Tag Archives: Campaign

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee to boycott Trump’s inauguration. She explains why

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee will not attend the inauguration of Donald J. Trump on Jan. 20. She explains why:

Inaugurations are celebratory events, a time to welcome the peaceful transition of power and honor the new administration. On Jan. 20, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House.

Donald Trump ran one of the most divisive and prejudiced campaigns in modern history.

He began his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants, pledging to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and then spent a year and a half denigrating communities of color and normalizing bigotry.

He called women “pigs,” stoked Islamophobia and attacked a Gold Star family.

He mocked a disabled reporter and appealed to people’s worst instincts.

I cannot in good conscience attend an inauguration that would celebrate this divisive approach to governance.

After the election, many hoped the president-elect would turn toward unifying our country. Instead he has shown us that he will utilize the same tools of division he employed on the campaign trail as our nation’s commander-in-chief.

We need look no further than the team he is assembling to find signals that the era of Trump will be one of chaos and devastation for our communities.

The president-elect has named Steve Bannon,  a white nationalist as his chief strategist. He has nominated U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions to the office of Attorney General, despite his long career of opposition to civil and human rights.

And in perhaps the most damning sign of the chaos to come, the president-elect has expedited the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make America sick again.

To make matters worse, after the intelligence community reported Russian interference in our election, Donald Trump frequently and forcefully defended Vladimir Putin.

He insulted senior intelligence officials in order to preserve his reputation and disguise the truth.

The American people will never forget that when a foreign government violated our democracy, Donald Trump chose the interests of another nation over our own.

Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party.

On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating. I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.

Your Right to Know: Release John Doe II case records now

One of the most important court decisions in Wisconsin political history was argued largely in secret. The arguments were made in briefs that were heavily redacted or entirely shielded from public view. The evidence was hidden. Most of the litigants were anonymous.

The level of secrecy “is something I haven’t ever heard of happening in Wisconsin,” says David Schultz, a retired University of Wisconsin law professor who has watched the state Supreme Court for 40 years.

Unless the high court decides to unseal its files, the public will remain ignorant of the full facts and arguments it considered when it shut down the John Doe II investigation centered on Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign — known in court documents as “Unnamed Movant No. 1.”

Leaked and inadvertently unsealed records revealed that Walker raised large, undisclosed donations for ostensibly independent political groups, which in turn ran “issue ads” prior to the 2011 and 2012 Senate recall elections and the 2012 gubernatorial recall. These are unregulated, thinly veiled communications often intended to influence elections without expressly advocating for or against any candidate.

When two lawsuits aimed at killing the probe and a third filed by prosecutor Francis Schmitz attempting to save it made their way to the Supreme Court, the majority of justices agreed that most of the issues should be argued in secret to prevent “testimony which may be mistaken or untrue from becoming public.”

In July 2015, by a 4-2 vote, the court ended the probe, declaring that the conduct under investigation was not illegal and ordering that the evidence be returned to the subjects or destroyed. The court later amended its order to direct that the remaining evidence be turned over to the court. No one was ever charged.

But questions remain: What exactly did Walker do behind the scenes to fight the recalls? What evidence did prosecutors offer that two of the justices had conflicts of interest? Did prosecutors abuse their discretion in investigating activity that the subjects argued was protected political speech under the First Amendment?

And, importantly, did the court follow the law and precedent when it decided to shut down the investigation? Or did it, as Justice Shirley Abrahamson charged in her dissent, engage in a “blatant attempt to reach its desired result by whatever means necessary”?

In October, two nonprofit and nonpartisan groups — the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism — filed a public records request with Diane Fremgen, the clerk of the Supreme Court, asking that the case file be opened.

Fremgen denied the request, saying the court had directed her to maintain “certain filings” in the case under seal — even essential records such as motions and briefs filed with the court.

There are, we understand, concerns about releasing some exhibits attached to the court filings, on grounds that this evidence was illegally seized by prosecutors and should remain sealed. But Fremgen decided not to split those hairs, denying the entire request.

Abrahamson, for her part, has argued the case should be open, writing, “The public has a constitutional, statutory and common law right of access to judicial proceedings and judicial records.”

We agree.

Your Right to Know is a monthly column distributed by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council (www.wisfoic.org), a group dedicated to open government. Dee J. Hall is the group’s secretary and managing editor of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

 

A Trump presidency? Reactions to the election results

We face a starkly different America when President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office in January. Reactions to the election results:

Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard:

Our hearts go out today to the millions of people who voted against bigotry and hate and now have to accept the fact that the man who ridiculed and threatened them for months is the President-elect of the United States. Fear may have won this election, but bravery, hope and perseverance will overcome.

