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‘Grab the Popcorn and See’: Arizona Senate Dirty Race Begins to Take Shape




The most unpredictable Senate race on the 2024 map is taking place in Arizona, where a top Democrat has set his sights on Democratic-turned-Independent Senator Kirsten Sinema, and Republicans are looking to exploit this tension in a state that is moving away from them.

“Grab your popcorn and watch,” said Republican Rep. Justin Wilmet, who described the race as “the wild, wild west.”

Cinema, who was elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 2018, became independent in December, although she continues to caucus with her former party colleagues in the House. She has not yet said if she will run for a second term in 2024.

But her severed ties to Democratic voters and the groups that once supported her were on display Wednesday at a rally that was billed as “Cinema Sold Out” at Arizona’s Capitol in Phoenix.

Carrying a papier-mâché pig as a prop to describe what they called Sinema’s wooing of wealthy donors, members of progressive groups representing workers, immigrants and veterans called on the former Democrat to step down. Nearly every group organized and polled voters in hot Arizona to elect Blue in 2018. None of the members of the group that CNN spoke to said they would support her again.

“We will work to elect a new senator who represents Arizona much better,” said Alex Alvarez, chief executive of Progress Arizona. “It’s time for Kyrsten Sinema to step aside. It became clear that the people of Arizona did not want her to run again.”

The contours of the Arizona Senate race may take longer than other high-profile 2024 contests. The filing deadline in Arizona is April next year, while the state primary is not until August next year.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb last month became the first major Republican to enter the race. His campaign declined an interview request. But several other high-profile Republican contenders are weighing their bids.

Kari Lake, the losing 2022 Republican nominee for governor and a prominent election denier, teased a potential Senate nomination and this week announced the release of her memoir, a move that usually precedes a political campaign.

Abe Hamade, who lost the 2022 attorney general election, and Karrin Taylor Robson, who lost last year’s Lake gubernatorial primary, also met with National Republican Senatorial Committee officials, CNN reported. Also in the mix could be GOP businessman Jim Lamon, who lost the party’s nomination for another state Senate seat last year.

For now, however, Republicans in Arizona, who have lost the Senate race for the past three election cycles, say they are glad the drama is on the other side at the moment.

— I mean, I’m a politician, man. I’m a Republican,” said Wilmet, a state legislator. “And knowing that your opponent is having trouble getting to the line of scrimmage and doing their thing is good for me.”

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego at a firefighters event in Phoenix.

Progressives have mostly rallied around U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego. The Phoenix congressman and five-term Iraq War veteran outsold Sinema by nearly $3.8 million to $2.1 million in the first quarter of 2023 ending March 31, FEC documents show. But Sinema still had a significant cash advantage, with about $10 million in the pot versus its opponent’s $2.7 million.

Gallego has been highly critical of the senator, calling her a supporter of lobbyists and business interests, and alleging that she lost touch with Arizona after a two-point win over Republican Martha McSally in 2018.

“She damaged the confidence of many Arizona residents. They don’t trust her values ​​anymore and she doesn’t try to rebuild that relationship,” Gallego said in an interview.

Cinema’s office declined the interview request. “Kirsten is focused on finding real solutions, not a political campaign,” spokesman Pablo Sierra Carmona said in a statement.

However, Sinema’s re-election as an independent is far from the only potential event that could change the landscape ahead of Arizona’s 2024 election.

No Labels, a business-oriented centrist group, gained ballot access in several states. The organization has called its efforts an insurance policy in case national parties propose unacceptable presidential candidates, but Democrats in Arizona fear the group could team up with Sinema in the Senate race.

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, acknowledged in March that the “Unlabeled Party” gained voting access in the state after meeting minimum requirements.

The Arizona Democratic Party said it filed a complaint with a Maricopa County court in late March seeking to overturn No Labels’ recognition as a political party. No Labels is registered as a non-profit organization and does not disclose its donors, which the State Party contends means that it does not meet political party requirements, including donor disclosure, FEC registration and contribution limits.

