March 2024 – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

How Jared Kushner’s Luxe Hotel Scheme Ignited a City Rebellion

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

A luxury real estate venture backed by Jared Kushner in Serbia has stoked fierce opposition from public officials and civilians who have accused Kushner of cultural insensitivity over the project.

The proposal from Kushner’s Affinity Group investment firm is aimed at building a high rise hotel and ritzy apartment building on the site of the bombed out former Serbian army headquarters in Belgrade.

A local opposition group, the Kreni-Promeni or “Make Changes” movement, launched a petition earlier this week against it that garnered some 10,000 signatures in just a matter of hours. As of Friday, more than 25,000 people had signed the petition.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Here are the 6 California Republicans up for reelection whose competitive districts could determine the House majority in 2024

Rep. Michelle Steel, second from right, and Rep. Young Kim, right, are running in two of the most competitive House districts in the country. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, center, has been instrumental in bolstering the GOP delegation from California.

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The road to the House majority will play out in a set of highly-competitive California contests.The GOP has faltered in statewide races in California, but they found success with House races in 2020 and 2022.Democrats are looking to flip several GOP-held seats that are much bluer at the presidential level.

California Republicans are often thought as of an endangered species.

But largely through the efforts of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy — a Bakersfield native who stepped down from the House last December — the GOP in recent years has been able to claw back some power in the Golden State by winning a set of highly-competitive swing districts in areas where the party still retains a sizable base of support.

And it is in these districts, from the Central Valley to the outskirts of Los Angeles and down to Orange County, where the House majority will likely be won or lost in 2024.

Republicans currently hold a slim 218-seat majority, a precarious position for the party as the 213-member House Democratic Caucus works to flip the chamber this year.

Here’s a look at the six California congressional districts held by Republicans — five of which were won by President Joe Biden in 2020 — which will have an outsized role in which party holds the speaker’s gavel in 2025:

Rep. Young Kim.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Young Kim, 40th District

First elected to the House: 2020

Kim, a former member of the California State Assembly and onetime aide to former congressman Ed Royce, first ran for Congress in 2018 in hopes of succeeding her longtime boss. But she lost to Gil Cisneros in what was a banner year for Democrats, especially in the suburbs.

With the strong backing of McCarthy and other GOP leaders, Kim ran again in 2020 and defeated Cisneros in a rematch, becoming one of the first Korean-American women to serve in the House. After the 2020 Census, her congressional district, which now includes parts of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino counties, was reconfigured into one that would have narrowly backed Biden.

Kim won reelection by nearly 14 points in 2022, but Democrats see the contest as winnable. She’ll now take on retired Orange County fire captain Joe Kerr in November.

Rep. Michelle Steel.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Michelle Steel, 45th District

First elected to the House: 2020

In 2020, Steel, a former Orange County supervisor, narrowly defeated then-Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda in a district that had long favored Republicans. (Two years earlier, Rouda flipped the district by defeating then-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a conservative fixture in Congress.)

Steel has staked out socially-conservative positions on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, and in 2022, she won reelection over Democratic nominee Jay Chen by nearly 5 points.

But Biden would have won the current configuration of Steel’s district, which includes parts of Orange and Los Angeles counties, by 6 points.

In the November election, Steel will face Democrat Derek Tran, a consumer rights attorney.

Rep. Mike Garcia.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Mike Garcia, 27th District

First elected to the House: 2020 special election

Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot, has proven to be an adept candidate in his northern Los Angeles County-anchored district. In all three of Garcia’s races, including the May 2020 special election triggered by the resignation of Democrat Katie Hill, he defeated former Democratic state lawmaker Christy Smith.

In November 2020, Garcia narrowly defeated Smith by 333 votes out of nearly 340,000 ballots cast (a 0.1% edge), but in 2022 he won by a much more decisive 6 points.

So the district, which would have voted for Biden by 12 points under its new lines, remains a top priority for both parties headed into the 2024 elections. Republicans need to retain a foothold in suburban districts like the 27th to have any shot of retaining their majority, while Democrats see the district as a key pickup opportunity given its bluer lean at the presidential level.

Democrats — including early-endorser Smith — are lined up behind George Whitesides, a former NASA chief of staff and onetime Virgin Galactic chief executive.

Rep. Ken Calvert.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Ken Calvert, 41st District

First elected to the House: 1992

Calvert is the longest-serving California Republican in Congress. A former local GOP county party chair, he’s represented parts of Riverside County in Congress since 1993. His seat spans several Coachella Valley cities, along with parts of the Inland Empire, including Corona.

The 15-term incumbent has been a mostly reliable vote for GOP leadership. Calvert was among the 147 Republicans who voted to overturn at least one state’s election results after the 2020 presidential election.

Calvert won most of his races by large margins before redistricting, and he last faced a truly competitive reelection fight in 2008. But in 2022, Calvert defeated Democrat Will Rollins, a former federal prosecutor, by just under 5 points.

Calvert and Rollins will face off in a rematch this fall.

Rep. John Duarte.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

John Duarte, 13th District

First elected to the House: 2022

Duarte isn’t just a Republican in what would have been a Biden-won district in 2020. The businessman and pistachio farmer holds a Central Valley seat in one of the most pro-Biden districts that is currently held by a Republican.