Greenpeace and millions of people around the world have all the power we need to combat climate change and create a just world for everyone. Let’s use this moment to reenergize the fight for the climate and the fight for human rights around the world.

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union has been the nation’s premier defender of freedom and justice for all, no matter who is president. Our role is no different today.

President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation’s highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made. These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation’s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression.

These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional. They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. If you do not reverse course and instead endeavor to make these campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at every step. Our staff of litigators and activists in every state, thousands of volunteers, and millions of card-carrying supporters are ready to fight against any encroachment on our cherished freedoms and rights.

One thing is certain: we will be eternally vigilant every single day of your presidency and when you leave the Oval Office, we will do the same with your successor.

Destiny Lopez, co-director, All* Above All:

During this campaign, Donald Trump played to the darkest impulses and prejudices of the American people. This outcome sends a frightening message to women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and others looking for their place in the American family. We are deeply concerned about the implications for women’s health and rights, but we–women, people of color, immigrants–know what it’s like to fight impossible odds. Our communities still need access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, and so we will keep fighting to protect and preserve that right.

May Boeve of 350.org:

It’s hard to know what to say in a moment like this. Many of us are reeling from the news and shaken to the core about what a Trump presidency will mean for the country, and the difficult work ahead for our movements.

Trump’s misogyny, racism and climate denial pose a greater threat than we’ve ever faced, and the battleground on which we’ll fight for justice of all kinds will be that much rougher.

The hardest thing to do right now is to hold on to hope, but it’s what we must do. We should feel our anger, mourn, pray, and then do everything we can to fight hate.

Our Revolution:

Tonight’s election demonstrates what most Americans knew since the beginning of the primaries: the political elite of both parties, the economists, and the media are completely out of touch with the American electorate.

Too many communities have been left behind in the global economy. Too many young people cannot afford the cost of the college education. Too many cannot afford basic necessities like health care, housing, or retirement.

Those of us who want a more equitable and inclusive America need to chart a new course that represents the needs of middle income and working families. The most important thing we can do is come together in unity and fight to protect the most vulnerable people of this country. Just like we did yesterday, Our Revolution will be on the front lines of the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal tomorrow morning. We will do everything in our power to ensure that the president-elect cannot ignore the battles Americans are facing every single day.

Tonight Donald Trump was elected president. Our job is to offer a real alternative vision and engage on the local and national level to continue the work of the political revolution in the face of a divided nation.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign:

Throughout our nation’s history, we’ve faced devastating setbacks in our pursuit of a more perfect union. But even in the darkest of moments, Americans have summoned the courage and persistence to fight on. The results of tonight’s presidential election require us to meet tomorrow with the same resolve and determination.

This is a crucial moment for our nation and for the LGBTQ movement. The election of a man who stands opposed to our most fundamental values has left us all stunned. There will be time to analyze the results of this election, but we cannot afford to dwell. We must meet these challenges head on.

Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have intentionally sowed fear and division for cynical political purposes. They now face a decision about whether they will also govern that way. We hope, for the sake of our nation and our diverse community – which includes women, people of color, those with disabilities, immigrants, and people of all faiths and traditions – they will choose a different path.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis/GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie:

We have finally come to the end of a long and grueling election cycle, which has dominated everything from social media and television news to conversations around the dinner table. What did not change after the results came in is that GMHC still has clients to serve this morning and we still have an AIDS epidemic on our hands. With Election Day behind us, the work of running a country must continue, which is why today, I call upon the President-elect to start leading on the critical, national fight to end the AIDS epidemic within his first year in office.

Some communities and regions are losing ground in the fight, with tragically increasing rates of new infections in the Southern United States, among young men who have sex with men, women of Trans experience, and within low-income communities of color. In the coming days, weeks, and months, GMHC will continue to fight and care for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, just as we have since this agency was founded in Larry Kramer’s living room in 1981. We will continue to organize around modernization of the Ryan White Care Act, removing the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs, ensuring funding for comprehensive sexual health education, and addressing outdated HIV-criminalization laws across the United States.

As President Obama observed in his final State of the Union address, ‘we’re on track to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS. That’s within our grasp.’ The next U.S. President has an urgent opportunity and responsibility to take historic action with a more aggressive response to the epidemic. In the coming months, we will be pushing for the action, commitment and leadership needed to combat this public health crisis.

