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    Already Distorting Jan. 6, G.O.P. Now Concocts Entire Counter-Narrative

    A new version of the attack amounts to a disinformation campaign aimed at giving cover to the party and intensifying the threats to political accountability.In the hours and days after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, rattled Republican lawmakers knew exactly who was to blame: Donald J. Trump. Loyal allies began turning on him. Top Republicans vowed to make a full break from his divisive tactics and dishonesties. Some even discussed removing him from office.By spring, however, after nearly 200 congressional Republicans had voted to clear Mr. Trump during a second impeachment proceeding, the conservative fringes of the party had already begun to rewrite history, describing the Capitol riot as a peaceful protest and comparing the invading mob to a “normal tourist visit,” as one congressman put it.This past week, amid the emotional testimony of police officers at the first hearing of a House select committee, Republicans completed their journey through the looking-glass, spinning a new counternarrative of that deadly day. No longer content to absolve Mr. Trump, they concocted a version of events in which accused rioters were patriotic political prisoners and Speaker Nancy Pelosi was to blame for the violence.Their new claims, some voiced from the highest levels of House Republican leadership, amount to a disinformation campaign being promulgated from the steps of the Capitol, aimed at giving cover to their party and intensifying the threats to political accountability.This rendering of events — together with new evidence that Mr. Trump had counted on allies in Congress to help him use a baseless allegation of corruption to overturn the election — pointed to what some democracy experts see as a dangerous new sign in American politics: Even with Mr. Trump gone from the White House, many Republicans have little intention of abandoning the prevarication that was a hallmark of his presidency.Rather, as the country struggles with the consequences of Mr. Trump’s assault on the legitimacy of the nation’s elections, leaders of his party — who, unlike the former president, have not lost their political or rhetorical platforms — are signaling their willingness to continue, look past or even expand his assault on the facts for political gain.The phenomenon is not uniquely American.“This is happening all over the place — it is so much linked to the democratic backsliding and rising of authoritarian movements,” said Laura Thornton, the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “It’s about the same sort of post-truth world. You can just repeat a lie over and over and, because there’s so little trust, people will believe it.”Behind the Republican embrace of disinformation is a calculus of both ambition and self-preservation. With members of the select committee hinting that they could subpoena Trump aides, allies on Capitol Hill and perhaps Mr. Trump himself, the counterfactual counterattack could pre-emptively undercut an investigation of the riot.As videos shown during the hearing gave harrowing new reminders of the day’s violence, leading House Republicans claimed that Ms. Pelosi — a target of the mob — had been warned about the violence in advance but failed to prevent it.From his private club in New Jersey, Mr. Trump suggested that Ms. Pelosi should “investigate herself,” yet again falsely insinuating that antifa and Black Lives Matter — not his followers — caused the destruction on Jan. 6 and that a democratically decided election had been stolen from him.All the while, in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Republican, who once led his party in condemning both the riot and Mr. Trump’s role in it, made no visible attempt to stop the flood of fabrications, telling reporters he had not watched the hearing and had little new to say about the most violent attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812.House Republicans’ desire to bury the attack on their own workplace has created a dysfunctional governing atmosphere. Ms. Pelosi has increasingly treated them as a pariah party, unworthy of collaboration or trust, and has expressed deep disdain for Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, whom she called a “moron” this past week.A six-month Times investigation has synchronized and mapped out thousands of videos and police radio communications from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, providing the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why.“Anytime you mention his name, you’re not getting an answer from me,” she told reporters. “Don’t waste my time.”Almost as soon as the police retook control on Jan. 6, hard-core defenders of Mr. Trump in Congress began recasting the gruesome scenes of violence that left five people dead.Mr. McCarthy, the California Republican, responded differently at first: He angrily demanded that Mr. Trump stop the rioters, according to an account he gave fellow Republicans at the time. A week later, as the House moved to impeach Mr. Trump, Mr. McCarthy said that “the president bears responsibility” for the “attack on Congress by mob rioters” and called for a fact-finding commission.But in the months since, that early resolve has given way to an out-and-out intent to bury the attack. Mr. McCarthy, who is trying to win back the majority in 2022, moved quickly to patch things up with Mr. Trump, gave latitude to far-right members of his caucus and worked furiously to block the creation of an independent 9/11-style commission.This past week, just before the officers began to deliver anguished testimony about the brutality they had endured, Mr. McCarthy repeatedly laid blame not with Mr. Trump, the rioters or those who had fueled doubts about the election outcome, but with Ms. Pelosi, one of the invading mob’s chief targets.