Where is #TheResistance now? Democrats should fear their base now more than ever

If there was ever a time to hit the panic button in the Biden era, Monday was that day.

Monday marked one week before so-called moderates in the House of Representatives attempt to force a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package passed at the center of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda. With his approval ratings stalling due to the double hits of a lackluster response to the delta variant and continued vaccine hesitancy holding down economic recovery, along with a messy withdrawal from Afghanistan that included the fatal drone bombing of 10 civilians, mostly children, Biden is now facing threats of sabotage from the very people with whom he made a political bed for decades in D.C.

Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona were out on Monday with a pair of demands for their fellow Democrats facing a confluence of deadlines, both real and arbitrary. Manchin, the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who has reportedly sought to "remake President Biden's climate legislation in a way that tosses a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry," now says he would like to delay action on Biden's agenda until 2022. That's just ahead of the midterm elections, so we all know Manchin's suggestion is the fast lane to nowhere. Sinema, for her part, is throwing a last-minute wrench in negotiations to take up for Big Pharma in opposing Democrats' plans to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices directly.

Also on Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear oral arguments in the case against Missippi's abortion law in December, likely dismantling the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade by June. Just weeks before, the high court laid the groundwork for this when it upheld Texas' ban on abortions. At least one abortion provider in the state has already been sued.

Monday was also the day that Senate Democrats, rebuffed by the Senate Parliamentarian the day before, frantically introduced an attempt at a legislative workaround to the ruling that granting legal status to immigrants isn't budgetary, and thus can't be included in the filibuster-proof reconciliation bill. Never mind that in 2005, the Republican-controlled Senate used reconciliation to pass immigration reforms citing citizenship as a significant economic and budgetary issue, because Manchin and Sinema have decided that defending a relic of Senate rules is more important than defending Democrats' majorities in Congress — or even democracy for that matter. (Republicans even fired the Senate Parlimentarian in 2001 after he ruled against one of their tax cut proposals.)

Immigration matters, as the world saw on Monday with images of U.S. border patrol agents whipping their horse reigns as they corraled Haitian migrants back into the Rio Grande at the Texas border with Mexico, under a Democratic administration, too. Thanks to a cadre of radical right-wing justices pushed onto the federal bench by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during Donald Trump's presidency, the Biden administration is forced to implement Trump's extraordinarily draconian Remain in Mexico policy which prohibits asylum seekers from entering the U.S. while awaiting review. Now the Biden administration has enlisted the Defense Department to help in one of the fastest, large-scale expulsions of refugees from the United States in decades.

So where is #TheResistance?

For the most part, moderate members of the Democratic caucus in Congress were not flooded at their home districts during the August recess, even as they very publicly threatened to hijack Biden's agenda. Activists like those with Rev. William Barber's People's Campaign have consistently applied pressure to Democrats like Manchin, but without the masses in the streets protesting the horrific images of Haitians hunted on horseback under the Biden administration with the same fervor present when protesting kids in cages under Trump, it's little surprise things stay the same.

"The policies that are being enacted now and the horrible treatment of these innocent people who have come to the border must stop immediately," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calling the practice "xenophobic," said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. "We must allow asylum seekers to present their claims at our ports of entry and he afforded due process."

A march for citizenship on Tuesday in Washington D.C. aligns Schumer with House progressive and Squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Democrats are not in disarray, in fact, they are more unified they have ever been; they're just being held hostage.

"I have been working hard on my portion of it," Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told reporters of the multi-trillion dollar reconciliation package. "If it's actually going to happen, we're doing pretty well. So but I, you know, I mean, go ask Manchin or Sinema."

The chaos we are currently watching in Washington, D.C. comes down to the personal interest of these two.

Manchin currently maintains ownership stakes in two coal companies that he founded, including one run by his son, Joe Manchin IV. The senior "Manchin has personally grossed more than $4.5 million from those firms," The Intercept reported. Former Manchin aides with fossil fuel industry clients are able to directly lobby the senator. The same pattern is present with Sinema's newfound opposition to Medicare drug price negotiations despite it's overwhelming popularity across the partisan divide. (Even Donald Trump talked big about lower prescription drug prices.)

In 2009 there were 60 Democratic Senators (briefly). Now, a dozen years later, it is an epic struggle to get the country to elect 50 Democratic senators, after a decade in which the GOP descended into open white fascism. This trendline looks ominous. The flaw in the "Vote Blue No Matter Who" electoral strategy is that what gerrymandered maps and politically polarized sorting leaves us with too often is razor-thin margins where the Who really does matter. Sure Republicans didn't repeal Obamcare when they had control of Congress under Trump, but they passed the main priorities for both of their bases: corporate tax cuts and stacking the federal bench with conservative judges.