House Democrats have been eager to take shots at Duarte, including his decision to support House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan’s onetime bid for the speakership. Jordan failed to win the speakership, eventually paving the way for Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana.

In 2022, Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray, a former state assembly member, by just 564 votes, in what was one of the closest congressional races in the nation that year.

Duarte and Gray will face each other again in November.

Rep. David Valadao.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

David Valadao, 22nd District

House tenure: 2013-2019, 2021-present

Valadao was narrowly booted from Congress during the anti-Trump 2018 wave. Two years later, the wealthy dairy farmer defeated Democratic Rep. TJ Cox in a rematch.

Valadao’s return to Congress was overshadowed by his decision to become one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol riot. Unlike his colleagues, Valadao grew largely silent after the vote. As a result, Trump didn’t train his ire on the Californian to the extent that he targeted the other nine GOP lawmakers.

In 2022, Valadao bested Democrat Rudy Salas, a former state assembly member, by 3 points.

The congressman will face Salas again in the general election.

Read the original article on Business Insider

James Carville says RFK Jr. will harm Trump more than Biden, but he ‘worries’ about Cornel West and Jill Stein

Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Joe Biden.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya; Mario Tama/Getty Images; AP Photo/Susan Walsh

James Carville said RFK Jr.’s White House bid could be more of a drag on Trump than Biden.”Bobby Kennedy might hurt Trump more than he hurts Biden,” he told MSNBC’s Ari Melber last week.RFK Jr. said last week that his candidacy would be a “spoiler” for both Biden and Trump.

Democratic strategist James Carville, in a recent MSNBC interview, said that independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign might be a drag on former President Donald Trump’s 2024 bid.

While many observers say Kennedy Jr.’s campaign would harm Biden, the veteran Democratic strategist took the opposite view.

“I actually think Bobby Kennedy might hurt Trump more than he hurts Biden,” he told host Ari Melber last week.

In recent polling of three-way matchups between Biden, Trump, and Kennedy Jr., the former president is often slightly ahead.

Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer who last week selected lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his vice presidential running mate, said recently that he intended to be a “spoiler” for both Biden and Trump — arguing that he’d appeal to voters who wanted a break from the two major-party candidates.

“Our campaign is a spoiler all right,” Kennedy Jr. said during an event last week welcoming Shanahan to the ticket. “It is a spoiler for the war machine. It is a spoiler for Wall Street, Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Pharma, the corporate media, and all of the corrupt politicians and corporations.”

Kennedy Jr., the son of the late New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is averaging 12.3% support in national polling in a three-way race, according to RealClearPolling.

Based on polling taken from late January through late March, Trump and Biden are each averaging 40.7% and 35.3%, respectively, in a three-way contest with Kennedy Jr.

In a pure matchup between Biden and Trump, the former president is averaging a slim 1-point lead over the incumbent (46.5%-45.5%) in March polling, according to RealClearPolling.

Carville, who warned about cracks in the Democratic Party’s electoral foundation, also expressed concern about the presidential campaigns of Cornel West and Jill Stein.

The strategist noted that a slice of Americans have a “Just F the whole thing” view of the election and stated: “Biden is not gonna get any of the ‘F it all’ vote, OK?”

“Now what worries me is Cornel West and Jill Stein because they’re going to get some of the ‘F it all’ vote, too,” he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

This California lawmaker wants to help you ignore your boss when they call you after hours

A lawmaker wants to codify the right for California employees to ignore work calls after hours.

Elena Zaretskaya/Getty

A lawmaker wants to pass a bill allowing employees to ignore after-hours calls from their boss.The California bill aims to address work policies that have become muddled post-pandemic.Assembly Bill 2751 would allow for exceptions for emergencies or scheduling changes.

It’s a universal headache: Your phone rings after work hours, and it’s your boss.

You don’t know exactly what he or she wants, but it’s probably not to wish you a good night or a happy weekend. More likely than not, an after-hours call means more work for you.

Working conditions have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, which put legions of workers on remote or hybrid schedules. Some of those flexible schedules and location policies remain in place, making it harder for workers to establish a concrete end to their workday.

In California, one Democratic lawmaker wants to solve that by codifying a worker’s right to ignore communications from their boss after work hours.

“People now find themselves always on and never off,” Assemblymember Matt Haney told The New York Times. “The problem we have now is the gray area, where an employee is expected to respond all the time when on paper they work a 9-to-5 job.”

Filed in February, Assembly Bill 2751 would apply to both public and private employers, requiring them to allow workers “the right to disconnect from communications” from an employer during off hours. It provides some exceptions for emergencies or scheduling changes.

“This is not intended to say people can’t work long hours or have an agreement for a contract where they’re on call, but it should be made clear,” Haney, who represents the San Francisco area, told the Times.

The bill is now in the Assembly’s Committee on Labor and Employment, where it has been read twice and amended.

It will likely need to go to a fiscal committee before it can be read a final time on the State Assembly floor for a vote. If it receives a majority vote, it will head to the State Senate for a similar process.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump Rages Against His Legal Foes in Unhinged Easter Screed

Angela Weiss/Getty Images

It seems Donald Trump is having a very normal Easter Sunday.