“If there is a responsibility for this Capitol, on this side, it rests with the speaker,” Mr. McCarthy said.Officers who defended the Capitol, like Harry Dunn, delivered emotional testimony at the first hearing of a House select committee this past week.Oliver Contreras for The New York TimesRepresentative Elise Stefanik of New York, the recently selected House conference chairwoman, went even further, saying Ms. Pelosi “bears responsibility” as speaker “for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6” and deriding her as “an authoritarian who has broken the people’s house.”Ms. Pelosi is not responsible for the security of Congress; that job falls to the Capitol Police, a force that the speaker only indirectly influences. Republicans have made no similar attempt to blame Mr. McConnell, who shared control of the Capitol at the time.Outside the Justice Department, meanwhile, a group of conservative lawmakers gathered to accuse prosecutors of mistreating the more than 500 people accused in the Jan. 6 riot.Encouraged by Mr. Trump, they also echoed far-right portrayals of Ashli Babbitt, a rioter who was shot trying to break into the House chamber, as a patriotic martyr whose killing by the police was premeditated.As if to show how anti-democratic episodes are ping-ponging around the globe, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in June seized on Ms. Babbitt’s killing — calling it an “assassination” — to deflect questions about his own country’s jailing of political prisoners.Some senior Republicans insist that warnings of a whitewash are overwrought.“I don’t think anybody’s going to be successful erasing what happened,” said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas. “Everybody saw it with their own eyes and the nation saw it on television.”Speaker Nancy Pelosi has increasingly treated House Republicans as a pariah party, unworthy of collaboration or trust.T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York TimesFor Mr. Cornyn and other lawmakers, continuing to talk about the attack is clearly an electoral loser at a time when they are trying to retake majorities in Congress and avoid Mr. Trump’s ire.Most Republican lawmakers instead simply try to say nothing at all, declining even to recount the day’s events, let alone rebuke members of their party for spreading falsehoods or muddying the waters.Asked how he would describe the riot, in which a hostile crowd demanded the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, his brother, Representative Greg Pence of Indiana, responded curtly, “I don’t describe it.”Yet the silence of party stalwarts, including nearly all of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump for his role in the attack and the Republican senators who voted to convict him, has created an information void that hard-right allies of Mr. Trump have readily filled. And they have found receptive audiences in a media environment replete with echo chambers and amplifying algorithms.In a July poll by CBS News, narrow majorities of Trump voters said they would describe the attack as an example of “patriotism” or “defending freedom.”That silence follows a familiar pattern: Rather than refute false allegations about a stolen election and rampant voter fraud, many leading Republicans have simply tolerated extremist misinformation. Perhaps no one’s silence has been more significant than that of Mr. McConnell, who criticized Mr. Trump and his party in the immediate aftermath of the attack, denouncing it as a “failed insurrection” fueled by the former president’s lies.A group of conservative members of Congress called a hasty news conference outside the Justice Department to accuse prosecutors of treating the arrested rioters unfairly.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSince Mr. Trump’s impeachment acquittal by the Senate in February, when Mr. McConnell declared him “practically and morally responsible,” the minority leader has all but refused to discuss Jan. 6. The quiet acquiescence of party leaders has effectively left Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois as the only two Republicans still willing to speak out against a majority of their party.“Clearly there were security failings at the Capitol, but there was a mob that tried to prevent us from carrying out our constitutional duty,” Ms. Cheney said in an interview. “It’s very hard for me to understand why any member of Congress of either party would want to whitewash that.”Ms. Cheney has already paid a price: Republicans ousted her this spring from their No. 3 leadership position, replacing her with Ms. Stefanik.Now, House hard-liners want to expel her and Mr. Kinzinger from the Republican conference altogether, portraying them as “snitches” and “spies” in league with Democrats.The message is clear: Adherence to facts cannot overcome adherence to the party line. More

