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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 13,355

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Win or Lose, It's Donald Trump's Republican Party

The G.O.P.’s politicians, activists and voters are still figuring out what that means.

The tourism bureau of Manatee County, population just over 400,000, advertises the expected trappings of any placid gulfside community in southwest Florida — a historic fishing village, an award-winning local library system, outlet malls. Eighty-six percent white and a noted second-home locale for retirees fleeing the Northeast in winter, Manatee has voted for every Republican presidential nominee since 1948 — the sort of homogeneity that typically produces staid politics. In the summer of 2020, as the county’s residents turned their attention to the race for District 7’s seat on the board of county commissioners, some of the hot-button issues were a new storm-water fee and the wisdom of using public funds to extend 44th Avenue East.

One Republican vying for the office was George Kruse, a 45-year-old finance veteran and novice candidate who owns a commercial real estate debt fund. Kruse, who has an M.B.A. from Columbia and started his career at an affordable-housing equity fund, says he got into the race partly to address the area’s lack of affordable housing; in interviews with local media, he talked about restructuring the county budget and establishing long-term plans for sustainable growth. But from the outset his campaign included a concession to political reality. The top item on his “Conservative Principles for a Better Manatee” brochure was “Support President Trump to Keep America Great.”

Kruse’s principal opponent for the Republican nomination was Ed Hunzeker, the county’s 72-year-old former administrator, who left the position in 2019 after clashing with the county commission over a controversial decision to authorize the construction of a new radio tower next to a local elementary school. In announcing his campaign, Hunzeker called himself a “strong supporter of President Trump,” and he began flooding Facebook with ad after ad to promote his affinity further (“LIKE if you support President Trump!”). Kruse did not feel his own bona fides were in question; one of the first photos posted to his campaign page showed him smiling with his arm around a cardboard cutout of Trump. Nevertheless, on June 30, he debuted his campaign’s new slogan: “Make Manatee Red Again.” “Real Conservatives in Manatee County are done with the RINO Purple/Blue wave taking over our supposedly conservative County Commission,” he declared.

Three days later, Hunzeker put out an ad juxtaposing photos of himself and Trump and promising: “Ed Hunzeker Stands With Our President.” He followed up with a six-second YouTube video featuring a gentle guitar strum, Hunzeker sporting a button-down shirt and hopeful gaze and a single line of text: “Keep Manatee Great.” Two days later, a slightly perspiring Kruse filmed a Facebook Live to clarify his own allegiance. “People who know me know that I support President Trump,” he said. “They see me get out of a truck with a Trump sticker on the back. They see me walking through Publix with a Trump hat on. They see me wearing a variety of different Trump shirts. I don’t need to tell people I support the president. People just see that I support the president.” He continued: “So, you know, consider that over the weekend.”


Election Day will feel different. Having the right expectations means rejecting Trump's lies.

Election Day will feel different this year. Having the right expectations means rejecting Trump’s lies.

Opinion by Editorial Board

ELECTION DAY this year is going to feel different. Many Americans will have to weigh whether voting is worth risking infection with the coronavirus, perhaps because their absentee ballot did not arrive fast enough, or they worry it would not get back in time to count, or they were denied the option of voting by mail in the first place. For this, they can thank Republicans in states such as Texas and Wisconsin who maintained arbitrary limits on absentee ballots, because depressing the vote, rather than persuading voters, is now a key GOP campaign strategy.

But Republicans did not succeed in suppressing mail-in voting everywhere, and high demand for a safe alternative to in-person Election Day voting means that a massive number of Americans will have voted by mail, or at least attempted to do so. The result of so many people shifting the way they vote will be an Election Day that may not end with the declaration of a clear winner. Some presidential battleground states will count ballots that arrive a week or more after Nov. 3, as long as they are postmarked on time. This is good: Voters should not have their ballots trashed because the U.S. Postal Service delayed delivering them or because of some other administrative issue. Their votes matter no less than those of Americans who cast ballots in-person.

Yet President Trump likely will deny their legitimacy. Polls and early-voting statistics suggest that Democrats will vote disproportionately by mail this year, so early in-person tallies in some key states might show him doing better than the final count will. Mr. Trump has equated mail-in ballots with fraud, and he has laid the groundwork to claim that any delay in reporting results would be evidence the election was fixed. On Monday, he tweeted, falsely, about “big problems and discrepancies with Mail in Ballots all over the USA,” adding “Must have final total on November 3rd.” If that doesn’t happen, the president’s irresponsible rhetoric could trigger a post-election crisis.

As it is, the unprecedented circumstances could lead overwhelmed election officials to make more honest mistakes. Even in normal presidential election years, irregularities occur: A stack of ballots gets misplaced, then found; voting machines conk out; dead people are discovered to be still registered to vote; ballot-counting technology fails; some people have to fill out provisional ballots.


Voter registrations of DeSantis, Michael Jordan and LeBron James accessed by Naples man, FDLE says

Source: Tampa Bay Times

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested 20-year-old Anthony Guevara on Tuesday night on one count of unauthorized access of a computer and one count of altering a voter registration without consent.

