Editor’s Blog

This Could Happen

I gave some broader read yesterday of where I think we are 5 days out before the midterms. But check this out. The first big electoral fight of the Trump era was the election to replace Rep. Tom Price (R-GA). Democrat Jon Ossoff galvanized Democrats nationwide but came up just short against Karen Handel, a standard issue establishment Republican who in normal times is a good fit for the district. It was widely assumed – with good reason – that if Democrats couldn’t take the seat then they likely wouldn’t have much of a chance in the general elections in 2018. But check this out. The New York Times and Siena are doing live polls using voter list. That’s generally how campaigns do polls as opposed to media organizations. They’re about half way through their poll (267 respondents). But Lucy McBath, the Democratic challenger, is up two points: 46%-44%. Again, this poll is still on-going. They end up going to 500 or 600. Normally I wouldn’t put much into this early number. But we already have good evidence this race is close. This is one of the races that national Republicans have started pouring money into just in the last week or so of the campaign. We’ll get more of this poll tonight.

Shocking But Unsurprising

President Trump laments that mail bomb campaign and synagogue massacre broke alleged Republican election momentum.

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Join Us Election Night

Long time readers will know this. But I wanted to make sure everyone knows to join us Tuesday for election day and night coverage right into the depths of the evening. We will be hosting live results for every congressional and gubernatorial races across the country as well as major propositions and referenda across the country. I will be providing play by play in the Editors’ Blog. The whole team will be wrangling all the news in real time. Be sure to join us.

Inside Briefing with Amy Walter

Have questions about the midterms. Tomorrow after at 4 PM eastern we’re holding an Inside Briefing with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report. No one has a better grasp of the electoral terrain of American politics than Amy. We’ll talk about the late breaking developments in the final days of the campaign and take your questions.

Grifty McGriftsalot

We went back to watch video of Trump’s January 2016 Iowa veterans fundraiser to figure out whether his lawyer has any argument that the Trump Foundation shouldn’t be shut down like a rat-infested bodega like the New York Attorney claims.

Never Go Full Trump: The Lena Epstein Story

Yesterday I discussed this bizarre incident where a “Jews for Jesus” faux rabbi did some kind of invocation or prayer at an event Vice President Mike Pence held for Rep. Mike Bishop and candidate Lena Epstein. Making it particularly offensive is that the ‘rabbi’ Loren Jacobs was asked to say a prayer on behalf of the eleven Jews murdered at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. I tried to explain some of it in this post last night. Suffice it to say that most Jews have a viscerally negative reaction to this group, which they correctly see as a stalking horse for evangelical groups trying to convert Jews to Christianity. Which brings us to the question: who the hell invited this guy?

I’ve been digging into this minor mystery. And boy, it’s a really weird story. And by that I mean not just the ‘rabbi’ but the whole campaign of Lena Epstein which appears to be an unfolding train wreck that I didn’t know about but really needed to. Read More

The Most Important Races You’re Barely Paying Attention To

In the latest episode of the podcast we talk about the biggest campaigns you’re probably barely paying attention to: thousands of state legislative seats across the country. There are over 7,000 legislative seats in 99 chambers (Nebraska is America’s only unicameral legislature). Most of them get little press coverage, certainly very little national press coverage. They can just seem kind of boring. But these contests determine whether your state expands Medicaid, recognizes basic union rights, cares about voting rights or has gerrymandered congressional districts that lock in Republican control even in a 50-50 state. Fascinating important and extremely important.

It Gets Better

By which I mean the attempt to bring down Bob Mueller by a group of right wing clowns gets better if by better you mean more hilarious as it crashes and burns. The scandal about a non-scandal seems to be pulling down one of the most maniacally pro-Trump Twitter personalities, Jacob Wohl. Here’s the story.

You Simply Must Read This

A gang of bumbling wingnuts tries a Hail Mary set up to bring down Robert Mueller, gets criminal referral to the FBI.

Won’t Take No For An Answer

Politicians of both parties have reportedly rejected invitations to join the President as he tries to impose himself on the mourning period in Pittsburgh. The city’s Mayor has also tried to make clear that the President’s presence will be disruptive and unwelcome.

Nope. The President Can’t End Birthright Citizenship

A simple point as we start the morning. The President can’t end birthright citizenship by executive order. This is a completely ridiculous idea, a sort of clown-show trial-run at rule by decree. No one with any credibility, let alone legal experts think an executive order can end birthright citizenship. There has been a push on the right to change this practice by passing a law through Congress, specifically revising Immigration and Nationality Act. This too is dubious at best, though it has been proposed and with a sufficiently partisan Supreme Court anything can be done. The change to legislate a change is best scene as a stunt not real lawmaking. Read More

Fake Jews

In Michigan today, Vice President Pence held a rally for congressional candidates Mike Bishop and Lena Epstein. In tow, he brought a rabbi to offer a benediction and prayer of mourning for the eleven Jews killed in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. Only it wasn’t a rabbi, or at least not one who would be recognized as such by American Jews. Rabbi Loren Jacobs is a “Messianic Jew”, better known as ‘Jews for Jesus’. If this isn’t something you’re familiar with these are Jews by ancestry who maintain the trappings of Judaism and some of the ritual law while accepting Jesus as the Messiah and the entirety of Christian theology. They make up an incalculably small number of American Jews and are largely supported, subsidizedand advanced by evangelical groups hoping to convert Jews to Christianity. Read More

There’s A Lot To Keep Track Of

With a week and a day until the midterm elections, battles over who will get to cast a ballot are in full swing. Tierney Sneed’s weekly primer on voting rights (Prime access) is essential reading.

