Maryland GOP Throws It All Away
Plus, What a Dangerous Volcano Can Teach Us About National Solidarity
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New from Me: Maryland GOP Throws It All Away.
Back in April, I introduced readers to Dan Cox, a far-right kook and Maryland state legislator running for governor. The Democratic Governors Association had a few weeks earlier run a poll suggesting that Cox would defeat Kelly Schulz, the hand-picked successor of moderate Republican governor Larry Hogan, by 8 points.
That surprised me, since Schulz is a typical Hogan Republican, Hogan is quite popular, and Dan Cox is, well, nuts.
There has been a lot of unserious whining about Democrats trying to pick their opponents this election cycle. In this case, some commentators suggested that the DGA poll was bunk—that the Democrats were inflating the numbers for Cox to help build support for him, since he’d be an easier Republican to defeat. But the polling outfit is a reputable one and the poll looked solid.
Well, the results are conclusively in, and as of 2 a.m. Cox is beating Schulz by 16 points, double the gap in the DGA poll. That margin will shrink as mail-in ballots are counted, but the race is over: The AP called the election for Cox around 11 p.m.
EUGENE R. FIDELL AND DENNIS AFTERGUT: Trump’s Inexcusable Jan. 6th “Dereliction of Duty.”
Over the past several weeks, as more facts have emerged about former President Donald Trump’s actions and inaction on January 6, 2021, commentators have repeatedly referred to his “dereliction of duty.” A spokesman for the House January 6th Committee told reporters earlier this month that the committee had collected testimony about Trump’s “supreme dereliction of duty”; the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, has often used the phrase “dereliction of duty” to describe Trump’s actions on that day; and other members of the committee are describing the hearing planned for this week as one that will focus on Trump’s “dereliction of duty.”
“Dereliction of duty” is a serious accusation, and based on what has already emerged in the committee’s hearings, one that fits. Without even getting into what Trump did before Jan. 6th, it is beyond question that he was aware in real time of the violence at the Capitol, that he could have given orders to quell the disorder, that he did nothing for hours on end to call off the mob he had helped to summon, and that he had only kind things to say to his violent supporters. Given every American president’s constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” there is no escaping the fact that Trump was derelict.
The list of election deniers on the ballot keeps growing, and now includes the GOP nominee for governor of Maryland. Plus, Trump is still trying to win Wisconsin in 2020, and the Dems’ shrewd move on same-sex marriage. Bill Kristol’s back with Charlie Sykes.
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We went west for vacation this year, to Washington State. There’s a little slice of heaven called the San Juan Islands (accessible only by ferry), where we hiked and bird watched and kayaked, before heading south to Seattle for a few nights. COVID robbed us of travel for so long that it was possible to lose the sense of gratitude for this vast, gorgeous country.
People from the East Coast assume you’re speaking of Puerto Rico when you mention the San Juan Islands, but those from the Pacific Northwest know them as perfect vacation spots. Think Maine without the rain (though I’m only vouching for summer weather). In addition to sunny, dry days and crisp, cool nights, the islands boast celebrities that attract the star-struck. I speak of the pods of Orcas that pass through the channel between the United States and Canada. Tour organizers advise that you mustn’t assume when you sign up for kayaking that you will see Orcas—the chances are less than 1 percent on any particular trip—but we hit the jackpot. Spouting and breaching, they passed within a few hundred yards of us. The delight on the ocean that day was electric—whoops erupted from boaters and kayakers and lucky observers onshore. Just a whole lot of love for our fellow creatures who are among the most social of animals—only elephants and higher primates have more complex social systems. (They don’t deserve the moniker “Killer Whales”—and they’re actually dolphins—but you can look that up.)
Call it an embarrassment of riches.
Republicans in Wisconsin looking to take the state back a century or two while embracing the Big Lie that Donald Trump won the last election simply cannot go wrong. All three of the major GOP candidates vying in the state’s August 9 primary for the right to challenge Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in November have staked out fervently regressive, delusional, and extreme positions.
The contenders are: Rebecca Kleefisch, formerly Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, who together with Gov. Scott Walker helped bring about nearly Civil War-levels of division among the state’s populace; Tim Michels, a fabulously wealthy businessman with homes in several states, including a $17 million mansion in Connecticut; and Tim Ramthun, a state representative so extreme he was introduced without complaint at a recent GOP event as “radical Tim Ramthun.”
Happy(?) Wednesday! It’s hard to feel good about today, the state of our country after last night’s primary results. A lot of readers I talk to want to know: You’ve written about people for years, you worked in politics as a campaign aide and congressional staffer. What can we do?
This is a tough question to answer. There is no easy answer, I am afraid, other than talk to people. Today, much to the chagrin of my wife, I was joining a rural social organization and the President was giving me a tour of their place. I’m a joiner. Always have been. Member of the National Press Club, Eagles, Elks, Society for American Baseball Research, etc. And worse: I always want to try and help after I join.
Today, the president of this organization asked what I do, and I don’t shy away from telling people, even if being upfront about being a vocal Never Trumper is about as welcome as a knock on the door from somebody trying to help you find Jesus. To my surprise, I found an extremely offline voter who was:
What was supposed to be a cursory visit turned into a chat with a stranger who seemed like a longtime friend. Action is predicated upon trust, relationships, rhetoric and logic. The first, and hardest, step in America is crossing that taboo boundary to talk about it.
I know you can do it, too. That’s how we start fixing things. By not being afraid to talk.
Kyle Rittenhouse doesn’t seem sorry. A sign of a bad life to come.
Life comes at you fast… Fake electors edition.
People trust “the media” more than they think. Sorry, Gallup.
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