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Republicans warned of ‘blue wave’ after liberal wins Wisconsin court race

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MADISON, Wis. — Liberal judge Rebecca Dallet’s runaway victory in a Wisconsin Supreme Court race cheered Democrats eager for more evidence their party is ready for a winning fall in midterm elections.

And Dallet’s hammering of conservative judge Michael Screnock on Tuesday prodded Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who had endorsed Screnock, to warn his fellow Republicans that more losses could be coming.

“Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI,” Walker, who is up for re-election in November, tweeted. “Big government special interests flooded Wisconsin with distorted facts & misinformation. Next, they’ll target me and work to undo our bold reforms.”

President Donald Trump won the state by less than 1 percentage point in 2016, while Dallet thumped Screnock by double digits.

Dallet won by nearly 12 points with unofficial results nearly complete.

Although the race was viewed by some as a bellwether, results of past Supreme Court elections have not consistently proven to be predictive of what will happen in November.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairwoman Martha Laning said the win was a warning shot to Walker, calling it a “huge loss” for him because his “endorsement, philosophy and politics were on the ballot.”

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One of the Democratic challengers to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, immediately tried to raise money off the Dallet win. Randy Bryce called the result “a rallying cry for working folks.”

Dallet’s victory follows a surprising Democratic win in January in a special election for a state Senate seat held by Republicans for 17 years — an outcome that Walker said then was a “wake-up call” for his party.

Two other special legislative elections are coming this June, giving Democrats more chances to build momentum heading into the fall.

The race for a 10-year seat on the court was nonpartisan in name only, with millions in ad spending and public endorsements from the likes of Joe Biden, Eric Holder and the National Rifle Association.

Dallet said her victory, which Democrats quickly seized on as another sign of momentum, was a rejection of special interest influence on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.

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“The candidate with the most experience in our courts and standing up for the fairness of our courts won,” she said. “I think people are tired of what’s been going on in our state in terms of the money coming in to buy these elections and people spoke out tonight.”

Screnock said he was proud of his campaign, in the face of “tremendous outside influence from liberal special interest groups that were willing to say and spend anything to elect their preferred candidate to the bench.”

Screnock, a Sauk County circuit judge, was endorsed by Walker and backed by about $400,000 from the state GOP.

Dallet’s victory narrows conservative control of the court from 5-2 to 4-3. She also will become the sixth woman on the court. And it’s the first time a liberal candidate has won a race for an open seat on the court since 1995. The court has been a reliable ally of Walker and Republicans who have controlled the governor’s office and Legislature since 2011.

Dallet, 48, has been a Milwaukee County circuit judge since 2008 and previously worked 11 years as a prosecutor. She will join the court in August.

Screnock, 48, was appointed judge by Walker in 2015. Before that he was part of a team that defended Walker’s Act 10 law that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers.

Both candidates argued the other couldn’t be trusted to serve as an independent voice on the state’s highest court because of the partisans supporting their campaigns.

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Labour’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism our biggest shame says top MP

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LABOUR’S failure to tackle anti-Semitism under former leader Jeremy Corbyn will be laid bare today after an 18-month probe by the equalities watchdog. London Belfast Birmingham Cardiff Glasgow Manchester Newcastle Norwich Plymouth Britain

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One battleground state, two rallies — and radically different versions of reality

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PHOENIX — Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris held rallies 30 miles apart Wednesday, six days before Election Day, in this battleground state poised to shape the outcome of the race.

But voters could be forgiven for thinking they were running in two different universes.

In Trump’s world, the coronavirus crisis is exaggerated and the biggest danger to the country is a threat of socialism or communism, while top-of-mind issues include allegations of corruption by Joe Biden’s son Hunter and a “deep state” of government officials plotting against the president.

In the Biden-Harris world, the pandemic is an overarching issue that is crushing middle-class pocketbooks, health care access is threatened by an incompetent president and the country is on a knife’s edge between a return to normalcy and a march to authoritarianism.

Symbolic of the two attitudes, Trump’s rally featured supporters packing into a section of Phoenix Goodyear Airport, many of them elbow to elbow and maskless, while Harris held a drive-in event that was sparse and heavily socially distanced, with attendees covering their faces even when nobody was near them.

