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Exclusive: The 2024 Senate map is terrifying for Democrats. That’s one reason Georgia’s runoff matters. – TalkOfNews.com

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The 2024 Senate map is terrifying for Democrats. That’s one reason Georgia’s runoff matters.

#Senate #map #terrifying #Democrats #reason #Georgias #runoff #matters

Democrats prevailed in this year’s Senate elections — but that was the easy part.

The hard part is coming in 2024, when the party faces a starkly unfavorable map that could put them in a deep Senate hole for some time if things go even somewhat poorly.

So even though next week’s runoff pitting Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) against Herschel Walker (R) won’t determine next year’s Senate majority, because Democrats have already won it, its outcome will have significant implications for how well-positioned the party is in its next very challenging Senate cycle.

Currently, just three Democratic senators represent states Donald Trump won in 2020, and they’re all up for reelection in 2024. These are Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), though only Brown has confirmed he’s running again. These are all very red states, and winning them in a presidential year will be quite difficult for Democrats.

But the vulnerabilities go deeper. The only remotely close states in the presidential contest where Republicans are defending seats are Florida and Texas — two states where Democrats keep coming up short of late. Democrats are also defending seats in five states Joe Biden very narrowly won in 2020. These seats are held by Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Democrats might think they have nothing to worry about regarding this group of seats, because, look, the party just defied the naysayers in the tough year of 2022, winning at least one statewide contest in each of these — so clearly these states lean in their favor.

But it’s always a mistake to overread the results of the last election, and to underestimate how much things could change before the next one. Particularly if Trump is not the nominee again, the party coalitions could be scrambled in unpredictable ways. And even Trump came quite close to winning these states in 2020.

The Class of 2024

Senators serve six-year terms, so only one-third of the body is up for election each cycle. And the particular grouping of Senate seats (referred to as a “class”) up for election in 2024 has enjoyed a particularly charmed run for Democrats. You have to go all the way back to the 1994 GOP wave for a strong Republican performance. Since then, they’ve been on the ballot in the following years:

  • 2000: A closely fought presidential year in which Al Gore won the popular vote but George W. Bush won the Electoral College, and Democrats picked up four Senate seats on net
  • 2006: A Democratic wave year, in which the party retook both the House and the Senate, picking up six seats in the latter chamber
  • 2012: A strong Democratic year for Barack Obama’s reelection, in which the party unexpectedly expanded its Senate majority by two seats
  • 2018: Another Democratic wave year — but the party had won so many seats in deep red states in previous cycles that they had several incumbents in strongly Republican territory, so they ended up with a net loss of two seats

So this Senate class is risky for Democrats in part because they’ve had such good luck with it in the past. Nearly half of Democrats’ Senate majority — 23 sitting senators — come from this grouping of seats, so they’ll all be on the ballot in 2024. Meanwhile, only 10 Republicans will be up, though special elections could increase this number. That’s already a numerical disadvantage. But the disadvantage extends to which specific seats are up.

Which specific seats are up

To understand the extent of the Democrats’ challenge, it’s important to realize that the Senate has changed. In the past, it was common for a state’s voters to back Senate and presidential candidates from different parties. For instance, after the bitterly fought 2000 election, 30 of 100 sitting senators represented states that their party’s presidential nominee did not win in the most recent election. That’s a lot of ticket-splitting.

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Since then, that number has gradually dwindled, as red-state Democrats and blue-state Republicans have retired or gone down to defeat. When Trump took office, there were 14 such senators remaining. Next year, there will be either five or six (depending on whether Walker can unseat Warnock in Georgia’s runoff election). The Senate has sorted by partisanship.

Of course, very close states at the presidential contest can still go either way. But it’s gotten much tougher to defy partisan gravity in deeply Republican or Democratic states — especially in a presidential year. In 2016, zero states elected presidential and Senate candidates from different parties. In 2020, just one state did, as Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Joe Biden both won in Maine.

In 2024, all three Democratic senators representing states Trump won in 2020 — Manchin in West Virginia, Tester in Montana, and Brown in Ohio — are up.

A chart showing Democrats have 23 Senate seats up for election in 2024. Three are in states Trump won by large margins in 2020, and five more are in closely fought swing states.

Andrew Prokop/Vox

Manchin and Tester haven’t announced whether they’re running again. Both have repeatedly won in their respective states, though their victories in 2018 were narrow (they each won by about 3.5 percentage points). If either or both retire, Democrats would have immense difficulty finding nominees with comparable cross-partisan appeal. Brown has said he is running again, and Ohio isn’t quite as red as the other two states, but if Republicans can find a competent challenger, he’ll face a tough contest too.

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So that’s three seats where, per underlying partisanship alone, Democrats will have a hard go of it.

Then there are five swing states which, if recent history is any guide, are likely to have closely matched Senate and presidential outcomes.

In Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema has infuriated progressives and may face a primary challenge from Rep. Ruben Gallego. In Nevada, Jacky Rosen just saw her colleague Catherine Cortez Masto narrowly survive a very close contest in 2022. Then there are the well-liked Rust Belt incumbents Debbie Stabenow, Tammy Baldwin, and Bob Casey Jr.

None of them will start off as underdogs, and all could well survive. But again, much will likely depend on the presidential contest, and if that contest trends toward the GOP, several of these Senate seats could follow.

Next is a set of likely Democratic states — Maine, where independent Sen. Angus King caucuses with the Democrats; he is 78 and hasn’t announced whether he’s running again, Minnesota (Amy Klobuchar), Virginia (Tim Kaine), and New Mexico (Martin Heinrich). All start as the favorites, but these states aren’t so overwhelmingly Democratic that they’re absolutely certain to win.

Beyond that, Democrats will also have to defend the seat of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who is under federal investigation again. Menendez was previously indicted on public corruption charges in 2015, but his trial ended with a hung jury and the Justice Department gave up on the case. New Jersey is a solidly Democratic state but the party would probably feel better if their nominee wasn’t perennially a DOJ target.

Meanwhile, of the GOP-held seats up for election, only those held by Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are in remotely close presidential states.

A chart showing that Republicans are only defending 10 Senate seats in 2024, and they’re all in states Trump won in 2020.

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Andrew Prokop/Vox

Florida has been trending away from Democrats, as recently seen in Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio’s landslide reelection victories this month. Texas has been trending toward Democrats (Trump only won it by 5.6 percentage points in 2020, and Cruz won reelection by 2.6 percentage points in 2018), but still, Democrats haven’t won a statewide race there since 1994.

The takeaway

Democrats’ forbidding 2024 Senate math raises the stakes of the Warnock/Walker runoff in Georgia — if the party starts off with a 51-49 majority rather than a 50-50 one, they can at least afford to lose one seat next cycle without losing control.

That’s especially important because, in a presidential year, the party’s biggest challenge will be holding on to their three seats in deep red states — West Virginia, Montana, and Ohio. The first big question is whether Manchin and Tester will run again, and if they do, the next question is whether they can keep defying partisan gravity, as Collins did in 2020.

But an analysis based purely on statewide partisanship would suggest Democrats are likely to lose all three seats even in a great year for their presidential candidate and their party nationally. That’s the main reason holding the Senate will be so tough for them. The 2022 Senate map was, as I wrote last year, “relatively balanced,” but the 2024 map just isn’t. (And again, that’s mainly because Democrats have been so successful in these races previously, so they simply have more to lose.)

And if 2024 is not a good year for Democrats nationally? Well, then they could lose some or all of those five swing state seats, putting them at a serious deficit in the Senate that it could take many years to climb out of.

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Exclusive: Today in Supreme Court History: January 26, 1832 – TalkOfNews.com

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Today in Supreme Court History: January 26, 1832

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1/26/1832: Justice George Shiras Jr.’s birthday.

Justice George Shiras Jr.

The post Today in Supreme Court History: January 26, 1832 appeared first on Reason.com.

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Exclusive: Liberals Are Mad That McCarthy Named MAGA Republicans to Subcommittees on COVID and Government Weaponization – Good – TalkOfNews.com

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Liberals Are Mad That McCarthy Named MAGA Republicans to Subcommittees on COVID and Government Weaponization – Good

#Liberals #Mad #McCarthy #Named #MAGA #Republicans #Subcommittees #COVID #Government #Weaponization #Good

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced members named to two select subcommittees – one investigating the origins of COVID and another looking into the weaponization of the federal government – and Democrats are livid over the addition of certain MAGA lawmakers.

“The government has a responsibility to serve the American people, not go after them,” McCarthy said in a statement.

“The Members selected to serve on these subcommittees will work to stop the weaponization of the federal government and will also finally get answers to the Covid origins and the federal government’s gain of function research that contributed to the pandemic,” he added.

McCarthy notes that the weaponization subcommittee is necessary because congressional Democrats and the Biden administration engaged in a “dangerous pattern of the government being used to target political opponents while they neglected their most basic responsibilities.”

RELATED: Conservative Victory: Dan Crenshaw Loses Race To Chair Homeland Security Committee to Freedom Caucus Member Green

MAGA Members Named to House Select Subcommittees

A couple of names that showed up on the House select subcommittees raised the ire of Democrats, particularly those associated with the MAGA movement.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) continued reaping the fruits of a kinship with McCarthy that would make Frank Luntz blush, being named to the COVID-19 subcommittee.

Greene celebrated the appointment, stating her intention to investigate the role of gain-of-function research, the Democrat “authoritarian” lockdowns, the ineffective vaccines forced on the American people, and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s role.

Greene will also be sitting on the House Homeland Security and Oversight Committees.

Also named to the COVID subcommittee is former White House physician Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who has consistently challenged President Biden to undergo a mental fitness evaluation.

Jim Jordan (R-OH) will chair the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government after being rejected by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the January 6th panel.

