GOP fight over leadership after November vote to be messy
By LISA MASCARO
AP Congressional Correspondent
Monday, October 22
WASHINGTON (AP) — Win or lose in the race for the majority, House Republicans are at risk of plunging into a messy leadership battle after the November election, with the party lacking a clear heir apparent to take the place of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
President Donald Trump has signaled he’d be happy with next-in-line Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, a longtime ally whom the president calls “My Kevin.”
But Trump is also saying kind words about the No. 3 Republican, GOP Whip Steve Scalise, whom he calls the “legend from Louisiana.” Scalise survived life-threatening injuries after he was shot at a congressional baseball practice in 2017.
And there’s a third lawmaker in the mix: conservative Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is waging a longshot bid to take the gavel. Trump appeared with Jordan at an Ohio rally in the summer and beamed when the crowd started chanting, “Speaker of the House!”
“There’s going to be a contest, for sure,” said GOP Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a veteran of leadership battles who said he’s never seen anything like the “high drama” that’s about to unfold. “Usually the election settles all the issues. This one won’t.”
Polls are seesawing in the final weeks before the election, creating suspense about whether Democrats will regain control of the House for the first time since 2010. Yet it’s almost certain that the often unruly House GOP contingent will be smaller next year. Republicans hope to hold the majority, but fully expect to lose some seats.
The election is likely to produce a more conservative, pro-Trump Republican lineup in the House, as most of the GOP incumbents at risk of losing hail from moderate-leaning districts and suburbs. Their defeat would probably concentrate more power in the hands of the House Freedom Caucus and its libertarian-leaning allies in rural, traditionally Republican states who doubt McCarthy’s conservative bona fides. Those lawmakers blocked the Californian’s rise when he first reached for the speaker’s gavel three years ago.
Conservatives say the House majority is at risk in large part because Republicans didn’t stand fully behind Trump. They fault their own side for failing to repeal “Obamacare,” build a wall along the border with Mexico and keep other campaign promises. If there’s a GOP wipeout on Election Day, Republicans will probably be eager to boot the current GOP leadership, which could give rise to Scalise or even Jordan’s unorthodox bid.
In public, none of the leaders-in-waiting likes to talk about the struggle to come. Their goal, they say, is to keep the House majority. But behind the scenes all three are all dialing up colleagues and racing around the country spending their time — and campaign cash — to salvage the GOP’s hold on the House.
“It’s going to be close, but I still think we keep the majority,” McCarthy told The Associated Press on Wednesday in between campaign stops.
McCarthy, who is traveling to a dozen states for two dozen lawmakers in October and shoveled $24 million in donations to candidates and campaign committees, convened an all-hands-on-deck conference call, urging colleagues to put campaign money into a team effort to protect the majority.
The upbeat mood after that call Wednesday was a turnaround from the gloom of a few weeks ago when polls indicated Democrats were favored to take over the House, with even safe seats in Trump-won districts in Pennsylvania and Iowa at risk. Republicans are sensing an uptick, thanks to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, and a newly energized electorate awakened to the stakes of the midterm. As McCarthy puts it, “This is an election about jobs versus the mobs.”
Scalise technically isn’t even running for a promotion — officially, he backs McCarthy for speaker — but he’s indicated he would be available to step in if McCarthy falls short.
While boarding a plane after campaigning in Michigan, Scalise said that while the GOP ranks may be smaller and tighter after the election, the outcome “brings everybody closer.” He was dashing off to support the GOP candidate in an open seat in South Carolina. Rather than embolden challenges to the leadership, the election could knit the House GOP closer together behind Trump’s agenda, he said.
“Everybody needs to be all in,” Scalise told AP. “We’re not fighting to keep this majority to be at odds with each other. We want to get some things done.”
As the majority whip these past few years, he said, “my job has been to build those coalitions.”
Perhaps most unusual has been Jordan’s longshot bid. Taking a page from Trump’s playbook, Jordan has eschewed the normal path, opting for an outside campaign that’s drumming up support from conservative groups and media-friendly allies.
