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Election Results: LGBT Leadership Orgs Need To Be Asking, “What Now?”

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Editor’s note: This is the first in a series today of articles titled, “Election Results.” Stay tuned.

Four of the LGBT community’s leadership organizations, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The Victory Fund, The Human Rights Campaign, and GetEQUAL issued the following statements in the wake of a massive Republican election win last night.

The question they, and we, need to be asking is, “What now?”

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

“While political winds and players may shift, the fundamental needs of the people do not. No matter who is in office, people need jobs, protection from discrimination, a roof over their heads, a way to feed their families, a fair shake. No one should settle for less — we won’t.”
— Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responded to the projected shift in the balance of power on Capitol Hill, with Republicans poised to regain control of the U.S. House.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“We’ll cut to the chase: The shift in the balance of power will very likely slow advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights legislation in Congress. Does this mean a blockade on LGBT rights? Not if we can help it. Fact is, our community has always had to fight — and fight hard — for equality. This is nothing new to us. But here’s another fact: There are Americans, from every part of the country, from every background, from every political leaning and of every faith, who support equality for LGBT people — and those numbers grow bigger every day.

“No matter what the political breakdown is in Washington, the Task Force will continue to identify and work with all fair-minded members of Congress who are willing to support and defend equality for LGBT people. Through our New Beginning Initiative, we will continue to push for the administration and its agencies to make tangible changes that benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our families — changes that can be done without Congress. We will continue working with local partners in communities across the country to secure equality. Bottom line: While political winds and players may shift, the fundamental needs of the people do not. No matter who is in office, people need jobs, protection from discrimination, a roof over their heads, a way to feed their families, a fair shake. No one should settle for less — we won’t.”

The Victory Fund

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today announced that more openly LGBT candidates won election to public office in the U.S. in 2010 than in any year in America’s history.

Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe issued the following statement about the group’s success:

“There is no sugar-coating the loss of so many of our straight allies in Congress, but we can be proud that our community continues to expand its voice at all levels of government in America. Out public officials are having a sizable impact on the local, state and national debates about LGBT equality.  Increasing their numbers is a vital part of a long-term strategy to change America’s politics and make our country freer and fairer for everyone.  We will continue to focus on training committed, qualified candidates, and we will work hard to get them elected to public office.”

Human Rights Campaign

The initial results of Election Day indicate new challenges as well as some opportunities ahead for moving forward on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, said the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.  The loss of the House of Representatives to an anti-equality leadership, along with the loss of some fair-minded Senators, will certainly impede federal legislative efforts.  Perhaps most strikingly though, candidates who were the most vociferous opponents of LGBT equality did not fare well against fair-minded candidates.

“Social justice movements always experience steps forward and steps back and this election turned out to be a mix of both,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese.  “Even though we will face greater challenges in moving federal legislation forward, nothing will stop us from using every tool to advance LGBT equality at every level.  Attempts to hold back the tide of the equality movement will surely put anti-LGBT leaders on the wrong side of history.”

The loss of the House to anti-equality leaders is a serious blow to the LGBT community.  The presumptive leadership team of Reps. Boehner, Cantor and Pence all score zeros on the HRC scorecard and many soon-to-be committee chairs have long anti-LGBT records.  The past four years of Democratic leadership stopped anti-equality lawmakers from being able to move the most damaging legislation and amendments forward, however, the 110th and 111th Congresses did not hold pro-equality majorities on every issue.  The 112th Congress will prove even more challenging in rounding up the votes needed to advance pro-LGBT legislation.  A particular disappointment is the loss of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal champion Patrick Murphy in the U.S. House.

“We will be prepared to fight attempts to turn back the clock on equality as well as highlight how far this new leadership is outside the mainstream of public opinion,” said Solmonese.  “We need not look any further than their decade of House control that brought us attempts to pass a federal marriage amendment, strip courts of jurisdiction to hear LGBT rights claims, cut HIV/AIDS funding and vilify openly LGBT appointees.”

In assessing the impact of LGBT issues on the election, most races were primarily focused on economic woes creating a difficult environment for incumbents.  Polls show that LGBT issues were not decisive in these losses, and in fact, anti-LGBT candidates did not fare well – particularly the efforts of the National Organization for Marriage that poured millions of dollars into this election with only a mixed bag to show for it.  Their effort to unseat New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch was fruitless, as was their full throated support for Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California, as well as Carl Paladino in New York.  Additionally, a record number of openly LGBT candidates won elections across the country including Rep.-elect David Cicilline as a new openly gay member of Congress.

“No doubt anti-equality forces will try to trumpet this election as a validation for their divisive politics, but nothing could be further from the truth,” said Solmonese.  “The victories of Mark Dayton over rabidly anti-gay Tom Emmer and Lincoln Chafee over NOM-endorsed John Robitaille clearly demonstrate voters choosing equality over extremism.”

The outlook in the states remains more hopeful for moving LGBT issues forward.  In New York voters chose marriage equality supporter Andrew Cuomo along several new state senators who support equal marriage.  In Minnesota, voters rejected Tom Emmer and instead chose Mark Dayton who has pledged to sign a same-sex marriage bill into law.  In other states like Maryland, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Colorado, the coming year may see additional opportunities to advance relationship recognition laws.

