EDITORS' BLOG
Commission Battle Will Be in the Senate
Prime Membership Required

Just this afternoon we’ve seen two developments on a possible Jan 6th Commission. The House GOP will formally ‘whip’ the vote, i.e., they’ll use the party apparatus to get all their members to vote no. This seems more than anything to be a signal to Donald Trump from McCarthy and Scalise that they are all-in to protect him. Does anyone GOP member not know what’s expected of them from Trump, McCarthy and Scalise? Of course not.

At the same time, TPM alum Sahil Kapur reports that Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) seems to be in support of the bill. Rounds isn’t a Senate fire breather. But he’s not a Romney/Murkowski type either.

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Introducing The Franchise!

For a few years now, I have covered voting rights closely for TPM. Needless to say, the developments around ballot access and representation are moving more quickly than ever. The stakes have only gotten higher in the wake of President Trump’s election reversal crusade and the restrictive laws that have flowed from it. So we’re happy to announce that we’re launching a weekly voting rights newsletter — The Franchise — that will go right to TPM members’ inboxes every Monday.

In it, I’ll keep you up to speed on the state-by-state voting rights battles, as well as the national trends I am seeing in the war over the ballot box. There’s a lot of noise out there, so I am hoping to distill things down in a way that makes it easy to understand just how and where democracy is under attack across the country. I always appreciate reader feedback, so don’t be shy, particularly if something is happening in your neck of the woods that’s worth a mention in The Franchise. And thanks for reading!

Where Things Stand: Americans Would Rather See Roe Left Alone
Prime Membership Required

And they hardly see it as a pressing issue, at least not right now.

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Trump’s Puppy Speaks
Prime Membership Required

Kevin McCarthy’s turnabout on a Jan 6th Commission proposal that was negotiated by his chosen negotiator and, by all indications, at his direction is a good reminder – for anyone who needed reminding, and really who are you who needed reminding? – of the reality of bipartisan negotiations in the Trump era. As I noted yesterday, Rep. Katko does not appear to have been freelancing. McCarthy chose him to negotiate on his behalf. And reporting suggests Katko worked from McCarthy’s directives and kept him in the loop. But once the deal was announced McCarthy felt he needed to torpedo it.

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Thank You

I want to take a moment to thank all the former members who’ve rejoined over the last couple weeks. And thanks so much to those of you who’ve become members for the first time. Joining our community and supporting our team’s work is hugely important. It always has been. In many ways though it’s even more meaningful and important now. We get it. It’s been a really long five years of Trump. Trump was brutalizing for some, exhausting for many more. He made news both unwatchable but also unmissable. I long compared the experience of Trump as comparable to life with an abuser. It breeds hypervigilance. Or maybe it’s like news about a sick relative, the last thing you wanted to hear and the first thing you read.

Now that’s done. We don’t know for how long or whether it’s just an intermission. But right now we have a functioning, not-clearly-corrupt executive branch. We even have one that is expansive and reformist in its vision and scope of action. We may have an ex-President at war with the republic … but not a current one. And that, for now, makes all the difference.

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Native American Governments and COVID
Prime Membership Required

From TPM Reader JO’N …

On Josh’s note of two COVID Americas today, I think he’s right. But one thing to notice about the map, and to account for when making sense of the geography of this, is the huge strides that Native American governments have made in getting their people vaccinated. In Montana, the Blackfeet Tribe was away ahead of the rest of the state, with a particularly aggressive outreach and compliance plan.

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Where Things Stand: Politics Is Still A Main Indicator Of Vaccine Hesitancy
Prime Membership Required

It’s not for a lack of access in the U.S.

Republicans are still the main the main demographic unwilling to get the COVID-19 shot.

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McCarthy Cues Up New Performance of Fealty to Trump
Prime Membership Required

When it was announced last week that Rep. John Katko (R-NY) had negotiated a deal for a Jan 6th Commission I was not so much skeptical as wondering what it was I was missing. Striking a deal usually means you speak for the people who are agreeing to the deal. I saw no evidence this was the case with Katko. It just seemed to me that one Representative had come up with a deal with one other member of Congress, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS). The fact that Katko was one of only ten members of the House to vote for the President’s impeachment over Jan 6th would, it would seem to me, instantly discredit any deal he struck with most Republicans.

Admittedly, the two are the chair and ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee. So it’s relevant jurisdiction. But committee leaders don’t create commissions. That’s something done by congressional leaders and full caucuses. When Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) responded with a skeptical wait-and-see approach, it seemed to me that this was less “agreement” than “proposal”, and maybe not a very promising one at that, inasmuch as it was presented to me as largely adopting the Democrats’ demands.

This morning Politico Playbook sheds new light on the situation which manages to make it both more interesting and more clownish all at once.

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A Restart Coalition
Prime Membership Required

The Jerusalem Post is an English-language Israeli paper which is probably best described as center-right-ish, though it’s hard to use these terms in a way that maps clearly to the way we use these terms in the US. It’s current editor-in-chief is Yaakov Katz who in a addition to being a journalist was at one point a national security advisor to Naftali Bennett, a key player in the current dance over the next Israeli government.

As I mentioned yesterday, the current crisis – really several overlapping crises – has been a boon for Prime Minister Netanyahu. At least in the short-term it short-circuited all efforts to form a government to replace him. A key part of why is the aforementioned Bennett. Bennett is an erstwhile Netanyahu protege or junior ally. He’s part of the Israeli right and comes out of Religious Zionism, basically Revisionist Zionism koshered with Orthodoxy. Before the last week’s cascade of violence he was negotiating joining a government created by opposition leader Yair Lapid. It likely would have involved the two sharing the Prime Ministership and Bennett taking the position first. (Not bad for a guy whose party garnered only 7 seats out of 120.)

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Two COVID Americas
Prime Membership Required

COVID vaccination, for all the slowdown, remains fast moving across the United States. It seems likely we’ll see a brief surge in shots as parents bring their 12-15 year olds in for their shots. But we’re already seeing the emergence of what in the later months of 2021 is like to be two separate Americas as defined by COVID.

This is a map from the CDC vaccine data portal.

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| Muckraker

As prosecutors bear down on Rudy Giuliani, his legal team has made a decision: take his antics of the past two years and hold them up as a knot prosecutors will have to untangle.

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| News

The International Energy Agency released a report on Tuesday that declares reaching net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 will require “huge leaps” in clean energy innovation, including the widespread use of technologies that aren’t on the market yet, but that focus heavily on tapping renewable energy sources.

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| Prime

As I reported Monday, it’s no exaggeration to say that the Mississippi abortion case the Supreme Court took up is the biggest threat Roe v. Wade has faced yet.

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| Muckraker

Rudy Giuliani was once dubbed a human hand grenade by John Bolton. Now he is flinging himself at Trumpworld in a bid to defend himself against an increasingly serious federal criminal investigation.

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| Prime

The House Judiciary Committee claimed a win last week in the somewhat-forgotten but still-raging fights over lingering congressional investigations into former President Trump.

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| Weekly Primers

This year has featured a historic surge in proposals to restrict ballot access, and several states have made those proposals law. But elsewhere, GOP lawmakers are running out of time to overhaul their election systems.

| News

As Virginia approached the peak of its COVID surge last January, Robyn Sweet was sick with the disease and caring for a patient who was dying from it.

Then she heard the news: her father had been arrested for invading the Capitol on Jan. 6.

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