Three Things: Crying All the Way to the Bank

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

I cried all the way to the bank.

– attributed to performer Liberace

I’ve run the gamut from fuming to furious this past week. I didn’t have a dime in Silicon Valley Bank, but its failure royally pissed me off.

Did we not learn anything from the 2008 crash? Or the decade-long savings and loan crises?

For that matter, have we not learned to stop listening to millionaires and billionaires who will not go hungry when their investments fail though Mom and Pop and their tiny businesses will?

~ 3 ~

In March 2018, I wrote a letter to both of my senators asking them to vote No on S.2155 Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, explaining,

— While smaller community banks may complain about the cost of compliance with Dodd-Frank regulations, the costs may be entirely appropriate to a safe, secure banking system. We cannot expect safety and security at no cost;
— Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks have been allowed to accrue economies of scale placing them at an advantage over smaller competitors. The balance should be in the amount of collateral TBTF banks are required to maintain to offset their much larger risk. It is not irrational to expect a trade off of cost savings in exchange for increased security;
— The bill backpedals on protections against racism in lending by preventing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from collecting data about lending demographics;
— And the Congressional Budget Office’s score is dismal:
•  The bill would increase federal deficits by $671 million over the 2018-2027 period
•  And “would increase the likelihood that a large financial firm with assets of between $100 billion and $250 billion would fail.”

And yet both of my senators voted for the bill. Sen. Gary Peters replied with a pathetic explanation that he was trying to help community banks.

Community. Banks.

Like Silicon fucking Valley’s bank, which grew to be Too Big To Fail.

Specifically, this is what he wrote:

   Community banks and credit unions have made great contributions to our economic growth, and in turn, we must make sure they can continue reinvesting in our economy. Our financial regulations must protect consumers and ensure that community banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions can continue to safely provide the mortgages, small business loans, and auto financing that make our economy work for Michigan families. Big banks and Wall Street caused the financial crisis – not Michigan’s credit unions and community banks. Our state’s credit unions and community banks kept Michigan families afloat during the financial crisis by providing loans when big banks would not. We should not have a “one size fits all” approach to financial regulation.

Our economy is healthier and more stable when our financial system is diversified and not concentrated in a handful of the biggest multinational banks. Local community banks and credit unions are having difficulty competing with large, multinational banks headquartered out of state and overseas. This has resulted in increased consolidation and growth of the largest financial institutions while too many community banks and credit unions are being forced to close their doors. I am committed to ensuring that these local institutions can continue to provide affordable, competitive, high-quality financial services to Michigan’s hardworking families and businesses.

Yeah? Well the lack of diversity still happened and now the small banks and credit unions which were supposed to be protected are going to feel the pressure from yet another TBTF bank failure which slipped through the crack created by rolling back regulations.

I hate feeling like Cassandra. The only comfort I have is that I’m not alone.

Max Kennerly shared what Sen. Elizabeth Warren was surely thinking when she wrote about SVB this past week:

That. We fucking told you so. When are legislators going to listen?

And by legislators, I mean any of these Democrats who are still in office who voted for S.2155:

Democratic Senators (13 of these 18 are still in office):

Last Name

State

Comments

Jones

Alabama

Bennet

Colorado

Carper

Delaware

Coons

Delaware

Nelson

Florida

Donnelly

Indiana

Peters

Michigan

Stabenow

Michigan

McCaskill

Missouri

Tester

Montana

Heitkamp

North Dakota

Hassan

New Hampshire

Shaheen

New Hampshire

Kaine

Virginia

Warner

Virginia

Manchin

West Virginia

King

Maine

(Independent, caucuses with Dems)

Heinrich

New Mexico

(Not Voting)

Democratic House Reps:

Bera

California

Bishop (GA)

Georgia

Blunt Rochester

Delaware

Carson (IN)

Indiana

Correa

California

Costa

California

Cuellar

Texas

Davis, Danny

Illinois

Delaney

Maryland

Foster

Illinois

Gonzalez (TX)

Texas

Gottheimer

New Jersey

Hastings

Florida

Himes

Connecticut

Kind

Wisconsin

Kuster (NH)

New Hampshire

Larsen (WA)

Washington

Lawson (FL)

Florida

Maloney, Sean

New York

Murphy (FL)

Florida

Nolan

Minnesota

O’Halleran

Arizona

Peters

California

Peterson

Minnesota

Rice (NY)

New York

Schneider

Illinois

Schrader

Oregon

Scott, David

Georgia

Sewell (AL)

Alabama

Sinema

Arizona

Suozzi

New York

Veasey

Texas

Vela

Texas

Speier

California

(Not Voting)

Walz

Minnesota

(Not Voting)

If any of these are your senators or representatives, feel free to call them at (202) 224-3121 and tell them they need to undo the damage S.2155 did in 2018, and re-assess Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insurance and funding.

~ 2 ~

In a nutshell, this is what was wrong at Silicon Valley Bank:

•  SVB had many high-value depositors whose accounts exceeded FDIC’s $250,000 threshold; 97% of funds deposited were uninsured;

•  The bank leaned on borrowers to deposit all their cash with SVB if they were to be approved for a loan, leaving depositors greatly exposed to SVB’s failure;

•  Using depositors’ cash, SVB bought excessively into long-term bonds while interest rates were low; when rates increased and more rapidly than anticipated, SVB tried to shift its distribution, but without adequately ensuring enough cash to cover withdrawals;

•  SVB’s Chief Risk Officer left and no replacement was named between April 2022-January 2023; the absence of a CRO had not been widely known. A new CRO was named in January 2023, but long after volatility in the tech sector had increased and thousands of tech employees had been laid off.

Ultimately, the bank was extremely vulnerable to the trash talk among techbros who hung with Peter Thiel who pulled his cash and advocated his peeps do the same. They read a newsletter which said SVB was technically insolvent, got their panties in a twist and set off a bank run rather than carefully doing more research as to where SVB had distributed its portfolio and working with the bank to manage rejiggering SVB’s portfolio distribution.

These same depositors could have been asking questions about the CRO’s replacement last summer without raising a ruckus and starting a run, but no. They could have been asking about adequate stress testing last year, in tandem with the Federal Reserve’s moves to increase interest rates between July and December 2022, but no. Apparently they only talked to SVB management when they needed loans.

