Today on The BradCast: Why I'm quickly becoming a single-issue voter and you should too. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
It's getting easier and easier by the day --- as Trump's Republican Party completes its transition to full-on autocracy --- to make my choices for next year's general election before I even know who will be running. If a candidate is pro-democracy and running against a pro-autocracy candidate, I'll choose the one who supports democracy every time. It's simple.
It's not a partisan issue either. If there is anyone left within the Republican Party willing to support democracy and oppose authoritarianism, I'm happy to examine the rest of their record and consider voting for them. The way things are shaking out, however, I'm not sure where I would find such a Republican candidate, all of which is discussed in varying degrees of detail on today's program.
Among the many stories today that help illustrate what I believe will be the single most defining issue in American elections for the foreseeable future...
- A Township Clerk in Michigan is stripped of his election administration duties after being one of 16 people indicted this week for defrauding the state by pretending to be a "duly elected" elector after the 2020 Presidential election. Each of the 16 Republicans are charged with 8 criminal counts related to conspiracy to commit election forgery. Each charge carries a penalty of anywhere from 4 to 14 years in prison. While they all deserve punishment, I especially hope they throw the book at the longtime, elected Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, who violated the trust of the people he serves, who definitely understood what he was doing wrong, and that Donald Trump did not win Michigan's 2020 election.
- While GOP election officials are violating election laws (Grot is not the only one), the Republican lawmakers are otherwise working hard to prevent (certain) people from voting at all. Happily, a U.S. District Judge in Florida recently blocked a new state law that prevented certain former felons and non-citizens from participating in voter registration drives. The judge found the measure, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, to "reduce individual rights to ashes" in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
- Meanwhile, Republicans in the U.S. House are attempting to force similar measures on all 50 states, reducing states rights to ashes (despite long pretending to care about them, but only in certain, very specific circumstances). Their newly introduced measure is called The American Confidence in Elections Act. It makes it more difficult for many to vote, easier to cheat, and easier for millionaires and billionaires to further purchase American elections. Contrast that with two Democratic voting and election reform measures being reintroduced --- the Freedom to Vote Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act --- which would, among other things, make it easier for legal voters to cast their votes, provide support for election workers, regulate dark money in elections, ban partisan gerrymandering, revive portions of the Voting Rights Act gutted by SCOTUS, and allow every voter a hand-marked paper ballot. Again, another clear illustration of a pro-democracy party versus an anti-democracy party. Next year's choices should be simple.
- And, if there are any remaining questions about Democracy v. Autocracy as the stark new stakes our country now faces, there is likely no clearer illustration of it than Monday's explosive New York Times story detailing the Republican's $22 million "Project 2025". The plan, being prepared by former Trump White House officials for Trump or whichever Republican next wins the White House, involves what NYU Historian and fascism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat described as "autocratic capture". The scheme, which they are not trying to hide, calls for the consolidation of all Executive Branch power into the White House, allowing the President to purge tens of thousands of career public officials deemed as insufficiently loyal, and to allow him or her to take over complete control of all independent Executive Branch agencies, such as the Dept. of Justice, FCC, FTC, Federal Reserve and many others. The President would also grant himself the power to block the allocation of monies appropriated by Congress. As one of the Republicans behind the project explains: "There is no way to make the existing structure function in a conservative manner. ... What’s necessary is a complete system overhaul." Another tells the Times: "What we’re trying to do is identify the pockets of independence and seize them." Are the extraordinary 2024 stakes making sense out there yet?
- All of that as the planet's climate continues to degenerate thanks to the continuing burning of fossil fuels and those in the industry --- and politicians they've purchased --- who continue to lie to the public about it. In California's "Darth Valley Run" one guy is making the best (or worst?) of it...even as he seems to concede he is certifiably insane. (See the photo above for a hint.)
- And, in Philadelphia on Thursday, President Biden, speaking at a shipyard, detailed an extraordinary array of remarkable new renewable energy projects now underway --- mostly off-shore wind in this case --- and the thousands of good-paying, union jobs that come with them, created by Biden and Congressional Democrats in all 50 states as part of last year's Inflation Reduction Act.
- Finally, Desi Doyen further breaks down the stakes for the planet --- as all-time, mind-blowing heat records continue to be shattered across the Northern Hemisphere --- in our latest Green News Report...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)