Peltola wins

As I indicated Sunday, Palin needed over 60% (apparently 66%, after the first round was fully tallied) of Begich second-choice votes. In the event, Palin got just over 50%, not enough, with the remainder split about evenly between Peltola (28%) and Blank/Invalid (21%). Yet another Democratic overperformance.

UPDATE: Representative Peltola and I share a birthday 16 years apart. And it is today.

Minutes from the August 28 meeting

We welcomed two new members, Judy Gumbo and Arthur Eckstein. I’ve put in the links to make it easy for the FBI, if they are reading the Indivisible Elmwood blog. The more readers, the better.

My usual election and poll results rundown was a little brighter than earlier in the year. Our postcards pulled Pat Ryan over the finish line in NY-19. The AK-AL special election, which uses Ranked Choice, may be a big upset. The Democrat, Mary Peltola, is leading the field in first-choice votes. Sarah Palin is second. Mainstream Republican Nick Begich is third. The question is what number of Begich voters put Palin as a second choice—even a blank or invalid second choice would be good for Peltola. Every election since Dobbs has shown Democratic overperformance relative to expectations, polls, and even Biden 2020.

Our ActBlue site remains devoted to three grassroots/statehouse campaigns: North Carolina, Michigan, and Arizona. Michigan and Arizona have exceptionally bad MAGA lunatics running for statewide office.

Bruce brought in an order form for Defend Democracy yard signs. I have contacted the printer and we will finalize an order for 50, shipped to our house.

Judy Stacey (a/k/a Judy One) was a little behind on social media, so we explained “Let’s Go Brandon“, a meme developed by MAGA but now co-opted by its intended victims, and the new, far-more-potent Dark Brandon.

Dark Brandon

I was asked to see which close-race Senate candidates, if any, need money. Most of the key races, the candidate is well-resourced. The one furthest behind his opponent is Mandela Barnes, in WI-Sen. Barnes was the only one with a competitive primary (although in the end his opponents all dropped out) which somewhat depleted his resources.

And we discussed whether and where to canvass. Naomi and I keep talking about Dr. Kermit Jones (CA–03), partly because he seems like a great dark horse possibility, partly because his district is not that far away and not as scorching-hot as the Central Valley.


It had to happen eventually. I spread some fake news.

The video of Gov. DeSantis praising the FBI for its search was edited in. It’s from 2020, when investigators were searching property of one of his political enemies. For Mar-a-Lago, he’s assumed the Republican beta male stance, condemning the raid. He’s one of many GOP VP hopefuls, who clearly think Trump can catapult them into the top spot in 2028, or even earlier given his McDonalds habits.

Minutes of the 8/14 meeting

Postcards for Special Election NY-19 (Pat Ryan). The Special Election is Tuesday 8/23, same day as the regular NY Primary. So, any postcards have to go out now. Abby doesn’t have any addresses for this race at this writing, but if you have them, use them. (The same candidates are going to be running for the full term in NY-18, after significant redistricting.)

My polling update was generally positive. The Democratic brand is climbing. We are doing well in the Senate: 10-point leads for Fetterman (PA), Kelly (AZ). Down from there, 4 for Ryan (PA), 2 for Warnock (GA), only 1.6 for Cortez Masto (NV), and −0.3 for Beasley (NC).

Bruce reported on evidence that postcards and letters really work. (Fifteen emails every day, not effective.) Ann Overton gave us a list of “I vote because…” that test well.

  • I vote because some elections are decided by just a few votes.
  • I vote because the more people who vote, the more fair the election will be.

Extensive discussion on who wants to canvass and where. Rudy Salas seems to be a little ahead. Lots of people already available to do the Southern California seat flips: Smith, Rollins, Chen. Maybe work for Kermit Jones (CA-03), closer and often cooler? Bruce passes along a note that Indivisible of Sonoma County is running a virtual fundraiser for him on Monday, 8/22.

Janice has sent an email about expanding assisted dying in California.

Meeting Sunday 8/14, 4:00 pm

Back to the usual meeting place.

Bonus meeting. Aaron Frank will be doing another Focus for Democracy analysis on best bang-for-buck races over Zoom at 5:00. We are registered for the event, and anyone who wants to stay to watch is welcome.

