This Week in GOP

This week in GOP 2023 06 26

Once again the majority of these items were culled from the JoeMyGod web site.

TX Gov Vetoes Bill Meant To Help Disabled People Vote

Texas GOP Governor Greg AbbottGov. Greg Abbott on Saturday vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have expanded vote-by-mail access for people with disabilities — specifically people who are blind or paralyzed and need assistance marking their ballot.

Advocates say Abbott’s veto of House Bill 3159 is a blow for voters with disabilities who have for years called for the Legislature to grant them a way to mark their mail-in ballots without having to rely on anyone else.

Co-authored by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, and state Rep. John H. Bucy III, D-Austin, the bill would have allowed voters who need help casting a ballot, such as people who are visually impaired or are paralyzed, to do so “privately and securely” by requesting an electronic ballot and using a computer to mark their choices. The bill still would have required those voters to print out, sign and return their ballots by mail.


Nation’s Capital Foolishly Assumes It Can Make Its Own Traffic Laws

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee are waging war on Washington, DC’s traffic laws.

In their proposed spending bill for fiscal year 2024, House Republicans tacked on several policy riders that would alter laws in the nation’s capital. Most of the riders are standard conservative fare: repealing DC’s Death with Dignity Act, banning needle exchanges, retaining limits on contraception. But Republicans are also targeting less obviously partisan issues, like DC’s traffic rules.

One GOP proposal takes on traffic cameras, promising to prevent the city from “carrying out automated traffic enforcement.” Speed and red light cameras are not without controversy, even among safe streets advocates—but they are often touted as a way to reduce police interactions during traffic stops, and some studies have found that they decrease the frequency of crashes. In DC, traffic cameras also generate revenue from tickets, so it’s unclear how the proposal would account for this hit to the budget.

Republicans also want to override DC’s pending ban on right-turns-on-red, a dangerous maneuver and relic of the 1970s oil crisis that doesn’t actually help drivers save gas. In addition to imperiling cyclists and pedestrians, these traffic proposals impinge on DC’s right to decide how it governs itself. So much for the party of “small government.”


TX Senate Orders Paxton To Attend Impeachment Trial

Ken Paxton Texas Attorney General being impeached for corruptionSuspended Attorney General Ken Paxton will answer to 16 of 20 articles of impeachment at a trial to begin Sept. 5, the Texas Senate said Wednesday night after spending about 20 hours drafting the trial rules in private.

Paxton’s wife, Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, can attend, but she will not participate in deliberations or closed sessions when the Senate sits as a court of impeachment, according to the trial rules adopted without discussion Wednesday on a 25-3 vote.

The three votes in opposition included Angela Paxton. The trial, which will be held in public, will begin with opening statements. A separate resolution, adopted 28-0, notified Paxton that he must appear in person in the Senate chamber “to answer the said charges of impeachment.”


MI GOP Gov Candidate To Plead Guilty To Riot Charge

Ryan KelleyRyan Kelley, a real estate agent and conservative activist who sought to become governor of Michigan in 2022, will plead guilty next month to a misdemeanor charge stemming from his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. Kelley had initially pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. In June 2022, in the middle of his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor, Kelley was arrested during a raid at his Ottawa County home.

Federal prosecutors originally levied four charges against Kelley: the charge for entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; as well as disorderly and disruptive conduct, knowingly engaging in an act of physical violence against a person or property and willfully injuring property. During interviews with federal investigators, Kelley declined to identify himself in videos of the riot at the Capitol.


Dems Ask Feds For Corruption Probe Into GOP Kentucky AG

The Kentucky Democratic Party has asked the FBI and Justice Department to investigate a series of campaign contributions to Republican attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron from officials at a company that his office was investigating, citing possible “serious violations” of ethics laws.

“Kentucky law prohibits the Attorney General from using or attempting to use ‘his official position to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself or others in derogation of the public interest at large,’” the letter, which was sent out Friday afternoon and obtained by The Daily Beast, said.

“If an Attorney General solicits or knowingly accepts contributions from entities he is actively investigating, then he has likely committed serious violations” of those laws, the letter alleges.


During an Extreme Texas Heat Wave, Gov. Abbott Ended Local Rules Requiring Water Breaks for Workers

Texas GOP Governor Greg AbbottAmid a dangerous heatwave that has brought blistering temperatures across Texas, the state’s governor signed a law last week eliminating local rules requiring water breaks for workers.

The measure, which will take effect later this year, will nullify ordinances enacted by Austin and Dallas that mandate 10-minute breaks for construction workers every four hours. It also prevents any other local governments from passing similar worker protections.

Just days after Greg Abbott, the governor, ratified the law, officials said a 35-year-old utility lineman working to restore power in Marshall, Texas, died after experiencing symptoms of heat illness. The heat index—which takes into account both the temperature and humidity—was 100F while he was working.


Who’s Really in Charge of the GOP? (Hint: It’s Not Trump)

A normal, rational political party would jettison Trump and find a more reputable champion for its policies. But today’s Republican Party is not normal. It has seemingly abandoned basic political reasoning and lost its self-preservation instincts. Conventional wisdom in political science says the party decides who its nominees will be. But who makes the decisions in today’s GOP? 

One answer is that Trump is in charge, singlehandedly bending the party to his will and putting his self-interest ahead of the party’s. But this explanation fails to explain why most influential conservatives and Republican leaders don’t try to change this dynamic.  

Fox News and other conservative media outlets are often credited with being the real leaders. There is something to this: Republican politicians are far more afraid of Fox News personalities than vice versa.  

However, one interesting result of the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit was the revelation that Fox News is terrified of its own viewers. Fox News executives feared that if they failed to toe the line on Trump’s lies about the election and many other issues, their viewers would abandon them for competing far-right TV networks Newsmax and One America News Network. 

Nor are the billionaire GOP donors really in charge. The famed Koch network pulled its support from Trump long ago and has launched a so far unsuccessful campaign to defeat him because they believe he cannot win a general election. Newly empowered MAGA politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz are not darlings of the donor class, who prefer less overtly divisive candidates who will cut taxes for the wealthy without disrupting global trade. 

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the GOP base is in control of the party. Trump succeeds because he appears to be one of them. He vents their rage, watches the same television, shares the same vitriolic personality, and wears the same hatreds. He is less their leader than their reflection. Fox News is expert not at manipulating the base—though its editorial choices do certainly accomplish that to some extent—but at stoking its outrage. Big donors don’t so much generate the passions around which the base revolves as they help provide the financial fuel to turn those passions into electoral victories and legislative action. 

Poll after poll shows that Republican base voters are far more extreme in their policy views than most of the rest of the electorate. 

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