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

The Gorsuch Confirmation Just Got Much More Interesting

Let me start by saying that I fully expect that if Democrats filibuster President Trump's nomination of Judge Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, Republicans will abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees and confirm him on a party line vote. I do not see this as a surprise or even necessarily a bad thing inasmuch as the filibuster was effectively abolished in 2005. Back then Democrats entered into an agreement with Republicans not to filibuster now-Chief Justice John Roberts in exchange for not abolishing the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments. In other words, the Supreme Court filibuster has only existed as a mirage for more than a decade. So absent some disqualifying revelation I fully expect Gorsuch to be confirmed.

But something happened today that will make his confirmation process considerably interesting than I'd anticipated.

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Three Dimensional Integration

I've been saying for months that the language of 'conflicts of interest' for President Trump is entirely inadequate and frankly silly. The concept of a conflict of interest is one that speaks to a situation in which an overlap or conflict between an individual's personal and professional or public interests makes it impossible for that individual to act in an ethical manner or to appear to be doing so. It has no meaning when the actor - in this case, the President - is openly using his office for personal profit. In other words, it has no meaning when the President refuses to recognize any difference between his public responsibilities and his personal and familial business interests, the state and himself. He recognizes no conflict. Indeed, there isn't one. President Trump is openly using his office to become the billionaire he always wanted to be. And now his Press Secretary has said as much.

Just a few moments ago, Sean Spicer said that Nordstrom's decision to drop Trump's daughter's eponymous clothing line constitutes a political attack on the President and he is within his rights to retaliate.

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Thank Trump For Everything

I don't know the particulars of the new Intel plant in Arizona that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich just announced with President Trump from the Oval Office. But I have followed the DC tech advocacy conversation for many years. And Intel does roughly 75% of its manufacturing in the United States and this has always been, not surprisingly, a key part of its corporate advocacy and marketing in the US. It thus seems highly likely that if Intel saw demand for more product it would choose to manufacture them in the United States.

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Abuse Of Power

It starts small, but this is real, not just some hypothesized conflict of interest, but actual misuse of office for personal familial financial gain.

Question of the Day

This afternoon, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway told CNN's Jake Tapper that President Trump's false statements are less important than the "many things he says that are true." But this prompted an immediate debate within TPM. Was Conway saying that the true things Trump says are simply much more important than the false things? Or was she saying that the overall ratio was good? Like net more true statements than false statements or something like a batting average? Here's Conway. What do you think?

On Trump, Keep it Simple (In 5 Points)

After a tumultuous and chaotic two weeks of the Trump presidency, we are now seeing a new raft of counter-intuitive articles ranging from 'Does Trump Even Want to Succeed as President?' to 'How Trump Has Everyone Just Where He Wants Them and Is Kicking Ass.' We should all bear in mind that while generally unpopular, Trump has extremely high levels of approval among Republican voters and continues to maintain near lockstep allegiance from congressional Republicans. But on Trump, in trying to figure out what and how he's doing, we should keep it simple. Because at this point we know Trump quite well.

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Trumpism and Corporate America

There are an endless series of divisions in American society which observers have identified as the key to understanding the rise of Trump. White v Black and Hispanic, college educated v non-college educated. Each of these divisions describe the current political polarization. But of course they all overlap. The one that seems most pertinent and illustrative to me for the moment is the division between major cities v small towns and rural areas. And we can see it playing out in contradictory and volatile ways as corporate America (especially consumer facing corporations) tries to find its footing in the Trump Era.

This isn't the first time we've seen this division. Indeed, it's been the growing division in American politics for years. On the Democrats' side this is often referred to as the 'coalition of the ascendent'. That means not necessarily people who are doing well but those who are doing well under the changing world of the early 21st century and those who expect to be doing better in the future. This is how you get what in many ways seems like an ungainly coalition which includes affluent usually urban professionals along with the young and historically marginalized minority populations.

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Healthcare/ACA expert Adam Cancryn hosting Q&A in the Hive, Weds. @ 1 p.m.

Adam Cancryn, healthcare reporter for POLITICO Pro in Washington, D.C. will join us in the Hive to discuss issues relating to health care. He previously was the senior financial services and insurance reporter for S&P Global Market Intelligence (formerly SNL Financial), and ran the sports site "Began." He's written for The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Adam will join us for a chat about all things relating to healthcare. You can submit questions relating to the Affordable Care Act, private insurance, the future of health care, repeal and replace and more. If you'd like to participate but don't have TPM Prime, sign up here.