Monthly Meeting Update

I received this meeting update from Frank Peshick. I thought I would send it along as some of you may be planning to attend.
Thanks for your understanding,
Steve M

Due to a screw-up on my part we will hold the Meet and Greet at the Tee Box Lounge at 3535 W. HOUGHTON LAKE DRIVE (just west of Dumhams Sports) from 4-5:30. We will meet at 6 for the Monthly RCDP meeting at the OLD Denton Twp Hall.

If you might call it a change of venue for the Meet and Greet.
Thank you for your patience…
I will update FB page
Frank Peshick

Hi all,
The following is information on the next monthly meeting of the RCDP (Roscommon County Democratic Party). 
We are gearing up for important Presidential and Congressional elections this year. 
We look forward to seeing you. I will be increasing my communications with you as things move forward. There will be events and opportunities to help out in the campaign and I will do my best, as an old timer, to keep you all in the loop. 
Thanks for all you do,
Steve M
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. 989-390-4159
golfnutzm@gmail.com

Meeting notice for the RCDP (meet Dr. Bob)

On Wednesday April 24th Dr. Bob Lorinser will be visiting Roscommon County. Dr. Bob (as he likes to be called) is a candidate for the U.S. House for Michigan 1st Congressional District. He will be introduced at the meeting of the County Commissioners that morning, visit one of our Senior Centers for lunch, and will be at a “meet and greet” prior to our monthly business meeting at the Old Denton Township Hall in Prudenville at 4 p.m.

This is the second visit of Dr. Bob to Roscommon County as he strives to win the seat for the U.S. House and take it away from the incumbent Republican who currently is seated. The 1st District represents all of the U.P. and the northern half of the lower peninsula. Dr. Bob is from Marquette in the U.P. and has a lifetime of experience including family and ER physician, a public health official, and 5 oversea assignments with the State Department as a Medical Officer. 

We are hoping that you might be with us at one of these stops and speak to the candidate, asking questions and sharing your issues so he might be aware of the needs of you, the voter.

After the Meet and Greet we will open our monthly meeting of the RCDP as we plan for the upcoming election season. If you have any questions about these events, call Frank at (989) 302-0534

Winning Arizona, 6 Big Problems For Trump, House Passes Ukraine Funding Rule 316-91!!!!!!!!

Was great to see so many Hopium subscribers in person last night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SIMON ROSENBERG

APR 19

Happy Friday all. On a plane back to DC with very wobbly Wifi so will be a bit shorter/choppier than usual today. First, the big news – the House just voted to advance funding for Ukraine 316-94!!!!!!!!!!!! Here’s the NYTimes:

The House took a critical step on Friday toward approving a long-stalled package of aid to Ukraine, Israel and other American allies, as Democrats supplied the crucial votes to push the legislation past Republican opposition so that it could be considered on the floor.

The 316-94 vote cleared the way for the House to bring up the aid package, teeing up separate votes on Saturday on each of its parts. But passage of those measures, each of which enjoys bipartisan support from different coalitions, was not in doubt, making Friday’s action the key indicator that the legislation will prevail.

The rule for considering the bill — historically a straight party-line vote — passed with more Democratic than Republican support, but it also won a majority of G.O.P. votes, making it clear that despite a pocket of deep resistance from the far right, there is broad bipartisan backing for the $95.3 billion package.

The vote was an enormous victory in the long effort to fund Ukraine as it battles against Russian aggression, a major priority of President Biden that has met with bitter resistance from the right. It was a triumph against the forces of isolationism within the G.O.P. and a major moment of bipartisan consensus in a Congress that for the past year has been mostly defined by its dysfunction (bold added for emphasis). 

The vote for final passage is tomorrow. Please keep making your calls friends. Here’s how everyone voted this morning, and use this link to locate your Member if you don’t know it today. Please call to thank your Member of Congress, and encourage them to vote tomorrow, or call to ask them to change their vote and get this done for us, our future, our kids and our grandkids. So grateful to all of you who’ve been calling this week. We are on the cusp of an enormous victory – keep working it all. Not done yet. Keep making calls for Ukraine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Winning Arizona – I’m traveling back to DC from Arizona now. Had a great night last night. Can report that Democrats in Phoenix, ground zero in 2024, are fired up and ready to go. I got to meet many Hopium subscribers – so great to see everyone, in person! – and thank you for supporting the Maricopa Country Democratic Party on its 100th Anniversary. A big thank you to MCDP Chairwoman Patti O’Neill and Jon Ryder for giving me the opportunity to be part of what was a wonderful event in this critical battleground. 

One of the highlights for me was meeting State Senator Eva Burch, who has gotten so much attention for her inspirational fight for reproductive freedom in a state where women are about to lose long held rights due to the Arizona’s Supreme Court’s greenlighting the 1864 abortion ban. Here we are, together, last night, and you can watch a clip of her on Good Morning America yesterday morning here

There are many ways to help us win Arizona this November, but to me the most important thing you can do today is by giving or volunteering for Ruben Gallego. Congressman Gallego is running against the leader of the MAGA movement in Arizona, Kari Lake, and this Senate race is a true 2024 must win. One of the reasons I’ve been so focused on both Arizona and North Carolina in recent months is that both states have ultra-MAGAs at the top of their tickets giving us an important opportunity to make real gains in both states this year. As my Get to 55 memo argues, their escalating extremism means more is possible for us for now (as we’ve seen in elections in 2022, 2023 and early 2024), and there is perhaps no better example of that than in Arizona and North Carolina this year. 

