Greg Sargent/The Washington Post:
Youngkin’s disastrous night shows the right’s culture war has fizzled
But the GOP governor’s comeuppance isn’t just about the durability of abortion rights as a political winner for Democrats. It also shows that right-wing culture-warring on education — built around a “parents’ rights” agenda limiting school discussion of race and gender — has utterly lost its political potency, allowing Democrats to respond with their own affirmative liberal cultural agenda.
Strikingly, more than $5.5 million was spent on ads about education in the Virginia legislative contests, according to data provided by the tracking firm AdImpact. While it’s unclear what percentage focused on “parents’ rights,” some Republicans modeled their campaigns on the way Youngkin turned that issue into a 2021 victory — an upset that led many pundits to declare education a political loser for Democrats even in blue territory.
“I’m so tired of these psychos”: Moms for Liberty is now a toxic brand Last month, Salon reported on one town’s fight over a right wing school takeover — Tuesday, the resistance won big
Last month, I published an investigative report about how Moms for Liberty, a group dedicated to rewiring American education toward the far right, had taken over the board of education in the Pennridge School District, about half an hour outside Philadelphia. Moms for Liberty, a heavily funded astroturf organization linked to GOP leadership, wasn’t especially subtle in its strategies, pinpointing a handful of swing districts in purple states, like Virginia and Pennsylvania, and targeting school board elections, which are usually low turnout and easy to win. Once installed, Moms for Liberty members started banning books and Pride flags, as well as protesting that teachers were “grooming” kids with “smut,” which usually meant either a history book or acclaimed, age-appropriate fiction. The idea was to create moral panics around sex and race that could tip national elections towards Republicans.
Well, it backfired.
As I reported, parents in the Pennridge district eager to fight back against right-wing radicals formed the Ridge Network and got the word out, arguing to voters that the group was degrading the quality of the public schools. This week, those efforts paid off: Democrats won all five of the open school board seats in the district, wresting control away from Moms for Liberty.
ICYMI, it also happened in Iowa. This from Bleeding Heartland was previously shared: “Progressives win, book banners lose many Iowa school board races.”
Tom Bonier/The New York Times:
American Elections Are About Abortion Now
Abortion rights won big on Tuesday night. In Ohio, a constitutional amendment enshrining protections for abortion rights was on the ballot, and in Virginia, control of both chambers of the state legislature was considered a tossup, and both parties made abortion rights the central issue of their campaigns. The pro-abortion-rights measure in Ohio passed by a wide margin. In Virginia, the Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, made his proposal for a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy the central argument for electing Republicans in the state legislature. Republicans failed to win back control in the Senate and lost their narrow majority in the House of Delegates as turnout surged to historically high levels in key swing districts.
Before this week’s elections, most of the attention of the political class and the public was focused on national polls showing Donald Trump holding a lead over President Biden in the 2024 presidential contest. But it is now clearer than ever that the backlash against the Dobbs decision — and voters’ general distaste for strictly limiting abortion access — could play a crucial role in winning Mr. Biden a second term. Certainly, there will be many other major issues at play in this election, including war and voters’ perceptions of the economy. But abortion could plausibly be the deciding factor next November.
Ron DeSantis says it’s ‘out of bounds’ to attack candidates’ kids — except for Hunter Biden
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he disagreed with Vivek Ramaswamy’s reference to Nikki Haley’s daughter.
In an interview with Fox News, DeSantis said he disagreed with Vivek Ramaswamy bringing up former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s daughter in a discussion about TikTok during the presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News on Wednesday night. He cautioned against dragging family members into the political fray.
“I think the kids are out of bounds. I didn’t think that was an appropriate thing to do,” said DeSantis, who has three young children.
“I keep the kids out of it for sure,” he added of his own conduct.
But out on the campaign trail, the governor does not shy from making a punchline out of Hunter Biden, 53, joking about his history of addiction and embarrassing details of his personal life that have surfaced publicly.
While Hunter Biden is an adult, so is Haley’s daughter — albeit a few decades younger than the president’s son. Both, however, are politicians’ children who are not in elected office.
Jacqueline Alemany/The Washington Post:
Momentum behind impeachment inquiry slows under new speaker
The inquiry stagnated during the 3-week fight to elect a new speaker. Now, James Comer has sent out new subpoenas as Speaker Mike Johnson strikes a more reserved tone.
Johnson, who told reporters that he has been “intellectually consistent” in cautioning against a rushed investigation during a news conference last week, has previously accused Biden of bribing or pressuring a foreign leader. During a Fox News appearance over the summer, Johnson accused Biden of wielding taxpayer resources to fire Ukraine’s top prosecutor to benefit his son’s business dealings — an allegation widely disputed by both U.S. and foreign officials. And in another interview on Fox News last week, Johnson said that “if, in fact, all the evidence leads to where we believe it will, that’s very likely impeachable offenses.”
But in this week’s private meeting with moderates, Johnson appeared to agree with Republican lawmakers who argued that since Biden’s polling numbers have been so weak, there is less of a political imperative to impeach him, according to Bacon and others who attended the meeting.
Oh? It was political?
Democratic Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois on X, via Threadreader:
It’s hard to explain how dysfunctional the @HouseGOP is, and the degree to which their own internal divisions are superseding every normal function of government. But I’m going to try with a short story about this week in the house. Thread:
1. First: We operate on a 9/30 fiscal year but the (McCarthy) led house couldn’t agree on how to fund prior to. They tried to just say “cut everything by 30%”. That didn’t pass. So they said “let’s just fund at current levels for 45 days”. That cost McCarthy his job.
2. For context, when Dems had the majority we got all our appropriations done by August 1 so the Senate could finalize and POTUS could sign. @HouseGOP still hasn’t done that.
@HouseGOP 3. Also, you may recall this summer the @HouseGOP threatened to default on US debt unless we agreed to future spending rules. A deal was struck that passed the House and was signed into law to do so. The 30% cut was not consistent with that law. (AKA, it was illegal)