HRC committed significant resources to the 2010 elections including contributing more than $850,000 through HRC’s federal PAC to pro-equality Congressional candidates and political committees as well as contributing nearly $400,000 to support pro-equality state and local candidates.  HRC deployed 39 staff to 17 states to work for pro-equality candidates and mobilize HRC members.  The organization sent more than 3.3 million election-related action alert e-mails to HRC members and supporters, recruited more than 4,500 volunteers to support pro-equality candidates and made more than 85,000 phone calls to HRC members through staff in the field and weekly phone banks at HRC headquarters.

HRC endorsed 202 candidates for the U.S House of Representatives, 21 candidates for the U.S. Senate and 16 candidates for Governor.  Of the 164 races where a winner has been called, 80% of HRC endorsed candidates have won.

GetEQUAL’s Director Robin McGehee

Last night was hard to watch.

Though we have spent seven months insisting that Democrats make good on promises to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, they have continued to run from legislation such as DADT and ENDA that are supported by a vast majority of American voters. After choosing to remain in a political closet, rather than coming out and showing political courage that we can believe in, we hope that Democrats have learned the dangers of political cowardice.

Have no doubt, though — while Democrats are licking their wounds, we will continue our work over the next two months to push unrelentingly to end both military discrimination and employment discrimination.

Back in July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised our community that he would fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year — even accepting Lt. Dan Choi’s West Point ring, promising to return it to him when this piece of legislation is repealed. And now is the time to push harder than we ever have before.

As we move away from Election Day and to the end of this Congressional session, it’s important that we tell Senator Reid that we expect him to make good on his promise to end DADT this year.

Harry Reid escaped a challenge for his seat last night, and must now turn his attention to scheduling votes for the lame-duck session — it’s down to the wire to end DADT once and for all, so we’ve got to keep up the pressure.

We’ll be reaching out to you later this week to let you know about some upcoming organizing opportunities across the country to continue applying pressure for repeal by taking to the streets. In the meantime, please pass this email around far and wide — we’ll deliver these signatures to Senator Reid in DC and let him know that we expect for him to get this done by the end of the year!

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Die-Hard MAGA Trump Supporters in Arizona Think ‘It’s Very Possible’ States Will ‘Decertify’ the 2020 Election

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Donald Trump’s most recent rally in Arizona brought many opportunities for his supporters to explain why they think the former president will be back in office any day.

Politico spoke to a few MAGA folks on the ground at the event and got their thoughts on what’s next in the Trump movement.

“I hope states decertify the election. I want to hear him say it’s over, we are ready to move on and hold a new election,” Politico cited Ray Kallatsa from Tucson. “I do think it’s possible, very possible.”

His thoughts echo those of pillow mogul Mike Lindell, who spoke to the crowd ahead of the former president. He cited QAnon language.

“Can you feel the storm building? It’s America,” he said using the allusion of “the storm” which is part of the conspiracy group’s messaging.

The storm, “refers to excessive social conflict that is predicted to occur prior to society reaching the point of ‘The Great Awakening,’ explained Murray State University.

See the photos from the event at Politico.

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'WINDOW INTO WHERE THIS IS ALL HEADED'

‘Avalanche of Lies’: Trump’s Arizona Speech Smacked Down by CNN Host

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The morning after Donald Trump rehashed all of his complaints about the 2020 presidential election that saw him lose to President Joe Biden and then attacked fellow Republicans, a CNN host dismissed his words as an “avalanche of lies.”

During the speech, the president also asserted that his “Stop the Steal” rally crowd was massive, telling the crowd, “They talk about the people that walked down to the Capitol, They don’t talk about the size of that crowd. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken before, and they were there to protest the election.”

After sharing clips of Trump’s ranting about critics within his own party who aren’t buying into his election lies, host Abby Phillip cut to the chase and also noted the former president’s defense of the Capitol insurrectionists.

“I don’t actually recommend people listen to the avalanche of lies last night,” she stated, “but it’s notable how much effort went into defending these January 6th defendants and saying that they were being held as political prisoners. It’s a window into where this is all headed for Republicans.”

Watch below:

 

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CRIME

Sedition Indictments Reveal the DOJ Is Looking Beyond the Jan 6th Insurrection: Former US Attorney

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Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday morning, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance explained that a deep reading of the federal seditious conspiracy indictments filed against eleven members of the Oath Keepers revealed that the Department of Justice is looking at more than the Jan 6th insurrection.

Speaking with host Ali Velshi, Vance suggested more indictments are likely to follow.

“One of the keys to understanding this indictment is it doesn’t look at January 6th as just one day,” she began. “The conduct starts shortly after the election and continues to January 6th. We now seemingly have a more firm answer to the direction whether the DOJ is looking at January 6th as a standalone day or is this continuing course of conduct surrounding the big lie.”

“The fact they are looking at the longer spectrum of conduct is good news for people who want to see people who were involved in the day’s events held responsible for all of the efforts to interfere with the election, not just the violence that manifested on January 6th” she continued. “This is prosecutors continuing to move up that ladder of responsibility. They’ve now hit a point with people involved in a definitive way and the violence on that day. The question is whether some of these individuals and other people who have been indicted will decide to cooperate with prosecutors and if they decide to cooperate, what information they may have to share.”

Watch below:

 

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