GOP women brought the energy to congressional races

A week before Election Day on Nov. 3, the New York Times offered a grim preview of the fate of Republicans in House races. Democrats had “fortified their grip on hard-fought seats won in 2018 that allowed them to seize control of House,” the outlet said. And that freed them to concentrate on Republican incumbents in “once-solid foothills in suburban districts, where many voters have become disillusioned with Mr. Trump.”

Democrats were rolling in money. In highly competitive races, they were “sitting on a 5-to-1 cash-on-hand cash advantage” over their Republican opponents and “overall were poised to spend nearly twice as much on television ads from Labor Day to Election Day.” They even had spare cash to use against Republicans in Alaska and Montana.

Republican strategists didn’t bother to deny how bad things looked. “The Democrats’ green wave in 2018 has turned into a green tsunami in 2020,” Corry Bliss told the New York Times. GOP advisers, who are supposed to know how to win elections, “privately forecast losing anywhere from a handful of seats to as many as 20.”

That was a very big mistake, since Republicans flipped 12 Democratic House seats and maybe a few more once vote counting is finished. How could this happen? The wise strategists and the media missed what became obvious late in the final weeks of the campaign. They were dumbstruck. They might as well have blamed the weather.

The focus of the election had changed. Democratic leftists eager to “defund the police” and impose socialism had become their party’s voice. They were front and center. As their further-to-the-left allies rioted, Democratic “leaders” stood by passively. And the press remained fixated on President Trump.

I have two explanations for what caused the collapse by the Democrats. One was human nature. Everything was going their way. They could get the best advice. They hired the top ad men and campaign experts. They had money to burn.

This is, as God warns, exactly when you let up and money takes control. You lose your edge. Democrats have long complained about the evil of money in politics. Now, they can fund every cause and candidate. And the complaints about money have stopped. With money in charge, the body and mind relax. You get lazy.

The second explanation is like a great rookie on a declining sports team who stirs and inspires, almost like magic. Republicans in the House have been rejuvenated by a group of female candidates. They are responsible for flipping nine of the 12 Democrats ousted by Republicans. They aren’t lazy.

As the House Democratic caucus began filling up with women, Republicans got in the game. Winning for Women was formed in 2017 to counter EMILY’s List, the pro-abortion Democratic group. Rep. Elise Stefanik, elected from upstate New York in 2014, set up a PAC to elect Republican women. With Tom Emmer of Minnesota as chairman of the House Republican Campaign Committee, the effort has taken off. The push for women candidates is

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The women who brought down Greece’s Golden Dawn

Behind the bench, before her mostly male audience, as the marathon trial of Golden Dawn entered its last act, supreme court justice Maria Lepenioti did what she has done every week: she kept the peace.

a woman sitting at a table using a laptop: Photograph: Pantelis Saitas/EPA

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Pantelis Saitas/EPA

It has not been easy. Emotions have often run high. Even as the curtain is about to come down on proceedings with a ruling on if those convicted will be jailed before an appeal can be heard, the Greek judge, both laconic and low-key, has had to pull off an extraordinary balancing act presiding over a case that has put more Nazi leaders and sympathisers in the dock than at any time since Nuremberg.

In her court every word has counted. There has been no tolerance for the extreme rhetoric that fuelled the neo-fascist group’s spectacular rise. Nor for jibes from the other side.

“Day after day, session after session, she has managed to keep the harmony,” says Giota Tessi, a reporter with the leftist Syntaktwn paper who has observed the proceedings almost since they began in April 2015. “Her knowledge of the case file is incredible. She has been a model of restraint but she has also been very aware of the weight of the moment.”

Historians will look back at the women who played a seminal role in Golden Dawn’s downfall. Under Lepenioti’s gaze, the three-member tribunal has gone where many in Greece had formerly feared to tread. After its landmark ruling that the far-right, ultra-nationalist party was a criminal organisation bent on extinguishing enemies real or perceived, sentences have been delivered that will almost certainly ensure its leadership remain behind bars for years to come. The party’s founder, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and the tattooed macho militants who comprised his inner circle, all received 13-year prison terms.

a woman sitting at a table using a laptop: The president of the three-member criminal court, Maria Lepenioti, reads out the sentences for those convicted in the Golden Dawn trial in Athens.

© Photograph: Pantelis Saitas/EPA
The president of the three-member criminal court, Maria Lepenioti, reads out the sentences for those convicted in the Golden Dawn trial in Athens.

With the last chapter in the story of Europe’s most violent political force finally written, it will not be lost on the protagonists that punishment, in the end, was meted out by a woman. “It’s undeniable that in this case justice was female,” said Maria Stratigaki, professor of gender studies at Panteion University, noting the number of female prosecutors and investigators who also participated in drawing up the dossier against Golden Dawn. “For a party whose ideology is based on male supremacy, whose worldview is so militaristic, it’s humiliating and will hurt.”

