

We Are Living in Richard Nixon’s America. Escaping It Won’t Be Easy.

It seems so naïve now, that moment in 2020 when Democratic insiders started to talk of Joe Biden as a transformational figure. But there were reasons to believe. To hold off a pandemic-induced collapse, the federal government had injected $2.2 trillion into the economy, much of it in New Deal-style relief. The summer’s protests altered the public’s perception of race’s role in the criminal justice system. And analyses were pointing to Republican losses large enough to clear the way for the biggest burst of progressive legislation since the 1960s.

Two years on, the truth is easier to see. We aren’t living in Franklin Roosevelt’s America or Lyndon Johnson’s or Donald Trump’s or even Joe Biden’s. We’re living in Richard Nixon’s according to Kevin Boyle’s July 31stguest essay in the New York Times.  (Boyle is the author of “The Shattering:  American in the 1960s.”)

Not the America of Nixon’s last years, though there are dim echoes of it in the Jan. 6 hearings, but the nation he built before Watergate brought him down, where progressive possibilities would be choked off by law and order’s toxic politics and a Supreme Court he’d helped to shape.

He already had his core message set in the early days of his 1968 campaign. In a February speech in New Hampshire, he said: “When a nation with the greatest tradition of the rule of law is torn apart by lawlessness when a nation which has been the symbol of equality of opportunity is torn apart by racial strife … then I say it’s time for new leadership in the United States of America.”

There it is: the fusion of crime, race and fear that Nixon believed would carry him to the presidency. Over the course of that year, he gave his pitch a populist twist by saying that he was running to defend all those hard-working, law-abiding Americans who occupied “the silent center.”

A month later, after a major Supreme Court ruling on school integration, he quietly told key supporters that if he was elected, he would nominate only justices who would oppose the court’s progressivism. And on the August night he accepted the Republican nomination, he gave it all a colorblind sheen. “To those who say that law and order is the code word for racism, there and here is a reply,” he said. “Our goal is justice for every American.”

In practice, it didn’t work that way. Within two years of his election, Nixon had passed two major crime bills laced with provisions targeting poor Black communities. One laid the groundwork for a racialized war on drugs. The other turned the criminal code of Washington, D.C., into a model for states to follow by authorizing the district’s judges to issue no-knock warrants, allowing them to detain suspects they deemed dangerous and requiring them to impose mandatory minimum sentences on those convicted of violent crimes.

 

And the nation’s police would have all the help they needed to restore law and order. Lyndon Johnson sent about $20 million in aid to police departments and prison systems in his last two years in office. Nixon sent $3 billion. Up went departments’ purchases of military-grade weapons, their use of heavily armed tactical patrols, the number of officers they put on the streets. And up went the nation’s prison population, by 16 percent, while the Black share of the newly incarcerated reached its highest level in 50 years.

Nixon’s new order reached into the Supreme Court, too, just as he said it would. His predecessors had made their first nominations to the court by the fluid standards presidents tended to apply to the process: Dwight Eisenhower wanted a moderate Republican who seemed like a statesman, John Kennedy someone with the vigor of a New Frontiersman, Johnson an old Washington hand who understood where his loyalties lay. For his first appointment, in May 1969, Nixon chose a little-known federal judge, Warren Burger, with an extensive record supporting prosecutorial and police power over the rights of the accused.

For liberals, Boyle writes, nothing matters more, though, than shattering Nixon’s fusion of race, crime and fear. To do that, liberals must take up violent crime as a defining issue, something they have been reluctant to do, and then relentlessly rework it and try to break the power of its racial dynamic by telling the public an all-too-obvious truth: The United

States is harassed by violent crime because it’s awash in guns, because it has no effective approach to treating mental illness and the epidemic of drug addiction, and because it accepts an appalling degree of inequality and allows entire sections of the country to tumble into despair.

What would Nellis say?

It seems obvious that Republican propaganda about supporting the police and the military has always been a disgusting lie. Most recent evidence includes the brutal attack on our Capitol that left five people dead and one-hundred-and-fifty uniformed officers in the hospital with severe injuries inflicted by the Republican’s henchmen bent on overturning the last presidential election. Not to be outdone, Republican Senators celebrated (with cheers and high-fives) the defeat of the PACT ACT to provide medical care to US servicemen and women who suffered catastrophic illnesses from exposure to toxic fumes from massive burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan during those wars.

The fascists don’t care about our police officers, our military volunteers, or the American people. They are dedicated to destroying our democracy in favor of an autocracy inflicted by a federation of wealthy tyrants who are determined to control power and commerce in our country.

And that’s the point! It is OUR country and only you can save us from American fascism. Vote as if the future depends on it, because it does!