I promise I will get to the good news (and there is a lot) but first, I wanted to talk a little about this past week and how hard it is has been. It is a scary time to be Jewish in America. There is no way to sugarcoat that. I am scared for the physical and emotional safety of my kids. I am scared of what will come next.
All of us Jews carry with us the scars of the Holocaust and of thousands of years of pogroms and attacks.
Many of us have found in America a home in which we could feel safe.
I’d like to say that this all changed for me this past weekend, but it didn’t. It changed when Trump got elected. He ran a campaign filled with hatred for the “other” including ads with antisemitic images. His supporters flooded Jewish journalists with hate mail and death threats. It was scary.
I told myself that he wouldn’t win. I told myself that the American people would reject this and I would be able to continue to feel safe. But, as we all know, that didn’t happen.
I am scared. There are moments when the terror is overwhelming. We have seen this before and we know how it usually ends for us.
But there are also moments of incredible hope and love.
Last Sunday, a dear friend organized a memorial here in WNY for the Pittsburgh victims. A big turnout wasn’t expected since it was so last minute. However, over 500 people showed up. It was standing room only. Jews from all the local reformed and conservative synagogues packed the hall and prayed together.
But what filled my heart and gave me the first hope I had felt in 36 hours, were the many, many non-Jews there with us. A nun offered prayers. I watched a group of Sikh men and women come in and sit respectfully in a pew together. Two Imams came and offered prayers and spoke. Two African-American Ministers spoke. And they all spoke about how we all stand together. They all spoke about how an attack on us was an attack on them. They all spoke about how we are all united.
And I sobbed. I sobbed at the joy and relief in not being alone.
Jews have been persecuted and murdered for thousands of years. And although there have always been a few righteous gentiles who stood up for us, we have mostly been alone in our struggle. When my father and his parents had to escape from Germany and then France, no neighbors stood up for them. No community raised its voice alongside them. They left alone; terrified and defiant.
This is the first time, in our very long history, that we have so many allies. This is the first time when a majority of people in a country have turned out and said “not on our watch” and “we stand with you”. To see all the members of the Pittsburgh Steelers show up for a Jewish funeral was amazing. To see the Pittsburgh Penguins players all wear patches with their logo superimposed on a Star of David was amazing. To read about Muslims raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for their Jewish neighbors was amazing. To feel the love in a WNY temple on a cold October night was amazing.
I can’t tell you what that means to a people who have almost always stood alone at times of trouble, shunned and ignored by most around them.
America may be hurting and there is plenty of reason for fear and worry (and I feel both) but I believe that the heart of America is still the America that continues to move to a more perfect union.
And it is not just Jews who are finding allies in America. The partisan divide on racial attitudes is actually not led by increasing racism of Republicans but increasing realizations on the part of Democrats that inequality is a problem and needs to be addressed. Between 2009 and July 2017, the number of White Republicans believing this stayed steady in the 30 — 40% area but White Democrats jumped from 57% to 81%.
White Democrats have almost caught up to Black Democrats:
Support for gay marriage is at record numbers in particular among Democrats:
These changes have affected attitudes about women as well. Nowadays, 97 percent of Democratic men and 96 percent of Democratic women agreed that sexism is a problem in American society. And even with antisemitic acts on the rise, the percentage of Americans who hold Antisemitic view is still at an almost record low.
So we live in a country where we are actually seeing enormous and impressive changes in attitudes towards oppressed groups, in particular among our party.
But we have a group in charge that is encouraging and empowering the worse aspects of our society. They present a real threat.
We have to show them and show America that love wins. We have to do it this Tuesday.
For me, for other Jews, for people of color, for the LGBTQ community, for Muslims, for immigrants, for women, for Native Americans, for people with disabilities, and for anyone else not on the top of this pyramid Trump believes in, Tuesday will bring an answer as to whether this is still our land as well.
Please, please please continue in these last days to do all you can to bring this home, to ensure that America remains the America that is for all of us. Call or stop by your local Democratic headquarters to see what you can do.