A Naples man used a computer to alter Gov. Ron DeSantis' voting registration and attempted to get into the voting registrations of U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, retired basketball icon Michael Jordan and current basketball icon LeBron James, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.

The FDLE arrested 20-year-old Anthony Guevara on Tuesday night on one count of unauthorized access of a computer and one count of altering a voter registration without consent. Guevara is being held in Collier County jail on $5,000 bond.

According to an arrest report, when DeSantis went to vote Monday afternoon in Tallahassee, he learned he was no longer listed as a Leon County resident. Instead, his address was that of a one-floor rowhouse-style condominium on Pretty Lane in an unincorporated area of Palm Beach County.

A witness who watched the exchange said that the clerk did not recognize DeSantis and told him that their records showed he had changed his address the previous week. The governor responded that he moved to Leon County two years ago and had voted there in the last two elections.

The clerk quipped, “Do you happen to have any friends in Russia?” The governor looked befuddled, the witness who asked not to be identified said. He then provided proof of his current address, which lists the governor’s mansion.

Read more: https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/elections/2020/10/28/voter-registrations-of-desantis-michael-jordan-and-lebron-james-accessed-by-naples-man-fdle-says/

Author of 2018 'Anonymous' op-ed critical of Trump revealed

Source: CNN.com

The anonymous senior Trump administration official who wrote a 2018 New York Times op-ed and a subsequent book critical of President Donald Trump is Miles Taylor, he revealed in a statement to CNN on Thursday.

Taylor, who was chief of staff to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, wrote a lengthy statement explaining why he penned the 2018 op-ed declaring he was part of the "resistance" inside the Trump administration working to thwart Trump's worst inclinations. Taylor said that he wanted to force Trump to respond to the charges he was leveling without the ability to attack the messenger specifically. Trump called the op-ed treasonous.

"Much has been made of the fact that these writings were published anonymously. The decision wasn't easy, I wrestled with it, and I understand why some people consider it questionable to levy such serious charges against a sitting President under the cover of anonymity. But my reasoning was straightforward, and I stand by it," Taylor wrote.

"Issuing my critiques without attribution forced the President to answer them directly on their merits or not at all, rather than creating distractions through petty insults and name-calling," Taylor added. "I wanted the attention to be on the arguments themselves."

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/28/politics/anonymous-new-york-times-oped-writer/index.html

Elephant in the room: California GOP needs a Trump loss to move forward

The president’s dismal standing in California could continue to hamper efforts to revive state Republican Party


It’s a stark reality when a state political party likely would be better off if its incumbent president lost re-election, but that’s where the California GOP finds itself today.

President Donald Trump isn’t just greatly out of favor in the Golden State — as the 2016 election results and recent polls show — but he has energized and unified Democrats and like-minded independents like seemingly nothing else could.

The Republican Party has been on a downward slide in California for generations, in part because of changing demographics and political dynamics. But Trump’s election four years ago accelerated the pace. After the 2018 midterm election, California’s GOP congressional delegation was reduced to seven members in 53 districts, and Democrats regained a veto-proof, two-thirds majority in the state Legislature.

Over the last couple of years, the California Republican Party has chosen new leadership, stressed a more inclusive tone and sought to focus on California-centric issues. But Trump takes up almost all the political oxygen everywhere, and if he continues to do that for four more years, it adds to the degree of difficulty for state Republicans trying to get back in the game.


The Republican Party in California will remain toxic for decades.

Passenger hanging out van window falls and dies after killing bicyclist, Vegas cops say

A man died after Las Vegas police said he hung out of a car and struck a bicyclist, killing her.

On Sunday, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department responded to a report of two people who had been hit by a car, according to a news release. Police said they arrived and found a woman and man, who died at the location of fatal incident.

The man was the passenger in a car driven by 22-year-old Rodrigo Cruz, police said, and he leaned out of the window, pushing a female bicyclist to the ground. The man then fell out of the car and collided with a light pole. Officers apprehended Cruz, who is accused of fleeing the scene before law enforcement arrived.

Investigators said the passenger in Cruz’s car initially tried to hit two pedestrians on the sidewalk by hanging out of the minivan, but missed before hitting the bicyclist, according to KSNV.


The coming decade of Democratic dominance

Opinion by George F. Will

By a circuitous route to a predictable destination, the 2020 presidential selection process seems almost certain to end Tuesday with a fumigation election. A presidency that began with dark words about “American carnage” probably will receive what it has earned: repudiation.

In “Three Exhausting Weeks,” a short story in Tom Hanks’s collection “Uncommon Type,” a man has a short, stressful relationship with a hyperactive woman: “Being Anna’s boyfriend was like training to be a Navy SEAL while working full-time in an Amazon fulfillment center in the Oklahoma Panhandle in tornado season.” After the past four years, Americans know the feeling, which is why President Trump’s first and final contribution to the nation’s civic health will be to have motivated a voter turnout rate not seen for more than a century — not since the 73.2 percent of 1900, when President William McKinley for a second time defeated the Democratic populist William Jennings Bryan. The poet Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931) had fun making fun of Bryan’s populism: “Nebraska’s cry went eastward against the dour and / old, / The mean and cold. . . . / Smashing Plymouth Rock, with his boulders from the / West.”

