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    Félix Salgado Macedonio es Morena

    División, polarización y violencia discursiva, como sucede ahora en México, rara vez son el final del camino, sino el comienzo del descenso a un abismo.El cuasicancelado Michel Foucault decía que el discurso es tanto capaz de esconder sus intenciones políticas —sobre todo cuando proviene del poder— como de fijar significados. De esa manera puede pretenderse ahistórico o científico y con vocación universal cuando es un producto de una época e individuos particulares. O puede decirse no violento cuando, sin mucha máscara, lo es.Bienvenidos a los días la retórica enmascaradora de Andrés Manuel López Obrador y el discurso violento de Félix Salgado Macedonio. Paso a paso, el gobierno de López Obrador ha ido asentando cimientos autoritarios de manera abierta o sutil para lograr que Morena, su movimiento, se consolide como proyecto hegemónico.Tras cuestionar a numerosas instituciones —como el organismo de información y transparencia— estos últimos días AMLO puso la mira en el Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE) justo cuando México entró en la campaña para las elecciones intermedias. El gobierno parece temer que las autoridades electorales sean un escollo en su deseo de obtener una mayoría determinante que permita a AMLO controlar el sexenio, y diseñar su continuidad.Hace días, Félix Salgado Macedonio amenazó con persecuciones y acosó públicamente a los siete consejeros del INE que votaron contra la validez de su candidatura a gobernador del estado de Guerrero. “Si no se reivindican los vamos a hallar”, dijo. Y fue directo sobre el titular del instituto: “¿No le gustaría al pueblo de México saber dónde vive Lorenzo Córdova? […] ¿Cómo está su casita de lámina negra?”.Hubo ataúdes con las imágenes de los consejeros, una corona de flores junto a una imagen de Córdova y una turba reclamando el final del organismo que vela por la legalidad electoral. Con todo el afán provocador, Félix Salgado Macedonio vociferó sus amenazas enfrente de las puertas mismas del INE. La bravuconada no fue circunstancial: él es una muestra desembozada de un proyecto autoritario oculto bajo el poncho del caciquismo paternalista.La violencia debe ser condenada, en discurso y, sobre todo, en acto. La justicia, por ejemplo, debe actuar de oficio contra Macedonio por amenazas directas de violencia. Y Morena debiera cortar vínculos y expulsarlo del partido. Pero no sucederá, pues Macedonio es Morena.En pocas palabras, Félix Salgado Macedonio desnuda el sentimiento íntimo de la organización: caudillismo conservador hijo de otra época, incapaz de convivir con la prensa, la oposición, la sociedad civil y las instituciones democráticas del siglo XXI.El presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, en marzo de 2021José Méndez/EPA vía ShutterstockEste año, AMLO tiene serias chances de obtener mayoría absoluta en el Congreso, pero no ha dejado de sugerir que las autoridades electorales piensan arruinarle el plan. Es un comportamiento paranoico. Ya había señalado al INE como cómplice de su derrota en las elecciones presidenciales de 2006 y por eso cuando Félix Salgado Macedonio los atacó siguió dudando de su probidad: aunque no avalaba las palabras de su aliado, llamó a “luchar contra el fraude”.Hay una línea, visible o no, entre esos comportamientos. La política de símbolos, sugería Foucault, crea política, no ficciones. Produce sentidos. La gente toma decisiones porque los dichos suelen ser sucedidos por actos. La convocatoria al acoso o la violencia no son gratuitos del mismo modo que los ataques a un organismo regulador como el INE pueden minar la creencia social en sus capacidades y enlodar el proceso electoral.Cuando es el poder —o sus aliados— el que prescribe el discurso, esos actos expresan niveles variados de violencia institucional. El último ejemplo: la prórroga del periodo del presidente de la Suprema Corte de Justicia, cercano a AMLO. Es inconstitucional y una provocación: el gobierno cree que la justicia debe ser permeable a las decisiones presidenciales. AMLO ya dejó clara esa vocación cuando anunció que quería someter la continuidad de la candidatura de Félix Salgado Macedonio a una encuesta telefónica después de que fuera cancelada por el INE.El gobierno de México está nervioso. AMLO acusa sistemáticamente a sus críticos de querer derrumbar su autopromocionada Cuarta Transformación. En los últimos tiempos algunas encuestas sugirieron la posibilidad de que no logre una mayoría determinante en las elecciones intermedias de junio, escenario que le obligaría a dialogar con una oposición a la que aborrece (el sentimiento es mutuo).La creciente pérdida de autocontrol del presidente actualiza peligrosas y nada distantes experiencias de autoritarismo abierto. Hace dos años escribí sobre las coincidencias entre AMLO y Donald Trump. El expresidente de Estados Unidos, como ahora AMLO, atacó al sistema desde los márgenes y llevó la discusión política a un territorio dominado por sus ocurrencias y enemistades. Ambos alimentan la idea de que los medios y la prensa independiente son enemigos y abonan antagonismos. Como AMLO, Trump dejaba que sus subordinados lanzaran globos de ensayos para medir la tolerancia de la opinión pública. Como Trump, también AMLO acusa a los organismos de control electoral y a sus opositores de tolerar o preparar un complot contra él.El parecido es evidente porque filosofía y método son similares. Del mismo modo que supremacistas, como Stephen Miller, fueron parte del