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Dark Scenario Rising
Will voters care about Herschel's abortions?
BREAKING: Reports of the economy’s death may have been premature: “U.S. GDP accelerated at 2.6% pace in Q3, better than expected as growth turns positive
With the midterms less than two weeks away, predictions of a red tsunami are the new hotness. And given trends in New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and (checks notes) Washington State, they might not be wrong.
But we are also going to be getting a real-time test of (1) the strength of that wave and (2) whether anything at all matters any more… in Georgia.
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard that a second woman has come forward to say that Herschel Walker pressured her into getting an abortion. Yes, her lawyer is Gloria Allred (and you can make of that what you wish), but she is bringing the receipts: cards, photographs, voice mails, and actual receipts to support her allegation. Via the Daily Beast:
The woman said she was “surprised” to learn she was pregnant, because she had been on birth control “during my entire relationship” with Walker.
“I didn’t really know what to do. I was confused, uncertain, and scared. After discussing the pregnancy with Herschel several times, he encouraged me to have an abortion and gave me the money to do so.” But after she went to the clinic, she said, she “simply couldn’t go through with it” and “left the clinic in tears.”
When she told Walker what had happened, she said, “he was upset and said he was going to go back to the clinic the next day for me to have the abortion. He then drove me to the clinic the following day and then waited for hours in the parking lot until I came out. He then drove me to get medication as prescribed and then drove me home.”
“I was devastated because I felt I had been pressured into having the abortion,” she said.
After the abortion, she continued, she felt Walker began to distance himself from her. She said that she left Dallas, traumatized, and didn’t return for 15 years.
This new story is not to be confused with the first woman — the mother of one of his children —who said that Walker had paid her to get an abortion.
On Earth 2.0 (the mythical universe where politics is rational and hypocrisy and dishonesty were still a thing) this would be a problem. But, as we are reminded daily, we don’t live in that world.
As a candidate, Walker has said he opposes abortion in all situations, with no exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. He has said he would back a national ban on the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Once again, Walker is denying the allegation. And, again, pretty much everyone knows he is lying. And, again, the GOP and the professional pro-lifers won’t care.
The Wapo’s number-crunching guru David Byler notes that Walker has completely recovered from his first abortion scandal. Polls show that “Walker has regained all of the ground he lost mid-scandal, bringing the race with Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock to a tie.”
So will the new allegation make a difference for voters who didn’t care about the first one? TBD. (But don’t get your hopes up).
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Funders of the Big Lie
ProPublica has done a deep-dive into the Illinois/Wisconsin cardboard moguls who have emerged as the sugar-parents of the election-denying MAGA right.
Dick and Liz Uihlein of Illinois are the largest contributors to Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who attended the Jan. 6 rally and was linked to a prominent antisemite, and have given to Jim Marchant, the Nevada Secretary of State nominee who says he opposed the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory in 2020. They are major funders to groups spreading election falsehoods, including Restoration of America, which, according to an internal document obtained by ProPublica, aims to “get on God’s side of the issues and stay there” and “punish leftists.”
How big a role do the Uihleins play? They are now #1.
Flush with profits from their shipping supply company, the Uihleins have emerged as the No. 1 federal campaign donors for Republicans ahead of the November elections, and the No. 2 donors overall behind liberal financier George Soros. The couple has spent at least $121 million on state and federal politics in the last two years alone,
This chart illustrates the explosive growth of their influence:
And, ProPublica reports, they have been very busy, bankrolling everything from school board recalls to contributing to the wooliest of conspiracy theorists.
Last year, Uihlein weighed in on recalling four school board members in a small town north of Milwaukee because of their support for COVID-19 safety protocols and “equity” training for teachers. More recently, in his home state of Illinois, Uihlein has spent more than $50 million to back the Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey, who has drawn criticism for saying the Holocaust “doesn’t even compare” to the toll of abortions and for accusing Democrats of “putting perversion into our schools” for adopting a sex ed bill that includes information about gender identity and same-sex couples.
Naturally, they have also been taking care of their friends.
The Uihleins were huge beneficiaries of a tax provision promoted by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., that was included in the Trump tax overhaul and are continuing to support the Wisconsin senator and fund attack ads against his opponent.
Dark Scenario Rising
As Election Day draws near, mayors and police chiefs across the country are getting a new warning: Extremists have jettisoned their nationwide election intimidation strategy in favor of local efforts focused on neighborhood ballot boxes.
Why it matters: Groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are looking to sway the upcoming midterms in favor of their preferred candidates by signing up as poll workers and drop-box watchers.
Driving the news: The U.S. Conference of Mayors held an event this week warning of decentralized election interference efforts targeting local voters, candidates and election workers.