The donors can't be the only people Democrats in Congress are afraid of. The time is now for #TheResistance to make its return back to the streets — before it's too late.

Paul Ryan can’t save the GOP — he is still a huge part of the problem

Republicans had a golden opportunity to finally kick Donald Trump to the curb after Jan. 6. Instead, the majority of elected Republicans, both in Congress and across the country, have stood by him. They've spent the last five months steamrolling over anyone who dares to speak out against him or in defense of democratic norms. Fealty to Trump has become the latest battle line in the ongoing GOP civil war. That's how we've ended up with Liz Cheney criticizing the Republican Party from the left.

"We can't whitewash what happened on January 6 or perpetuate Trump's big lie," the Wyoming Republican and the No. 3 House GOP leader, said Monday at the annual retreat for the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "It is a threat to democracy. What he did on January 6 is a line that cannot be crossed."

One of just 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump in January, Cheney hasn't let up on her continued criticism of his campaign to undermine the last election. It's made her an apparent target of the leader of Republicans in the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. McCarthy said in a "Fox & Friends" interview on Tuesday that Cheney's colleagues in the House have "no concern about how she voted on impeachment," but fret about "her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message.

McCarthy was caught on a hot mic telling "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocey that "I think she's got real problems."

"I've had it with her," McCarthy went on about Cheney. "You know, I've lost confidence."

As another House Republican, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, better summed up the situation, "If a prerequisite for leading our conference is continuing to lie to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit." Cheney's betting on surviving this battle, even if she loses her leadership seat in the House, as Salon's Heather Digby Parton recently explained:

This week Cheney herself refused to rule out a 2024 presidential bid, and it's obvious her strategy is to run on her new reputation as the tough conservative woman who stood up to Donald Trump. It's not a bad plan. Cheney understands politics and realizes that her only hope for the presidency is to be the anti-Trump, in the hopes that his star fades or he decides not to run and she can emerge as the GOP standard-bearer who might be able to lure back some of those suburban women and college-educated white men who had been staunch Republicans until the Trump circus came to town.

The problem with this bet, however, is that there are no signs the GOP has any intention of abandoning Trump, or — more importantly — abandoning their anti-democratic tendencies.

Cheney's father rode into office with George W. Bush after losing the popular vote. The next Republican in the White House to follow, Trump, also lost the popular vote. Neither showed humility about it and the Republicans proudly marched forward relentlessly pursuing their agendas. Biden won the most votes in history and beat Trump by seven million votes despite Republican efforts to disenfranchise and confuse voters. Still, Republicans have the nerve to cry foul and complain. By contrast, we know for a fact that Trump was calling officials in Georgia (and likely every other red state) demanding that they "find" him more votes. We literally have Trump on tape trying to commit election fraud. Lot of good it did. He's still planning on running in 2024. And as of right now, nothing is stopping him.

Liz Cheney's latest comments came in an off-the-record interview with former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan, you'll recall, now sits on the board of Fox News, where one executive told Vanity Fair in 2019, "Paul is embarrassed about Trump and now he has the power to do something about it."

Paul Ryan may have the power to do something about it, but unlike Cheney (who at least voted to impeach Trump) he hasn't. Instead, he's been cashing in at the right-wing network and watched as Tucker Carlson has risen to the top spot by spewing barely diluted white nationalism. Ryan wouldn't even say anything after Trump celebrated Mitt Romney, the man Ryan ran on a presidential ticket with a few short years back, being booed by his hometown crowd. The media-supported myth that Ryan was a serious, responsible lawmaker propped up this malevolent character for far too long.

This is the incentive problem in the so-called conservative movement that no one seems to want to grapple with. A similar, but not identical, incentive structure led the Washington Post to host Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley for a livestream on Tuesday, where the Republican defended raising his fist in solidarity with a mob that would eventually rush the Capitol armed with weapons and in search of his colleagues. He went on to complain that he was being canceled when a Post reporter merely attempted to correct the record about his continued mischaracterization of the election in Pennsylvania, a state that was specifically targeted with misinformation by the Trump campaign. It's why CNN's Chris Cuomo hosted Pennsylvania's former Republican senator, Rick Santorum, after the conservative pundit baselessly asserted that Native American culture is not American culture.

Trump told conservatives that "I am your voice" in his Republican National Convention speech in 2016. He wasn't wrong. Trump's brand of fascist politics is merely a symptom of American conservatism. Anyone in Republican leadership could have put their foot down and said something and even done something about anything the Trump administration did. Instead, they enabled it and now want the positive press.

