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Exclusive: How the GOP’s Bitter Arizona Senate Primary Will Be a Test of Trump’s Power



How the GOP’s Bitter Arizona Senate Primary Will Be a Test of Trump’s Power

#GOPs #Bitter #Arizona #Senate #Primary #Test #Trumps #Power

For months a Peter Thiel–backed venture capitalist, a multimillionaire former energy executive, and Arizona’s attorney general have been duking it out to win Donald Trump’s affection in the state’s Republican Senate primary. Last week, the former president finally made his pick, giving the coveted endorsement to Blake Masters, the Thiel protégé, who most recently made headlines for blaming America’s “gun violence problem” on “Black people, frankly.” Masters is still polling in third behind ex-energy executive Jim Lamon, who falsely identified himself as a 2020 state elector in a failed attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s win, and state A.G. Mark Brnovich, who is overseeing Arizona’s investigation into 2020 “election fraud.”

The winner of this race will go on to play a key role in the GOP’s attempt to flip the Senate this cycle; Senator Mark Kelly is among Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents. But the August 2 primary also serves as another test of Trump’s political capital. In a state where many conservatives have embraced the “America First” agenda and bought into some of the most outlandish claims about the 2020 election—but where Trump failed to turn out enough voters to beat Biden—it’s an open question whether Trump’s grasp on the primary base will be able to pull a political neophyte into the Senate.

If Trump succeeds, it will be hailed as a repeat of the Senate race in Ohio, where J.D. Vance of Hillbilly Elegy fame, a fellow Thiel disciple who had been trailing in the polls, won a contentious primary after receiving a last-second endorsement from the former president. Before receiving Trump’s blessing, Masters failed to attract much national attention, even as he rolled out numerous controversial stunts aimed at appealing to Trump’s base. (Though, Tucker Carlson, the unofficial spokesman for ideological Trumpism, endorsed Masters last year and has featured him on his Fox News program several times.) He has never led, trailing both Lamon and Brnovich in voter surveys conducted throughout the race; a Monday poll fielded after Trump announced his decision showed Lamon in the lead, with Brnovich down one point, Masters trailing by five points, and 36% of respondents still undecided. (This latest polling data was not made available to the public.)

But Arizona is a notably different state than Ohio. Prior to the 2018 election, Republicans held every statewide office in Arizona, but their power has been waning ever since Trump’s takeover of the party. This slate of Republican candidates are diametrically opposed to the more traditional conservatives who previously held Arizona’s highest offices, such as Jeff Flake, Jon Kyl, and the late John McCain, Mike Noble, chief of research at OH Predictive Insights, a nonpartisan polling and political consulting firm based in Phoenix, tells Vanity Fair. Noble points to the state’s independent voters, who he says make up between 16 and 18% of the electorate and make it harder for extreme candidates from either party to win statewide. “This is the same state that had Maverick John McCain for decades. Now there’s this new brand, this Trump approach,” Noble said, going on to ask, rhetorically, “when you look at the wins and losses, I mean, which one is the better route?” (Only one candidate in the field, Arizona National Guard official Mick McGuire, seems to be running as a moderate option who has rejected Trump’s “stolen election” claims.)

Perhaps Masters, himself, while on a New York radio show in March, explains his gamble best: “John McCain, rest his soul––it’s not his Republican Party in Arizona anymore.”

Like Vance, Masters has spent most of his adult life at elite academic institutions and tech investment firms, despite now running as a populist, everyman candidate. Per Masters’s own telling, Thiel plucked him out of obscurity after the two met at Stanford Law, where Masters attended one of Thiel’s lectures. The two coauthored a book on tech start-ups and Masters went on to work in various parts of Thiel’s tech empire––his only post-college work experience, aside from a software startup that the billionaire also invested in––becoming the COO of Thiel Capital, a position he still holds.

Both Vance’s and Masters’s campaigns were kick-started by exuberant donations from Thiel, with the tech billionaire giving $13.5 million to a Masters super PAC. Both focus on conservative culture-war issues, but openly avow some more traditionally left-wing positions, such as anti-interventionism abroad, support for child subsidies, and a desire to reindustrialize the U.S. This “America First” worldview places Masters firmly in the sphere of the “New Right,” a movement of nationalists opposed to Big Tech, free trade, and the Washington establishment’s hawkish foreign policies.