"We've seen them dismantle some of their nationwide organizations," said Mary McCord, executive director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a former Justice Department prosecutor.
"So the Proud Boys dismantle nationally in favor of state chapters — the Three Percenters did the same," she told the mayors.
The change began after the 2020 election and grew more pronounced after the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack.
Bill Kristol and Tim Miller will join JVL for some real talk ahead of the November 8 elections. Grab a beer and join them starting at 8:00pm ET for Thursday Night Bulwark.
Exclusively for Bulwark+ members.
Where’s Mike Lee?
You know it’s bad when a GOP senator dodges an invite from… Fox News.
Dinesh D’Souza: Never Mind
Back in July, D'Souza tweeted a bold threat: “I am going to reveal the names of several of these nonprofit stash houses in my book '2000 Mules.’"
And, indeed, when the book first came out in August, he did, accusing five nonprofits of being illegal ballot "stash houses."
Copies of the book had already reached bookstores, when, just before the release date, the publisher Regnery issued a recall, though they did not catch every copy. NPR managed to find the book on the shelf at a Barnes & Noble bookstore.
D'Souza and Regnery did not give a reason for the sudden recall.
Instead, they blamed an unspecified "publishing error," and declined to answer further questions about the mistake, which was significant enough to cause Salem Media, Regnery's parent company, to lower its corporate earnings estimate.
When NPR contacted the five groups D'Souza had accused of involvement in election fraud, two went on the record to condemn the accusations as "trash," "lies," and "malarkey." One of those groups described the allegations as potentially "libelous."
Even True the Vote, the controversial election denial organization that executive produced the 2,000 Mules film, distanced themselves from the book. "True the Vote had no participation in this book, and has no knowledge of its contents," the group said in a statement to NPR back in September. "This includes any allegations of activities of any specific organizations made in the book. We made no such allegations."
Now, D'Souza and Regnery have officially released the 2,000 Mules book, and changed that section.
D'Souza had previously described left-wing nonprofits as "doing vote trafficking."
The newly-released book tones down that phrase to "potentially storing ballots."
And the names of specific nonprofits that D'Souza accused of election fraud have all been removed.
1. These Four Ballot Initiatives Might Tell the Future
Voters are going to decide on abortion, ranked-choice voting, voter ID requirements, and legalizing marijuana, writes Dan McGraw.
Of the nearly 130 ballot measures in states this November, there are four that stand out as having importance on which direction the country is heading.
In no particular order, they are an abortion vote in Kentucky, ranked-choice voting change in Nevada, stricter voter ID regs in Arizona, and marijuana legalization in Arkansas.
All four have national importance for both parties.
2. Russians Accuse Ukraine of Nazism—But Look at How Russian Propagandists Talk
Lukyanenko referred to disturbing claims—he calls them “lies”—going around about Russian troops raping Ukrainian women. Krasovsky’s reply: “Those grannies would gladly give the money they’ve saved up for their funeral to be raped by Russian soldiers.” Lukyanenko then launched into a story about how, on a trip to Ukraine back in Soviet times, in 1980, he had encountered Russian-speaking kids who griped about being occupied and oppressed by the moskali, a derogatory Ukrainian term for Russians. Krasovsky’s response: The right thing to do would have been to “just drown kids like that” in a river.
When Lukyanenko countered with the more moderate proposal of “spanking with a switch,” Krasovsky gleefully insisted that drowning was the way to go: “He tells you they’re occupied by the moskali, and you just take him and toss him in a river with a strong current.” Or maybe “stuff them into huts and burn them.” For good measure, Krasovsky also opined that Ukrainians who weren’t fit to be part of a Russian state should be shot. His remarks were delivered with a swagger and a smirk that made them all the more repellent.
3. Russian Infighting Could Be Just What Ukraine Needs
At a time when criticism inside Russia of that country’s “special military operation” against Ukraine—a euphemism for its unprovoked invasion of its neighbor—can often lead to arrest and prosecution, even long prison sentences, two people stand out for their harsh assessments of the military’s performance: Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the head of the Wagner mercenary outfit, Yevgeniy Prigozhin.
Kadyrov and Prigozhin’s criticism of the Russian military likely has more to do with palace intrigue in Moscow than with the situation in Ukraine. Kadyrov and Prigozhin are close enough to Putin that they haven’t faced any consequences criticizing—even insulting—the Russian Ministry of Defense and its leaders. One of the ways that Russian President Vladimir Putin preserves his power is by keeping various factions at odds with each other and refereeing the political infighting. Constant bureaucratic (and sometimes actual) combat among the Kremlin’s many towers may help Putin keep his hold on power, but it could cost him in Ukraine. Russian infighting could be exactly the opportunity Ukraine needs.
You really don’t hate to see it.