In a lengthy holiday temper tantrum posted to Truth Social, Trump went after several of his favorite courtroom targets, accusing them of doing “EVERYTHING POSSIBLE” to derail his 2024 re-election effort.

“HAPPY EASTER TO ALL, INCLUDING CROOKED AND CORRUPT PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES THAT ARE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO INTERFERE WITH THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 2024, AND PUT ME IN PRISON,” the former president began in his 166-word rant.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

James Carville says Biden’s poll numbers have gotten ‘a little bit better’ but that the president won’t ‘replicate 2020

The Democratic strategist James Carville.

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

James Carville told MSNBC’s Ari Melber that Democrats face a major engagement issue this year.”We’re not going to replicate the 2020 coalition,” he said, pointing to polling struggles with non-white men.Carville has been vocal that the party isn’t adequately reaching out to males.

Democratic strategist James Carville during a recent MNSBC interview said he didn’t think President Joe Biden would be able to reassemble his 2020 electoral coalition in the November election.

Carville, who in recent months has been increasingly vocal about his view that the party is losing touch with non-white male voters, told host Ari Melber that while Biden’s polling numbers have improved, the president would have a lot of work to do to win reelection.

“I do think that the polling has gotten a little bit better,” Carville said of Biden’s standing after his recent State of the Union address. “But we’re not going to replicate the 2020 coalition.”

Biden’s 2020 electoral victory was fueled by robust support among young voters; Black, Asian, and Latino voters; suburban swing voters and Independents; and college-educated voters of all races.

“Most people think we’re going to lose Hispanic males,” he continued. “Young Black males have become so disengaged from this process and it’s happened rapidly. That’s of great concern for me.”

Carville then remarked further about what he saw as the lack of male engagement with the Democratic Party.

“I think President Biden could win the election, but in terms of identifying with the party as you go forward … the male detachment in the United States is a significant problem, particularly among non-white males,” he added.

Carville’s comments came after The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently spoke with him for a wide-ranging interview in which he said that “preachy females” were alienating blocs of men from the party.

“If you listen to Democratic elites — NPR is my go-to place for that — the whole talk is about how women, and women of color, are going to decide this election,” he told Dowd. “I’m like: ‘Well, 48% of the people that vote are males. Do you mind if they have some consideration?'”

Read the original article on Business Insider

FOMO may be one of the things driving the super rich to invest tens of billions in AI

Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky speaks with Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei during a 2023 conference.

Noah Berger/Getty

Investors are dumping money into AI as they grapple with the fear of missing out.Amazon may invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic, an AI rival of OpenAI.Despite the hype and cash influx, AI companies face their share of challenges.

The fear of missing out is real — even among the mega-rich.

Wealthy investors are jumping on the AI train because they don’t want to miss out on the next big thing.

Amazon recently said it would invest as much as $4 billion in Anthropic, an AI rival of the well-known OpenAI. In September, Amazon invested $1.25 billion and then more than doubled that with its latest $2.75 billion infusion.

In total, investors have dumped almost $30 billion into the industry in 691 deals in 2023, PitchBook reported. Artificial intelligence startups snatched 1 in 3 investment dollars in 2023, according to Reuters.

Along with venture capitalists, technology companies were among the top investors, Fred Havemeyer, a leader of AI research at the financial services group Macquarie Group Limited, told CNBC.

“They definitely don’t want to miss out on being part of the AI ecosystem,” Havemeyer said. “I definitely think that there’s FOMO in this marketplace.”

The influx of cash demonstrates that the hype around generative AI is real. Bill Gates predicted artificial intelligence would be as “revolutionary as mobile phones and the internet,” and it seems investors are betting on that.

But that doesn’t mean the road ahead will be smooth. Despite being lucrative opportunities at the moment, AI companies have had their share of struggles with leadership shake-ups and widespread consumer fears that the tech will upend employment in the coming years.

Read the original article on Business Insider

6 battleground states will hold the key to the White House in 2024

The White House.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

With the 2024 presidential race in full swing, both parties are eyeing their pathways to victory.
The 2024 election is set to be a rematch of the 2020 contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
A band of swing states in the Midwest and Sun Belt are at the top of the list for Biden and Trump.

Over the past two decades, the road to the White House — once dominated by Florida and Ohio — has evolved.

While bellwethers like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin remain a critical part of the calculus for Democratic and Republican presidential nominees in reaching the 270 electoral vote threshold for victory, the Sun Belt region has also grown in importance.

For President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who are set for a November rematch, every vote will be crucial in what is predicted to be a tight race. And the campaigns of both men will target a narrow band of six swing states to capture the White House: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Democrats — who defied conventional political wisdom in 2022 by retaining their Senate majority and minimizing major losses in the House despite losing control of the lower chamber — are working hard to reelect Biden as he continues to face challenging economic headwinds and pushback over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

Republicans believe Biden will be a liability for Democrats. However, the GOP’s stewardship of the House has not exactly worked out how they had hoped. They elected a speaker (Kevin McCarthy of California) who was subsequently removed and are now struggling to enact an agenda under a new speaker (Mike Johnson of Louisiana) with a razor-thin majority. The series of events created a “chaos” narrative around the party, which doesn’t help at the top of the ticket.