Meanwhile, a group of veteran politicians from Arizona launched the Save Arizona Democracy initiative, which advocates open primaries and high-ranked electoral voting, a process that supporters say will give candidates an incentive to appeal to moderate voters rather than the extremes of their parties. But as supporters work to get a ranked-choice initiative on the ballot next year, Republican state lawmakers are racing to push their own voting measure that would ban any experimentation with the voting method.

While Cinema advertised itself as the “independent voice” of the state about equally between Republicans, Democrats and independent voters, she could face the challenge of gaining independent support if she runs for re-election.

Arizona Independents hold monthly meetings to discuss combating extremism.

At this week’s monthly meeting in Mesa, a group of disillusioned independent voters gathered to begin the process of petitioning for a ranking vote. Some supported Sinema. But others, like Becky Wyatt, who retains her Democratic registration but still identifies as an independent voter, said she felt the senator was out of reach for Arizona voters.

“I gave her money. I gave money on behalf of my parents for their Christmas gifts in support of her,” Wyatt said. “And she died for me.”

Other members of the group said they believed Cinema had misled voters.

“Run from one party, and then, when you’re done, turn around and move on to an independent? It’s just not right. So she doesn’t have my backing,” said Brady Busby, an independent participant who attended the meeting.

Another independent, CJ Digel, said: “She just pisses off a lot of people who are responsible for her future in the election.”

Clint Smith, who received 6% of the vote last year running for a crimson seat in the US House of Representatives outside of Phoenix, said winning as an independent would be a tough task despite Sinema’s huge cash and name recognition advantages.

“I feel like people hide in their corners when it comes to fighting,” he said.


Coronation seems to be ‘last hurray’ for dying empire, say South Asians in diaspora



In the run-up to Saturday’s coronation of King Charles III, South Asians around the world are pondering what the rise of another British monarch will mean. With golden carriages, crowns, cloaks and jewels to be flaunted, people in the diaspora prepare to celebrate the institution they say oppressed their parents, grandparents and ancestors.

The legacy of Charles, born just a year after India won independence from what was his grandfather’s empire, cannot be separated from the pain of colonialism that is still being felt across the subcontinent and in the diaspora, experts say. According to them, the coronation, however shortened, is a relic of the colonial legacy.

“I think pomp and pomp is sort of the last cheer for an empire in deep decline,” said Priyamvada Gopal, 54, a professor of post-colonial studies at the University of Cambridge. “It’s almost like a parody of the empire and an imperial spectacle, but there is real everyday suffering.”

Buckingham Palace did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Bharat Shah, 88, remembers hearing the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, he told NBC News in an interview translated from Gujarati by his 31-year-old granddaughter Pooja Shah.

At that time, having just experienced a partition and struggle for independence, India plunged into a period of instability and uncertainty. The Shah said the prices of essentials have skyrocketed and he hopes the new monarch will help usher in a better era.

“I remember hearing about it on the radio,” he said. “The newspapers also had news of her coronation. … It was difficult to even afford to buy a newspaper; one person bought it and the group gathered around and read about her coronation.”

Elizabeth was crowned just six years after India gained independence from the British. The Shah still has memories of the poverty and violence that came with the occupation of the empire and the final withdrawal from the region.

He grew up with tales of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, when a British general gave the order to fire on hundreds of peaceful Punjabi protesters.

“My father used to go marching with the rest of the Indians in our community, and we had to assign a member of the community to stay awake and look after the community,” he said. “I just remember that period of time was really difficult mentally and physically.”

For 21-year-old Ishaan Parmar, the British Empire and the royal family have never been his focus. He grew up in the US and his parents went out of their way to protect him from the reality that defined their lives.

But during coronations, royal weddings and even funerals, he can’t help but feel the dark undertones, like a South Asian watching the scene.