gobierno de Trump, hombres como Félix Salgado Macedonio tienen cabida natural en Morena. A menudo promueven un personalismo autoritario para ocupar el poder por la vía electoral y luego minan el sistema desde dentro, muchas veces modificando las normas para eternizarse.Es riesgoso dar por seguro que habrá una crisis institucional en México porque la futurología es proclive al error y el ridículo. Pero las señales no pueden desdeñarse; el país está en riesgo. Cuando los funcionarios en el poder plantean la convivencia en términos de enfrentamiento, crece la posibilidad de la violencia. También cuando se aviva la tensión por acción u omisión minando la integridad de los contrapesos instituciones. Salgado Macedonio y AMLO saben lo que hacen: enlodar la imagen de una institución todavía creíble lleva la disputa a su terreno: sin control, gana el poder. El poder, decía Foucault, no es puramente coercitivo sino discursivo.No hay salida fácil para el camino que encara México. Un gobierno autoritario se enfrentará en las elecciones a partidos opositores castigados por el descredito. Las elecciones legislativas de México no se resolverán por el mal menor sino optando por escalones aun más bajos: quién, de todos, es menos peor. División, polarización y violencia discursiva rara vez son el final del camino, sino el comienzo del descenso a un abismo.Diego Fonseca (@DiegoFonsecaDF) es escritor y director del Seminario Iberoamericano de Periodismo Emprendedor en CIDE-México y del Institute for Socratic Dialogue de Barcelona. Voyeur es su último libro. More

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    Donations Surge for Republicans Who Challenged Election Results

    The lawmakers, who encouraged their followers to protest in Washington on Jan. 6, have capitalized on the riot to draw huge campaign donations.WASHINGTON — Republicans who were the most vocal in urging their followers to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to try to reverse President Donald J. Trump’s loss, pushing to overturn the election and stoking the grievances that prompted the deadly Capitol riot, have profited handsomely in its aftermath, according to new campaign data.Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, who led the challenges to President Biden’s victory in their chamber, each brought in more than $3 million in campaign donations in the three months that followed the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia who called the rampage a “1776 moment” and was later stripped of committee assignments for espousing bigoted conspiracy theories and endorsing political violence, raised $3.2 million — more than the individual campaign of Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, and nearly every other member of House leadership.A New York Times analysis of the latest Federal Election Commission disclosures illustrates how the leaders of the effort to overturn Mr. Biden’s electoral victory have capitalized on the outrage of their supporters to collect huge sums of campaign cash. Far from being punished for encouraging the protest that turned lethal, they have thrived in a system that often rewards the loudest and most extreme voices, using the fury around the riot to build their political brands. The analysis examined the individual campaign accounts of lawmakers, not joint fund-raising committees or leadership political action committees.“The outrage machine is powerful at inducing political contributions,” said Carlos Curbelo, a former Republican congressman from Florida.Shortly after the storming of the Capitol, some prominent corporations and political action committees vowed to cut off support for the Republicans who had fanned the flames of anger and conspiracy that resulted in violence. But any financial blowback from corporate America appears to have been dwarfed by a flood of cash from other quarters.Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, a freshman who urged his supporters to “lightly threaten” Republican lawmakers to goad them into challenging the election results, pulled in more than $1 million. Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado — who like Ms. Greene compared Jan. 6 to the American Revolution — took in nearly $750,000.The sums reflect an emerging incentive structure in Washington, where the biggest provocateurs can parlay their notoriety into small-donor successes that can help them amass an even higher profile. It also illustrates the appetites of a Republican base of voters who have bought into Mr. Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud and are eager to reward those who worked to undermine the outcome of a free and fair election.Most of the dozens of corporations that pledged to cut off any Republican who supported overturning the election kept that promise, withholding political action committee donations during the most recent quarter. But for the loudest voices on Capitol Hill, that did not matter, as an energized base of pro-Trump donors rallied to their side and more than made up the shortfall.