The GOP must also contend with the toxicity of Trump’s political brand in the major swing states, especially among suburban voters and Independents who are likely to decide the election.

Then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks at the Carpenters Local Union 1912 in Phoenix, Ariz., on October 8, 2020.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Arizona

2012 margin: Romney +9.0%

2016 margin: Trump +3.5%

2020 margin: Biden +0.3%

Between 1952 and 2016, Arizona backed the Republican presidential nominee in every election except for 1996 — when then-President Bill Clinton won the state over former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole by a little over 2 points.

Long associated with Barry Goldwater, the conservative political icon who was the Republican presidential nominee in 1964, the Grand Canyon State for decades had a decidedly red lean in federal races.

But as the population of Arizona has swelled, its political orientation has also shifted.

In 2012, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney easily won the state over then-President Barack Obama, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whittled the GOP margin of victory down to just under 4 points in 2016.

Biden, buoyed by gains among the state’s burgeoning Latino population, narrowly won the state over Trump in 2020 by a little under 11,000 votes out of nearly 3.4 million ballots.

Democrats remain encouraged by their performance in Arizona in the 2022 midterms.

Not only did Secretary of State Katie Hobbs defeat MAGA-infused Kari Lake in the gubernatorial race, but Sen. Mark Kelly won a full six-year term over Republican Blake Masters. Adrian Fontes was also elected to succeed Hobbs over state Rep. Mark Finchem, who repeatedly questioned the 2020 presidential election results.

Biden must recreate a win in a state where Republicans have long been the dominant party. And Lake is now running in the state’s marquee Senate race, where she’s poised to face Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego should both candidates win their respective party primaries in August.

Former President Donald Trump watches election returns and speaks with guests at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., on November 8, 2022.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Georgia

2012 margin: Romney +7.8%

2016 margin: Trump +5.1%

2020 margin: Biden +0.2%

For decades, Republicans could easily depend on the Peach State’s electoral votes falling into their column. No more.

While GOP politicians were enjoying double-digit wins in statewide races, former Democratic state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams — who saw the possibility of a more politically-competitive Georgia — worked behind the scenes to build a turnout organization that could rival that of the Republican Party.

In 2018, Abrams came within 55,000 votes of winning that year’s gubernatorial election.

Two years later, Biden won the state by roughly 12,000 votes over Trump, followed by the dual 2021 runoff victories of Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff over Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively.

The exponential growth of the Atlanta suburbs, driven by new Black, Asian, and Latino residents, has given the state a purple veneer — but the 2022 midterms also showed the limitations of Democratic gains.

Warnock won a full six-year term in a December runoff after fending off a challenge from Republican Herschel Walker, becoming the only Democrat to win statewide in the midterms. But Walker, aided by robust support in the state’s rural counties, still won 48.6% of the vote in the runoff, despite a candidacy that some Republicans saw as deeply flawed.

And Republicans were victorious in every other statewide election, led by Gov. Brian Kemp, who defeated Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 contest by nearly 300,000 votes.

Translation: Georgia will continue to be on everyone’s mind this year.

The phrase “Count Every Vote” is displayed outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on November 6, 2020.

AP Photo/David Goldman, File

Michigan

2012 margin: Obama +9.5%

2016 margin: Trump +0.2%

2020 margin: Biden +2.8%

Michigan has long been a critical part of the electoral calculus for Democrats, as they carried the state in every presidential race from 1992 to 2012 by appealing to voters in Detroit and its middle- and upper-middle-class suburbs, while also enjoying support among union households and moderates in the exurban and rural stretches of the state.

But the party was stunned by Trump’s narrow 2016 win in the longtime blue state, as the Republican made significant inroads with the base of white working-class voters who had been slowly drifting away from Democrats cycle after cycle.

In 2020, the party put a premium on flipping the Wolverine State back into its column, which Biden did, winning by nearly 3 points over Trump.

And in November, Democrats in the state boasted some of their party’s most impressive victories in the entire country.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won reelection by nearly 11 points, while state Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson easily won their races. The party also flipped control of both houses of the Michigan legislature, and a referendum enshrining reproductive rights into the state Constitution was approved by voters.

Still, despite the Democratic wins, the state’s 15 electoral votes will be a sought-after prize for both parties in 2024.

A major caveat: Biden continues to face enormous pushback from the state’s Arab American community over his handling of the conflict in Gaza, which led more than 100,000 Michiganders to vote “uncommitted” instead of selecting the president in the March Democratic primary.

Then-Nevada GOP gubernatorial nominee Joe Lombardo, right, campaigns with Trump at a rally in Minden, Nev., on October 8, 2022.

AP Photo/José Luis Villegas, Pool

Nevada

2012 margin: Obama +6.7%

2016 margin: Clinton +2.4%

2020 margin: Biden +2.4%

Democrats have been victorious on the presidential level in the Silver State since 2008, when Obama won by nearly 13 points, followed by his victory of nearly 7 points in 2012.

