Sunday, September 18, 2022
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Let’s see. We’ll take an inflation report, primaries in three states, a White House celebration, a Trump update, another state abortion ban, and mix it all together into a murky political soup. All of these could be big issues in November, so don’t forget to grab some saltine crackers, and we’ll “brunch” on that this week.
“The Abortion Contortion” – This past week, West Virginia became the latest state to ban most abortions after Roe vs Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. The bill included limited exceptions for rape and incest, with adults having just eight weeks to report the crimes, to qualify for a hospital-provided abortion, whereas minors were given the termination right up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. “We’re going to work to save the lives of as many unborn children as we can,” said Republican Delegate Daniel Linville. “They’re just trying to pass bills to take away people’s rights and I don’t agree with that,” said Democrat Delegate Kayla Young, who is pro-choice. Governor Jim Justice (R) West Virginia signed the bill into law Friday. The issue will be up high in the November legislative elections.
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“What Were They Thinking???” – This year’s “Tin-Ear Award” for political deafness goes to the Biden administration. On Tuesday, it held a signing ceremony and celebration at the White House for the passage of the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.” The party was in the afternoon, but earlier in the morning, the latest monthly inflation number for August came out at 8.3 percent, after inflation was logged at 8.5 percent in July, and 9.1 percent in June. Those are all among the highest in history. Really? 8.3 percent calls for a celebration? Legendary singer James Taylor was there to sing, including his classic, “Fire and Rain.” Look, it’s an excellent song, but it’s about suicide and drug use, hardly a celebratory number about a modest dip in inflation. People across the land are struggling to pay their bills. This event was just tone-deaf. Most DC politicians, in both parties, have no idea how people in Nebraska are doing. This was a colossal failure.
“Primary Colors: The Latest Chapter” – After the Labor Day break, we are back to the final political primary season, with Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Delaware having held primaries on Tuesday, September 13. My colleagues at www.GoLocalProv.com have extensive coverage of the races in Rhode Island but let me weigh in on one race with national implications. With long-time Rep. Jim Langevin (D) Rhode Island retiring, (he is also the House Speaker Pro-Tempore), the District 2 seat is open. The GOP nominee is former Mayor Allan Fung (R) Cranston, facing State Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D) Rhode Island. With control of the U.S. House at stake, and possibly being decided by just one vote, this is a key national showdown race in November! Right now, it’s a toss-up! Keep an eye on it.
“New Hampshire, Damn Sure” – The state with the “first in the nation primary” is always a bellwether. Control of the U.S. Senate is a key issue this year, and the Granite State is crucial. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) New Hampshire is vulnerable and could be the one swing vote that pitches the Senate to GOP control. She is the Democratic nominee again. But the GOP primary was tough, as 2020 election denier Don Buldoc, narrowly defeated State Senate President Doug Morse (R) New Hampshire. Bolduc was the Trump candidate, with Morse the moderate. But this is a purple state, and many believed Morse had the better chance to unseat Hassan in November. We’ll see, but if the Democrats go 51-49 in the U.S. Senate, this could be the reason why.
“Another Granite State Gambit” – There was a fascinating U.S. House race in New Hampshire, too. Longtime TV journalist Gail Huff Brown ran in the District 1 Republican primary. She is a well-known anchor-reporter with a lot of name recognition from years of airtime in Boston, New Hampshire, Providence, and Washington, DC. She is also the wife of former Sen. Scott Brown (R) Massachusetts. The couple spent considerable time in the Granite State and now lives there full-time. Despite all the name buzz, Huff Brown finished third with 17 percent of the vote in a crowded ten-person field. Still, the GOP believes this is a seat it can flip from Democrats this year, in its quest to retake the House. The incumbent is Rep. Chris Pappas (D) New Hampshire, who has held the seat for two terms. But GOP nominee Karoline Leavitt has a legitimate shot. She is a 25-year-old former Trump White House aide, who won the primary with 34 percent of the vote in a “purple state.”
“Trump’s Trumps” – Whether you like former President Donald Trump or despise him (and there are plenty of both), you can’t deny his power and influence. This week a “Washington Examiner” article analyzed Trump’s influence in 2022. The Examiner says Trump endorsed 236 candidates this year, with 217 winning, and only 19 losing. That’s a 92 percent success rate, unheard of in U.S. political history. As I have predicted for weeks if Trump delivers control of the U.S. House and/or Senate to the Republican party, how can it deny him the 2024 presidential nomination, if he seeks it?
“The Business of Sharp Elbows” – We’ve all seen the continuous images of chaos at the Southern Border for years. So, it came as a surprise to Sen. Joe Manchin (D) West Virginia this week when Vice President Kamala Harris announced on NBC, “the border is secure.” This as people such as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) Texas, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Florida, were bussing immigrants to Illinois, Massachusetts, and other sanctuary states. Manchin pronounced on Fox News that VP Harris was “dead wrong” on her border assessment. It seems he can never make complete peace with the White House. But border security (or insecurity) remains a big issue with illegal drugs entering the U.S. Manchin represents the state with the highest overdose death rate in the nation. It’s a lightning rod issue here.
Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the seven Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia, its five neighboring states and the entire Washington, DC media market. He is also a MINDSETTER™ contributing political writer and analyst for www.GoLocalProv.com and its affiliates.
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