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North Carolina Republicans Are Trying to Disenfranchise Democrats Again

Days after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of voting rights groups in the state, North Carolina Republicans are pushing two new voter suppression rules.

Photo by Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

While voting rights advocates celebrated the Supreme Court’s rejection of North Carolina Republicans’ illegally gerrymandered electoral map, the state’s GOP is not tapping the brakes at all on its efforts to subvert democracy and disenfranchise voters.

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore—whose name was on the rejected Supreme Court case—is leading his colleagues to pass an array of other bills that would erode voting rights and unfairly favor Republicans in state elections. Their efforts have been buttressed after obtaining a veto-proof majority in the House in April—thanks to the defection of a Democrat. Last year, the state’s Supreme Court swung from a 4–3 liberal majority to a 5–2 conservative one. Now Moore is considering two bills aimed at disenfranchising voters that recently passed the state’s Senate.

One, Senate Bill 747, would essentially get rid of same-day voter registration, leaving voters instead to have to cast provisional ballots and then follow up and verify their identities later. It would also remove a three-day grace period for votes sent by mail, requiring mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day.

Another, Senate Bill 749, would remove Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s ability to appoint board members to state and county boards of elections, giving it to the state legislature instead. Republicans have proposed a board with eight members—four Republicans and four Democrats—that would all but guarantee gridlock. Five years ago, the state Supreme Court ruled that a similar effort to prevent the governor from managing the state board impinged “upon the Governor’s ability to faithfully execute the laws.”  

More on the state Supreme Court: After conservatives secured control, they reversed the court’s prior ruling rejecting Republicans’ gerrymandered map. In the new map approved by the Supreme Court, an evenly divided vote would produce 10 House seats for Republicans and only four to Democrats. North Carolina currently has seven Republican representatives and seven Democratic ones—a reasonable split given that the state narrowly voted for Donald Trump in 2020.

The court also reversed a prior decision surrounding a photo ID requirement. In a case (once again with Moore’s name on it), the court declared such a requirement unconstitutional; but now, a requirement demonstrably targeting minority voters is also set to be on the books, right alongside the gerrymander and aforementioned anti-democratic bills.

Right-wing election deniers like lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who supported Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, have been working with North Carolina Republicans to try and make all this magic happen.

No Labels Could Hand the 2024 Election to Donald Trump

The self-described “nonpartisan” and “centrist” group is doing Donald Trump and the GOP a huge favor.

Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The self-described “nonpartisan” group No Labels is hell-bent on running a third presidential candidate for 2024—and in doing so could hand the election to Donald Trump.

No Labels claims its goal is to create a space for centrists who are fed up with partisan politics and want solutions that appeal to both the right and the left. In reality, it has taken money from Republican billionaire megadonor Harlan Crow—best known for the lavish gifts and vacations he has given to Clarence Thomas—and backed the immensely unpopular former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. Even the group’s former allies say No Labels is “dangerous.”

The group insists that voters want someone other than Trump or Joe Biden, so it’s preparing for a third-party campaign—despite enormous pushback from political strategists.

“It is a spectacular combination of hubris and irresponsibility at a level that I have trouble even believing,” Rick Wilson, co-founder of the anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project, told The Wall Street Journal. “They’ve made a financial and personal decision to destroy Joe Biden.” (Wilson should be pretty familiar with this: The Lincoln Project is another group with lofty goals but questionable follow-through.)

If No Labels persists, it could end up giving Trump an easy win. Historically, third-party candidates have performed poorly in presidential elections, typically receiving (at best) a sliver of the electorate. The exceptions (Theodore Roosevelt in 1912; Ross Perot in 1992) prove the rule. But a third-party candidate could peel critical votes away from Biden while Trump cruises to victory on the support of his energized fans.

Another outcome could be that a third candidate prevents anyone from getting 270 electoral votes, meaning that state delegations in the House of Representatives pick the winner. Since the House is currently in Republican hands, it would almost certainly swing for Trump.

No Labels has pledged to back out if Trump does not get the GOP nomination. The current runner-up is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has signed some of the most extreme laws in the country, targeting women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. DeSantis also criticized the debt ceiling deal, which No Labels praised.