But Clinton and Biden both won the state by a little over 2 points, as Republicans have seen the fast-growing Western state as one that can be flipped into their column, especially if they can make inroads in Democratic-heavy Clark County.

In the 2022 midterms, Republicans got a huge boost in the state when their gubernatorial nominee, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, defeated incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

But Democrats also notched a major win by reelecting Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto to a second term over former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who had been strongly backed by Trump. And after state Democrats approved congressional maps that some in the party saw as especially risky in a GOP wave year, all three of the party’s House incumbents — Dina Titus, Steven Horsford, and Susie Lee — won their respective races.

The ticket-splitting in the midterms once again showed that Nevada will be hot target for both parties in 2024, especially as the economy remains at the forefront of voters’ minds.

Biden, right, and former President Barack Obama, center left, take part in a campaign rally for then-Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, center right, and then-Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman in Philadelphia, Pa., on November 5, 2022.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Pennsylvania

2012 margin: Obama +5.4%

2016 margin: Trump +0.7%

2020 margin: Biden +1.2%

Biden’s hometown of Scranton is dear to his heart so Pennsylvania was always going to be a key state for the party in 2024.

Democrats carried Pennsylvania in every presidential race from 1992 to 2012, until Trump narrowly edged out Clinton in 2016, gaining support among the white working-class voters who populate the exurban and rural communities across the state.

But Biden clawed back in 2020, boosted by strong returns in Philadelphia and its affluent suburbs, as well as a robust vote in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh.

And in 2022, Democrats had a huge year in the state, electing Lt. Gov. John Fetterman to the Senate to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, while also electing state Attorney General Josh Shapiro in a landslide to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

The party also regained control the state House of Representatives, winning back a majority they lost in the 2010 midterms.

Despite the GOP losses, the party — keen on winning back some suburban voters and improving their margins in the state’s rural outposts — will again make a major play for Pennsylvania this fall.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers addresses a joint session of the Legislature in the Assembly chambers at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., on February 15, 2022.

AP Photo/Andy Manis, File

Wisconsin

2012 margin: Obama +6.9%

2016 margin: Trump +0.8%

2020 margin: Biden +0.6%

Wisconsin is one of the most politically-divided states in the country.

Democratic presidential nominees Al Gore and John Kerry eked out statewide wins in 2000 and 2004, respectively, and Obama won the state easily in 2008 and 2012.

But Trump flipped Wisconsin to the GOP in 2016, the first time it had supported a Republican presidential nominee since 1984.

Democrats, stunned by the loss, regrouped and elected Tony Evers as governor in 2018 — knocking out onetime GOP star Scott Walker — while also reelecting Sen. Tammy Baldwin to a second term.

Biden went on to narrowly win the state over Trump in 2020.

And in November 2022, Evers was reelected to a second term over Republican businessman Tim Michels, while GOP Sen. Ron Johnson narrowly defeated then-Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes to earn a third term in the upper chamber.

Both parties are eyeing the Badger State — and looking to turn out their respective bases — in what will be another competitive race on the presidential level.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Kansas City Chiefs’ Rashee Rice Wanted by Police After ‘Major’ Crash

Norm Hall/Getty

A car registered to Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice was allegedly involved in a major accident in Dallas on Saturday night, and now police want to bring him in for questioning.

Dallas Police sources told the Dallas Morning News that officers were looking for Rice in connection to the accident, and a police call sheet obtained by the paper also indicated authorities were searching for him. It was unclear whether Rice was personally involved in the crash or the extent of any injuries.

The Dallas Police Department did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

It’s not just inner-ring suburbs. Trump has also underperformed in key exurban counties during the GOP primaries.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Former President Donald Trump romped in virtually every GOP primary contest this year.But below the surface, his numbers in some key exurban areas could give him headaches in the fall.While exurbs generally lean toward the GOP, a sizable number of ex-Haley voters could go for Biden.

Throughout his time in the White House, Donald Trump presided over the GOP’s collapse in suburban communities across the United States, especially in affluent areas filled with college-educated voters.

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump lost traditional GOP strongholds like Orange County, California, and Cobb County, Georgia, a preview of Democratic gains in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 elections.

And this year, Trump underperformed in many inner-ring suburban counties compared to his statewide vote totals. This pattern emerged even as Trump was already heavily favored to secure the GOP presidential nomination.

And Trump now has another electoral math issue he’ll have to tackle: his underperformance in key exurban counties.

Politico examined 1,000 counties that voted in the Republican presidential primaries this year, revealing the extent voters preferred another GOP standard-bearer.

Unlike most inner-ring counties across the county, many exurban counties still tilt toward the Republican Party and often elect GOP lawmakers at the local and congressional levels. And unlike their more urban counterparts, exurban counties generally boast a less-concentrated number of voters with college degrees, a demographic that favors Democrats. So many exurban residents often want to back Republican candidates but simply don’t care for Trump.

“You hear a lot of moderate Republicans now who say that they’ll never vote for Trump again,” Parker Fairbairn, the Republican Party chairman in Emmet County, Michigan, told Politico.

In the 2016 general election, Trump won Emmet County — in the northern reaches of the Lower Peninsula — by 19 points. Four years later, he won the county by 11 points.

