With help from Ella Creamer, Rishika Dugyala and Teresa Wiltz
Greetings, Recast family! President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden travel to Buffalo, N.Y., today in the wake of a deadly, racially motivated shooting — and the debate over “the great replacement theory” enters mainstream politics. First though, a look at the single busiest primary day of the midterm calendar to date.
Voters in five states go to the polls in primary elections today.
In Pennsylvania, the contest to replace retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey is one to keep an eye on. It features celebrity doctor-turned-political hopeful Mehmet Oz of “The Dr. Oz Show” fame.
He earned the coveted endorsement of former President Trump and was thought to be in a two-man race with David McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO. But there’s been a late surge from conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, who is Black, which figures to keep this race interesting.
Senate hopeful John Fetterman, the state’s current lieutenant governor, was thought to have a commanding lead on the Democratic side, but on Sunday announced he was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. He says he is on his way to a “full recovery,” but his health scare may give some Democratic voters pause — which may benefit one of his rivals, current U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb or state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.
In North Carolina, manyDemocrats are high on Cheri Beasley, who is running for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr. If she can secure the nomination and go on to win in the fall, she’ll become the Tar Heel State’s first Black senator.
Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) is Trump’s preferred candidate in this race and is leading in the polls heading into election day, even over the state’s former GOP governor Pat McCrory.
There are other key contests in Oregon and Idaho, but one race we’re watching is in Kentucky’s 3rd Congressional District.
It’s the race to defend the commonwealth’s only royal-blue district within the otherwise ruby red state. The seat is being vacated by Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, the House Budget chair, who announced he’s retiring at the end of the current term.
Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott thought she could use the blueprint utilized by Rep. Cori Bush in Missouri two years ago.
That plan: leverage connections to the social justice movement in her city, paint a rival lawmaker as out of touch with his constituency and mount a stunning primary upset.
Bush built her profile in the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown, who was killed by a white police officer in 2014. The incident touched off weeks of protests that turned violent, sparking conversations about racial inequality, police violence and the growing militarization of local law enforcement.
She capitalized on the renewed fervor and energy of nationwide protests in 2020, mounting an insurgent campaign to knock off then-Rep. Lacy Clay in the Democratic primary before cruising to victory in the general.
Scott, no stranger to toppling incumbents herself, did just that in 2016, when she ousted Tom Riner, a Democrat, from a seat he held since 1992. At the time, that victory made her the first Black woman to be elected to the state Legislature in 20 years.
Her arrest during the racial reckoning protests after a grand jury decided not to directly charge Louisville police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor drew national attention. So, too, did her legislative push to outlaw all no-knock warrants in the state, like the botched one that led to Taylor’s death.
But Scott’s path to the nomination has met a series of headwinds.
Perhaps chief among them is her relationship with the activist community in Louisville, which has not fully embraced her candidacy — and Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, who’s been sharply critical of Scott, declined to endorse her.
As a result, Scott has struggled to gain traction.
Her opponent, Democratic state Sen. Morgan McGarvey maintains a sizable fundraising advantage and enjoys a slew of endorsements from activists and several Black leaders, including recently elected state Rep. Keturah Herron, a longtime social justice advocate who appeared in a campaign ad for him.
We’ll see how each of these races shakes out. And please join me and others from the POLITICO politics team tonight as we break down the returns and what they mean for the midterm elections on POLITICO Live. We get things started at 7:30 p.m. ET.
All the best,
The Recast Team
Power dynamics are changing.With The Recast, you'll get a twice-weekly breakdown of how race and identity are the DNA of American politics and policy.
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THE ‘GREAT REPLACEMENT THEORY’ GOES MAINSTREAM
It has been a violent few days in the United States as gun violence terrorized communites from a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, Calif., to a flea market in Houston, to a neighborhood in Winston-Salem, N.C. And let’s not forget the 21 injured after an NBA playoff game in Milwaukee on Friday.
The deadliest shooting spree took place Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y., where a lone gunman killed 10 people and injured three others. Eleven of the 13 victims were Black. Law enforcement authorities swiftly announced the Department of Justice is investigating the massacre as a hate crime.
The 18-year-old shooting suspect who is white — and whom some are referring to simply as Erie County Inmate #157103 out of respect for the families of the victims – left behind an 180-page screed that authorities say points to his radicalization and the motives behind his rampage.
His writings have been linked to a once-fringe ideology known as “the great replacement theory” in which white nationalists charge that people of color are being brought to the United States to strip white citizens of their power.
President Biden, who is traveling to Buffalo on Tuesday to meet with the families of the victims, urged Americans to unite and stamp out this poisonous thinking.
“We must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the soul of America,” Biden said over the weekend at the annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. “Our hearts are heavy once again, but our resolve must never, ever waver.” Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris referred to the shooting as “an epidemic of hate across our country.”