Do something. Do More. And to get you motivated, here is some evidence that, with our hard work, we can have the Blue Wave we have all dreamed of:
Blue Wave Rising
This week, MoveOn members will send more than 20 million text message to targeted voters. That is, on its own, nearly as many voter contacts as the 2012 Obama re-election campaign made in the climactic last four days of that contest. As of the end of October, the Beto O’Rourke Senate campaign reported that its supporters alone had made 19 million phone calls to Texas voters, and that they were generating more than one million text messages a day to voters. With 435 House races, a third of the Senate, and thousands of local races being contested, there is clearly a huge wave of campaign and grassroots organizing underway to mobilize voters.
“My first instinct is it’s clearly the biggest grassroots groundswell in our lifetimes for a midterm,” Anna Galland, the executive director of MoveOn, told me. “An obvious difference is that ’08 efforts were largely centralized and tracked by the campaign (hence even being able to look at that number of volunteer signups in MyBo — and many organizations, like MoveOn, pushed our members to volunteer directly with the campaign, scrapping plans for independent canvass efforts), while the Resistance and broader progressive mobilization has what, thousands?, of nodes — organizations, Facebook pages, local unnamed groups, etc.”
Again, as a point of comparison, in 2012, the Obama re-election campaign claimed a total of 2.2 million volunteers on its rolls. If Nussbaum and the Movement Cooperative’s data is right, the left has essentially rebuilt Obama’s lost army, and in a form that will keep going. That, in and of itself, is a huge achievement. Indeed, whatever the results of the election next Tuesday, it may be the most important civic accomplishment of the last two years.
First, a coalition of groups led by the Lakota People’s Law Project and the national Native American group Four Directions have been furiously helping people get proper IDs free of charge. According to the Associated Press, they’ve helped more than 2,000 people get them.
Second, Four Directions is helping tribes create residential addresses where none have existed before. Using satellite imagery, voters can point to the locations of their homes on a map and are assigned unique address identifiers—even on the spot. On Election Day, tribal officials will be stationed at every polling site in every reservation in the state, with tribal letterhead in hand, ready to assign addresses.
“This is democracy at work!” Four Directions tweeted on Oct. 30. “Voter engagement is high. We have DOUBLED Absentee votes at Standing Rock as of 3:47 pm today.”
Regardless of the result of this year’s election, North Dakota voter suppression has backfired: Thousands of newly credentialed Native American voters have shifted the electoral math in North Dakota.
Good News for Arizona:
BREAKING AZ Green Party's U.S. Senate candidate Angela Green tells #12News she's dropping out & throwing support to @kyrstensinema. Green was polling up to 6% in toss-up race. https://t.co/WwxN7M13b0 #AZSEN pic.twitter.com/GA4tfSyAoO
— BrahmResnik (@brahmresnik) November 1, 2018
After years of losses—and right in time for 2020—Democrats could be headed for some pretty big pickups of governor’s mansions, state legislatures, and secretary of state offices.
Right now, Governing magazine says that 10 governors’ seats currently held by Republicans are up for grabs, while only two seats currently held by Democrats are competitive. Democrats are ahead in several of the 10.
SOS→ Democrats could take over from Republicans in fully six states in which 1) the secretary of state is in fact the official who runs elections, and 2) it’s a state that will or could really matter in 2020.
n the Wisconsin State Senate, Democrats need to pick up three seats for control. In the Florida State Senate, they need six. In the Arizona State Senate, they need four. In the Colorado State Senate, the number is two. In Michigan the GOP’s current margin is 16 but it’s apparently considered not impossible that the Democrats could flip it, and the state house. And in New York, Democrats have to flip just one seat to capture the state Senate, which would give them full control of the state house and force Governor Andrew Cuomo to start actually passing liberal legislation instead of hiding behind the state Senate.
Virtually every one of these races I’ve mentioned is in a state that either will be or could be very important in the effort to beat Donald Trump in 2020 and in the post-census drawing of new congressional district lines.
In 2014, in Iowa, Democrats had a 1.9% advantage in turnout share among early/absentee votes. In this year's election, thus far the Dems have an 11.9% advantage, built largely from a surge in turnout among infrequent voting Democrats coming out early. https://t.co/EehdamfnTu pic.twitter.com/GlfuWTPkgI
— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) October 24, 2018
Snap, the company behind the popular social media service, said on Tuesday that it had helped more than 400,000 users register to vote during a recent two-week period. Much of the activity, the company said, was in key battleground states like Texas, Florida and Georgia.
