Why Did NY Rep. Chris Collins Endorse Donald Trump?

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Do you remember Carl Paladino? Sure you do. He’s the wealthy developer and racist jackass who somehow managed to win the Republican nomination for New York governor in 2010 and proceeded to run a campaign drenched in almost fetid ugliness. He hasn’t changed much in the intervening years and he is—unsurprisingly—supporting Donald Trump for president. A few days ago he sent a message to his email list:

We haven’t heard from you following my last memo. The press said I was trying to bully you; obviously that is a misnomer. After all, you are the duly elected representative of your constituents and you know what is best for them. Don’t you?

….This is our last request that you join Trump for President and try to preserve what’s left of your pathetic careers in government. Whatever you do, staying neutral is not an option. Pick a horse in the race and you may salvage some of your constituents’ respect for you. Not choosing paints you as a coward. The bus is leaving the station very soon. Get on, or you’ll be left behind.

Charming, no? But typically Paladino. And he promised more to come: “This is the beginning,” he had said of an earlier email blast. It’s going to get worse for those that continue to hold out. I’m being nice. I’ll up the ante a little bit more in the next one I send….People like to read what their representatives are doing.”

Anyway, a couple of weeks before this email went out, Rep. Chris Collins had announced his endorsement of Trump. That was unexpected, since Collins is a moderate guy who had previously endorsed Jeb Bush. Had Paladino threatened to run a challenger against him in the primary, as he’s done with other Republicans he dislikes? The Huffington Post’s Matt Fuller makes the case:

In an interview with The Huffington Post this week, Collins denied he was “pressured” into supporting Trump, saying he endorsed the GOP front-runner without speaking to Paladino about it.

But pressed on whether the two had discussed an endorsement, he backtracked:

“Uh, so — I mean, Carl and I know each other,” Collins said.

Yeah, they know each other. Collins is the biggest recipient of Paladino campaign donations in all of western New York. He certainly knows how generous Paladino can be if he likes you, and how merciless he can be if he doesn’t.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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