“We’re really seeing the emergence of small donors in the Republican Party,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist. “In the past, Democrats have been the ones who have benefited most from small-dollar donations. We’re seeing the Republicans rapidly catching up.”Lawmakers have long benefited richly from divisive news coverage, especially around prominent events that play to the emotions of an enraged or fearful voter base. But the new filings illustrate a growing chasm between those who raise money through a bombastic profile — often bolstered by significant fund-raising expenditures — and those who have focused their attentions on serious policy work.As provocative freshmen like Ms. Greene, Ms. Boebert and Mr. Cawthorn took in high-dollar figures, other more conventional members of their class in competitive districts — even those praised for their fund-raising prowess — were substantially behind.For instance, Ashley Hinson of Iowa and Young Kim of California, both of whom opposed the electoral challenges and have worked on bipartisan bills, each took in less than $600,000.Ms. Greene, Ms. Boebert and Mr. Cawthorn raised more money than the top Republicans on the most powerful committees in Congress, such as appropriations, budget, education and labor, foreign affairs and homeland security.In many cases, Republican lawmakers who fanned the flames of the Jan. 6 violence have since benefited by casting themselves as victims of a political backlash engineered by the Washington establishment, and appealed to their supporters.“Pennsylvania wasn’t following their own state’s election law, but the establishment didn’t want to hear it. But that’s not who I work for,” Mr. Hawley wrote in January in a fund-raising message. “I objected because I wanted to make sure your voice was heard. Now, Biden and his woke mob are coming after me. I need your help.”Ms. Greene fund-raised off a successful effort to exile her from committees, led by furious Democrats incensed at her past talk in support of executing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and encouraging her followers to “Stop the Steal” on Jan. 6. Setting goals of raising $150,000 each day in the days before and after the unusual vote, she surpassed them every time.“The D.C. swamp and the fake news media are attacking me because I am not one of them,” one such solicitation read. “I am one of you. And they hate me for it.”But the polarizing nature of Mr. Trump also helped some Republicans who took him to task for his behavior surrounding the events of Jan. 6.Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, took in $1.5 million, and Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has started an organization to lead the Republican Party away from fealty to Mr. Trump, raised more than $1.1 million.“It’s obvious that there’s a strong market for Trumpism in the Republican base,” Mr. Curbelo said. “There is also a strong market for truth-telling and supporting the Constitution.”Mr. Conant questioned how much of the fund-raising surge for some candidates was directly tied to the Capitol assault, which he said the conservative news media had generally “moved on” from covering.Instead, he said that Republican voters were “very nervous” about the direction of the country under Democratic control and were eager to support Republicans they viewed as fighting a liberal agenda.“It pays to be high-profile,” Mr. Conant said. “It’s more evidence that there’s not a lot of grass-roots support for milquetoast middle of the road. It doesn’t mean you have to be pro-Trump. It just means you need to take strong positions, and then connect with those supporters.”But if the Republican civil war has paid campaign dividends for fighters on both sides, individual Democrats involved in prosecuting Mr. Trump for the riot in his impeachment trial have not reaped a similar windfall.With her $3.2 million raised this quarter, Ms. Greene brought in more money than the combined total raised by all nine impeachment managers — even though they won widespread applause in liberal circles for their case against the former president. Three of the managers have raised less than $100,000 each over the past three months, according to the data.Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene brought in more than the combined total raised by nine impeachment managers, three of whom raised less than $100,000 over the past three months.Anna Moneymaker for The New York TimesAs money pours into campaigns, the Jan. 6 assault has also resulted in much spending around security precautions.The Federal Election Commission expanded guidance allowing lawmakers to use campaign contributions to install residential security systems at their homes, and top Capitol Hill security told lawmakers to consider upgrading their home security systems to include panic buttons and key fobs.Campaign filings show nearly a dozen lawmakers have made payments of $20,000 or more to security companies in the past three months, including Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, who voted to convict Mr. Trump; Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, who gave a harrowing account of the riot; and Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California and one of the impeachment managers against Mr. Trump.Mr. Cruz and Mr. Hawley were also among the biggest spenders on security.Lauren Hirsch More

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    100 Days Without Trump on Twitter: A Nation Scrolls More Calmly

