Wisconsin Gerrymandering: ‘This Is A Form Of Election Rigging’ | AM Joy | MSNBC

The Supreme Court gerrymandering case focusing on Wisconsin raises the issue of defending voting rights against voter suppression. Joy Reid and her panel discuss.

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Wisconsin Gerrymandering: ‘This Is A Form Of Election Rigging’ | AM Joy | MSNBC

How America Overlooked The Russia Election Hack In One Crazy Day | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow revisits how the Donald Trump “grabbing” tape, the release of hacked Clinton campaign e-mails, and the arrival of a major hurricane, obscured the U.S. government’s announcement that Russia was interfering in the election.
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How America Overlooked The Russia Election Hack In One Crazy Day | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Mellman: Don’t bet on better numbers

Mellman: Don’t bet on better numbers
© Getty Images

Desperately trying to quell the panic growing in their guts and in their ranks, Republicans are spinning themselves dizzy trying to explain why President Trump’s approval rating will improve before the midterm.

Their desperation arises from the president’s extraordinarily low approval rating and the impact it will likely have on the 2018 elections.

President Trump’s approval rating is below 40 percent in the RealClearPolitics average and lower than that in HuffPollster’s calculation. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight pegs it at an even more sickly 37 percent.

Those numbers induce panic among Republicans because there’s a strong relationship between a president’s approval rating and his party’s midterm performance.

Only three times in the history of polling has a president been below 40 percent at the midterm — and those presidents lost between 29 and 55 House seats.

Even higher midterm approval ratings have brought about massive losses. Presidents Clinton, Obama and Johnson were in the mid-40s when Democrats lost 53, 63 and 47 seats, respectively.

On average, presidents below 50 percent approval have lost 37 House seats.

Republicans understand this, if only intuitively. Hence the rising panic.

Instead of chanting “serenity now,” a la George Costanza, they’re attempting to spin their way to calm by offering a number of arguments, some of which contain just a kernel of truth, while quietly thanking their maker for the gerrymander and praying it’s enough.

First, Republicans maintain the midterms are over a year away and a lot can happen. There’s that kernel of truth.

But, historically, the trend between this point and the midterm is downward, not upward. On average, presidential approval ratings have dropped over 12 points between this time in…

Ted Cruz Aide Backs Inquiry Of Russian Meddling In GOP Primary | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

After a torrent of web attacks during the GOP primary, fmr. Cruz Aide Ron Nehring tells Ari Melber authorities should investigate Russian backing for Trump during the entire election cycle
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Ted Cruz Aide Backs Inquiry Of Russian Meddling In GOP Primary | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Dems look to turn ObamaCare tables on GOP in ’18

Dems look to turn ObamaCare tables on GOP in '18
© Camille Fine

Republicans have hammered Democrats over ObamaCare for the better half of a decade, riding promises to repeal the law into majorities in both the House and Senate.

But now Democrats plan to turn the tables on the GOP, using the GOP’s failed attempts to repeal ObamaCare as a cudgel in the 2018 midterms.

“I think the message is really simple here: As long as Republicans control Congress, your health care is on the chopping block,” said Tyler Law, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), House Democrats’ campaign arm.

Democrats want to put that issue front and center, arguing that the GOP effort would cause millions more people to lose insurance and hurt sick Americans.

“The Republicans’ toxic health care agenda that spikes costs, strips coverage for pre-existing conditions, and imposes an age tax on older Americans will be the defining issue of the midterms,” said David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).

“It will drag down Republican Senate candidates in every state,” Bergstein added.

In early May, the House narrowly passed an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill in a 217-213 vote.

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans decided against voting by the end of September on a last-ditch effort to repeal the health law, acknowledging the measure wouldn’t have passed. The announcement effectively killed the repeal effort for the immediate future, as the fast-track budget maneuver Republicans were using to gut ObamaCare can’t be used this year after Sept. 30.

Even without a new GOP-made health care system to run against, Democrats believe they have enough ammo to hit Republicans by pointing to the previous repeal attempts, all of which scored badly in approval polls.

“Every one of our targets in the midterms — every single vulnerable Republican — voters know that their health care is less safe if that person is re-elected,” Law said, “And that is an incredibly strong message that we will carry through the midterm elections.”

Twenty Republicans, many of whom are centrists hailing from swing states and potential Democratic targets, opposed the bill in the House.

The attack ads have already started.

For instance, the DSCC launched Google full-screen takeover ads in June against Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), as well…

Pence attends fundraiser in Wisconsin

Vice President Pence was slated to attend a fundraiser in Wisconsin on Thursday evening after visiting with Gov. Scott Walker (R) to discuss tax reform.