Elon Musk Finally Broke Twitter

Over the weekend, the social network began limiting how many posts its users could see.

Photo by Britta Pedersen/Pool/Getty Images

Rumors of Twitter’s demise have been swirling since last last year, when changes—specifically layoffs, firings, and other cuts made by Elon Musk after he purchased the company for $44 billion—began to intermittently break the site. Still, despite being clearly held together with wire and string and staffed by a skeleton crew, the social network managed to hold on for months. Twitter was worse in many ways—less reliable, with more spam, fake news, and stupid replies thanks to Musk’s new “verified” system—but it was still Twitter, more or less.

Over the weekend, Twitter stopped being Twitter. Musk was, it practically goes without saying at this point, the culprit. Early Saturday morning, users began to report that the app was restricting the number of posts they could view. For unverified users, the number was incredibly low—600, later raised to 800—which rendered the social network unusable after users hit the cap. Twitter, like all social networks, is attention-based: Its ostensible goal is for people to use it as much as possible. This is, at the moment, of existential importance given the vast amount of money the company is losing. Its new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, was brought on in part to raise money from advertising, which is dependent on view counts. Her job was already difficult, given Musk’s penchant for posting like a pimply teenage edgelord. It just got even harder.

It’s not entirely clear why Musk introduced rate limits. He has insisted that it was an effort to stop unauthorized scraping by third parties, like ChatGPT, of the site’s data. Others have speculated that the limits were imposed as a result of Twitter not paying its Amazon Web Services bill or as a desperate ploy to get more people to pay for Twitter Blue, where subscribers are able to view more posts (though still not, for unexplained reasons, an infinite number). Bluesky, the nascent competitor started by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, saw sign-ups skyrocket over the weekend and seems, for the first time, like it could become a viable alternative. Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, is expected to launch its own Twitter clone sometime this summer.

Given the substantial financial and technological challenges it faces, Musk’s Twitter has seemed destined to crash and burn more or less since he purchased it. Over the weekend, he hastened its decline.

Is This the Weirdest Ad in American Political History?

Struggling in the polls, Ron DeSantis is leaning in to homophobia.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Ron DeSantis’s rapid response team shared a video railing against twice-impeached and twice-indicted former President Donald Trump for previous expressions of support for the LGBTQ community, proudly contrasting it with DeSantis’s outward crusade against America’s LGBTQ population.

The video begins by focusing on Trump’s remarks following the Pulse nightclub shooting, which left 49 people dead in DeSantis’s state. “I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens,” Trump is heard saying. The video then touches on a few instances of Trump expressing support for Caitlyn Jenner being able to use whatever bathroom she wanted and for transgender women being able to compete in Miss Universe.

After the opening, the video shared by DeSantis’s campaign nails its transition with Tyler the Creator—who once called himself “gay as fuck”—yelling “PSYCHE,” to begin the contrast between Trump’s apparently woke record to DeSantis’s hard-line stances. And the rest of the video is somehow even more insane.

The remainder of the video is set to a music track straight out of the coldest and most socially disconnected corners of YouTube and TikTok (the Andrew Tate cinematic universe). It highlights headlines about DeSantis’s relentless attack on gay people and phrases like “DeSantis is public enemy No. 1,” or “DeSantis is evil,” aimed at showing the left’s hatred of the Florida governor.

The ad is also a strange pop-culture pastiche and relies heavily on images from films and television. There’s Christian Bale as American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman (an elite Wall Street mover and shaker, fan of Donald Trump, prep school and Harvard alum, and also, serial killer, rapist, and cannibal). There’s Brad Pitt starring in Troy as the Greek hero Achilles (who, in the Iliad, has been interpreted to have gone on a vengeful rampage after the death of his gay lover, Patroclus). There’s Cilian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders (a show that depicted the rise of fascism and nationalism, as well as the literal and psychological ravages of war and violence). And, finally, there’s Leonardo DeCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, in which the actor portrayed a coked-up Wall Street fraudster who celebrates greed and fraud. (Tyler the Creator also once said he “one hundred percent would go gay for ’96 Leo.”)