Snapchat, which is popular among teenagers and young adults, pushed people 18 and over to register by adding a button about doing so on each user’s profile page. The company also sent video messages to all of those users urging them to register.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) October 31, 2018
Independents are breaking towards Democrats in the New York Times Upshot polls, and they are breaking heavily.
And Independents are voting:
In raw numbers there are more new early votes coming independent/non-partisan voters (1,306,154) than from Republicans (1,146,560), with the largest number of new early votes coming from Democrats (1,825,245) — all relative to 2014.
— Geoff Garin (@geoffgarin) November 2, 2018
And so are Latinos in Florida:
— Latino Decisions (@LatinoDecisions) October 30, 2018
And great legal news in the fight for Georgia:
A federal judge has declined to pause an injunction she ordered that changes how Georgia elections officials evaluate certain absentee ballots.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp had requested that U.S. District Court Judge Leigh Martin May stay the injunction she issued last week while Kemp’s legal team appeals the decision regarding signature mismatches to a higher court.
And young people are voting:
18-29 year old turnout in early voting, compared to this point in 2014, is:
– 5x higher in Texas
– 5x higher in Nevada
– 4x higher in Georgia
– 3x higher in Arizonahttps://t.co/58E7PHqobF
— Reid Wilson (@PoliticsReid) November 1, 2018
and this racist a-hole is getting competition for his seat:
Democrat J.D. Scholten, the former baseball player challenging GOP Rep. Steve King in Iowa, has seen a last second wave of cash come his way as King has sparked new controversy this fall.
Scholten raised over $641,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday alone, his campaign shared with POLITICO. The fundraising spike came after a poll published Tuesday by the Democratic firm Change Research found Scholten within 1 percentage point of King. (The King campaign released an internal poll showing the Republican leading by a comfortable 18 points.)
In NYS Republicans will soon be outnumbered by independents (like in California):
New figures released Thursday show that Democrats added 158,000 new voters over the last half-year, while the GOP managed to eke out a gain of just 1,435.
All told, there are now nearly 5.8 million registered Democrats in New York, compared with just 2.6 million Republicans, the state Board of Elections data show.
The year-to-year comparison is even worse for the GOP, which had nearly 41,000 fewer registered voters in November 2018 than it did in November 2017.
A generation ago — when Republicans regularly won statewide races — Democrats maintained a 3-to-2 advantage over the GOP. “Now it’s better than 2-to-1,” Greenberg said.
There are now almost as many unaffiliated voters in New York — about 2.5 million — as there are registered Republicans.
Happiness Break #1
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 1, 2018
Trump May Not Be Helping Trump
The more the president decries immigration, the more Americans support it
Strikingly, however, public opinion data suggest that Trump has failed to convince the public on immigration and has even helped to turn the public against his positions — an effect that may grow stronger as his anti-immigration campaign intensifies.
The evidence suggests Trump has failed to convince most Americans to support his views on immigration. Since he took office, for instance, the number of Americans who say immigration is a good thing for the country has reached record highs in Gallup polls.
A bunch of his stops are in college towns, and ones full of in-state students who overwhelmingly will be registered to vote in the very Senate races Republicans are targeting.
Let’s be honest: There’s very little obvious reason why states that Trump won by massive margins—like Indiana, Missouri, Montana and West Virginia—should still be in play for Democrats at all, especially after the Kavanaugh nomination, which unified various chunks of the GOP in a way nothing prior had during Trump’s tenure.
That they are still being heavily contested speaks to the fact that the GOP in the era of Trump really isn’t that saleable to most voters— even those in areas that overwhelmingly decided in 2016 that he was the better of two bad choices.
This really isn’t the way Republicans running with — or in some cases, away — from Trump want to be spending the closing days of a campaign on which control of Congress hinges.
We all know challenges of suburban R’s. The bloc of competitive R held districts less impacted by POTUS thus far are those w high # of immigrants. So now POTUS, out of nowhere, brings birthright citizenship up. Besides being basic tenet of America, it’s political malpractice.