Find ways to help Ruben Gallego and North Carolina Democrats here, and let’s keep taking stuff away from them, together. 

Still Looking At This Graph – This graph is part of a story in the Economist this week, “Gen Z is unprecedently rich.” It’s a reminder that the core narrative of MAGA – that things were better – is a big, Olympian level lie. 

We Don’t Need Convictions To Make Our Case Against Trump – In my big talks I argue that whether convicted or not, there are six things voters are going to come to learn about Trump this year that they didn’t know about him in 2020 that will make it very hard for him to win: 

  • That he raped E. Jean Carroll in a department store dressing room
  • That he oversaw one of the largest financial frauds in American history, and owes hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and penalities 
  • That he stole America’s secrets, lied to the FBI about it all and shared those secrets with others. It was without question among the most grave security breaches in our history, and an extraordinary betrayal of the country by a former President
  • That he tried to overturn an American election, led an armed insurrection against the Congress, fought to end American democracy for all time and has promised to finish the job if he somehow gets into the Oval Office next year
  • That he and his family have, corruptly, taken more money from foreign governments than any political family in our history
  • That he was singularly responsible for ending Roe and stripping the rights and freedoms away from the women of America; and last week confirmed, by embracing the states’ rights position, that he supports the most extreme abortion bans in the nation – this making him without question the most dangerous abortion extremist America has ever seen. 

Any one of those six things will be hard for him to overcome this year. Overcoming all six I think will be impossible, particularly as he is a far weaker and more degraded candidate than 2020, and his party is far more a raging dumpster fire than well oiled political machine.

We mistakenly waited for Mueller to make our case about Russia’s illicit penetration of Trumpworld and the GOP. We cannot wait for prosecutions this time. We know what he’s done – he’s a rapist, a fraudster, a serial criminal, a betrayer of the nation, an unprecedentedly corrupt politician, the most dangerous abortion extremist we’ve ever seen. We have enough now to bury him and we need to get going. No reason to wait. The American people deserve to know who this man is, and what he has done, before voting in November. 

My 2024 Election Analysis – It’s A New, Bluer Election – Some resources for you: 

  • Why I’m So Optimistic We Will Win This November (Video, 4/16/24) – This is my latest overview of where we are in the 2024 election and why I am so fundamentally optimistic. The post also has a deep dive on recent, encouraging polling data. While it remains a close, competitive election, things have gotten bluer in recent weeks, and Trump no longer leads.
  • My Interview With the NYT – Here’s my interview with Adam Nagourney of the New York Times. It’s gotten a lot of attention. Do read. Lots of great stuff in here! 

Subscribe Today and Save – On May 1st an annual paid subscription here at Hopium will rise from $45 to $50. So if you want to lock in the current lower rate, consider subscribing today. You will lock in that lower rate for all time, and get all that you can from this site for the 2024 election. You can also learn more gift and group subscriptions here. Your financial support keeps this site growing and the Hopium flowing!

Keep working hard all. Proud to be in this fight with all of you, and do make a call for Ukraine today – Simon

House Republicans Create Chaos and Push Russian Propaganda

April 18, 2024 

HEATHER COX RICHARDSON

APR 19READ IN APP

I will not spend the rest of 2024 focusing on Trump and the chaos in the Republican Party, but today it has been impossible to look away.

In Trump’s election interference trial in Manhattan, Judge Juan Merchan this morning dismissed one of the selected jurors after she expressed concern for her anonymity

and thus for her safety. All of the reporters in the courtroom have shared so much information about the jurors that they seemed at risk of being identified, but Fox News Channel host Jesse Watters not only ran a video segment about a juror, he suggested she was “concerning.” Trump shared the video on social media.

The juror told the judge that so much information about her had become public that her friends and family had begun to ask her if she was one of the jurors. Legal analyst Joyce White Vance noted jurors’ fear for their safety was a concern normally seen only “in a case involving violent organized crime.”

Nonetheless, by the end of the day, twelve people had been chosen to serve as jurors. Tomorrow the process will continue in order to find six alternate jurors. 

It is a courtesy for the two sides at a trial to share with each other the names of their next witnesses so the other team can prepare for them. Today the prosecution declined to provide the names of their first three witnesses to the defense lawyers out of concern that Trump would broadcast them on social media. “Mr. Trump has been tweeting about the witnesses. We’re not telling them who the witnesses are,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said. 

Merchan said he “can’t blame them.” Trump’s defense attorney Todd Blanche offered to “commit to the court and the [prosecution] that President Trump will not [post] about any witness” on social media. “I don’t think you can make that representation,” Merchan said, in a recognition that Trump cannot be trusted, even by his own lawyers.

An article in the New York Times today confirmed that the trial will give Trump plenty of publicity, but not the kind that he prefers. Lawyer Norman L. Eisen walked through questions about what a prison sentence for Trump could look like.

Trump’s popular image is taking a hit in other ways, as well. Zac Anderson and Erin Mansfield of USA Today reported that Trump is funneling money from his campaign fundraising directly into his businesses. According to a new report filed with the Federal Election Commission, in February and March the campaign wrote checks totaling $411,287 to Mar-a-Lago and in March a check for $62,337 to Trump National Doral Miami.

Experts say it is legal for candidates to pay their own businesses for services used by the campaign so long as they pay fair market value. At the same time, they note that since Trump appears to be desperate for money, “it looks bad.”

Astonishingly, Trump’s trial was not the biggest domestic story today. Republicans in Congress were in chaos as members of the extremist Freedom Caucus worked to derail the national security supplemental bills that House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has introduced in place of the Senate bill, although they track that bill closely. 