In the 2024 Michigan GOP primary, Trump won Emmet by 34 points, but the figure was below his nearly 42-point statewide victory.

Despite her statewide loss, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley — Trump’s chief primary opponent until she exited the race earlier this month — still won 30 percent of the vote in Emmet.

A similar scenario unfolded in the North Carolina primary, where Trump won statewide by nearly 51 points. But in the GOP-leaning Charlotte exurbs of Cabarrus and Union counties, Haley picked up roughly a quarter of the vote in each locality.

Will some of these voters eventually support President Joe Biden in the fall?

Republicans are banking that many voters will eventually revert to their old ways and pull the lever for Trump over economic concerns. Biden has struggled to convey his economic wins in a way that has resonated with voters.

But some Haley supporters are going all-out in their quest to reelect Biden, as they seek to reel in voters who remain leery of Trump.

Robert Schwartz, the senior advisor for Haley Voters for Biden, a one-time pro-Haley super PAC, is one of those backers.

“There’s still a lot of raw feelings about how Nikki Haley and her family were treated, and about the way that MAGA and Donald Trump are treating Nikki Haley supporters and the whole ‘permanently barred from MAGA,'” he told Politico. “We want to lock in that feeling of resentment and disgust toward the way Trump treated them.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump Just Won’t Stop Attacking Hush-Money Judge’s Daughter

Brendan McDermid/Getty Images

Donald Trump once again assailed the daughter of the judge overseeing his New York hush-money trial, this time sharing a news story with photos of his target on his social network.

Ranting on Truth Social on Saturday evening, the former president shared a link to a New York Post article about Loren Merchan, who leads a political consulting firm that works with Democrats. In his post, Trump once again claimed without evidence that Loren’s political work was proof her father, Judge Juan Merchan, was compromised and should be removed from his case.

“​​This is a disgrace to our Legal System. Judge Merchan should be immediately sanctioned and recused, and this fake ‘case,’ only kept alive by the Highly Conflicted Judge, should be completely dismissed right away—THERE IS NO CASE, THERE IS NO CRIME,” he wrote.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Profit from video games that were turned into movies doubled in 2023. Hollywood wants more.

Mario and Luigi in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

Universal

Hollywood is increasingly adapting video games into movies and TV shows.The trend contrasts with declining interest in comic book adaptations.Video game studios are cautious, fearing adaptations could compromise their intellectual properties.

People are getting tired of watching the Avengers. But Hollywood has a backup plan: Video games.

Seven different major film releases in 2023 were based on video games, including “Grand Turismo” and “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

At least 19 television shows based on video games debuted last year as well, according to Ampere Analysis, a London-based markets data firm, and the trend is not slowing down. “Bioshock” and “God of War” are now in the works at Amazon Prime and Netflix, respectively.

Ampere found that Hollywood shifted its focus away from comic books in movies and television shows last year in favor of video game adaptations like “The Last of Us.”

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” brought in $1.36 billion in 2023, the second largest margin behind “Barbie.” Both films outpaces “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” Marvel’s latest installment in Phase Five of its Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, a media analytics company, told the Journal that film studios are starting to realize that the “bloom may be off the rose” when it comes to comic book adaptations.

Superhero films made about $1 billion domestically in 2023, which is down 42% from the previous year, Comscore says. Meanwhile, video-game-based movies made $712.2 million, more than double the total from 2022, according to the outlet.

Despite that success, video game studios are exercising caution regarding film and TV adaptations. Gamers are a committed fan base. That presents an opportunity for Hollywood but also a challenge to video game studios, which worry about the threat adaptations introduce to their brands.

“If they don’t like something, they will tell you,” Helene Juguet, managing director of Ubisoft Film & Television, told the Journal.

Netflix, for instance, canceled “Resident Evil” after just one season in 2022. Fans of the popular video games series called it “the most boring, pointless garbage” of the year with “nothing in common with its source material,” Newsweek reported at the time.

The show’s low audience review scores may have come from “racist review bombing,” given that Lance Reddick — who is Black — portrayed a character that is normally white in the video games, Forbes reported.

In a November 2023 earnings call, Take Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnik said game studios “run the risk of compromising the underlying intellectual property” when making adaptations, according to the Journal.

“It’s a high bar,” Zelnik said during the call.

Video game adaptations typically get a bad rap as schlocky retellings, especially from younger gamers. Members of Miami University’s Electronic Gaming Association told the school’s publication that they think film adaptations fare better with audiences when game creators have more say in the storytelling.

Game and film studios are embedding themselves in places like Discord and Reddit communities where they can see directly what young gamers think about their products, the Journal reported. One common finding is that gamers enjoy “easter eggs,” or small nods to source material.

Adhan Razzaque, a 22-year-old software engineer from Austin, told the outlet that noticing easter eggs in the 2022 Netflix series “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners,” for instance, made him feel like the production team was considering him as a gamer when creating the show.

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Maryland Guv Dismisses GOP’s ‘DEI’ Attacks as ‘Foolishness’

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said on Sunday he’s not sweating the racist attacks conservatives have hurled at him since the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed last week.

“I have no time for foolishness,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union.