The Florida governor has been portrayed by some as a potential moderate alternative to Trump. Some conservative groups, like Log Cabin Republicans, a national organization for “L.G.B.T conservatives and allies,” have denounced the video as “divisive and desperate,” though DeSantis’s rivals for the nomination have remained mum. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg offered a succinct rebuttal to DeSantis on Sunday:

States Enact New Laws on Controversial Issues Such as Abortion

New rules on education, transgender issues, and marijuana are among the hundreds of new measures in effect in July.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Hundreds of new state laws went into effect on July 1, with red and blue states flexing their ideological muscles on issues such as marijuana, gender-affirming care, book bans, and abortion. Here’s a rundown of some of the critical new measures now in effect:


North Carolina’s new 12-week abortion ban went into effect on Saturday, after several last-minute revisions by the state legislature.

A bill banning abortion after six weeks was supposed to go into effect in Florida on July 1, but has been delayed pending court action on the state’s current 15-week ban.

A ban on medication abortion was set to go into effect in Wyoming on Saturday, but a judge blocked it.

Transgender rights

A new law in Georgia bans gender-affirming care for minors, with medical professionals at risk of losing their licenses if they provide hormone therapy or gender-transition surgery to anyone under 18. A similar law also went into effect in South Dakota.

A federal judge temporarily blocked part of Tennessee’s law banning gender-affirming care for minors, preventing the state from enforcing a ban on hormone therapies and puberty blockers for minors. However, the portion of the law barring gender-transition surgery for individuals under 18 went into effect on Saturday.

The Kansas legislature recently overrode Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of legislation barring transgender individuals from using restrooms, locker rooms, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers in accordance with their gender identities. That law went into effect on Saturday.


Several of Governor Ron DeSantis’s priorities are now the law of the land in Florida, just in time for him to campaign on the new laws in his presidential stump speech. The state’s “Don’t Say Period” bill went into effect on Saturday, banning instruction on menstruation, sexually transmitted infections, and sexuality before sixth grade. Instructors teaching sex education must also focus on abstinence outside of marriage and teach the “benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage.” Moreover, teachers will no longer be able to ask a student’s preferred pronouns or refer to a student by their preferred pronouns.

School libraries in Iowa will need to remove books with “sex acts,” according to a new state law that also bans instruction related to sexuality and gender identity until sixth grade.

A new law in North Carolina also allows individuals to carry concealed firearms on school grounds.

Criminal justice

A near-complete ban on no-knock warrants went into effect in Minnesota on Saturday, after a SWAT officer shot and killed a man during a raid with such a warrant last year.

California now permits former criminal offenders to seal their records if they have not committed another felony four years after finishing their sentences.

Maryland became the twenty-first state to legalize recreational marijuana on July 1, and Connecticut residents 21 and older can now grow up to six cannabis plants.

Other notable laws

A law banning TikTok on state-owned devices went into effect in Georgia on Saturday. Indiana repealed a law banning throwing stars, which are once again legal except for use on school properties. Nevada increased its penalties on drunk driving, Iowa now allows teenagers to work longer hours, and Mississippi formally designated the blueberry as its state fruit.

Donald Trump’s One Weird Trick to Win the GOP Primary

It’s getting indicted. Twice.

Trump gives a thumbs up sign as he leaves a rally.
Donald Trump in 2020

Donald Trump has been indicted twice this year: once in April for hush-money payments sent during the 2016 election and again in June for mishandling of classified documents. Rather than make him a political pariah, the charges could send him straight to the Republican presidential nomination.

Republican consultants and activists believe that the indictments have energized Trump’s supporters, and even people who had until now been undecided, The Messenger reported Monday. The outlet looked specifically at Iowa, which is anticipated to set the stage for the rest of the Republican race.

Previously, many Iowans had backed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or South Carolina Senator Tim Scott. But since the indictments, voters have rallied around Trump.

“The majority of Republicans here are for Trump after this frickin’ legal lynching. That’s all it is,” state resident Merle Miller told The Messenger. “People here take the indictment personally.”

Trump has capitalized on the indictments, using them to stoke outrage—and rake in donations. His campaign announced in mid-June that it had raised $6.6 million in the week after his second indictment, in which the Department of Justice alleged that he had stored highly sensitive documents relating to national security in a bathroom. He raised more than double that in the days after he was indicted in April.