Wilfred D’Costa from the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development:

For communities in the global south, the U.S. citizens’ choice to elect Donald Trump seems like a death sentence. Already we are suffering the effects of climate change after years of inaction by rich countries like the U.S., and with an unhinged climate change denier now in the White House, the relatively small progress made is under threat. The international community must not allow itself to be dragged into a race to the bottom. Other developed countries like Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan must increase their pledges for pollution cuts and increase their financial support for our communities.

Jean Su from California-based Center for Biological Diversity:

The Paris Agreement was signed and ratified not by a President, but by the United States itself. One man alone, especially in the twenty-first century, should not strip the globe of the climate progress that it has made and should continue to make. As a matter of international law, and as a matter of human survival, the nations of the world can, must, and will hold the United States to its climate commitments. And it’s incumbent upon U.S. communities to unite and push forth progressive climate policies on a state and local level, where federal policy does not reign.

Becky Chung from the youth network SustainUS:

As a young woman and first-time voter I will not tolerate Trump’s denialism of the action needed for climate justice. Our country must undergo a systemic change and just transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy within my lifetime. The next four years are critical for getting on the right pathway, and the disastrous election of Trump serves as a solemn reminder of the path ahead of us. As young people and as climate justice movements we will be demanding real action on climate for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world and for all future generations.

Geoffrey Kamese from Friends of the Earth Africa:

Africa is already burning. The election of Trump is a disaster for our continent. The United States, if it follows through on its new President’s rash words about withdrawing from the international climate regime, will become a pariah state in global efforts for climate action. This is a moment where the rest of the world must not waver and must redouble commitments to tackle dangerous climate change.

Jesse Bragg, from Boston-based Corporate Accountability International:

Whilst the election of a climate denier into the White House sends the wrong signal globally. The grassroots movements for climate justice — native american communities, people of color, working people – those that are at this moment defending water rights in Dakota, ending fossil fuel pollution, divesting from the fossil fuel industry, standing with communities who are losing their homes and livelihoods from extreme weather devastation to creating a renewable energy transformation – are the real beating heart of the movement for change. We will redouble our efforts, grow stronger and remain committed to stand with those on the frontline of climate injustice at home and abroad. In the absence of leadership from our government, the international community must come together redouble their effort to prevent climate disaster.

League of Women Voters president Chris Carson:

The League of Women Voters congratulates the American people for turning out in record numbers to participate in our democracy.

Unfortunately, in too many cases, voters had to overcome significant barriers that were erected by elected officials and other political operatives. These ongoing threats to voters’ rights are unacceptable.

This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. Thousands of eligible voters were purged from the rolls. Onerous voter ID laws prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots. We saw cases of misinformation and intimidation at the polls.

We can and must do better. All year the League has worked in more than 700 communities, in every state, to register and help eligible Americans get ready to vote. In the 2016 election, more than 4 million people used our digital voter resource, VOTE411.org to find the election information they needed.

The League of Women Voters will continue our work to expand participation in the election process and work to give a voice to all Americans.

NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks:

“This beautiful fall morning represents the end of a long night filled with many midnight moments of uncertainty, voter intimidation and suppression, campaigns founded on bigotry and divisiveness as an electoral strategy.

And yet, despite the moments of ugliness, this election season has reminded us of the beauty and strength of both the nation and of the NAACP.

This was the first presidential election in more than 50 years where voters did not have the full protection of the Voting Rights Act. We confronted all manners of ugly, unconstitutional voter suppression, including voter purging, long lines and intimidation and misinformation.  When white nationalists bragged about dispensing malt liquor and marijuana in African-American communities to suppress the vote, we were neither distracted nor dissuaded from our work. When campaign operatives and candidates alike openly called for voter suppression in broad daylight and on camera, we neither flinched nor flagged in our efforts.

The NAACP prevailed in the federal courts against voter suppression no less than nine times in recent months.  In Texas, our state conference saved 608,470 votes with a victorious decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In North Carolina, our state conference saved nearly five percent of the electorate when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the state legislature had enacted discriminatory voting laws that intentionally targeted and disenfranchised black voters. And, just days ago, the NAACP saved nearly 4,500 voters from being purged from the North Carolina rolls.

The last five days of the campaign, after many months in planning, we formally launched our Selma Initiative, to protect the right to vote. We targeted 6,022 precincts in 17 states, dispatching both lawyers and laypeople alike to guard the ballot box and safeguard the rights of voters standing in long lines through our national command center.

Altogether, we mobilized our two million digital activists, nearly half million card-carrying members, 2,200 local units, and more than a hundred partner organizations to both protect and get out the vote through the Selma Initiative.

