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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

There's no better way to understand the arbitrary mutability of 'conventional wisdom' than to look at the dramatically changed perceptions of Donald Trump's chances of securing the nomination after his big win in the New York primary - an entirely predictable and predicted event. I've seen a few people argue that Trump overshot his predicted margins by a few points. That, we're told, made the difference. But no. That doesn't make sense. The conventional wisdom was simply wrong in the first instance, driven by emotion and wishful thinking, and destined for a sharp reversal.

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Sort of like trying to refurb a classic Mustang or other fixer-upper car and still not being able to get it to run, you can buy the party, invest a lot of money, but still not make it not be crazy. Koch Bros, disenchanted with presidential primaries, to sit out GOP convention.

To be clear with the Kochs, they're not looking for good government. But they're looking for a GOP that reliably delivers as a capital-first policy vehicle. That was Jeb, maybe Rubio, possibly Walker. Not this.

You may or may not have heard about this. It was picked up quickly in the Jewish community press and then later in the right-wing press. Two weeks ago, former Israeli Foreign Minister and acting Prime Minister Tzipi Livni was speaking on a panel at Harvard Law School when a student, during a Q&A session, asked her why she was so "smelly." (Now, to bring you up to speed if this is new to you, Jews being 'dirty' or 'smelly' is a centuries old anti-Semitic stereotype, roughly comparable to the same bigoted stereotypes about African-Americans.) From most accounts, everyone was caught off guard and a bit stunned. The student restated the question. Later various other student groups issued statements condemning anti-Semitism. And the student in question issues an apology, sort of.

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As you may have seen, Donald Trump's new campaign chief Paul Manafort made a presentation to Republican insiders in Florida yesterday with a pretty stunning set of claims. Members of the RNC shouldn't be worried, he told them: Trump's not against the party or the people who run it. He's just been putting on an act, playing a part to win the nomination. He'll now shift gears to playing a different, more congenial role (a new 'persona') that party regulars will be more comfortable with. In his new role, his historic unfavorable ratings will also fall rapidly.

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We're mainly a news and politics site. Celebrity deaths are sometimes mentioned but usually in passing. Prince's just announced death at age 57 is in a different category. It's reminiscent in some ways of the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, though because of the untimeliness of death, not the cause. (We don't know the cause of death.) But while Michael Jackson was clearly a great talent, his talent was not one that greatly interested me. Prince is an altogether different story. Just a towering, towering talent - an innovator and brilliant musician and composer, electric, charismatic force.

I'm stunned, upset and just bereft at what an immense loss this is.

I don't totally agree with this. But there's a lot of insight into the world of political campaigns contained in this note from TPM Reader JD. For context, this is largely a response to this post from yesterday ...

Hey, I struggled yesterday not to send you a full-throated defense of Weaver. So here's my half-throated one.

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TPM Reader BW sees things looking up ...

With all the talk about how the system is rigged, it’s easy (at least for me) to feel hopeless and cynical, and forget that elections actually matter. But here’s an example from poor, broke, beleaguered Louisiana, of how much they really do matter.

We’ve gone from a governor who billed our poor state millions of dollars for the security detail that accompanied him on his delusional presidential campaign (then vetoed legislation that sought to forbid such charges), to a governor who installed a nice chicken coop and 16 laying hens (paid for with his own money) on the Governor’s Mansion grounds in order to “get back to a sense of normalcy" and "to keep in touch with who we are."

Oh, and enrollment for Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion begins in a little more than a month. From the farcical coffee shop spy caper of Fargo, Louisiana…to this. Still seems hard to believe sometimes.

Tad Devine, Sanders message and strategy guy, is on CNN right now finishing up an interview. His message was dramatically different from the one I noted below from Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver. He never brought up Weaver's comments, as near as I could tell. But what he did say was very significant. He framed the entirety of his comments on Sanders' continuing ability to win a the majority/plurality of pledged delegates and assessing after more primaries in the coming weeks whether that is still possible. As a statistical matter, that's a stretch - the ability to catch up on pledged delegates, given the Democrats' use of proportional representation. But the point is he made no mention whatsoever of an effort to get Super Delegates to override the pledged delegates.

He's definitely not throwing in the towel. He clearly wants Sanders to stay in through California. And there's no reason why he shouldn't. But he's very conspicuously not on the same page as Weaver.

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