As more details emerge about those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, it's becoming clearer that the insurrection was not the work of a "fringe" group, but rather the result of a decades-long conservative effort to undermine democracy, according to author Brendan O'Connor. "The events of January 6 were not just months, but years, decades, in the making," says O'Connor, who notes that major Republican donors and prominent conservative groups were connected to the Trump rally that immediately preceded the Capitol riot.
The antics of Arizona Republicans are infuriating Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts.
"As if Arizona hasn't already taken enough of a beating, what with a phony audit, Kari Lake's sledgehammer, Mark Brnovich's nunchucks and, well, everything Paul Gosar, now comes the ultimate indignity," Roberts wrote. "Ron Watkins, the guy who reportedly put the Q in QAnon, apparently is moving to Arizona to run for Congress – or possibly just to grift some serious cash from his supporters."
Watkins released a video on Thursday night announcing his campaign in which he declared that he had "decided to double down — with God as my compass — to take this fight to the swamp of Washington, DC" by running for Congress.
"With all due respect (meaning: none), Ron. Couldn't you double down in some other state? Surely, Arizona has suffered enough," she wrote. "For nearly a year, we've endured hysterics over the fact that Joe Biden won the state. From vote-stealing Sharpies to ballot eating 'green buttons' to clueless ninja auditors, this state has slogged through embarrassment after embarrassment."
Roberts specifically called out multiple Arizona Republicans.
"We already are home to Rep. Paul Gosar, who, when he's playing footsie with white nationalists, is extolling the 'peaceful patriots' who stormed the nation's Capitol on Jan. 6," she noted. "We already have Kari Lake, a local TV news-anchor-turned-Trumpette who struts around with her trusty sledgehammer bashing the media and hoping it'll carry her into the Governor's Office."
It’s Friday, October 15th and Jeffrey Epstein still didn’t kill himself Pass it on.— Kari Lake for AZ Governor (@Kari Lake for AZ Governor) 1634329113.0
Roberts also mentioned state GOP Chair Kelli Ward, state Sen. Wendy Rogers, and state Rep. Mark Finchem, who is running for Secretary of State.
On Wednesday, Finchem was in Virginia at a rally with Steve Bannon for gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin. Last Saturday, Finchem was in Iowa for a rally with Donald Trump. And on January 6th, Finchem was at the U.S. Capitol.
In DC supporting @realDonaldTrump and @CNN @FoxNews @MSNBC are spewing lies again. #truth https://t.co/MeZ8bEq9mG— Anthony Kern (@Anthony Kern) 1609963352.0
"On Friday morning, we awoke to a video of Attorney General Mark Brnovich showing off his nunchuck moves, a painful demonstration of his qualifications to represent us in the United States Senate," Roberts wrote.
You want the nunchucks. You got the nunchucks. https://t.co/fu4MlJEUN1— Mark Brnovich (@Mark Brnovich) 1634303821.0
Roberts voiced her embarrassment with Watkins and Arizona Republicans.
"So yeah, why not run for Congress and where better than Arizona, where it has, sadly, become perfectly acceptable to spread kooky conspiracy theories in order to get a footing on the poliltical food chain? I mourn for my beautiful, beloved state. We already we have our own homegrown, over-the-edge, full-on off-their-rocker whack jobs," she wrote. "Why us, world? Why is it always us?"
Why us, world? Why is it always us? https://t.co/d83AwlzA6M via @azcentral— Laurie Roberts (@Laurie Roberts) 1634333356.0
John Deere tried replacing union workers with scabs — and immediately had tractor crash in their plant: report
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that agricultural equipment maker John Deere, facing a massive labor strike by the United Auto Workers union over a contract dispute, has brought in nonunion workers to keep their plants running — but according to a new report Friday, they almost immediately suffered a workplace accident in one of their plants.
"The strike includes more than 10,000 workers at 14 Deere plants, including seven in Iowa, four in Illinois and one each in Kansas, Colorado and Georgia," reported the Washington Post's Aaron Gregg. "The company has activated a continuity plan that will bring in nonunion employees to keep operations running. "Our immediate concern is meeting the needs of our customers, who work in time-sensitive and critical industries such as agriculture and construction," Hartmann said.
But on Friday, Jonah Furman of Labor Notes flagged an incident report on a plant floor, in which a non-union salaried employee crashed a tractor into a utility post and severely damaged an electrical box.
Day 1: A non-union salaried worker just crashed a tractor inside the plant. Whoops! https://t.co/d6zgADiiiA— Jonah Furman (@Jonah Furman) 1634311269.0
As the Post noted, the UAW strike action is one of many around the country, as workers return from the pandemic: "Thousands have gone on strike at food plants operated by Kellogg's, Nabisco and Frito-Lay over work hours, pay and benefits. On Monday more than 24,000 Kaiser Permanente workers authorized a strike over a new two-tiered pay and benefits system opposed by the union. And Hollywood production workers announced plans to strike Monday in pursuit of improved pay and working conditions."
