J. Patrick Coolican | Editor-in-Chief

Good morning. 

If you’re reading this while waiting in line at the GOP convention to get checked in, we feel you. 

Deena Winter wrote a fun, rollicking read on the convention, which is marked by this paradox: Republicans are on the cusp of winning in November — maybe even breaking their 16-year-long statewide losing streak — but they’re also a party riven with strife and intrigue: 

A flier that a longtime GOP activist posted to social media included a lengthy list of items Republicans have been asked to leave at home: sling shots, flamethrowers, potato guns, cowbells, radio jamming devices, large knives, animals, “excessive amounts” of zip-ties, irritant sprays (“unless personal”) and “hoards of insects.”

Remember, Republicans tend to nominate whoever they endorse at their convention, which puts this race in the hands of 2,200 or so delegates.

Grab your biggest bucket of popcorn. 

Yesterday we talked about the DFL contest in CD4, where Rep. Betty McCollum has drawn a tough challenger in Oromo progressive Amane Badhasso. Our new D.C. contributor Emma Loop has some fascinating campaign finance nuggets out of Badhasso’s robust fundraising, as well as an appearance by the legendary former Sen. Richard Cohen. Sharp look at the race before the Sunday convention, though a primary is all but certain. 

Max Nesterak reports that workers and labor leaders are calling on big developers to sign a binding agreement to uphold basic worker rights on their jobs sites and allow for independent investigators to monitor for compliance. This would help prevent subcontractors from exploiting workers, as they allege is happening just about everywhere including at the Viking Lakes development, as Max reported last week

From our D.C. bureau, the Jan. 6 committee has issued a subpoena to five members who refuse to testify about their activities leading up to the attempted coup. 

In commentary today, adman Sheldon Clay writes that Dems can win the culture war but they have to actually fight it and use the right simple, clear language. 

“I think the message is simple. They are lying to us. They will betray our trust. That’s a big enough organizing idea to call out everything from banning abortion to banning books, and of course the Big Lie itself.”

Perhaps easier said than done, but Clay sparks an interesting discussion about how Democrats can stop looking so weak and feckless in the face of the onslaught. 

Lies and lying liars

A high profile GOP consultant named Cliff Maloney has been charged with rape, and as we reported recently, he would seem to have ties to the campaign of Rep. Jeremy Munson, who is running for Congress in CD1. Munson told me Maloney was never a paid consultant, and that I wouldn’t see his name on past FEC reports or the next one. 

Well, then what’s “5411 LLC,” which received $11,500 from Munson’s campaign for fundraising and campaign management consulting? It’s Cliff Maloney’s firm

I asked Munson about it and will let you know if I hear back. 

Here’s what he told me when I asked about Maloney a couple weeks ago: “(Maloney) has helped liberty people connect and network and he has done that for me and hundreds of others across the country. I just learned of this decade-old incident with everyone else yesterday. It's shocking and I hope it finds a resolution soon.”

Just win

Courts have traditionally been reactionary institutions that stamped out civil rights laws in the 19th century and progressive economic policies in the 20th. The eventual acquiescence to New Deal legislation, and the subsequent civil rights victories during the Warren era should be viewed as anomalies, not the norm. Especially given the right-wing project that is reaching its fruition with the end of Roe, and conservative legal infrastructure that isn’t going anywhere. (And the movement that put Alito on the court isn’t finished, as Jamelle Bouie argues.) The upshot, Jonathan Chait argues, is that abortion rights will have to be secured not by judicial fiat, but by activism, persuasion and voting. 

Even if you hope to get a reversal in the courts, you need to win the presidency and some red state Senate seats. 

The ACLU’s wrong turn

Once a strong defender of free speech — including speech most find abhorrent — the ACLU has become little more than another run-of-the-mill progressive nonprofit group, with some dubious forays into politics and pop culture, including the recent Johnny Depp/Amber Heard debacle. Lara Bazelon, a self-described feminist, former public defender-turned-law professor, writes about how the ACLU lost its way

Generous Friday

David French is an evangelical Christian with conservative politics and with whom I disagree about most things, I’m sure, but kudos to him for pushing back against the right-wing hysteria gripping his party and political movement. Here he talked to Greg Sargent

“What makes the state of Total War even worse is that it’s motivated by a sense of perpetual persecution and victimization. What is the injury that Disney has inflicted? The injury for which Disney must be punished is opposition. It’s just speech. Disney’s speech is not victimizing Florida.”

And in an airy piece about political polarization, French makes a good point about partisan polarization. A lot of partisan anger is coming from people on both sides who are extraordinarily privileged. 

As the More in Common project notes, the most polarized Americans are disproportionately white and college-educated on the left and disproportionately white and retired on the right. The people disproportionately driving polarization in the United States are not oppressed minorities, but rather some of the most powerful, most privileged, wealthiest people who’ve ever lived. They enjoy more freedom and opportunity than virtually any prior generation of humans….”

So go out and enjoy all that freedom and opportunity this weekend and maybe put the phone down, though you should definitely follow @deenafaywinter on Twitter for GOP convention updates and look for Weekend Reformer, which we’ll include a dispatch from her. 

Correspond: patrick@minnesotareformer.com 

Have a great weekend! JPC

GOP conventions past dance gif. 


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