The former president has also surged in the polls since the second indictment. An NBC poll released on June 25 found that Trump had 51 percent support, a substantial lead over DeSantis, the current runner-up.

It is, of course, still nearly a year until the Iowa caucuses. Any number of things could change by then. But it’s safe to say that Trump has not been hurt by the indictments nearly as much as some expected.

More on Trump's (Second) Indictment

Joe Biden’s Not Giving Up On Student Debt Relief

The president will use the Higher Education Act to try to forgive billions in debt.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Despite the Supreme Court overturning his original plan to relieve up to $20,000 of student debt for up to 43 million people, President Joe Biden is already pursuing a new route to get it done.

On Friday, the president announced his plans to pursue a new plan under the Higher Education Act, or HEA, which allows him to direct the education secretary to “compromise, waive, or release loans under certain circumstances.”

While Biden’s previous plan invoked the Heroes Act to forgive debt, he is now relying on an act that was already pushed by Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, and others previously as a sound vessel to forgive billions in debt.

Scholars have argued the 1965 HEA, which gives the secretary of education the authority to collect debts, gives them the power to forgive the debts as well.

“This path is legally sound,” Biden said Friday. “It’s going to take longer, but in my view, it’s the best path that remains to provide for as many borrowers as possible with debt relief.”

Will Rudy Giuliani Flip on Trump?

The slavishly devoted Giuliani just met with Jack Smith. How worried should Donald Trump be?

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The former president’s legal problems continue to grow. On Friday, reports began to circulate that Donald Trump would soon be facing even more charges—as many as 45—relating to his mishandling of classified documents. These charges would be in addition to the 37-count indictment that was brought against Trump earlier this month. Per The Independent, the Department of Justice “has made preparations to bring what is known as a “superseding indictment”—a second set of charges against an already-indicted defendant that could include more serious crimes.” It’s unclear if these charges will be brought in Florida, where Trump is currently facing trial for the documents case, or in another location. It’s possible that special prosecutor Jack Smith and his team could bring them somewhere else as a hedge, given that Aileen Cannon, the judge overseeing the Florida case, is widely believed to be in the tank for the man who appointed her to her current station.

As bad as dozens of federal charges would be—45 new counts would bring the entire menu of state and federal charges Trump is currently facing to over 100 charges—Trump is now facing another serious threat. According to The Independent, Smith’s team is “ready to bring charges against several of the attorneys who have worked for [Trump], including those who aided the ex-president in his push to ignore the will of voters and remain in the White House despite having lost the 2020 election.” One of those lawyers is Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani has been one of Trump’s most slavish loyalists—he was also one of the biggest proponents of the lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Giuliani’s legal exposure is incredibly serious, and there are now signs that he may be about to flip on Trump.

Giuliani recently met with Smith in what is known as a “proffer.” These meetings sometimes, but not always, result in cooperation agreements. “They are a method by which white-collar defense lawyers seek to probe what the prosecutor’s interest is in the client and to see if they can assuage any suspicions by the prosecution that the client has committed crimes,” per The Daily Beast’s Shan Wu.

It’s unlikely that Giuliani has flipped on Trump—the meeting between him and Justice Department attorneys was likely preliminary in nature. Still, Giuliani was very involved in the plot to overturn the 2020 election and, as such, faces extreme legal risk. It’s not unthinkable that he would try to reach a deal with prosecutors in exchange for testifying against his former boss. In any case, Donald Trump should be very afraid.

This Has Been a Very Bad Week for the Supreme Court

Leaving 43 million people in debt and legalizing anti-gay discrimination apparently wasn’t nearly enough.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Supreme Court had a banner week: overturning affirmative action, ruling that it’s OK to discriminate against gay people, and blocking President Biden’s plan to relieve up to 43 million Americans from crippling debt.

But that apparently wasn’t enough: The Supreme Court made a number of smaller, but still abhorrent, decisions as well.

