As soon as it became clear that a true Blue Wave had hit, some GNR readers asked us if we planned to continue with the Good News Roundups.
At first, this surprised me. I understand that taking the House is enormous and the inroads we made in state houses and elected judges will have impacts that reverberate far into the future. But Trump is still president. And, if he gets impeached or steps down, then Pence will be president. We still have McConnell running the Senate. We still have a tilted supreme court. How could people think we no longer need good news?
But the more I thought about it, the more I understood. The purpose of the GNR over the last two years has not really been to report the news in dark times. It has been to show that there is hope that we can win. It has been to show that, if we work hard, we can turn things around. It has been to remind readers (and writers) that we are the majority.
And the midterm was confirmation of very single bit of that.
Then I guess it is a real question: if we all know that blue work can bring a blue wave, then what is the underlying goal of the GNR? Sure, we can bring good news, but do people really need that anymore?
I think there is still a place, even if, for me, the underlying goal has changed. Two years ago, people were unsure of whether we could win at all. We tried here, in our little way, to show how we can and were winning.
Now, people need to be reminded that not only can we win, but GOODNESS can win.
Decency, honesty, justice, democracy, love, and just plain goodness can and will win. They do every day.
It would be easy to decide that the only way to beat Trump is by playing his game. It would be tempting to fight fire with fire and get into the gutter to beat them. It would be easy to decide to get the Republicans back for their dishonesty by steamrolling over their rights when we take over. But there are two important reasons not to do that.
First, we can’t win that way. Hatred and lies and anger and fear are their tools. They will always use them better than us. We will look weak and small if we try. And we will lose.
Second, if we do those things and win, what have we won? If we become them, what will America be?
Democrats have to be better because America needs us to be. You and I — all of us — have to choose love. We have to take the high road. That doesn’t mean not fighting back when attacked. In fact, it MEANS fighting back against awful lies because we stand for something better. We don’t ignore swift boat type lies because those are the enemy we seek to destroy. We just make sure not to match them with lies of our own lies.
Because it is very clear at this point that Trump and his Republican allies have chosen a side:
The age of Donald Trump is a wrecking ball for social cohesion which threatens democracy itself ― and America as we know it.
Put bluntly, America is consuming itself from within. We are riven by tribal hatred and resentment. Lies, insults and unreason corrupt our political dialogue. The lust for partisan dominance paralyzes government and pollutes public policy. Civility becomes weakness; propaganda suffocates fact; fundamentalism suppresses science.
Subverting democracy itself is now indispensable to Republican dominance. That’s the unifying principle for the GOP’s recourse to abusing the filibuster; unleashing money in politics; extreme gerrymandering; blatant voter suppression; stonewalling Merrick Garland; stacking our courts with political partisans; and, in 2016, refusing to acknowledge Russian interference on its behalf. These are the harbingers of a democracy ― and a society ― on the precipice of irreversible decline.
And that means, to save our country, we need to be on the other side:
We desperately need Democrats ― because they’re all we’ve got ― to proclaim a creed which appeals to our common humanity by promoting the collective optimism and security without which no democracy can long survive. That requires more than erecting bulwarks against the crisis Trump would thrust on us ― it demands a determined effort to reanimate American democracy by giving more Americans something better to believe in.
Necessarily, this includes integrating marginalized groups into the fabric of a society that values fairness to all. At a minimum, this means providing early childhood education; universal health care; better schools; affordable college; student debt relief; vocational education for the new economy; consumer protection; higher wages; more equitable taxation; the re-development of depressed areas; curbs on money in politics, monopoly power and financial predation; environmental stewardship; a humane and balanced immigration policy; and a social safety net which includes a decent retirement.
Concurrently, Democrats must facilitate voter participation and ensure the right to vote, making as many Americans as possible shareholders in our democracy. But true democracy cannot be confined to the voting booth ― it must be lived, every day, in the homes and workplaces of Americans empowered to dream for themselves and for their children.