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    Why Do Republicans Hate Cops?

    WASHINGTON — It was, I must admit, a virtuoso performance by Sean Hannity.Not since the sheriff in “Blazing Saddles” put a gun to his own head and took himself hostage has anyone executed such a nutty loop de loop. More

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    Rached Ghannouchi: Tunisia Is in Danger of Dictatorship

    On the morning of July 26, my colleagues and I — all of us democratically elected members of Parliament — found the Parliament building in downtown Tunis surrounded by army tanks and our access blocked on the orders of President Kais Saied.In a televised speech the night before, Mr. Saied announced a host of measures, the most startling of which was suspending the work of the elected legislature. He stripped members of Parliament of their parliamentary immunity, sacked the prime minister and consolidated judicial and executive power in his hands. By doing so, Mr. Saied is seeking to overturn the results of an entire decade’s hard work by Tunisians who have fought for democratic reforms. I believe his actions are unconstitutional and threaten Tunisia’s democracy.I held a sit-in in front of the Parliament building but ultimately decided to leave and urged others to do so because I was worried about any potential confrontation that could result in bloodshed. Nearly a week has gone by and we are still at an impasse. As leader of the largest party in Parliament, I’m writing this in the hopes of finding a way out of this crisis.Tunisians’ dissatisfaction with the political leadership’s performance is legitimate. In recent weeks, the country has seen a dangerous rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths as the health system struggled to respond effectively to the crisis. We were also faced with a difficult economic situation and a protracted political crisis.More than a decade ago, Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruit and vegetable vendor, set himself on fire and became the catalyst for the Arab Spring protests. Here in Tunisia, his actions helped bring about the end of over five decades of dictatorship, which were marked by endemic corruption, repression of dissent and economic underdevelopment. Today’s unrest is not a quest for freedom, but dissatisfaction over economic progress.We vowed to never forget what Mr. Bouazizi and thousands of Tunisians of all political persuasions struggled for. We sought to draft a new constitution enshrining the rule of law and separation of powers; to build new institutions to protect individual and collective freedoms; and, above all, we committed to respecting the ballot box. Tunisia’s Constitution of 2014 was hailed as one of the most progressive in the Arab world. But today, it is being ripped up by Mr. Saied.Mr. Saied said his actions were taken in order to return social peace to the country. He also said his measures are temporary. On the contrary, these decisions follow the playbook for establishing a dictatorial regime. He cited Article 80 of the Constitution, which allows him to take extraordinary measures if there is “imminent danger” threatening the nation. But Article 80 also stipulates that he must consult the prime minister and the speaker of the Parliament before doing so, and that Parliament must be in a state of continuous session to oversee the president’s actions during this period. By suspending Parliament, he has made impossible the condition under which the article can be invoked.The president’s moves tear up the system of separation of powers based on checks and balances that have been put in place by the Tunisian people and their elected representatives.Some political opponents are attempting to justify these anti-constitutional measures by resurrecting ideological differences between so-called secularists and Islamists. Neither label neatly fits the two sides. We consider our party, Ennahda, a Muslim democrat party, but what is being targeted here is not any specific political party but Tunisian democracy as a whole.This attempted coup against the Constitution and the democratic revolution is an assault on our democratic values. Such moves must be met with clear and strong condemnation by the international community. Tunisia is the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring and continues to be, for many Arabs, a source of hope in their pursuit of democracy.Tunisia has had its fair share of problems. We have faced the colossal task of building a new democratic system while facing deeply entrenched structural social and economic crises. We have struggled with an electoral law that produces a fragmented Parliament and requires the formation of coalition governments. Our progress in building democracy, implementing social and economic reforms and fighting the pandemic have been slow. But these crises are no justification for tearing up the Constitution and endangering the entire democratic system.One-man rule is not the solution to our country’s economic problems. Dictatorship invariably leads to increased corruption, cronyism, violations of individual rights and inequalities.I sincerely hope that Mr. Saied will reverse his decisions. There are several constructive steps he can take right now, and Tunisia’s Western and regional allies should support him in taking those steps.Parliament must be allowed to function in order to vote in a new government and embark on bold economic reforms to address the pandemic and unemployment. I hope that Mr. Saied will embark on a national dialogue to find the best way out of this impasse.We must build on what we have achieved, rather than throwing out democracy. We have seen in the past how gathering all powers in the hands of a single person led our country to plummet into the darkness and despair of dictatorship. Tunisia has overcome its problems through national dialogue in the past, and we are capable of doing it again.Mr. Ghannouchi was elected as the speaker of Parliament in Tunisia in 2019. He is a founder and the leader of the Ennahda party.The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. More

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    Trump Pressed Justice Dept. to Declare Election Results Corrupt, Notes Show

