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Elections Briefing, Feb. 26, 2021: GOP Schism, Florida Senate, UK Local Elections

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Elections Briefing 2-26-21 GOP Split FLSen UK Local

What is the future of the Republican Party? How will the English be voting in local elections? Does Marco Rubio have an opponent? All in today’s Briefing, of course.

US Election News

Could the GOP Actually Split?

For the last few weeks, we have heard the stories that if there were a “Trump Party,” more than a few ardent Trump supporters would run away from the Republicans. Now we have to consider another alternative possibility: What if the anti-Trump Republicans manned the lifeboats instead? The Morning Call went into how some have reached out to former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) on abandoning ship for a new party.1 To be clear, Dent does not want to split the party, but no doubt some out there do. What’s also becoming clear is that the pro-Trump majority and the anti-Trump forces will have difficulty co-existing moving forward as their visions for the country are incompatible as presently held. It’s also clear that they need each other to win elections, but they are far from one, big, happy family.

To that end, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is continuing down the path of being pro-Trump as opposed to generally pro-small-c conservative or pro-Republican.2 We know from polling that they are in line with the majority of Republicans. This majority is also evidently content to show non-Trump Republicans the door, or leave them out in the cold so they search for the door themselves.

The United States has had the same two dominant political parties since the election of 1856. (You can see those presidential elections here in a video we made.) Third parties have had difficult roads to say the least. However, there is a feeling that something has to give, either that the GOP splits or one of the two warring factions falls into line. The Democrats will have their own reckoning at some point between centrists and progressives, but that’s for another article.

Georgia Vote Changes Proceeding

The widespread changes to the way people vote in Georgia, which we reported on in Monday’s Briefing, have cleared the first procedural hurdles in the Legislature. Among the proposed changes are adjusting procedures for early voting and mail-in voting. Per reports, it was a party-line vote in committee3, and one can assume it will be when the full House and Senate get to vote on it as well.

Murphy Considering Florida Senate Run

Two-term Senator Marco Rubio (R), a 2016 presidential candidate, may be getting the first major opponent of his 2022 re-election race. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) is said to be weighing a run.4 She represents the 7th District, including Sanford, Altamonte Springs, and parts of Orlando. Murphy also noted she may wait until 2024 and face Sen. Rick Scott (R). At present, Florida has two Republican senators for the first time since the 1870s, but Murphy would not be the first female senator, as Paula Hawkins (R) accomplished that in the 1980s. Whomever the Democratic nominee is will have to deal with a state that’s arguably becoming less of a swing state, and not in their direction.

International Election News

Changes for UK Local Elections to Be Debated

Last year, the British local elections were scrubbed due to COVID-19 and rescheduled for 2021. These elections are proceeding as planned in 2021, at least, that is the plan. The Parliament will consider legislation which would allow for voters who are isolating due to COVID to vote by proxy.5 This is in addition to the existing rule that any voters can vote via the postal system if they so choose. Boris Johnson’s government is in a tough spot with the local elections and making sure they proceed. They have already had a year of local elections postponed, and two years would not look good, especially when they have laid out a specific roadmap to reopening. There is, however, always that risk.

El Salvador Heading for Transformative Election

The legislative agenda of President Nayib Bukele could get a serious boost in this Sunday’s Salvadorian elections. Bukele was elected as a young outsider to lead the Central American country, but he has faced cries of authoritarianism and corruption in just his first two years in office.6 Should his fledgling political party gain a majority in the Legislative Assembly, it will rewrite the agenda for El Salvador and Central America.

Featured Election

2021 New Jersey Governor Race

The 2021 New Jersey gubernatorial election takes place on November 2, 2021. Incumbent Governor Phil Murphy (D) is expected to seek re-election, and in surprising news, blue New Jersey has not re-elected a Democratic governor in over 40 years. Murphy could be the one to buck that trend, and you can track all the predictions for that race here.

Election Calendar

14 days until the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election.
15 days until the Western Australia state election.
25 days until the 2021 Israeli election.
64 days until the Texas-06 US House special election.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. Paul Muschick, “Charlie Dent on a new center-right party: ‘There’s clearly a demand out there’,” The Morning Call, 25 February 2021.
  2. Domenico Montanaro, “It’s All About Trump: CPAC Seems Poised To Ignore Republican Identity Crisis,” NPR, 25 February 2021.
  3. Beau Evans, Capitol Beat News Service, “Major changes to absentee voting in Georgia elections advance in state House,” Gwinnett Daily Post, 25 February 2021.
  4. Jonathan Allen, “Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy ‘seriously considering’ Senate bid against Rubio in 2022,” NBC News, 24 February 2021.
  5. Cabinet Office and Chloe Smith MP, “New measures to allow proxy voting in local elections for those self-isolating with coronavirus,” United Kingdom Government, 23 February 2021.
  6. Marcos Aleman, Associated Press, “El Salvador Election Could Remake Political Landscape,” US News & World Report, 25 February 2021.

Now For Your Commentary

United States Elections

2021 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election Predictions

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