So that is why we are still here after the midterms and we will be for the foreseeable future. We are here to tell you stories about how love, justice, honesty, truth and hard work can bring this country back to a place were we move towards a more perfect union. Together, we can do that. In fact, we are doing that.
Here are some stories that show how we are on our way:
Russia Russia Russia
I know we all wanted an indictment Friday yesterday, but rest assured, it is coming. In the meantime, there is still lots of good news in that area that shows that justice will prevail and the truth will come out:
Prosecutors are negotiating a potential plea agreement with the Russian woman who was charged over the summer with being a clandestine foreign agent.
The U.S. attorney’s office for Washington, D.C., said in a court filing that its lawyers are in talks with counsel for the woman, Maria Butina, who also was charged with alleged conspiracy.
Butina was arrested in July in Washington, D.C., as she was preparing to move away, prosecutors said. She has been linked with a number of attempts to influence the political establishment in the United States, many using her long-standing support of gun rights.
In 2016, for example, Butina’s boyfriend, Republican fundraiser Paul Erickson, contacted people on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign with an offer to set up a back-channel relationship with the Russian government via the National Rifle Association.
Butina appears to have reported back to a Russian government official, Alexander Torshin, who also spent years cultivating relationships with the NRA and Republican politicians.
In case you forgot who she is →
Democratic Senator Wyden statement on Butina developments: "Today’s news means Republicans can no longer ignore what has been in front of them for months: Russia used the NRA to infiltrate and influence US politics."
— Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) July 16, 2018
BREAKING: Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, who told political operative Paul Erickson that she planned to help the Republicans win the 2016 election using the NRA, has now entered into negotiations for a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
NRA and Trump could be in trouble!
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) November 16, 2018
and this a-hole is in trouble → Julian Assange Is Secretly Charged in U.S., Prosecutors Mistakenly Reveal
The Justice Department has secretly filed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, a person familiar with the case said, a drastic escalation of the government’s yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group.
Top Justice Department officials told prosecutors over the summer that they could start drafting a complaint against Mr. Assange, current and former law enforcement officials said. The charges came to light late Thursday through an unrelated court filing in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned them.
President Trump and his aides’ decisions to sidle up to WikiLeaks were always problematic. The Obama administration declined to indict Assange over disclosures of sensitive national security information because of concerns about it being regarded as a news organization. But WikiLeaks’s release of Democrats’ emails in 2016 was instantly questionable and, according to both the U.S. intelligence community and the Justice Department, done on behalf of a hostile foreign country trying to illegally interfere in the American election. And yet the Trump team pressed forward with its fraught ally out of convenience.
good luck with that boys!
And 45’s genius move to further obstruct justice in the wide open is not working out so well:
Trump’s move last week to install Whitaker as Mueller’s boss may already be backfiring.
The appointment has drawn bipartisan criticism and led to questions about Whitaker’s qualifications and whether he would limit the investigation or bury its findings. The state of Maryland on Tuesday filed the first legal challenge seeking to overturn Whitaker’s appointment, while on Capitol Hill newly empowered House Democrats are alreadymaking plans to have the acting attorney general appear as one of their first witnesses when the next Congress launches in January.
The uproar over the appointment, which effectively removes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as Mueller’s primary supervisor, has put Whitaker in a difficult spot, trapped between setting off a political firestorm by clipping Mueller’s wings and angering a president intent on having him do just that.
Wonder if Stone will flip on Trump? Well, he has already turned on his good friend Credico and neither of them has even been formally charged yet. The man will flip when he needs to.
Six days before WikiLeaks began releasing Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, Roger Stone had a text message conversation with a friend about WikiLeaks, according to copies of phone records obtained exclusively by NBC News.
“Big news Wednesday,” the Stone pal, radio host Randy Credico, wrote on Oct. 1, 2016, according to the text messages provided by Stone. “Now pretend u don’t know me.”
“U died 5 years ago,” Stone replied.