    “Leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, the former president is said to have told top law enforcement officials.WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump pressed top Justice Department officials late last year to declare that the election was corrupt even though they had found no instances of widespread fraud, so that he and his allies in Congress could use the assertion to try to overturn the results, according to new documents provided to lawmakers and obtained by The New York Times.The demands were an extraordinary instance of a president interfering with an agency that is typically more independent from the White House to advance his personal agenda. They are also the latest example of Mr. Trump’s wide-ranging campaign during his final weeks in office to delegitimize the election results.The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27 in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the department had disproved. Mr. Donoghue warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election. Mr. Trump replied that he did not expect that, according to notes taken by Mr. Donoghue.“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response in notes he took memorializing the call.Mr. Trump did not name the lawmakers, but at other points during the conversation he mentioned Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, whom he called a “fighter”; Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who at the time promoted the idea that the election was stolen from Mr. Trump; and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, whom Mr. Trump praised for “getting to bottom of things.”The notes connect Mr. Trump’s allies in Congress with his campaign to pressure Justice Department officials to help undermine, or even nullify, the election results.The lawmakers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Jordan ultimately voted to overturn the election results in key states, but has downplayed his role in the president’s pressure campaign. Mr. Perry continues to assert Mr. Trump won, but has not been tied directly to the White House effort to keep him in office. And Mr. Johnson, whom Mr. Trump recently endorsed as he weighs whether to seek a third term, maintains that it is reasonable to have questions about the integrity of the election, though he has recognized Joseph R. Biden Jr. as president.The Justice Department provided Mr. Donoghue’s notes to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is investigating the Trump administration’s efforts to unlawfully reverse the election results.Typically the Justice Department has fought to keep secret any accounts of private conversations between a president and his cabinet to avoid setting a precedent that would prevent officials in future administrations from candidly advising presidents out of concern that their conversations would later be made public.But handing over the notes to Congress is part of a pattern of allowing scrutiny of Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. The Biden Justice Department also told Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue and other former officials this week that they could provide unrestricted testimony to investigators with the House Oversight and Reform and the Senate Judiciary committees.Richard P. Donoghue, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, pushed back on Mr. Trump’s allegations of election fraud in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Arizona.Demetrius Freeman for The New York TimesThe department reasoned that congressional investigators were examining potential wrongdoing by a sitting president, an extraordinary circumstance, according to letters sent to the former officials. Because executive privilege is meant to benefit the country, rather than the president as an individual, invoking it over Mr. Trump’s efforts to push his personal agenda would be inappropriate, the department concluded.“These handwritten notes show that President Trump directly instructed our nation’s top law enforcement agency to take steps to overturn a free and fair election in the final days of his presidency,” Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York and chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said in a statement.Mr. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue reflected his single-minded focus on overturning the election results. At one point, Mr. Trump alleged voter fraud in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Arizona, which he called “corrupted elections.” Mr. Donoghue pushed back.“Much of the info you’re getting is false,” Mr. Donoghue said, adding that the department had conducted “dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews” and not found evidence to support his claims. “We look at allegations but they don’t pan out,” the officials told Mr. Trump, according to the notes.The department found that the error rate of ballot counting in Michigan was 0.0063 percent, not the 68 percent that the president asserted; it did not find evidence of a conspiracy theory that an employee in Pennsylvania had tampered with ballots; and after examining video and interviewing witnesses, it did not find evidence of ballot fraud in Fulton County, Ga., according to the notes.Mr. Trump, undeterred, brushed off the department’s findings. “Ok fine — but what about the others?” Mr. Donoghue wrote in his notes describing the president’s remarks. Mr. Trump asked Mr. Donoghue to travel to Fulton County to verify signatures on ballots.The people “saying that the election isn’t corrupt are corrupt,” Mr. Trump told the officials, adding that they needed to act. “Not much time left.”At another point, Mr. Donoghue said that the department could quickly verify or disprove the assertion that more ballots were cast in Pennsylvania than there are voters.“Should be able to check on that quickly, but understand that the DOJ can’t and won’t snap it’s fingers and change the outcome of the election, doesn’t work that way,” Mr. Donoghue wrote in his notes.The officials also told Mr. Trump that the Justice Department had no evidence to support a lawsuit regarding the election results. “We are not in a position based on the evidence. We can only act on the actual evidence developed,” they said.Mr. Trump castigated the officials, saying that “thousands of people called” their local U.S. attorney’s offices to complain about the election and that “nobody trusts the F.B.I.” He said that “people are angry — blaming D.O.J. for inaction.”“You guys may not be following the internet the way I do,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document.In a moment of foreshadowing, Mr. Trump said, “people tell me Jeff Clark is great, I should put him in,” referring to the acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division, who had also encouraged department officials to intervene in the election. “People want me to replace D.O.J. leadership.”“You should have the leadership you want,” Mr. Donoghue replied. But it “won’t change the dept’s position.”Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Rosen did not know that Mr. Perry had introduced Mr. Clark and Mr. Trump. Exactly one week later, they would be forced to fight Mr. Clark for their jobs in an Oval Office showdown.During the call, Mr. Trump also told the Justice Department officials to “figure out what to do” with Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son. “People will criticize the D.O.J. if he’s not investigated for real,” he told them, violating longstanding guidelines against the White House interfering in criminal investigations or other law enforcement actions.Two days after the phone call with Mr. Trump, Mr. Donoghue took notes of a meeting between Justice Department officials; Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin to discuss a conspiracy theory known as Italygate, which asserts without evidence that people in Italy used military technology to remotely tamper with voting machines in the United States.The Justice Department officials told the White House that they had assigned someone to look into the matter, according to the notes and a person briefed on the meeting. They did not mention that the department was looking into the theory in order to debunk it, the person said.Nicholas Fandos More

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    Muchos votantes latinos apoyaron al Partido Republicano, pero Biden quiere recuperarlos

