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Two Things to Watch for in the Midterm Results
Plus, What Ails the American Male?
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CHARLIE SYKES: Buckle Up.
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The midterms have sparked debate as to whether this election is a referendum on the future of American democracy. Historian Michael Beschloss and President Joe Biden have sounded the alarm, while law professor Jonathan Turley and commentator Jonah Goldberg insist that democracy is not on the ballot. (“You’re all losing your frickin’ minds,” Goldberg writes.) But at least from a legal standpoint, this is no ordinary election. According to Democracy Docket, GOP-aligned groups have filed nearly five times the number of anti-voting lawsuits that they brought in 2021 and three times the number filed in 2020. And this time around, the fight is not focused on whether folks should be allowed vote. It’s about canceling votes after they’ve been cast, particularly if via dropbox or absentee ballot, the use of which was popularized during the COVID-19 pandemic. And the GOP has opened new frontiers on criminal penalties if voters make mistakes.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis’s novel “Office of Election Crimes and Security” is already having an effect on turnout, particularly among black voters, fifteen of whom have already been arrested for allegedly (but inadvertently and in some instances on the advice of election officials) voting when they did not qualify. The Florida legislature has made it illegal to deliver, or even to possess, more than two absentee ballots for people who are not close relatives; errors can trigger a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. New laws also limit the ability of third-party groups to register voters—96,000 were aided in 2018, down to 31,000 so far this year—else they face up to $50,000 in fines. These and other new ballot restriction rules disproportionately hurt black voters, who are mostly Democrats. “I have been one who has collected hundreds of ballots, all legitimate ballots, to help persons and make it convenient for them to vote,” La Von Bracy, a director of a religious nonprofit, told the Washington Post. “Now I’m getting calls from people saying ‘Ms. Bracy, can you come get my ballot?’ I say, ‘Sorry, no. I’m not going to risk getting a police record.’”
MONA CHAREN: What Ails the American Male?
Throughout most of Richard Reeves excellent new book, Of Boys and Men, I wasn’t just nodding along, I was foot-stomping. Too little has been written about the troubles of boys and men. I addressed many of these issues in my 2018 book Sex Matters and am always glad to see more hands to the oar (though Reeves and I see certain things differently, which I’ll come to).
As a culture, we remain stubbornly attached to the notion that girls and women need encouragement, special programs, and remedial measures to bring them into full equality with males in school, in the workplace, in sports—well, pretty much everywhere. There is nothing wrong with that, but as Reeves and a handful of others have observed over the last two decades, this focus is significantly out of date.
Women’s rights and hijab rules are at the center of widespread protests in Iran, but the demonstrations quickly evolved and are now the most serious threat to the regime in decades. Barbara Slavin joins Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
CATHY YOUNG: Yes, Democrats Have Called Some Elections Illegitimate. GOP Election Denialism Is Far Worse.
When Democrats voice dismay at MAGA Republicans’ belief that Donald Trump got cheated out of victory in the 2020 election, a common response goes: “Well, Democrats do it too!” But Hillary! But Stacey Abrams! But Al Gore! But Jimmy Carter! Anti-anti-Trump types are willing to concede that Trump’s claims about the 2020 “steal” were baseless, but they insist that the problem exists on Both Sides™, and that it’s rank partisanship—not to mention hypocrisy—to claim that the Trumpified GOP’s election denialism should be uniquely disqualifying.
There are many instances in which a nuanced view of an issue gets unfairly slammed as “bothsidesism.” This isn’t one of them.
THEODORE R. JOHNSON: Two Things to Watch for in the Midterm Results.
The midterm elections are at last upon us—and with them, mounting anxiety and anticipation over the possible outcomes. Many commentators, in addition to partaking of the usual horserace excitement of calling winners in individual contests, will keep their eyes on specific aspects of our democratic system such as voter turnout and party-line versus split-ticket voting. Others will critique the accuracy of pre-election polling or look for evidence of demographic shifts. The one thing we’ll all be watching are the losers—will they refuse to accept the results and spur a new cycle of conspiracy theories around election fraud? Or will they concede civilly?
There are two key indicators I’ll be watching to get a sense of what’s in store for our nation and our democracy.
See you on the field! It’s game day. In the interest of full disclosure, there was one race on my ballot today. (There were 45 on my sister’s in Cleveland!) Yesli Vega vs. Abigail Spanberger. I voted for Spanberger.
Predictions: I don’t know what tonight holds for either party. Here’s what I said on MSNBC. I think that it can go a lot of different ways. So many races are too close. But I think the best composite is The Economist forecast. If a race isn’t mentioned below, assume that I think incumbent wins.
Definite winners: Mike DeWine, Josh Shapiro, Gretchen Whitmer, Wes Moore in OH, PA, MI and MD for Gov. Same with Brian Kemp in GA. In the Senate: Warnock in GA, and Kelly in AZ.
Likely winners: O’Dea in Colorado, Hassan in NH and Cortez Masto in NV. Sadly, probably Kari Lake in AZ.
Toss ups: John Fetterman and Tim Ryan in PA and OH.
Definite losers: McMullin in Utah. But it’ll be closer than you could have predicted.
Where does that put us? Probably a 51-49 GOP Senate. But a lot can happen!
Meanwhile, in Missouri… Officials are stupidly fighting the feds.
This is why you need to be concerned about Deep Fakes. It’s only gonna get worse.
A preview of our illiberal future. It’s not great.
Meanwhile, from the Twitter Apocalypse… The site is gonna die.
Democrats and denial… Catherine Rampell has thoughts….
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
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