Jordan is a regular on Fox News, pushing the House GOP’s investigation of the Justice Department’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Alongside Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the chairman of the Freedom Caucus who is also campaigning for colleagues, he is positioning the group for influence in the House.
None of the top three is without baggage. Jordan faces accusations that he didn’t do enough as a young assistant Ohio State University wrestling coach to halt alleged sexual misconduct by the team doctor. Jordan forcefully denies those accusations. Scalise has had to answer questions about his appearance years ago before a community group with ties to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
To be sure, Democrats have their own struggles. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wants to return as speaker if Democrats win a House majority; many in her party want new leadership.
Republicans have been here before, in a chaotic period after conservatives forced John Boehner into early retirement in 2015, then denied McCarthy the votes to move into the top spot. Ryan was recruited to fill the leadership vacuum.
To shore up his conservative flank, McCarthy has pivoted closer to conservatives and is championing their issues, including legislation to pay for Trump’s $25 billion border wall.
If Republicans retain the GOP majority, Cole said he would be hard pressed to see Republicans walking away from McCarthy after all he’s doing to keep the party in power.
But if Republicans lose big, especially in the late-breaking California races, McCarthy’s clout could diminish. The population of suburban Orange County, a longtime GOP stronghold, is shifting like the rest of the state.
“They said it was impossible for the House Freedom Caucus to oust Boehner,” said Noah Wall, a vice president at FreedomWorks, the conservative advocacy group that is rallying for Jordan. “We don’t claim there’s anything but a longshot, but we see several paths.”
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Opinion: Attention Latinos — Get Involved
By Coda Rayo-Garza and Mayra Juarez-Denis
This month, a new “public charge” proposal was posted in the Federal Register and opened to public comments for 60 days. This proposed “public charge” policy aims to disqualify immigrants who have undergone all of required administrative requirements to live in the United States from obtaining green cards if they used certain forms of public benefits including food stamps, Medicaid or public housing.
Hidden behind the veil of “economic self-sufficiency,” this proposal is yet another pillory on our immigrant brothers and sisters, specifically the Latinx and Asian-American and Pacific Islander populations. This attempt at removing immigrants on a basis unrelated to legal status is shutting the doors on our own people — it only serves to punish the disenfranchised and underserved folks who have come to our country to seek a better life and make underrepresented people suffer. This is undeniably wrong.
The growing field of eligible voters and the changing demographics of our nation indubitably mean that immigrants and people of color play a significant role in American democracy and economy; President Trump’s actions against these very communities are detrimental to our American democracy and economy.
After all, the data tell us that immigrant and underrepresented communities contribute tremendously to our country. For instance, in 2017, 86 percent of scaled ($1 million-plus)immigrant-owned firms were owned by millennials who immigrated as children. Over the last five years, Latina/o degree attainment has increased significantly. In 2015, Latina/o households contributed almost $215 billion to U.S. tax revenues as a whole, including almost $76 billion in state and local tax payments. Between 2015 and 2020, a projected 5.7 million Latina/os will gain eligibility to vote for the first time, most by turning 18 and aging into the electorate. We are, without question, here.
Yet, the burden some of us feel is a heavy sense of powerlessness in wanting to do more, but not knowing what that now means light of the fact that our immigrant sisters’ and brothers’ sense of humanity is questioned on a daily basis.
The seeming powerlessness is exemplified in the messages we hear from an administration praising voter identification laws that hinder the Latino and black vote.
The burden is also demonstrable through the dialogue around family separation at the border, ultimately leading to a philosophical discourse around who is to be considered a person deserving of moral and political will in our country. Public shaming for speaking Spanish, people being killed for raising their voice against racism, and the general rhetoric against our community have created a hostile environment leaving many of us to question our place in our own home.
Yet, we must engage in civic discourse and actions, otherwise we normalize violence against underrepresented people and enable the practitioners of intolerance, hatred and abuse of power. All is not lost: We must become involved in the political processes in our community. Everything around us — our schools, our jobs and our neighborhoods — is governed by political forces, and there are opportunities, even in spaces where we think we may not belong, to engage in the political processes governing our lives.