    ¿Los demócratas dieron por sentado el voto hispano en 2020? Algunos en el partido creen que sí y que no pueden permitirse los mismos errores en el futuro.En la primavera, Alejandra Gomez quedó sorprendida, pero agradecida, por la avalancha de llamadas telefónicas de la Casa Blanca que le ofrecían información actualizada sobre sus labores encaminadas a una reforma de inmigración. Los funcionarios también le preguntaron qué pensaba su grupo de defensoría de Arizona acerca de su trabajo con respecto al derecho al voto y cómo el paquete de ayuda por la pandemia estaba afectando ese estado.“Es totalmente diferente de lo que hemos visto antes”, señaló Gomez, al comparar esos esfuerzos con gobiernos demócratas anteriores, los cuales por lo general solo empezaban a establecer contacto durante las campañas de reelección.No era la única. Los líderes de la Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios Latinos Electos y Designados se quedaron estupefactos cuando tanto el presidente como la vicepresidenta se comprometieron a pronunciar un discurso en su convención de junio, la primera vez en las décadas que tiene de historia el evento en que los principales funcionarios de la Casa Blanca habían aceptado participar en un año no electoral.También en Wisconsin, los miembros de Voces de la Frontera, un grupo que representa a los trabajadores inmigrantes de bajos ingresos, quedaron encantados cuando la Casa Blanca se comunicó con ellos para organizar un diálogo con el secretario del Trabajo Marty Walsh durante una gira que hizo por Milwaukee.“Tuvimos la oportunidad de que todos nuestros miembros fueran a escucharlo y de que él nos escuchara”, señaló Christine Neumann-Ortiz, directora ejecutiva de la organización. “Es una buena señal que no se hayan olvidado de nosotros después de las elecciones”.Durante años, los activistas y organizadores latinos se quejaron de que los esfuerzos de los demócratas por conquistar a sus comunidades casi siempre parecían una idea tardía, un conjunto heterogéneo de anuncios en español, literatura de campaña traducida de manera descuidada y un puñado de miembros del personal de divulgación añadido a las campañas.Sin embargo, después de las elecciones del año pasado, cuando los republicanos obtuvieron una cantidad significativa de votos latinos en todo Estados Unidos, los líderes demócratas están viendo la posibilidad de tener un acercamiento más activo.Encabezado por una Casa Blanca que ha contratado a organizadores latinos importantes en los puestos de alto nivel del gabinete y con una primera dama, Jill Biden, que tiene un interés especial por llegar a los votantes latinos, este nuevo esfuerzo construye un puente en el partido e integra la política, las comunicaciones y la organización política. Este acercamiento incluye una amplia cantidad de líderes comunitarios y estrellas de redes sociales, como, por ejemplo, el cómico mexicano Eugenio Derbez, así como reuniones con líderes religiosos hispanos.Estos esfuerzos reflejan cuán importantes son los electores latinos para el éxito del Partido Demócrata, pero también la magnitud del trabajo que se necesita para volver a ganar a un grupo que representa casi el 20 por ciento de la población. Desde hace mucho tiempo, los demócratas han visto a estos electores —un grupo diverso que incluye docenas de diferentes países de origen y una amplia variedad de niveles socioeconómicos— como un bloque casi monolítico que podía darse por sentado y operaban como si el factor más importante fuera solo la participación; la lógica era que, si los electores latinos votaban, lo harían por los demócratas.Sin embargo, el año 2020, con una cifra histórica de 18,7 millones de votos emitidos por latinos, fue una prueba de lo equivocada que estaba esa teoría. Pese a que más o menos el 60 por ciento votó por el presidente Joe Biden, la inclinación hacia Donald Trump hizo que los demócratas entraran en un periodo de examen de conciencia.Aunque no ha habido un análisis detallado y concluyente, las encuestas de salida y los grupos de muestra de ambos partidos señalan que Trump ganó los votos de los latinos sin formación universitaria que criticaron los mandatos de cierre de actividades en medio de la pandemia y que creían que el expresidente sería un mejor administrador de la economía. Los republicanos también ganaron votos de los cubanos, los venezolanos y los colombianos del sur de Florida que consideraban que los demócratas apoyaban el socialismo, así como de los mexicoestadounidenses del sur de Texas y otras regiones que respaldaban sus políticas fronterizas. Los evangélicos conformaron una parte significativa de los latinos seguidores de Trump por su rechazo al aborto.Ahora, el Partido Demócrata está intentando usar los datos para entender mejor a los electores latinos y tratar de ampliar un conocimiento más detallado de cómo los diversos orígenes de nacionalidad, el nivel económico y otros factores cambian el comportamiento en las votaciones.Como candidato y presidente electo, Biden ha tenido un éxito desigual en su comunicación con los latinos. En las elecciones primarias a principios de 2020, siguió de cerca a su rival Bernie Sanders entre los electores latinos. Altos funcionarios latinos se frustraron durante su campaña el año pasado por la ausencia de representantes hispanos en su círculo más cercano.Algunos activistas califican en voz baja los nuevos esfuerzos como mediocres y señalan que, aunque la comunicación ha aumentado, no ha habido ninguna victoria importante de la política en torno a un asunto primordial como una reforma de inmigración. Pero reconocen que hay una aceptación cada vez mayor de que para ganar los votos latinos se necesitará más que hacer visitas en taquerías e insertar frases, en un mal español, en los discursos de campaña.“En términos de su compromiso, están haciendo un trabajo mucho mejor en este momento que durante el primer gobierno de Barack Obama”, dijo Arturo Vargas, el director ejecutivo de la Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios Latinos Electos, que recientemente informó a los miembros del personal de la Casa Blanca sobre las prioridades políticas de la organización. “No tuvimos este tipo de acercamiento con Obama”.“Espero que se haya aprendido la lección de que no se puede dar por sentado el voto latino”, añadió Vargas. “Llevamos décadas diciéndolo, y creo que ahora llegó a oídos más dispuestos”.Los esfuerzos de los demócratas también se ajustan para convencer a los votantes de que vean los beneficios de las políticas del partido, sobre todo en lugares claves como el sur de Florida y el Valle del Río Grande, donde un mayor abandono podría costarles escaños en el Congreso.Arturo Vargas, director ejecutivo de la Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios Latinos Electos, dijo que el acercamiento del gobierno de Biden hasta ahora era una mejora sobre el primer mandato del presidente Barack Obama.