RELATED: White House Terrified of MAGA Republicans Being Named to Committees Investigating Biden Administration

Liberals Aren’t Happy

Liberals on social media responded with outrage over MAGA Republicans representing their constituents on the select subcommittees.

Because see, it would be better to have completely partisan sham committees like the January 6th debacle.

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Democratic Congressman Don Beyer dismissed both panels as “devoted to conspiracy theories.”

This is fine by us, since these days “conspiracy theories” mostly just means “the media hasn’t admitted it yet.”

House Judiciary Democrats lambasted McCarthy for having “sold out our democracy to empower MAGA extremists.”

Richard Stengel, a former Obama administration official, also took the dismissive ‘conspiracy theory’ path.

The ‘Weaponization’ subcommittee, Stengel claims, is “a body that creates rather than investigates conspiracy theories and which will eventually undermine itself.”

We literally just watched the January 6th sham create highly directed and produced filmography rather than evidence, doctored actual evidence, created conspiracy theories, and admitted they wanted to tell people what they should believe.

If Democrats are mad about MAGA Republicans serving on committees to provide a counterpoint to Democrat and media lies, then McCarthy is most definitely doing the right thing.

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Exclusive: Why older mass shooters like the California gunmen are so rare – TalkOfNews.com

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Why older mass shooters like the California gunmen are so rare

#older #mass #shooters #California #gunmen #rare

The gunmen in both of the recent shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California, had an unusual profile compared to most perpetrators of violent crime: They were both senior citizens.

The Monterey Park gunman, who killed 11 and injured nine before fatally shooting himself, was 72. The Half Moon Bay gunman, who killed seven people before he was arrested in what police have characterized as an act of workplace violence, is 66.

Mass shooters of that age are rare, especially those with no prior criminal record, as was the case with the Half Moon Bay gunman. (The Monterey Park gunman had one arrest in 1990 for illegal possession of a firearm.) According to data from the National Institute of Justice, mass shooters between 1966 and 2021 were on average 34 years old, and those over the age of 60 accounted for a little over 3 percent of all mass shootings, which are defined as shootings in which four or more people are killed.

The notion that people “age out of crime” is one of the most well-documented phenomena in the field of criminology. The California shootings should be seen as exceptions to that principle, not as nullifying examples, according to Ashley Nellis, co-director of research for the Sentencing Project, which advocates for criminal justice reform.

“The predictability of age is probably the most reliable point of data that we have about people who commit violent crime. Young people are just substantially more likely, and by extension, older people are substantially unlikely, to commit crime,” Nellis said. “It’s certainly a cautionary note to anybody who would be jumping to make policy based on these two events.”

Research has repeatedly shown that criminal activity increases throughout teen years, reaches its highest point at age 17, the oldest that someone can be charged with a juvenile crime, and subsides thereafter throughout life. Property crime peaks at a slightly younger age than violent crime. But even chronic offenders would be statistically likely to stop committing crime by around the age of 40, Nellis said.

There are a lot of theories as to why that might be. Typical milestones associated with getting older, like graduating or getting married, may put people on a trajectory that veers away from criminality. Brain development isn’t complete until the mid-20s, hindering decision-making that might lead to crime and risky behavior. Young people have less financial security, and people in poverty are more likely to commit crimes. Some crimes might be physically demanding, and older people just might not have the strength to carry them out.

But both gunmen in the California shootings buck the archetype of a violent criminal, and their motives still aren’t entirely clear. Investigators have said that the Monterey Park shooter frequented the dance studio where he killed his victims and that the Half Moon Bay gunman, who lived and worked as a forklift driver at a mushroom farm, was angry at the coworkers he shot. Previously, there have been mass shooters as old as 70, including a gunman who opened fire at a church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and killed three people last June.

Though age can sometimes factor into the decision to impose a less harsh sentence on young offenders, the Half Moon Bay shooter’s advanced age won’t have any bearing on the length of his sentence, as is standard practice in the US.

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He will be charged with seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murder and sentencing enhancements for each count because of his use of a firearm, the San Mateo County district attorney announced Wednesday. If convicted on those charges, he could be facing up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. (He won’t face the death penalty, given that California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, placed a moratorium on executions in the state in 2019.)

Life sentences without parole have become increasingly common in the US over the last few decades. But Nellis argues the age of older offenders like the Half Moon Bay shooter should be considered a mitigating factor when making sentencing decisions — especially given that the use of executive clemency to release them early has become nonexistent, as she writes in a 2022 report.

“Regardless of age, somebody who does commit an act of violence like this is likely to be rehabilitated, be reformed, be ready to return to society within 10 years,” she said.

Recidivism is unlikely among older people, according to data from the US Sentencing Commission, and keeping them in prison comes at a high taxpayer cost, which includes health care bills that balloon at the end of life. It’s difficult to say how much those who’ll decide the fate of the Half Moon Bay suspect will take that data into account; his initial arraignment is Wednesday.

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