The court also spent the week deciding several cases to hear next term. One, US v. Rahimi, involves the question of whether a law barring people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from accessing guns violates the Second Amendment, a case that could allow domestic abusers to acquire and carry weapons. Women are five times more likely to die at the hands of a domestic abuser if the abuser has access to a gun. And the threats are all the more relevant in a country plagued with mass shootings. In almost half of shootings in which four or more people were killed, the shooter had shot an intimate partner or family member.

While the court decided to take up the question of whether to arm domestic abusers with these numbers, it also chose to deny hearing the appeal of a Black Mississippi man on death row who alleges that his conviction was the result of racist jury selection. In 2019, the court heard a similar case involving another Mississippi man, Curtis Flowers, who has since been exonerated. Flowers was on death row himself for almost 23 years, until the Supreme Court itself vacated the murder conviction he faced.

“The State’s relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals strongly suggests that the State wanted to try Flowers before a jury with as few black jurors as possible, and ideally before an all-white jury,” wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Now the court isn’t interesting in hearing another potential case of Mississippi racial jury stacking.

“Because this Court refuses to intervene, a Black man will be put to death in the State of Mississippi based on the decision of a jury that was plausibly selected based on race,” Sotomayor wrote, alongside Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. “The result is that Flowers will be toothless in the very State where it appears to be still so needed,” she added.

Finally, the court also refused to hear a pair of cases surrounding qualified immunity, which protects police officers from liability when they kill someone. In one, Lombardo v. City of St. Louis, the court would have ruled on whether police officers who held a hand- and leg-cuffed homeless man face down on the floor of a small holding cell and pushed into his back, killing him, would be entitled to qualified immunity. The preceding court, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled the city and police department weren’t liable because the victim, Nicholas Gilbert, apparently did not have the right “to be free of such force.”

Officers say Gilbert was resisting arrest. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent, said she would have vacated the Eighth Circuit’s ruling and asked the lower court to address the question “without assuming that Gilbert’s final movements were those of a dangerously noncompliant person posing a threat, rather than of a dying man struggling to breathe while adequately restrained by handcuffs and leg shackles and surrounded by six officers in a secure cell.”

In the other case, N.S. vs. Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, the same Eighth Circuit court ruled that a Kansas City police officer who shot in the back of the head and killed an allegedly unarmed, nonviolent Black man, who was peacefully surrendering, was shielded by qualified immunity.

That’s where things stand as the Supreme Court term ends: 43 million people forced into crippling debt; at least 24 million LGBTQ people now vulnerable to even more discrimination; wealthy, well-connected families still free to buy their kids into college; and a loud affirmation that so-called “bad apple” cops are free to be kings of the crop.

Abortion Will Be Almost Entirely Illegal in Indiana

Friday has not been a good day in America’s courts.

Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images
Abortion-rights protesters in Indiana’s state Capitol last year

On Friday, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the state’s abortion ban is constitutional, clearing the way for a ban passed by Republicans last year to take effect. The ban was the first in the nation to be passed in the aftermath of the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Indiana’s highest court superseded a county judge who ruled that the ban likely violates the Indiana Constitution. The previous ruling had stopped the ban, and left residents able to obtain abortions up to 20 weeks.

But with the state court’s ruling, that injunction is now gone.

The court wrote that while the state constitution “protects a woman’s right to an abortion that is necessary to protect her life or to protect her from a serious health risk,” the “General Assembly otherwise retains broad legislative discretion for determining whether and the extent to which to prohibit abortions.”

If the ban proceeds as planned, it will shut down all seven abortion clinics in the state and outlaw virtually all abortions. The ban only includes exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest before 10 weeks post-fertilization, to protect the life of the mother, or if a fetus is diagnosed with a lethal condition.

Any doctor who performs an abortion outside of those restrictive provisions would lose their medical license. Some Republicans like State Senator Mike Young have complained the bill’s enforcement provisions against doctors are not strict enough.

The abortion ban still faces another legal challenge on grounds that it violates people’s religious beliefs; the Supreme Court has left the argument to be considered by the state’s Court of Appeals for now. While a county judge has granted an injunction vis-à-vis that case, it reportedly only applies to the specific plaintiffs in the case.

The ban’s upholding comes after a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim traveled to Indiana for an abortion after Ohio banned abortions at the first detectable “fetal heartbeat.”