The capper was that SVB lobbied for weakening of Dodd-Frank Act regulations with passage of S.2155. None of these big bucks depositors batted an eye at that; some were surely donating cash to right-wing politicians who were bashing the Biden administration about interest rates.

One thing legislators could address is the nature of some of the deposits and the limits of FDIC insurance. If some of the depositors are businesses with sizable cash deposits needed for operating funds like payroll, it may be worth considering establishment of a particular kind of FDIC insurance on these accounts above and beyond $250,000.

Imagine you’re a general manager and owner of a technology business. Average pay of technology workers in Silicon Valley is $134,000/year, or $11,166/month. If you have 100 employees, your need for cash to cover payroll will exceed $1 million.

Silicon Valley’s technology businesses can be small shops of one or two people to several thousand – they all still need to cover payroll each month.

Are we really going to worry about making whole people who should be smart enough to know they’ve exceeded FDIC insurance limit with their deposits, people who are rather well off by comparison with the rest of the U.S.? Nope, especially not entrepreneurs’ personal deposits since taking risk is what entrepreneurs do, it’s on them.

But protecting the lower wage workers and the economy at large? Yes, we should consider this. In the past week I’ve seen small businesses scrambling with fire sales of product to raise cash for operations after losing money at SVB. There’s at least one Broadway production which may have been canceled altogether because its producer was a depositor at SVB. In both of these cases it’s workers whose salaries are much less than $100,000/year who are going to bear the brunt of this kind of failure.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to regulate a particular kind of account dedicated solely to payroll which the FDIC would insure for the value of one month’s cash equal to the highest average monthly payroll in the previous 12 months.

This would blunt the drive for businesses and employees alike to pull cash out of a bank, heading off a potential run. Insured banks should likewise be obligated to ensure there was cash on hand matching the anticipated one-month payroll needs, in addition to cash required to meet stress tests the Dodd-Frank Act required.

Some legislators could make this happen in a heart beat if they were really concerned about the economy now and voters in 2024.

~ 1 ~

I’m sure there are folks who aren’t going to like this third of three things but we have an immigrant problem.

Nope, not the folks seeking asylum, desperately fleeing with their families to the U.S. leaving violence and economic hardship behind, who take jobs Americans don’t want and work doggedly to support their families here and abroad.

We have a problem with immigrants like Elon Musk who think they are their gods’ gift to mankind, who believe their money makes them invincible and unaccountable, who are able to thumb their noses at laws in ways the rest of us can’t, feeling immune because he was born with a South African emerald mine in his mouth. Musk has managed to completely trash a critical communications platform used by most news media and marginalized populations, subverting necessary exchange of information important to a functioning democracy – and he did it for little more than the lulz.

We’d long had a problem with immigrant Rupert Murdoch whose News Corp and Fox News have likewise undermined American democracy by promulgating increasing fascism, weaponizing the First Amendment to do so.

Now we have a problem with immigrant cryptofascist who believes they can buy whatever political outcomes they want while ignoring the will of the majority in a democracy. They also believe their wealth doesn’t require them to act prudently for the benefit of the rest of their community and society.

In particular, immigrant Peter Thiel who was key to starting a bank run on SVB, triggering its failure. He pulled all his money out, encouraged his friends to do so, setting off a run which tanked SVB, destroying wealth of persons and businesses in competition with Thiel and his friends.

Fuck everybody else affected by this behavior as far as he’s concerned, because he got his.

If a hostile foreign entity wanted to damage the U.S. economy deeply, they could do *exactly* what Thiel did. Asymmetric warfare would not look different.

As noted on Mastodon, the amount it will cost to make SVB’s depositors whole exceeds the amount the U.S. spends in a year on its food stamp program. There may not be a full federal bailout, with only the FDIC’s insurance covering each depositor to $250,000, but the amount of private as well as public money in play on a single bank should tell us something about our national priorities.

Those national priorities should now include discussion about the kinds of people we’re letting into this democracy, what they are doing to this democracy, and letting them stay in this democracy.

And if we’re going to agree we can’t eject them because they’re wealthy, selfish, and sabotaging the country with their utter disregard for the country which gave them citizenship, then we need to have a serious discussion about disarming them.

Tax them to the hilt so they can’t create a fascist autocracy, for starters – one that looks like Nazi Germany in the 1930s, or an apartheid society like South Africa where both Musk and Thiel once lived.

You may argue this isn’t fair, that American-born billionaires like Robert Mercer and Charles Koch are just as bad at sabotaging democracy.

Okay, great – what are we going to do about that? This country bred their toxicity, and then allowed a new immigrant generation of toxicity to rise because they all had beaucoup money. Meanwhile, hard-working impoverished asylum seekers have been treated like trash.

Let’s deal with this moral and ethical challenge instead of ignoring it.

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread. We’re overdue for a space to dump about topics unrelated to January 6.

Three Things: Walking in the Rain

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

“I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.”
― Charlie Chaplin

Now is not a good time to be walking in the rain, even if it hides your tears (I’m talking to you, Kevin McCarthy).

~ 3 ~

There are numerous warnings and advisories about the extreme weather event underway in California. The central portion of the state is and will be hardest hit over the next 12-24 hours because of a “bomb cyclone” but the entire state will feel the effects in varying degrees.

In no small part it will be due to the accumulation of rain before this cyclone; the ground in many area is already waterlogged and unable to soak up more water. As you can see from this California Water Watch map based on Tuesday’s data, portions of central CA had already passed 200% of the year-to-date precipitation before the cyclone hit.

There’s rain forecast every day for the next week as well; it’s hard to imagine there not being some enormously dangerous effects arising from this much rain in a state which ordinarily doesn’t see this much rain in an entire season.

~ 2 ~

But it’s not just the rain which is problematic.


[Graphic: Surface wind, approx. 3:15 PM PST January 4, 2023 via earth.nullschool.net]

Power outages are ongoing, some beginning late morning Wednesday. The entire Mission district in the Bay area went dark in early evening local time; by 10:00 p.m. 100,000 residents had lost power in the region.

(Gee, I wonder how Silicon Valley and San Jose are handling this weather event.)