History will judge not only the courage of our volunteers but also the cowardice of those who chose again and again to suppress the vote rather than listen to the voice of democracy this year.  History may take note of the Selma Initiative, but let us all now remember Shena Goode, a 79-year-old NAACP volunteer who not only organized a virtual phone bank in her apartment complex, but also made more than 200 calls in a single day to get out the vote. Her story is the story of the NAACP and the nation. When civil rights are threatened, we are as persistent as we are determined.

Now that the election is over, the first priority for a new Congress and a new president must be restoring the badly-broken Voting Rights Act.  We cannot afford to send untold teams of lawyers to court and spend incalculable sums of money to defend our right to vote in the courts and in the streets again and again and again.

Any effort to suppress the vote, whether at the hands of lawmakers, judges or everyday people, is and must continue to be considered unjust, un-American and utterly unacceptable. The NAACP will not rest until full and equal voting rights are restored for each and every American citizen.

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this page throughout the day. And we welcome your reaction.

Donald Trump owns stock in Dakota Access oil pipeline

Financial disclosures show GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump owns stock in the company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper.

Federal disclosure forms for Trump, filed in May, show he owned between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, which intends to merge with Enbridge.

That’s down from stock listed at between $500,000 and $1 million in a form a year earlier.

Trump’s disclosure form also shows the presidential candidate holds between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66 stock, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access.

Also, The Guardian reported that campaign contribution disclosures show Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren donated $3,000 to Trump’s campaign, plus $100,000 to a committee supporting Trump’s candidacy, as well as $66,800 to the Republican National Committee.

Early voting strongest in Wisconsin’s Democratic counties

About 1 in 3 absentee ballots cast in Wisconsin so far have come from the state’s largest and most heavily Democratic counties, giving Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign a reason to be optimistic about its chances here.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, in a conference call with reporters on Thursday, singled out Dane and Milwaukee counties as places around the country where early voting turnout was strong.

Wisconsin voters do not register by party, so it’s impossible to know whether more Republicans or Democrats are voting early. But high turnout in Madison and Milwaukee, the state’s two largest and most Democratic cities, is essential for Clinton’s campaign and that of Senate candidate Russ Feingold.

Numbers compiled by the state Elections Commission show that as of Friday, 70,740 absentee ballots have been returned statewide. Of those, 22,511 were from either Milwaukee or Dane counties, or about 31 percent of the total cast statewide. By comparison, in the heavily Republican suburban Milwaukee counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington, only 6,420 early votes have been cast.

In-person absentee voting hasn’t started yet in many Republican parts of the state. But even when counting only mailed-in absentee ballots, about twice as many have been returned in Milwaukee and Dane counties compared with Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties.

Gov. Scott Walker on Friday downplayed the early returns, saying that given the unconventional campaign Donald Trump is running, “it’s hard to tell if conventional trends will be in line.” Walker said he was confident that grass roots organizing by Republicans will drive strong turnout for GOP candidates.

Walker referred to the unconventional nature of the Trump campaign the day The Washington Post broke the story about a videotape in which Trump made lewd and vulgar comments about groping women and trying to have sex with a married woman. At the time, he already was married to his current wife.

Milwaukee and Madison began offering in-person absentee voting on Sept. 26 after a federal judge ruled in July that a two-week limit on voting early was unconstitutional. Other smaller cities, towns and villages have also been allowing voters to cast ballots weeks ahead of the election. Still others will begin or expand early voting opportunities in the next three weeks.

Clinton’s and Feingold’s campaigns have been making a push in recent days for early voting in Wisconsin, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren coming to the state for get-out-the-vote drives. Feingold appeared with Sanders on Wednesday and he planned to attend a downtown Madison rally with Warren on Friday. Former President Bill Clinton was expected to campaign in Milwaukee on Saturday.

Trump and Feingold’s opponent, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, have also been encouraging their supporters to get to the polls early. Trump had scheduled a campaign stop Saturday in southeast Wisconsin, where he was to be joined by Johnson, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Walker and other Republican officeholders and top officials. However, Ryan said on Friday that he was sickened by the tape containing Trump’s comments about women and Trump would not be joining him at the event.

Early voting opportunities vary across the state. Green Bay, where people lined up to cast ballots in the April presidential primary and there is an open congressional seat, has only one location for early voting open at the city clerk’s office downtown. That has generated complaints from Democrats who want early voting to also be available on the University of Wisconsin campus about 5 miles away.

City clerk Kris Teske has said she doesn’t have the staff or budget to expand hours and locations.

Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now has pushed for expanding early voting in Green Bay and other cities, including Kenosha and Racine. Scot Ross, director of the group, said it was “unfortunate” that early voting hours and locations are so haphazard across the state.

“Everybody should have as long of a period to vote as possible,” Ross said.

Madison and Milwaukee plan on expanded early voting locations. Milwaukee has had just one voting location since Sept. 26, but two more sites open Monday. Eleven polling places are open in and around Madison, with three to open later in October at the University of Wisconsin and Edgewood College.

Neil Albrecht, Milwaukee elections commissioner, said he wasn’t surprised that the first 10 days of early in-person voting resulted in only about 3,200 ballots cast in his city. In Madison, about 4,800 people had voted in-person absentee by Thursday morning.

As of Friday, more than half of the early votes cast so far — about 38,793 out of 70,740 — have been done in person. In 2012, more than 512,000 people cast in-person absentee ballots statewide in the presidential race out of about 659,000 absentee ballots in total.

Trump suggests ‘2nd Amendment people’ might shoot Clinton

Donald Trump suggested on Aug. 9 that “Second Amendment people” might shoot Hillary Clinton if she becomes president.

The GOP nominee was speaking at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, and falsely claimed that Clinton, the Democratic nominee, wants to “essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”

Trump said, “By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Clinton’s campaign quickly responded.

“This is simple — what Trump is saying is dangerous,” said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. “A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”

The Trump campaign said the candidate was simply celebrating the “amazing spirit” of Second Amendment supporters and not making any threats.

But the AP reported that Catherine Milhoan, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, said, “We are aware of his comments.”

A few weeks ago, a Trump campaign adviser on veterans’ issues said, “Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.”

That comment also caught the attention of the Secret Service, which is investigating.

Twitter lighted up even as Trump was still speaking at the North Carolina rally.

The NRA tweeted: “.@RealDonaldTrump is right. If @HillaryClinton gets to pick her anti-#2A #SCOTUS judges, there’s nothing we can do. #NeverHillary. But there IS something we will do on #ElectionDay: Show up and vote for the #2A! #DefendtheSecond #NeverHillary.”

Bernie King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted: “As the daughter of a leader who was assassinated, I find #Trump‘s comments distasteful, disturbing, dangerous. His words don’t #LiveUp. #MLK.”

On the web …

An interesting read at The New York Times about the hostility and threats of violence at Trump rallies.

Democrats: Trump is lying, sexist, bigot

Speakers emerged to the familiar chords of “Come Together.”

The delegates sang along with Paul Simon, as he performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

“Bridges not walls!” shouted some in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on July 25. They were attending the first night of the four-day Democratic National Convention that would culminate with Hillary Clinton accepting the party’s nomination for president of the United States.

Overhead, nets held thousands of red, white and blue balloons for the history-making celebration July 28, after WiG went to press.

Clinton officially would become the first female to lead a major U.S. party ticket.

The message to delegates and other party faithful gathered in the City of Brotherly Love: If Clinton is to shatter the glass ceiling in the Oval Office, the party must unite — unite behind the nominee and running mate Tim Kaine, unite behind the most progressive platform in the party’s history and unite in the campaign to defeat Donald Trump and take back Congress.

Key to unity will be bringing together the loyalists who backed Bernie Sanders during the long primary season.

On July 25, before delegates assembled at the hall, Sanders emailed supporters and said the credibility of the movement they built would be damaged by “booing, turning of backs, walking out or other similar displays.”

The afternoon was marked by a massive demonstration for Sanders in downtown Philadelphia and another rally for Sanders near the Wells Fargo Center.

Then, in the first hours after the convention was gaveled to order, some Sanders delegates did boo, chant and turn their backs on speakers — including other Sanders delegates and advocates.

Comic Sarah Silverman, who was a vocal Sanders supporter, was booed when she said she proudly will vote for Clinton.

As delegates chanted “Bernie” and others chanted “Hillary,” an exasperated Silverman said, “To the ‘Bernie or Bust’ people: You’re being ridiculous.”

Sanders closed that first night of the convention. An early preview of his speech led to speculation Clinton might join him onstage. She didn’t, but Sanders made clear his support for the ticket and outlined “what this election is about.”

The election, said Sanders and many other convention speakers, is about addressing the income gap, the decline of the American middle class and Wall Street greed; reigning in campaign financing; enacting immigration reform; dealing with climate change; improving access to college and health care; protecting reproductive freedoms; and building a united Uniting States.

