Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Trump and the party of hate

Kevin Drum

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Repug homophobes defeated

Republican Dana Rohrabacher, who was first elected to Congress in 1988, lost his re-election bid last week to Democrat Harley
From the Huffington Post:

Dana Rohrabacher, the 15-term Republican incumbent washed away by Democratic challenger Harley Rouda when the blue wave came ashore in Southern California’s 48th Congressional District last week, isn’t your average homophobic extremist.

He is, in fact, an architect of the decades-long battle against LGBTQ rights and a politician, among many others, whose bigotry is partly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people from AIDS.

Rohrabacher was a lieutenant of President Ronald Reagan throughout his two terms as a speechwriter and special assistant, helping Reagan court the evangelical right, which Reagan has been credited with bringing into politics. Reagan, bowing to the zealots from whom he helped amass enormous power (power they still wield with President Donald Trump), was among the most anti-gay presidents in history, ignoring the AIDS epidemic until far too late...

In Minnesota, Rep. Jason Lewis, a Republican who equated gay couples with rapists, lost his House seat to Democrat Angie Craig ― the first lesbian mom elected to Congress.

In another case of poetic justice, openly bisexual California Democrat Katie Hill defeated Republican House member Steve Knight, who supported Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California, and voted against banning “ex-gay” therapy during his time in the California Senate. His father, Pete Knight, spearheaded a precursor to Prop 8 ― the anti-gay Knight Initiative, a 2000 ballot measure — as a state senator. Even after his own brother, David Knight, came out as gay, Steve Knight carried on his dad’s hateful tradition.

In Georgia’s now-famous 6th Congressional District, short-lived GOP incumbent Karen Handel, who said last year while running in a special election against Democrat Jon Ossoff, that she didn’t support allowing adoption by gay and lesbian couples, was beaten by African-American Democrat and gun reform advocate Lucy McBath.

Texas GOP Rep. Pete Sessions, who claimed the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida ― the site of a 2016 gun massacre ― wasn’t actually a gay club (and who voted anti-gay every chance he got in his more than 20 years in Congress, garnering a score of zero every year from the Human Rights Campaign) was defeated by African-American civil rights lawyer Colin Allred.

In a huge upset in Oklahoma, Republican Steve Russell, who in 2016 introduced a bill that would have provided religious exemptions to President Barack Obama’s executive order banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination among federal contractors, lost to Kendra Horn, the first Democrat to win the state’s 5th Congressional District in 44 years. 

Former CIA analyst Elissa Slotkin took down Republican Rep. Mike Bishop in Michigan. He voted last year to deny transgender service members medically necessary transition-related health care and was an ardent opponent of marriage equality, seeking religious exemptions

In fact, the list of GOP House members opposed to marriage equality who came crashing down last week goes on and on: Dave Brat and Barbara Comstock in Virginia, Iowa’s Rod Blum, Illinois’ Randy Hultgren, Mike Coffman in Colorado and Keith Rothfus in Pennsylvania...

In the Senate, GOP marriage equality opponent Dean Heller went down in Nevada against Jacky Rosen. And in Arizona, where votes are still being counted in the close Senate race, it looks as though Martha McSally, another equality opponent, could lose in the fight for the open seat to replace marriage equality opponent Jeff Flake ― to openly bisexual Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema.

Far-right Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who once compared homosexuality to polygamy, was stopped from taking the governor’s seat and continuing the Kansas GOP’s anti-LGBTQ agenda. Democrat Laura Kelly flipped the state and has already vowed to reinstate protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender government employees, which were rescinded in 2015 by then-Gov. Sam Brownback.

In Wisconsin, anti-LGBTQ Republican Scott Walker lost his governorship to Tony Evers after nearly eight years, in a major win for equality. 

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer flipped Michigan in its governor’s race, preventing Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette ― who rejected the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s expansion of state law to protect LGBTQ people ― from continuing GOP Gov. Rick Snyder’s hostile agenda. In another boost, openly lesbian civil rights attorney Dana Nessel, who fought Snyder to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage ban in a case among those that eventually prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2015 Obergefell ruling ― was elected Michigan’s new attorney general. 

And in the open governor’s race in Maine, Democrat Janet Mills flipped the state, ensuring right-wing extremist Gov. Paul LePage’s horrifically anti-LGBTQ agenda won’t continue under Shawn Moody, who similarly opposed marriage equality.

...In Texas, where anti-LGBTQ Republicans in recent years introduced more than a dozen bills harmful to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people each session, Democrats flipped 12 House seats in the biggest shift since 2010. In an upset, Ron Simmons, who authored an infamous anti-transgender “bathroom” bill ― which died in the Texas House last session but which conservatives vowed to bring back next year ― was defeated by Michelle Beckley...

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