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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Democrats do not have a strong candidate against Marco Rubio this Fall. But Marco Rubio isn't a strong candidate either. After all he spent most of last year explaining that he didn't like being a senator. Today he hedged on whether he'd even stay in the Senate for a full six years if he's elected. So he's mainly running against to queue up a 2020 run, I guess there's some wisdom in not making an unequivocal promise. But it's stuff like this that makes me think the Dems are still in the hunt in Florida.

Rush issues fatwah absolving Trump of deportation flip flop.

A couple months ago while I was waiting to do a TV appearance I met a guy named Laith Alkhouri. Laith specializes in studying the so-called "deep web", where terrorist groups communicate, recruit, plan, discuss and more. Our initial conversation touched on the fact that ISIS fighters and recruiters were actually giddy about the prospect of a Trump presidency, believing he would wreck the US in various ways through generalized incompetence but also be drawn into another ground war in the Syria and northern Iraq where ISIS now rules - something which may sound like something that would terrify ISIS but is actually their fondest wish. In any case, in the course of the conversation, I got more interested in the "dark web" itself.

We've all heard and known for years that terrorist groups use the internet to communicate, chat, propagandize and recruit. We hear about this on the news all the time. All the domestic terrorists in the US found recruiters and propaganda online. But where exactly does this happen? Like if I decided that I wanted to learn more about being a jihadist and maybe trade in TPM to go kill people in Syria, where would I go online exactly to find out more? And where is it on the web that these folks go when they want to communicate at least semi-secretly? I realized that while I'd known for years that jihadism lives on the Internet, I didn't know anything about how it worked, where they congregate, how they recruit or maintain operational secrecy. But Laith lives in the "dark web." That's his job. So I asked him to write our latest story for The Arch, which we're publishing today. Check it out, a totally fascinating story.

We're getting the first advance word about what's going to be included in Trump's big immigration policy speech on Wednesday. And it sounds like he's going Full Jeb!, or at a minimum Total Marco.

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Emerson came out with a series of polls today in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan - with Senate polls in addition to presidential polls in the first two states. All of the results show numbers substantially more friendly to Republicans, either the given Senate candidates or to Trump. Now, that could conceivably be the leading edge of a trend or simply an outlier. It's always important not to start hyper-examining the details of poll that either surprises you or has results you don't like. It's very easy to end up fooling yourself. But here there's a specific reason of caution.

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A few weeks back, when I was writing about possible Russian efforts to influence the US election, a number of security experts pointed me to concerns about hacking or tampering with the actual US voting apparatus. Now the FBI has reached out to local election officials after hacks were detected in two states. Whether something has Russian fingerprints on it is obviously hugely inflammatory and polarization. I think the emphasis here is something that someone may be trying to do this - at least on first blush, precisely who it is is less important to taking precautions to prevent problems.

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Over the last few years, as 'government shutdown' went from being a crazy ass thing Newt Gingrich did twenty years ago - never to be tried again - to the top item on the Republican policy agenda, you could hear more and more Republicans saying something like this: We thought it was this great thing that we had our own cable news network as an arm of the GOP or the conservative movement, echoing talking points, spinning the news. But at a certain point we realized Fox News wasn't working for us. We're working for Fox News.

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I wanted to send out a big thanks to everyone who's signed up for Prime since the evening of the 24th when I announced that we were just one sign up short of 1000 sign ups for Prime August. The winner - or the 1000th sign up ended up being TPM Reader JC. (So he can identify himself JC's first and last names end in S and Y.) Like I said, there's no prize for being 1000th this month. But it's no less awesome. So thanks to JC and everyone else who signed up. We're currently at 1082 for August. And we're shooting to match July, the first partial month of our 2016 drive when we signed up 1315 new Prime subscribers.

As I've been telling you, Prime is a critical part of the future of this publication, both as an expanding part of the publication with deeply reported long form articles, a new podcast slated to debut next month and a bunch else - but also a critical part of our business model.

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Here's an article which I strongly recommend you read. It's by the veteran Berkeley sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild and it's a look at Trump supporters based on five years of field study. As the chronology makes clear, they didn't start as Trump supporters. They began as the disaffected white voters who feel increasingly left behind in 21st century American, strangers in their own country. By and large they are the people who Trump rallied to his side to take the Republican nomination.

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Over the last couple days The Washington Post has published two stories touching on defrocked and disgraced Roger Ailes' role advising Donald Trump. In one he is part of a group counseling Trump toward more moderate, less sharp-edged stands versus another group led by early Trump endorser, Sen. Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon who are pressing Trump to stick to his hardline positions. In the second, he is one of a group of advisors meeting with Trump regularly to discuss debate strategy. At various points, Ailes is grouped with Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie or in other cases with those two plus Laura Ingraham. For a host of reasons, which I'll explain below, I think everyone is understating Ailes' role as perhaps the key advisor on Trump's campaign as we move into the fall.

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