Where Things Stand: A Think Tank For Trumpism
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While the broader GOP weighs just how much distance to put between itself and Trump, some of the former president’s most loyal political allies are working to cement his ideological influence in politics.

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Chalk Up a Win for Schumer
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So, interesting developments over night in the Senate. Both sides are portraying the agreement as a win. But basically McConnell caved. So chalk up a win for Chuck Schumer.

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Where Things Stand: How Will Ohio Swing Post-Trump?
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News of Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) retirement could be grounds for the latest reassessment of the historically-purple-but-lately-pretty-red state.

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Senate Democrats Have a Choice

(First, I’d be grateful for tips, leads, info on the below from any and all regular senate – and now White House – sources either by email or secure channels.)

Democrats, particularly Senate Democrats, already face a stark choice about those “ground rules” I mentioned last week. As noted then, what’s at stake isn’t only effective action today but the ground rules that will shape the next two years and either doom or give Democrats a fighting chance in the 2022 midterms. Last night the Post ran a story headlined: “Fight over the rules grinds the Senate to a halt, imperiling Biden’s legislative agenda“. It’s part of an emerging genre about bulging to-do lists, Republican game-playing and impeachment trials slowing the Senate to a crawl.

What’s happening exactly?

Quite simply, Mitch McConnell is now using the filibuster to stop Democrats from becoming the Senate majority.

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Ideas for Moving Forward
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A few thoughts and suggestions for moving forward in the Biden era, in no particular order.

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Where Things Stand: There’s A Reason Trump’s Impeachment Lawyer Sounds Familiar
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Remember Mark Sanford? If you were a Golden Duke: Duke of Dukes voter this last time around, you most certainly will.

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What is National Unity?
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Republicans began by resorting to coups and even violent insurrections to overturn the 2020 election. Having failed at that they are now glomming on to Joe Biden’s focus on national ‘unity’ to insist that Democrats overturn it on their behalf by agreeing to the absurd proposition that unity means forgetting the 2020 election even happened. Most of us intuitively know that is a bad faith gambit. But it’s worth articulating what national unity means and does not.

Donald Trump, former President and current GOP leader, governed by making war on the so-called ‘blue states’. Supporters got cash and assistance, opponents got punished. This was a through-line from the first days of Trump’s presidency and the scope and consequences became more open and grotesque during the COVID pandemic.

Unity means governing on behalf of all Americans, not treating half the country like enemies. In the nature of things Biden’s vision of what to prioritize will match the platform he ran on. There are myriad particulars but in general more social spending, more focus on equity and social justice, renewed commitment to confronting the climate crisis. That is what happens when you win an election. That’s democracy, not divisiveness.

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What Are the Ground Rules?
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The Biden White House and the Democratic Senate face numerous substantive decisions in the coming days and months. But certain decisions, more procedural than policy, will set the tone and ground rules today and in the months and years ahead. They are critical. And they will have a profound impact on the breadth and success of policy-making over the next two and four years.

You’ll be familiar with these ground rules decisions in concept even if the particulars are technical and occluded in administrative and parliamentary jargon. In short, will resurgent Democrats use their lawful powers to enact their policy agenda or get wrong-footed and derailed by bad faith arguments from Republicans about norms, fairness, unity and the like? Will they be gamed into chasing Republican buy-in, the possibility of which will always be snatched away after it has served its purpose of forcing Democrats to fritter away time they need to deliver on election promises?

This was the great failure of Barack Obama’s presidency, one he fully grasped only late in his second term and after Republicans had used it to wrest away control of Congress and the Courts.

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Where Things Stand: The One Year Anniversary Of The First Reported US COVID Case
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One year ago today the CDC announced the first case of COVID-19 in the United States.

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The story we had ready if Trump had won re-election.

Also, special after-the-fact reaction from one of the experts on authoritarianism we had talked to for that story.

cult of personality
| Muckraker

During his inaugural address, President Biden alluded to a mammoth, intractable task now facing the country: confronting a nascent, violent, far-right insurgency that coalesced behind Trump and the belief that he was the rightful winner of the 2020 election.

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Ep. 156: The 46th President
Ep. 156: The 46th President
Josh, Kate, and David process President Joe Biden’s inauguration and bid farewell to the last four turbulent, violent, unbelievable years....
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