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ELECTION 2016: Can Democrats Regain Control Of The U.S. Senate?

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Here Are The Races To Watch

This year’s election contests aren’t just going to be a big day for the presidential race; there are numerous state and local officers up for election.

Because we know just how important — perhaps even more so — these down-ballot races can be, The New Civil Rights Movement is breaking down the other races and what initiatives LGBTQ people should be paying attention to as they head to the ballot box on Tuesday.

In Part 1, we looked at the states electing new governors. Now we turn to the U.S. Senate.

There are 34 Senate seats up for election this year, and Democrats need to pick up five seats in order to flip the Senate back to their control. (There are curently 24 Republican seats and 10 Democratic seats up for grabs.) Gaining control of the Senate is a particularly big deal this year because the Senate is responsible for confirming Supreme Court and other judges in addition to other nominees for other federal offices. Here are some of the most notable races we’re paying attention to this year:

Illinois: Republican Mark Kirk is one of the few GOP senators to publicly support LGBTQ rights, which originally earned him an endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign, even though his Democratic Opponent, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, has a far better record as an LGBTQ ally. Last week, though, Kirk made a racist comment about his oppenent during a debate and HRC (and many other groups) revoked their endorsement and switched it to Duckworth. Representative Duckworth has been outspoken for years on LGBTQ rights.

Florida: Republican Marco Rubio is trying desperately to hold onto his seat after his failed presidential bid. He’s being challenged by Democrat Patrick Murphy but he’s maintained a slight lead across the state. Murphy could be helped by a large turnout for Hillary Clinton and lots of campaigning from President Obama, but, as has been the case for years now, what will actually happen in Florida is anyone’s guess. It should surprise no one that Senator Rubio is no friend to the LGBTQ community.

North Carolina: Incumbent Senator Richard Burr, a Republican, is facing off with Democractic challenger Deborah Ross, the state ACLU executive director. Burr has gone on record saying that HB2 was “too broad” but also denied its economic impact. But, Senator Burr has a penchant for speaking out of turn and joked last week about shooting Hillary Clinton and vowed that if Clinton became president and he was in office, he’d do everything in his power to ensure that no Supreme Court nominee would be confirmed at all. During her entire term. Simply put: You are the worst, Burr.

Ohio: Republican Senator Rob Portman made news a few years ago when he decided to be a good father and embrace his gay son — and fight for his rights.  But over the past few years, he’s remembered that he’s an establishment Republican and has fought against women’s rights and more. He’s also on the list of politicians who endorsed and then un-endorsed Donald Trump. That move — rescinding his endorsement — has certainly helped him out in the polls against Democratic challenger Ted Strickland. 

New Hampshire: Governor Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, is trying for a new office, challenging Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte, you might remember, has been all over the map on her reactions to and support of Donald Trump. At one point, she called him a “role model.” She said she made a mistake soon after — but she would still vote for him. Now she’s doing her best to link Trump and Bill Clinton, who isn’t currently running for any office and says she won’t vote for Trump. Even with all of that back and forth, the race is still neck-and-neck.

Arizona: The man responsible for unleashing Sarah Palin onto the world (and, by some theories, paving the way for Donald Trump’s absurdist campaign), Republican John McCain, is fighting to hold onto his Senate seat in the face of a challenge from Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick. The race isn’t nearly as competitive as some of the others, but for many it’s a bit of a surprise that the war hero has had this much difficulty getting re-elected, including against a Trump-supporting primary challenger. 

Indiana: Congressman Todd Young, a Republican, and former Senator Evan Bayh, a Democrat, are going head-to-head. Bayh, who also served as governor, had been up substaintially, but that lead has dwindled in recent weeks as his opponent painted him as a Washington insider and part of the establishment. 

Missouri: Democrat Jason Kander might be best known for his campaign ad depicting him assembling an AR-15 assault rifle blindfolded in only 30 seconds while advocating for background checks on gun purchasers. He’s also a military veteran and polling higher than just about anyone expected against Republican incumbent Roy Blunt.

Utah: While the Senate race in Utah is far from competitive, it’s worth noting that the Democratic nominee is Misty Snow, the first transgender nominee to run for US Senate. She’s centered her campaign around traditional Democratic policies like raising the minimum wage, criminal justice reform, and has modeled much of her platform off of Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Her opponent, Republican incumbent Mike Lee, has an almost 20-point lead, but as Snow told the Salt Lake Tribune, “A lot of people have told me whether I win or lose, I’m already making a difference just by running.”

Kentucky: Openly gay Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is taking on incumbent Republican Rand Paul in hopes of ending over a decade of Republican control. However, the recent polling has him down anywhere from 12 to 16 points. 

There are many other races going on — and plenty could end up being very important, too. Check out all of the races here.

Coming up: A look at local races and certain ballot initiatives across the country.

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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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