Coronavirus case numbers are surging across the country, with a death toll that has topped 225,000. Scientists widely agree that the virus can be relatively contained if people wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Trump boasted that he has done “a great job” handling the virus. Many of his rallygoers doubted the official diagnosis figures, while others said elites were using the issue to control the population. Still others said the media was covering the pandemic to hurt Trump.

“I think it’s overblown. It’s a political ploy to keep people from voting,” said Michael Bieda, 53, of Buckeye. “It’s a power that the opposite side could control people with.”

Dee Ann Kriebs, 74, of Goodyear, who was wearing a red “MAGA” hat, said, “There is so much politicization of Covid that I find it very hard to trust numbers.” She cited the “deep state” as her top issue in the election.

“The deep state has to be eliminated in Washington,” she said.

Tammy Byler, an operations manager in Waddell, said the panic surrounding Covid-19 “feels like communism trying to take over.”

People watch a video during a rally with President Donald Trump at Phoenix Goodyear Airport in Goodyear, Ariz., on Wednesday.Brendan Smialowski / AFP – Getty Images

At her rally, Harris called the coronavirus “one of the greatest mass casualty events that we as a nation have experienced since World War II,” and Trump, she said, “covered it up.”

Rachael Clawson, a teacher in Mason, said that her husband worked in tourism and that the virus had left her in a single-income household.

“If we don’t get the pandemic under control, what does that mean for his job?” she asked, adding: “Access to health care is huge. We have three small kids and a history of chronic disease. It’s very scary to think about raising a young family without health insurance.”

‘Creating a fictional world’

Clawson said she was worried about a march to authoritarianism if Trump is re-elected.

“He thinks Article II of the Constitution allows him to do whatever he wants,” she said, fretting that if voters give Trump four more years, “what permission does that give him to do?”

Kimberly Marteau, 61, a lawyer visiting from Los Angeles, said the pandemic is “a huge concern.” She said she’s supporting Biden and Harris because they’ll “let the facts and science lead us.”

“Information and truth are our defense against someone who wants to create his own world when it’s not the reality on the ground,” she said.

The dueling rallies highlighted the extent to which Americans are voting about not just which set of policies to enact, but also which version of reality they believe to be true.

“Trump has always been about creating a fictional world that conforms to the one he’d like to be true,” said Tony Schwartz, co-author of Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal.” “What’s new is that he’s doing so now, repeatedly, in the face of unassailable facts that directly contradict what he’s claiming. Covid numbers are rising. The economy is still deeply troubled. And on and on.”

Nationally, Biden leads Trump by 7.8 percentage points in the NBC News polling average. In Arizona, Biden leads Trump by 3.5 points in the FiveThirtyEight average, buoyed by defections from college-educated white voters and independents.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks at a mobile campaign event in Phoenix on Wednesday.Sahil Kapur / NBC News

The contrast in the compositions of the two crowds was stark. Trump’s crowd was predominantly white, and it included many of the sort of older voters who have helped Republicans carry the state in all but one presidential election since 1952. Harris’ crowd was younger, with a large share of Black and Hispanic voters, reflecting a rising Democratic-leaning electorate that is reshaping Arizona — and much of the rest of America.

The state is also home to a competitive race in a close fight for control of the Senate, with appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally trailing Democrat Mark Kelly in polls.

“The biggest problem we have is if they cheat with the ballots. That’s my biggest problem,” Trump said, even though experts say that voter fraud is extremely rare in the U.S. and that it’s unlikely to influence any outcome.

To some Trump supporters, the coronavirus lockdowns were unnecessary.

Marlene Parsons, a retiree in Glendale, said it was a “travesty that we had to go through this and ruin the economy.” She said the virus isn’t “as serious as the media portrays it to be,” and she refuses to wear a mask, “because it doesn’t make me feel good.”

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But to Democrats, curtailing the virus is paramount, with many saying they wish Trump would listen more to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert.

“We can’t get back to normal until we get this virus under control,” said Steven Slugocki, the chair of the Maricopa County Democratic Party. “This is a campaign with reality and listening to the scientists ,or propaganda from Fox News that Donald Trump insists on listening to instead of Dr. Fauci.”

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Merkel faces 'catastrophe': No deal Brexit to hit Germany harder than any other EU nation

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IF the UK fails to strike a trade deal with the EU before the end of the year, it will be a “catastrophe” for Germany, which will be harder hit than any other member of the EU27, a former MEP has said.

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