And another highlight: Watch me eat crow as Merrick Garland’s champion, Babette, gets to point out that—at last—one DoJ case against The False Orange Messiah takes (beautiful) shape. And we can always hope this is but a small fraction of the trouble Trump is in; it couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy. Minor note you may have missed: Ron DeSantis is pro-raid on Mar-a-Lago. Must be thinking this is how he clears the 2024 Republican primary field.

Just remember, if you are annoyed that Trump supporters claim he had the right to magically declassify documents (skipping all of the required procedures), luckily the same interpretation allows President Biden to re-classify the documents as Top Secret, meaning Trump can’t even read, much less possess, them.

Three interesting election results in Minnesota

Yesterday, Minnesota held primaries and a special election to replace the late Republican Rep. Hagedorn (MN–01). That race and two others had quite interesting results.

MN–01 is southern Minnesota and swung away from us in the 2018 election (which was elsewhere a great election for Democrats). Trump won this district by 10. In the special election, the Republican won by only 4. That is, a Blue swing of 6. The same two candidates are competing in the November general election for a full term. I strongly doubt this will be a pick-up, but a swing of 6 should have Republicans very nervous.

Two Democratic primaries also had unexpected results.

Rep. Betty McCollum (MN–04) was being challenged from the left, although she is one of the most active members of Congress on conditioning aid to Israel on settlement issues. (So, hard to get to her left on this issue without falling out of the mainstream.) McCollum was also left-of-center on BLM. Her opponent raised a fair amount of money and lost by almost 70. Not a typo. 70.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN–05) survived a primary challenge from the right. Her opponent Don Samuels picked up a number of endorsements from other elected officials. This happened the last two cycles but Omar crushed her opponents, anyway. This time she won by only 2½. I don’t think anyone expected this. The district is very Blue and this is unlikely to matter in the general election, but she’s going to face serious primary opposition from here on out.

Alex Jones and multiple truths

You have been subjected, more than once, to my opinion that conservatives are using “belief” and “truth” in a way different than, say, a scientist—or even a judge. Last week serial liar Alex Jones found out about the difference, to the tune of $45 million, alas, likely to be reduced on appeal, and implication of a possible prosecution for perjury.

Lawyer/blogger Ken White (who goes by “Popehat” on social media) has a more sophisticated way of expressing it. His essay is entitled Alex Jones at the Temple of Babel. Excerpts.

When modern American political culture winds up in court… [t]he participants are speaking different languages, and using language in different ways. Courts are focused on a taxonomy of words. Are they factual? Are they opinion? Are they literal or figurative? Courts also care about the literal truth of words. That’s central to defamation law — it’s not defamatory unless it was false. Courts are about analysis, and the entire project of the law is about words meaning specific things.

But modern American political culture is emotive and even artistic. It uses language like a musician uses notes or an impressionist uses brush strokes. Whether it’s Marjorie Taylor Greene talking about Bill Gates’ efforts to colonize our bowels through “peach tree dishes” or Alex Jones ranting about gay frogs, modern politicians and pundits use language to convey feelings and attitudes and values, not specific meanings…

The point is that courts are ill-equipped to deal with people like Alex Jones, and people like Alex Jones are ill-equipped to deal with courts. Jones’ catastrophic testimony in his own defense illustrates this. Jones struggled to fit his bombast within the framework of the law, within the distinction between fact and opinion. It’s a bad fit because that’s not how he uses words. If Jones had been honest — an utterly foreign concept to him — he might have said “I just go out there and say what I feel.” The notion that Sandy Hook was a hoax is a word-painting, a way of conveying Jones’ bottomless rage at politics and media and modernity, and he can no more defend it factually than Magritte could defend the logical necessity of a particular brushstroke.… Jones is loathsomely rich because people want to consume his art. His landscapes of hate and fear and mistrust resonate with a frightening number of Americans. The people who enjoyed his Sandy Hook trutherism didn’t enjoy it because it was factually convincing or coherent; they enjoyed the emotional state it conveyed because it matched theirs. 

The Popehat Report

Let’s prove the doomy pundits wrong—again!

Despite the TV pundits predicting a GOP wave in the fall elections, there are many reasons to think there’s nothing inevitable about that at all. Follow this link to a remarkable sequence of slides showing how progressives can embarrass the doomsayers, yet again:

At Sunday’s Indivisible Elmwood meeting we’ll review this presentation and discuss possible future actions.  If you can’t make it to the meeting (it’s at our alternative site), be sure to download the slides and be inspired!