A Good Week for Biden, Alito The Insurrectionist, Gallego On A Roll

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MAY 17

Happy Friday all. Got a few things for you today: 

The 2 Debates, The 2024 Election, Why I Am Optimistic – As we head into the weekend a few resources: 

Here’s a clip of Lawrence O’Donnell and I talking Wednesday night about why the Biden debate strategy is a smart, and an important new development in our understanding of the 2024 election: 


Joe Biden is a good President. The country is better off. We have a very compelling case for re-election. 

The Democratic Party is strong, winning elections across the US, has huge financial and organization advantages over the GOP and enters the general election unified and fired up. 

And what do Rs have? They have Trump – the ugliest political thing any of us has ever seen, and a party that looks far more like a raging dumpster fire than a well-oiled political machine. 


Biden’s Historic Marijuana Announcement – Here’s a new videofrom President Biden. “This is monumental.” 

Alito Flies An Insurrectionist Flag – From The NYTimes today: 

After the 2020 presidential election, as some Trump supporters falsely claimed that President Biden had stolen the office, many of them displayed a startling symbol outside their homes, on their cars and in online posts: an upside-down American flag.

One of the homes flying an inverted flag during that time was the residence of Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in Alexandria, Va., according to photographs and interviews with neighbors.

The upside-down flag was aloft on Jan. 17, 2021, the images showed. President Donald J. Trump’s supporters, including some brandishing the same symbol, had rioted at the Capitol a little over a week before. Mr. Biden’s inauguration was three days away. Alarmed neighbors snapped photographs, some of which were recently obtained by The New York Times. Word of the flag filtered back to the court, people who worked there said in interviews.

While the flag was up, the court was still contending with whether to hear a 2020 election case, with Justice Alito on the losing end of that decision. In coming weeks, the justices will rule on two climactic cases involving the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, including whether Mr. Trump has immunity for his actions. Their decisions will shape how accountable he can be held for trying to overturn the last presidential election and his chances for re-election in the upcoming one.

More on this important but not all shocking development in the coming days. 

On A Roll – Gallego’s Strong Campaign Netting Dollars, GOP Support  – Encouraging news From Politico today

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego’s Arizona Senate bid is getting a boost from a group of donors who previously backed Republicans likethe late Sen. John McCain and the independent incumbent he hopes to replace, Kyrsten Sinema.

The donors will host a fundraiser Saturday for Gallego, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO. The event signals Gallego is making inroads in two areas GOP opponent Kari Lake is sharply focused on: money and moderates.

In their key Senate contest, Gallego and Lake are both openly courting a small but important bloc of voters who identify as independents or centrist Republicans.

Among the dozen hosts of Gallego’s Saturday fundraiser: Chuck Coughlin, a longtime Republican political consultant who left the party in the Trump era; Don Budinger, who donated to Sinema, McCain and Pennsylvania GOP Senate nominee Dave McCormick; and David Reese, a longtime GOP donor.

Both candidates have tried to drift toward the center. But Lake has thus far struggled to win over moderate voters despite an attempted pivot from her fiery 2022 campaign for governor…..

……Gallego has posted massive fundraising numbers, ending March with $9.6 million in the bank, compared to Lake’s $2.5 million. And he has used that funding to build an early TV ad advantage, running positive spots to define himself.

Democrats feel optimistic about Arizona because of Gallego’s financial advantage and Lake’s ties to the MAGA wing of the party that may harm her with independents. She’s endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

After telling McCain Republicans to “get the hell out” during her 2022 campaign, Lake has made an attempt to court them in her Senate run. But she has so far gotten few endorsements out of it and Republicans have begun to sound unsure whether they will fully supportLake financially in the fall.

I continue to believe that Arizona and North Carolina are shaping up to be two of the most important Democratic success stories in this critical election year. 

Israel’s Defense Secretary Blasts Netanyahu – From Axios: “Israel’s defense chief warned in a dramatic speech Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inaction on a post-war plan for Gaza is pushing Israel toward having to impose military and civilian rule over the enclave.

Why it matters: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s remarks were a public indictment of Netanyahu’s war policy, exposing some officials’ frustration that he hasn’t set a clear strategy for Gaza’s future.

  • Gallant’s comments also shed light on the deepening political divisions in Israel’s war cabinet, where relations between officials are disintegrating after more than seven months of fighting Hamas.
  • “Indecision is, in essence, a decision,” Gallant said. “This leads to a dangerous course, which promotes the idea of Israeli military and civilian governance in Gaza.”
  • Netanyahu has rejected such calls for action, saying there’s no point in drafting a post-war plan before Hamas is completely defeated.

Zoom in: The main point of contention between Gallant and Netanyahu is whether the Palestinian Authority (PA) is Israel’s partner or an enemy in setting a new course for Gaza.

  • Gallant’s view that the PA should be a partner is shared by most of Israel’s security establishment and its intelligence community, and most of the war cabinet.
  • Netanyahu and his far-right allies see the PA as a supporter of terrorism and are reluctant to have it assume any leadership role in post-war Gaza.

What they’re saying: A senior U.S. official told Axios after Gallant’s speech that the Biden administration agrees with the defense minister’s comments.

  • “We share his concern that Israel has not developed any plans for holding and governing territory the (Israeli Defense Forces) clears, thereby allowing Hamas to regenerate in those areas,” the U.S. official said. “Our objective is to see Hamas defeated.”
  • Secretary of State Tony Blinken said earlier Wednesday the U.S. won’t support an Israeli occupation of Gaza, the continuation of Hamas rule or anarchy and chaos in the enclave.
  • “This emphasizes the need for a clear day-after plan for Gaza,” he said. “Israel should focus on that.”

Gallant said any scenario leading to Israel having to impose military and civilian control in Gaza would erode Israel’s military power and its economy, and cost many Israeli soldiers’ lives.

  • “I call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a decision and declare that Israel will not establish civilian control over the Gaza strip, that Israel will not establish military governance in the Gaza strip, and that a governing alternative to Hamas in the Gaza strip will be raised immediately,” Gallant said.”

Upcoming Events – Got a few things coming up:

  • Wed, May 22nd, 7pm ET – Monthly Hopium Community Wide Get Together w/Simon – Register here. 
  • Thur, May 23rd, 730pm ET – Simon speaks to Northwest Bronx Indivisible via Zoom.  Register here
  • Thur, June 20th Evening – Simon speaks in person at a Wisconsin Democratic Party Event (Madison) – more details soon
  • Fri/Sat, June 28-29 – Simon speaks in person at Network NOVA’s 8th Annual Women’s Summit, Tyson’s Corner, VA – More info, register

I will also note that I’ve been a little slow at getting back to those who’ve requested me for events for this summer. Between my daughter’s lacrosse play offs and graduation festivities this spring, and some critical travel dates that are still getting ironed out, I’ve been unable to commit to as many events as I hoped. Will try to get back to everyone soon – appreciate the patience all!

Let’s Do More, Worry Less – We are still raising money for and supportingthree critical projects:

Thanks to the many thousands of you who have already contributed or volunteered. And also be sure to encourage your friends and family to subscribe to Hopium Chronicles! 

Keep working hard all. Proud to be in this fight with all of you – Simon

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