Thursday, March 1, 2018

Red Carpet Blues edition

On Sunday, actors and celebrities and luminaries of all stripes will don their finest duds and traipse along a long scarlet rug before settling in to their seats at the Oscars. All that finery will then spend several hours scrunched up in theater seats as small golden statues are doled out to various “bests”—picture, actor, director, etc.
But with 40 legislatures in session this week, there’s plenty to recognize state lawmakers for in the meantime. Behold—the Staties!
Best Special: This category had three contenders this week, with special elections to replace Republicans in a deep-red KentuckyHouse seat, a Connecticut House seat that had been held by the GOP for 44 years, and a New Hampshire House seat.
  • Democrats won two of these races, making them the 38th and 39th red-to-blue flips of the cycle.
    • The Connecticut House win was impressive in that it ended decades of Republican control of House District 120, but the New Hampshire victory in House District Belknap-3 is definitely the winner in this category.
    • Democrat Phil Spagnuolo won this race 54-46 percent—a 19-point swing from Trump’s performance in this district in 2016.
    • Also, this was Democrats’ fifth pickup in the New Hampshire House this cycle.
Best Swan Song: Speaking of special elections, the member of the Wisconsin Assembly who lost the Senate District 10 special election to Democrat Patty Schachtner in January (in Democrats’ 34th red-to-blue flip of the cycle) has decided not to run for reelection to the seat he currently holds.
Politicians, like diapers, should be changed often, and for the same reason.
Best Picture: Okay, it’s the worst picture, actually, since Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens took it without the consent of his mistress and threatened to make the nude photo public if she failed to keep mum about their affair.
… But it might qualify as Most Powerful Picture, in that this little photo has resulted in Greitens’ indictment on a felony charge and arrest.
  • Now members of his own party have launched an investigation that could lead to the Republican’s impeachment and removal from office.
  • On Monday, the GOP House speaker created a seven-member committee (five Republicans, two Democrats) to investigate the charges against Greitens.
Best Timing: But Missouri Republicans can walk and chew gum at the same time, in that they can investigate their governor AND work to screw working families at the simultaneously.
  • The state’s new so-called “right to work” law is set to appear on the ballot this November, when voters will have the chance to repeal it.
  • But now GOP lawmakers want the “right to work” repeal measure to appear on the ballot for the August primary instead—an election that is sure to bring fewer voters to the polls than the general election.
  • The GOP sponsor of the bill to move the RTW repeal from November to August claims that she just wants to give voters a chance to weigh in as soon as possible.
  • What Republicans really want to do is shrink the size of the electorate voting on this measure—a move that tends to reduce Democratic turnout and will likely result in fewer progressive voters showing up to cast ballots against this union-busting law.

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