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesDesde que Biden tomó posesión, la Casa Blanca ha celebrado decenas de reuniones, muchas de ellas virtuales, con dirigentes de todo el país. También está encontrando maneras de comunicarse de modo directo con los votantes latinos y no depender solo de los grupos de defensoría.Hay reuniones bisemanales con las organizaciones de latinos acerca de las labores de vacunación y las políticas económicas, así como reuniones cara a cara y sesiones informativas sobre temas más específicos. Durante varios meses, los funcionarios responsables de la contratación sostuvieron reuniones semanales con organizaciones externas a fin de ayudar a desarrollar una cartera de candidatos latinos para puestos en el gobierno. El esfuerzo ha tenido éxito: ahora, una gran cantidad de organizadores y estrategas latinos tienen puestos de alto nivel en la Casa Blanca y el gabinete.Los asesores de la Casa Blanca afirman que muchas de las prioridades más importantes de la política serán beneficiar a los electores latinos de manera significativa; por ejemplo, el crédito tributario por hijos podría tener un efecto impactante en la población latina desproporcionadamente joven. En una encuesta privada de votantes latinos compartida con The New York Times, Building Back Together, un grupo administrado por aliados de Biden, se descubrió que los asuntos económicos y de salud pública estaban situados en los dos primeros lugares y que la inmigración estaba en el tercero.El gobierno tiene cubierta la televisión en español y se ha acercado a las publicaciones en español y en inglés que leen los votantes latinos, incluso en zonas a menudo olvidadas de Oklahoma, Luisiana y Minnesota. Un alto funcionario del gobierno aparece en Al Punto, el programa matutino de los domingos presentado por Jorge Ramos, dos veces al mes.Animada por su jefa de gabinete latina a intensificar su participación, la doctora Biden hizo su primera aparición matutina en televisión en Hoy Día, un programa de noticias de Telemundo, y una serie de paradas en barrios latinos desde Salt Lake City hasta Osceola, Florida.Hay llamadas quincenales con organizaciones latinas sobre los esfuerzos de vacunación y las políticas económicas, así como reuniones individuales y sesiones informativas sobre cuestiones más específicas. Los funcionarios responsables de la contratación mantuvieron durante meses llamadas semanales con organizaciones externas para ayudar a desarrollar una cantera de candidatos latinos para los puestos en el gobierno. El esfuerzo ha tenido éxito: varios organizadores y estrategas latinos ocupan ahora puestos de alto nivel en la Casa Blanca y el gabinete.Los asesores de la Casa Blanca afirman que muchas de las principales prioridades políticas beneficiarán significativamente a los votantes latinos; la desgravación fiscal por hijos, por ejemplo, podría tener un impacto enorme en una población latina que es desproporcionadamente joven. En un sondeo privado de votantes latinos compartido con The New York Times, Building Back Together, un grupo dirigido por aliados de Biden, encontró que las preocupaciones económicas y la salud pública eran los temas más importantes, con la inmigración en tercer lugar.Los altos asesores afirmaron que estaban especialmente contentos de que, al parecer, sus esfuerzos de vacunación hayan rendido frutos, ya que se ha reducido la brecha entre los latinos y los estadounidenses blancos que han recibido la vacuna. A los latinos les ha afectado la pandemia de manera particular, en parte porque conforman una cantidad desproporcionada de los trabajadores esenciales y porque su esperanza de vida está disminuyendo mucho.“En definitiva es intencionado”, señaló Emmy Ruiz, directora de estrategia política de la Casa Blanca, “en todo lo que hacemos, hay un latino involucrado”.Es un planteamiento que difiere del pasado. Durante el gobierno de Obama, gran parte del acercamiento venía después de las elecciones intermedias y se enfocaba principalmente en la legislación sobre la atención médica y la Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia, la cual permitía a los inmigrantes jóvenes que ingresaron al país de manera no autorizada vivir y trabajar en Estados Unidos.Sin embargo, los esfuerzos no son suficientes para lo que muchos líderes latinos esperan ver, sobre todo a raíz de las elecciones del año pasado, cuando los votos de los latinos tomaron por sorpresa a muchos funcionarios demócratas.“En este momento se requiere un gran esfuerzo”, comentó Carlos Odio, cofundador de Equis Labs, un grupo de investigación que ha pasado los últimos meses analizando los cambios entre los electores latinos durante el último ciclo electoral. “Me preocupa que exista la creencia de que el año pasado fue anómalo y de que solo tiene que regresar a la normalidad. Eso es inquietante sobre todo si los republicanos regresan a hacer campaña para obtener esos votos”.Parte del empuje es preventivo, diseñado para asegurar que los votantes latinos reconozcan que los demócratas están al menos tratando de aprobar una revisión de la inmigración.Hay un amplio apoyo a la legislación para conceder a los dreamers un camino hacia la ciudadanía, incluso entre los republicanos latinos. Incluso entre los votantes latinos que no ven la inmigración como su principal problema, la mayoría dice que no votaría por un candidato que se oponga a dicha legislación, según las encuestas de Building Back Together.Seguidores del entonces presidente Donald Trump vitorean en un mitin durante la noche de las elecciones en el barrio de la Pequeña Habana de Miami en noviembre.Scott McIntyre para The New York TimesEntre los demócratas latinos, existe la creencia generalizada de que el país está mejorando, incluso para los propios latinos. Pero los republicanos hispanos dicen que la situación en Estados Unidos ha empeorado en el último año, según una encuesta reciente del Pew Research Center.“Los demócratas están en código rojo: lo ven, lo entienden y se apresuran a poner todas las manos en la masa”, dijo Daniel Garza, director ejecutivo de Libre, un grupo latino conservador.Los estrategas demócratas, que todavía están lidiando con los resultados de 2020, han culpado a varios factores de las pérdidas: la preocupación por la delincuencia, el miedo al socialismo avivado por la campaña de Trump e incluso el machismo de los hombres latinos.Para tratar de evitar una nueva caída de apoyos durante las elecciones de mitad de mandato, los comités de campaña demócratas ya invierten millones para instalar organizadores en distritos con gran presencia de latinos en Florida, Texas, Arizona y Georgia.“Cuando tienes un grupo que es tan nuevo, tan grande y que está creciendo a tasas tan altas, requiere una conversación constante”, dijo Matt Barreto, un encuestador demócrata que se ha centrado en los votantes latinos durante décadas y está involucrado en los esfuerzos de Building Back Together. “Queremos tener años de conversación para que, cuando llegue una campaña, no estemos tratando de gritarle a la gente”.Jennifer Medina es reportera de política estadounidense que cubrió la campaña presidencial de Estados Unidos de 2020. Originaria del sur de California, anteriormente pasó varios años reporteando sobre la región para la sección National. @jennymedinaLisa Lerer es una corresponsal política nacional que cubre campañas electorales, votaciones y poder político. @llerer More