“In these stressful times for our country, this election must be about bringing our people together, not dividing us up,” Sanders said. “While Donald Trump is busy insulting one group after another, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths.”

Sexist, egotistical, hypocritical bigot

Donald Trump accepted the GOP nomination on July 21 in Cleveland, concluding a rocky convention that revealed a still-fractured party. Several also-rans addressed the convention, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who endorsed Trump, and Ted Cruz, who refused to do so.

In his speech, Trump promised to be the champion of disaffected Americans — mostly older white voters — with a campaign against minorities and women, the impoverished and the immigrants.

Speaker after speaker at the Democratic convention condemned the billionaire’s business practices and offensive rhetoric as delegates waved signs reading “Love Trumps Hate.”

Delegates, too, focused on Trump’s hateful words and lack of policies.

Democrats set the stage for a general election campaign that will reveal Trump as a living model of the Frank Hart character in 9 to 5: a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”

Sexist: “How do you tell your kids not to be a bully if their president is one?” Jarron Collins, former pro basketball player, said. “How do you tell your kids to respect their heritage if their president disparages it? How do you tell your daughters they are empowered if their president reduces women to their physical appearance?”

Egotistical: U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York addressed delegates and said, “Hillary Clinton’s life’s work has been defined by one question: ‘How we help those who need it most?’ Donald Trump’s has been defined by a very different question: ‘How can I help myself most?’”

Lying: Cheryl Lankford of Texas said she invested about $35,000 to get an education at Trump University and has nothing to show for it. “Donald Trump made big promises about Trump University,” Lankford said. “And I was fooled into believing him. Now he’s making big promises about America. Please don’t make the same mistake.”

Hypocritical: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, referring to Trump’s outsourcing of labor, said, “Where are his ‘tremendous’ Trump products made? Dress shirts — Bangladesh. Furniture — Turkey. Picture frames — India. Wineglasses — Slovenia. Neck ties — China. Why would Donald Trump make his products in every corner of the globe but not in Altoona, Erie or here in Philadelphia?”

Bigot: “Donald Trump believes that Mexican immigrants are murderers and rapists,” U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez said from the podium. “But what about my parents Donald? Let me tell you what my parents are. They are the only parents in our nation’s 265-year history to send — not one — but two daughters to the U.S. Congress.”

Meanwhile, speakers and delegates shared stories and impressions of Clinton as a compassionate and intelligent dedicated to helping others. And also, more than one speaker said, she’s badass.

First lady Michelle Obama, in a celebrated speech, said, “What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls, and all of the children, that’s what I want. I want someone with the proven strength to persevere. Someone who knows this job and takes it seriously.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, in a rousing speech, said, “Hillary Clinton knows what Donald Trump betrays time and again in this campaign: that we are not a zero sum nation, it is not you or me, it is not one American against another. It is you and I together, interdependent, interconnected with one single interwoven American destiny.”

Members of the Wisconsin delegation waved an American flag at the end of Booker’s speech.

The flag went up again during Al Franken’s address, when the U.S. senator from Minnesota urged Democrats to action.

“Now, we’re going to have a lot of fun this week,” Franken said. “But when we wake up Friday morning, there will be just 102 days left until the election. And what you — yes, you — do in those 102 days could determine who wins. I mean that literally. I won my first race for the Senate by 312 votes.”

Wisconsin delegate Frank Long of Madison, who volunteered for the Clinton campaign in Iowa and then Wisconsin, is ready.

“It’s incredibly exciting and exhilarating,” he said of the convention. “There’s a lot of passionate people here, a lot of energy. … We really are strong.”

Johnson campaign loses $2.2 million in ads from Koch PAC

A conservative group funded by the Koch brothers that is backing U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson canceled $2.2 million worth of ads it had planned to run to help the Republican in August and September.

Johnson is in a rematch with Democrat Russ Feingold.

Feingold has been outraising Johnson and leading in the polls in the closely watched race.

Democrats are hoping to pick up the Senate seat as they try to regain majority control in the Senate.

The super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund ran about $2 million worth of ads attacking Feingold in May.

The PAC was slated to run another $2.2 million in pro-Johnson ads over the next two months, but a Democratic media tracker said that they had been canceled.

“We are realigning our television advertising strategy to ensure maximum impact across key Senate races,” Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis wrote in an email. “We will continue direct citizen outreach through our grassroots activists, volunteer phone calls, digital media and direct mail. Last weekend alone network grassroots organizations made almost half a million contact attempts to targeted audiences.”

The news for Johnson came a day after he spoke in prime time at the Republican National Convention, a late-reversal from his long-held position that he was going to skip the gathering to campaign in Wisconsin.

