Corporate executive suites becoming less politically diverse; more Republican, less democratic

From the good folks over at the National Bureau of Economic Research:

Executive teams in U.S. firms are becoming increasingly partisan. We establish this new fact using political affiliations from voter registration records for top executives of S&P 1500 firms between 2008 and 2020. The new fact is explained by both an increasing share of Republican executives and increased assortative matching by executives on political affiliation. Departures of politically misaligned executives are value-destroying for shareholders, implying the increasing political polarization of corporate America may not be in the financial interest of shareholders.

No big shock here. Large corporations are putting out press releases touting how progressive they are, but behind the scenes they support the worst right-wing politicians and their political action committees.

Even in Massachusetts, Republican moderation is dying

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), the organization for LGBTQ Republicans and their straight GOP allies.

The group has been around since the 1970s when it was formed to fight the Briggs Initiative in California, which would have barred gay men and lesbians from being teachers.

That referendum was defeated by the voters, thanks in large part to the fact that Republican then-Governor Ronald Reagan came out publicly against it.

It is thought that LCR did much work behind the scenes to rally opposition to Briggs among Republicans. It had to be behind the scenes because, at the time, public support for homosexuality was thought to be risky even for Democrats. For Republicans it was almost unheard of.

After the Briggs defeat, I think even a lot of LGBTQ Democrats had high hopes for LCR, which pushed the notion of being “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

At that time there were far greater numbers of what one might call “reasonable Republicans” who thought that the loonies of the religious Right, including former Miss America Anita Bryant, were embarrassments who were pulling the GOP away from its primary purpose of making sure corporations had as much power as was politically possible,

Of course, things did not turn out as hoped for, at least in terms of the people who ran LCR in the late ’80s and early ’90s when I first started writing about them in Boston. Back then, LCR dreamed of pulling the GOP to the center on social issues. By all means, be as right-wing as you want to be on corporatism. But, at the very least, don’t waste valuable party time on the culture wars.

I’ve been thinking about all of this because a couple of weeks ago I wrote about the GOP gubernatorial primary in Massachusetts, where a pro-Trump election denier was running against a more traditional pro-business Republican.

If there is any state in the union where Republicans could feel free to throw off the shackles of Trumpism and elect sane Republicans, it would be Massachusetts.

Everyone who thought that was wrong. Even in Massachusetts, Republican voters chose Geoff Diehl, the crazy Trump candidate.

In one sense, it is good because, while the statewide electorate in the Bay State will elect Republicans to the governorship — Bill Weld, Mitt Romney, Charlie Baker — they are not likely to choose a Trump crazy over Democrat Maura Healey.

In another sense, it is a very bad sign because in Massachusetts, arguably the home of the “reasonable” Republican, political moderation is on life support.

Mass. GOP primary winner Geoff Diehl will face Democrat Maura Healey.

Brett Favre’s alleged involvement in stealing funds meant for poor people just gets shadier and shadier

It never ceases to amaze me the ways that powerful well-to-do people will try to work the system in their favor even if it means taking money from poor people in the poorest state in the union — with the (alleged) added assistance of a powerful Republican then-governor.

Text messages entered Monday into the state’s ongoing civil lawsuit over the welfare scandal reveal that former Gov. Phil Bryant pushed to make NFL legend Brett Favre’s volleyball idea a reality.

The texts show that the then-governor even guided Favre on how to write a funding proposal so that it could be accepted by the Mississippi Department of Human Services – even after Bryant ousted the former welfare agency director John Davis for suspected fraud.

“Just left Brett Favre,” Bryant texted nonprofit founder Nancy New in July of 2019, within weeks of Davis’ departure. “Can we help him with his project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course.”

When Favre asked Bryant how the new agency director might affect their plans to fund the volleyball stadium, Bryant assured him, “I will handle that… long story but had to make a change. But I will call Nancy and see what it will take,” according to the filing and a text Favre forwarded to New.

The newly released texts, filed Monday by an attorney representing Nancy New’s nonprofit, show that Bryant, Favre, New, Davis and others worked together to channel at least $5 million of the state’s welfare funds to build a new volleyball stadium at University of Southern Mississippi, where Favre’s daughter played the sport. Favre received most of the credit for raising funds to construct the facility.

