Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

The Fight in the Borderlands

When we think about the politics of this moment and how we can predict, even in general outlines, what is to come, the most salient question is whether political gravity still exists and functions. By any historical standard, President Trump is almost catastrophically unpopular. Presidents enter office with high approval ratings, usually well over 60%. By most measures, Trump is already under 40%. Presidents seldom get more popular than they were at the outset.

By every standard, Trump is courting even greater unpopularity and sowing the seeds of an electoral backlash in two years. And yet, history shouldn't have allowed us to get here in the first place. By most conventional wisdom it should have been extremely difficult for Donald Trump to be elected President. And yet he was. So today people on both sides of the ideological divide - half emboldened, the other half demoralized - think that political gravity simply doesn't apply anymore.

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Ask your immigration Qs to Tom Jawetz, VP of Immigration Policy @ American Progress, today at 1 p.m.

Tom Jawetz is the Vice President of Immigration Policy at American Progress. He previously served as chief counsel on the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee and has advised members of Congress and congressional staff on all areas of immigration law and policy. Tom will join us in The Hive on Wednesday 2/1 at 1 p.m. EST for a discussion about immigration. Feel free to submit questions about immigration policy, legal issues, civil rights for immigrants and more. If you'd like to participate but don't have a Prime membership, sign up here.

This is The Big Story

For all the pyrotechnics at the Justice Department today, this may be the bigger story. There's been confusion over the last three days over whether Republicans on Capitol Hill were briefed, consulted or involved in writing President Trump's now infamous immigration executive order. The White House has said they were. Republicans on the Hill said the first they heard of it was in news reports.

Now we have an explanation.

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Ask your immigration Qs to Tom Jawetz, VP of Immigration Policy @ American Progress, tmw at 1 p.m.

Tom Jawetz is the Vice President of Immigration Policy at American Progress. He previously served as chief counsel on the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee and has advised members of Congress and congressional staff on all areas of immigration law and policy. Tom will join us in The Hive on Wednesday 2/1 at 1 p.m. EST for a discussion about immigration. Feel free to submit questions about immigration policy, legal issues, civil rights for immigrants and more. If you'd like to participate but don't have a Prime membership, sign up here.

Don't Keep Him Waiting

As a friend noted last night, this Times article about Steve Bannon is as much about Mike Flynn as Bannon. It's good news, bad news. Good news: Flynn is already being sidelined in his role as National Security Advisor. Bad news: he's being supplanted by Steve Bannon.

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Just Hate

This is a delicate, unlovely point. But I believe it is an important one to make sense of the present moment. People do ugly things when they are scared - both individuals and great masses of people. After 9/11, the US dramatically clamped down on immigration - in some ways that were sensible, in other ways that were simply wrong. But the country had just seen thousands of its citizens slaughtered in a daring and catastrophic terrorist attack in the heart of one of its greatest cities. So much ugly and self-destructive grew out of that moment, much of which still provides the context of the world we live in and struggle with today. But for those of us who were well into adulthood at the time, the sense of threat and danger in late September 2001 were palpable. People were scared and they were angry.

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It's only been a Week, but I've already had enough of Trump's Presidency

I did not vote for Donald Trump, but I thought that as a matter of respect for the American system, people who opposed his candidacy should not be seeking to impeach him before he even took office or should be urging their fellow citizens not to listen to his inaugural address. Elected officials deserve a chance to show how they will govern.

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Trump's Willing Cheerleaders

One thing to note with everything we're seeing this weekend. Folks like Reince Priebus were supposed to be the ones to keep the Trump White House on something like the straight and narrow. That never really made sense to me. But that was the idea. That is clearly not happening. But as a colleague pointed out to me this evening, it's Priebus who is the most visible cheerleader defending the ugliest and most feral Trump White House actions. He was out today defending the egregious de-Judaized Holocaust statement. He's insisting the weekend immigration debacle is making America great again. He's not just on board. He's the top cheerleader.

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