It also came day after the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it was delaying until October $1.3 million in ads it originally planned to run over the next two months.

Johnson campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger tried to downplay the effect of the ad cancellation by the group funded by influential billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch.

“We just had our strongest fundraising quarter ever and the polls show this race tight,” Reisinger said. “We are comfortable and confident and believe we have the support to run a winning campaign. The voters already fired Sen. Feingold once, and they will reject him again.”

In the three-month period ending in June, Johnson raised $2.8 million, up from $2.1 million in the first three months. That put him in the top three of all Senate Republicans.

But he still trails Feingold, who served 18 years in the Senate before Johnson defeated him in 2010.

Through the first six months of the year, Feingold raised about $7.4 million, compared with $4.9 million for Johnson. Feingold also had more money on hand at the end of June — $7.2 million compared with $6.3 million for Johnson.

A Marquette University Law School poll released last week showed Feingold ahead of Johnson by 5 points among likely voters and 7 points among registered voters.

The race has tightened considerably since January, when Feingold was up by 12 points over Johnson among registered voters.

Johnson has benefited from spending by outside groups, which had outspent Feingold’s campaign by about $5 million to $1 million from the April 5 primary through late June.

In addition to Freedom Partners, the ads benefiting Johnson have come from Americans for Prosperity, another Koch brothers group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Let America Work and the Judicial Crisis Network.

“Sen. Johnson has always relied on the Koch Brothers and these outside groups to run his campaign for him, so this must come as a disappointment for their model legislator,” said Feingold spokesman Michael Tyler in an emailed statement.

Obama vigorously vouches for Clinton’s dedication

President Barack Obama made his first outing on the campaign stump for his former secretary of state just hours after his FBI director blasted her handling of classified material.

The president vigorously vouched for Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness and dedication in his speech in North Carolina on July 5.

“I’m ready to pass the baton,” the president declared.

“I’m here today because I believe in Hillary Clinton,” he said. “I have had a front-row seat to her judgment and her commitment.”

The energetic Obama-Clinton appearance in North Carolina was a show of Democratic unity in a state Clinton is hoping to put back in the party’s column. But the moment wasn’t what her campaign and the White House imagined during the long primary season.

Shortly before the president and his would-be successor flew to Charlotte together, FBI Director James Comey announced he would not recommend charges against Clinton for her email practices, but only after he presented a searing description of her “extremely careless” handling of classified information that ensured the matter won’t be going away.

The White House declined to comment on Comey’s findings, saying the investigation was not formally closed and it did not want to appear to be influencing prosecutors.

Still, the timing of the trip pulled the president into a controversy he has at times tried to keep at arm’s length. His appearance with Clinton was a reminder that it was his appointee who declined to pursue criminal charges.

Yet Clinton and Obama did not veer from their display of lockstep unity. The duo flew to Charlotte together on Air Force One, and they rode to the rally together in Obama’s armored limousine, known as “The Beast.” Clinton shared photos of her grandchildren, Charlotte and newborn Aidan, with the president.

Welcomed by a screaming crowd of supporters, the president led chants of “Hillary!” as they stood onstage under banners reading “Stronger Together.” He declared that “there has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton, ever. And that’s the truth. That’s the truth.”

Referring back to their own bruising primary battle in 2008, Obama said, “We may have gone toe to toe, from coast to coast, but we stood shoulder to shoulder for the ideals that we share.”

Clinton’s Republican rival didn’t let the Democratic duo’s outing go unanswered. As the rally began, Donald Trump released a lengthy statement casting the joint appearance as an example of a “rigged” political system.

“It was no accident that charges were not recommended against Hillary the exact same day as President Obama campaigns with her for the first time,” Trump said, later echoing the charges at a rowdy rally held across the state in Raleigh.

Clinton shot back early as she introduced the president, chiding Trump for once leading the questioning of the president’s birthplace.

She said Obama was a man that “I was honored to stand with in the good times and the bad times, someone who has never forgotten where he came from. And, Donald, if you’re out there tweeting, it’s Hawaii.”

Obama, too, got in a dig at Trump.

“Anybody can tweet but nobody actually knows what it takes” to be president, he said.

Later, Obama and Clinton dropped in unannounced at Midwood Smokehouse, a barbecue place in Charlotte. He offered a hug to a woman who tried to pay for his meal while Clinton chatted up a woman and her preschool-age child.

At Trump’s rally, which attracted a smaller but still enthusiastic crowd, Trump said Obama should be in Washington, dealing with the issues facing the nation, instead of out campaigning.