A Country Awash in Fox’s Dark Toxins

I managed to involve myself this weekend in a tiny eddy in the storm around the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. As you can see below, early yesterday evening I happened upon this interview on Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business News show in which a guest, Chris Farrell, claimed the migrant caravan in southern Mexico was being funded and directed by the “Soros-occupied State Department.” This is, as I explained, straight out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the foundational anti-Semitic tract, first circulated and perhaps authored by the Czarist secret police in the first years of the 20th century.

If you’re not familiar with this world, “ZOG” is a staple of white supremacist and neo-Nazi literature and websites. It stands for “Zionist Occupied Government” and is a shorthand for the belief that Jews secretly control the US government. Chris Farrell’s phrasing was no accident. All of this is straight out of the most rancid anti-Semitic propaganda. Rob Bowers, the shooter in the Pittsburgh massacre, appears to have been specifically inspired by this conspiracy theory. Indeed, Bowers had also reposted references to “ZOG” on his social media accounts. Read More

Trump’s Embrace of Anti-Semitism

We should, among all priorities, not be silent, now more than at any time. Let’s not forget that President Trump closed his 2016 campaign with a final ad rife with anti-Semitic themes and imagery. Right out in the open.

Protocols Redux

Just moments ago, after the massacre, after the mail bombs, guest on Lou Dobbs says “Soros-occupied State Department” is funding and direct migrant caravan.

At the risk of telling things you already know, this is only days after a man inspired by President Trump’s rhetoric sent a mail bomb to Soros’s home and the same day a man who was angry that Jews were behind the caravan murdered eleven people at their synagogue.

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Week So Far

Wednesday: Armed man in Kentucky tries and fails to enter black church. Instead goes to local Kroger and shoots and kills two African-Americans. Later tells white man who confronts him, “Whites don’t kill other whites.”

Friday: Serial mail bomber is arrested by the FBI after sending at least 13 mail bombs to Americans targeted by President Trump.

Saturday: Gunman storms Pittsburgh Synagogue and kills at least eight people.

Even Worse Than Usual

In brief remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrews before he boarded Air Force One, President Trump lamented that the Pittsburgh synagogue attacked during a bris didn’t have armed guards. He spoke repeatedly of the bad “results” of the shooting that reportedly left multiple people dead, as if it were a poor quarterly earnings report. Watch.

Shooter/Suspect In Custody

KEY DETAILS: Mass shooting incident at Pittsburgh synagogue (Tree of Life in Squirrel Hill). There are at least eight fatalities. The suspect, wounded in a police shoot out, is in custody. Suspect is white male, beareded, reportedly 46 years old. Local CBS affiliate reports that shooter yelled anti-semitic slogans/slurs as he opened fire on worshippers. “All Jews must die.”

MORE: Eight confirmed fatalities. Three police officers shot, conditions unknown. A bris (Jewish circumcision ceremony) was reportedly underway when the shooting erupted.

MORE: Local CBS affiliate KDKA reporting the name of suspect/shooter is Rob Bauer, either 46 or 48 years of age. Heavy-set white male.

Active Shooter at Pittsburgh Synagogue

We are monitoring reports of an active shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue. There are reports of fatalities and reports of two police officers being shot. But we’re in that early phase where there are conflicting reports and we need to wait for clearer confirmation of details. All that seems clear now is that the situation is on-going, that there are multiple casualties and likely fatalities among them. Await more updates.

MORE: The synagogue is the Tree of Life Synagogue. Local CBS affiliate is reported at least seven dead. The shooter has reportedly now surrendered after being injured himself.

MORE: CBS local affiliate now confirming at least 8 dead. Suspect/shooter described as white male with beard. There are multiple reports from journalists on Twitter quoting anti-Semitic statements by the shooter. This is hardly surprising given the target. But these reports appear to be going directly from police scanner/radio. So want to wait for more confirmation.

Trump: They Brought It on Themselves

I still watch Trump’s speeches all the way through whenever I have the chance. It’s important to know what he says. Last night, in the wake the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, Trump spent the first half of his speech castigating the press for its “anger” and as the cause of a climate of anger and violence in the country. Aside from a few introductory, scripted lines about unity, the subtext (and often the straight up text) of the speech was clear: the press and the President’s Democratic enemies are responsible for violence against them. In so many words, they brought it on themselves. He even mocked and led the crowd in a round of angry jeers directed at Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), one of the literal targets of Sayoc’s mail bombs. Read More

Sayoc Holding anti-CNN Banner at 2017 Trump Rally

This is some fascinating sleuthing from CNN.

Here’s video I and (many others) found in Sayoc’s twitter feed. It’s Sayoc at a Trump rally. There’s no clearly identifying information to tell us which rally it was. Read More

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