“I don’t think there’s really a way to exaggerate colonialism,” he said. “All this in order to create the ideal image of Britain. I think the pomp and solemnity of the coronation is like any nationalist event. This is a false idea of ​​a shining house on a hill.”

Association with King Charles III

Although Charles comes into the role of monarch at a very different time than his mother, as leader of the Commonwealth, experts say he is still inextricably linked to the exploits of colonialism.

“The Commonwealth would not exist without the empire,” Gopal said. “There is a lot of wealth in the royal family, both the wealth of the monarchy and the personal wealth of the family, which is completely tied to the imperial project unfolding over several hundred years.”

Gopal recalls how Charles paid a visit to India when she was in high school there. Growing up, she knew of him only as a young prince with whom beautiful women everywhere wanted to be, but he did not symbolize anything more.

It’s easy for people to get stuck in this image, she said, but now it represents something much more.

“I think the monarchy is at the top and symbolizes what Britain has now become: a small clique of very, very wealthy people and a large number of increasingly impoverished ordinary British citizens,” she said.

In contrast to the situation during the coronation of Elizabeth, the British and world public are increasingly questioning the monarchy.

“Very few at home in Britain questioned the empire. [in 1953]” said Caroline Elkins, professor at Harvard University and author of A Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire. “Fast forward to 2023. In a sense, we are in a completely different world. The empire, for the most part, no longer exists. … I think [Charles] risks ruining the monarchy.”

Experts wonder how Charles will deal with issues like reparations, racism and the spoils of imperial violence, but Elkins doubts he will do so in any meaningful way.

For Gopal, the very basis of the monarchy is connected to all these things. She cited recent comments by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who said palace insiders had made racist comments about her and her son Archie.

“It’s very difficult to separate this understanding of lineage and the transmission of royal blood from how lineage has been linked to racism and racial hierarchy,” she said. “Some of them we’ve already seen with Meghan and her kids.”

Having experienced colonialism first hand, Bharat Shah cares too much about the royal family.

“There is still a sense of distrust and those negative feelings still arise because it is a huge part of our past,” he said. “I don’t think there is so much hype in India about the upcoming coronation, but there is an Indian actress Sonam Kapoor who will take part in these celebrations.”

His granddaughter Pooja Shah, 31, who grew up in the US and now lives in London, will be able to watch part of the ceremony unfold in the streets outside her home. It is strange to feel the royal family such a strong everyday presence after her move to the UK, she said.

“There are people who are absolutely obsessed with the royal family, like they are so excited about the coronation,” she said. “There’s all this partying and food and every supermarket you go to, every street you walk on is full of flags and baked goods and news about this long weekend.”

Given her family history and her life spent in the US, she doesn’t get the hype.

“I’m trying to be optimistic in the sense that maybe it’s time for a change,” she said. “It’s exciting to finally have the opportunity for the British Empire to go beyond what it used to be and into what could have been: a new direction that will hopefully be more inclusive, sort of highlighting the diversity of communities.”

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Fentanyl at the border: Americans are ready to send troops, trade restrictions with Mexico



Most Americans want the US to send troops and equipment to Mexico to stop the flow of fentanyl across the southern border, according to vote The National Sheriffs Association releases on Friday.

The public is also overwhelmingly in favor of imposing trade restrictions on Mexico to force its leaders to do more about fentanyl. And the Americans would like the US to label smuggling cartels as terrorist organizations, TIP Poll found.

The poll comes less than a week before the Biden administration repeals its Section 42 pandemic law, which allowed it to deport illegal immigrants without having to go through the full immigration process for them. Roughly half of those crossing the border are expelled under Section 42, and once that right expires on May 11, experts expect the already chaotic border to be a disaster.

Sheriffs on the front line say the chaos will quickly seep inland.

“At the time of this writing, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are on the southern border, ready to cross the border, and Washington has few plans to prevent a massive attack by cartels bringing in additional illegal weapons, deadly fentanyl, human trafficking and the exploitation of children and women. every American community,” said Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County, Arizona.

