‘How much more carnage?’
Biden weighs in on gun debate
Remember when 2016 was called a bad year? It seems like a lifetime ago. Since then, there’s been what feels like an endless barrage of discord, stemming from heated, go-nowhere debates over immigration, climate, policing, voting rights, abortion, and guns, to name just a few—not to mention two impeachments, an insurrection, a global pandemic, inflation, and a war in Europe. There are understandably strong opinions surrounding all of these issues, but strong opinions—and crises, for that matter—aren’t new. Any reading of American history will illustrate that point. What is relatively new, at least in our lifetimes, is a rapidly decreasing lack of basic decency toward one another. The recent mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and elsewhere have prompted congressional and state action on guns. But how do you have a rational conversation about gun safety with a candidate for governor who compares all gun regulation to Nazism? How do you negotiate with a congressman who pulls out handguns during a House committee hearing, claiming the hearing is just a pretext for a gun ban? Until we begin to accept once again that different opinions and viewpoints from our own aren’t automatically “evil” and deserve respect—not threats—we’ll never bridge the chasm that currently divides us. —Melissa Amour, Managing Editor
Russia-Ukraine war hits 100th day; Moscow starts military drills in the Pacific —CNBC
Navarro indicted on contempt charges for defying Jan. 6 panel —Associated Press
Jan. 6 committee announces first prime time hearing will feature previously unseen material and witness testimony —CNN
Florida supreme court declines to rule gerrymandered voting map unconstitutional —The Guardian
U.S. Capitol Police arrest man with fake badge, body armor, and ammunition —CNN
‘Enough is enough’
President Biden delivered a rare evening address last night in the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. He implored Congress to take action, by restoring a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, keeping firearms from those with mental health issues, and raising the age to buy assault-style weapons from 18 to 21. And he called on 10 Senate Republicans to work with Democrats to overcome the filibuster. “I know how hard it is, but I’ll never give up, and if Congress fails, I believe this time a majority of the American people won’t give up either,” he added. “I believe the majority of you will act to turn your outrage into making this issue central to your vote.” —Associated Press
“You say it's too soon to take action?" Pointing out that it has been 23 years since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Rep. Jerry Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, led a markup session yesterday on a legislative package intended to stop the epidemic of gun violence. The Protecting Our Kids Act combines a number of proposals, including raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 to buy semiautomatic assault rifles, outlawing high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and strengthening storage requirements for firearms. —CSPAN
One at a time. A group of 21 House Democrats led by Rep. Abigail Spanberger is asking leadership to split up the package and hold individual votes on each measure, in hopes of maximizing Republican support in the Senate. “While we wish every Member of Congress in the House and Senate would join us in supporting all these bills, we know that is not our current reality, and given the composition of the U.S. Congress, we know we must have bipartisan support for bills we want to become law,” the lawmakers wrote. —The Hill
They’re not wrong. Gun control is one of the most divisive issues in the country. If you didn't already know that, a quick review of Republican campaign ads, social media postings, and even Christmas cards reveals the almost hyperbolic level of commitment to the 2nd Amendment on the American right. Any action on additional firearm regulation will be a heavy lift in Congress. Stay tuned. —The Washington Post
MORE: Mark Kelly is in the Senate because of gun madness. He’s ready to end it —The Daily Beast
Rubin: The anti-democracy threat is very much alive
“[H]onest election officials must thwart such plots. [T]he Justice Department must act swiftly to prosecute insurrection. [B]ar associations and judges must make clear that lawyers who participate in unfounded fraud claims face significant consequences. [T]he media must be candid that the threat to our democracy comes from a radicalized GOP (and treat Republicans accordingly in interviews). And…voters who perceive the threat to our democracy must turn out in overwhelming numbers. Nothing less than the survival of democracy is at issue.” —Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post
Jennifer Rubin is an attorney and political opinion columnist at The Washington Post.
MORE: ‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections —Politico
Focus on voter fraud
A funny thing is happening this primary season: Republicans emerging victorious from their races are accepting the results without complaint. Already this year, 55 of the lawmakers who objected in 2020 have run in competitive primaries, contests conducted largely under the same rules and regulations as those in 2020. Gone are doubts about vote counts. No conspiracy theories about mail ballots have surfaced. And no one has called for a “forensic audit” or further investigations of the 2022 primary results. Apparently elections are completely legit when Republicans win, but are rife with fraud when they lose. Fascinating how that works. —The New York Times
Arizona. A case in Arizona demonstrates that fraud does occasionally happen—just not in the widespread, coordinated numbers the election deniers would have you believe. Democratic operative Guillermina Fuentes was indicted in 2020 on accusations that she collected primary ballots, violating a state law that only allows a caregiver or family member to return someone else’s early ballot. But fewer than a dozen ballots could be linked to her, and there is no indication that her actions were part of a broader pattern in battleground states. —Associated Press
Wisconsin. The ‘Big Lie’ charade doesn’t come cheap either. In Wisconsin, the Republican review of the 2020 election has cost the state’s taxpayers nearly $900,000–about $220,000 more than originally budgeted. And it will continue to rise, in part because of the costs of fighting lawsuits related to the work. But despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees, Republicans have lost a series of court rulings over the last year. —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Florida. How might Republicans succeed in casting doubt on or altering election results when they lose? With a little help from the far-right. In Miami-Dade County, for example, at least a half-dozen current and former Proud Boys—including those facing charges for participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack—have secured seats on the Republican Executive Committee to influence politics from the inside. And some are running for local offices. —The New York Times
MORE: Shasta County's far-right hope to win 2022 primary election —Los Angeles Times
The ‘Cowboy Code’ put to the test in Wyoming’s Republican Party
By Corey Cronin
It’s the unofficial slogan of the University of Wyoming, and something engrained in everyone who grew up a product of the Wyoming public education system. The embodiment of this slogan that was taught to those of us who grew up here is the “Cowboy Code of Ethics.” Signed into law in 2010, the “Code” is adopted from James P. Owen’s book “Cowboy Ethics” and is as follows:
Live each day with courage.
