“Kari Lake, Still Refusing to Accept Defeat in One Race, Teases Arizona Senate Run”

NYT:

Kari Lake, the fiery former news anchor who narrowly lost a race for governor of Arizona last year, said in an interview that she is considering a Republican campaign for the U.S. Senate in Arizona next year.

She has also scheduled campaign-style events this month in Iowa — home to her party’s first presidential nominating contest — that typically signal White House ambitions.

Additionally, she is still contesting her November defeat in the Arizona governor’s race, despite her claims of misconduct being rejected in court. She has continued raising money to help finance legal bills related to her court challenges, and has also given several paid speeches, but declined to say for whom.

Ms. Lake’s maneuvering in recent months has signaled that she’s eager to build out her fledgling political résumé following a midlife career shift.

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“Democrats Overhaul Party’s Primary Calendar, Upending a Political Tradition”

NYT:

Upending decades of political tradition, the Democratic National Committee on Saturday approved a sweeping overhaul of the Democratic primary process, a critical step in President Biden’s effort to transform the way the party picks its presidential nominees.

For years, presidential nominating contests have begun with the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, a matter of immense pride in those states, and a source of political identity for many highly engaged residents.

But amid forceful calls for a calendar that better reflects the racial diversity of the Democratic Party and the country — and after Iowa’s 2020 meltdown led to a major delay in results — Democrats voted to endorse a proposal that starts the 2024 Democratic presidential primary circuit on Feb. 3 in South Carolina, the state that resuscitated Mr. Biden’s once-flailing candidacy. New Hampshire and Nevada are scheduled to follow on Feb. 6, Georgia on Feb. 13 and then Michigan on Feb. 27.

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“Do We Need to Party Better to Fix U.S. Democracy?”

Didi Kuo and I recently spoke with Daniel Stid, Executive Director of Lyceum Labs about our recent article, Associational Party Building: A Path to Rebuilding Democracy.  Daniel pushed us on the questions such as whether we are calling for a turn away from national politics and how we think about parties past. We reminded party skeptics that they are part of the party already. A lightly edited version of the full conversation appears on the Art of Association.

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Henry Olsen WaPo Oped: “Republicans have a big Kari Lake problem”

Olsen column:

Attend a Kari Lake rally, as I did Sunday night, and you will see why so many conservatives will follow her to the ends of the Earth.

Lake has star power. She lights up a stage and can talk coherently for nearly an hour. She flatters her audiences and knows which buttons to push to rile them up and garner sympathy.

This gift poses massive problems for the Arizona Republican Party.

Lake is not rallying her forces to oppose Gov. Katie Hobbs’s outrageously liberal budget or to win school board elections. Instead, Lake is fixated on her narrow defeat last fall. Like former president Donald Trump, who called into her rally to pledge support, she says she was robbed.

Lake told the crowd she has “mountains of evidence.” She claims that “300,000 ballots lacked chain of custody” in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, where she alleges the fraud took place. “A minimum of 140,000 fraudulent mail-in ballots,” which leaned Democratic, were counted despite “bad signatures,” she said. Meanwhile, 250,000 Election Day votes, which leaned heavily Republican, were “spit out and rejected” by faulty tabulating machines. The result: Democratic votes were overcounted; legitimate GOP votes were rejected.

But none of this is true. Fraud, although hard to prove, is easy to detect. If someone were stuffing ballot boxes, the results would be way out of whack compared to those in prior elections. Most places have pretty predictable turnout and voting patterns. If an area suddenly turns from red to blue or has a huge, unexplained turnout spike, something fishy might have happened….

That Lake continues to spout lies to her adoring fans creates huge problems for the state party. Its leaders know why they lost most statewide races and nearly lost control of the legislature. They know they need to win back the votes of some educated Whites while holding on to the people who backed Trump and Lake. Do that, and Arizona goes from the ultimate purple state to one that clearly leans Republican.

But how do they do that when so many of their voters believe in the voter-fraud myth? The base demands obeisance to faith that the election was stolen, and any statewide candidate will be tempted to pander to those views. But doing so would alienate the swing voters they need to win. Three straight election cycles in which Republicans lost narrowly to Democrats in their Senate and gubernatorial races prove that the hardcore base is not enough to win.