“Great,” Credico wrote back. “Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”
and fights against Mueller are failing: U.S. judge refuses Russian firm’s bid to dismiss Mueller indictment
A federal judge on Thursday refused to dismiss criminal charges against a Russian company accused by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller of funding a propaganda operation to sway the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor.
And the WH knows the truth is coming: ‘Preparing for the worst’: Mueller anxiety pervades Trump world
Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. insist they aren’t worried about special counsel Robert Mueller.
But half a dozen people in contact with the White House and other Trump officials say a deep anxiety has started to set in that Mueller is about to pounce after his self-imposed quiet period, and that any number of Trump’s allies and family members may soon be staring down the barrel of an indictment.
Fingers crossed that more good news will come in this area soon!
In the meantime, Blue Wave good news continues to come in:
More on the BLUE WAVE
NBC News calls CA-45: Katie Porter (D) is the apparent winner of California House 45. Democrat gain. —@NBCPolitics
This now puts Democrats with a net gain of 36 seats in the House.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 16, 2018
Our party won by being inclusive and diverse:
Incoming Wisconsin governor Tony Evers’ running mate, Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes, made history last week.
Barnes, 31, is the first African-American elected as lieutenant governor in Wisconsin and only the second to win statewide election. https://t.co/qKP7o4fnIX
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 13, 2018
Inbox: Chuck Schumer announced today that Senator Catherine Cortez Masto will serve as Chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2020 cycle, the first Latina to hold the position.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 15, 2018
and out wins have implications: What Democrats’ big win in Arizona means
The race was notable on multiple levels.
First, what was a reliable red state is now very much in play for Democrats in 2020
Second, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s conduct in casting doubt on the vote-counting process was reprehensible, Ducey, Cindy McCain and McSally behaved appropriately, refusing to join in the anti-democratic process of delegitimizing elections that don’t go their way. As a result, there will be no reasonable doubt as to the legitimacy of Sinema’s victory — or of McSally’s political viability going forward.
Third, the Democrats’ win reveals just how miserably Republicans performed in a year in which Democrats held on to or flipped Senate seats in seven states that Trump won in 2016 (Montana, Arizona, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania). Republicans, with the most favorable map in a generation, will pick up at most two seats (depending on the outcome in Florida).
the future does not look great for Trump and buddies:
Think of it this way: There's not a single demographic trend in America that benefits Republicans. https://t.co/qtg9xx3sfV
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 13, 2018
- The midterm results were actually a terrible leading indicator for him. Turns out that without Hillary atop the ticket, Midwest states like Wisconsin are tough for Trump, and Southern states with rising Hispanic populations are slowly growing more Democratic. Long term, the GOP should be freaking out about this.
- Trump and the GOP face two years of public investigations, coming from three different and dangerous directions: Robert Mueller, the state of New York and Congress. Two years of probing hell await.
- The prolonged recovery is on borrowed time, and a recession could well hit at the worst possible time for Trump — in the thick of the presidential race. Live by the markets, die by the markets.
Some Republicans will argue that 2018 wasn’t a wave for Democrats because they expanded their Senate majority.That’s wrong.Given the challenging map, Democrats did about as well as you would expect them to do in the in a wave election.Democrats look on pace to win about 69% of all Senate races that were up for election this year.I went back and looked at the overall Senate outcome in midterms since senators began to be popularly elected a little more than 100 years ago. Democrats performance this year ties them for the fifth highest percentage out of the 27 since 1914. It puts 2018 slightly ahead of 1974 (68%).
North Carolina Republicans have spent the last eight years ruthlessly undermining democracy in their state. The key to their extraordinary success is a series of partisan gerrymanders that dilute the power of Democrats’ vote, allowing the GOP to maintain a firm grasp on the state legislature. But Republicans failed to subvert the one institution capable of reversing this damage to fair representation: the state judiciary. Now voting rights advocates are poised to score a legal victory in North Carolina that could wipe out the GOP’s legislative gerrymander—with the help of civil rights attorney Anita Earls, who was elected to the state Supreme Court last week. The case could give Democrats a real shot at retaking the legislature in 2020, or at least contesting it on an even playing field.