Portions of Santa Cruz upgraded from evacuation warning to evacuation ordered.

I listened to a podcast Wednesday evening on KQED featuring Daniel Swain, climate scientist, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA; Brian Garcia, warning coordination meteorologist, National Weather Service SF Bay Area/Monterey; and Gerry Diaz, newsroom meteorologist, SF Chronicle.  I was struck by how blasé and banal some of the inquiries to the station were, like how to deal with problematic trees, or whether a person living less than 14 feet above sea level on a canal might be at risk of flooding. It was already far too late to be asking these kinds of questions when much of the area was already without power, the coastline was surely being battered by gale and hurricane-force winds, and people should have evacuated 12 hours earlier.

So much denial.

~ 1 ~

The really sad part: just like the wildfires California has faced the last handful of years, this isn’t the last time there will be a weather event of this magnitude. There will be more, they will get bigger, they will happen more often. Denial won’t prevent them or make them go away, any more than denial has worked to fend off the COVID pandemic.

Yet denialists will point to other disasters elsewhere in the U.S. claiming California isn’t anything special, normalizing weather disasters.

This normalization, though, denies the increasing number of weather disasters, keeping pace with the mounting climate crisis:

Eight out of the 10 years with the highest number of natural disasters occurred in the last decade.

Since 1980, there have been 332 billion-dollar natural disasters in the US. In total, these disasters have cost $2.2 trillion after adjusting for inflation and took the lives of more than 15,000 people. This includes 160 severe storms, 57 tropical cyclones or hurricanes, 36 floods, 30 droughts, 20 wildfires, 20 winter storms, and nine freezes.[1]

In the 1980s, there were a total of 31 billion-dollar natural disaster events, resulting in 2,970 deaths. In the 2010s, this number rose to 128 such events, resulting in 5,227 deaths.

[Source: USAFacts.org, Is the number of major natural disasters increasing?, updated November 5, 2022]

Now denialists are currently obstructing the operation of U.S. government by holding out against the majority of their party’s caucus and refusing to elect their party’s choice for House Speaker. By denialist I mean the members of the House GOP caucus who denied the results of the 2020 election, who objected to certification of the election, who were Trump-y enough to be endorsed by the orange-skinned golf cheat. None of these people are serious about governance; none of them will do anything constructive as members of Congress with regard to climate change.

They are simply continuing the January 6 insurrection by other means.

It must be particularly galling to House Speaker candidate Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20), being held hostage by a couple handfuls of people from wide-flung places across the U.S.:

[Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/01/04/us/politics/house-speaker-republicans-vote-against-mccarthy.html]

…while McCarthy’s district is currently floating away, and he’s unable to do anything about federal response as a member of Congress.

~ 0 ~

If you’re in California, please, please, PLEASE heed the National Weather Service’s warnings about conditions in your area.

Mastodon user Jenny from the Bloc (@[email protected]) pulled together a nice list of informational links for use by Californians and curious folks outside the Golden State:

https://aware.zonehaven.com/search – map of evacuation orders and statuses (not complete – only works where integrated with local services)

https://pgewam.lovelytics.info/pge_weather_app/ – pg&e-run weather map with information on winds, precipitation, and more

https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/outages/map/ – pg&e-run map of outages. lets you search by address

https://poweroutage.us/area/state/california – third party map of outages. does *not* let you search by address

https://calalerts.org/ – landing page for county-based emergency alerts. note that each county runs their own system, so if you want to keep track of multiple locations in different counties you will need a unique account for each county

https://sfplanninggis.org/floodmap/ – hypothetical flood risk map for city of sf (NOT real time)

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/map/# – noaa-run map of tides, water levels, meteorological observations, and more

https://marin.onerain.com/map/?view=www_marincounty – marin-based map of winds, precipitation, river levels, and more

https://www.oaklandca.gov/topics/winter-storms city of oakland’s dedicated winter storms webpage with further links to oakland-specific resources

https://www.windy.com/ – weather map with information on temperature, precipitation, air quality, and more

https://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ caltrans-run map of road conditions

https://sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=69a0e54e9e2b48c086d122027b21c961 – sonoma county evacuation map
https://slvpost.com/at-home-when-debris-flow-strikes-there-is-hope/ – article about recognizing and responding to debris flows (land slides, mud slides, etc)

https://www.wunderground.com/ – weather site that is extra useful for under-served areas

https://alert.valleywater.org/map?p=map – surface water data & map for the south bay

https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/Departments/Public-Works/Engineering-Services/Creek-Monitor-Cam creek monitor and camera for palo alto

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/08/12/climate/california-rain-storm.html – not about this storm in specific, but an interactive article predicting exactly this kind of storm, explaining how we got here, and exploring what we can do to respond to storms of this type.

For the rest of our community members, do spend some time this week checking your emergency/disaster preparedness plan.

Watching The Circus

As I write this, the House is adjourned until 8:00 pm Eastern, which is when futile voting can begin again. Somewhere H.L. Mencken said that he didn’t mind paying taxes, because every morning he would read the newspaper and laugh his head off at the dullards in Congress. And Twitter is carrying on this tradition watching House primates throw poop at each other.

One thing is clear: the Republicans did not win a majority in the last election. The Democrats won 212 seats, the Republicans won 201, give or take 1, and the Burn It Down Party won 20 seats. Kevin McCarthy, that craven toady, has proved no one can negotiate with the BID Party; and that’s for the best, sane people don’t negotiate with terrorists.

So here’s my solution: the Rs elect Hakeem Jeffries and let the Ds run the House. In return, the Ds agree to take all reasonable steps to marginalize the BID Party members. No committee seats, no earmarks, no rides on military aircraft, no post offices, no flags flown over the Capitol, and anything else suggested by the Elders of the party, Jim Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi.

Pearl-clutching pundits insist that the Democrats must clear up this absurdist drama. I’ll pitch in: How about bringing back Bob Livingston or John Boehner? Maybe check the back bench: is Louis Gohmert available? How about an outsider, like, say, George Santos? And thinking outside the box, how about Brett Kavanaugh?

This is an open thread. Please feel free to post your favorite tweets, toots, articles, etc. and make your own jokes. As an example, here’s a gift subscription to the excellent Alexandra Petrie in the WaPo.

