LGBT Candidates Made History Nov. 8
There is no sugarcoating the fact that the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States on Nov. 8 was a disaster, both for the LGBT movement and for the country as a whole.
The potential danger of a Trump presidency is augmented by the fact that Republicans maintained control of both houses of Congress, though Democrats did cut slightly the majorities held by the GOP in each.
Yet in many ways, the election was less a â€œchange election,â€ as Trump partisans claim, than it was a status quo election. After all, the large majority of incumbents running for House and Senate were re-elected.
Trump not only did not receive a mandate to erode LGBT rights (or for any other policy position), but he also failed to receive even a plurality of the popular vote, much less a majority. When all the votes are counted, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is expected to have received more than 2,000,000 votes than Trump.
The new Republican mantra echoed this week by Sen. Ted Cruz, among others, that Trump won â€œoverwhelminglyâ€ is a lie that must be denounced every time it is uttered.
Moreover, it is useful to remember that this election brought, in addition to heartbreaking losses, some significant successes as well.
Not only were the anti-gay North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (apparently) and the seven-term anti-gay New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett (definitely) defeated by LGBT allies, but a number of the newly elected senators, such as Kamala Harris of California, Chris van Hollen of Maryland, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire are strong allies who put LGBT rights at the very center of their campaigns.
In addition, although we did not add any new members to the openly LGBT Congressional caucus, many LGBT candidates for other offices won. The Victory Fund, an organization devoted to electing openly LGBT candidates at local, state, and federal levels, reports that 87 of the 135 candidates the organization endorsed won their races.
Victory Fund President Aisha C. Moodie-Mills expressed her disappointment with the presidential election, remarking that “The devastating results hit the LGBT community particularly hard because we are unique in spanning all the demographic groups targeted by the president-elect throughout the campaign.â€ Still, she observed, the election also provided some â€œrays of light.â€
For example, the 2016 election saw the first openly LGBT person elected governor and all six openly LGBT members of the House handily re-elected.
Kate Brown, who had previously served as Majority Leader of the Oregon State Senate and as Secretary of State, became governor of Oregon in February 2015, when she succeeded John Kitzhaber, who resigned in the midst of a corruption scandal. On Nov. 8, she was elected governor in her own right. Her victory makes her the first openly LGBT person elected governor of a U.S. state.
Rep.Â Jared PolisÂ of Colorado crushed his Republican opponent to win re-election to the seat he won in 2008, when he became the first openly gay man elected to Congress as a freshman. (When he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son in 2011, Polis became the first openly gay father to serve in Congress.)
Amassing 64% of the vote, Rep.Â David Cicilline of Rhode Island easily won re-election to the seat he first won in 2010.
Rep.Â Mark Pocan of Wisconsin coasted to victory with almost 70 percent of the vote to retain the seat he won in 2012, when he succeeded Tammy Baldwin in the seat she vacated to run for the U.S. Senate.
Upstate New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, running in a competitive district, defeated his Republican challenger 51 percent to 41 percent to retain the seat he won in 2012.
In Arizona, bisexual Rep.Â Kyrsten Sinema, who won her seat in 2012 in a bitter, nail-biter of a race, coasted to re-election in 2016.
Among other highlights of the 2016 election include some notable triumphs by newly elected LGBT candidates.
In Gwinnett County, Georgia, a 31-year-old political newcomer, Sam Park, upset a well-funded three-term Republican state representative to become the first openly gay man elected to the state Legislature. He will join three lesbian lawmakers in the Legislature.
In Denver, Leslie Herod won her race for the Colorado House of Representatives to become Colorado’s first African-American LGBT elected official. She explained her victory as a result of having built “a coalition of folks of all races, class, gender and sexual orientation.”
“They all came together to support me,â€ she said.
In Arizona, Daniel Hernandez won a seat in the state House of Representatives. Hernandez, who serves on the Sunnyside Unified District School Board, is creditedÂ with helping save the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords during the Jan. 8, 2011 shootings in Tucson. At the time he was a congressional intern accompanying Giffords at a constituent event when a gunman shot her and 18 other people. His medical training, quick thinking, and bravery on that day has earned him plaudits as an American hero.
In Florida,Â Carlos Guillermo SmithÂ was elected to the state House, becoming the state’s first openly gay Latino legislator. He will represent the district that includes the University of Central Florida and the Pulse nightclub. Smith, a former legislative aide and a lobbyist for Equality Florida, defeated his opponentÂ by a margin of 69 percent to 31 percent.
In Minnesota, activist Erin Maye Quade upset a favored Republican to win a seat in the state House of Representatives. The race turned ugly when remarks by Maye Quade’s opponent that disparaged “identity politics” were perceived as homophobic.
In Washington, Nicole Macri easily won Seattle’s “legacy seat“Â in the state House of Representatives. The seat, which includes Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, has been held by an openly LGBT person for the last 29 years.
In a surprise victory in Houston, DemocratÂ Kim Ogg decisively ousted the incumbent district attorney of Harris County.
But perhaps the most reassuring news we have received is the pledge from Sen. Charles Schumer, who will become the Senate minority leader in the new Congress.
In a letter published in The Advocate, Schumer reassured the LGBT community. “I will do all in my power to prevent any backsliding on hard-won rights and to push back against a national discourse that allows for anything less than a full measure of respect for all Americans and would-be Americans.”