    Democrats are breathing easier. Republicans are crying censorship. For all of the country’s news consumers, a strange quiet has descended after a four-year bombardment of presidential verbiage.That soothing sound that Gary Cavalli hears emanating from Twitter these days? It is the sound of silence — specifically, the silence of former President Donald J. Trump.“My blood pressure has gone down 20 points,” said Mr. Cavalli, 71, whose obsessive hate-following of Mr. Trump ended for good when Twitter permanently barred the former president in January. “Not having to read his latest dishonest tweets has made my life so much happier.”It seems like just yesterday, or perhaps a lifetime ago, that Mr. Trump swaggered through the corridors of Twitter as if he owned the place, praising himself and denigrating his enemies in an endless stream of poorly punctuated, creatively spelled, factually challenged ALL-CAPS DIATRIBES that inflamed, delighted and terrified the nation to varying degrees. That all ended on Jan. 8, two days after a mob egged on by his incendiary remarks had stormed the United States Capitol in an ill-conceived effort to overturn the results of the presidential election.One hundred days have now elapsed since the start of the ban — a move that raised questions of free speech and censorship in the social media age, upset pro-Trump Republicans and further enraged a now-former president who still refuses to accept the fact that he lost the election.To many of the former president’s detractors, the absence of a daily barrage of anxiety-provoking presidential verbiage feels closer to a return to normalcy than anything else (so far) in 2021.“I legitimately slept better with him off Twitter,” said Mario Marval, 35, a program manager and Air Force veteran in the Cincinnati area. “It allowed me to reflect on how much of a vacuum of my attention he became.”For Matt Leece, 29, a music professor in Bloomsburg, Pa., the Twitter suspension was akin to a clearing of the air: “It’s like living in a city perpetually choked with smog, and suddenly one day you wake up and the sky is blue, the birds are singing, and you can finally take a full, nontoxic breath.”Yet for millions of Trump loyalists, his silence has meant the loss of their favorite champion and the greatest weapon in their fight against the left.“I miss having his strong, conservative, opinionated voice on Twitter,” said Kelly Clobes, 39, a business manager from southern Wisconsin. “Other people have been allowed to have free speech and speak their minds, and they haven’t been banned. Unless you’re going to do it across the board, you shouldn’t do it to him.”Even in a forum known for turning small differences into all-out hostility, Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed was unique. There was its sheer volume. From 2009, when he posted his first tweet (“Be sure to tune in and watch Donald Trump on Late Night with David Letterman as he presents the Top Ten List tonight!”), to Jan. 8 of this year, when he posted his last (“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20”), Mr. Trump tweeted more than 56,000 times, according to an online archive of his posts. He tweeted so often on some mornings in office that it was hard to believe he was doing much else.Then there were the presidential tweets themselves.The one where he predicted that if he were to fight Joe Biden, Mr. Biden would “go down fast and hard, crying all the way.” The one where he called Meryl Streep “one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood.” The one where he accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him. The one where he boasted that his “Nuclear Button” was “much bigger & more powerful” than that of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. (“And my Button works!” he added.)Love it or hate it, it was impossible to ignore Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed, which flowed from the platform directly into the nation’s psyche. His tweets were quoted, analyzed, dissected, praised and ridiculed across the news media and the internet, featuring often in people’s “I can’t believe he said that” conversations. For his opponents, there was a rubbernecking quality to the exercise, a kind of masochistic need to read the tweets in order to feel the outrage.Seth Norrholm, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and an expert on post-traumatic stress, said that Twitter had offered Mr. Trump a round-the-clock forum to express his contempt and anger, a direct channel from his id to the internet. Every time he used all-caps, Professor Norrholm said, it was as if “an abuser was shouting demeaning statements” at the American people.Although “out of sight, out of mind really works well for a lot of people in helping them to move forward,” he continued, Mr. Trump has refused to go away quietly. Indeed, he has set up a sort of presidential office in exile at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, emerging intermittently to issue statements on quasi-presidential letterhead and to heap derision on Republicans he deems insufficiently loyal.“It’s as if you’re in a new relationship with the current administration, but every now and then the ex-partner pops up to remind you that ‘I’m still here’ — that he hasn’t disappeared entirely and is living in the basement,” Professor Norrholm said. “What’s going to happen over the next couple of years is that you will hear rumbles from the basement. We don’t know whether he’ll emerge or not, or whether it’s just some guy in the basement making some noise.”But how significant is the noise? Many Republicans still seem to be hanging on Mr. Trump’s every word. But others say that without Twitter or indeed the presidency, his voice has been rendered nearly impotent, much the way Alpha, the terrifying Doberman pinscher in the movie “Up,” becomes ridiculous when his electronic voice malfunctions, forcing him to speak with the Mickey Mouse-like voice of someone who has inhaled too much helium.