For instance, people in our community can run for office; apply for municipal boards and commissions, as well as boards of nonprofits; volunteer for organizations that align with one’s personal beliefs; and speak in forums, online and in person, at every opportunity. Ultimately, political parity for Latina/os and other underrepresented groups will come only by disrupting the beliefs of the current administration, which values the lives of one group over others, and we must pursue such change every single day.
Immigrants, women and underrepresented groups bring value to our country, and this must be a narrative we use regularly to chip away at the xenophobic dialogue that has spread across our country, and the rest of the world. And we must now use our presence to project our voices into larger conversations of policy at the national level. Doing so begins with the most important action we can take: the cast of a vote.
It is up to us to make our leaders at all levels responsible for their promises made via campaign rhetoric. Remember, they work for us. Choose leaders who support your community, and for those who are already in charge, demand them to stand for justice in word and deed. Register to vote, join organizations that help you elevate your civic participation. Stay informed about elections and about who represents you. Remember their actions when voting.
Let’s take action and create a community with dignity for all.
ABOUT THE WRITERS
Coda Rayo-Garza is a political partner with Truman National Security Project. Mayra Juarez-Denis is the director of Regional Impact & Organizing Strategy at Leadership for Educational Equity. They wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Opinion: The Nobel Prize — a Boost for a Carbon Tax
By Bill O’Keefe
There is an old saying that in theory, theory and practice should be the same; in practice they are not. That saying should be kept in mind in thinking about a carbon tax.
Bill Nordhaus’ winning the Nobel Prize has given a boost to proponents for a carbon tax. But the problems with implementing a carbon tax are large and complicated. The problems with what is usually made out to be a clear and simple proposal are politics, uncertainty and giving too much credibility to models.
Nordhaus in earlier work has indicated that the range for his price on carbon is $6 to $93. Given that range, how do you pick the right number? Climate models use the high estimate of climate sensitivity while global temperatures tend to confirm the low estimate. If you could trade anti-carbon regulations for a reasonable and clean carbon tax, that might be a good trade. But politics undermines that possibility.
Politicians would seek to give special treatment to some and tilt against others. Remember the first carbon tax? It was called the BTU tax and it was biased in favor of coal to get West Virginia senator Robert Byrd’s support and that of other coal state Democrats.
A carbon tax is a revenue machine, and politicians always in search of more would not be able to resist tweaking it to produce more. It takes a giant leap of faith to believe that politicians would use science to make subsequent adjustments, up or down, and would send everyone a dividend check.
Although climate change advocates assert that the science is settled, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change readily acknowledges that natural variability, climate sensitivity, solar impacts, cloud formation and ocean impacts are not well understood. The effects of these uncertainties are not small. John Christy has demonstrated that climate models containing assumptions about these processes significantly over estimate the effect of increases in carbon dioxide on temperature. Empirical data showing that the effects of carbon dioxide are smaller undermine the case for a carbon tax.
None of this means that nothing should be done to address the impacts of climate change, independent of its cause. The United States has been reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and carbon intensity since 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration. This is in line with research by Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University showing a long-term trend in decarbonization. And, there should be little doubt that advances in technology will ensure that that trend continues.
In view of that, can a solid case be made for politicians meddling with market forces and market incentives that drive technology? History shows that when politicians meddle, the results are negative.
So, what additional actions can be justified in place of a carbon tax. First, research should be focused on reducing the uncertainties, especially climate sensitivity. That would allow for a better definition of the extent of the climate problem.
Professor Richard Lindzen in a paper published by the National Academy of Science — Constraining Possibilities Versus Signal Detection — showed that the relationship between carbon dioxide and warming is logarithmic and with a lower sensitivity, it would take more than a century for increased carbon dioxide to increase temperatures by an additional 1 degree Celsius. That timeframe actually defuses any sense of an immediate crisis.
Second, adopt strategies shown by the Dutch to be effective countermeasures to flooding and extreme weather events. And, abolish the National Flood Insurance Program so that market forces can more accurately price insurance on homes built in flood zones. Abolish the ethanol mandate that is counterproductive and adds carbon-dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. Since droughts and periods of extended rain are not unusual, we should increase research on crops that can grow in those conditions.