My favorite tweets so far:

Where Is The J6 Committee Beef?

From the Washington Post up all night desk:

Many close observers of the Jan. 6 committee are still looking for testimony transcripts, particularly with key White House advisers and campaign aides. Transcripts involving most of those names are still unreleased — and have been promised in the coming days. Many days of testimony by Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson are not yet out, nor are transcripts for Trump’s family, lawyers and top campaign advisers. The committee talked to a remarkable number of people, and their exact words will be closely examined when the transcripts are released — including by Republicans looking for ammunition against the report.

Yeah, where are those?? It is Christmas weekend and they have released a whopping 34 of their supposed 1,000 or so transcripts. Why are they dribbling them out when their work is done? Have they given it all to the DOJ yet? My understanding is no, but cannot confirm that. DC, including DOJ, are going into holiday mode and this goofy Committee is still playing keep away. Why? What the hell are they doing? This is just ridiculous.

Held Hostage by the Barmy Bird

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Of all the journalists suspended by Elmo on the bird site, I was bothered most by that of Voice of America’s Steve Herman.

I mentioned before he’s a straight news kind of guy. I’d followed his account at Twitter so far back I can’t remember which of us had a Twitter account first. He was one of the few early Twitter sources I could rely on for news about earthquakes in Japan. His coverage of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 was invaluable.

But the most important factor about Herman’s suspension is that he is a U.S. government employee.

Herman works for us. He’s paid with our tax dollars.

And a single foreign-born billionaire offering weak excuses after the fact had OUR public employee suspended for doing their job.

Once again, I’ll point out that Elmo was exercising his own free speech rights by suspending journalists on the social media platform he owns.

Popehat said it better, of course:

Remember: Twitter is Elon’s company, he has the free speech and free association right to run it pretty much however he wants and to ban people for petty narcissistic reasons.

And we have the right to laugh and point at his ridiculousness and at the free-speech pretenses of his gullible fans.

But even Popehat said that on Mastodon.

Elmo may be within his rights to capriciously decide to suspend journalists, but in suspending VOA’s Herman it became crystal clear that the U.S. government should not allow its resources to be subject to the whim of a single individual when the entire country relies on those resources.

Thankfully, Herman was already on Mastodon before the suspension and has been ramping up posting on that open platform since he launched his account.

But it’s who else is NOT on Mastodon which is now a problem.

Every member of Congress who has an account on Twitter is vulnerable to suspension.

Every U.S. government department and agency still on Twitter is likewise at risk.

Let’s say Musk becomes annoyed with the Federal Aviation Administration because of its regulations on airspace and planes, commercial and private. Could he suspend the FAA’s account?

Or perhaps Musk gets his pants in a knot about National Aeronautics and Space Administration because he and NASA don’t see eye to eye about a SpaceX-related matter. Could he suspend NASA accounts (there are multiple for this agency).

One might say, “Surely Musk wouldn’t be stupid/crazed enough to do that.”

Except he’s already suspended one employee of a U.S. government agency, and holding that person’s account hostage until content is deleted from that person’s account.

Elmo might have the right to do this, but the U.S. should not be held hostage by a pasty excessively-monied git with an unmanaged ego.

Look at this situation from another angle: this is ransomware denying service to a user until a specific deliverable has been provided.

In VOA’s case, Musk by way of Twitter Safety has demanded Herman delete a tweet before service will be resumed.

How should a government agency respond to demands for ransom like this, when an open platform is ready and waiting to provide alternative service?

There’s no good reason why each department and agency is still on Twitter but not on Mastodon, nor is there any good reason why each member of Congress doesn’t have an account on Mastodon.

None of the work government departments, agencies, and employees do should be impeded by the private sector let alone by a single butt-hurt billionaire.

Contact your members of Congress and tell them this needs to be fixed going into the next session of Congress. Each of them and their caucuses need to have a non-commercialized open social media platform account.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use Resist.bot (which has a Mastodon account, by the way).

A Counter Perspective: On the House January 6 Committee’s Impending Referrals

[NB: it’s an absolute must to check this byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

We don’t all agree here at emptywheel all the time. Our reactions to the news about the House January 6 Committee’s intent to issue criminal referrals is one of those occasions.

You can read bmaz’s take at this link. If you’ve been reading the site’s comment threads since the first posts here about the January 6 Committee’s work, you already had a pretty good idea what bmaz’s sentiments have been as he’s been quite clear.

In essence bmaz found Tuesday’s news about the Committee’s expected criminal referrals

– attention seeking (“media whores,” “preening,” “infomercial”);
– the referrals an activity which “means absolutely nothing” because the Department of Justice will prosecute on their own.

One point of contention between us has been the nature of the Committee’s work. bmaz has called it political, referring to the committee negatively as a “political body” and the criminal referrals “useless and meaningless political gestures.”

Yes, it is political. That’s how governance happens, through politics.

From Merriam-Webster dictionary:

1 a: the art or science of government
b: the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
c: the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government

2: political actions, practices, or policies

3 a: political affairs or business
especially: competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government)
b: political life especially as a principal activity or profession
c: political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices

From Cambridge Dictionary:

the activities of the government, members of law-making organizations, or people who try to influence the way a country is governed

From Macmillan Dictionary:

the activities and affairs involved in managing a state or a government

the profession devoted to governing and to political affairs

social relations involving intrigue to gain authority or power

the opinion you hold with respect to political questions

the study of government of states and other political units

In the simplest, bluntest terms, politics is how shit gets done by groups who are not all of the same mind at the same time. Governance in a democracy is politics, it is political activity.

Congress is inherently a political body, its activities are political, and the government it legislates to execute laws is a function of politics at work.

~ ~ ~

There is nothing wrong with politics except when it denies the rights of individuals to exist, stripping them of agency and autonomy for the purposes of an exercise in partisan ideology and/or autocratic power, and/or personal venality rather than to achieve the aims of our shared social contract, the Constitution.

It is particularly egregious when the persons aiding and abetting an attack on the Constitution are those who have not only participated in politics for the purposes of serving as an elected representative and then sworn an oath to defend the Constitution and its aims:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

What happened on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. was the furthest thing from a more perfect Union. The acts of thousands sought to undermine the domestic tranquility of millions to the personal benefit of one man.

