We've got lots to discuss today with Kennedy, a longtime progressive activist and leader (that's her and me in the photo above, just after today's show), and we also open up the phone lines to callers as well.
Among the many issues and items we chat and/or bicker about today:
Serious concerns about election integrity that still undermine democracy in 2018 (Mimi and PDA have been longtime champions for the cause!) and whether the solutions being offered by a number of states and large jurisdictions --- including a disturbing move to computer-printed and computer-counted paper ballots --- is a good idea, or if we'll be left with the same or worse lack of ability for the public to oversee election results that we already have in many places. (Among them, see the 100% unverifiable computerized touch-screen style voting systems used in much of Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, etc.);
And whether elected Democratic officials and 2020 Presidential hopefuls are finally understanding the importance of single-payer "Medicare for All" (or, as PDA has been advocating for years: "Healthcare not Warfare!").
Also on today's show: More tentatively encouraging news on the Korean Peninsula (at least until Trump screws it up again); Trump's artificial DACA deadline hits, endangering hundreds of thousands of young immigrant 'Dreamers'; Another senior Republican U.S. Senator, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, announces that he is resigning, as of next month.
All of that and a bunch of great callers ringing in on all of the above on today's BradCast!...
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Funny thing. For some reason, professional, weapons-grade Rightwing troll Ann Coulter doesn't think her fellow Republicans should waste their time looking into issues of vote fraud. We wonder why.
Coulter, writing an op-ed in Jackson, Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger yesterday, is hoping to urge Republican "Tea Party" Senate candidate Chris McDaniel to not challenge the results of his very close, June 24th primary runoff election against six-term incumbent Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, warning that doing so is a "primrose path to political oblivion."
Mississippi's disgruntled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel may want to be very careful about what seems to be his current hope of challenging the results of his GOP primary runoff last Tuesday, at least based on the "ineligible" voters he claims cast ballots across the state. If he's too effective in his challenge, he may actually end up seeing himself charged with voter fraud.
On June 3rd in the first primary round McDaniel barely bested Sen. Thad Cochran, but neither candidate received enough votes to avoid a runoff on June 24th, which Cochran is said to have won by just under 7,000 votes. The "Tea Party" candidate McDaniel, however, has yet to concede this week's runoff.
While McDaniel was believed to have been the favorite going into Tuesday's rematch, Cochran stepped up his campaign during the three weeks between the two elections. He even reached out to Democratic voters in the state, making the case that he, unlike McDaniel, was able to continue bringing in federal funding to the state for all manner of important infrastructure spending, from disaster relief to education aid to fighting against reductions in the food stamp program for the state's impoverished population.
At the same time, McDaniel, quite literally, vowed that he was "not going to do anything" for Mississippi voters, having finally taken the long trip to the ultimate dead-end of the "Tea Party" movement. "I'm going to get the government off your back, then I'm gonna let you do it for yourself," he explained in a Politico interview, which was happily exploited by the Cochran camp.
But McDaniel and his supporters aren't accepting the verdict reportedly delivered by the voters. On Election Night, McDaniel announced that there had been "literally dozens of irregularities reported all across this state," although he offered few specifics other than to blame his loss on "liberal Democrats." He added that "it's our job to make sure that the sanctity of the vote is upheld. Before this race ends, we have to be absolutely certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters."
It seems the "irregularities" he was referring to are his belief that Democratic voters had illegally voted in the June 24th open primary runoff.
Unfortunately for McDaniel, however, even if he is able to make the legal argument that that was true, and that enough ballots were cast by ineligible voters to affect the reported results of the election, he might well also have to end up admitting that he, himself, committed "voter fraud" when voting for himself last Tuesday night...
You may have already heard at least some of the bizarre story about three "Tea Party" supporters of Mississippi's Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel who found themselves locked inside the Hinds County Courthouse around 2am on primary election night last Tuesday. McDaniel himself is now locked in a run-off for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against six-term Senator Thad Cochran, after the nail-biter on Tuesday which left the two men reportedly about 1,400 votes apart out of more than 300,000 cast.
Ultimately, neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, so they'll face each other again in a run-off for the GOP nomination on June 24. But the incident that left the three McDaniel supporters calling for help to let them out of the courthouse in the middle of the night after the last election official had locked the door and left almost three hours earlier is more than curious. It has many wondering what the hell the three were doing at the location where ballots are tallied and vote tabulators stored, in one of the last counties to come in with their results on the squeaker of an election night.
The details of the story, and why the three --- one a top campaign official for McDaniel (and a former Presidential campaign staffer for Newt Gingrich) --- were there at all, remain murky. On Wednesday, the Hinds County Sheriff's office said that there were "conflicting stories from the three of them." But by Thursday evening, despite what a Sheriff's spokesman described as a "fabrication" from the President of the Central Mississippi Tea Party who contacted a fellow Hinds County Republican executive committee member to seek his help in getting out of the courthouse, the county decided that she and the two men caught in the courthouse caper along with her broke no laws.
"Based on our findings and subsequent conclusion," the County Sheriff's office announced in a statement, "there is no reason to believe that the three individuals engaged in any criminal activity nor do we believe any laws were broken."
But with one of the original headlines about the story focused on the fact that the three had been locked in the empty courthouse "with ballots on Election Night," there remain a number of questions about what actually happened, despite initial reportage indicating that "ballots had been secured prior to the intrusion" and a subsequent report noting that "some precinct information wasn't sealed."
So, The BRAD BLOG contacted the Hinds County Election Commissioners to get more information on the exact type of voting system used there, which aspects of it might have been vulnerable to the three McDaniel supporters alone inside the courthouse, and what type of information was left unsealed there on election night.
We received detail answers to our questions from one of the five Hinds County Election Commissioners --- the one who would, perhaps, have the most reason to be suspicious of the trio of McDaniel supporters...