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Breaking: North Carolina Supreme Court Grants Rehearing in Case Striking Down Congressional Districts as a Partisan Gerrymander, Potentially Mooting U.S. Supreme Court’s Independent State Legislature Case, Moore v. Harper

On a 5-2 vote along party lines, the North Carolina Supreme Court has granted rehearing to reconsider its decision striking the state’s congressional districts as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders under the state constitution. It is also considering the state districts as well as a separate voter id case; these were each decided just before the partisan majority on the Supreme Court changed. Justice Earl in her dissents calls out the court for granting the unusual rehearing and rejecting Common Cause’s motion to dismiss; the says that this is going to further politicize the judiciary and undermine the legitimacy of the courts.

The court put the congressional districting briefing on a very quick time frame, and it raises the question whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Moore v. Harper could become moot, after a lot of briefing and argument has already been considered by the Supreme Court on the independent state legislature theory.

As I recently wrote,

Back on November 9, I wrote:

Could the Flipping of the North Carolina Supreme Court to Republican Control Moot the Moore v. Harper Case about the Independent State Legislature Doctrine?

With news that the North Carolina Supreme Court has flipped to Republican control, there is a good chance that the this court’s holding that partisan gerrymandering violates the state constitution will be overturned. That ruling will allow Republicans to draw a partisan gerrymander of North Carolina’s congressional districts in time for the 2024 elections.

But it also may moot Moore v. Harper, the big “independent state legislature”/Elections Clause case. That case argues that the North Carolina’s ruling violated the power of the state’s general assembly to decide on the shape of congressional districts.

There have been a ton of amicus briefs filed (including my own) and oral arguments are set for December 7. Not clear to me how quickly a case could make it to the state Supreme Court to cause it to reconsider its partisan gerrymandering ruling, and if there might be an incentive to hold those suits to get a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on this issue.

Now, via Democracy Docket, comes this this petition for rehearing in the North Carolina Supreme Court in the remedial phase of the Harper case involving the maps. The case specifically asks for the original holding—-that the North Carolina congressional districts are an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander under the state constitution—be overturned.

If that case is overturned before the Supreme Court decides Moore, it seems to me that it likely moots the case.

Indeed, I wonder if SCOTUS will delay deciding this case if the NC Supreme Court grants rehearing.

I don’t know that the NC court would do so. As Marc Elias argues, doing so would be a radical act. But it could happen and then call into question whether we will find out the vitality of the independent state legislature theory or not in Moore.

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“Trump campaign staff on 2020 election lies: ‘fan the flame'”

AP:

A newly released audio recording offers a behind-the-scenes look at how former President Donald Trump’s campaign team in a pivotal battleground state knew they had been outflanked by Democrats in the 2020 presidential election. But even as they acknowledged defeat, they pivoted to allegations of widespread fraud that were ultimately debunked — repeatedly — by elections officials and the courts.

The audio from Nov. 5, 2020, two days after the election, is surfacing as Trump again seeks the White House while continuing to lie about the legitimacy of the outcome and Democrat Joe Biden’s win.

The Wisconsin political operatives in the strategy session even praised Democratic turnout efforts in the state’s largest counties and appeared to joke about their efforts to engage Black voters, according to the recording obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. The audio centers on Andrew Iverson, who was the head of Trump’s campaign in the state.

“Here’s the deal: Comms is going to continue to fan the flame and get the word out about Democrats trying to steal this election. We’ll do whatever they need. Just be on standby if there’s any stunts we need to pull,” Iverson said.

“Here’s the deal: Comms is going to continue to fan the flame and get the word out about Democrats trying to steal this election. We’ll do whatever they need. Just be on standby if there’s any stunts we need to pull,” Iverson said.</p>

Iverson is now the Midwest regional director for the Republican National Committee. He deferred questions about the meeting to the RNC, whose spokesperson, Keith Schipper, declined comment because he had not heard the recording….

Parts of the Nov. 5 meeting also center on Republican outreach efforts to the state’s Black community.

At one point, the operatives laugh over needing “more Black voices for Trump.” Iverson also references their efforts to engage with Black voters.

“We ever talk to Black people before? I don’t think so,” he said, eliciting laughter from others in the room.

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