He said: “I will not forget what happened at Stonewall or what happened at Pulse â€” or any of the countless physical assaults, emotional taunts, and bullying endured by homosexual fellow citizens over the generations. I will not forget North Carolinaâ€™s passage of House Bill 2 or the trickle-down of hateful rhetoric inspired by these laws that causes children to take their own lives rather than continue to face the torment of bullies at school. I will not forget the 24 transgender Americans murdered this year alone.”Â
He added: “I also wonâ€™t forget when West Point opened the doors of its historic chapel for its first same-sex wedding after President Obama repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ I won’t forget Edie Windsorâ€™s boundless joy when the Supreme Court handed down its decision to make marriage equality the law of the land. And I wonâ€™t forget my family, my friends, my colleagues, or the New Yorkers who depend on me to protect their constitutional rights.”
This resolve from the leader of a united Democratic caucus will make it far more difficult for those who would like to erode LGBT rights to succeed in the first two years of the Trump presidency.
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Matt Gaetz Just Compared Child Sex Trafficking Allegations to a Parliamentary Debate on Earmarks: Report
Embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) addressed the Ohio Political Summit in Strongsville on Saturday.
NBC News correspondent Henry Gomez reported from the event, noting “a bunch of Senate and gov candidates have backed out of the event.”
Gomez reported Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), “was supposed to speak at this event this afternoon but she’s nowhere to be found. Organizer won’t answer questions about if she’s still speaking and just pulled a candidate from a different congressional district on stage to fill the time.”
When Gaetz took the stage, he reportedly addressed the allegations against him.
“I’m being falsely accused of exchanging money for naughty favors. Yet, Congress has reinstituted a process that legalizes the corrupt act of exchanging money for favors, through earmarks,” Gaetz said.
Gaetz: “I’m being falsely accused of exchanging money for naughty favors. Yet, Congress has reinstituted a process that legalizes the corrupt act of exchanging money for favors, through earmarks.”
— Henry J. Gomez (@HenryJGomez) May 15, 2021
Bombshell Report on Matt Gaetz Is Just the Beginning: ‘This Is the Start of a Long Road’
One of the reporters who broke the bombshell Daily Beast report on Matt Gaetz doing cocaine with an escort who had a no-show state job said the story is just the first in many to come.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes interviewed Jose Pagliery on Friday about the report.
Exclusive: US Congressman Matt Gaetz snorted cocaine at a GOP fundraiser after-party… with an escort.
His donors footed the bill, because the hotel was a campaign expense.
The woman landed a taxpayer-funded job… where no one saw her work.https://t.co/uGIqQhALAj
— 𝙅𝙤𝙨𝙚 𝙋𝙖𝙜𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙧𝙮 (@Jose_Pagliery) May 14, 2021
“When Rep. Matt Gaetz attended a 2019 GOP fundraiser in Orlando, his date that night was someone he knew well: a paid escort and amateur Instagram model who led a cocaine-fueled party after the event, according to two witnesses. The Florida congressman’s one-time wingman, Joel Greenberg, will identify that escort to investigators as one of more than 15 young women Gaetz paid for sex, according to a source familiar with the investigation,” The Beast reported.
“But what distinguishes this woman, Megan Zalonka, is that she turned her relationship with Greenberg into a taxpayer-funded no-show job that earned her an estimated $7,000 to $17,500, according to three sources and corresponding government records obtained by The Daily Beast. On Oct. 26, 2019, Gaetz attended the “Trump Defender Gala” fundraiser as the featured speaker at the Westgate Lake Resort in Orlando. Two witnesses present recalled friends reconvening at Gaetz’s hotel room for an after-party, where Zalonka prepared lines of cocaine on the bathroom counter. One of those witnesses distinctly remembers Zalonka pulling the drugs out of her makeup bag, rolling a bill of cash, and joining Gaetz in snorting the cocaine,” The Beast reported.
“It seems to me, should this all be true, I just feel like there’s not going to be real shortage of witnesses here,” Hayes said. “Has a real open secret vibe to me right now.”
“This was an afterparty, we have identified at least half a dozen people who were there and saw this take place,” Pagliery said. “The reason that we decided to break this news and start with this one is that there are lots of other parties like this. There are more young women, more locations and more actions and bad behavior on the part of Gaetz and Greenberg that we’re going to be exposing.”
“This is the start of a long road,” he added.
House Announces Bipartisan Agreement on January 6 Commission – Until Kevin McCarthy Says He Hasn’t Read It Yet
House Democrats and Republicans Friday morning announced an agreement has been reached “to introduce legislation to form a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the January 6 domestic terrorism attack on the United States Capitol.” Many have doubted the commission would be formed after Republicans worked to derail progress. Now, House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy may do just that.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the Committee on Homeland Security’s agreement, saying, “It is imperative that we seek the truth of what happened on January 6 with an independent, bipartisan 9/11-type Commission to examine and report upon the terrorist mob attack.”
But as CNN’s Annie Grayer reports, “Kevin McCarthy tells reporters he has not read through the deal that John Katko made with Dems on 1/6 commission and said that the scope should not just be focused on 1/6 even though that’s what the deal says.”
Republicans have been trying to include the Black Lives Matter protests in the investigation, even though they have nothing to do with the attempted coup and attack on the Capitol.
When asked about McCarthy’s roadblocking, Speaker Pelosi told Grayer, “You know what, why don’t you ask him?”
“His ranking member is a cosponsor of the legislation,” Pelosi noted. “We’re very pleased that it is bipartisan, and the scope was very important in the legislation.”
Bloomberg adds that McCarthy “was noncommittal when asked if he supports the commission legislation.”
“I have to go through it,” he said, pointing to “rhetoric” in the bill about the scope of the investigation “that I want to look through.”
Some claim McCarthy’s attempts to block the Commission stem from what GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger revealed earleir this week, that on Jan. 3 he warned McCarthy Republicans’ rhetoric and actions were going to lead to violence, but McCarthy dismissed him.
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