“He’s not conducting himself in a logical, disciplined fashion in order to carry out a plan,” the anti-Trump Republican lawyer George Conway said of the former president. “Instead, he’s trying to yell as loudly as he can, but the problem is that he’s in the basement, and so it’s just like a mouse squeaking.”Not everyone agrees, of course. Even some people who are no fans of Mr. Trump’s language say that the Twitter ban was plain censorship, depriving the country of an important political voice.Ronald Johnson, a 63-year-old retailer from Wisconsin who voted for Mr. Trump in November, said that Twitter had, foolishly, turned itself into the villain in the fight.“What it’s doing is making people be more sympathetic to the idea that here is somebody who is who is being abused by Big Tech,” Mr. Johnson said. Although he doesn’t miss the former president’s outrageous language, he said, it was a mistake to deprive his supporters of the chance to hear what he has to say.And many Trump fans miss him desperately, in part because their identity is so closely tied to his.Last month, a plaintive tweet by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, that bemoaned Mr. Trump’s absence from the platform was “liked” more than 66,000 times. It also inspired a return to the sort of brawl that Mr. Trump used to provoke on Twitter, as outraged anti-Trumpers waded in to inform Mr. Giuliani exactly what he could do with his opinion.It is exactly that sort of thing — the punch-counterpunch between the right and left, the quick escalation (or devolution) into name-calling and outrage so often touched off by Mr. Trump — that caused Mr. Cavalli, a former sportswriter and associate athletic director at Stanford University, to leave Twitter right before the election. He had been spending an hour or two a day on the platform, often working himself up into a frenzy of posting sarcastic responses to the president’s tweets.When he called Kayleigh McEnany, the president’s press secretary, a “bimbo,” Twitter briefly suspended him.“I thought, maybe God’s sending me a message here, and this is something I shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “So I quit.” His wife was happy; he has tried to channel his pent-up outrage by writing letters to the editor of The San Francisco Chronicle.Joe Walsh, a former Trump-supporting Republican congressman who is now an anti-Trump talk-radio host, said that even some people who hate the former president are suffering from a kind of withdrawal, their lives emptier now that Mr. Trump is no longer around to serve as a villainous foil for their grievances.“I completely get that it’s cool and hip to say, ‘I’m going to ignore the former guy’ — there’s a lot of performance art around that — but a lot of people miss being able to go after him or talk about him every day,” he said. “We’re all so tribal and we want to pick our tribes, and Trump made that dividing line really easy. Where do you stand on Biden’s infrastructure plan? That’s a little more nuanced.” More

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    In a Changing Boston, a New Mayor Challenges the Police

    Three weeks into her tenure as Boston’s acting mayor, Kim Janey has done something her predecessor did not: order the police to release documents about a leader accused of sexual abuse.BOSTON — Three weeks after her swearing-in as acting mayor of Boston, Kim Janey was enjoying a sort of honeymoon, enacting feel-good policies like forgiving library fines and basking in the spotlight that came with her status as the city’s first Black and first female mayor.Though she had landed the position in part by happenstance — she was City Council president when her predecessor, Martin J. Walsh, was tapped to be secretary of labor — Ms. Janey has moved slowly and deliberately to build her political profile, taking her place on the growing list of Black women running major U.S. cities.That cautious approach ended last Saturday, when Ms. Janey found herself responding to a police scandal.A report in The Boston Globe reviewed the handling of sex abuse allegations involving Patrick M. Rose, 66, the former president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, the largest and most muscular of the city’s three major police unions.The police, The Globe reported, had allowed Mr. Rose to serve for more than two decades after a 12-year-old accused him of sexual assault. Though the victim ultimately recanted and the criminal case was closed, an internal affairs investigation by the police subsequently found he had most likely broken the law.Those allegations resurfaced last year, when another child came forward, alleging abuse between the ages of 7 and 12, followed by four more victims. Mr. Rose was ultimately charged with more than 30 counts of sexual abuse of children.Patrick M. Rose, former president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, served on the police force for two decades after a 12-year-old accused him of sexual assault.Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe, via Associated PressMr. Rose maintains his innocence, both in the 1995 charges and in the more recent ones, said his lawyer, William J. Keefe.Ms. Janey, one of six candidates running for election in November, was faced with a choice: Should she keep the internal police records private, as Mayor Walsh, her predecessor in City Hall, had, citing the victims’ desire for privacy?Or should she take the path urged by fellow progressives in the City Council, demanding that the police release the records to the public — and risk unsettling the victims and poisoning her relationship with the powerful police union? This week, Ms. Janey’s choice became clear.