How The Wisconsin GOP Lost Its Mind

Special Saturday Newsletter

Busy Saturday, so try to keep up: Trump will name Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. More Trump officials break ranks. Plus polls, focus groups, and the usual insanity.

Welcome to the Countdown Journal. there are 38 days to go until Election Day, and then 78 days until the Inauguration.

As you may have seen from my Twitter feed, this happened:

Alt Right, groyper maven Michelle Malkin was the featured speaker at a Waukesha GOP women’s event:

Which led to…

A standing ovation for the mother of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17 year old who shot and killed two people in Kenosha.

Rittenhouse has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, reckless homicide, a count for attempted intentional homicide and two counts of recklessly endangering safety.

So, to be clear about this.

At an event sponsored by the Waukesha GOP in Wisconsin, the mother of the 17-year-old boy who crossed state lines and shot three people, killing two in Kenosha, received a standing ovation… led by one of the right’s most notorious racists.

How notorious? We’ve written about Malkin here… and here.

This is from the Anti-Defamation League: “Michelle Malkin is Attempting to Normalize White Supremacy.”

In the past year, however, she has publicly and explicitly allied herself with white supremacists, particularly the so-called “groypers,” appearing on white supremacist podcasts and other online programs. Malkin’s bold support of and interaction with white supremacists points to the increasingly fine line between people who call themselves “American nationalists” and recognizable white supremacy.

How bad has she gotten? Consider this: “Conservative Group Fires Michelle Malkin Over Support for Holocaust Denier.”

A conservative group cut ties with right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin on Sunday over her support for an anti-Semitic internet personality, ramping up a growing conservative civil war centered on college campuses.

Malkin’s firing from Young America’s Foundation, whose speakers bureau had booked Malkin for speeches across the country for the past 17 years, marks the latest battle between supporters of Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and more establishment conservative figures.

Despite all of that, there she was, the main speaker at an official GOP event in one of Wisconsin’s crucial counties.

Here is an interesting twist to that story:


Not all WI GOPers are thrilled… The Chairman of the Republican Party of Fond du Lac County tweeted:


Now or never… for Trump aides to speak out. Via the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Elizabeth Neumann wrestled with the decision for weeks. She worried about the backlash, the impact it would have on her career, potential threats to her family.

But the former Department of Homeland Security official, who had resigned in April, reached a breaking point after President Donald Trump deployed Homeland Security agents to Portland, exacerbating tensions there. She decided it was worth the risk to speak out against Trump, whom she had come to view as a threat to the country.

“Enough is enough,” said Neumann, the former assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention. “People need to understand how dangerous a moment we are in.”

There are plenty of others weighing the same decision….

“It’s now or never,” said Miles Taylor, former chief of staff at DHS, who has been working to recruit others to join the effort. In interviews, Taylor has accused Trump of routinely asking aides to break the law, using his former agency for explicitly political purposes, and wanting to maim and shoot migrants trying to cross the southern border.


This is kind of a BFD: “I served under six presidents — four Republicans, two Democrats — only one has failed to serve U.S. national security interests.”

Robert Cardillo retired as the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency after 36 years of public service that also included serving as deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

I know what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of our government — intellectual curiosity, the strength of moral purpose and a commitment to selfless service. Broadly speaking, I can personally attest that Americans were very well served by those they elected to fill critical national security positions.

There is one important exception to that statement — our current president.

I have briefed him up close — and I have seen and felt the effect of his faults on our nation’s security.  Out of respect for the confidential nature of Oval Office conversations, I will not provide details. Suffice to say that the person you see presiding over COVID-19 press conferences is the same one in the privacy of his office. He has little patience for facts or data that do not comport with his personal world view. Thus, the conversations are erratic and less than fully thoughtful.


Wait, the voters said. New Wapo/ABC poll:

The Post-ABC poll, conducted Monday to Thursday, finds 38 percent of Americans say the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week, should be nominated by Trump and confirmed by the current Senate, while 57 percent say it should be left to the winner of the presidential election and a Senate vote next year.

This will make absolutely zero difference for a Senate GOP committed to a quick vote.


Some good advice…


Some podcasts for your weekend listening:

Share Morning Shots

Quick Hits

1. Scenes from a Supreme Court Focus Group

Must read from Sarah Longwell:

How will the coming Supreme Court vote impact the presidential race?

On Thursday, I convened a focus group of 2016 Trump voters—all college-educated women in swing states—to ask them what they thought. What I heard was bad news for Republicans.

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell seem to hope that nominating a conservative woman to the Court will pull suburban women back into their camp. The group I spoke with indicated the opposite.


2. The Question I Asked Trump That Blew Up the Week

Brian Karem is the reporter who asked THE QUESTION:

Wednesday during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room, President Trump called on me and I asked him if he would endorse a peaceful transfer of power “win, lose, or draw.” He wouldn’t give an unqualified yes to that question. He also said if you eliminate the ballots (I suppose meaning mail-in ballots) there would be no transition.


3. Meet the African-American Voters Joe Biden Desperately Needs

Richard Thau takes us inside a focus group with African-American voters who stayed home or went for a third-party in 2016.

For 18 straight months I’ve been conducting focus groups with “Obama-Trump” voters across the upper Midwest and Florida, with the majority of respondents being caucasian. This week I turned my sights to this other important category of persuadable voters.

These African-Americans matter a lot because in the city of Philadelphia alone, Hillary Clinton got 4,781 fewer votes in 2016 than Barack Obama did in 2012. One analysis published shortly after the 2016 election indicated lower voter participation numbers were concentrated in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in the city.

If Biden is going to flip Pennsylvania, a state Trump won by just over 44,000 votes, he needs to engage these voters more effectively than Clinton did.

In my group, six of these voters didn’t vote in 2016, two voted for Jill Stein, and one wrote in Bernie Sanders.


Cheap Shots

1. About Those Lies

This is awesome:


2. Oh, Lindsey


3. Grover, For the Win


Deep Thoughts

1. “Will Democrats Fail the Amy Coney Barrett Test?”

Please read this piece by Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic.

No, the Senate should not act on the nomination until after the election. But Democrats risk a backlash if they unfairly target her faith, rather than her jurisprudence. Writes Flanagan:

Is Barrett’s religious faith pondered in her heart or made evident in her approach to the law? Answering that requires the labor-intensive task of actually learning something about her. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Barrett does belong to People of Praise, which is not my kind of thing—and it’s probably not your kind of thing either, as there are estimated to be only about 1,700 or so members. The group was founded in 1971, six years after Vatican II had reduced many of the strictures by which Catholics were meant to live their lives, unintentionally creating a void in the religious experience of many faithful. For some, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal filled that void, replacing the rigidity of pre–Vatican II Catholicism with the kind of ecstatic worship style of Pentecostals, including gifts of prophecy and of glossolalia. Although most People of Praise members apparently identify themselves as Catholics, the group has several practices that fall outside present-day Catholic doctrine, and—as far as I can tell—considers itself ecumenical.

What’s got everyone’s hair on fire is that, according to The New York Times, “the group teaches that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family.” But the dastardly nature of this expectation is undermined by Barrett’s being shortlisted for a nomination to the Supreme Court. If her faith has put limits on her talent and ambition, there are few signs of it; you don’t get a seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (where she is currently a judge) so that you can keep your hand in and earn a little pin money.