The House Rules Committee spent the day debating the foreign aid package, which appropriates aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan separately. The Israel bill also contains $9.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza and other countries. A fourth bill focuses on forcing the Chinese owners of TikTok to sell the company, as well as on imposing sanctions on Russia and Iran. 

At stake in the House Rules Committee was Johnson’s plan to allow the House to debate and vote on each measure separately, and then recombine them all into a single measure if they all pass. This would allow extremist Republicans to vote against aid to Ukraine, while still tying the pieces all together to send to the Senate. As Robert Jimison outlined in the New York Times, this complicated plan meant that the Rules Committee vote to allow such a maneuver was crucial to the bill’s passage.

The extremist House Republicans were adamantly opposed to the plan because of their staunch opposition to aid for Ukraine. They wrote in a memo on Wednesday: “This tactic allows Johnson to pass priorities favored by President Biden, the swamp and the Ukraine war machine with a supermajority of House members, leaving conservatives out to dry.”

Extremists Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) vowed to throw House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) out of the speakership, but Democrats Tom Suozzi of New York and Jared Moskowitz of Florida have said they would vote to keep him in his seat, thereby defanging the attack on his leadership.

So the extremists instead tried to load the measures up with amendments prohibiting funds from being used for abortion, removing humanitarian aid for Gaza, opposing a two-state solution to the Hamas-Israel war, calling for a wall at the southern border of the U.S., defunding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and so on.

Greene was especially active in opposition to aid to Ukraine. She tried to amend the bill to direct the president to withdraw the U.S. from NATO and demanded that any members of Congress voting for aid to Ukraine be conscripted into the Ukraine army as well as have their salaries taken to offset funding. She wanted to stop funding until Ukraine “turns over all information related to Hunter Biden and Burisma,” and to require Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to resign. More curiously, she suggested amending the Ukraine bill so that funding would require “restrictions on ethnic minorities’, including Hungarians in Transcarpathia, right to use their native languages in schools are lifted.” This language echoes a very specific piece of Russian propaganda.

Finally, Moskowitz proposed “that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene…should be appointed as Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the United States Congress.” 

Many congress members have left Washington, D.C., since Friday was to be the first day of a planned recess. This meant the partisan majority on the floor fluctuated. Olivia Beavers of Politico reported that that instability made Freedom Caucus members nervous enough to put together a Floor Action Response Team (FART—I am not making this up) to make sure other Republicans didn’t limit the power of the extremists when they were off the floor.

The name of their response team seems likely to be their way to signal their disrespect for the entire Congress. Their fellow Republicans are returning the heat. Today Mike Turner (R-OH) referred to the extremists as the Bully Caucus on MSNBC and said, “We need to get back to professionalism, we need to get back to governing, we need to get back to legislating.” Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) told Juliegrace Brufke of Axios:  “The vast majority of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives…are sick and tired of having people who…constantly blackmail the speaker of the House.”

Another Republican representative, Jake LaTurner of Kansas, announced today he will not run for reelection. He joins more than 20 other Republican representatives heading for the exits.

After all the drama, the House Rules Committee voted 6–3 tonight to advance the foreign aid package to the House floor. Three Republicans voted nay. While it is customary for the opposition party to vote against advancing bills out of the committee, the Democrats broke with tradition and voted in favor.

Are Some Republicans in Putin’s Back Pocket?

Heather Cox Richardson

Yesterday on the social media site X, formerly Twitter, Miles Taylor wrote: “After 2016, I helped lead the US gov[ernmen]t response to Russia’s election interference. In 2024, foreign interference will be *worse.* Tech[nology is] more powerful. Adversaries more brazen. American public more susceptible. Political leaders across party lines MUST UNITE against this.” 

Taylor served as chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security under Trump. 

Today, Catherine Belton of the Washington Post reported on a secret 2023 document from Russia’s Foreign Ministry calling for an “offensive information campaign” and other measures that attack “‘a coalition of unfriendly countries’ led by the United States. Those measures are designed to affect “the military-political, economic and trade and informational psychological spheres” of Russia’s perceived adversaries. 

The plan is to weaken the United States and convince other countries, particularly those in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, that the U.S. will not stand by its allies. By weakening those alliances, Russian leaders hope to shift global power by strengthening Russia’s ties to China, Iran, and North Korea and filling the vacuum left by the crumbling democratic alliances (although it is not at all clear that China is on board with this plan).

According to Belton, one of the academics who advised the authors of the Russian document suggested that Russia should “continue to facilitate the coming to power of isolationist right-wing forces in America,” “enable the destabilization of Latin American countries and the rise to power of extremist forces on the far left and far right there,” increase tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan, and “escalate the situation in the Middle East around Israel, Iran and Syria to distract the U.S. with the problems of this region.” 

The Russian document suggests that the front lines of that physical, political, and psychological fight are in Ukraine. It says that the outcome of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine will “to a great degree determine the outlines of the future world order.” 

Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky told Belton: “The Americans consider that insofar as they are not directly participating in the war [in Ukraine], then any loss is not their loss. “This is an absolute misunderstanding.”

Media and lawmakers, including those in the Republican Party, have increasingly called out the degree to which Russian propaganda has infiltrated American politics through Republican lawmakers and media figures. Earlier this month, both Representative Michael R. Turner (R-OH), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned about Russian disinformation in their party. Turner told CNN’s State of the Union that it is “absolutely true” that Republican members of Congress are parroting Russian propaganda. “We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor.” When asked which Republicans had fallen to Russian propaganda, McCaul answered that it is “obvious.” 