“As a mother and as a grandmother I was heartbroken and angry to learn nothing was done to keep Mr. Rose away from children, or to terminate him, for that matter,” she said. “Transparency cannot wait any longer.”Her decision points to a larger political calculus, said Daniel Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University.“She has probably made the calculation that she is better off without the police, which is amazing,” he said. “Because the support of the police is, to some extent, code for the support of white voters in Boston.”This election will provide a snapshot of a city undergoing rapid change, as professionals move into neighborhoods once dominated by middle-income Irish-American and Italian-American families.Though Boston’s white population had dipped to 44 percent by 2017, white voters historically turn out in far greater numbers in city elections, and police union endorsements, telegraphed early in the race, were signals to them.This year, however, “none of the top-tier candidates are shopping for police support,” said Erin O’Brien, a professor at University of Massachusetts Boston.A poll released on Wednesday by WBUR and MassINC, a polling group, found that 46 percent of voters were still undecided. But it identified two front-runners — City Councilor Michelle Wu, with 19 percent support, and Ms. Janey, with 18 percent — who are both outspoken proponents of policing reform.Describing the way politicians viewed the police in the past, Dr. O’Brien said, “It’s like the boogeyman, in some ways — ‘don’t cross the police, don’t cross the police’ — well, no one’s done it, they’re afraid of them.” Rachael Rollins beat a prosecutor with police backing when she was elected Suffolk County district attorney in 2018.Cody O’Loughlin for The New York TimesBut recent elections suggest the clout of the police is waning, she said, pointing to the 2018 upset win of Rachael Rollins, a progressive, as district attorney in Boston, over a longtime prosecutor with police backing. Dr. O’Brien compared the union’s political clout to the Wizard of Oz, who appears formidable but only from a distance.“They have a lot of power until the curtain gets pulled,” she said. “The question is whether the curtain has already been pulled.”The internal affairs file on Mr. Rose, which will be made public early next week, should shed light on the decision to return him to street duty after a 12-year-old came forward with an allegation of sexual abuse.Although the victim’s complaint was dropped, ending the first criminal prosecution, a subsequent internal affairs investigation by the police, which uses the lower legal standard of preponderance of the evidence, found he had broken the law, according to The Globe.The findings should have been forwarded to the department’s legal adviser and the police commissioner at the time, Paul F. Evans, who would determine a punishment, said Daniel Linskey, a former superintendent in chief of the Boston Police, who is now a managing director at Kroll, a security consultancy firm.Mr. Linskey said he supported Mayor Janey’s decision to make the files public, which he said could help “restore trust and integrity in the system.”He added that, as far as he knows, police officers are not rallying to Mr. Rose’s defense.“I don’t think the police union is going to die on the hill for this one,” he said. “There is no rallying cry behind Pat on this because the information to date seems to indicate that there is some substance to the charges.”Mr. Keefe, Mr. Rose’s lawyer, said his client did not pressure any witness to withdraw the charges.“He denies anyone was pressured to do anything,” he said.A police spokesperson referred The New York Times to the mayor’s statement. An official at the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association did not respond to requests for comment.The Rose case is only one of the thorny police matters that Mayor Janey inherited, including the fact that the department has no permanent commissioner. Though Mr. Walsh appointed one, a veteran officer named Dennis White, he was placed on paid leave after The Globe reported that he had threatened to shoot his wife, also a Boston police officer, and was later ordered to stay away from his family.Many of the legal structures governing Boston’s police, like overtime rules and disciplinary practices, are outside the direct authority of the mayor, determined in collective bargaining between the city and the unions.Still, Mr. Walsh, before leaving office, had embarked on new steps to increase oversight of police, including creating a new Office of Police Accountability, which includes a civilian review board.Thomas Nolan, who served as a Boston police officer for 27 years and is now an associate professor at Emmanuel College, said Boston could follow the lead of cities like Oakland, Calif., or Chicago, which have increased civilian control over policing.“It may come to a point where we scratch our head and say, ‘Do you know there was a time when they let the police investigate themselves for wrongdoing?’” he said. “The accountability will come when they can’t basically absolve their own people of wrongdoing.” More

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    Far-right Oath Keepers member is first suspect to plead guilty in US Capitol riot

