Brett Kavanaugh Isn’t Clarence Thomas, but It’s Still About Race

OPINION — Orrin G. Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah, is nothing if not consistent.

His words about distinguished lawyer and professor Anita Hill in 1991 — when she testified in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings before the Judiciary Committee on which he sat — were clear. He said there was “no question” in his mind that she was “coached” by special interest groups. “Her story’s too contrived. It’s so slick it doesn’t compute.” Hatch mused she may have cribbed some of her testimony from the novel “The Exorcist” — the horror!

And when considering current nominee Brett Kavanaugh — sitting, as Thomas was, on the verge of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court — Hatch had this to say about professor Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when she was 15 and he 17: “I think she’s mistaking something. But I don’t know, I mean, I don’t know her.”

Kavanaugh’s Accuser Wants FBI Investigation Before Testifying

CHARLOTTE, NC — The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault isn’t ready to testify just yet. Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team says their client won’t testify in a public hearing offered by Republicans unless the FBI first investigates her allegations. Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were at a high school party in the 80’s. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The allegations brought against Kavanaugh echo a similar incident in 1991, when Anita Hillaccused then SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and was called to publicly testify.

Midterms Show We’re Not Any Closer to a Post-Racial America

OPINION — Remember the time when Trent Lott got in a heap of trouble for remembering the time?

It was 2002, and the Senate Republican leader representing Mississippi was waxing nostalgic for what he considered the good old days at a 100th birthday celebration for South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond. Carried away by the moment — and in remarks that recalled similar words from 1980 — Lott said: “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

No surprise that those for whom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential run represented the bad old days objected. Segregation was the heart of the platform for Thurmond’s States’ Rights Democratic Party (a.k.a. the Dixiecrats).

This Is Not Your Father’s Bible Belt. Can Dems Make It Theirs?

OPINION — There’s a series of striking images in a televised ad for Dan McCready, who is seeking to represent North Carolina’s reliably conservative 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. It puts the candidate’s military record and faith front and center — not entirely surprising for someone vying for voters in a swath of the state that includes an affluent section of Charlotte, as well as parts of rural counties all the way to the Fayetteville area, with its strong military presence.

In the ad, McCready stands with his troops as an announcer states that after 9/11, he “was called to serve his country.” Then the scene shifts, and the narrative continues to describe the Marine Corps veteran as finding another calling when he was baptized “in the waters of the Euphrates River.”

He is the Democrat in the race.

Trump to the Rescue (Maybe) in North Carolina

OPINION — When Donald Trump travels to North Carolina this week, it won’t be for one of the campaign-style rallies that are his oxygen — especially needed now when the air is filled with praise for his nemesis John McCain, who is being lauded in death in terms the president can only dream about.

This Friday in Charlotte, host of the 2020 GOP convention and with the Trump National Golf Club not that far away in Mooresville, the president is scheduled to make a lunchtime appearance at a country club for an audience of those willing and able to pay at least $1,000 ($25,000 will get you admission to a “roundtable” and a photograph with Trump). It is a party with a purpose: to raise enough cash to keep two possibly vulnerable House seats in Republicans hands.

Trump’s Culture War Is Entering Its Scorched-Earth Phase

OPINION — President Donald Trump is crediting his raucous Ohio rally for propelling Troy Balderson over Democratic challenger Danny O’Connor in a U.S. congressional special election that is officially still too close to call. But what if his fiery rhetoric and the image of a sea of angry faces, attacks on the media and signs supporting the murky QAnon conspiracy actually derailed what should have been an easy Republican victory?

What does an Ohio special election say about the November midterm elections?

In an Ohio congressional district that has sent Republicans to Washington for decades, the special election race on Tuesday is currently too close to call, with Republican Troy Balderson leading Democrat Danny O’Connor by less than one percentage point. What does it mean for chances of a November blue or red wave? Did President Trump’s weekend rally there help Balderson? What about suburban GOP women? What about turnout? Will Democrats re-think Nancy Pelosi as speaker, and will that to help their chances?

More questions, as the two Ohio candidates will meet again in November.

Opinion: Charlotte Gambles on the Convention Las Vegas Didn’t Want

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vi Lyles, the Democratic mayor of the largest city in North Carolina, said championing a bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention was likely “the most difficult decision of my career.”

As word spread this week that Republicans have chosen Charlotte over other candidates, with a formal announcement due Friday, it’s almost certain the event will be one of the city’s biggest tests.

President Trump’s Walk-back

CNN – Donald Trump did something he rarely does — admit a mistake. The President has been taking a pounding from both sides of the political aisle over his comments during the Helsinki, Finland, summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. So Trump tried some cleanup at the White House, now saying he misspoke when he said, “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia that interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Reading prepared remarks to reporters in the Cabinet Room, Trump said, “The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.” He also said he accepted the US intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russians meddled in the election, something he wouldn’t do while standing right next to Putin on Monday. But even this came with a caveat from Trump: “It could be other people also.”

Opinion: Dems to African-American Women: This Time We Mean It

So why was Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee, making an appearance at this year’s Essence Festival in New Orleans, an event known for its high-powered mix of music, culture and empowerment, geared to engage black women globally? Did he see and enjoy “Girls Trip,” the 2017 mega-hit about the reunion of four black female buddies, set against the backdrop of the festival, and decide to get in on the fun, maybe take in a Janet Jackson concert?

Or was he connecting with his party’s most loyal base, which has carried the electoral load for years, and has also expressed dissatisfaction when that contribution was downplayed or overlooked?