This is in addition to the $77 million in additional funds for the needy that were allegedly misspent by a shady non-profit with Republican connections.

$77 million + $5 million in a dirt-poor state like Mississippi would have helped an awful lot of needy people.

Note also that Mississippi’s current GOP Gov. Tate Reeves “abruptly fired the attorney bringing the state’s case when he tried to subpoena documents related to the volleyball stadium.”

Reeves famously hates poor people and helped precipitate and then ignore the water crisis engulfing poor Jackson, Miss. residents.

Meanwhile, Favre appears to be so crooked I fully expect him to run for Republican office in the near future. The GOP base LOVES Republicans who cheat poor Black people and then paint the poor Black people with the age-old racist brush of being shifty and lazy.

Sports hero Brett Favre is alleged to have misappropriated funds meant for the needy to instead build a state-of-the-art volleyball complex at the university where his daughter attends.

Election challenge for 2022 and 2024: try to figure out why polls were so wrong and how to correct for it

There is one nightmare that must make Democratic election operatives wake up in cold sweats: much of the presidential polling was wrong in 2016 and again in 2020. Some of the biggest polls overstated Democratic support in both elections.

How and why this happened — and how to adjust for it in polling — is still somewhat of a mystery.

The New York Times debuts a newsletter today called The Tilt by Nate Cohn. (Sign up here.) Cohn examines in the inaugural edition of the newsletter these vexing questions.

Ahead of the last presidential election, we created a website tracking the latest polls — internally, we called it a “polling diary.” Despite a tough polling cycle, one feature proved to be particularly helpful: a table showing what would happen if the 2020 polls were as “wrong” as they were in 2016, when pollsters systematically underestimated Donald J. Trump’s strength against Hillary Clinton.

The table proved eerily prescient. Here’s what it looked like on Election Day in 2020, plus a new column with the final result. As you can see, the final results were a lot like the poll estimates “with 2016-like poll error.”

We created this poll error table for a reason: Early in the 2020 cycle, we noticed that Joe Biden seemed to be outperforming Mrs. Clinton in the same places where the polls overestimated her four years earlier. That pattern didn’t necessarily mean the polls would be wrong — it could have just reflected Mr. Biden’s promised strength among white working-class voters, for instance — but it was a warning sign.

That warning sign is flashing again: Democratic Senate candidates are outrunning expectations in the same places where the polls overestimated Mr. Biden in 2020 and Mrs. Clinton in 2016.

Cohn goes on to note:

The pattern of Democratic strength isn’t the only sign that the polls might still be off in similar ways. Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision on abortion, some pollsters have said they’re seeing the familiar signs of nonresponse bias — when people who don’t respond to a poll are meaningfully different from those who participate — creeping back into their surveys.

Brian Stryker, a partner at Impact Research (Mr. Biden is a client), told me that his polling firm was getting “a ton of Democratic responses” in recent surveys, especially in “the familiar places” where the polls have erred in recent cycles.

None of this means the polls are destined to be as wrong as they were in 2020. Some of the polling challenges in 2020 might have since subsided, such as the greater likelihood that liberals were at home (and thus more likely to take polls) during the pandemic. And historically, it has been hard to anticipate polling error simply by looking at the error from the previous cycle. For example, the polls in 2018 weren’t so bad.

Some pollsters are making efforts to deal with the challenge. Mr. Stryker said his firm was “restricting the number of Democratic primary voters, early voters and other super-engaged Democrats” in their surveys. The New York Times/Siena College polls take similar steps.

My biggest fear is that the overstating of Democratic support will depress turnout among progressive voters. These polling mistakes only prove that, no matter how much you think Democrats are ahead, all of us need to get out and vote every time.

Source: New York Times.

Why is a rogue’s gallery of MAGA Republicans reportedly supporting a federal marriage equality bill?

The fact that there is a piece of pro-gay legislation that is allegedly attracting the support of Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) makes me suspicious.

Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, said he expects there will be enough support from his party to pass a marriage equality bill this month.

Democrats have not yet attracted the 10 Republican senators they need to pass the bill in the evenly divided chamber, but negotiators are making progress, Tillis said.

The legislative push to codify same-sex marriages comes after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the high court reconsider the decision establishing a marriage right. Polling shows adult Americans strongly favor marriage equality, potentially giving Democrats a wedge issue if Republicans block the measure.

Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine are leading the talks, which now center on an amendment addressing religious liberties. Tillis said he and some of his GOP colleagues are generally supportive of what’s currently being discussed.

“We’ve made progress with the drafting,” he added. “I think we’ve addressed a lot of the religious freedom questions that some had and we think we’re going to move it this month.”

Asked if he thinks there would be at least 10 Republican supporters, Tillis responded, “yes.”

But Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, one of the few Republicans who have endorsed the bill, expressed caution. “I don’t know yet,” he said Tuesday evening. “We have a meeting tomorrow with some of us to talk about it, but it’s still uncertain.”

I’ll wait to see what’s in the “religious liberty” part of this to see what Democrats are giving away in exchange for the support of such a weird collection of MAGA Republicans.

Or perhaps the Republicans all have LGB or T loved ones.

But something is definitely up behind the scenes to account for these strange bedfellows.

Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), left, and Susan Collins (R-ME) are spear-heading an effort to codify same-sex marriage rights into law before the Supreme Court has a chance to overturn its previous key gay rights decisions.

Even in liberal Massachusetts, will Republicans support the Trumpiest of candidates?

Now and then I hear someone suggest that many Republicans, if given the chance to vote in secret, would reject Trumpism and support many progressive initiatives. But they are beholden to the crazies in their party and therefore have to “vote extremist,” if you will.

To them I always say: look at Massachusetts.

If there is any state where Republicans could adopt 100% the “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” model that some moderate Republicans espouse, why are so many Bay State Republicans supporting the Trumpiest of Trump candidates? After all, this is the state of William Weld and Charlie Baker, two MA governors who tried (and often failed) to walk the tightrope over the chasm that exists between GOP extremism and responsible governing.

Today is primary day in Massachusetts, so we’ll soon see just how deep MAGA goes in what is arguably the most liberal state in America.

Massachusetts Republicans are weighing which candidate has the best chance of keeping the governor’s office in GOP hands as they vote in Tuesday’s primary: a former state lawmaker endorsed by Donald Trump or a political newcomer who’s cast himself as the more moderate choice.

Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty are vying for the chance to replace incumbent Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who’s opted not to seek a third term.

Democrats have a simpler decision. Attorney General Maura Healey — she would become the first woman and first openly gay candidate elected governor if she wins — is facing no challengers after the only other Democrat on the ballot dropped out of the running.

Republican voters in the state will become just the latest to decide whether the party will further embrace Trumpism or is ready to move back toward the center. In recent primaries in other blue states like Maryland and Connecticut, GOP voters have nominated Trump loyalists, hurting the party’s chances of winning against a Democrat in the November general election.

Diehl, the favorite among state Republican Party delegates in Massachusetts, has ties to Trump stretching to 2016, when he served as co-chair for Trump’s presidential campaign in the state. Trump lost Massachusetts by almost 30 percentage points in his two presidential campaigns. Diehl has also opposed COVID-19 protocols and hailed the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

Doughty, a businessman, said he supported some of Trump’s initiatives but wants to focus on challenges facing Massachusetts, which he said is increasingly unaffordable.

Diehl has come to embrace Trump’s false claims that he lost the 2020 election. Diehl said last year that he didn’t think it was a “stolen election” but later said the election was rigged, despite dozens of courts, local officials and Trump’s own attorney general saying the vote was legitimate. Doughty, meanwhile, has said he believes President Joe Biden was legitimately elected.

There are no “good Republicans,” and I’ve voted for a few in my lifetime. Bill Weld was a good Republican when I lived in Boston. In fact, I wrote the editorial endorsing him (for governor) in the pages of the newspaper where I was managing editor. But there are no Bill Welds coming to save the Republican Party.

Trump and MAGA own the Republican Party. And a vote for any Republican, even a “moderate” one, is to give strength to Donald Trump and his anti-democratic movement.

If chosen today by the Mass. GOP as its candidate, Trump Republican Geoff Diehl will face in the race for governor Democrat Attorney General Maura Healey, who would be the first female and first openly gay governor of Massachusetts.