That growing popular awareness has highlighted that House Republicans under House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) have for six months refused to pass a national security supplemental bill with additional aid for Ukraine, as well as for Israel and the Indo-Pacific, and humanitarian aid to Gaza. After the Senate spent two months negotiating border security provisions House Republicans demanded, Republicans killed that bill with the provisions at Trump’s direction, and the Senate then passed a bill without those provisions in February.

Johnson has been coordinating closely with former president Trump, who has made his admiration for Russia and his disregard for Ukraine very clear since his people weakened their support for Ukraine in the 2016 Republican Party platform. Johnson is also under pressure from MAGA Republicans in the House, like Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who oppose funding Ukraine, some of them by making statements that echo Russian propaganda.

While the White House, the Pentagon, and a majority of both chambers of Congress believe that helping Ukraine defend itself is crucial to U.S. security, Johnson has refused to take the Senate measure up, even though the House would pass it if he did. But as Ukraine’s ability to defend itself has begun to weaken, pressure for additional aid has ramped up. At the same time, in the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel last weekend, Republicans have suddenly become eager to provide additional funds to Israel. It began to look as if Johnson might bring up some version of foreign aid.

But discussions of bringing forward Ukraine aid brought not only Greene but also Thomas Massie (R-KY) to threaten yesterday to challenge Johnson’s speakership, and there are too few Republicans in the House to defend him. 

Today, Johnson brought forward not the Senate bill, but rather three separate bills to fund Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and Ukraine, with pieces that House Republicans have sought. A fourth bill will include other measures Republicans have demanded. And a fifth will permit an up-or-down vote on most of the measures in the extreme border bill the House passed in 2023. At the time, that measure was intended as a signaling statement because House Republicans knew that the Democratic Senate would keep it from becoming law.

Johnson said he expected to take a final vote on the measures Saturday evening. He will almost certainly need Democratic votes to pass them, and possibly to save his job. Democrats have already demanded the aid to Gaza that was in the Senate bill but is not yet in the House bills. 

Reese Gorman, political reporter for The Daily Beast, reported that Johnson explained his change of heart like this: “Look, history judges us for what we do. This is a critical time right now…  I can make a selfish decision and do something that is different but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing.… I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important.… I’m willing to take personal risk for that.”

His words likely reflect a changing awareness in Republican Party leadership that the extremism of MAGA Republicans is exceedingly unpopular. Trump’s courtroom appearances—where, among other things, he keeps falling asleep—are unlikely to bolster his support, while his need for money is becoming more and more of a threat both to his image and to his fellow Republicans. Today the Trump campaign asked Republican candidates in downballot races for at least 5% of the money they raise with any fundraising appeal that uses Trump’s name or picture. They went on: “Any split that is higher than 5% will be seen favorably by the RNC and President Trump’s campaign and is routinely reported to the highest levels of leadership within both organizations.”

Nonetheless, Greene greeted Johnson’s bills with amendments requiring members of Congress to “conscript in the Ukrainian military” if they voted for aid to Ukraine. 

A headline on the Fox News media website today suggested that a shift away from MAGA is at least being tested. It read: “Marjorie Taylor Greene is an idiot. She is trying to wreck the [Republican Party].” The article pointed out that 61% of registered voters disapprove of the Republican Party while only 36% approve. That approval rating has indeed fallen at least in part because of the performative antics of the extremists, among them the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that made him the first cabinet officer to be impeached in almost 150 years. Today the Senate killed that impeachment without a trial.

As soon as Johnson announced the measures, President Joe Biden threw his weight behind them. In a statement, he said: “I strongly support this package to get critical support to Israel and Ukraine, provide desperately needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, and bolster security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Israel is facing unprecedented attacks from Iran, and Ukraine is facing continued bombardment from Russia that has intensified dramatically in the last month.

“The House must pass the package this week and the Senate should quickly follow. I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed.”

Winning Arizona, Making Calls For Ukraine, A Good Youth Poll, A Bluer 2024 Election

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SIMON ROSENBERG

APR 18

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Happy Thursday all. Writing this morning from Phoenix, where tonight I will be addressing the Maricopa County Democratic Party’s 100th Anniversary dinner. I’m excited to be here and working it in Maricopa country, the largest county in the Presidential battleground, ground zero in the 2024 election and where millions of women are about to have their rights and freedoms stripped away by Donald Trump and a draconian law passed in 1864. 

Yesterday Democrats in the Arizona state legislature made their second attempt to repeal this ridiculous law. Here’s video of State Senate Republicans cheering their success in blocking the repeal, and keeping the 1864 law in place: 

Winning Arizona has to be something we all help with now. The core of my Get to 55 argument is that 2024 can be a year of growth and expansion for us, that MAGA’s escalating extremism means more is possible for us now. Can we have a big blue wave year now in Arizona, see Joe Biden and Ruben Gallego win and AZ Dems pick up 2 House seats and flip both state legislative chambers? Yes, it is possible now. If we put our heads down and do the work. That’s why I am in Arizona today – to thank and cheer on all the remarkable people facing down 1864 extremism, and ensuring these MAGAs are swept from office this November. 

If you are in Arizona tonight come by our reception and dinner and help provide the Maricopa Dems the money they need this year. Another critical way to help us win Arizona is by giving to Ruben Gallego. His ambitious campaign against Arizona’s leading extremist, ultra-MAGA Kari Lake, is going to drive victories for us up and down the ballot here. Thanks to all of you who have already given or volunteered for Ruben – all this money and work really matters. 