Republican lawmakers caught helping pro-Trump mobs at U.S. Capitol, Oregon statehouse

"We're in! Let's go, keep it moving, baby!" shouted Derrick Evans, a newly elected Republican member of West Virginia's House of Delegates, as he is seen pushing his way through the rotunda at the U.S. Capitol with a throng of violent Trump supporters in a video live-streamed on Facebook.

This article first appeared in Salon.

"Trump, Trump, Trump!" he chanted as attackers rushed the doors.

The video, deleted by Evans after circulating Twitter, shows him donning a helmet and military gear, shouting, "Derrick Evans is in the Capitol [...] Patriots inside, baby!"

Evans, 34, won his first term as a state lawmaker in November and was charged by the Department of Justice on Friday for illegally entering the Capitol. He is one of several elected Republican lawmakers across the country who have been identified as either participating in or aiding violent pro-Trump attacks on legislative bodies this week.

Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase, who describes herself as "Trump in heels," spoke at the rally that preceded the riot on Wednesday. She later praised the rioters and blamed the violence on "antifa or BLM agents of destruction," for which her Facebook account was suspended on Friday. After Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem posted photos of himself at Trump's rally, he continued to push a baseless conspiracy theory — that anti-fascist activists, not Trump supporters, broke into the Capitol — which had already been debunked by the Department of Justice.

Missouri state lawmaker Rep. Justin Hill skipped his own swearing-in ceremony to travel to Trump's coup, where he admits he sat back and watched as an angry mob descended on the U.S. Capitol. Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a retired military colonel who said he helped organize a bus ride to the demonstrations, posed for photos with former Republican state representative Rick Saccone, who served for 18 years in the U.S. Air Force.

"We're storming the Capitol!" Saccone said in a video he posted to Facebook. "They broke down the gates!" he continued. "They're macing them up there. We're trying to run out all of the evil people and all the RINOs that have betrayed our president. We're going to run them out of their offices!"



Oregon Republican Rep. Mike Nearman was caught on video opening a door to protestors who rushed into the state Capitol in Salem, where rioters then sprayed six law enforcement officers with a chemical substance and others violently attacked journalists.

In light of his actions, West Virginia officials are now calling for Evans' hasty prosecution and resignation.

The West Virginia Democratic Party declared in a statement, "[Evans] must be held accountable for participating in an act of insurrection against the United States government and risking the lives of lawmakers and Capitol police." The Party added, "The West Virginia Democratic Party calls for his immediate resignation from the House of Delegates and that he be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." A Change.org petition, with over 50,000 signatories, has also called for Evans' immediate removal from office.

Roger Hanshaw, the speaker of the West Virginia's House of Delegates, said Evans will have to "answer to his constituents and colleagues regarding his involvement in what has occurred today."

Evans responded to sharp rebukes online by claiming that he did not participate in any violence or destruction of property, and defended his involvement in the riot as "an independent member of the media." He added, "I want to assure you all that I did not have any negative interactions with law enforcement."

Evans' attorney John H. Bryan told NBC that his client "did nothing wrong." Bryan explained, "He was exercising his First Amendment rights to peacefully protest and film a historic and dynamic event [...] He engaged in no violence, no rioting, no destruction of property, and no illegal behavior."

A new #Resistance hero emerges amid the Trump endgame: The dutiful civil servant

Donald Trump keeps spiking the ball in celebration of some supposed avenue to overturning the election result, only to be reminded that the game ended two weeks ago — and he lost.Late on Tuesday evening, the president tweeted: "Wow! Michigan just refused to certify the election results! Having courage is a beautiful thing. The USA stands proud!" Trump was responding to an effort by the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers not to certify the election results in Detroit, home to a majority Black population, while allowing votes from majority-white suburbs to be certified. The two Republicans forced a deadlock on the four-person panel, blocking the county-level certification of election results in the area for the first time in more than 100 years. By the time Trump sent his celebratory tweet, however, public pressure had already caused the pair to backtrack.

"The Trump stain, the stain of racism that you, William Hartmann and Monica Palmer, have just covered yourself in, is going to follow you throughout history," said Ned Staebler, CEO of Detroit business incubator TechTown.

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Joe Biden is on track to win 306 Electoral College votes, the same number Trump received when he was elected four years ago. As Salon's Roger Sollenberger has reported, none of the half-dozen or so lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign in states like Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan and Georgia since Election Day have presented any evidence of systemic irregularities, or any information that could even hypothetically reverse Trump's electoral defeat. So while our tax dollars are at work defending against meritless lawsuits by an outgoing president, the Republican civil war has suddenly reignited with a new round of finger-pointing and recrimination.

