Dems Move Women Into Leadership Roles
Democratic women are replacing men in leadership positions. Axios: "Democrats are moving women into leadership roles in key party organizations, including the campaign arms for national and state races — and even in the moderate Blue Dog coalition, which will be led by a woman of color for the first time in its 23-year history. It's a recognition of the importance of women in the Democratic coalition — especially the role women voters played in the House midterm election victory — and a nod to the growing diversity of the party's elected officials. Republicans haven't made similar moves in their leadership ranks. These positions carry tremendous influence in candidate recruitment, messaging, and securing donations in future elections. Elevating more women addresses some of the concerns from the party's base and more progressive members who want fresh faces to lead the caucus. They're also an important symbol of the impact of the 2018 midterms, which had a record number of women and people of color running mostly as Democrats."
NC GOP Illegally 'Harvested' Votes To Tip Election
Disputed NC race may hinge on a shadowy operative. NYT: "Elections regulators are poised to hold an evidentiary hearing this month. Investigators have already begun questioning witnesses about what Joshua Malcolm, who was named on Monday as the election board’s chairman, described last week as 'claims of numerous irregularities and concerted fraudulent activities' with regard to absentee ballots in rural parts of the district. State officials are particularly concerned that people working on behalf of Mr. Harris’s campaign picked up, or 'harvested,' absentee ballots, a crime under North Carolina law. In one affidavit, a Bladen County resident, Emma Shipman, wrote that she had handed over her ballot to a woman who told her she was assigned to collect ballots in the district. Another voter wrote that she had handed over her incomplete ballot to a woman, who promised she would finish it. The practice raised questions about whether ballots could have been improperly submitted for the Republican candidate or discarded if they were marked for the Democratic nominee."
New Scrutiny Of GA GOP Vote Supression
GA GOP faces scrutiny in Secretary Of State runoff. USA Today: "The Georgia secretary of state race, which advanced to a Dec. 4 runoff after no candidate received a majority of the vote last month, not only is a partisan reflection of the gubernatorial contest that preceded it, but it will put the winner in a position to immediately address voter disenfranchisement and suppression claims that marred the state's 2018 elections. On Election Day last month, Republican state Rep. Brad Raffensperger received 49.09 percent to Democratic former U.S. Rep. John Barrow's 48.67 percent, a difference of just over 16,000 votes. Voting that night, and early voting in the weeks prior, overseen by the secretary of state's office, featured scores of complaints across Georgia about voter registration purging and difficulties in obtaining absentee ballots and confirming their receipt and legitimacy. Gov.-elect Brian Kemp, who defeated Abrams with 50.22 percent of the vote, narrowly avoiding a runoff himself, served as secretary of state until Nov. 8, two days after Election Day, leading to accusations of a conflict of interest by Abrams and others who believe his office's efforts affected his own race. Kemp stepped aside before the Democrat conceded the race, as her campaign fought for a runoff by arguing for the inclusion of some additional provisional and absentee ballots. In her eventual concession on Nov. 16, Abrams was critical of Kemp and the secretary of state's office. 'To watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in the state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people's democratic right to vote has been truly appalling,' said Abrams, the former Georgia House minority leader."
WI, MI GOP Rush To Limit Elected Democrats' Power
In states they lost, some GOP lawmakers rush to limit new Democrats' power. NPR: "Less than a month after the midterm elections, Republican state lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan are working to limit the powers of newly elected Democrats in statewide office. Just two days after the Nov. 6 election in Wisconsin, when Democrat Tony Evers beat two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said a lame-duck session agenda was already taking shape. And Tuesday, lawmakers are set to vote on a number of bills that would limit Evers' authority when he's sworn in. Fitzgerald says the party isn't trying to undermine the new governor, 'That's not the case at all. I think there's some stuff that's going to be reasonable.' Republicans in Wisconsin have enjoyed control of the government — between the governorship and both chambers of the statehouse — during Gov. Walker's entire administration. Over those eight years, the GOP pushed through major policy changes, ranging from union limits, to voter ID requirements, to redistricting. Now Republicans want to make sure Evers can't upend all of their accomplishments come January. But many voters don't seem happy about that. During public hearings Monday, Republican lawmakers faced protests both inside and outside of the Capitol as they met to discuss the proposals to restrain Evers' power. Shouting 'respect our vote,' a large and loud group of demonstrators reminded lawmakers that it was the voters' will that got Evers into office in the first place. There is precedent for attempts to limit power like this, though not all successful. In 2016, when voters in North Carolina elected Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, Republicans tried multiple ways to limit his power. First in the lame-duck session before his term, then on the ballot. Both ultimately failed. That hasn't stopped Republican lawmakers in Michigan from meeting this week to try to curb the authority of the incoming secretary of state and attorney general — both Democrats."
Voting Rights Will Stop Trumpism
Investigations won’t defeat Trumpism. Strengthening democracy will. Politico: "If a left-leaning genie offered me the choice between incontrovertible proof that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election, or more developments like the Florida referendum that just restored voting rights to some 1.5 million ex-felons, I’d choose the second option without hesitation. A Democratic House, of course, can’t legislate on its own, but it can use the next two years to workshop a far-reaching policy agenda, and to sharpen contrasts—and build public support—when popular legislation dies in the counter-majoritarian Senate. The Democratic agenda has to be big enough, clear enough, and compelling enough to break through Trump’s noise. Perhaps even more challenging, it has to break through the noise that Democrats themselves will generate while doing the important, but limited, work of oversight. Progressive thinkers have started to consider what that agenda might look like. Three priorities should come first. First, and most important, is a dramatic expansion of voting rights. Nothing better illustrates the need for new action on voting rights than the election night contrast between neighboring Florida and Georgia. Florida voters overturned a Jim Crow-era amendment that disenfranchised 20 percent of its African-American citizens. Georgia, meanwhile, saw an election in which Republican state officials targeted voters of color for disenfranchisement, and average wait times to vote in Atlanta on Election Day reached three hours. It’s encouraging that House Democrats are planning to introduce sweeping legislation to strengthen voting rights, which would implement automatic voter registration, end partisan redistricting, and challenge the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. (The latter provision would likely provoke a conflict with the court, but provoking such conflicts is exactly what Democrats should be doing.) Democrats should add a nationwide rollout of Oregon’s successful vote-by-mail system. The 14 states with Democratic trifectas should take the opportunity to pass automatic registration and vote-by-mail where they do not already exist. Democrats can’t end voter suppression in the next two years, but they can make Republicans own it."