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New Harvard Youth Poll Is Encouraging for Biden, But There Is Work To Do – My friend John Della Volpe at Harvard’s Institute for Politics releases a gold-standard youth poll every quarter. Their spring 2024 poll of 18-29 year olds is now out, and there is an awful lot to chew on in here. From their release: 

“As the Biden/Trump rematch takes shape, we see strong levels of engagement and interest in voting among young Americans,” said John Della Volpe, IOP Polling Director. “Make no mistake, this is a different youth electorate than we saw in 2020 and 2022, and young voters are motivated by different things. Economic issues are top of mind, housing is a major concern—and the gap between young men’s and young women’s political preferences is pronounced.”

“Young Americans are emerging from a pandemic that has tested our trust in democratic institutions and the bonds that unite us,” said Anil Cacodcar, Student Chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project. “Despite this, young Americans are more ready than ever to engage with these institutions to push for the change we want to see in the world.”

Note that the poll breaks out “likely voters” from “registered voters,” which is important as so many young people don’t end up voting. Some initial takeaways from me: 

  • 18-29 year old vote intention is about the same as it was in the spring of 2020, a very high youth turnout year. 
  • Biden leads 56-39 (+19) among voters 18-29 year olds likely to vote. He won 18-29 year old voters by 60-36 in 2020, so off a bit but with work we can match our 2020 results. As I say here every day, some of our coalition is wandering now, and we need to go get them back. To repeat – this result is neither suprising, or worrisome. 
  • The data on Israel-Gaze is consistent with what I’ve been writing here – while an important issue, it is unlikely to be a voting issue for a large number of young people this fall: “When young Americans are asked whether or not they believe Israel’s response so far to the October 7 attack by Hamas has been justified, a plurality indicates that they don’t know (45%). About a fifth (21%) report that Israel’s response was justified with 32% believing it was not justified.”

I also found this section to be particularly interesting: “Among the 1,051 “likely voters” in our sample, we found significant differences in support levels based on gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education levels, among other subgroups. For example, among likely young voters:

  • President Biden’s lead among young men is six points; among young women his lead is 33 points;
  • President Biden’s lead among 18-24 year-olds is 14 points, and among 25-29 year-olds it is 26 points (note from Simon – that younger Gen Z may be more Republican is something we really have to come to understand); 
  • President Biden’s lead among white voters is 3 points; among non-white voters his lead is 43 points;
  • President Biden’s lead among college students is 23 points; he leads by 47 points among college graduates. The race is even among those not in college and without a four-year degree.

For those who want to dive a bit deeper into the youth vote today, I’ll be joining the great Laura Brill of The Civics Center at 6pm ET for an event called “All In For 18 Year Olds.” While this a fundraiser, people are welcome to join us to learn more, and only make a contribution if you are persuaded in the virtue of Laura’s youth organizing program (which I am). 

Finally, the Economist has a new articleout this week which deserves our attention. It’s called “Generation Z in unprecedentedly rich: Millennials were poorer at this stage of their lives. So were baby boomers.” It includes this core graph: 

Of course, that each successive American generation has done better than the one that came before means that MAGA is built on top of a mountain of rancid lies. More on this soon…..

Making Calls For Ukraine. We Can Do This People!!!! – There is a growing sense of optimism in Washington that we may finally be able to pass funding for Ukraine. Much of it stems from the unexpectedly strong advocacy and leadership from Speaker Mike Johnson. Here is a clip of his widely circulated comments from last night – it is important that everyone here watch this video, and hear his argument. It’s powerful, persuasive and important: 

Here’s an excerpt from his statement: 

A new Washington Post article reminds us of the stakes of the fight in Ukraine: 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has been drawing up plans to try to weaken its Western adversaries, including the United States, and leverage the Ukraine war to forge a global order free from what it sees as American dominance, according to a secret Foreign Ministry document.

In a classified addendum to Russia’s official — and public — “Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation,” the ministry calls for an “offensive information campaign” and other measures spanning “the military-political, economic and trade and informational psychological spheres” against a “coalition of unfriendly countries” led by the United States.

“We need to continue adjusting our approach to relations with unfriendly states,” states the 2023 document, which was provided to The Washington Post by a European intelligence service. “It’s important to create a mechanism for finding the vulnerable points of their external and internal policies with the aim of developing practical steps to weaken Russia’s opponents.”

The document for the first time provides official confirmation and codification of what many in the Moscow elite say has become a hybrid war against the West. Russia is seeking to subvert Western support for Ukraine and disrupt the domestic politics of the United States and European countries, through propaganda campaigns supporting isolationist and extremist policies, according to Kremlin documentspreviously reported on by The Post. It is also seeking to refashion geopolitics, drawing closer to China, Iran and North Korea in an attempt to shift the current balance of power.

Using much tougher and blunter language than the public foreign policy document, the secret addendum, dated April 11, 2023, claims that the United States is leading a coalition of “unfriendly countries” aimed at weakening Russia because Moscow is “a threat to Western global hegemony.” The document says the outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine will “to a great degree determine the outlines of the future world order,” a clear indication that Moscow sees the result of its invasion as inextricably bound with its ability — and that of other authoritarian nations — to impose its will globally (bold added for emphasis)

On Tuesday the Hopium community began making calls to House Membersasking them not just to vote for the Ukraine funding bill slated for a vote in the coming days, but to fight for it. Please call today, call tomorrow and keep calling to the bill passes the House. These calls matter to House offices, and even if your Member is already committed one way or the other they need to hear from you. Please ask others in your networks to join you in making calls. The stakes here are so high, and we simply must get this done this week.