Mostly black Mississippians helpless as water crisis deepens in Jackson

The Washington Post has a sad article up about the water crisis in Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson, and I was shocked when I ran across this:

Experts say this crisis was years in the making, a result of inadequate funding for essential infrastructure upgrades. For the past year, leaders of this majority-Black, Democrat-led city have pushed for additional funding from the White Republicans who run the state. Little has come of those appeals.

I’m not shocked because it’s not true. I’m shocked because editors at papers such as WaPo usually won’t let that kind of indictment of white neglect toward black citizens be spoken so clearly.

It’s also clear that whites (who make up 58 percent of the state) are in complete control and have ignored the problems of black Mississippians (who make up 38 percent of the state). Mississippi has a long history of active and passive racism stretching back to the days of slavery, right through to the present. Earlier this year, KKK pamphlets were left over the span of two months on black residents’ property and on the steps of a black church in Hernando in rural DeSoto County.

This is a state where white supremacism runs deep.

So it ought not be too surprising that white Republican state leaders would sit back while the Jackson water crisis has been slowly ruining the lives of black Jackson residents.

Benny Ivey, a white plumber and co-director of the group Strong Arms of Jackson, said the city’s water crisis is finally getting the national exposure it deserves.

“We have people really seeing what’s going on,” Ivey said. “I’m glad that the governor and other people are finally saying something about this and saying they’re going to do something about it. But … we’ll see if they put money where their mouth is.”

As a plumber, Ivey knows the city’s crumbling water infrastructure well.

“There’s always water lines breaking and sewer lines breaking,” he said. “I’ve had situations where I have my guys replace a sewer line from the house to the road and you get to the road and find out the city’s line is messed up and the city makes the homeowner bust the road up, fix the line in the road and then asphalt the road. What kind of place does that?”

Ivey grew up in South Jackson but moved to a suburb in nearby Rankin County.

“No gunshots, good water, good sewer,” Ivey said of Florence, Miss., the city where he lives. “It’s like night and day.”

Crazy. Just crazy.

And it’s only going to get worse as the Republican-led U.S. Supreme Court stands ready to strike down even more parts of the Voting Rights Act that have blocked southern whites from building barriers to black voting in the Deep South.

One of the right-wing’s most important money sources has dried up, further jeopardizing mid-term elections for GOP

The late multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson revolutionized, in many ways, trade shows and casino management.

He was also one of the most reliable money spigots for Republicans and right-wing causes.

Sheldon Adelson gave more than a half-billion dollars in the last decade to GOP super PACs alone.

Sheldon’s wife Miriam is a bit of an anomaly in that she was an emergency room physician and substance abuse researcher before she married Sheldon. Although a right-winger when it comes to her native Israel, there were always clues she probably didn’t enjoy having to give money to, and rubbing shoulders with, the under-educated rabble of America’s right-wing GOP.

Well, now that Sheldon is dead, that gusher of money to the GOP and GOP causes has almost dried up.

Republicans aren’t seeing as many big checks from one of their most generous benefactors, creating a financial hole for the GOP just as Democrats get a fundraising windfall tied to abortion.

Miriam Adelson along with her late husband Sheldon Adelson were the party’s biggest donors over the past decade. But her only major contribution in the current election cycle is the $5 million she donated in July to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC that backs House GOP candidates.

The couple, the largest shareholders of casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp. and a long-time bugaboo to Democrats, donated $524 million to the party’s super PACs, committees and candidates between 2011 and 2020. They were high-profile backers of former President Donald Trump, who awarded Miriam the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018.

But since her husband’s death in January 2021, Miriam Adelson, a 76-year-old physician, has largely eschewed the in-person events with politicians that typically conclude with big donations, according to two people familiar with her activity who asked not to be identified. Miriam, who spends much of her time in Israel, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Good for her. I’d stop giving money to the leeches of the American GOP, too, the second I had the chance.

Miriam, who never really liked leaving Israel for America, is no idiot. She knows deep down that if much of the GOP had its way, Jews would be second-class citizens. And the only reason many extremists in the GOP love Israel is because they think it will be the place where Armageddon begins.

If I had the chance, I would also decamp for Tel Aviv in my golden years. It’s an amazingly vibrant, interesting city filled with wonderful people. As long as you don’t piss them off in traffic. As you do regularly if you ride a scooter anywhere in Tel Aviv and the old city.

The late Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson.