Nearly a year ago, Democrats pulled off an upset in the South against a Republican candidate hobbled by controversy. Now, they’re hoping to duplicate that feat in Mississippi, in the last Senate election of the cycle.
Virtually no prognosticator has given the party much of a chance. But this past week, the Republican in the race, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), has been caught twice making wild and insensitive remarks: the first expressing comfort attending a public hanging; the second openly musing about suppressing Democratic votes. All of which has encouraged the party to rethink whether the long shot Democrat in the race, former secretary of agriculture Mike Espy, is really that big a long shot at all.
— John Lundin 🌊 (@johnlundin) November 16, 2018
tell us more about California, Bobby!
Great Legal News
A federal judge on Friday granted CNN’s request for a court order that would temporarily reinstate network correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, which had been suspended indefinitely in the wake of a fiery exchange between the reporter and President Donald Trump a week earlier.
The ruling from Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, was the first victory for CNN in the ongoing case.
“I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today,” Acosta said outside U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
“Let’s get back to work!” he added.
Trump is sure going to be mad at whoever appointed that judge… oh, wait! IT WAS TRUMP!!! Hee Hee.
A lawsuit accusing the publisher of the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer of coordinating a “terror campaign” of online harassment against a Jewish real estate agent cannot be dismissed on First Amendment grounds, a federal judge in Montana ruled this week.
In his ruling denying a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Dana L. Christensen, the chief judge for United States District Court in Missoula, Mont., wrote that the real estate agent, Tanya Gersh, was a private citizen, not a public figure, and that the publisher, Andrew Anglin, incited his followers to harass her as part of a personal campaign.
Tides are Turning
You wanna know how the politics of guns has changed?
The #NR8 campaign raised $1 million for 8 swing races where:
(a) incumbent Republican was A rated by NRA
(b) Dem candidate ran strong on anti-gun violence message
With Harder’s win, all 8 of the NR8 candidates won https://t.co/jOgRWBg1OS
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 14, 2018
people are not anxious for more trump:
— The Hill (@thehill) November 14, 2018
There is growing pressure from reasonably sane conservatives against Trump → Conservative Lawyers Say Trump Has Undermined the Rule of Law
The annual convention of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group, has long been a glittering and bustling affair. In the Trump era, though, the group has become more powerful than ever, supplying intellectual energy and judicial candidates to an assertive administration eager to reshape the legal landscape.
But as the group prepares to gather on Thursday for the start of this year’s convention, more than a dozen prominent conservative lawyers have joined together to sound a note of caution. They are urging their fellow conservatives to speak up about what they say are the Trump administration’s betrayals of bedrock legal norms.
“Conservative lawyers are not doing enough to protect constitutional principles that are being undermined by the statements and actions of this president,” said John B. Bellinger III, a top State Department and White House lawyer under President George W. Bush.
Even Fox News joined the other press to fight Trump:
Statement from Fox News, NBC News, The NY Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, AP, Politico, First Look Media, USA Today and others:
"We will be filing friend-of-the-court briefs to support CNN's and Jim Acosta's lawsuit based on these principles." https://t.co/KNgfg3uuhU
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 14, 2018
Tell us more about the tides turning, Roger:
Democrats are Awesome
Key House Dems are giving signs they'll investigate voter suppression in the midterms.
Judiciary's Rep. Steve Cohen says the Committee will pay particular attention to vote suppression allegations in places like Georgia, Tennessee, N. Dakota.https://t.co/MNy2ngtqek
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 14, 2018
Jerry Nadler, the incoming House Judiciary chair, has written to Matthew Whitaker and Chris Wray saying that he expects DOJ and the FBI to address the backlog of unanswered requests from Democrats that were blocked by Republicans over the last two years.
That is it for today. THANK YOU to all of you for being so awesome.
Happy weekend everyone!