Here’s a possible message for you to use when calling:

The people of Ukraine have been so brave. They have fought so hard against overwhelming odds, and lost so much. It is time America stands with them and gives them the tools they need to defeat Putin. Please do not just vote for the Ukraine funding bill this Friday, but please fight for it too. Our freedom, and the freedom of the people of the world, depends on what we do this week.

If you don’t know who your Member of Congress is you can find it here. The great Timothy Snyder makes a very powerful case for why we must stand with Ukraine in his Substack. Our paid subscriber chat has been loaded this week with messages from our community members who made calls, and offered their advice on scripts and strategies. Thank you all for what you’ve done this week. The Hopium community is stepping up – as it always does. We have to keep working it today. Find time in your day to take this simple step, and let’s keep making calls for Ukraine. For remember: 

the outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine will “to a great degree determine the outlines of the future world order,” a clear indication that Moscow sees the result of its invasion as inextricably bound with its ability — and that of other authoritarian nations — to impose its will globally 

Let’s keep making calls for Ukraine. 

It’s A New, Bluer Election – In my post yesterday I went through lots of data showing that the election is changing now, Biden and the Dems are gaining ground and Trump no longer leads. We are also starting to get far more data from the 1st quarter fundraising reports, and so far its all been very encouraging. This morning we learned House Democrats have more cash on hand than Republicans – it’s very unusual for the party out of power to be out-raising the party which controls the House. It’s another sign of that basic dynamic I describe that we’ve seen since Dobbs – Dems overperforming expectations, Republicans struggling.

Monthly Meeting – Meet a Candidate

Meeting notice for the RCDP (meet Dr. Bob)

On Wednesday April 24th Dr. Bob Lorinser will be visiting Roscommon County.  Dr. Bob (as he likes to be called) is a candidate for the U.S. House for Michigan 1stCongressional District. He will be introduced at the meeting of the County Commissioners that morning, visit one of our Senior Centers for lunch, and will be at a “meet and greet” prior to our monthly business meeting at the Old Denton Township Hall in Prudenville at 4 p.m.

This is the second visit of Dr. Bob to Roscommon County as he strives to win the seat for the U.S. House and take it away from the incumbent Republican who currently is seated. The 1st District represents all of the U.P. and the northern half of the lower peninsula.  Dr. Bob is from Marquette in the U.P. and has a lifetime of experience including family and ER physician, a public health official, and 5 oversea assignments with the State Department as a Medical Officer.  

We are hoping that you might be with us at one of these stops and speak to the candidate, asking questions and sharing your issues so he might be aware of the needs of you, the voter.

After the Meet and Greet we will open our monthly meeting of the RCDP as we plan for the upcoming election season.  If you have any questions about these events, call Frank at (989) 302-0534.

The Middle East & Ukraine- House Speaker Must Act

Heather Cox Richardson

On Sunday, April 14, 2024, Iran fired about 170 drones, more than 120 ballistic missiles, and more than 30 cruise missiles from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and areas controlled by Hezbollah in Lebanon toward Israel. The strike was in retaliation for a strike on Iran’s diplomatic complex in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, which killed two top commanders in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, along with other officials. Israel has not claimed responsibility for the Syrian strike, but officials from other countries believe Israel is responsible. Iran warned its attack was coming, and Israel and the U.S., along with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and France, shot the missiles down. Israel sustained almost no damage. One Arab-Israeli girl was critically injured.

In the leadup to the attack, Arab countries shared intelligence and radar tracking, opened their airspace while closing it to Iran, and even supplied forces to withstand Iran’s attack. According to David S. Cloud, Dov Lieber, Stephen Kalin, and Summer Said of the Wall Street Journal, in March 2022, top military officials from Israel and Arab countries met in Egypt at the invitation of U.S. Marine General Frank McKenzie, then the top U.S. commander in the region, to discuss coordination against Iran’s growing military capabilities.  

That prospective coordination had never been tested, but the fact that Arab states stood alongside Israel against Iran highlights changing dynamics in the Middle East. In the aftermath of the attack, a source connected to the Saudi royal family charged Iran with instigating the Gaza war to stop normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Hamas, the Houthis in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon are Iran’s proxies.

Since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping more than 250 others, President Joe Biden’s apparent top priority has been making sure the crisis doesn’t spread. On October 10, he warned: “to any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t.” 

The U.S. moved two of its eleven carrier battle groups, which usually consist of an aircraft carrier, at least four other ships, and about 7,500 personnel, to the region. At the same time, while Biden has been careful to note that the U.S. cannot dictate policy to another country, he warned Israel against a planned preemptive strike against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The U.S. has also led the effort to stop Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen from attacking ships in the Red Sea. The attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing ships to reroute around Africa. 

Since the early days of the conflict, the approach of Israel’s government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to destroying Hamas has caused a deepening rift with the Biden administration. While the U.S. supports Israel’s right to self-defense and “legitimate military objectives,” it has repeatedly called out mounting Palestinian civilian casualties. Then, while the administration has consistently called for the establishment of a Palestinian state, the plan for a postwar settlement Netanyahu finally proposed in February rejected that policy and instead called for Israel to maintain military control of Gaza indefinitely. 

Increasingly, the Israeli government has rejected U.S. requests to protect civilian lives, including by allowing more humanitarian aid into Gaza, where people are starving. After a brief humanitarian pause in fighting in November, efforts to achieve another pause to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza have failed repeatedly. Frustration in the U.S. over mounting civilian deaths and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has led to widespread protests against Biden as well as against Israel, and has led Democratic critics of Israeli policy to demand that the U.S. condition military aid to Israel on a ceasefire. 

