We’re one week out from the election…
And here’s what’s cooking:
DEMOCRAT IN-FIGHTING: Democrats may have a problem on their hands. Since the election, the party has been in chaos. Today, a group of “[Environmental] Justice Democrats” protested inside Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding action on climate change. And incoming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, (the media’s new favorite socialist) showed up to “rally” the protesters. Will Pelosi secure the votes needed for Speaker? Claire McCaskill said it best. “Crazy Democrats” could be a big problem.
And get this…Pelosi isn’t just facing attacks from her left from radicals like Ocasio-Cortez. A group of 13 so-called “moderate” Democrats were elected after promising voters they would NOT vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. Winning elections is sometimes the easy part. Actual governing is much more difficult. Just ask Republicans…
KAVANAUGH’S REPLACEMENT: Now that Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court, his seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals (often called the second most powerful court) must now be filled. Today, President Trump nominated Neomi Rao, currently administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, for the crucial seat. Washington D.C. insiders call this job the “regulatory czar.” But they should call her the “deregulatory czar” since she’s been leading the charge of undoing the avalanche of regulations and bureaucratic mess our government has imposed for decades.
Rao previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Legal scholar Adam White said: “I think she has an ideal judicial temperament: She’s independent minded, she’s deeply principled, and we can be confident that she will decide cases based on her independent judgement of what the written Constitution and laws require.”
CONFIRMATIONS KEEP COMING: Reform of the Judiciary marches on. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on another Trump nominee for the federal bench. And Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley set up a vote this Thursday on FIVE more circuit court nominees — including two nominations for the “Nutty Ninth” Circuit. The full Senate is now back in session, and is expected to confirm judges throughout November and December. By the end of this week, there could be 6 more judges approved by the Judiciary Committee, awaiting a full vote by the Senate. If confirmed by the Senate, this would bring the number of judges confirmed to the federal appeals courts to 35 lifetime appointments. The previous record for a president’s first two years in office was 23. They’ve already broken the record. This is why control of the Senate matters. We’re pressing Republicans to keep it going!
TAXPAYER-FUNDED ABORTION? Unfortunately, because the Democrats will take over the House in January, this is where we go from offense to defense. As you know, the Democratic Party has supported legal abortion for decades. It got worse when Democrats changed their party platform in 2016 to publicly call for the end of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion. Expect Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her caucus to make a big push for taxpayer-funded abortion by every legislative maneuver possible. Our message to the Republican senators and President Trump: Better to shut down the government than pay for killing children. (A bit of irony: it was pro-life Democrats who shut down the government several times during the Carter administration over this exact issue!)
THERE’S MORE: While we largely expect political games and government gridlock for the next two years, that doesn’t mean nothing meaningful can advance. After all, the Trump administration continues to update federal regulations to make them more pro-life and pro-family. Over the last few days, the administration further expanded the moral and religious exemptions from the contraception mandate that they implemented last year. And the Department of Health and Human Services mandated separate billing on abortion services in Obamacare exchange programs to ensure that the federal government does not pay for elective abortions.
POLITICAL REALIGNMENT CONTINUES: The congressional elections in Minnesota actually serve as a microcosm of the political transformation going on across America. Democrats captured two suburban districts (MN-2 and MN-3) long held by Republicans. Both of these districts voted for Romney in 2012, but Hillary Clinton in 2016. Republicans, however, were able to flip MN-1 and MN-8, seats previously held by Democrats, and districts that voted for Obama for president but supported in Trump in 2016. Pundit Henry Olsen concluded from these results that the GOP needs to embrace its new identity as the party of “the working-class voter or it dies.”
FIREWORKS IN BALTIMORE: Our Bishops are meeting for their annual General Assembly in Baltimore. In an explosive announcement yesterday morning, the Bishops were told that the Vatican has asked them to hold off on taking any votes on 2 key proposals. One was the adoption of a Code of Conduct to hold Bishops accountable, and the other proposed reform was the creation of a lay panel that would be authorized to investigate what led to the coverup of former Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual abuse. The Vatican called for a delay on these votes until after a worldwide meeting in February where the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences will meet with the Holy Father.
A friend close to the action in Baltimore confided that Bishops need our prayers now more than ever. Our desire for justice and genuine reform must include our deep and heartfelt prayer. Storm heaven. They need it.
Finally… I have some exciting news to share with you in the coming days on the “real” Catholic vote.
Here’s a hint: Can you guess what President Trump’s approval rating is among Catholics who go to Church? Or what percentage of Mass-attending Catholics supported the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh? And did these Catholics in the pews support Republican candidates or Democrats last Tuesday?
The results are shocking.