    A member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group and heavy metal guitarist has become the first defendant to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the insurrection at the US Capitol.Jon Ryan Schaffer, the frontman of the band Iced Earth, has agreed on Friday to cooperate with investigators in hopes of getting a lighter sentence, and the Justice Department will consider putting Schaffer in the federal witness security program, a US district judge said. This signals that federal prosecutors see him as a valuable cooperator as they continue to investigate militia groups and other extremists involved in the insurrection on 6 January as Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win.Schaffer, a supporter of Donald Trump, was accused of storming the Capitol and spraying police officers with bear spray. He pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors in federal court in Washington to two counts: obstruction of an official proceeding, and entering and remaining in a restricted building with a dangerous or deadly weapon.An email seeking comment was sent to an attorney for Schaffer.Schaffer, of Columbus, Indiana, was wearing a tactical vest and baseball hat that read Oath Keepers Lifetime Member on 6 January and acknowledged in his plea agreement that he is a “founding lifetime member” of the extremist group, prosecutors said.The 53-year-old was not charged in the case involving Oath Keepers members and associates, who are accused of conspiring with one another to block the certification of the vote. The case is the largest and most serious brought by prosecutors so far in the attack.Authorities say those defendants came to Washington ready for violence and intent on stopping the certification. Many came dressed for battle in tactical vests and helmets and some discussed stationing a “quick reaction force” outside the city in the event they needed weapons, prosecutors have said.In his deal with prosecutors, Schaffer admitted to being one of the first people to force their way into the Capitol after the mob broke open a set of doors guarded by Capitol police. Schaffer was sprayed in the face with a chemical irritant that overwhelmed officers deployed and left the Capitol while holding bear spray, authorities said.Schaffer has voiced various conspiracy theories, once telling a German news station that a shadowy criminal enterprise is trying to run the world under a communist agenda and that he and others are prepared to fight, with violence.In court documents, the FBI said Schaffer “has long held far-right extremist views” and that he had previously “referred to the federal government as a ‘criminal enterprise’”.He turned himself in to the FBI a few weeks after the riot, after his photograph was featured on an FBI poster seeking the public’s help in identifying rioters.More than 370 people are facing federal charges in the deadly insurrection. More

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    Dark Money in the New York Mayor’s Race

    This year’s election is shaping up to be the city’s first in which super PACs play a major role.The New York City mayor’s race already has a national-politics tinge thanks to one guy: the businessman Andrew Yang, whose long-shot campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination sputtered out early last year, but who is now seen as a front-runner in the city’s mayoral election. (That’s despite his knack for eliciting groans on Twitter.)But it’s not just the personalities that are bridging the divide between local and national politics. It’s also the money.This mayoral election is shaping up to be the city’s first in which super PACs — the dark-money groups that sprang up after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission — play a major role.But it’s also the first race in which a number of candidates are taking advantage of a city policy that allows campaigns to gain access to more generous public matching funds, based upon their level of grass-roots support.With the potentially decisive Democratic primary just over two months away, our Metro reporters Dana Rubinstein and Jeffery C. Mays have written an article looking at how the hunt for super PAC cash is complicating the race — and raising ethical questions about some campaigns, including a few that are also receiving public matching funds. Dana took a moment out of her Friday afternoon to catch me up on where things stand.Hi Dana. So, the Citizens United decision was handed down in 2010. Yet it seems as if this is the first time we’re hearing about super PACs being used in a big way in the New York mayor’s race. How does this development interact with the city’s newly beefed-up matching-funds policy, which is aimed at encouraging small donations? Is this a case of contradictory policies — or, as a source in your story put it, “like patching one part of your roof and the water finds another way in”?There was some independent-expenditure (or “I.E.”) activity in the 2013 mayoral primary, but it wasn’t candidate specific — with one possible exception. There was a super PAC called New York City Is Not for Sale that was candidate specific, in the sense that it was targeting one candidate, Christine Quinn, and it got its funding from Bill de Blasio supporters. But this is really the first time we’ve seen candidate-specific I.E.s. As they’ve proliferated on the national level, New York City candidates have been taking their cues from the national scene.If you talk to folks at the Brennan Center, who are big advocates for the matching-funds program, they’ll point to it and say that voters should take heart, because in many ways it is proving itself to be a