Buffalo shooting was culmination of racism, gun access and internet culture

Buffalo shooting was culmination of racism, gun access and internet culture

WASHINGTON —  If it’s Monday … President Biden heads to Buffalo tomorrow after the racially-motivated shooting in the city. … Other deadly shootings take place in Southern California and Houston. … A New NBC News poll shows support for abortion rights hitting all-time high. … The poll also finds Biden’s job rating below 40 percent and three-quarters saying the nation is headed in the wrong direction. … Pennsylvania Senate Democratic frontrunner John Fetterman suffers stroke. … Donald Trump endorses Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania Governor. … And the Democratic Party is the least popular figure/institution in the NBC News poll.

But first: What took place in Buffalo on Saturday was the result of a toxic stew of growing right-wing racist ideology, easy access to guns and a permissive internet culture.

The seemingly endless political debate over what to do with guns and the internet has begun once again. But what sticks out to us is the silence from many conservative commentators and Republican elected leaders who have either stoked it or ignored this rising hate for political gain. 

Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney called out her own party in a tweet this morning, writing, “The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”

What also stands out to us is that Buffalo now joins Charleston, Pittsburgh and El Paso in experiencing racially and ethnically motivated mass attacks.

This kind of violence has become an epidemic in this country.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … -19 percentage points

That’s the net-negative rating for the Democratic Party in the latest national NBC News poll, with 50 percent of adults saying they had negative feelings about the Democratic Party and 31 percent saying they had positive feelings about the party. That’s also the highest net-negative rating the Democratic Party has seen in 30 years of the survey. 

Adults surveyed in the poll gave the Republican Party a net negative rating of minus 11 percent, with 46 percent viewing the party positively and 46 percent viewing the party negatively. 

The results are yet another warning sign for Democrats heading into a difficult midterm election, with the Democratic Party’s image struggling across the country. Among registered voters in the suburbs, the Democratic Party had a net negative rating of minus 24 percent, which is nearly three times their negative rating among suburban voters in 2018. The party also had a 2 percent net-positive rating among urban voters, a sizable drop from a plus 15 percent rating in 2021. Rural voters have increasingly reported negative feelings about the Democratic Party, giving the party a rating of minus 32 percent. 

Here’s the positive/negative ratings — from most popular, to least popular — for all the politicians or institutions the NBC News poll measured:

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy: 62 percent positive, 9 percent negative (+53)
  • Disney: 33 percent positive, 30 percent negative (+3)
  • Ron DeSantis: 28 percent positive, 26 percent negative (+2)
  • The US Supreme Court: 36 percent positive, 35 percent negative (+1)
  • The Republican Party: 35 percent positive, 46 percent negative (-11)
  • Joe Biden: 37 percent positive, 51 percent negative (-14)
  • Donald Trump: 36 percent positive, 51 percent negative (-16)
  • Kamala Harris: 31 percent positive, 48 percent negative (-17)
  • The Democratic Party: 31 percent positive, 50 percent negative (-19)

Other numbers you need to know: 

13: How many people were killed in shootings this weekend in California, New York and Texas, per USA Today.  

$53 million: How much outside spending there’s been in House Democratic primaries so far, per Politico and OpenSecrets, a significant increase from each of the last two cycles. 

$8 million: How much two super PACs funded primarily by crypto executives have spent on ads in Tuesday’s primary races. 

32: The number of years that McDonalds has operated in Russia — the company announced it will cease operations and sell its businesses there.

58 percent: The increase in the two-week average of daily Covid cases, per NBC News.

24 percent: The increase in the two-week average of daily Covid hospitalizations. 

Midterm roundup: Two big developments in Pennsylvania

This weekend brought two big developments in Pennsylvania, just days before the closely-watched primaries there.  

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman suffered a stroke on Friday, he and his campaign disclosed two days later. The 52-year old, largely seen as the frontrunner in the Democratic Senate primary, said he did not suffer cognitive damage and is “on my way to a full recovery.” 

And in the state’s GOP primary, President Donald Trump threw his support behind state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s gubernatorial bid. The move dealt a significant blow to those who had been hoping to consolidate the party around another candidate out of fear Mastriano’s embrace of Trump’s lies about the 2020 election could hurt the party’s chances of flipping the governor’s mansion in the fall. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail: 

North Carolina Senate: The Washington Post looks at how the issue of abortion is playing out on the campaign trail by using the Tarheel State as a lens. 

Pennsylvania Senate: Conservative Commentator Kathy Barnette is holding an event today where she’s expected to address questions about her candidacy as she surges in the GOP Senate primary, NBC News’ Dasha Burns reports. Confronted about her past inflammatory tweets about Islam, Barnette told Fox News that she “can’t provide a lot of context” to her tweets. A top rival, Mehmet Oz (who is Muslim), called her comments both “reprehensible” and “disqualifying. “

Idaho Governor: The New York Times delves into GOP Gov. Brad Little’s race against Trump-backed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin ahead of tomorrow’s primary, describing the race as one that “reflects the intensifying split that is pitting Idaho’s conventional pro-gun, anti-abortion, tax-cut conservatives against a growing group of far-right radicals.”

Pennsylvania Governor: An influential conservative group ditched its endorsement of former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain over the weekend, opting to back former Rep. Lou Barletta in a last-minute attempt to stop Mastriano from winning the Republican nomination, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

North Carolina-11: NBC News’ Jonathan Allen traveled to Hendersonville, N.C. to take the temperature of Republican voters debating whether to give Rep. Madison Cawthorn another term in Congress. 

South Carolina-01: Politico reports on how Republican Rep. Nancy Mace has struggled to find a foothold in the party as she runs for re-election against a Trump-backed challenger. 

Ad watch: Barnette under attack

A new super PAC ad out over the weekend blasts Kathy Barnette, the latest frontrunner in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary. 

The ad, from One American Century, a pro-Mehmet Oz group, called Barnette a “never Trumper” and “a phony.” “Barnette pretends she’s America-first but repeatedly attacked President Trump,” a narrator adds.

This is the latest in a string of ads from outside groups attacking Barnette in just the last week after she became a top contender in the race, despite the fact that former President Trump has endorsed Oz and that Oz and former hedge fund manager David McCormick have spent millions on the airwaves.

ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world 

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., suffered a minor stroke over the weekend but did not incur any long term damage, he said in a statement Sunday night. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell traveled with Republican senators to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

Trump-era special counsel John Durham’s first case, against a lawyer with ties to Democrats, heads to trial on Monday

Abortion has thrust attorney general races into the spotlight, per NBC News’ Adam Edelman.