Finally, adopt a policy strategy that closely ties actions to our state of knowledge while investing in new knowledge. Research has demonstrated that as uncertainty increases, planning horizons should be shorter. Planning on the basis of projections to 2100 are useless because it is impossible to capture all of the cultural, economic and technological changes that will take place over the next 70 years and that will determine the characteristics of the future.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Bill O’Keefe is the founder of Solutions Consulting in Midlothian, Va. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.
All Voting is Local Announces Education Campaign to Empower Voters with Disabilities
CLEVELAND—All Voting is Local launched an education campaign featuring multimedia ads and video outreach to empower voters with a range of intellectual and physical disabilities to know their rights at the polls.
“Voters with disabilities face very real barriers to the ballot and a critical piece of removing those obstacles is emphasizing that voters know they have the right to vote, regardless of their disability,” said Mike Brickner, State Director of All Voting is Local Ohio. “People may not realize that the law requires election officials to offer assistance and accommodations to any voter who needs it.”
The campaign, “Your Vote Matters Ohio,” features digital and paratransit ads as well as an education video produced by Milestones Autism Resources in Cleveland, which offers education and coaching for families and professionals who work with people with autism.
The video featuring Milestones clients with a range of disabilities and has two versions – one with sound and another with sound and full audio description. In the video, clients encourage people to cast a ballot, regardless of whether they can speak, read or hear, if they are in a hospital, or if they need any other assistance. The video directs viewers to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website for more information about how to vote and how to seek help doing so.
“Since people with disabilities are so rarely featured in advertisements, we wanted to feature a diverse group of people from these communities speaking passionately about their rights,” said Brickner. “This representation matters.”
All Voting is Local is reaching out to local service providers for people with disabilities to empower them about their right to vote. They will be using accessible materials designed by Milestones Autism Resources, All Voting is Local, and the ACLU of Ohio.
The ads are part of All Voting is Local Ohio’s broader advocacy for voters with disabilities, including developing a second, longer video for people with disabilities to offer direct education on how the voting process works from start to finish. Additionally, All Voting is Local is working with trained speakers to go out to providers of services of people with disabilities to speak to them about their rights.
All Voting is Local fights for the right to vote through a unique combination of data-driven organizing, advocacy and communications. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with Access Democracy; the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Call for Entries for emerging Student Artwork Exhibition at Dublin Arts Council
Submission deadline Dec. 14
DUBLIN, Ohio— (Oct. 17, 2018) Dublin Arts Council (DAC) extends a call for entries for emerging, an exhibition which features artwork created by kindergarten through grade 12 and PATHS program students who live within the Dublin City Schools attendance area or those who have participated in a Dublin Arts Council ARTcamp. The juried exhibition, which will include Best of Show and cash awards in five categories, will be on view in the Dublin Arts Council gallery at 7125 Riverside Dr., in Dublin from Jan. 8 through Feb. 22, 2019.
Beginning Oct. 23, students may submit up to three works of art for consideration. All mediums are welcome. Submission delivery deadline is 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 at Dublin Arts Council. An entry form and a $7 entry fee must accompany each work of art. Students who wish to sell their artwork during the exhibition may do so.
Details and downloadable entry forms are available at https://dublinarts.org/news/callforentries/. Artists or their parents may also call Dublin Arts Council at 614.889.7444 with any questions or to receive emerging exhibition information by mail.
Dublin Arts Council (DAC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supported in part by the City of Dublin’s hotel/motel tax and the Ohio Arts Council, which helps fund Dublin Arts Council and its programs with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. DAC is further supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, fundraising events, classes, gallery sales and in-kind contributions. DAC engages the community, cultivates creativity and fosters life-long learning through the arts. For more information about any of Dublin Arts Council’s programs, exhibitions and events call 614.889.7444 or visit www.dublinarts.org. Dublin Arts Council (DAC) is located at 7125 Riverside Dr. in Dublin, Ohio. Hours are Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Wednesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.