Pence arrived at a hotel in downtown Milwaukee for the fundraiser, according to White House pool reports.

The event benefits the Trump Victory fund, a joint committee benefiting President Trump’s reelection campaign and…

To Limit Gerrymandering, Supreme Court Needs Just to Reaffirm Equal Population Requirement

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Gill v. Whitford, a case challenging Wisconsin’s legislative district lines as an unconstitutional Republican gerrymander. It’s attracted attention because many high-minded commentators have blamed partisan gerrymandering for today’s highly polarized politics — and for the fact that Republicans have won majorities in 67 of the 98 houses of state legislatures and in 10 of the past 12 elections in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But as I and others have argued, gerrymandering has contributed only marginally to Republican success. More important is demographic clustering. Democratic voters are heavily clustered in central cities, sympathetic suburbs, and university towns, while Republican voters are more evenly spread around.

The Wisconsin Democrats want to require districting plans to compensate for this clustering, presumably by drawing long tentacles that stretch from central cities through suburbs and to the countryside. That strategy, followed by Democratic redistricters in Maryland and Illinois, has produced the nation’s most grotesquely shaped congressional districts.

In Gill v. Whitford, Democrats found a favorable three-judge district court, but a five-vote majority of the Supreme Court blocked the ruling from taking effect while the court considers the case.

Unchallenged in this case is the requirement that districts have equal population, which the Supreme Court mandated in Reynolds v. Sims in 1964. Actually, the roots of the equal population requirement go back much further, to July 1787, when members of the Constitutional Convention agreed on clauses requiring that a federal census be conducted every ten years and that each state’s number of representatives in the House be determined by the results of that census.

View Cartoon

This was novel, perhaps entirely original. Seats in the British Parliament and in Continental counterparts were never allocated in this way….

Expansionist Russia Promotes Division Everywhere Else | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow reports on the latest revelations about how Russia used social media to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election and in actively encouraging secessionist movements around the world to promote division as it tries to grow itself.
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Expansionist Russia Promotes Division Everywhere Else | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Senate confirms second Trump nominee to labor board

Senate confirms second Trump nominee to labor board
© Getty Images

The Senate confirmed President Trump’s second pick to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Monday evening, shifting the balance of power from Democrats to Republicans.

The Senate voted 49-47 to confirm William Emanuel to the board charged with enforcing fair labor practices and workers’ collective bargaining rights.

Emanuel, a corporate lawyer who works for Littler Mendelson in Los Angeles, is the second Trump nominee to be confirmed to the board after Marvin Kaplan’s confirmation in August.

With Emanuel, Republicans now hold the majority on the five-member board.

Industry groups have long claimed the NLRB has catered to labor unions.

They are hoping the newly aligned board will reverse the ruling that redefined what constitutes a joint-employer and made franchisors responsible for labor law violations committed by their franchisees, as well as a ruling that allowed unions to organize employees in so-called micro-unions.

A roll back of 2014 rules which sped up union elections is also on the wish list.

In a statement, Trey Kovacs, labor policy expert for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said Emanuel “should prove” to be an “outstanding addition” to the board.

“It’s essential that the NLRB start to…

Yen, Kiwi Drop as Politics in Focus; Stocks Mixed: Markets Wrap

  • Yen drops on 2 trillion yen stimulus report; Kiwi dollar sinks
  • Merkel’s victory leaves her facing coalition talks in Germany

The yen declined on speculation Japan’s prime minister will press for a stimulus package alongside his expected call for a snap election — sending the nation’s stocks higher. The kiwi and euro both slid initially as ballot results foreshadowed potentially complex political coalition building.

New Zealand’s vote kicked off what could be weeks of coalition-building talks, weighing on the currency amid disappointment the ruling party failed to get a majority. The euro was modestly weaker against the dollar after Chancellor Angela Merkel won Germany’s election with a smaller share of the vote, with focus on a surprisingly strong result for a far-right party. South Korea’s currency rose as concerns over North Korean tensions faded, despite fresh rhetorical exchanges with the U.S. over the weekend.

Japan’s Shinzo Abe speaks later Monday, with a report that he may seek a 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) stimulus package to support the economy. Central banks could offer further direction to markets this week, with both Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi among those scheduled to speak.

Many investors have been advising to trim risk-taking in global portfolios after gains in stock prices pushed global equities to record levels last week. UBS Group AG, the world’s largest wealth manager, on Friday told clients worldwide to take some profit on their stocks as rising values make it more difficult to generate “significant” further gains.

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