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Josh’s Local News Mailbag

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Two updates from the Josh regional news mail bag.

First, remember the Central Bucks (County) School Board? This is the school board north of Philadelphia that got caught up in the Moms for Liberty tide in 2021 and then flipped back in 2023 when the locals — good upstanding folks, which I know from personal experience — got sick of the crap and turned out the Moms for Liberty crowd and gave Democrats a 6-to-3 majority on the board. This is the place where there was a very suspicious sweetheart deal cut with the departing superintendent — about which there’s now ongoing litigation. It’s also the stomping ground of our good friend “Cool Mom” Clarice Schillinger.

Well, now it turns out that two of the remaining three right-wingers — Lisa Sciscio and Debra Cannon — are done. Like they’ve resigned. First, they verbally resigned on February 13th. And apparently you can’t do that. So now they’ve resigned in writing, which you can. A special meeting of the board will be held this Friday to officially accept those resignations.

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No. Ezra Klein is Completely Wrong. Here’s Why.

A number of you have written in to ask about Ezra Klein’s audio essay “Democrats Have a Better Option Than Biden: It’s requires them to embrace an old-fashioned approach to winning a campaign.” Is it a good argument? Does it change the equation? What do I make of it? Just for the purposes of cutting to the chase: my answers are “not really,” “no” and “not much.” But Klein is a smart, articulate guy and sitting at the top of the Times op-ed page he has vast influence. So I wanted to break the argument down into its moving parts.

Klein begins his essay by assuring us that he likes Joe Biden and actually thinks he’s done a good job as President. This is to soften the reader up and dispel any notion that he’s got some anti-Biden axe to grind. I don’t think Klein is disingenuous or cynical about this. I think he believes it. He not only doesn’t think age has hindered Biden in doing the job as President so far; he doesn’t think it would in a second term either. The issue for him, Klein says, isn’t about being President but running for President: Biden has slowed down considerably, even from his last run in 2019–2020, and Biden simply is not up to running a vigorous campaign in which the candidate is an asset, not a liability.

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Glutton for Punishment: Let’s Look at Some Poll Numbers

Let me share some numbers with you. And let me preface this by saying that I am also very concerned about how perceptions of Joe Biden’s age and mental acuity are going to affect the outcome of this election. Emerson just released a new presidential poll which has Donald Trump up by 1 point over Joe Biden. It’s 45% to 44%. That’s in line with polls over the last month or so which show a very slight move back in Biden’s direction. (All margin of error but across numerous polls means a touch more.) It’s also a “registered voters” screen. And there’s decent evidence that those polls are understating Biden’s strength. They also polled Harris, Whitmer and Newsom. They were down, respectively, 3 points, 12 points and 10 points. Trump’s support was basically identical in every case. 45% with Biden and Whitmer, 46% with Harris and Newsom.

Importantly, this poll is generally in line with other polls going back many months. Most others I’ve seen don’t show Whitmer and Newsom quite that far back. But they’re consistent in showing the other top tier contenders to be no stronger than Biden and usually weaker.

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War Time School Board—There’s More!

 Member Newsletter
War Time School Board—There’s More!

I’m tempted to say, TPM gets results! But it’s not quite that simple, at least in terms of mainstream chronology.

But it’s still super good. So hold tight.

Yesterday I brought you the news of the war time school board of Douglas County, Nevada, which culminates in the hiring of a new superintendent who has the kind of rap sheet that might normally get you expelled from a public high school as a student. All true!

But I’d missed the latest development.

As I explained, last week, the Douglas County School District school board formally offered the job of superintendent to John Ramirez, Jr., by a 4-to-3 vote, notwithstanding the fact that, according to this article at local news site Carson Now and other reports, he has a long list of bad acts, misuse of school credits cards, alleged frauds and multiple formal complaints of sexual harassment. Even more dirty laundry came out in subsequent days. Then on Tuesday of this week a new board meeting was held.

It was a pretty raucous affair.

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Can You Help Us Out?

Do you have five minutes to answer a few questions? We aren’t offering any gift card drawings, but on your deathbed you will receive total consciousness – which is nice – and you will help us learn more about how we can improve and adapt TPM to this increasingly volatile news environment. All answers are confidential and used only for internal research. Thank you!

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A Small Nevada County Finally Got a Wartime School Board

 Member Newsletter
A Small Nevada County Finally Got a Wartime School Board

When I got interested in taking a second look at some of the many school boards that were taken over by far-right “anti-woke” activists in 2022, it was hard to know where to start. You know about threesomer and Moms for Liberty Cofounder Bridget Ziegler and “Cool Mom” Clarice Schillinger, who will soon stand trial for the underage keggers she allegedly held in her home before decking various high school students who left too early. But there are so many other cases across the country. Most examples aren’t so lurid, eye-popping or hilarious. But they give those high flyers a run for their money. There is a common theme. It’s not all right-wing politics and bans on transgender students in sports. There is also a common pattern of taking over school boards and then pulling up stakes from the mundane but critical task of overseeing local public schools and instead refashioning the office into what amounts to a jurisdictional castle from which traditionalist culture warriors sally forth into the local community on various right-wing power trips, usually spending tons of money and violating numerous laws in the process.

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Listen To This: The 213th Democrat

A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Kate and Josh discuss Tom Suozzi’s win in the special election to replace George Santos, the Hur report heard ’round the world and Mike Johnson’s foreign aid pickle.

You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.

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TPM on The Case

You see there to the right (if you’re reading TPM on a desktop computer) our live blogging of the fairly surreal hearing today in the Fulton County prosecution of Donald Trump. This is the one dealing with claims of wrongdoing tied to prosecutor Fani Willis’s relationship with fellow prosecutor Nathan Wade. See that here. But I wanted to make sure you saw the third and final installment of our series on the Ken Chesebro document trove. The third installment goes into new detail on the lawyer/conspirators’ efforts to game out which members of the Supreme Court were most likely to go along with their plot to steal the presidential election. As you might expect, Thomas and Alito come in for special consideration.

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NY3 Post-Game: It’s All Over But Deciding Why The Dem Win Doesn’t Matter

 Member Newsletter
NY3 Post-Game: It’s All Over But Deciding Why The Dem Win Doesn’t Matter

With the clear light of morning I wanted to do another after-action report on the results out of the special election in New York’s 3rd congressional district. According to the close-to-final results, former Rep. Tom Suozzi beat Mazi Pilip by eight percentage points, 54% to 46%. That is a decisive if not a huge margin.

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Trucker protests not panning out in comedic ways has become a common occurrence in the last three years since Trump lost the election.

the chesebro docs

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Two Weeks of Chaos

Docs Obtained by TPM Show Trump Lawyers’ Plan To Make Jan. 6 Last For Days On End
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The Legal Coup

New Documents Reveal How Trump Lawyers Sought ‘Chaos’ to Force SCOTUS, or Whoever Else, to Anoint Trump

LIVE COVERAGE

The Ideas Man

How Chesebro’s Most Radical Theories Entered Trump Campaign Planning for Pence and Jan. 6

podcasts

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Ep. 312: The Fraud Father

Kate and Josh discuss the verdict in Donald Trump’s civil fraud case, the ongoing Fani Willis drama and the latest, Ezra-Klein-sparked round of fretting over Joe Biden’s age.

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