This was not politics but its antithesis, an attempted smash-and-grab intended to deny liberty and justice obtained through political activities, by obstructing government operations in the transition and transfer of a democracy’s leadership.

~ ~ ~

The Constitution to Article I, Section 1 confers upon Congress “All legislative Powers” – this is the legitimization of a political body to effect the nation’s governance.

Congress’s Powers under Article I, Section 8 include:

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

as well as

To make Rules for the Government

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings;-And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

[bold mine]

Without exercising these powers Congress cannot assure its obligations under the Constitution are completed.

In the specific case of January 6, Congress was attacked in its own seat of power, its election-related proceedings obstructed by domestic terrorists engaged in seditious conspiracy. Americans died, both attackers and defenders. Public property was destroyed.

Response by law enforcement and other security forces like its militia — the National Guard — was not satisfactory leading up to and during the January 6 attack. The risk of domestic terror remained high even after that date.

The person who stood to benefit most from the terror and the obstruction wrought was the head of the executive branch, whose function as executive is subject to legislation and oversight by Congress. That same person may have abused his office to further his personal interests.

It is wholly natural to expect the House to investigate the terror attack on Congress’s offices and its proceedings; it’s part of Congress’s job.

The attack aimed to stop the activities essential to the republic. To that end the House established the January 6 Committee and the mission which the committee was to fulfill.

The mission included releasing a final report of findings to the public, with interim reports as necessary, with the ultimate goal specification of corrective measures to remedy failings and improve the security posture of the Capitol and the nation, without regard to the political party helming either house of Congress or the executive branch.

All of that is politics. All of that is political. That is the nature of government in a democracy.

~ ~ ~

With regard to the complaint the January 6 Committee acted like “media whores,” this site’s comments certainly didn’t reflect that.

The number of comments published every week about when the public would hear or see something from the Committee in the way of action whether subpoenas or hearings or reports or referrals could be annoying – as annoying and frustrating as the complaints about when the Department of Justice was going to do something, anything.

The number of tweets the Committee has published to date are 627, its press releases which may duplicate tweet content amount to less than 90 over 14 months time — hardly an attention seeking volume.

Marcy wrote a number of posts about the DOJ doing something right under everyone’s noses while pundits complained on television and in social media nothing was being done.

While the DOJ was crunching away on the largest investigation it has every conducted, the J6 Committee did likewise while trying to avoid further obstruction by members of Congress as well as persons who continued to support Trump and his Big Lie.

If anything the American public didn’t hear enough about what the Committee was doing. As of late October, the Committee had issued at least 100 subpoenas; the media reported in any detail only on the most intransigent subjects like former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.

If the Committee had been media whoring, we would have had every jot and tittle crammed in our faces daily and weekly about the subpoenas and consequent testimony – but we saw very little, save for nine hearings taking less than 40 hours time.

What we did see was distilled for a contemporary audience flooded with other media, an audience which wouldn’t have the patience to deal with thousands of hours of testimony and evidence.

It’s quite possible the opposite is true, that the Committee didn’t do enough to share its work in progress with media. Had it done more earlier to release testimony and evidence, perhaps the GOP would have had to counter these reports instead of sowing manufactured fear, uncertainty, and doubt about inflation and the economy’s direction during the mid-term elections.

Perhaps control of the House might not have gone to the GOP if the Committee had been more open about the partisan nature of the attack on the Capitol.

You can be certain had the shoe been on the other foot, with the GOP leading an investigation, it would have been another pointless circus like the Benghazi hearings which GOP congresspersons admitted were purely partisan stunts intended to suppress approval of Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election.

The Benghazi hearings were politics without governance, not one passed bill as a result of all the hot air.

That 2015 committee’s work “means absolutely nothing” even seven years later, except as a cautionary tale about partisan hackery in lieu of governance.

~ ~ ~

Again, not all the team here at emptywheel will agree about the J6 Committee’s work, particularly the anticipated criminal referrals.

Marcy mentioned in comments,

… If it’s a referral on 1512 grounds for Trump, I’m not all that interested. If it’s a means to refer the witness tampering for specific witnesses that would not have been replicated before DOJ, by all means refer.

By “1512” she means Title 18 U.S. Code 1512 – Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant – I’m not certain which subsection(s) she means.

The Committee will likely refer whatever it found, though, without regard to the DOJ’s progress so far. (The Committee should not know much about the DOJ’s investigative efforts.)

If there is to be corrective action recommended and corresponding legislation drafted, submitted, debated, and passed, there must be a documented need for the change.

We should expect to see some duplication between J6 Committee and DOJ for this reason: they have different objectives.

Because of the Constitution’s Article I, Section 6 Rights and Disabilities, the Committee has more power and latitude to question and demand accountability of its own members within its own chambers, should its investigation have uncovered evidence of criminal behavior by congresspersons who supported Trump’s Big Lie efforts.

Further, the J6 Committee has an obligation to history and not just its legislative duties. It needs to document what crimes it found had been committed against it, the political body which acts as the representative of the people in its creation of laws to create a more perfect Union.

It’s not enough to report a crime has been committed against the people’s representatives. The people must demand with criminal referrals that the highest law enforcement body investigate and prosecute who attacked our democratic republic, even if DOJ has already begun this effort.

As Ben Franklin said in 1787 in response when asked what form of government the Constitution Convention had established: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

The J6 Committee’s “political gestures” are some of the means to do so.

Mid-Term Election 2022: August 2 Primary Elections and Ballot Initiatives [UPDATE-3]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Updates will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Though we’re deep into the primaries already, tonight’s a pretty big night as the following states all held primary elections today including ballot initiatives:

Arizona — August 2 (head to bmaz’s post for this state’s results)

Kansas — August 2

Michigan — August 2

Missouri — August 2

Ohio — August 2

Washington — August 2

Counting may not be complete for races but there’s already a doozy of a political wind indicator out of red state Kansas. An initiative to amend the state’s constitution was on the ballot and it hasn’t gone the direction anti-abortion activists wanted.

Here’s an explainer from Ballotpedia:

The Kansas No State Constitutional Right to Abortion and Legislative Power to Regulate Abortion Amendment is on the ballot in Kansas as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on August 2, 2022.

