EDITORS' BLOG
On Bessemer #2
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From TPM Reader LV

Like the previous reader, I too was a union organizer earlier in my career. His/her description of both sides of the campaign as “by the book” are both depressingly accurate and infinitely repeatable if something doesn’t change.

And here is where I have a rather small suggestion that the Biden administration could make to rebalance things.

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Grant

With your indulgence I wanted to re-up this appreciation of Ulysses S. Grant I wrote back in January 2018. It’s one of my favorite posts of the last decade or so.

On Bessemer
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On the unionization vote in Bessemer, Alabama, a note from TPM Reader XX

I hesitate to comment before the votes are in. But I would be surprised if the RWSDU won the election. Based on my former experiences as a union organizer (including one campaign in Alabama,) I believe there are three reasons–

First, there’s a reason companies place factories–and this is a factory, in internal organization if not in name–in rural areas, especially in the South: The pay and benefits are so much better than anything else in the area. These are good jobs, relatively speaking.

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A Glorious Anniversary
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April 9th is a glorious anniversary: the day Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Commanding General of the US Army, received the surrender of Robert E. Lee, a renegade US Army Colonel who was a leader of a violent rebellion against the United States which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Grant offered generous terms to Lee and the other traitors making up his army. Six days later President Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, DC.

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Amazon Union Drive Appears to be Failing

In case you’re not following it, the union organizing drive at the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama seems to be going down to a blow out defeat. Out of 3,215 votes cast the current tally is Yes: 294, No: 691. In other words, rejected so far by more than a 2 to 1 margin. I don’t have enough experience with this to know whether there are factors that can make early votes different from late votes or if that concept even applies here. But this rough proportion has been very consistent since the first couple hundred votes were counted. So it seems like the organizers didn’t even come close.

Podcast Ep. 167: Gaetzkeeper

On this week’s pod we spend most of the time talking about the burgeoning Matt Gaetz scandal, which appears to be growing more serious for the congressman with each passing day.

Follow us on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Where Things Stand: Suppressing Democracy To Appease The Faithful
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Brian Kemp is up for reelection in 2022. And the true leader of the Republican Party, former President Donald Trump, has made it pretty clear that Kemp has fallen far outside of his good graces.

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New Terrible News from Manchin! Yay!
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I just got around to reading Joe Manchin’s new OpEd in the Post. And, well … it’s pretty bad news and by my read almost all bad news. With anything less than heroic squinting and wishful thinking, it reads pretty clear: Manchin won’t support abolishing or weakening the filibuster. Full stop. This seems to take back what had seemed to be his pretty clear openness to some version of a talking filibuster earlier in the Spring. He claims early efforts to weaken the filibuster have only increased partisan polarization, a claim that makes no sense – correlation, causation, etc.

What jumps out to me most is that his argument is absurd even on its own terms.

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Europe’s Vaccine Misfortune
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Europe is again grappling with a problem we in the US are really lucky to have avoided. European and British regulators now seem to be increasingly confident the AstraZeneca vaccine is associated with a serious but extremely rare blood-clotting side effect. Until now the UK – which has one of the world’s leading vaccination campaigns – has rejected reports of adverse side effects. But now they’re seeing them too and are recommending those under 30 get other vaccines. (There’s some indication younger people may be more susceptible to the side effect; and of course they face less threat from COVID.)

This isn’t just a major setback for Europe. It’s a major setback for the whole world. The global effort to vaccinate the populations of poorer nations (COVAX) relies heavily on the AstraZeneca vaccine because it requires less complex refrigeration and transport technology.

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Where Things Stand: Traditional Conservative Values Butt Heads With The New Culture Wars
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Asa Hutchinson’s veto of an anti-trans bill in his state, which we covered yesterday, proved to be for naught — it was promptly overridden by his GOP colleagues in the state legislature.

But his defense of his veto saw him position himself at a crossroads for conservatism, between libertarian values and the increasing desire on the right to punish one’s perceived enemies.

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Week in review
| News

Things Are Looking More Serious For Gaetz

  • Another week, another round of bad news for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). On Monday, a former Florida state representative described how Gaetz was a major opponent of his bill outlawing “revenge porn.”
  • Gaetz isn’t letting a still-unfolding scandal stand in the way of his war chest. On Tuesday, Gaetz fundraised off the matter. “It is a shame that the Left tries to drag my dating life into their political attacks, but it’s no surprise — when your ideas suck, you have to stoop this low,” Gaetz said before asking supporters for donations.
  • A group of nameless women from Gaetz’s office vouched for the congressman on Thursday, saying: “On every occasion he has treated each and every one of us with respect,” the statement read. “Thus, we uniformly reject these allegations as false.”
  • And on Friday night, Gaetz is scheduled to speak at one of Trump’s properties in Florida. The group he’s speaking to? Women for America First, who hosted one of the Jan. 6 rallies that devolved into the insurrection.
  • It’s unclear when Gaetz found out that he is under investigation for possible child sex trafficking. But he did request a blanket pardon from President Trump during the waning days of his presidency.
  • Things might have taken a turn for the worse for Gaetz Thursday when Joel Greenberg, a friend of the congressman, indicated he will change his plea after facing four grand jury indictments alleging everything from sex trafficking to wire fraud.

 

Conservatives Vs. Corporations … Wait, What?

 

Whither The Filibuster?

  • It wouldn’t be a week in Washington without a focus on filibuster reform. How’s it looking? Not great, to be honest. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WY), a key vote in the 50-50 split Senate, said this week that he’s not about to weaken the procedural stalling tactic. And he seems pretty dug in on that position.
  • The White House responded to Manchin with a few nice words about working through the process and collaborating with Schumer.
  • Earlier this week, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-NY) signaled that she would be willing to tweak the filibuster in order to pass Democrats’ ambitious pro-democracy package. Feinstein’s position is significant, given her relatively traditional approach to the workings of the Senate.
  • On Thursday evening, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-NY) gave a confounding endorsement of the voting rights bill, HR1, neglecting to mention that her opposition to filibuster reform stands athwart the success of the legislation.

 

Redistricting
| News

The delays that the pandemic caused to the 2020 census will take the state redistricting process into uncharted territory.

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TPM event
| Prime

Impeachment was a crucial forum for holding Trump accountable, but there are other ways to exact a price for his attempts to subvert the election. And we’re hearing rumblings that some of those actions are already in motion — including lawsuits targeting Trump’s election conspiracy of the sort the NAACP has filed on Rep. Thompson’s behalf, defamation litigation against his lawyers, and criminal investigations like the one out of Fulton County, Georgia.

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schumer's gambit
| News

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has a trick up his sleeve: namely, an attempt to create a third reconciliation vehicle this year, which would let Democrats pass more legislation on a simple majority vote. 

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Get Ready
| News

There’s no playbook for how President Biden’s Justice Department can protect minority voting rights in the coming round of redistricting.

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Ep. 167: Gaetzkeeper
Ep. 167: Gaetzkeeper
Josh, Kate and David discuss the newest developments in the Matt Gaetz saga, as the congressman tries to twist the alleged investigation into a fundraising ...
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