EDITORS' BLOG
BFD and STFU – It’s All Down to Biden

Our friend Ed Kilgore has a piece in New York Magazine that’s worth your time to read. The gist is that the Democratic party and its tenuous control of the federal government is at a critical moment of decision. There’s now a very real chance that the President’s whole agenda could go down in flames. Remember 1994 and 2010 and then multiply one times the other. The consequences for the country and the Democratic party will be vast and hard to calculate. This isn’t just about saving Biden’s presidency. That actually gets things backwards. It’s the ability to pass legislation like this that was the point of all the effort that went into the 2018 and 2020 cycles in the first place.

I have a quibble on exactly what Ed says should happen next. But I think it’s largely a tactical one. Big picture we totally agree.

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Where Things Stand: Loudmouthed Former Guv Gets Surprising Endorsement For Comeback Bid
Prime Membership Required

Susan Collins refused to endorse Trump in 2016, and she voted to remove him during his 2020 impeachment trial.

But in 2022, she will be supporting the self-declared proto-Trump Paul LePage. (“I was Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular,” the former two-term governor of Maine once opined.)

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Yep. Sinema’s Cratering Back Home

Let me share a few more thoughts on the post from yesterday on Kyrsten Sinema from TPM Reader GT. And here I am not talking about the substantive impact of her stance. I’m talking purely about her own political future, self-aggrandizement, etc.

It makes perfect sense for someone like Sinema to carve out a centrist niche in the Senate. Arizona is purple but just barely, at least for now. It just voted for Biden and now has two Democratic Senators. But Sinema, who was only elected in 2018, is the state’s first Democratic Senator since Dennis DeConcini. He retired in 1994 but he was first elected all the way back in 1976, almost 45 years ago. Arizona may be trending blue but it’s just at the beginning of the trend.

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Policy vs Positioning Has Dems in a Stalemate

On Capitol Hill – among the Democrats alone since the Republicans have absented themselves from the process – we’re seeing one of those legislative stand-offs that seem insoluble and which, for the Democrats, raises the real risk of disaster. These crises tend to resolve themselves, eventually. Because both sides eventually see that they’re courting disaster and draw back from the brink.

But there’s something a bit different this time. And it’s worth teasing out what that is.

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Where Things Stand: McConnell’s Not Biting
Prime Membership Required

We covered a report over the weekend about ex-President Trump’s ambition to boot longtime Republican leader Mitch McConnell out of office. McConnell has refused to comment on the news, a stance first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, and he shrugged again today.

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Sinema Cueing Up To Go Indy (Must Read)

Absolutely fascinating look at Kyrsten Sinema’s efforts to position herself as an independent in Arizona, possibly formally but definitely in effect. It makes pretty clear she’s not done with politics or angling for a high dollar lobbying gig, as some speculate. She thinks she can be a latter-day McCain and build her political brand on that basis, likely looking for a promotion above the Senate. TPM Reader GT, a registered independent in Arizona, walks us through the view from in-state as well as the mailers he’s been getting on Sinema’s behalf from something called the “Center Forward” PAC run out of New Jersey and chaired by former Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer (D).

I remain pretty confident that Sinema has misjudged the politics. But as GT makes clear, there’s no question she has a plan and is following it in a very considered way.

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Walking the Crumbling Firmament

There was a time in the life of this site when its focus was at least as much foreign and national security policy as domestic and electoral politics. But that hasn’t been the case for well over a decade. Indeed, when it came time to build out a staff for TPM beyond just me in the 2005-07 era we never saw either topic as part of our core purview. The one exception to this was when Spencer Ackerman worked for TPM (virtually everyone worked for TPM at one point or another). But we hired Spencer in a sense in spite of his foreign policy/national security focus. He’s just so good and I had an opportunity to bring him on so I did. The fact that his core focus wasn’t really our core focus … well, we just decided we’d make it work and we largely did. (Definitely check out his just-released, years-in-the-making new book.)

In any case, foreign policy and national security policy isn’t our thing and it’s not going to become our thing. But just in the last few weeks I’ve had the sense – foreboding as much as anything – that it’s moving back to the center of our national life. Maybe it won’t be in terms of focus for the average American but it probably should be.

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Where Things Stand: Gun Couple Might Lose Their Law Licenses
Prime Membership Required

Their gun-waving earned them a coveted speaking gig at the Republican National Convention last year, victimhood status in Trumpworld and the inflated confidence needed to run for Senate in Missouri.

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Kyrsten Sinema’s Final Senate Term

Like many people I spent a lot of time trying to figure out Kyrsten Sinema’s motivations this year. I’ve discussed my conclusions in other posts. But what I’ve focused on more recently is that as near as I can see, unless she shifts her stance pretty dramatically the odds of Sinema being elected to a second Senate term in 2024 are pretty poor. And that’s made me consider another question: does she just misread the politics of her situation that badly or is she not planning on running?

I know I’ve thrown out a few pretty dramatic claims. So let me walk you through my reasoning. Because I think it’s pretty solid.

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Armageddoning with the Democratic Coalition

Presidents usually get their first year big legislative initiatives. Maybe not in total. Maybe not entirely as they’d wished. But certainly most of the time. But there’s no question the President Fiscal/Infrastructure/Climate agenda is facing some serious headwinds. The establishment DC outlets are practically giddy with each new threat from the Senate and House “moderates” to torch the whole agenda. Joe Manchin is back to his demand for a “strategic pause” to delay consideration into a reconciliation package – a gambit that is basically guaranteed to bring the whole program down in flames. Kyrsten Sinema meanwhile, allegedly, threatened in a conversation with the President that she’ll vote against reconciliation if her bipartisan mini-bill doesn’t get a successful vote this month. So she has to get her bird in hand and then she’ll decide if anyone else gets hers.

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| News

Yet another crucial piece of the Trumpian conspiracy to steal a second term in office has been made public. 

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| Muckraker

Two Republican operatives were charged this month with a scheme to funnel money from a Russian businessman into former President Trump’s 2016 campaign, a document unsealed on Monday reveals.

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| News

A Maryland man/Self-Own Hall of Famer who was arrested for allegedly breaking into the Capitol on Jan. 6 also allegedly was displayed on a Snapchat map that pinpointed his location at the scene — complete with a cartoon bitmoji version of himself.

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| News

As Democratic moderates stake out ultimatums, party leadership tries to keep the agenda in one piece and the White House attempts to polish the messy optics of legislative sausage-making, staffers continue to plug away at crafting the actual reconciliation package behind the scenes. 

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| News

Yet another crucial piece of the Trumpian conspiracy to steal a second term in office has been made public. 

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| Muckraker

On the dusty tarmac of an airport in Northern Afghanistan, six planes have been waiting for days.

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| News

The CEO of MyPillow was treated like a visiting dignitary in Alabama Friday, meeting with the state’s governor and secretary of state during the latest stop on his futile months-long effort to demonstrate hijinks in the 2020 election.

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| Prime

We wrote yesterday about the trend of 2020 election truthers — Big Liars, Trumplicans, pick your title — exposing sensitive information about the inner workings of election software, in the name of Truth and Transparency. 

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| Muckraker

The initial reports on the contents of the new book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa came trickling in this afternoon.  

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| News

In May, a federal judge dismissed a Trumpy lawsuit over the 2020 election results in Antrim County, Michigan, where a clerk’s error had briefly resulted in a miscount of the vote. “Expert” witnesses in the suit had seized on the discrepancy, which they claimed was the result of Dominion voting machine technology “purposefully designed” to tamper with vote totals.

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