GOP Senators took their three weeks off, as the COVID death toll rises, Some left to campaign for re-election, others to disinform in support of IMPOTUS*. And then there’s Trump corrupting USPS in unprecedented election meddling. All the while, even Trump cannot condemn QAnon’s tacit escalation of Trumpian themes.
Michigan (Democratic held): Besides Alabama, this is Republicans’ best pickup opportunity. Yet the race keeps getting less competitive for them, in part because Republican candidate John James, an Iraq War veteran and conservative media darling, just hasn’t been able to gain traction against Sen. Gary Peters (D) despite James’s strong fundraising. And even though Trump narrowly won this state in 2016, polls this time show Biden with an average nine-point lead here.
Georgia’s special election (Republican held): After a retirement, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) was recently appointed to this seat. She’s having trouble keeping it, but not necessarily because of Democrats. Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R), who vocally defended Trump during impeachment, is challenging her for the seat. All the candidates, regardless of party, will be on the ballot in November. If no one gets above 50 percent, the top two will have a runoff in January. Democrats are hoping that one of their candidates, specifically Atlanta pastor Raphael Warnock, can squeeze into the top two. But if he does make it to a January runoff, he won’t have Biden at the top of the ticket to help him get out the Democratic vote. And while Georgia is an increasingly competitive state, it hasn’t yet proved to be a place where Democrats can win statewide.
Texas (Republican held): The same goes for Texas, though Democrats got close in 2018 when Beto O’Rourke came within 2.5 points of beating Sen. Ted Cruz (R). This time, Democrats recently nominated former congressional candidate and Air Force veteran MJ Hegar to try to take out Sen. John Cornyn (R). But Cornyn is a less polarizing senator than Cruz. And despite how rapidly diverse the Texas suburbs have become, Texas Democrats have yet to strike gold on a formula to get Latino Democrats and young voters consistently out to vote for them. The main reason this race is on our list is because it has, remarkably, tightened at the presidential level. Two recent polls show this basically a dead heat between Trump and Biden, which is not a position Trump or Cornyn want the president to be in less than three months from the election.
South Carolina (Republican held): Under normal circumstances, we’d be hard pressed to see how such a powerful senator, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R), could have a competitive race in a deep red, pro-Trump state. But Democrat Jaime Harrison has managed to raise millions, and now a Quinnipiac University poll out Thursday shows Harrison tied with Graham at 47 percent each. It suggests Trump’s struggles in dealing with the coronavirus are dragging down Graham, a prominent Trump ally. But Republicans are still questioning whether there are enough independents souring on Trump here to make a difference. It will almost certainly require Trump’s numbers dropping even more for Democrats to win in this state.
Kentucky (Republican held): We remain extremely skeptical Democrat Amy McGrath can unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), despite her massive fundraising. She has struggled trying not to alienate Trump voters here, and she had a stronger-than-expected primary challenger in the summer. Plus, McConnell’s priority is keeping the Senate majority, and that starts with his own race, in a state he knows how to win in. All that being said, Trump isn’t helping him do that. As the president’s numbers sink even in Kentucky, a Quinnipiac University poll has McConnell with a five-point lead over McGrath, which is narrower than some expected, and independents in Kentucky actually back McGrath right now, 46 points to 40 points. It will still take a historic Democratic tsunami to knock out McConnell though, like the other races at the bottom of this list.
Alaska (Republican held): Democrats are throwing their support behind independent Al Gross, a doctor and fisherman with money of his own to spend, as he tries to unseat Sen. Dan Sullivan (R), who narrowly beat a well-known Democrat six years ago to come to the Senate. Yet again, Trump’s handling of the coronavirus is the top reason it has the potential to be competitive. Alaska does have an independent streak and has elected Democrats to the Senate. But this state is also hard to poll.
A note about Kansas: The open Senate seat is another one Democrats think could flip in the right conditions, even after Republicans got their preferred candidate, Rep. Roger Marshall, through a primary this week over the much-weaker Kris Kobach. But the primary just happened, and we need to see more evidence of how the race between him and Barbara Bollier, a state senator who recently left the Republican Party, shapes up before it goes on the list again.
What more “deep state” thing is the USPS, much like the phone company of The President’s Analyst
- Social media exploded with reports from Oregon (photo up top, and here), Montana, Manhattan and Pennsylvania that the Postal Service was unbolting and hauling away mailboxes. “Some of the boxes scheduled to be removed from downtown Billings are nearly overflowing daily,” Julie Quilliam, president of the Montana Letter Carriers Association, wrote on Facebook, per AP. The Postal Service backed off yesterday, telling NBC News: “We are not going to be removing any boxes … After the election, we’re going to take a look at operations.”
- The WashPost scooped that the Postal Service sent letters July 29 to 46 states and D.C. “warning that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.” The Post said that could mean that even if people “follow all of their state’s election rules, the pace of Postal Service delivery may disqualify their votes.”
- And high-speed sorting machines are being yanked from processing plants
Russia and QAnon, this is telling:
Fortunately there’s only one QAnon candidate for the Senate and nine for the US House.
Analysis by NBC News found that three people took the original Q post and expanded it across multiple media platforms to build internet followings for profit. QAnon was preceded by several similar anonymous 4chan posters such as FBIAnon, HLIAnon (high level insider), CIAAnon, and WH Insider Anon.
According to Travis View, who has studied the QAnon phenomenon and written about it extensively for The Washington Post, the essence of the conspiracy theory is that:
“there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world, essentially, and they control everything. They control politicians, and they control the media. They control Hollywood, and they cover up their existence, essentially. And they would have continued ruling the world, were it not for the election of President Donald Trump. Now, Donald Trump in this conspiracy theory knows all about this evil cabal's wrongdoing. But one of the reasons that Donald Trump was elected was to put an end to them, basically. And now we would be ignorant of this behind-the-scenes battle of Donald Trump and the U.S. military—that everyone backs him and the evil cabal—were it not for 'Q.' And what 'Q' is—is basically a poster on 4chan, who later moved to 8chan, who reveals details about this secret behind-the-scenes battle, and also secrets about what the cabal is doing and also the mass sort of upcoming arrest events through these posts.”
A QAnon supporter is running for US Senate Jo Rae Perkins
Perkins won the primary on May 19, 2020, and will oppose the Democratic incumbent Senator Jeff Merkley in November for the general election. She finished with nearly fifty percent of the vote, well ahead of her three challengers. Perkins is a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory. During Perkin's victory speech, she repeatedly invoked a catchphrase associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory and expressed appreciation for the QAnon supporters whom she met during her campaign. In a victory video that was subsequently deleted, Perkins said, “I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the team. Thank you Anons, and thank you patriots. And together, we can save our republic.” In an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting a few days after the video was taken down, Perkins said she had removed the video under advice from a campaign consultant, that she regretted the removal, and that she continues to view the QAnon forums as one source of information among many that she values. Perkins has participated in the QAnon conspiracy theory since at least 2018. Larry McDonald, Perkins’ campaign manager, stated in May that Perkins only believed in facets of QAnon. In June, she took a 'digital soldier oath' inspired by QAnon promoter Michael Flynn.
Putin/Trump troll bots worked overtime to sow discord among Americans using QAnon beginning in 2016. If Putin didn’t create the QAnon theories, he most certainly used them effectively to divide Americans.