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    How Covid Became a Red-State Crisis

    Less than a month ago President Biden promised a “summer of joy,” a return to normal life made possible by the rapid progress of vaccinations against Covid-19. Since then, however, vaccination has largely stalled — America, which had pulled ahead of many other advanced countries, has fallen behind. And the rise of the Delta variant has caused a surge in cases all too reminiscent of the repeated Covid waves of last year.That said, 2021 isn’t 2020 redux. As Aaron Carroll pointed out Tuesday in The Times, Covid is now a crisis for the unvaccinated. Risks for vaccinated Americans aren’t zero, but they’re vastly lower than for those who haven’t gotten a vaccine.What Carroll didn’t say, but is also true, is that Covid is now a crisis largely for red states. And it’s important to make that point both to understand where we are and as a reminder of the political roots of America’s pandemic failures.Just to be clear, I’m not saying that only Republicans are failing to get vaccinated. It’s true that there are stark differences in attitudes toward the vaccines, with one poll showing 47 percent of Republicans saying they are unlikely to get a shot, compared with only 6 percent of Democrats. It’s also true that if we compare U.S. counties, there’s a strong negative correlation between Donald Trump’s share of the 2020 vote and the current vaccination rate.That said, vaccination rates among Black and Hispanic Americans remain persistently lower than among the non-Hispanic white population, an indication that issues like lack of information and trust are also inhibiting our response.But simply looking at who remains unvaccinated misses what may soon become a crucial point: The danger from Covid’s resurgence depends not just on the number of cases nationwide but also on how concentrated those cases are geographically.To see why, it may help to remember all the talk about “flattening the curve” early in the pandemic.At that point effective vaccines seemed a distant prospect. This in turn made it seem likely that a large fraction of the population would eventually contract the virus whatever we did. Prevaccine, it seemed as if the only way to avoid long-run mass infection was the New Zealand strategy: a severe lockdown to reduce cases to a very low level, followed by a test-trace-isolate regime to quickly put a lid on any flare-ups. And it seemed all too clear that the U.S. lacked the political will to pursue such a strategy.Yet there was still good reason to impose social distancing rules and mask requirements. Even if most people would eventually get the virus, it was important that they not all get sick at once, because that would overload the health care system. This would cause many preventable deaths, not just from Covid-19 but also because other ailments couldn’t be treated if the hospitals, and especially intensive care units, were already full.This logic, by the way, was why claims that mask mandates and distancing guidelines were attacks on “freedom” were always nonsense. Do we think people should be free to drive drunk? No, not just because in so doing they endanger themselves, but even more because they endanger others. The same was true for refusing to wear masks last year — and for refusing to get vaccinated now.As it turned out, masks and social distancing were even better ideas than we realized: They bought time until the arrival of vaccines, so that a great majority of those who managed to avoid Covid in 2020, and have since been vaccinated, may never get it.But there are regions in America where large numbers of people have refused vaccination. Those regions appear to be approaching the point we feared in the early stages of the pandemic, with hospitalizations overwhelming the health care system. And the divide between places that are in crisis and those that aren’t is starkly political. New York has five Covid patients hospitalized per 100,000 people; Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis barred businesses from requiring that their patrons show proof of vaccination, has 34.So, will Covid’s resurgence stop America’s much-awaited return to normalcy? In much of the country, no. Yes, vaccination has stalled far too soon even in blue states, and residents of those states should be a bit more cautious, for example by resuming mask-wearing when indoors (which many people in the Northeast never stopped). But so far it doesn’t look as if the Delta variant will prevent continuing recovery, social and economic.There are, however, places that really should put strong measures into effect — mask mandates for sure, and maybe even partial lockdowns — to buy time while they catch up on vaccinations.Unfortunately, these are precisely the places that will almost surely do no such thing. Missouri is experiencing one of the worst current Covid outbreaks, yet on Tuesday the St. Louis County Council voted to end a mask mandate introduced by the county executive.In any case, it’s crucial to understand that we aren’t facing a national crisis; we’re facing a red-state crisis, with nakedly political roots.The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. More

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    Georgia G.O.P. Edges Toward Election Takeover in Fulton County