success. The six mayoral candidates who qualified for matching funds this year were the most ever. The matching funds are being doled out in accordance with how many voters from New York City are contributing to campaigns, and that means someone like Dianne Morales, who has no previous electoral history and was not at all a big player in the New York political scene before this election, is able to make a real case for the mayoralty. She is able to mount a real campaign. She got like $2 million in matching funds in this round.But then you have this parallel universe of super PAC money. And in some cases you have candidates who are getting matching funds — which are our taxpayer dollars — and benefiting from super PACs. Of course, super PACs are supposed to be independent and not coordinate with campaigns, but regardless, for some voters it’s hard to see that and think it’s an ideal scenario.Basically, what we have is two parallel fund-raising systems: One is almost completely ungoverned, and the other is very strictly regulated and involves taxpayer money.Who is leading the race for super PAC money in New York? And what’s the overall state of the race these days, money matters aside?Shaun Donovan, the former housing secretary under President Barack Obama, is participating in the matching-funds program, and he has a super PAC. Scott Stringer, the city comptroller, has a super PAC too — although a much less lucrative one — and is also taking matching funds. Andrew Yang has one super PAC that was formed by a longtime friend of his named David Rose; it’s raised a nominal amount of money, but no one is under the illusion that it won’t start raising a lot soon. And there’s this other super PAC connected to Yang that’s supposedly in the works, and that Lis Smith, who was involved in Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, is involved with.Then there is Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup executive and one of the highest-ranking African-American bank executives ever. He has a super PAC that has raised $4 million from all kinds of recognizable names. They’re spending a lot, with the goal to just sort of increase his name recognition.As far as the state of the race, we have no idea. As you can attest, there’s been virtually no credible polling here. In terms of the available polls, there is some uniformity to what they suggest: Yang has a lead, yet half of voters are undecided. You have Eric Adams, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, and then the rest of the pack.It is both too soon to say and also alarmingly close to the actual primary election day, June 22. We really don’t have a sense of where things stand. When you add to this ranked-choice voting, which is new this year, it’s really an open question.Earlier you mentioned Shaun Donovan, whose story figures prominently into the article you and Jeff just wrote. Fill us in on what’s going on there.In addition to being the former housing secretary for Obama, he was the budget director. So he’s a very well-regarded technocrat — who also is the son of a wealthy ad-tech executive. Someone formed a super PAC to support his candidacy for mayor; that super PAC has raised a little over $2 million, and exactly $2 million of that sum was donated by his dad.It’s completely within the realm of possibility that his dad was like, “You know what, I really love my son, I think he’d be a great mayor, I’m going to fund his super PAC,” without any coordination about how that money would be used. But it’s hard for some people to imagine a scenario where a father and son don’t talk about this kind of thing. Or maybe it isn’t! The point is that it’s almost unknowable, isn’t it?There’s a lot of winking and nodding involved in this stuff, and you don’t necessarily need direct coordination in order to have what is effectively coordination.On Politics is also available as a newsletter. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox.Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com. More

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    Andrew Yang Responds: ‘My Targeted Plan for the City Will Be a Lifeline for Many’

    The candidate for mayor of New York responds to a column by Paul Krugman.To the Editor:In “Andrew Yang Hasn’t Done the Math” (column, April 16), Paul Krugman criticized a proposal I have not put forth as part of my run for mayor of New York.My plan is a targeted $1 billion cash relief initiative to distribute $2,000 a year to the 500,000 poorest New Yorkers.This will mitigate the disproportionate impact of automation on Black, Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers. A new report by the Center for an Urban Future found that nearly half of all job tasks held by Hispanic men can be automated.We know that targeted cash relief works. The Atlantic and Bloomberg recently reported on the success of a pilot in Stockton, Calif. Compared with the control group, several positive outcomes were found for the 125 people in lower-income neighborhoods who received $500 a month.Likewise, the federal stimulus checks also played a crucial role in lessening the economic disruption of the pandemic. Despite big job losses — most felt by women of color — the poverty rate actually fell after people received cash deposits.My 2020 presidential campaign elevated cash relief as an anti-poverty solution, and if I am elected, my targeted plan for the city will be a lifeline for many.The research is there.Andrew YangNew YorkThe writer is a Democratic candidate for mayor of New York. More