While many Republicans quickly condemned the attacks, the Buffalo shooting cast a light on the far-right ideology and how it’s permeating mainstream conservative politics, inspired by the nationalist views espoused by Donald Trump.
A pair of Republicans who are outspoken critics of the former president took to social media to call out fellow elected officials who they say peddle this type of racist ideology.
On Monday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) denounced Republican leadership on Twitter.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who, like Cheney, is a member of the House select Jan. 6 committee, went even further, name-checking colleagues he deems the most egregious perpetrators.
It’s unclear how the Buffalo shooting will affect the spread of the ideology moving forward. As The New York Times points out, with Trump no longer at the center of politics (for now?), others have filled the void.
Karine Jean-Pierre recorded a number of historic firsts when she addressed reporters Monday from the White House briefing room.
WATCH: White House refrains from calling out specific public figures who may fuel extremism
“I am obviously acutely aware that my presence at this podium represents a few firsts,” she said. “I am a Black, gay, immigrant woman, the first of all three of those to hold this position.”
Jean-Pierre took over as White House press secretary for Jen Psaki, who departed on Friday and is reportedly close to finalizing a deal with MSNBC.
“I would not be here today if it were not for generations of barriers — barrier-breaking people before me. I stand on their shoulders. If it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me, I would not be here.”
Throughout her first official briefing in that role, several reporters from the White House press corps congratulated her in her role — then it was back to business, beginning with the first question: Does she see her primary role as promoting the president’s interests or committing to “providing the unvarnished truth to the American people”?
Jean-Pierre said she sees no daylight between the two.
“I actually think that’s hand in hand,” she said.
Today, most Americans think about the segregation-shattering 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in one of three ways. We may think about Linda Brown, the plaintiff in Brown, a little girl forced to walk miles to a segregated Black school instead of attending the white school down the block.
We may remember the famed Norman Rockwell painting featuring 6-year-old Ruby Bridges escorted by U.S. Marshalls past a wall splattered with tomatoes and a racial slur. Or we may recall the tumult of busing in the Deep South — Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia — and even much further north of the Mason-Dixon line in South Boston, too, reports education scholar Leslie T. Fenwick in POLITICO magazine.
But there is plenty that we have not been taught about the Brown decision, which turns 68 today, or how it continues to impact us. We know about Linda Brown and Ruby Bridges. But we don’t know about Pressley Giles, Mary Preyer, Virgil Coleman and Jewel Butler. They were among the 100,000 exceptionally credentialed Black principals and teachers illegally purged from desegregating schools in the wake of Brown.
In the years following the Supreme Court ruling, and well into the 1970s, white resistance to the decree decimated the ranks of Black principals and teachers. In large measure, white school boards, superintendents, state legislators — and white parents — did not want Black children attending school with white children. And they certainly did not want Black teachers educating white children and Black principals leading schools and supervising white teachers.
The scheme devised to quickly eliminate Black educators: the closure of Black schools. Even prior to Black school closures, black principals and teachers received letters from district superintendents erroneously telling them that the desegregation decree was responsible for their firings, dismissals and demotions. Less-qualified white teachers, many of whom didn’t have credentials, were hired in their place.
Today, the nation, not to mention our public education system, is still living with the fallout.
ICYMI @ POLITICO
Abortion rights activists are developing startegies to fight bans if Roe v. Wade falls. POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein and Laura Barrón-López have the details.
Justice Clarence Thomas believes the publication of the draft majority opinion indicating that Roe will be overturned was “tremendously bad” and erodes trust in the Supreme Court, POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein tells us.
Tensions rise between New York Democrats as newly drawn congressional maps set incumbents against each other. Ally Mutnick and Sarah Ferris report on the drama for POLITICO.
THE RECAST RECOMMENDS
We’re still in love with Donald Glover’s iconically surreal TV show, “Atlanta.” If you haven’t watched it, you really should.
Ling Ma, author of the hit dystopian novel “Severance” brings us a new short story, “Office Hours.”
Kendrick Lamar’s new album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” dropped Friday. Expect a messy, honest look at the Pulitzer Prize-winning artist’s inner world. One of his songs, “Auntie Diaries,” is generating heated debate in the LGBTQ community: In it, he unpacks his complicated feelings about trans relatives, and uses the “f” slur. But some trans fans commend him for his “allyship and activism.”
36 years after its New York City premiere, Anthony Davis’s “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” arrives at the Detroit Opera House.
Two art recs worth a look in New York: Iranian artist Homa Delvaray’s Farsi-embellished digital prints at Frieze and MOMA’s “The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, 1947–1985,” blending architecture and national identity.
Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak — AKA Silk Sonic — serve an energetic cover of Con Funk Shun’s classic hit "Love’s Train" at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards.
TikTok of the day: Snack time