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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

We are only a few weeks into the booyah! boasting phase of the Trump GOP Era. But we are already seeing a central theme emerging, especially on health care policy. Both on repealing Obamacare and phasing out Medicare, Republicans are now realizing they have to ask Democrats for help, despite the fact that they control every branch of the federal government. (Don't believe me. See what The Wall Street Journal says.) This is obviously the case in the Senate if Mitch McConnell maintains the filibuster and thus the need for 60 votes. What's not clear I think is that it remains the case even if McConnell finds a way to push through changes with only 50 votes.

It's important to understand why this is happening.

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Here's your semi-recurring update: Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead has now reached 2.52 million votes. In percentage terms that's a 1.9 percentage point margin. It will rise at least a bit more. We can likely be confident that her final margin will be at least 2 percentage points. To compare, that's 5 times the margin of Al Gore's popular vote win in raw vote terms and 4 times his margin in percentage terms. At this point, not only did Clinton win the popular vote. It wasn't even all that close. When George W. Bush had another bite at the electoral apple in 2004 and finally did win the popular vote it was by 2.5 percentage points. Barack Obama's margin in 2012 was 3.9 percentage points.

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Whatever else, there are a thousand Carrier employees and their families in Indianapolis today who are looking forward to a much happier holiday season than they were a week ago. Good for them.

So how did Trump do it? One big stroke of luck he had was having a Vice President-elect who is still the sitting governor of Indiana. Governors do deals like this all the time. That was key. But the Indiana Business Journal published a story today which adds the critical detail.

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On CNN we just heard a law professor who is an expert on professional and government ethics explain why Trump's removing himself from the operation of his businesses is irrelevant in terms of what we now rather quaintly call 'conflicts of interest'. This is true, of course. And Richard Painter, former Bush White House ethics counsel and now a Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota, says that turning over ownership to his children, which Trump has not agreed to do, "would be a very, very good move in the right direction."

This is no doubt accurate, as far as it goes. But it doesn't go very far.

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Today two of our reporters were up on Capitol Hill looking for answers to what was afoot on the Medicare Phaseout and Obamacare fronts. I was particularly interested in the former. And Tierney Sneed was able to get some very key information from Sen. John Boozman (R) of Arkansas.

Boozman was already on our list of Medicare wobblers based on his office's responses to constituents. But Arkansas is also one of the poorest state's in the country. By various metrics, it's a state particularly reliant on programs like Medicare. So where does Boozman stand?

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Romney: "[Trump] continues with a message of inclusion and bringing people together."

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