    Republicans in Georgia’s General Assembly have requested a performance review of the top election official in Fulton County, the first step in a possible takeover of the county’s electoral process that could give the Republican-led legislature more control over an area with the largest concentration of Democratic voters in the state.The request, submitted in a letter on Tuesday by State Senator Butch Miller and signed by about two dozen other Republican state senators, calls for a panel review of Richard Barron, the county election director, over what the lawmakers described as a failure to properly perform risk-limiting audits, a process that helps ensure the correct results and security, after the 2020 election.“We do so as a measure of last resort, having failed to adequately assuage the concern that we, as elected officials, have regarding the integrity of the Fulton County elections process,” Mr. Miller wrote in the letter.Fulton County, which includes much of Atlanta, has a record of problems with its elections. Most recently, its June 2020 primary contest was marred by voting machine difficulties that were exacerbated by the small size and poor training of its staff, causing lines to stretch for hours across the county.But the November general election and the January runoff elections in the county ran relatively smoothly on each Election Day, with few reports of lengthy waits or other complications. There were no legitimate questions about the accuracy of the results in any of the three recent elections. In the presidential race, President Biden carried the county with more than 72 percent of the vote and more than 380,000 votes.The review process for local election officials is a newly critical element to Georgia elections after state Republicans passed a sweeping new voting law in April. It includes several provisions that lay the groundwork for an extraordinary takeover of election administration by partisan lawmakers.Under the new law, the State Elections Board is permitted to replace county election board members after a performance review or investigation. But the new law also restructures the state board, stripping the secretary of state of his authority and giving the legislature the ability to appoint members, including the chair.The letter, which was earlier reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was signed by three Republican members of the Fulton County delegation in the State Senate. The letter’s authors said they expected members of Fulton County’s House delegation to join them, which would automatically begin the review.State Representative Chuck Martin, a Republican member of the Fulton County House delegation, said he supported the request for the performance review. Jan Jones, the speaker pro tempore and another member of the delegation, said that she would send a letter on Friday to the State Elections Board requesting a performance review of Fulton County elections officials, and that it would be signed by four members of the Fulton delegation.“Mine is not with an eye on taking over elections,” Mr. Martin said in an interview on Thursday. “This just seems to be the only way we can get data to get answers for the people we represent.”Mr. Barron, the Fulton County election director, did not respond to requests for comment.Democrats quickly denounced the move, warning that it undermined the sanctity of future elections.“After giving themselves unprecedented power under Senate Bill 202, Republicans wasted no time in waging an anti-democratic, partisan power grab, attempting to seize control of elections in Georgia’s largest county, home to the greatest number of voters of color in the state,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, the chief executive of Fair Fight Action, a Democratic voting rights group based in Georgia. “Their partisan efforts risk election subversion.”Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state, supported the review.“I have called repeatedly for change in Fulton’s elections leadership, so I’m glad Republican legislators are joining me in this effort,” he said in a statement. “After Fulton’s failures last June, I required Fulton to accept a monitor during the general election and runoffs, and forced the county into a consent agreement to start fixing their management problems.” More

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    Arizona Vote Review Being Financed by Trump Supporters

    A review of 2020 election ballots cast in Arizona’s largest county, billed as strictly nonpartisan when Republicans in the Arizona State Senate ordered it late last year, has been financed almost entirely by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, according to a statement released late Wednesday by the private firm overseeing the review.The firm, Cyber Ninjas, said that it had collected more than $5.7 million from five pro-Trump organizations for the widely disparaged review, in addition to $150,000 that the State Senate had allotted for the project. An Arizona county court had ordered the sources of the audit’s funding released after Republicans in the Senate resisted making them public.The review of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and roughly 80 percent of the state’s population, has covered only votes last November for president and for the state’s two seats in the United States Senate, all of which were won by Democrats. The president of the State Senate, Karen Fann, said this week that results of the audit should be released next month.Ms. Fann and other senators said the recount, whose findings have no authority to change the winners of any race, was needed to reassure supporters of Mr. Trump that the vote was fairly conducted. But the effort has come under growing attack in the wake of disclosures that the chief executive of Cyber Ninjas and other purported experts involved in the review had ties to the “stop the steal” movement spawned by Mr. Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.Election experts have called the recount amateurish and error-ridden, and ridiculed its efforts to verify allegations by conspiracy theorists that fake ballots could be identified by traces of bamboo fibers or invisible watermarks. One Republican senator withdrew his backing of the effort in May, calling it an embarrassment, and a second senator accused Ms. Fann last week of mismanaging the process, and said its results could not be trusted.It had been apparent since the review began in April that supporters of Mr. Trump were both donating money to the effort and recruiting volunteers to work on it. But the sources and size of the donations had not been disclosed until Wednesday.According to the Cyber Ninjas statement, the largest donation, $3.25 million, was made by a newly created group, America Project, led by Patrick M. Byrne, the former chief executive of the Overstock.com website and a prominent proponent of false claims that the November election was rigged.Mr. Byrne resigned his post at Overstock in 2019 after it was disclosed that he had an intimate relationship with Maria Butina, a gun-rights activist who was jailed in 2018 as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia and later deported. He later said he had contributed $500,000 to the Arizona review, and produced a film featuring the Cyber Ninjas chief executive, Doug Logan, that alleged that the November election was fraudulent.The statement said that another pro-Trump group, America’s Future, contributed $976,514 to the review. An additional $605,000 came from Voices and Votes, a group organized by Christina Bobb, an anchor for the pro-Trump television network One America News, who solicited donations for the review while covering it. More