Stratigaki is among the many who believe there are lessons to be learned.

The dark episode of Golden Dawn – its meteoric rise from being a fringe movement 40 years ago to Greece’s third-biggest party on the back of protest votes over EU-dictated austerity – has raised disquieting questions.

When historians look back they will see a nation whose political class was slow in dealing with the rightwing menace and a society whose silence was deafening. A police force whose

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Mwendwa brought Kenya ‘special gift’ by hiring ‘Ghost’ Mulee

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has described the hiring of Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee as the Harambee Stars coach as “a special gift” to Kenyans.

The 52-year-old tactician was handed the mantle to handle the team on a three-year contract following the exit of Francis Kimanzi, whom the Federation claims they parted with on mutual agreement on Tuesday.

Mwendwa has now told Goal he settled for ‘Ghost’ to take charge of the team because he has been there before and knows what it takes to qualify a team to the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

“‘Ghost’ is Kenyan, he knows Kenyan football, he had been there, he has done it before, he has won the league, he has won different cups, he has won Cecafa, he had been to the Afcon before, and now he has the chance once again to take us there,” Mwendwa told Goal on Wednesday.

“I am 100 percent sure that he will use that knowledge we got in the last Afcon and when he was there to try and do better in the Afcon, we want to be there all the time and he now have the chance to do that with us, and I strongly believe he will succeed.

“He will be there for a contract of three years and if he qualifies for the 2022 Afcon and the World Cup then we can extend it so we find stability with our boys and motivate them, we can find something special, and that is what I have brought to you, a special gift.”

On unveiling ‘Ghost’, the last local coach to take Kenya to the 2004 Afcon finals held in Tunis, Tunisia, Mwendwa explained: “We are done with elections and now it is all about football and today [Wednesday] I am happy, in a new chapter, in our new beginning, in our next notch for Kenyan football to introduce to you a change in our national team bench, that will pave the way to the work we want to do to head to the Afcon 2022 in Cameroon.

“It will also help us for Afcon and the World Cup in Qatar, I have spoken many times and many years the last four years about going to the World Cup and today we start laying down the framework to find ways of competing against Mali, Uganda and Rwanda from June next year.

“But before that is to compete against Comoros on November 11 and 15 and then play against Togo away in March and Egypt in Kenya in March as well, we have four matches to go for Afcon qualification, we have two points and we need more points to be back at Afcon again.

“We are starting our new term only two days into it and we found it necessary [having discussed it for a while], to make a change in the bench and so I want to bring

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‘I brought my cat to a wedding and now my boyfriend’s pals won’t speak to me’

The stress of organising a wedding can leave many couples at breaking point.

From guest list arguments, to rows over what to serve your picky uncle, it’s rare that the run-up to the big day runs smoothly.

But one couple had the shock of a lifetime after a woman turned up with a cat, because it was her emotional support animal 

Now, that guest has asked whether she was wrong to bring her moggie along to the big day.

While some were divided, many were shocked to learn that the couple didn’t know she was specifically bringing a cat until she arrived.

Instead, her boyfriend has just said she wanted to bring her ‘support animal.’

Emotional support animals are commonly used to help calm the nerves of people with anxiety.

They differ to professionally trained service animals which are regulated by law.

The couple didn’t realise she was bringing a cat along to their big day

A year on from the big day, the woman has told how some of the wedding guests don’t want to socialise with her, as they didn’t think she should have brought the moggie along.

She explains: “So last year I went to a wedding with my boyfriend and brought my emotional support animal (approved by medical professionals) with me because I can get very bad panic attacks at crowded events like weddings.

“I didn’t know the bride or groom really well since they were my bf’s school friends, but he did ask beforehand on my behalf if I could bring my support animal, and they said yes.

“Anyways, so my animal is just my cat of 8 years. She’s a big Maine coon and a real sweetie, so I had her in a leash (for cats) and a small soft crate.

“But since I started feeling “off” the minute we got there, she was out of her crate and in my lap the entire time.

The cat is an emotional support animal

“So the wedding goes fine except for two small instances.

“During the ceremony, my cat at one point wanted to groom herself and made light “tinkling” sounds because of the leash she had on and her fidgeting.

“Some people looked in our direction in annoyance but I quickly unzipped her so the noise would stop.

“Second, during the dinner and dancing, I had her on a leash and at one point she disappeared beneath the table.

“When I finally checked on her I realized she had scratched a little bit of the table legs and some of the overhanging cloth.

“I immediately told my bf and we both made a mental note to tell the bride/groom afterwards and compensate them.

“Long story short, I didn’t think much of it for a while until this year.

“My bf and I are temporarily back in his hometown for a while and he wanted to hang

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