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Republicans’ Big Plan for 2024 Is to Make It Harder for College Kids to Vote

Leaked audio from a top Republican strategist reveals where the party’s priorities are.

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A woman votes in the 2022 midterm election on Election Day in East Lansing, Michigan.

Republicans know that the majority of young voters don’t support them. So rather than appeal to the next generation, the GOP has decided the best course of action is to make it harder for young people to vote.

Top Republican strategist Cleta Mitchell gave a presentation at the RNC donor retreat over the weekend that was ironically titled “A Level Playing Field for 2024,” journalist Lauren Windsor reported. Mitchell worked with former President Donald Trump to try to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and has continued to work closely with the Republican Party since Trump left office.

Leaked audio recordings of her presentation reveal Mitchell called on the GOP to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration, and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters. Both young voters and mail-in votes tend to skew Democratic.

“What is this young people effort that they do? They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm so they just have to roll out of bed, vote, and go back to bed,” Mitchell complained.

At one point in her presentation text, Mitchell insisted that her organization, the Election Integrity Network, is “NOT about winning campaigns.” But her presentation gave no other explanation for why campus and mail-in voting should be restricted, and she also said the U.S. electoral systems must be saved “for any candidate other than a leftist to have a chance to WIN in 2024.”

Republicans are starting to see the writing on the wall, but they’re taking away the wrong message. During the 2022 midterms, young voters turned out in record numbers and overwhelmingly voted Democratic. The GOP response was to call to raise the voting age.

Rather than implementing policies about things that young people actually care about—such as environmental protection, increased abortion access, and LGBTQ rights—Republicans are instead embracing stances that alienate huge swathes of the new generations of voters. And then they get upset when young people don’t support them.

It’s easy to poke fun at the GOP over this, but it’s important to keep in mind that Mitchell’s plan is terrifying. It’s a blatant violation of voter rights. The Republican Party has not formally backed her plan, but they haven’t denounced it either.

The nonprofit Gen-Z for Change slammed Mitchell’s plan as “disgusting.”

“Republicans are actively trying to suppress our ability to participate in democracy, to make changes in the world that WE have to live in,” the group tweeted.

Texas Republicans Pass Bill Requiring Ten Commandments in Every Classroom

Separation of church and state or nah?

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The separation of church and state isn’t doing too great in Texas right now.

Republican senators passed a bill Thursday that would require all public schools to display a nearly two-foot-tall copy of the Ten Commandments in every classroom. Each poster must be printed “in a size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom” and displayed in a “conspicuous place.” The bill’s sponsor had previously cited Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the Supreme Court case that said a football coach at a public high school in Washington state could pray at games, as paving the way for this legislation.

The Senate also passed a bill that would let public school districts and charter schools implement a policy that requires every campus to set aside time every day for students and employees to pray and read the Bible “or other religious texts.” While the bill does not restrict the prayer or texts to Christianity, it’s safe to say that reading, for instance, the Quran is not what lawmakers had in mind.

Both bills now go to the House of Representatives. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick hailed the legislation as “one step we can take to make sure that all Texans have the right to freely express their sincerely held religious beliefs.” This would be the same man who, in 2007, while serving as a senator, boycotted the first prayer delivered in the chamber by a Muslim cleric.

Texas has been increasingly regulating what can and cannot be taught in state public schools—or even who can attend. Republicans introduced a bill in March that would ban students from China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea from all public colleges and universities. The measure, widely decried as racist and xenophobic, has yet to make it out of committee.

State Republicans also want to ban public school libraries from having books that feature same-sex couples and transgender characters. And in March, the Texas Education Agency announced it would forcibly remove the Houston Independent School District’s elected board and seize control of the district, which is the largest in the state.

All of this is part of a wider movement among Republicans to clamp down on freedom of thought and expression. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in particular, seem to be in a twisted game of one-upmanship to see who can impose the most restrictive policies on their constituents.

Fox News Accidentally Touts Benefits of the Green New Deal

Sean Hannity (almost) sees the light.

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For conservatives, the problem with trying to attack the Green New Deal is that not only is it necessary for the survival of the planet, but it’s also just flat out appealing for anyone interested in living a nice life.

On Thursday, leading sponsors Senator Ed Markey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reintroduced the Green New Deal, which aims to “tackle the climate crisis with a 10-year mobilization that puts millions of Americans to work in good-paying, union jobs.” It’s the twenty-first-century analogue to the popular and nation-changing New Deal set out by FDR.

And on Thursday evening, Fox’s Sean Hannity implored his viewers to see provisions like “food security” and “additional paid vacation time” as deplorable.

