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Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: When things work the way they are supposed to, it’s a pleasant surprise – best news

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Associated Press via Wisconsin State Journal:

GOP-supported maps before Wisconsin Supreme Court are gerrymandered, consultants say

The two conservative-supported legislative map proposals before the Wisconsin Supreme Court are partisan gerrymanders not worth further consideration, while the other four submissions, which could potentially give Democrats a legislative majority, are “nearly indistinguishable,” redistricting consultants told the court on Thursday.

The report provides liberals with a big win, setting the court up to choose maps that would almost certainly increase Democrats’ standing in the Legislature, with the potential of overturning Republicans’ longstanding legislative majority in a critical election year.

An honest evaluation by the Wisconsin Supreme Court (they’ve yet to rule) is something that could only happen without a GOP majority on the court. Sad, but true.

New York Times:

Most Republican Senators Barred From Re-election in Oregon After Walkouts

The Oregon Supreme Court ruled they could not seek re-election after they repeatedly boycotted legislative sessions.

Background: Voters had approved an initiative to prohibit lawmaker walkouts.

Oregon is one of a few states that prohibit state legislators from convening an official session unless two-thirds of lawmakers are present. Republicans in recent years have used that requirement to their advantage, walking off the job in order to stall bills on climate policy, taxes and abortion.

In a state that once prided itself on bipartisan collaboration, voters altered the State Constitution in 2022 to ban such absenteeism. Under the new rules, lawmakers who have 10 unexcused absences during a legislative session are barred from re-election.

Still, 10 lawmakers, including Tim Knopp, the Senate minority leader, repeatedly boycotted legislative work last year to stall legislation on abortion, transgender issues, drug policy and guns. The walkouts lasted weeks, delaying action on hundreds of bills.

The lawmakers involved in the boycotts included nine of the Senate’s 12 Republicans and an independent who was a former Republican.

Well, that was a pleasant surprise. Guess they should have listened to the voters. While they are barred from running, many are from solid red districts, so they’ll no doubt be replaced by other like minded politicians. 

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Yeah, it’s satire. Or is it?

Brandi Buchman/Law and Crime:

Even Jefferson Davis recognized Section III ‘automatically disqualified him’: Dozens of historians urge Supreme Court to remove Trump from 2024 ballot

Even Jefferson Davis, leader of the Confederacy — and his lawyer — knew the insurrection clause in the U.S. Constitution not only disqualified him from holding office but, importantly, that Section III of the Fourteenth Amendment “executes itself” and once that constitutional Rubicon is crossed, disqualification was his “automatic” punishment.

This is one of several key arguments lifted straight from history that 25 prominent historians, professors, and legal scholars have presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in a new amicus brief supporting a December ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court finding that Donald Trump should be removed from the ballot for 2024 since he engaged in insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and is therefore ineligible for office.

The latest amicus (friend of the court) brief for the CO Trump disqualification appeal by historians is a great read (.pdf).

Associated Press:

AP-NORC poll finds an uptick in positive ratings of the US economy, but it’s not boosting Biden

The evidence of a stronger economy has yet to spill over into greater support for Biden. The new poll puts his approval rating at 38%, which is roughly where that number has stood for most of the past two years. Biden’s approval rating on handling the economy is similar, at 35%.

Will it eventually boost Biden? Maybe, but that link seems to be broken in voters’ minds. 

See Lee Drutman/”Undercover Events” on Substack:

What if It’s Not the Economy (Stupid)?

Why 2024 is shaping up to be a very strange presidential election.

In presidential election handicapping, two rules of thumb have generally guided analysis: 1) It’s the Economy, Stupid; and 2) Incumbency is an advantage.

I’m here to question both those rules of thumb. I don’t think they apply under current conditions.

It’s a strange presidential election because it’s a strange time in our politics. Uncharted territory, really.

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David Rothkopf/Haaretz:

What if Trump Was Leading America’s Policy on Israel and Gaza?

If only Trump were president, there would be no war in Gaza, no Iranian threat, and Netanyahu would meekly fall in line. Well, that’s the lunatic alternate reality that Trump and his rabid supporters are claiming – with a tailwind from hitherto serious commentators who ought to know better

Unfortunately, but utterly predictably, we are currently being forced to endure an onslaught of nonsensical comments like these. Some come from the source you would most expect, Trump himself. Some come from his rabid supporters. And some come from more serious commentators who have faulty memories.

Will Saletan/The Bulwark:

Nikki Haley Just Can’t Quit Trump

She claims to speak “hard truths”—but when it comes to the former president, she speaks mush.

IN THE WEEK SINCE the New Hampshire primary, Nikki Haley has sharpened her criticism of Donald Trump. On Monday, she was asked why. In an interview with Haley, CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin pointed out that for months, Chris Christie had spoken bluntly about Trump, but Haley hadn’t. Now, Sorkin observed, Haley seems to be going after Trump. Why the shift?

Haley had a simple answer. When the Republican field was full of candidates, she explained, “it didn’t make sense” to focus on Trump. “I had others I had to get out of the way,” she said. But “now it’s a two-person race,” she told Sorkin. So “now I’m telling the truth about him.”

It was a classic Haley moment, exposing her habit of selective candor. Contrary to what she tells audiences—“I’ve always spoken in hard truths”—Haley got where she is by not telling the truth about Trump. Now she says she’ll be straight with us. But she won’t. Haley is doing what she has always done: ducking and hedging to keep her options open.

Jamie Dupree/”Regular Order” on Substack:

House easily approves bipartisan tax bill

Speaker calls for executive actions on border security

LEGISLATIVE NERD NOTE. For most of you, this is just a bill passed by the House. Actually, this represents an absolutely unbelievable legislative situation in the House – where the GOP is in charge – but Republicans need the votes of Democrats to get things done. I’ve never seen anything like it.

  • SUSPENSION. Since the end of September, this is the fifth important bill to be approved under ‘suspension of the rules,’ which requires a two-thirds supermajority for approval. That means the bill must be bipartisan, and that the Speaker can only win with the help of Democrats.

  • PROGRESS. This process has been used to gain bipartisan approval for the tax cut, three different short-term funding plans and a major Pentagon policy bill. (The first CR led directly to the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy.)

  • RULES. Normally, a bill like this tax cut would go through the powerful House Rules Committee first. But Speaker Johnson doesn’t have a working majority on that committee – because of several Freedom Caucus lawmakers – so, Johnson has to go around that panel.

POWER. “Republicans aren’t a functioning majority,” said Josh Huder, a Congressional expert at Georgetown University, citing how the Speaker can’t rely on the Rules Committee to set up bills he wants on the House floor. “It’s turned the House into a supermajority body.”

Cliff Schecter on what happens with the electoral college, cheating and other speculative predictions:





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