Howard Wolfson | Why the Democrats Just Lost the House – The New York Times

“. . . . Sadly there is little evidence that Democratic leaders in Albany heard the alarm bells ringing on Long Island or saw the Adams victory in the city as a path forward.

Instead, in the face of crime rates rising some 30 percent in New York City, Democrats mostly denied that there was a crime problem on the scale that Republicans portrayed in frequent campaign ads. To the extent that Democrats acknowledged the growing disorder at all, they argued that there was no data showing that bail reforms affected crime — a claim at odds with the desire of many voters for stronger public safety, including locking up potentially dangerous people and giving judges the ability to consider dangerousness in making bail decisions.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, newly elevated after Andrew Cuomo’s implosion and resignation, was able to persuade the legislature to tinker with the bail laws. But the changes were too little and too late, and voters were unconvinced. New York remains the only state in the nation where in setting bail, judges cannot take into account whether a person arrested for a crime is a danger to the community. Democrats in the legislature failed to offer any other alternative solutions to the problem.” . . . . .

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
This interesting essay has the smell of truth. It is interesting that so many of the top comments refuse to listen to any of it. Bail is probably almost always bad for poor people, but not if they are dangerous. Taking away the right of judges to use their judgement sounds like left wing crazyness. It appears to a casual observer from the Connecticut countryside, that we all could benefit from more mindfullness, and listening.

Andy Kroll | Kari Lake and the Rise of the Republican Apostate – The New York Times

Mr. Kroll is a reporter for ProPublica and the author of a new book about Seth Rich and the power of conspiratorial thinking in American politics.

“On Apr. 8, 2020, in the chaotic early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News host Laura Ingraham welcomed a little-known state senator onto her prime time show. With his unmistakable Minnesota accent and an aw-shucks bearing, Scott Jensen, a Republican, was the furthest thing from the typical fire-breathing cable news guest. But the message that he wanted to share was nothing short of explosive.

He told Ms. Ingraham that he believed doctors and hospitals might be manipulating the data about Covid-19. He took aim at new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning that they could lead medical institutions to inflate their fees‌. “The idea that we are going to allow people to massage and sort of game the numbers is a real issue because we are going to undermine the trust” of the public, he said.”

Frank Bruni | The Republican Double Standard That’s Endangering American Democracy – The New York Times

“I appreciate little about Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor in Arizona, but I do thank her for her candor. For her transparency. For laying out and laying bare the double standard that she and other Republican candidates and leaders embrace:

A Republican victory in a tightly contested race means that Democrats’ desires or schemes to corrupt it didn’t pan out. Let freedom ring! A Democratic victory means that George Soros cast a magic spell over voters while a global cabal of socialists and pedophiles used space beams to scramble the results that voting machines spit out.

Those weren’t Lake’s exact words in a recent interview with Dana Bash on CNN, but that was the spirit of them.

Bash asked Lake about her crackpot insistence that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump — a fiction that happens to enjoy special favor in Arizona — and whether Lake was prepared to concede graciously if her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, prevailed in the midterms on Nov. 8.

“I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result,” Lake said, oracularly and obnoxiously.

Bash rightly pressed her. What if she lost?

“I’m going to win the election,” Lake repeated, word for robotic word, “and I will accept that result.”

I don’t know how you interpret that, but here’s my translation: The only outcome she will consider legitimate is her own victory. Anything else is potential grounds for a fresh round of rancor and a new cycle of conspiracy theories. She’s poised to pump more poison into the body politic. For Lake and too many other Republicans, there are just two possibilities: validation or victimization. There’s no such thing as losing fair and square.

Republicans are fashioning a politics without accountability. They’re rigging reality itself. And Lake’s interview with Bash was one of those moments that captured, in miniature, the broader dynamics and dysfunctions of its time.”

In Tim Ryan’s Ohio Senate Race, the D Is Often Silent – The New York Times

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tim Ryan is the kind of candidate who appears to put some thought into appearing to put no thought into appearances.

His daily uniform exudes well-practiced campaign casual: an Ohio State hoodie on game day; a T-shirt from Dropkick Murphys, the union-minded Celtic punk band, for a recent speech at an A.F.L.-C.I.O. gathering, where he took the stage to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”; untied white Nikes for a canvass kickoff in the capital, laced tastefully days later for a condolence visit to a Toledo union hall.

His stump speech is a hits reel befitting an eastern Ohio congressman, as if culled from the down-home liner notes of a Springsteen track about the industrial Midwest.

“My grandfather was a steelworker…”

“I’m campaigning for the exhausted majority…”

“Star of the high school football team…”

Midterm Elections: Republican endorses 6 Democrats – The New York Times

“Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of the most prominent Republican critics of former President Donald J. Trump, endorsed a dozen candidates on Tuesday whom he described as defenders of democracy.