A “yes” vote supported amending the Kansas Constitution to:

  • state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion and
  • state that the legislature has the authority to pass laws regarding abortion.

A “no” vote opposed amending the Kansas Constitution, thereby maintaining the legal precedent established in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt (2019) that the Kansas Bill of Rights provides a right to abortion.

As of 9:16 p.m. ET the results looked like this:


And by 9:26 p.m. ET, Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman was calling it for reproductive rights:


There had been an attempt to ratfuck the vote for this initiative:


Voters were sent text messages without attribution providing the wrong instructions about the initiative. It’s not clear whether this violates any federal law but Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission responded to complaints about this ratfucking attempt with a Twitter thread explaining that under Kansas’s current state law attribution for political advertisements wasn’t required for ballot initiatives though it is required for candidates’ campaign ads.

Sounds like this should be on the next ballot.

~ ~ ~

In my home state, things went about as expected:

– Trump’s endorsed candidate, Tudor Dixon, won the MIGOP primary. She’s not as wretched as a couple other MIGOP candidates but she’s still absolutely awful.

How nice of you to want to force your personal choice on all Michiganders, Dixon.

– MAGA candidate Kevin Gibbs had the lead early over Rep. Peter Meijer. The race has tightened substantially and is too narrow to call at this point.


You’ll recall the DCCC through money behind Gibbs so they could run against a Trumpy candidate in a newly configured district. Meijer, who was one of only 10 GOP reps to vote for Trump’s impeachment, currently holds the seat once held by Justin Amash.

~ ~ ~

Trump’s attempt to split the baby by endorsing “Eric” in the Missouri GOP Senate primary race didn’t go to plan, exactly. Eric won, but not Eric Greitens.


Trump will claim victory through Eric Schmitt anyhow, you can be sure. His narcissism wouldn’t have it any other way.

~ ~ ~

What do you see in the other primary races and ballot initiatives tonight? Let us know in comments.

Let’s stay on topic here because there’s plenty of primary election material to discuss without dragging in other topics.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 12:35 PM ET — 03-AUG-2022 —

DCCC’S money paid off and defeated incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer:

Grrr…sure hope DCCC pulls out the stops and gets behind Scholten because the western part of this district and the DeVos/Van Andel/Prince crowd may not take this lying down even if a Trumpy MAGAt is the GOP candidate.

I’ve experienced supporting a state legislative candidate who was targeted by DeVos money. It can get fucking ugly.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 1:00 AM ET — 03-AUG-2022 —

Can you not do better than this hack, KSGOP? This is the best you’ve got, a lawyer who needed remedial law classes?

Anyhow, here’s Democratic opponent Chris Mann’s campaign website.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-3 — 9:15 PM ET — 03-AUG-2022 —

Another too-little-discussed bellwether was Missouri’s 1st Congressional District primary race. Incumbent progressive Rep. Cori Bush beat out four other Democrats taking more than 69% of the vote. Her strongest opponent, Steve Roberts, is and remains a Missouri state senator for District 5; he ran to the right of Bush.

The GOP primary in that district was won by Andrew Jones Jr. with 6,927 out of 16,328 total GOP votes. Even Roberts took more votes than the total GOP primary votes.

Clearly MO-01, home to 714,746 citizens, wants a progressive representative.

Constructive Action: Make It Rain [UPDATE-1]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Updates will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

For more than a year news media have indulged in conventional wisdom about a mid-term election, insisting that the president’s party will lose seats in Congress.

Never mind 2018’s blue wave, though — a tsunami during which Democrats took control of the House by 40 seats.

News media have interspersed this with their easy go-to, the time-worn “Dems in Disarray” bullshit, refusing to frame the lack of traction on Biden agenda legislation as continuing obstruction by the GOP which retains a stranglehold on half the Senate.

Never mind the deliberate and overt GOP obstruction throughout Obama’s two terms in office, or the votes of GOP’s congressional caucus to obstruct the certification of 2020 election after a GOP president whipped up an insurrection under news media’s gaze.

Don’t readily accept news media’s positioning on Congress going into the mid-term elections, the same media which lost its way during Trump-Bannon flood-the-zone-with-shit era.

We can make our own flood. We can make it rain.

~ ~ ~

That nasty Floridian GOP hairpiece with a mouth, Matt Gaetz (FL-1), decided to puff up his ego and stir up shit by bullying a Latinx teen from Texas, Olivia Julianna.

He implied only unattractive women are concerned about reproductive rights.

He had absolutely no fucking idea what kind of wasp nest he stuck his puny dick in.


She went after him as he continued his bullying.


She didn’t back down.


Olivia began fundraising for reproductive health care.


She even thanked the Florida Man.


State and national media interviewed her, and fundraising snowballed.

Until this evening’s benchmark:

This 19-year-old GenZ for Change activist didn’t take crap from obnoxious Matt Gaetz lying down. She tore after him using her heightened media profile to raise money for a cause she believes in.

Olivia Julianna made it rain. You can help her make it rain, too. Piss all over Gaetz’s parade.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of piss, the GOP Senate caucus decided to urinate on veterans and their health care needs:


They didn’t just block the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act), they celebrated it.


Satirist-entertainer Jon Stewart was infuriated.


Stewart’s rage might make it rain.

But I know you can make it rain by supporting VoteVets’ endorsed candidates.

~ ~ ~

Pennsylvania is a good news/bad news story.

The good news: a new poll shows PA Senate Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman kicking carpetbagging Republican candidate Mehmet Oz in the ass.

The bad news: three Pennsylvania counties — Berks, Fayette and Lancaster — are still screwing with primary election results, setting a negative tone ahead of the mid-term elections. A court hearing began Thursday, documented in this Twitter thread:


All three counties are strong/solid GOP. The congressional districts they’re in — PA-09, PA-11, PA-14 — have been tweaked slightly during redistricting since the state lost a House seat.