— Ryan Costello (@RyanCostello) October 30, 2018
Happiness Break #2
Russia Russia Russia
If even the senate committee is on this, the NRA is in trouble:
The Senate intelligence committee has asked the National Rifle Association to provide documents on its connections to Russia—including documents related to a 2015 trip some of its top leaders made to Moscow. That’s according to two sources briefed on the committee’s activities.
The special counsel investigation is pressing witnesses about longtime Trump ally Roger Stone’s private interactions with senior campaign officials and whether he had knowledge of politically explosive Democratic emails that were released in October 2016, according to people familiar with the probe.
“Stone said he may have briefly discussed WikiLeaks’s email releases with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his longtime business partner, but only after Manafort stepped down from his post in August.” https://t.co/tTyWg6sf0D
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) October 31, 2018
Newly revealed messages show how the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr. sold himself to Trump campaign advisers as a potential conduit to WikiLeaks, which published thousands of emails in 2016 damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi returned to Washington, D.C., again this week for more closed-door meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, and on Friday is scheduled to make a second appearance before the federal grand jury probing Russia interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, ABC News has learned.
Corsi, who until recently served as the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the controversial far-right media outlet Infowars, is one of at least 11 individuals associated with political operative Roger Stone — a longtime and close ally of President Donald Trump — who have been contacted by the special counsel.
Roger Stone’s time is coming y’all. I would bet just about anything on his coming indictment. Innocent people don’t tend to change their stories this much:
Roger Stone said he didn't talk to any Russians. He did.
He said he didn't talk WikiLeaks with Trump campaign officials. He did.
He said he didn't talk directly to WikiLeaks. He did.
He said Credico was his only source. He wasn't.https://t.co/TUsWKAbWcf
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) November 2, 2018
With each indictment, the special counsel is inching closer and closer to the president. Stone spoke regularly to Trump for years, worked for Trump on the campaign for a time and continued to communicate with him thereafter, including when Trump ascended to the White House. It will be much harder for Trump to continue his two-pronged collusion denials if someone as close to him as Stone is indicted.
The risk to the president would deepen if Stone chose to cooperate. Stone is defiant now. But so was Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
If Stone were to cooperate, he could have much to say. We know that Trump campaign officials had at least 87 reported contacts with Russia-linked individuals and officials during the 2016 election cycle.
After next week’s election, Mueller could also ratchet up the pressure on Trump by producing his report on collusion or obstruction of justice. On the former, the special counsel has reportedly turned his focus to Trump, submitting questions to him to answer in writing. On the latter, there is already substantial evidence of presidential obstruction. Speculation has been intense that an obstruction report could also drop after the 60-day election blackout ends.
Great Legal News
A federal judge on Friday denied President Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he is in violation of the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments, a decision that paves the way for plaintiffs to seek information from his business as it relates to his D.C. hotel.
This is the second civil case in which Trump’s business is now subject to discovery, after Trump agreed Tuesday to produce portions of his calendar from 2007 and 2008 in a defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos.
The Supreme Court refused Friday to delay an upcoming trial in which a number of states and civil rights organizations allege that there was an improper political motive in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
The trial is scheduled for next week in New York. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch would have granted the Trump administration’s request to delay the trial.
So not only does this important lawsuit go forward, but Roberts and Kavanaugh voted with the liberals on this. Pretty sweet.
and check this out:
The Supreme Court Friday night refused to halt a novel lawsuit filed by young Americans that attempts to force the federal government to take action on climate change, turning down a request from the Trump administration to stop it before trial.
The suit, filed in 2015 by 21 young people who argue that the failure of government leaders to combat climate change violates their constitutional right to a clean environment, is before a federal judge in Oregon. It had been delayed while the Supreme Court considered the emergency request from the government.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch would have stopped the suit.
I know this court is terrible, but even as terrible as it is, there are still signs of fairness and real judicial non-partisanship. And THAT is amazingly good news. I don’t think this court will protect Trump from Mueller. I really don’t.
Finally, if you have some time, this monologue was lovely:
That is it for today. NOW GET OUT THERE AND BRING US HOME FOR TUESDAY!
I remain lucky and proud to be in this with you ❤️ ✊ ❤️