Half of them are Democrats who are running against Republican election deniers to become governor or secretary of state, offices that oversee or have substantial influence over the administration of elections. Those positions could empower election deniers to throw future elections into chaos, including by trying to overturn the result of the next presidential contest.

Mr. Kinzinger, who is retiring, is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, and one of two serving on the congressional committee investigating the attack.

Democrats Worry for Mandela Barnes as GOP Attack Ads Take a Toll – The New York Times

“MADISON, Wis. — Politicians who visit diners know the deal: In exchange for photos establishing their working-class bona fides, they must cheerfully accept heaping portions of unsolicited advice.

But on Tuesday at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner here in Madison, one of the first people to approach Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Wisconsin, took the tradition to a new level, presenting him with a typed-up list of concerns about his campaign.

The supporter, Jane Kashnig, a retired businesswoman who has spent recent weeks going door to door to speak with voters, told Mr. Barnes his backers were jittery about his inability to repel an unending volley of attack ads from Senator Ron Johnson and his Republican allies.

Show more fire, Ms. Kashnig urged the Democrat and his campaign. “The people on the doors want him to fight,” she said.”

Michelle Goldberg | In Washington State, the Midterm Race Between Joe Kent and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez Has It All – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Photographs by Amanda Lucier

“VANCOUVER, Wash. — In March, five months before he became the Republican nominee in a Washington State congressional race, Joe Kent appeared on a webcast hosted by a Gen-Z white nationalist group called the American Populist Union. Kent, who would soon be endorsed by Donald Trump, was there to explain his disavowal of Nick Fuentes, a smirking 24-year-old far-right influencer whom The New York Times has described as “a prominent white supremacist.”

On one side of the split screen was David Carlson, the American Populist Union’s baby-faced chief content officer. On the other was Kent, a movie-star-handsome former Green Beret in a plaid flannel shirt, with an American flag hanging behind him. What followed was a 45-minute conversation in which Kent attempted a dance that’s become common in today’s G.O.P.: remaining in the good graces of the far right while putting some distance between himself and its most abhorrent avatars.”

Peter Smith | Moderate Republicans No Longer Have a Home, and It Started With My Defeat – The New York Times

Mr. Smith, a Republican, represented Vermont in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1991.

“Over the last 30 years, the Republican Party has effectively eliminated its moderate and liberal voices — as well as the conservative voices that put country over party. The consequences of this takeover by an increasingly right-wing faction include the threats to democracy that have become increasingly prominent since the Jan. 6 riots.

When I lost my seat in Congress in 1990, I knew it was because I had co-sponsored a bill to ban assault weapons. The National Rifle Association and conservative Republicans in Vermont and elsewhere united to defeat me, calling the independent challenger, Bernie Sanders, the “lesser of two evils.” First, a right-wing candidate challenged me in the Republican primary, then many of his supporters aided the Sanders campaign in the general election.

Their plan: Elect Bernie Sanders for one term, then defeat him the next time around. The only problem: They couldn’t weaken him in a primary the same way and consistently failed to beat him in a general election. And the rest is history.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but my defeat was an early step in the elimination of the moderate and liberal wing of the Republican Party. That process, aimed at members of Congress and state-level officials, began with the ascent of Newt Gingrich’s style of full-throated partisanship and has continued to this day. When moderates like Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine retired, the party typically nominated more right-wing candidates to succeed them. Over the years, the party’s capture by hard-line activists — and now, as seen in New Hampshire’s primaries last week, election deniers — has resulted in ever more extreme nominees.”

Johnny Harris and Michelle Cottle | Inside the Completely Legal G.O.P. Plot to Destroy American Democracy – The New York Times

Johnny Harris and 

Mr. Harris is a video journalist. Ms. Cottle is a member of the editorial board.

“For the past two years, Americans have been overwhelmed by a deluge of headlines suggesting democracy in the United States is under threat: Voter suppression. A shortage of drop boxes. Election deniers seeking key state offices. It can be difficult to gauge what stories suggest a truly terrifying threat to democracy, and which are simply disheartening or even petty. The Opinion Video film above aims to unpack one of the most dire threats to democracy, which includes a sophisticated plot to control not only who can vote, but which votes get counted.”

The Senate’s Most Vulnerable Democrats – The New York Times

“Two senators from states with little in common and at opposite poles of the country found each other this month: Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Mark Kelly of Arizona, who banded together to push a gasoline tax holiday.

Their bill — the Gas Prices Relief Act, which would suspend 18.4 cents of federal tax per gallon — soon found two other eager sponsors: Senators Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.

A gas tax holiday may face dim prospects, but the fact that four of its chief backers just happen to be the four most vulnerable Democratic senators in the midterms this November underscores how much they want to ring a populist bell, one that might help them save their jobs.”