GOP Sen. Rick Scott is trashing Mitch McConnell

My Thursday has been so-so until I read this story about Sens. Rick Scott and Mitch McConnell having a pissing match.

The Senate’s Republican campaign chief on Thursday appeared to escalate an ugly quarrel with the party’s longtime leader in the chamber, Senator Mitch McConnell, in the latest sign of the G.O.P.’s eroding confidence about winning back the majority in November.

Without naming Mr. McConnell, Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, lashed out in a blistering opinion piece in The Washington Examiner at Republicans he said were “trash-talking” the party’s candidates, an apparent reference to comments last month in which Mr. McConnell said that “candidate quality” could harm the G.O.P.’s chances of retaking the Senate. Mr. Scott called such remarks “treasonous” and said those who make them should “pipe down.”

“Unfortunately, many of the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle are now trying to stop us from winning the majority this time by trash-talking our Republican candidates,” Mr. Scott wrote. “It’s an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause.”

Woo-hoo! GOP in-fighting is fun!

McConnell did more than make a pact with the Devil. He’s been the Devil’s butler, as he aided and encouraged his party’s wild swing to the extreme right because it served his purposes of packing the Supreme Court, and obstructing Democratic agendas.

Now it’s come back to bite him in the ass, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

And if it serves to keep the Senate in Democratic hands, all the better.

And, because we should never pass up the opportunity to point this out again: Rick Scott was the leader of the company with the largest Medicare fraud case in history.

DeSantis campaign starts spreading QAnon lies about Democrats allegedly coddling pedophiles

Judd Legum over at Popular.Info has really pissed off Ron DeSantis’ people because Legum had the temerity to point out that DeSantis is trafficking in egregious pedophile lies about a Latina lieutenant governor candidate in Florida:

Yesterday’s Popular Information newsletter exposed that DeSantis, his campaign, and the Florida Republican Party were smearing a political rival — Karla Hernández, Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Florida, DeSantis and his operatives were claiming that, as president of a teachers union, Hernández “protected a sexual predator for years and accompanied him through numerous investigations into his sexual assaults of multiple students.” The truth, as Popular Information documented, is that Hernández did nothing to protect the sexual predator, Wendell Nibbs, and never accompanied him to any investigative hearing or proceeding.

The DeSantis campaign did not respond to Popular Information’s request for comment prior to publication. Instead, after publication, the DeSantis campaign repeatedly attacked Popular Information on Twitter and accused this newsletter of promoting “disinformation.” On the campaign’s official Twitter account, @DeSantisWarRoom, it attacked Popular information at least 9 times. These tweets were then amplified by campaign staffers, including Director of Rapid Response Christina Pushaw.

The DeSantis campaign suggested Popular Information’s report that Hernández took office as president of the Miami-Dade teachers’ union (UTD) on May 2016 was inaccurate. Popular Information’s report, however, is correct. Hernández was elected to the position in March 2016 and took office two months later.

The exact date that Hernández took office is irrelevant to the very serious allegations the DeSantis campaign made against Hernández. But the DeSantis campaign is unable to provide any evidence to back up its claims. The Orlando Sentinel asked the DeSantis campaign to substantiate its allegations, and it did not go well:

Asked what proof the governor had for the basis of his allegations, Bryan Griffin, the governor’s press secretary, deferred the question to campaign staff.

The campaign sent a flyer from the Republican Party of Florida that repeated the allegation that Hernandez-Mats protected Nibbs and a Miami Herald article about the investigation, which also described his support of her candidacy for union president in 2016, but nothing that showed she protected Nibbs or hindered the investigation.

DeSantis is much more dangerous than Trump has ever been because DeSantis is not a moron, but also because DeSantis can give Trump a run for the money in terms of lacking any moral center whatsoever.

This tendency for DeSantis to readily disseminate QAnon-inspired lies about Democrats being pedophile-enablers — even when confronted with proof they are lies — proves that DeSantis will do anything to get elected.

DeSantis really scares me because he is probably the cunning and capable proto-fascist about which billionaires on the American extreme Right have daydreamed. Last time they made the mistake, by default mostly, of backing an idiot.

They aren’t making that mistake again.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, left, is running against Ron DeSantis in Florida. Beside Crist in his running mate, Karla Hernandez, who is being smeared QAnon-style as a pedophile-enabler by the DeSantis campaign.