Tensions rose higher when Israel announced it would launch a ground offensive against Hamas in Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, without a plan for protecting civilians. More than a million Palestinians have taken shelter there. In March, national security advisor Jake Sullivan said that the president would not support “a military operation in Rafah that does not protect civilians, that cuts off the main arteries of humanitarian assistance and that places enormous pressure on the Israel-Egypt border.”

Israel did not notify the U.S. when on April 1 it attacked the Iranian diplomatic complex in Syria, a strike U.S. defense officials believed put U.S. forces at risk. Also on April 1, Israeli forces killed seven aid workers—including individuals from Australia, Poland, and the United Kingdom, as well as a Palestinian and a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen—with the humanitarian aid group World Central Kitchen. The workers had coordinated with the military and were in three separate marked vehicles.

On April 3, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin directly called out Israel’s silence about its attack on Iranian leaders in Syria in a telephone call to his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

On April 4, in a telephone call, Biden told Netanyahu that “the strikes on humanitarian workers and the overall humanitarian situation are unacceptable.” He said Israel must “announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers.” He reiterated support for Israel but appeared to distinguish between Israel and its current government. Vice President Kamala Harris, who was on the call, told a reporter: “The president made clear we will make sure Israel isn’t left without the ability to defend itself. At the same time, if there are no changes to their approach, we are likely to change our approach.”

Israel has pointed to the inefficient distribution of aid within Gaza as a cause of hardship, but three hours after the call, Israel announced that it would open the Erez crossing into northern Gaza for the first time since October 7, use the Port of Ashdod in Israel as a hub for supplies, and allow more Gaza-bound aid trucks into Israel from Jordan. Days later, Israeli officials dropped the plan to open Erez, and the Ashdod port is not yet accepting aid shipments; Defense Minister Gallant said, “We plan to flood Gaza with aid and we are expecting to reach 500 trucks per day,” but he did not say when that would happen.

While this was taking place, according to the four Wall Street Journalreporters, the administration pressed Arab states for intelligence about a retaliatory strike from Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia shared intelligence, and Jordan allowed warplanes to use its airspace while also intercepting Iranian missiles with its own planes. The White House coordinated Israeli and Arab defensive measures. According to U.S. officials, officials from the State Department, the Defense Department, and the National Security Council were “in constant, ongoing, continuous contact with Israelis, with other partners in the region, as well as Iran with a series of direct communications through the Swiss channel and other relevant players,” as well as with “Turkey and China,” “in anticipation of the events that transpired.”

This was the background when Iran attacked Israel on Sunday. 

In the aftermath of the attack, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said, “The matter can be deemed concluded.” The White House immediately gathered the leaders of the Group of 7 wealthy democracies, who issued a statement calling on all parties to “avoid further escalation.” Then Biden urged Netanyahu to “think very carefully and strategically” about retaliation and noted that Israel had “got the best of it,” as it had killed senior Iranian military commanders but lost none of its own leaders. Netanyahu is under great pressure from his right-wing coalition to retaliate, but some members of his war cabinet have stressed that they want “to establish an international coalition and strategic alliance to counter the threat posed by Iran.”

The U.S. warned Israel it would not participate in any offensive counterstrike against Iran, although it has announced new economic sanctions against Iran. Matt Bradley of NBC News pointed out that an aggressive Israeli response would run the risk of dissolving the fragile cooperation between Arab states and Israel that helped to repel the Iranian attack. That cooperation illustrated that Iran is increasingly isolated, but as Oraib Al Rantawi, director of a Jordanian think tank, told Bradley, “Those Arab countries are in a very critical situation. There is no easy position to take….” 

In the U.S., Republicans, including House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Turner (R-OH) and Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton, immediately said the U.S. should join Israel if it launched a retaliatory attack, saying they hoped to destroy Iran’s nuclear program. (David Sanger of the New York Times reminded readers yesterday that in 2015, in a deal with seven countries after two years of negotiations, Iran agreed to surrender 97% of its uranium, but Trump pulled out of that deal in 2018, and Iran returned to developing weapons-grade uranium.) 

In the House, Republicans who have been refusing to pass the national security supplemental bill that provides additional funding for Ukraine and Israel, as well as the Indo-Pacific and humanitarian aid to Gaza, have suddenly snapped to and are demanding additional funding for Israel. A researcher at an Israeli think tank estimated the cost of Israel’s interception of the Iranian weapons on Sunday at more than $550 million.

The Senate passed the measure in February, and the House is expected to as well if House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) brings it up for a vote. But Johnson is facing a revolt from MAGA Republicans who are so adamantly opposed to aiding Ukraine they threatened to oust him as speaker if he tries to pass it. Yesterday, Johnson said he would break the measure up and try to pass it in four pieces. Extremists don’t like this either. Two Republicans—Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and Kentucky’s Thomas Massie—have said they will challenge Johnson’s speakership, meaning that Johnson will have to rely on Democratic votes not only to pass an aid measure, but also to keep his speakership. 

The House is due to recess from Thursday, April 18, until Monday, April 29. This afternoon, House Intelligence Committee chair Turner and the top Democrat on the committee, Jim Himes (D-CT), released a statement: “We must pass Ukraine aid now,” they wrote. “Today, in a classified briefing, our Committee was informed of the critical need to provide Ukraine military aid this week. The United States must stand against Putin’s war of aggression now as Ukraine’s situation on the ground is critical.” 