Moore said he’s focused instead on the families and authorities affected by the tragedy and reopening the water channel in Baltimore for shipments. The bridge collapsed on Tuesday after a cargo ship slammed into one of its pillars, presumably killing six construction workers who fell into the Patapsco River.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Michigan congressman slammed for appearing to suggest Gaza should be destroyed ‘like Nagasaki and Hiroshima’

Rep. Tim Walberg (center).

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Tim Walberg appeared to suggest the US should destroy Gaza “like Nagasaki and Hiroshima.”The Congressman said that his words had been a metaphor and that they had been taken out of context.Walberg has since been slammed by fellow representatives for his comments.

Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg is facing fierce criticism after appearing to suggest the US should drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza.

In a video posted on X, formerly Twitter, Walberg can be heard saying: “It should be like Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Get it over quick.”

Responding to a question about the US’s plans to build a floating pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver aid, Walberg also said the US “shouldn’t be spending a dime on humanitarian aid.”

Walberg, a conservative Republican, seemingly made the comments at a town hall event earlier this week, and he has since been slammed by fellow politicians.

Michigan Sen. Darrin Camilleri wrote on X that Walberg had been “endorsing and calling for a complete genocide in Gaza.”

“He’s an absolute disgrace and needs to resign,” he wrote.

Walberg said it was a metaphor

Palestinian residents evacuate their homes damaged by Israeli airstrikes on October 10, 2023 in Gaza City, Gaza.

Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

Rep. Haley Stevens also took to X to voice her opinion on the clip, saying: “Threatening to use, suggesting the use of, or, God forbid actually using nuclear weapons, are unacceptable tactics of war in the 21st Century.”

Rep. Dan Kildee added that Walberg’s comments were “horrific” and “shocking.”

“It is an indefensible position to argue against humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza while also calling for the wholesale massacre of the Palestinian people,” he wrote on X.

Walberg has since attempted to clarify his comments, saying in a statement posted on X: “I used a metaphor to convey the need for both Israel and Ukraine to win their wars as swiftly as possible, without putting American troops in harm’s way.”

“The quicker these wars end, the fewer innocent lives will be caught in the crossfire,” he said. “The sooner Hamas and Russia surrender, the easier it will be to move forward.”

“The use of this metaphor, along with the removal of context, distorted my message, but I fully stand by these beliefs and stand by our allies,” he added.

Before his time in public office, Walberg served as a Christian pastor in Michigan and Indiana. His congressional website also says he defends traditional values in Washington, DC.

The war in Gaza began on October 7 after Hamas militants launched a series of attacks in Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking roughly 240 hostages.

Israel retaliated with relentless airstrikes and a ground invasion of the territory, which has led to more than 32,000 Palestinians being killed so far, the Hamas-run health ministry has said.

Many of the Gaza Strip’s roughly two million inhabitants are now also on the brink of famine, UN officials have warned.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton’s family didn’t attend Easter Sunday service alongside King Charles, but here are all the royals who did

King Charles III leaving Easter Sunday service at t St. George’s Chapel.

WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Prince and Princess of Wales didn’t attend Easter Sunday service with the royal family.King Charles III made his first major public appearance since announcing his cancer diagnosis.Here are all the royals who attended the service. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales’ family did not attend the Easter Mattins Service on Sunday.

A few British royals attended the service at St. George’s Chapel, but Prince William, 41, Kate Middleton, 42, and their three children were not among them.

The family appeared at the service last Easter but decided to step back following Middleton’s health announcement this month. Middleton said she has cancer in a video statement after undergoing abdominal surgery.

Middleton is undergoing chemotherapy treatment and recovering, so the couple and their children — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 — are spending a private weekend at their home instead, according to People.

The service also marked King Charles III’s first major public outing since his own cancer diagnosis this year. Buckingham Palace announced Charles, 75, had cancer in February after he underwent a prostate procedure.

Here are all the royals at this year’s Easter Sunday service.

Queen Camilla.
Queen Camilla.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Photographers captured Queen Camilla, 76, at Sunday’s service. Following Charles’ cancer announcement, she continued royal duties and attended more than 13 official engagements.

Princess Anne
Prinecss Anne and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence.

HOLLIE ADAMS/Getty Images

Princess Anne, 73, attended the service alongside her second husband, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew.

JUSTIN TALLIS/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace announced in January 2022 that Prince Andrew, 64, would not return to public duties after allegations in a sexual assault lawsuit. But he attended the Easter service alongside his family on Sunday.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
Sarah Ferguson.

WPA Pool/Getty Images

Sarah Ferguson, 64, also attended the Easter service alongside her former husband, Prince Andrew. However, the former couple’s daughters — Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie — did not appear.

Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Edward.

JUSTIN TALLIS/Getty Images

Prince Edward, 60, attended the service with his wife and youngest son. His daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, did not attend.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Duchess of Edinburgh, 59, waved to photographers while arriving at St. George’s Chapel on Sunday.

James, Earl of Wessex
James, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

James, 16, is the youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. He is also Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest grandchild.

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Sen. Warnock: ‘The Bible Does Not Need Trump’s Endorsement’

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) ripped former President Donald Trump on Sunday for his latest commercial exploit—hawking $60 “Trump-endorsed” Bibles, which he promoted over Easter weekend.