One of these districts, though, has NO Democratic candidate running:

PA-09
Dan Meuser (Incumbent) (GOP)
Amanda Waldman (Dem) — grossly underfunded

PA-11
Lloyd Smucker (Incumbent) (GOP)
Robert Hollister (Dem) — also grossly underfunded

PA-14
Guy Reschenthaler (Incumbent) (GOP)
No candidates filed for the Democratic Party primary

It not only makes zero sense why Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties are refusing to certify their primary elections, but no sense why the Democratic Party hasn’t provided more funding to the Democrats in PA-09 and PA-11, and why there’s no Democratic candidate in PA-14

Furthermore, it makes no goddamned sense why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is throwing money at a MAGA GOP candidate in Michigan’s MI-03 Grand Rapids area district, while there’s inadequate funding and no candidate in three of Pennsylvania’s House races while Fetterman may help all down ticket races in what looks to be a mounting wave election.

Somebody make it rain for Amanda Waldman and Robert Hollister in PA-09 and PA-11. Force the GOP incumbents to work for their seats since they’re not doing much else for Pennsylvanians.

Make it rain in PA-14 by recruiting a Democrat for write-in, if that’s still a possibility.

~ ~ ~

I smell petrichor, do you?

Consider this an open thread.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 12:30 P.M. ET — 29-JUL-2022 —

Olivia Julianna published a statement with an ask:

It’s not enough to fund reproductive health care while reproductive rights remain at risk and stripped away in some states.

Make it rain for the reproductive rights champions.

Democratic Governors’ Association Protect Reproductive Rights Fund at ActBlue

WI: Re-elect Gov. Tony Evers
MI: Re-elect Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and AG Dana Nessel
IL: Re-elect Gov. JB Pritzker

PA: Elect Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman and Austin Davis as Lt. Gov.
GA: Elect Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock
TX: Elect Beto O’Rourke and Mike Collier and Rochelle Garza
OH: Elect Tim Ryan
NC: Elect Cheri Beasley

Something Stinks about Kentucky but It’s a Complex Stink

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

There are a bunch of people running around hair on fire right now bitching loudly and often about Biden fail.

Unfortunately much of this is a bunch of reflexive self sabotage by people who aren’t slowing down to take a fucking breath and think things through.

Take a moment and inhale deeply, then exhale. Take a second to relax before the questions after this jump.

~ ~ ~

What would you trade for 30-40 federal judgeships nominated by Biden and approved by the Senate before the end of this congressional term?

Would you trade one judgeship?

Now imagine if all of the 30-40 vacancies are filled with judges who have solid cred with Democratic Party values (read: pro-choice, pro-voters rights, pro-human rights).

Would you trade one future judgeship nominating an anti-abortion judge in a state which leans GOP for these vacancies?

That’s the deal Biden is reported to have made with Mitch McConnell over a single federal judgeship picked by the Federalist Society earmarked for the next (not currently open) seat in Kentucky.

~ ~ ~

Here’s where it gets all fucked up:

There’s no obvious open pre-emptive communications from the White House about this deal and what’s on the table. I imagine Biden didn’t want to piss off McConnell or the rest of the GOP in order to pull off this deal so the White House went mum. There’s no open seat so why get people rattled about this one seat while everyone is still extremely anxious over SCOTUS’ bullshit Dobbs decision overturning Roe.

The media is doing is usual bullshit; Gannett-owned Courier-Journal in Kentucky is the originating source for this story, and it’s solidly locked behind a paywall as most local Gannett papers tend to do. I can’t tell exactly what the sourcing was for this reporting because I can’t read it. For all I know the source was The Federalist Society itself, intent on fucking with Biden’s approval rating. Or McConnell who so far has done plenty to trash Biden’s approval with wall-to-wall obstruction holding all 50 GOP senators by the short hairs. Or perhaps even Rand Paul being his usual prickish self. Nobody running around yelling right now can offer any more details about sourcing.

Now G/O Media outlet Jezebel is running around trashing Biden based on Courier-Journal’s reporting:

Biden’s latest, deeply hypocritical move comes after he claimed to be fiercely defending women’s right to abortion now that states have been given the green light to ban it outright.

It’s as if they didn’t read the sourcing of their own fucking reporting, like this bit right here:

The federal courts are extremely important right now. The Republican Party’s (read: Mitch McConnell’s) entire strategy for the past few years has been to pack them with conservatives who will shut down any lawsuit attempting to defend abortion rights. Biden is under a lot of pressure to fill the current court vacancies he has with judges who are friendly to reproductive rights. And instead, he is making deals with McConnell to allow more anti-abortion judges into the fray.

The link is to a piece in Bloomberg Law, which reports,

Progressives want the White House and Senate Democrats to move faster. The usual summer congressional slowdown and November midterm campaigning leaves limited time for committee and floor action before a lame-duck session to end the year.

Senate Democrats, who have confirmed 16 circuit nominees in the first year and a half of Joe Biden’s presidency, are aiming to nearly double the tally in the next six months.

But filling all available vacancies is unlikely without changes to how the majority manages vetting, said John Collins, a George Washington University professor who tracks judicial nominations. “I just don’t think there’s enough time,” Collins said.

The hazard for Biden is that a Republican-controlled Senate would confirm few, if any, of his appellate nominees during the final two years of his first term. The 13 circuit courts are the last word on virtually all federal appeals.

Progressives wanted more federal judgeships faster.

Senate Dems want to confirm 32 before the end of the year.

If the Democrats can streamline vetting, there are at least 40 vacancies to be filled — not a one of them in Kentucky.

McConnell wants one future judgeship vacancy in his state in order to facilitate rapid approval.

But that’s not what Jezebel wanted to tell you. Oh no — it’s easier to fall back on the tried-and-true the “Biden’s Busted” variant of “Dems in Disarray” crap because the media in general has conditioned its audience not to question this. You the reader are meant to be braindead and go with it because you’ll have to pay to validate the reporting of one story to get to the bottom of this and you the audience may not know where and how to look for the number of federal judgeship vacancies.

Like here.

Just look at all the pretty red state vacancies!

~ ~ ~

Now the caveat: because the White House hasn’t issued formal communications about this alleged deal, it’s just that, an allegation — pure vaporware. We do not know with a degree of certainty who agreed to what in order to accomplish their aims.

Until we see something formal directly from a party to the agreement, this should be treated as speculation.

And it’s speculation Jezebel fell for, hook, line, and sinker.