Take pride in your work.
Always finish what you start.
Do what has to be done.
Be tough, but fair.
When you make a promise, keep it.
Ride for the brand.
Talk less and say more.
Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
Know where to draw the line.
I can’t help but read through this very fine moral philosophy and relate it to the political battle currently consuming my home state.
Rep. Liz Cheney is in the political fight of her life against a barrage of Trumpian opponents, the most notable being Harriet Hageman, a Cheyenne attorney. Hageman has secured the endorsement of the former president, who hosted a rally for her in my hometown of Casper on May 28. At the rally, Trump proclaimed the Wyoming At-Large House race the most important election of the midterm cycle.
Both Hageman and Cheney have been running campaigns that make direct and indirect references to the Cowboy Code of Ethics. When it comes to who exemplifies this local moral compass, the difference couldn’t be clearer.
1. Live each day with courage.
When the history books retell the story of today’s America, it will look fondly upon Rep. Liz Cheney. Cheney has bucked her party to stand for truth, integrity, and for our Constitution. This courage has cost Cheney her position in GOP leadership and might very well cost her her seat in Congress. But nevertheless, she persists in facing down intimidation and is cementing her legacy as a profile in courage.
In contrast, Trump-backed candidates must pass the litmus test of being complacent in the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Consistently, the loudest applause line at his endorsement rallies, including the one in Casper, is attacking trans kids. The MAGA loyalists go after immigrants as scapegoats for the problems we face. These are not courageous stances, but rather profiles in cowardice.
7. Ride for the brand.
Cheney and Hageman have been running under the banner of “riding for the brand,” but there’s a stark contrast between the two as to what that means. To Hageman, the “brand” is Trumpism. To Cheney, the “brand” is the Constitution. The candidates don’t stand too far apart on policy, but the brands for which they ride are the defining difference that should be considered when determining which direction Wyoming and the country take when charting our path forward.
10. Know where to draw the line.
Democracy is precious, but fragile, and we must do everything in our power to protect it. This is a red line on which we should all agree, yet we see candidates and elected officials throughout the country, as well as here at home in Wyoming, inch their way further over it every day. January 6, 2021 is the day the MAGA movement didn’t just step over that line, but marched down Pennsylvania Avenue right over it. Ten brave House Republicans, including Rep. Cheney, stood up and voted to impeach the former president because they recognized they were the last stand to that line disappearing forever. Hageman, the Wyoming GOP, and the RNC have punished Cheney for putting country over party, yet she bravely holds the line in a last-ditch effort to keep our democracy intact.
I will admit, when I first learned of the Cowboy Code of Ethics, I found it to be rather silly. Yet, with age comes some semblance of wisdom, and I’ve learned how important the “Code” has been in shaping my moral compass. It’s apparent it has shaped Liz Cheney’s as well. Let us hope our fellow Wyomingites remember these 10 principles and reject candidates and ideologies that run counter to them. The world needs more cowboys. Wyoming and our country need Liz Cheney.
Corey Cronin is the development director at the Renew America Movement.
MORE: Cheney shoots down MyPillow CEO claims of voter fraud in Wyoming —The Hill
The debate about gun violence—i.e., is it the guns or mental illness at the core of the problem—is missing an important point. It is easy to blame mental illness, hard to do anything about it. Who would be denied guns? Would medical records be included in background checks? I don't think so. Even red flag laws are difficult. The wife of a man with an anger problem could be reporting her own husband...and who would decide if her fear was enough to take away her husband's guns?
I think it will take a groundswell within the culture to change attitudes about guns. During my lifetime, we have changed attitudes about seatbelts, drunk driving, and smoking. Time to start thinking about how we change the conversation about guns. This could include advertising that not only demonstrates the damage done by guns in America, but calls into question the idea that owning guns is somehow a heroic demonstration of courage, freedom, and conservative values. It is this underlying myth that provides the fertile soil for the growth of gun violence in America. It is time to change the conversation. —Karel M., Washington
I read "Thornburgh & Opdycke: Give independents a chance” in the May 31 issue. What do you think of the idea of a nonpartisan Congress? Do away with the parties, so any incumbents would have to stand on their records instead of their political affiliations. —John C., Florida
The views expressed in "What's Your Take?" are submitted by readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff, the Renew America Movement, or the Renew America Foundation.