“The Bible does not need Trump’s endorsement,” Warnock said, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Easter Sunday.

The senator—who is a longtime Baptist pastor—used an example from the Bible to condemn Trump’s behavior.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has 1 ‘loser’ missile ship left in Crimea that has not launched a single missile, Ukrainian captain says

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet warships take part in the Navy Day celebrations in the port city of Novorossiysk on July 30, 2023.

STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images

A Ukrainian navy captain claimed Russia has only one missile ship left in the Black Sea.He said that most of the Black Sea Fleet had relocated after a series of Ukrainian strikes.A senior UK Royal Navy officer said that 25% of Russia’s Black Sea warships had been sunk or damaged.

A Ukrainian commander has said that Russia only has one “loser” missile ship left in the Black Sea after a series of successful attacks.

“Most of the combat units, if you take the carriers of cruise missiles, have actually all been relocated, except for one loser who has not yet launched a single missile,” Captain Dmytro Pletenchuk told Ukrainian TV.

He said that the lone ship remaining in Crimea is Russia’s Cyclone warship, a Karakurt-class corvette.

Pletenchuk noted that the Black Sea Fleet was once considered Russia’s main force in Crimea but had almost entirely been chased away and relocated.

A Ukrainian sea drone slams into a Russian warship in Novorossiysk on August 4, 2023.

Pravda Gerashchenko

Ukraine has been successfully using missiles and drones to strike ships at Sevastopol, Russia’s major Black Sea port in Crimea.

A senior UK Royal Navy officer said last month that 25% of Russia’s vessels in the Black Sea had been sunk or damaged.

Last weekend, Ukraine carried out its latest attacks on the Russian fleet at Sevastopol, bombarding it with missiles that struck four ships.

Ukraine’s navy said it struck two of Russia’s large landing ships, the Yamal and the Azov, as well as the spy ship Ivan Khurs and the Konstantin Olshansky large landing ship.

The latter ship was seized from Ukraine in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula.

The UK’s defense minister said on March 25, after the latest Ukrainian attack, that the Black Sea Fleet was “functionally inactive.”

In a further intelligence update on March 31, the UK defense ministry said that four Russian barges had been identified in recent imagery as being positioned at the entrance to the Black Sea Fleet facility at Novorossiysk.

The department noted this was an effort to boost the defenses of the port against attacks from Ukrainian Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs), which are remotely operated vessels that are packed with explosives and used to strike Russian ships.

The UK department said that some of the Black Sea’s most valuable assets had taken refuge Novorossiysk port in the eastern Black Sea after the regular attacks on their traditional homeport of Sevastopol.

Russia’s Adm. Viktor Sokolov, the former Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, was reported to have been fired after a string of successful Ukrainian attacks.

The UK defense department noted that his successor, Vice Adm. Sergei Pinchuk, has likely taken preventive measures to improve the survival chances of Russian vessels.

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Elon Musk says Russia ‘will certainly gain more land’ in Ukraine

Elon Musk’s Tesla is placing ads on X, the former Twitter.

LEON NEAL/Getty Images

Elon Musk predicted Russia would gain more land in the ongoing Ukraine war.Musk said he believed Ukraine should focus on defending its territory instead of attacking.Musk’s SpaceX initially sent thousands of Starlink terminals to Ukraine, but relations have since cooled.

Elon Musk weighed in on the Russia-Ukraine war on Saturday, saying that he believed Russia would “certainly gain more land than they have today.”

Replying to a post on X, formerly Twitter, about the war, Musk said: “It was a tragic waste of life for Ukraine to attack a larger army that had defense in depth, minefields and stronger artillery when Ukraine lacked armor or air superiority! Any fool could have predicted that.”

He said he had recommended a year ago that Ukraine apply all of its resources to defending its territory rather than trying to attack Russian forces.

“There is no chance of Russia taking all of Ukraine, as the local resistance would be extreme in the west, but Russia will certainly gain more land than they have today,” Musk wrote.

He added that he thought that a prolonged war could even see Russian forces take the port city Odesa on the Black Sea, also noting that, in his view, the big question was whether Ukraine would lose access to the Black Sea.

“I recommend a negotiated settlement before that happens,” he said.

Several people responded to Musk, criticizing his take and his use of the Russian transliterations of “Odesa” and “Dnipro.”

Elon Musk’s SpaceX sent Ukraine “thousands” of terminals for the company’s Starlink satellite internet service when Russia first invaded.

Ukraine said last year that there were roughly 42,000 terminals in use by a variety of organizations, including the military and hospitals, Reuters reported.

But Musk has since taken to X to seemingly mock Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his efforts to secure aid from the US.

Musk has also revealed that in 2022, he denied Kyiv’s request to activate Starlink near Russian-annexed Crimea, where Ukraine was planning an attack on Russia’s navy, as he feared making SpaceX “explicitly complicit in a major act of war.”

Ukrainian intelligence has since claimed to have evidence that Russian forces are using Starlink in occupied areas of the country.

SpaceX said in a statement that it “does not do business of any kind with the Russian Government or its military.”

House Democrats earlier this month said they were investigating SpaceX over whether Russia has accessed Starlink.

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