Today the House finally delivered impeachment articles against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate, two months after approving them, and demanded a full trial.

Trump Makes History – First Felony Trial Of An Ex-President

Heather Cox Richardson

For the first time in history, a former president is facing criminal prosecution. 

The case has been dubbed a “hush money” case by the media, but it is really a case about election interference. In 2016, shortly after the Access Hollywood tape in which then-candidate Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women became public, Trump allegedly falsified business records of the Trump Organization to hide payments to individuals who possessed damaging stories about him, especially about his behavior with women, before the election.

Then–Trump fixer Michael Cohen paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleged she had had an affair with Trump, $130,000 through a shell company. He also set up a $150,000 payment from the publisher of the National Enquirer to Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also claimed to have had an affair with Trump. That money would give the National Enquirerexclusive rights to the story, meaning they could decline to publish it and she could not take it elsewhere. This practice is known as “catch-and-kill.” 

Trump then allegedly falsified business records to reimburse Cohen for “legal expenses.” Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg has charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying those records. The case might last as long as 8 weeks.

In many ways, this trial is a vindication of the rule of law. Despite his many attempts to delay it, a former president is facing accountability for his actions just as any American should.

The trial schedule reflected that standard practice. Presiding judge Juan Merchan set out the terms of the trial, covering what information the jury can hear about Trump and reminding Trump that, per the laws of New York, if he fails to appear in court as required, a warrant will be issued for his arrest. 

But as jury selection began today, it was also clear that this is no normal trial. The names of the jurors will not be released outside the courtroom out of concerns for their safety, underscoring the degree to which Trump has urged his supporters to violence. And the country is so deeply divided over Trump and his movement that more than half of the first batch of jurors were excused when they said they could not judge the case impartially. No jurors were chosen today.

Trump has used this case—like his others—to try to undermine the rule of law. Rarely arguing that he didn’t commit any of the offenses for which he was charged in four different cases—two civil, two criminal—he has insisted instead that he is being unfairly prosecuted. The Democrats have rigged the judicial system against him, he repeatedly claims, and enough of his loyalists have bought that idea that today some of them urged Trump supporters in the jury pool to undermine the rule of law by lying to get on the jury, then refusing to convict (a plea that observers noted sounded like jury tampering). 

Trump’s effort to signal that he remains disgusted by the charges against him continued today. New York Timesreporter Maggie Haberman noted that “[s]hortly before court adjourned for the day, Trump’s campaign sent out a fundraising email falsely claiming he had just stormed out of court.” But it was notable that only a few dozen of his supporters showed up at the court today, and they did not stay long. 

Trump has also refused to stop attacking the judge and other participants in the trial despite a gag order imposed by the judge. Today, even as prosecutors were asking Judge Merchan to find Trump in contempt for violating the gag order, Trump posted a video in which one of his allies attacked the judge’s wife as well as primary witness Michael Cohen. 

Judge Merchan has scheduled a hearing on potential violations of the gag order for the morning of April 23.

Trump is trying to undermine the rule of law not only out of apparent fear of the outcome of his trials, but also because his appearance in court is likely to hurt his popularity. Last month an Ipsos poll showed that 32% of respondents said a conviction in this case would make them less likely to support Trump for the presidency. And that is before we have heard any of the new evidence that various sources have said we will hear, and which, by the nature of the case, is likely to be sordid. 

Seeing Trump treated like any defendant is almost certain to damage his brand as a man who commands his surroundings. Today, Haberman noted: “One thing that is striking: Trump has used the previous court appearances in other cases to project an image of grandeur. That is hard to do in this dingy courtroom, which smells slightly off and where he is an island amid a sea of people.”

Further, the public nature of this trial will make it harder for Trump to present himself only through carefully curated appearances. Haberman also noted that Trump, who has repeatedly attacked President Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe,” appeared to fall asleep during today’s proceedings. “Repeatedly, his head would fall down,” Haberman said. “He didn’t pay attention to a note his lawyer…passed him. His jaw kept falling on his chest and his mouth kept going slack.” (While Trump was nodding off in court, President Biden was meeting in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Mohammed Shyaa al-Sudani of the Republic of Iraq, and then with Prime Minister Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic.)

Outside of this case, Trump’s image as a wealthy man is also crumbling. Today was the day by which Trump’s lawyers needed to prove that the $175 million appeals bond he posted against the $454 million judgment in the fraud case would really secure the judgment. Late tonight, his lawyers filed their justification of the bond, insisting it was secure and saying there was no need for the hearing about it, scheduled for April 22. Legal analysts on social media immediately found errors in the document.

Trump’s lawyers also filed paperwork today with the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue more than 20 million more shares of common stock in the Trump Media & Technology Group. The price of the company’s stock has been dropping since the spike after the initial public offering of March 26. Upon today’s news it dropped another 18%. It has dropped 62% since public trading began. 

Although news from Manhattan took up most of the oxygen today, the Commerce Department also made a major announcement: through the CHIPS and Science Act it is investing up to $6.4 billion in a Samsung Electronics chip manufacturing and research cluster in Taylor, Texas. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the two proposed factories will create at least 17,000 construction and 4,500 manufacturing jobs.  

In addition to its historical significance, April 15 is also Tax Day. Biden reinstated the tradition of voluntarily releasing tax returns after Trump ended it, and today Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff all released their taxes, revealing that their salaries make up most of their income. 

Ken Thomas and Ashlea Ebeling of the Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump campaign did not answer questions about whether Trump would release his tax returns.