“We’ve got a person in the White House that’s having a lot of fun,” he said. “I watched them today. It’s like a carnival act. A lot of fun.”

The Clinton campaign hopes Obama can reassure voters about her experience, talent and character — and speak to their questions about her honesty and trustworthiness, some of which stem from the email investigation.

The president cast the negative impressions of her as a result of her many years in the political spotlight. He also noted that he had benefited from Americans’ desire for a fresh face.

“Sometimes we take somebody who’s been in the trenches and fought the good fight and been steady for granted,” Obama said, as Clinton sat behind him. “As a consequence that means sometimes Hillary doesn’t get the credit she deserves. But the fact is Hillary is steady and Hillary is true.”

Candidates line up in Wisconsin congressional races

A trio of ambitious elected officials, a pair of farmers, a former Marine with close ties to Gov. Scott Walker and a convicted federal felon are vying for votes as Wisconsin residents get ready to winnow down a crowded field of congressional candidates in the state’s Aug. 9 primary.

Barring partisan challenges or findings that candidates lack enough viable signatures, it appears candidates in six of the state’s eight congressional districts will find themselves in primary battles for the right to advance to November’s general election.

The messiest race looks like northeastern Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District, where Republican incumbent Reid Ribble’s decision not to seek re-election has led no fewer than six major party candidates to declare they’re running the race.

The line-up is a colorful one.

The Democratic field included Jerry Kobishop, a Sturgeon Bay-based country singer who advanced to the second round of auditions on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2015.

But Government Accountability Board records showed he didn’t file any nomination papers by the deadline, so he’s out of the running.

That leaves Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson as the lone Democrat in the race. Nelson, a former legislator, staged a one-man sit-in in the Assembly chamber for five days in 2007 in an effort to push Republicans and Democrats into agreement on the state budget. GAB records showed he had filed 1,459 signatures, 459 more than the 1,000 names congressional candidates need to get on the ballot.

The Republican side features former Hilbert Village Board member Gary Schomburg; Terry McNulty, who runs a survey business in Forestville; current state Sen. Frank Lasee of De Pere, and Mike Gallagher of Green Bay, a former Marine who served as national security adviser for Walker’s short-lived presidential campaign last summer. McNulty, Lasee and Gallagher all filed more than 1,000 signatures, according to GAB records; Schomburg filed only 906.

Meanwhile in northwestern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, three Democrats are fighting for nomination. The field includes Mary Hoeft of Rice Lake, a communications instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Barron County; Ethel Quisler of Wausau, who provides services for the disabled; and Marathon County Supervisor Joel Lewis. Hoeft and Lewis had filed enough nomination signatures with the GAB to get on the ballot. Quisler had filed nothing.

The 7th’s Republican incumbent, Sean Duffy, faces a primary challenger in the form of Donald Raihala of Superior. Raihala ran as a Republican for the same seat in 2014, after running for the seat as a Democrat in 2010. GAB records showed Raihala turned in his nomination signatures but didn’t indicate a total.

In southeastern Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District, Democrats Sarah Lloyd, a Wisconsin Dells farmer, and Michael Slattery, a Maribel farmer, will square off in hopes of facing Republican incumbent Glenn Grothman in November. Both filed enough signatures to get on the ballot.

Three other congressional incumbents face longshot challengers.

Williams Bay inventor Paul Nehlen will try to unseat Paul Ryan, the House speaker who represents south-central Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, in a Republican primary. Nehlen reported raising no money during the first quarter of the year; Ryan raised $9.1 million. Nehlen’s campaign said he filed about 1,810 nomination signatures.

Wisconsin Democratic Party treasurer Ryan Solen and Janesville plumber Tom Breu were set to face each other for the Democratic nomination in the 1st. Solen had filed 1,044 signatures. GAB records showed Breu had filed his signatures as well but didn’t include a total.

In western Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Ron Kind faces a challenge from former high school teacher Myron Buchholz of Eau Claire. Whoever wins the primary wins the seat; no Republicans have declared their candidacy in the district. Buchholz faces an uphill fight against Kind, though; he raised $20,000 in the first quarter compared with Kind’s $1.6 million. GAB records indicated Buchholz filed nomination signatures but didn’t include a total.

Incumbent Democrat Gwen Moore will face former state Sen. Gary George in a primary in southeastern Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District. George was sentenced to four years in federal prison after he was convicted of a felony in a kickback scheme in 2004. GAB records didn’t show how many signatures George filed. Nothing prevents felons from running for Congress.