More family and medical leave? That’s just time for you to be there for your family or even to take care of yourself with less stress. More paid vacation time? Everyone understands the slog of our current economic system, where work is primal and everything else about life takes a backseat. Wouldn’t it be nice for “everything else” to have a bigger presence in our lives? Universal health care? Everyone in this country has a run-in with exorbitantly high costs for necessary care; it is hard to justify the current system as better than any possible alternative. Green housing? The government upgrading my home while helping to protect the environment that surrounds it? Sign me up! Food security? When is all this supposed to be bad again?

Of course, some chunk of the Fox audience may just adopt the line, and see life-changing ideas as undesirable. But the core issue with trying to paint something as bad is that it is difficult to do so when that something is just, meritably good. Though it may be under the guise of vacuous criticisms like “Who Is Going to Pay for It?” Fox is still helping its viewers begin to imagine what society could look like instead.

Tennessee Republicans Issue Stupidest Possible Statement on Gun Control

Republican lawmakers are really creative when it comes to ignoring their own constituents.

A sign reads "Protect Kids from Books Drag Guns" with Books and Drag crossed out.
Seth Herald/Getty Images
Students walked out of schools to gather at the Tennessee State Capitol building to demand gun reform on April 3.

On Wednesday, Tennessee House Republicans announced on Twitter that “any red flag law is a non-starter,” and also that they are “focused on finding solutions that prevent dangerous individuals from harming the public.”


Just to spell it out: The point of red flag laws are to prevent individuals with … “red flags” from … “harming the public.”

The nonsensical statement comes in the aftermath of the Nashville school shooting that left three children and three adults dead. Thousands of Tennesseans have been protesting since the incident demanding gun reform. The movement has only gained momentum after Republicans expelled two since-reinstated Black Democrats, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, for interrupting House proceedings to stand in solidarity with the protesters. And the tides beneath the clamoring for change has only swelled amid a string of mass and targeted shootings throughout the country.

Republican Governor Bill Lee recently expressed interest in some form of a red flag law, but he did not go into specifics, and apparently he has not worked to convince the rest of his party it’s actually necessary.

Despite the increasing demands by the public for any action to stop the onslaught of gun violence, Tennessee Republicans have largely remained intransigent. Tennessee actually loosened gun laws on the day of the Nashville shooting. Republicans have also repeatedly shut down a red flag law that could have prevented the shooting in the first place: once two years ago, and again just last week.

The disinterest in public safety stems beyond red flag laws. Before the shooting, state Republicans also passed a bill allowing people 21 and older to openly carry handguns without permits. Republicans are now pushing to allow 18- and 19-year-old residents to carry any firearm—including weapons like AR-15s and shotguns—without permits.

As of 2020, Tennessee was among the top 10 deadliest states in the country from guns.

Top Tennessee Republican Who Voted to Expel Democrats Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Charges

Tennessee Republicans are suddenly under the spotlight after voting to expel Democratic lawmakers—and it’s not looking good.

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A top Tennessee Republican who voted alongside his party to expel three Democratic representatives for breaking House “decorum” has resigned after the findings of a sexual harassment investigation became public.

NewsChannel5 reported that a secret ethics subcommittee found state Representative Scotty Campbell, vice chair of the House Republican caucus, guilty of sexually harassing at least one legislative intern, and likely two.

The findings were sent nearly three weeks ago to House Speaker Cameron Sexton, who is facing his own ethics issues over reports that he doesn’t actually live in the district he represents. Sexton made no move to expel Campbell, who only resigned after the charges were made public on Thursday.

The ethics investigation into Campbell details the extent of his sexual harassment. In an email the victim wrote to university officials, given to NewsChannel5 by a family member, she recounted some of Campbell’s gross behaviors.

On one occasion, after watching the victim and another 19-year-old female intern enter her apartment, Campbell allegedly later “made comments about how … he was in his apartment imagining that we were performing sexual acts on one another and how it drove him crazy knowing that was happening so close to him.”

The victim told Campbell, uncomfortably, that that was not happening; the Republican representative insisted that he knew it was happening and asked her to tell him all about it. She responded that the other girl was her friend. Campbell allegedly went on to explain how sexually attractive he finds her as well.

NewsChannel5 reports that the other girl is likely the second complainant against Campbell.

Campbell also reportedly made repeated comments about how he is “very, very lonely” and wishes “he had someone with whom he could just cuddle.”

In another instance, Campbell asked the victim how many men she slept with. After she said zero, Campbell insisted she was lying, then asked how many women she had slept with. He “said he bets girls go crazy over me,” the victim wrote in the email. Campbell then apparently offered her cannabis gummies in exchange for being able to see her tattoos and piercings.