Calling into question widespread perceptions of lower-income Americans and their level of political engagement, a new study released Friday detailed the high turnout among poor voters in the November 2020 elections—particularly in battleground states which helped deliver victories for President Joe Biden and Democrats in the Senate and House—following a concerted effort by campaigners to engage with low-income communities regarding the issues that mattered to them in the election.
Released by the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC:NCMR); the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice; and Repairers of the Breach, the study shows that of the 168 million Americans who cast ballots last year, 59 million, or 35%, had an estimated annual household income of less than $50,000, classifying them as poor or low-income.
According to the report, titled "Waking the Sleeping Giant: Low-Income Voters and the 2020 Elections" and written by Kairos Center policy director Shailly Gupta Barnes, those voters were among the Americans that the Poor People's Campaign reached out to last year when it held a non-partisan voter outreach drive across 16 states including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The organization reached over 2.1 million voters, with campaigners speaking with them about "an agenda that includes living wages, healthcare, strong anti-poverty programs, voting rights, and policies that fully address injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy," according to the report.
The Poor People's Campaign found "that the reason poor and low-income voters participate in elections at lower rates is not because they have no interest in politics, but because politics is not interested in them."
"They do not hear their needs and demands from candidates or feel that their votes matter," wrote Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People's Campaign, in the foreward to the report. "They are less likely to vote because of illness, disability, or transportation issues, not to mention the rise of voter suppression laws—all systemic barriers rather than individual failures."
"Intentional efforts to engage these voter" in the leadup to the 2020 election,contact the groups found, were key to turning out low-income voters in states where Biden's margin of victory was near or less than 3%, including:
- Arizona, where low-income people represented 39.96% of voters;
- Georgia (37.84%);
- Michigan (37.81%);
- Nevada (35.78%); and
- Wisconsin (39.8%)
"While the data cannot be used to claim that being contacted by PPC:NCMR was the only factor that drove them to vote, we can say that our efforts to directly reach out to low-income, infrequent voters improved their turnout rates in these states," the report reads.
The groups highlighted the case of Georgia, which was carried by Biden—marking the first Democratic presidential victory in the southern state since 1992. Outreach by the Poor People's Campaign helped encourage more than 39,000 Georgians who didn't vote in 2016 to cast ballots last year—"accounting for more than three times the final margin of victory for the presidential contest in the state."
The racial demographics of low-income voters in Georgia were fairly evenly split between Black and white low-income voters, with 1.9 million low-income white voters casting ballots last year and 1.6 million Black Georgians going to the polls. Another 164,000 low-income voters were classified as Hispanic.
In other states carried by Biden, white people made up a larger share of eligible lower-income voters reached by the PPCNCMR, including in Michigan, where 2.95 million out of 3.8 million poor voters were white; Pennsylvania, where three million of the state's 3.95 million eligible low-income voters were white; and Wisconsin, where 1.8 million out of 2.1 million low-income voters were white.
The statistics present "a challenge to the media-driven narrative that emerged out of 2016 and before, i.e., that white low-income voters are the de facto base of the Republican Party and delivered Donald Trump into the White House," wrote Gupta Barnes.
"While the narrative that white low-income voters are voting not only against their own interests, but also the interests of other racial segments of low-income voters, persisted through the 2020 elections, our analysis suggests something significantly different," the author added. "The findings suggest that, rather than writing white low-income voters off, it is possible to build coalitions of low-income voters across race around a political agenda that centers the issues they have in common."
Though the Poor People's Campaign made an intentional effort in 2020 to reach low-income voters, listen to their concerns, and urge them to turn out in the elections, the report notes that legislative action must be taken to turn last year's high turnout among poor Americans into a long-term reality.
"To realize the potential of the low-income electorate, our voting infrastructure must be expanded to encourage these voters to both register and vote," the report reads.
As Common Dreams has reported this year, the PPCNCMR has campaigned extensively to urge the passage of the For the People Act, which would outlaw partisan gerrymandering, expand early voting, establish a national automatic voter registration system, and take other steps to strengthen the country's election system.
"While mechanisms to increase registration are important for low-income voters, there is an even greater need for policies and legislation that increase their ability to cast a ballot and actually vote," wrote Gupta Barnes.
Additionally, the report says, Democrats must identify—and pass—"an agenda that appeals to important concerns of low-income voters across race, that is, issues like raising hourly wages, stimulus payments, paid leave, housing, and healthcare."
"According to exit polls, 72% of Americans said they would prefer a government-run healthcare plan and more than 70% supported raising the minimum wage, including 62% of Republicans," the report reads. "In Florida, the $15/hour minimum wage referendum got more votes than either of the two presidential candidates."
The report comes as progressives in Congress are pushing back against corporate Democrats' claims that the Build Back Better Act—the spending package which would invest $3.5 trillion in climate action, child care, affordable housing, and other measures to help lower- and middle-income people—is unaffordable.
As Common Dreams reported on Tuesday, the Poor People's Campaign held a press conference on Capitol Hill this week to demand the legislation's passage.
The report, wrote Gupta Barnes, "underscores why the needs and concerns of low-income voters must be brought more fully into our political discourse, platforms, and campaigns—and why candidates who are elected on these platforms must live up to their campaign promises."
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