(Side note: Probably doesn’t hurt to recall G/O Media is the successor to Gawker. Gawker’s Gizmodo outlet  fell for bullshit about Facebook being biased against conservatives just in time to get played before the 2016 election really heated up and Gawker went bankrupt thanks to Peter Thiel.)

~ ~ ~

There are a LOT of “Biden/Dem Fail” stories out there right now kicking around social media. Do NOT take them at face value. Dig in, looking for sourcing and attribution, business model if any involved; always ask, “Cui bono?

For crying out loud we all know the right-wing continues to follow Bannon’s playbook, “flooding the zone with shit”; they’re desperate to push both the House January 6 Committee hearings and the anger of childbearing people off the front page and out of social media.

That’s not to say the Democrats at various levels of the party ecosphere aren’t screwing up. Communications are a massive problem; they’re not bringing their A-game even though they know the right-wing ecosphere is well organized, well funded, and willing to be extremely nasty. Yet Dems top to bottom, elected to grassroots are still bringing butter knives to AR-15 gunfights instead of embracing the Chicago Way.

(As much as I respect Michelle Obama and her ethic, “We go high,” it doesn’t work with Nazis and Nazi enablers. Punch Nazis literally and figuratively. Concede no ground.)

Most — not all, thank you Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, for example — are making huge mistakes with fundraising right now off the back of the Dobbs decision. Stop it. Just stop.

Make instead an ask for action, tell Democratic voters what they can do first in order to beat back the fascist GOP’s attacks. Make money an ask at the end, not first.

And for dogs’ sake, get the fundamentals right, like copy editing and proofreading. Nothing makes any ask look more like a phishing attempt than half-assed communications.

But elected and appointed Dems, and Democratic Party officials with the DNC or state parties aren’t the only ones fucking up.

We are when we swallow bullshit without questioning it first, without pushing back whether there’s any merit to the bullshit or not, when we share the bullshit like stenographers without making a truth sandwich first a la George Lakoff, and when we don’t do our bit to be the left-wing media ecosphere we don’t otherwise have because we don’t buy big corporate media machines like the right-wing does. Share good, accurate news, rinse, repeat. Focus on driving constructive action.

Stop letting the right-wing kick our asses. Pull up your big people panties and fight back like you mean it. Make sure you’re aiming at your opposition not your own team.

Constructive Action: Taking Back Real Control of the Senate

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

There’s just so much wrong right now in governance which could be fixed with 60 Democratic seats in the Senate.

We could pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, for starters, which would encode women’s reproductive rights and autonomous control of their bodies. This bill passed the House but not the Senate because of 50 GOP senators and 2 DINOs.

We could pass other needed legislation which has been throttled by the same 50 GOP senators and 2 DINOs, including the Build Back Better Bill.

We could expand the Supreme Court so that the total number of jurists would match the number of circuit courts.

We could institute term limits for Supreme Court justices so that retirements could be planned.

We could address the shortcomings of the Roberts’ Court ethical failings, from the lack of an ethics code, to Thomas’s refusal to recuse or resign, to the Trump appointees’ misrepresentations before the Senate Judiciary Committee during nomination hearings.

But none of these and other additional remedies can be addressed without at least 60 seated Democratic Senators.

These are the Class III Senators up for re-election or open seats this year:

State Class 3 Cook PVI Notes
Alabama Richard Shelby (R) retiring, open seat R+15 Will Boyd (D)
Alaska Lisa Murkowski (R) R+9 Non-Partisan Primary August 16, 2022
Arizona Mark Kelly (D) R+3
Arkansas John Boozman (R) R+16
California Alex Padilla (D) D+14
Colorado Michael Bennet (D) D+3
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal (D) D+7
Delaware D+6
Florida Marco Rubio (R) R+3 Primary August 23, 2022
Georgia Raphael Warnock (D) R+3
Hawaii Brian Schatz (D) D+15
Idaho Mike Crapo (R) R+19
Illinois Tammy Duckworth (D) D+7
Indiana Todd Young (R) R+11
Iowa Chuck Grassley (R) R+6 Michael Franken (D)
Kansas Jerry Moran (R) R+11
Kentucky Rand Paul (R) R+16
Louisiana John Kennedy (R) R+12
Maine D+1
Maryland Chris Van Hollen (D) D+14
Massachusetts D+14
Michigan R+1
Minnesota D+1
Mississippi R+10
Missouri Roy Blunt (R) R+11
Montana R+11
Nebraska R+13
Nevada Catherine Cortez Masto (D) Even
New Hampshire Maggie Hassan (D) Even
New Jersey D+6
New Mexico D+3
New York Chuck Schumer (D) D+10
North Carolina Richard Burr (R) not seeking re-election R+3 Cheri Beasley (D)
North Dakota John Hoeven (R) R+20
Ohio Rob Portman (R) R+6 Tim Ryan (D)*
Oklahoma James Lankford (R) R+20
Oregon Ron Wyden (D) D+6
Pennsylvania Pat Toomey (R) R+2 John Fetterman (D)
Rhode Island D+8
South Carolina Tim Scott (R) R+8 Dem primary results pending
South Dakota John Thune (R) R+16
Tennessee R+14
Texas R+5 **
Utah Mike Lee (R) R+13 *** Evan McMullin (I) has Utah Dems’ support
Vermont Patrick Leahy (D) retiring, open seat D+15 Dem primary August 9, 2022
Virginia D+2
Washington Patty Murray (D) D+8
West Virginia R+23
Wisconsin Ron Johnson (R) R+2 Dem primary August 9, 2022
Wyoming R+26

light orange: needs assistance with defense

light yellow: winnable

light green: stretch but in range

* Ohio’s senate race is tied — within MOE depend on the poll. There is an independent candidate running as well who may act as a spoiler. Ohioans need to do an effective job of encouraging votes for Ryan so that the independent doesn’t fragment the vote.

** Texas does not currently have a senate seat open or up for re-election. The governor’s race is critical, though, as it is Texas state anti-abortion laws which have been setting the trend for the nation. Beto O’Rourke needs to win this seat.

*** Utah’s Democratic Party has thrown its support behind Evan McMullin because the chances of a Democrat winning that state are slim to none. Mike Lee is an insurrectionist who must be removed.

Pick one or more senate races to defend. Help others go on the offense. Pay attention to the pending primary races and be ready to step in to help.

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