Imagine what fun Lindsay could have had with today’s preeminent populist, who has taken more than $70,000 in tax deductions for hair styling. His style has been his substance. His replacement for Obamacare remains as nonexistent as his $1 trillion infrastructure program. He resembles the politically excitable woman in Philip Roth’s novel “American Pastoral,” whose “opinions were all stimuli: the goal was excitement.”

In defeat, Trump probably will resemble another figure from American fiction — Ring Lardner’s “Alibi Ike,” the baseball player whose talent was for making excuses. Trump will probably say that if not for the pandemic, Americans would have voted their pocketbooks, which would have been bulging because of economic growth, and reelected him. Americans, however, are more complicated and civic-minded than one-dimensional economy voters. But about those pocketbooks:

The 4 percent growth Trump promised as a candidate and the 3 percent he promised as president became, pre-pandemic, 2.5 percent during his first three years, a negligible improvement over the 2.4 percent of the last three Barack Obama years. This growth was partly fueled by increased deficit spending (from 4.4 percent of gross domestic product to 6.3 percent, by the International Monetary Fund’s calculation). Bloomberg Businessweek reports, “In the first three and a half years of Trump’s presidency the U.S. Department of Labor approved 1,996 petitions [for Trade Adjustment Assistance] covering 184,888 jobs shifted overseas. During the equivalent period of President Barack Obama’s second term, 1,811 petitions were approved covering 172,336 workers.” And the Economist says:

“Recent research suggests that Mr. Trump’s tariffs destroyed more American manufacturing jobs than they created, by making imported parts more expensive and prompting other countries to retaliate by targeting American goods. Manufacturing employment barely grew in 2019. At the same time, tariffs are pushing up consumer prices by perhaps 0.5 percent, enough to reduce average real household income by nearly $1,300.”


Trump's attacks on political adversaries are often followed by threats to their safety

The CIA’s most endangered employee for much of the past year was not an operative on a mission abroad, but an analyst who faced a torrent of threats after filing a whistleblower report that led to the impeachment of President Trump.

The analyst spent months living in no-frills hotels under surveillance by CIA security, current and former U.S. officials said. He was driven to work by armed officers in an unmarked sedan. On the few occasions he was allowed to reenter his home to retrieve belongings, a security team had to sweep the apartment first to make sure it was safe.

The measures were imposed by the CIA’s Security Protective Service, which monitored thousands of threats across social media and Internet chat rooms. Over time, a pattern emerged: Violent messages surged each time the analyst was targeted in tweets or public remarks by the president.

“The president was tweeting, ‘Where’s the whistleblower? Where’s the whistleblower?’ ” said a former senior U.S. official involved in overseeing the protection of the analyst, whose name has not been disclosed by the government. The analyst was never in direct danger, the official said, but some threats were so serious that without security, “there is a strong possibility that grave harm would have come to him.”

The CIA declined to comment.


Trump's closing argument is a loser


As President Trump has barnstormed battleground states in a frenzy of final campaign rallies, he hasn’t offered voters much of a plan for defeating the coronavirus (“We’re learning to live with it,” he says) or reviving the economy (“We’ve recovered”).

Instead of offering solutions for the disasters on his watch, most of his message focuses on fear of the catastrophes he predicts if Joe Biden is elected.

“Biden and the Democrats will offshore your jobs, dismantle your police departments and dissolve your borders,” he claimed in Ohio. All three charges are false; those aren’t Biden’s positions.

My favorite: “If Biden wins, the flag-burning rioters on the streets will be running your federal government.” Even red-hat-wearing Trump fans might not swallow that one.


Tight Florida Senate races targeted by dark money group

If the ads succeed in persuading Democrats or independent voters to choose the fringe candidates in three competitive races, it benefits the mainstream Republican who is running.

Voters in three competitive Florida Senate races are seeing a deluge of political mail ads funded by a mystery donor that aim to “confuse” in an apparent effort to shave votes from Democratic candidates.

The mailers, which feature messaging on issues that historically appeal to Democrats, advertise little-known, no-party candidates who have not actively campaigned. The ads urge voters to “cut the strings” from party-backed candidates.

Voters in three key state Senate races — Senate District 9 in Central Florida and Senate Districts 37 and 39 in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties — have been bombarded with the political ads although little is known about the group that paid for them. If the ads succeed in persuading Democrats or independent voters to choose the fringe candidates in those races, it benefits the mainstream Republican who is running.

Proclivity, a donor that had never made political contributions in Florida, showed up in campaign finance records in early October. The donor poured $550,000 into political committees, which quickly used the money to buy what is believed to be hundreds of thousands of mailed political advertisements in support of the no-party candidates.

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