That Vance was able to eke out a victory, despite trailing significantly in the early months of his primary, might go a long way to explain Trump’s endorsement. Jason Rose, a political consultant based in Arizona, suggested that Trump’s decision has to do with Thiel’s deep pockets and close relationship with Trump. “Here you have some rich dude from Northern California who waltzes in and says, ‘I’m going to buy a U.S. Senate seat,’” said Rose, who is a longtime Brnovich supporter. “You’ve got someone else stepping in to orchestrate this Trump endorsement, and without Thiel, Masters would be an asterisk in this race.”



Exclusive: Chuck D Reacts After 'Jeopardy!' Player Forgets Public Enemy –




Chuck D Reacts After 'Jeopardy!' Player Forgets Public Enemy

#Chuck #Reacts #039Jeopardy039 #Player #Forgets #Public #Enemy

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Exclusive: Beyoncé explains why she created Renaissance alongside epic new photo –




#Beyoncé #explains #created #Renaissance #epic #photo

We now know a bit more about Beyoncé‘s forthcoming new album, Renaissance.

The superstar singer posted an ethereal photo of herself upon a see-through horse on her Instagram account on Thursday (Friday morning AEST), captioned with some insight.

“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” Beyoncé wrote.

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“It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom.

“It was a beautiful journey of exploration.”

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She released her first single, Break My Soul, from the new album last week and it became a quick hit.

The dance track was co-produced by the same team who brought us Single Ladies – Tricky Stewart and The-Dream. Jay-Z is also on the writing credits, as are the writers of Robin S’s 1993 hit Show Me Love, which is prominently sampled in the song.

In an apparent slight to major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the song initially appeared only on Tidal – the streaming service co-owned by Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z – three hours before its announced release time of midnight in the US, and on Vevo/YouTube an hour or so later.

Beyoncé has a history of this: her 2016 Lemonade album was available only on Tidal for three years.

Renaissance, the singer’s long-expected seventh album, is set to come out on July 29.

Beyoncé’s last full-length album was Lemonade in 2016 – the singer has actually released four albums since this blockbuster outing, although none of them are full Beyoncé solo albums.

Beyonce released the first new song, Break My Soul, off the album last week (Getty)

“I hope you find joy in this music,” she said on Instagram.

“I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.”

Fans have already sleuthed information suggesting the album will contain 16 tracks, and signs of a multi-part release are clear from the billing as “Act 1”.

Sources told Variety the album will feature both dance and country-leaning tracks, with contributions from hit songwriter Ryan Tedder, who co-wrote Beyoncé’s 2008 hit Halo as well as hits for Adele, Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers and Tedder’s own group, OneRepublic.

The new song initially appeared only on Tidal – the streaming service co-owned by Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z (Instagram / @beyonce)

Also said to be involved is Raphael Saadiq, who has crafted hits for Mary J Blige, D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Andra Day as well as his own excellent solo albums, and executive-produced A Seat at the Table, Beyoncé’s sister Solange’s widely praised 2016 album.

– Reported with CNN and Variety.

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Exclusive: See Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin in First Look at Apple TV+ Series –




See Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin in First Look at Apple TV+ Series

#Michael #Douglas #Benjamin #Franklin #Apple #Series

Michael Douglas is stepping into the shoes of renowned inventor, politician and writer Benjamin Franklin.

Apple TV+ shared a first look at the actor in the upcoming series Franklin June 30. In the photo, Douglas wears a long white wig and 18th century attire as he stands by a window, deep in thought. 

This is one of the first times Douglas has starred in a period piece, having previously played businessmen and other modern figures in moves like Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction and A Perfect Murder.

But executive producer Tony Krantz said his lack of experience in the genre doesn’t show. “Michael’s become the role, transforming his physicality, voice, cadence. And his humor is so much fun,” Krantz told Entertainment Weekly. “I think people will see one of Michael Douglas’ greatest performances ever in this project.”

The series will chronicle Franklin’s efforts to garner the support of the French monarchy during the American Revolution. At the time, the inventor was 70 and had little experience in diplomacy. 

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