“I told him absolutely not, and he begged me for several hugs,” she wrote in her email. She grew more and more fearful; Campbell grew more and more brazen, reaching out and grabbing her neck.

“I recoiled and said I felt sick and immediately left. That was the last night I ever spoke with or saw him. I blocked his number after that.”

Campbell has repeatedly insisted that the conversations he had with the intern were “consensual adult” ones.

Meanwhile, the legislature is slow to release much further information, including how much taxpayer money was spent covering up the disturbing behavior. NewsChannel5 reports that potentially thousands of dollars have been spent to relocate the victim from the apartment building that she and Campbell both lived in, to ship her furniture back home to another part of Tennessee, and to place her in a hotel for the remainder of her internship.

Again: Tennessee taxpayers have had to foot the bill of protecting a victim from sexual harassment—and from potentially facing further harassment—by a sitting Republican lawmaker.

Before Tennessee Republicans sought to expel three Democrats—and succeeded in expelling the two Black ones, Justin Pearson and Justin Jones—for standing in solidarity with thousands of Tennesseans protesting gun violence, they have long been making up and manipulating the rules in order to avoid public accountability. Such behavior has led them to vote down bills with abandon and introduce last-minute amendments to legislation that the public is seldom aware of. And in so doing, Republicans have established arbitrary standards that brought them to so brazenly expel Pearson and Jones, while ignoring when their own colleagues are sexual harassers, child molesters, or allegedly assaulting others on the House floor.

“Take That Pope Francis”: Twitter’s Blue Check Purge Begins

If nothing else, the reactions to the Twitter blue check apocalypse are amazing.

Twitter account on Twitter is seen displayed on a phone screen
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Twitter on Thursday began removing blue verification checkmarks from people who do not pay for the platform’s subscription plan.

People can pay $8 a month for Twitter Blue to receive increased visibility on the platform. Those who don’t are having a field day with jokes now that they have lost their once-coveted blue check.

Some of the major people who have lost blue check status include Donald Trump, Beyonce, and Bill Gates.

Elon Musk still has his because he’s an “affiliate of Twitter.”

Nancy Mace Says Republicans Are the “Feminists of Today” With Anti-Trans Bill Passage

This is not how feminism works, Nancy.

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Republican Representative Nancy Mace thinks her party is the new wave of feminists because it passed a bill banning transgender women and girls from women’s sports.

The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would amend Title IX, a civil rights law that bans sex- or gender-based discrimination, to limit a person’s sex to the one they were assigned at birth. The measure passed entirely along party lines and is not expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.

At one point during the debate, Mace suggested that Republican support for women’s equality in sports (except for trans women) makes them “the feminists of today.”

“As a woman who is pro-LGBTQ, I don’t care how you dress, I don’t care what pronoun you take, I don’t care if you change your gender, but we ought to protect biological women and girls in their athletics,” she said.

Mace suggested another amendment to conduct a study of the supposed adverse psychological effects on cisgender women and girls of letting trans women play women’s sports.

Democratic Representative Mark Takano clapped back that nothing is “further from the truth.”

“This amendment perpetuates false arguments that allowing transgender girls to participate in school sports teams will undermine the well-being of cisgender girls,” he said.

Democrat Pramila Jayapal pointed out that the only way for schools to enforce this rule would be to conduct genital exams on students.

Mace is rapidly becoming a classic “pick-me girl.” She keeps trying to show she’s not like other Republicans, even denouncing them to stand out from the crowd. Mace has repeatedly urged her party to adopt a more centrist stance on abortion rights. She also said she would oppose kicking Ilhan Omar off the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

But at the end of the day, she voted with Republicans every time.

Florida LGBTQ Group Cancels Pride Parade Thanks to Anti-Drag Bill

Florida’s drag ban hasn’t been signed into law yet, but it’s already having the intended effect.

People participate in the Pride Parade during the Miami Beach Pride Festival in September 2021.

Florida’s drag ban has not yet been signed into law, and yet it is already stopping Pride celebrations in the state.

The measure passed the state House of Representatives Wednesday by a vote of 82–32 and is now headed to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis. If he signs it into law, the measure would prohibit government entities and employees from issuing permits to organizations that may hold “adult live performances” in the presence of minors. It would also ban businesses from allowing minors to attend such performances.

The Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast, which covers several counties in southeastern Florida, announced some dramatic changes late Wednesday to its Pride celebrations in light of the legislation.

As all of you know, the political climate that we are currently in has us all very concerned for our community. After multiple meetings with city officials, it is with a heavy heart that Pride Alliance of the Treasure Coast has to announce that this weekend’s Pridefest will now be a 21 and older event,” the group said on Facebook.