He is chairman of the border committee of the National Sheriffs Association.

A new NSA poll has found that 50% of Americans already believe that migrants at the border are a problem for their own communities. Republicans are more likely to see the situation as a problem than Democrats, and Westerners and Southers more likely than those from the Midwest or Northeast.

Americans were divided on the impact of increased migration, with about a quarter saying newcomers bring more crime and compete for jobs, and a quarter said they offer new economic opportunities.

But there was more consensus to blame the situation on the border for the record deaths from fentanyl and to support tough decisions.

Some 53% approved “deploying U.S. military personnel and assets inside Mexico” to force Mexican leaders to do more to stem the flow of the deadly synthetic opioid. Only 30% opposed.

Supporters included 56% Democrats and 62% Republicans, although independents were more skeptical.

All three demographics wanted the US to use trade restrictions to produce Mexico: 83% of Republicans, 76% of Democrats, and 68% of independents supported this idea.

President Trump then showed just how receptive Mexico is to trade pressure when he threatened to impose a 25 percent tariff on all Mexican trade in 2019 in response to an influx of migrants.

Mexican officials rushed to Washington for talks, agreeing to new migration moves that almost instantly resolved the surge.

By 2020, the U.S. had the fewest number of illegal crossings in over 40 years.

V TIP Poll was held from March 21 to April 4, and involved 1,414 American adults.

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Trump made sure the jury knew he wasn’t attracted to attorney E. Jean Carroll, or



Jurors in a civil trial in which author E. Jean Carroll accuses Donald Trump of rape were finally shown footage of Trump’s testimony on Thursday, where he mistook a picture of Carroll for one of his ex-wives, Marla Maples.

Jurors in a civil trial in which author E. Jean Carroll accuses Donald Trump of rape were finally shown footage of Trump’s testimony on Thursday, where he mistook a picture of Carroll for one of his ex-wives, Marla Maples.

During the same testimony that was taped in Mar-a-Lago in October, Trump visits incredibly strange places, telling Carroll’s lawyer that, like her client, she’s not his “type” either.

In accordance with reports from the courtroom, the testimony shows an agitated Donald Trump becoming snarky and annoyed when Roberta Kaplan interrogated him seven months ago. Trump chose not to attend the civil trial, but jurors reviewed the tape on Thursday. Carroll is suing Trump for battery and defamation, alleging he raped her in a locker room at Bergdorf Goodman in the 1990s.

Trump has denied the allegations since Carroll first came forward, and his main defense has argued that Carroll is not his “type”. But during his testimony, Trump made a breach in his own defense. When Kaplan showed Trump a picture of him talking to Carroll at a party in the past, Trump confused Carroll for Maples.

“This is Marla,” he said, according to reports. It’s Marla, yes. This is my wife.”

Kaplan later reportedly asked Trump questions about other women who had accused him of sexual harassment. It was then that the former president got heated, telling Kaplan, “Honestly, you’re not my choice either.”

“Under no circumstances will I have any interest in you,” he said, bringing the rejected dude to defend the bar.

The Best of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

Romney laments that Democrats did not raise the debt ceiling themselves before his party intervened

Florida GOP lawmakers use last days of legislative session to attack trans rights

Justice Department intends to rein in Trump’s power-hungry judges

Tucker Carlson Helped Close the Deal That Gave McCarthy the Speaker’s Gavel

Lawyers for Zephyr Consider Montana Supreme Court Appeal

Must read from ProPublica: Clarence Thomas had a child at a private school. Harlan Crow paid for the tuition.

Most read story yesterday

Shit Gets Real – Fiscal Cliff Edition – Josh Marshall

What do we read

Donald Trump rape trial moves from one disaster to another — Daily Beast

Despite renewed attention to Feinstein’s health, details about her condition are scarce. – Los Angeles Times

Florida passed a law allowing the removal of transgender children from their families — New Republic

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