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Democrats in Congress have done little more than pay lip service to bipartisanship in the week since the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Even as the high court's ideological balance is up for grabs for the third time in four years — and as the president of the United States refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power — prominent Senate Democrats have rushed to tamp down talk of retaliatory action. This leaves little doubt that the opposition party is unequipped to handle the threat posed to democracy by Donald Trump and the Republicans.

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Hours after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsbergand contrary to her dying wish — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Republicans in the upper chamber plan to ram through a vote on her potential replacement before the end of Donald Trump's first term. Although he's been unable to muster the support of his GOP caucus for a new round of economic relief for millions of Americans during a pandemic, McConnell was quick to release a statement suggesting that Republicans have the votes to fill the most significant Supreme Court vacancy in recent history — and conceivably in the high court's entire history.

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Is Trump superfan Kristi Noem the nation's worst COVID governor of them all?

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican who is the first woman to lead that rural and sparsely populated state, is taking her turn in the national hot seat as the Mount Rushmore State has become the nation's latest coronavirus "hot spot."  In distinctly Trump-like fashion, the Trump-friendly Noem has turned to right-wing outlets like Fox News to lash out at critical media coverage and rail against an "elite class of so-called experts." But as was the case with Florida's Ron DeSantis, Georgia's Brian Kemp and Arizona's Doug Ducey, conservative media has rushed to circle the wagons around Noem just as the fuller picture of her failed handling of the coronavirus crisis becomes clearer.

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Mike Pence's contemptible convention speech: A fable of failure, culture war and corruption

Vice President Mike Pence's appearance as the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday was an ill-timed booking that mostly served to highlight his role in the Trump administration's failed response to COVID-19, its continued culture wars and its blatant corruption.Exactly six months to the day since Trump claimed, in reference to the spreading novel coronavirus, "When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero — that's a pretty good job we've done," the U.S. officially registered 180,000 cases. And exactly four years to the day since former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the national anthem in protest of police violence, several NBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer teams led an unprecedented wildcat strike in protest of continued police killings of unarmed Black people. Joe Biden was quick to make a strong statement of support for the athletes.

But speaking Wednesday from Fort McHenry outside Baltimore, reputed location for the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," Trump's dutiful vice president opened his address not by noting the solemn state we find ourselves in as a nation, but by continuing to rail against cancel culture, socialism, "left wing mobs" and Americans who failed to adequately "back the blue." Pence praised law enforcement, including a misleading reference to Dave Patrick Underwood, an officer with the Department of Homeland Security's federal protective service who was shot and killed in May by a far-right extremist.

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Trump can't think past his own ego and can't see the 'utter disaster' America has become

Presidents become known for their words. Particular phrases seep into public memory and create the signposts of their legacy. George H. W. Bush was marked, for example, by the phrase "read my lips: no new taxes," perhaps more for the wonky way he said it than for the fact that he didn't deliver. Richard Nixon famously liked to repeat "let me make one thing perfectly clear," a phrase that hangs heavily given the irony of its source.

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Trump's re-election plan keeps hitting a major obstacle: John Roberts

Take heart, Democrats: 2020 is not 2016.

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Trump's Arizona trip is a tale of 3 failures

After his debacle in Tulsa, a huge failure with an abysmal turnout and what may still have been a super-spreader event for a deadly virus, Donald Trump needs to set low expectations. Instead, he is back out on the campaign trail Tuesday, making his third trip in five months to Arizona — a state that on Monday reported another record day for COVID-19 hospitalizations — to tout what he calls a major milestone on the long road to achieve his No. 1 campaign promise, building a "big, beautiful wall" on the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite what Trump celebrated as the "212th plus mile of completion" in a Monday tweet complaining about Fox News' coverage of his failed border wall, what the president won't admit on his premature victory lap is that there has still only been three miles of new border construction since he took office.Trump's latest trip to Arizona succinctly illustrates the current state of his failed presidency. His biggest campaign promise is a bust and the coronavirus keeps spreading in a state that seems to have bungled the pandemic nearly as badly as the federal government.

The president is set to first visit a portion of the border in Yuma County, where new coronavirus cases climbed by more 100 once again on Monday, before heading to a Phoenix megachurch for an indoor rally with youthful supporters. He'll be joined at both stops by Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who polled as the lowest-ranked executive for his response to the pandemic after he issued an executive order preventing municipalities in the state from imposing stay-at-home orders back in April. Ducey's own statewide restrictions expired in mid-May and Arizona now appears to be among the worst places nationwide for COVID-19 spread. On Sunday, the state surpassed 50,000 coronavirus cases.

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