“We also regret to announce that we will have to cancel our plans to bring back our beloved parade.”

This is the law working as intended: forcing queer people back into the closet,” tweeted New York Times columnist Lydia Polgreen.

Florida is the latest state to advance a (vaguely worded, extreme) measure attacking drag performances, which have become a particular target for the right wing in recent years. It is likely to become the second state to pass a law, after Tennessee in March. The Tennessee law was blocked by a judge before it could go into effect on the grounds that it was overly broad and violated free speech rights.

Cop City Protester Was Shot 57 Times; Had No Gunpowder Residue on Hands

The police narrative on the murder of the environmental activist known as “Tortuguita” is quickly falling apart.

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A vigil by environmental activists in a preserved forest in Atlanta that is scheduled to be developed as a police training center

The police do not seem to have been provoked when they shot and killed Manuel Esteban Paez Teran.

At least that is what the evidence continues to indicate. In January, the 26-year-old forest defender known as “Tortuguita” was shot and killed by police as they were protesting the construction of a $90 million police training facility in Atlanta, Georgia.

New autopsy results from DeKalb County reveal that Teran had no gunpowder residue on their hands, contrary to police reports that said Teran had shot first at a state trooper, provoking officers to respond with gunfire.

Even more appalling, Teran suffered at least 57 gunshot wounds, from head to toe. Officers shot at least 57 bullets into a person who was protesting the construction of a militarized police facility and defending a forest. Fifty-seven. If there was a point to be made about our overinflated police budgets, the police made it themselves.

Teran’s family reportedly conducted an independent autopsy that found Teran’s hands were raised during the shooting; the DeKalb County autopsy could not definitely come to a conclusion on that fact.

Conveniently, there is no body camera footage of the event, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The revelations follow an ongoing display of proof for why residents might be skeptical of giving the police more and more money. In March, at least 35 people were indiscriminately detained at a music festival organized by Cop City protesters. Twenty-three were charged with domestic terrorism.

Those arrested were accused of participating in vandalism and arson at a construction site over a mile away from where the music festival was held. There was no substantial proof that any were involved in illegal activity; some people were outright denied bond on the grounds of “evidence” like wearing black or having mud on their shoes (they were all in a forest, where it had just rained).

While the police continue to prove why they warrant more scrutiny and less leeway, their behavior has yet to change; it is unclear how much more damage they will need to cause to inspire enough change to stop them from causing such damage at all.

Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Fox’s Election Lies and Violent Radicalization

Fox is getting a big tax break on its settlement with Dominion. Meanwhile, it continues radicalizing its viewers, like the person charged with shooting Ralph Yarl.

Someone walks by a Fox News sign that has the channel's logo and the line "America is watching."
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It turns out that every person who pays taxes is also paying for Fox to further radicalize their neighbors.

On Tuesday, Dominion Voting Systems decided to settle with Fox and its cable networks after a months-long battle in a defamation lawsuit alleging that Fox had knowingly spread lies about the 2020 election. And now, The Lever has revealed that Fox will get to obtain a tax break as large as $213 million off the $787.5 million it owes Dominion.

“Thanks to an arcane line in the tax code, Fox can deduct that settlement payment from its income taxes,” The Lever reports, “because federal law allows taxpayers to write off many legal costs, providing that they are ‘ordinary and necessary’ business expenses.”

The revelation is shocking at its face: With a settlement, Fox had weaseled out of a potentially deeper inquiry into the lies undergirding its operation. And now the American taxpayer, whether they watch Fox or not, gets to help the crooked company wade through the costs of its own actions.

The revelation is all the more shocking given reporting from the Kansas City Star on the role Fox played in the radicalization of the shooter of Ralph Yarl, a Black 16-year-old boy who went to the wrong home in Kansas City, Missouri, to pick up his siblings.

Andrew D. Lester, who has been charged with shooting Yarl last week, was apparently immersed in a “24-hour news cycle of fear and paranoia,” according to Lester’s grandson.

“He’s become staunchly right-wing, further down the right-wing rabbit hole as far as doing the election-denying conspiracy stuff and Covid conspiracies, and disinformation, fully buying into the Fox News, OAN kind of line,” his grandson, Klint Ludwig, told the Star. “I feel like it’s really further radicalized him in a lot of ways.”

And how has Fox covered this shooting? Media Matters reports that between the day of Yarl’s shooting and Tuesday Fox had spent a whopping 13 minutes covering the violent incident. The only prime-time coverage, Media Matters notes, came while Tucker Carlson downplayed the shooting and used it to somehow attack the Biden administration. The figures are especially rich given Fox is ostensibly so “tough on crime”—but apparently not for the vicious acts it helped incite in the first place.