Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TPM.

Off to a Good Start

Off to a good start, folks. We’ve signed up 70 new TPM Members so far today in the first day of our annual TPM Membership drive. We would love to get to 100 by the end of the day. If you’re not a member, please take a moment to join us. Click here to sign up! Want to know more about the drive? Click here.

Folks, Let’s Do This!!!
TPM's Annual Membership Drive Starts Today

Folks, let me cut to the chase. Today kicks off our annual TPM membership drive. It is, as always, critical. Our team works all year producing the coverage, commentary and, we hope, insight that makes TPM a valued and trusted news source and our publishing team works just as hard fine-tuning our membership model, trying to add to our subscription numbers. But we rely on a key bump in the numbers during the annual drive. That’s what kicks off today. So if you’re a reader but not a member, please consider joining us. Or maybe you’re a former member. Can we coax you back? Think of it as fake it til you make it. Sign up for a year or even a month. See how it goes. We think you’ll want to stay.

What kind of work will you be supporting? We pride ourselves on punching way above our weight. We always have. Our membership page says, “Small Team, Big Results.” We work hard to make that true every day. But just consider some of our big exclusives since our last drive: There was our big series on The Meadows Texts. More recently we brought you our exclusive series on The Chesebro Docs and our big exclusive on the SACR Document Trove, our exposé on the secret society of White Christian men prepping a Christian nationalist government to take over after the fall of the American “regime.” Of course, everyone was on the Santos story. But TPM was the first to report the most substantial of the *alleged* (ahem) crimes that got him indicted and finally led to his expulsion from Congress. Sometimes, of course, we just love us some good old fashioned sleaze, with some sports adjacency thrown in — like our look at just who paid for Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders epic six figure Super Bowl Extravaganza. (She sleazed it up bigly but good lord that was a good game!) Of course, as has always been the case at TPM, most of our best work doesn’t come in one-off big exclusives. It comes with a close, incremental, informed coverage of critical topics that often fall just below the national news radar. An ongoing example of that has been Kate Riga’s coverage of SCOTUS, the federal judiciary and particularly the tentacles the right-wing legal project has driven down into it in recent years, creating pipelines from the country’s most radical Trumpite judges right up to the high court. I even chip in myself with a few pieces.

That’s the work you’re supporting with your membership dollar. That’s the club we want you to become part of by subscribing. Some fun stats: Over 90% of our revenue comes directly from members. And the overwhelming majority of that revenue goes directly to the people who do the work. Salaries and benefits make up 74% of our expenses. It’s not going to some derivatives or debt service or into a corporate vortex that’s impossible to understand. This is a fully independent outfit. All the strategy emerges from inside the organization and that’s where all the final decisions are made too.

This is where you come in. If you’re not currently a member, please take a moment and join today. Just click right here. We want to sign up 1,000 new members during our drive. A huge number, but we think we can do it. If you’re already a member and are just really jazzed up about TPM after reading this you can always contribute to the TPM Journalism Fund. That’s really for another day and our other big annual drive. Today is about bringing more of you into the club. So what do you say? Join us!

How Not To Fall For Yet More Trumper Textualism About His Latest Threat of Violence Prime Badge
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If you’ve followed the uproar over ex-President Trump’s promise of a “bloodbath” if he’s not elected you’ll see it’s partly been diverted into a kind of textualist grudge match over whether he meant apocalyptic and blood-drenched civil violence or simply stiff competition for the U.S. auto industry. If you look at the actual words it seems clear he initially riffs on his claims about the auto industry but then doubles down on the promise of a bloodbath, suggesting that problems with the economy will be the least of the country’s problems. You can interpret it either way in large part because Trump always expresses himself in the kind of disjointed word salad which always require the words to be reconstructed after the fact, thus giving a fair amount of leeway to whoever wants to do the interpreting and reconstructing.

But that’s a feature, not a bug.

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Developments Under the Headlines in the Israel-Hamas War Prime Badge
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Here is a small bundle of updates on significant events unfolding in Israel and Gaza which are mostly out of the US headlines.

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New Candidate – Adult Friend Finder Dot Com – Enters Ohio GOP Senate Contest Prime Badge
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With so many weighty issues pressing upon us for attention I was surprised by a new story yesterday evening which sparked some joy.

Let’s go to Ohio where three Republicans are vying for the opportunity to unseat three-term Senator Sherrod Brown, a highly effective politician who nonetheless now faces reelection in an increasingly Republican state. State Sen Matt Dolan, son of the owner of the Cleveland Guardians, is the GOP normie candidate — we’ll be normal if you just give us your tax cuts. Another candidate, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, latched himself to the desperate Hindenberg of an effort to defeat Ohio’s abortion rights referendum. And then there’s Bernie Moreno, a businessman and full-on Trumper (though also, as is often the case, a one-time Trump critic). Basically LaRose and Moreno both pushed hard for the Trump vote and endorsement. But Moreno won that fight. He got J.D. Vance to endorse him almost a year ago. And then Vance seemed to play an important role in getting a lot of key MAGA luminaries, eventually including Trump himself, to get behind Moreno.

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Keep An Eye Out

I wanted to give you a heads up that we will soon be kicking off our annual membership drive. It actually wasn’t by design that I published that article a few days ago on the ad market. But it’s kind of fortuitous. You have a sense of why your memberships are so, so critically important. So please keep an eye out for that. If you’re not a member or you’re a former member, consider joining. If you are a member, spread the word to friends and whoever you might think needs a nudge or maybe doesn’t know about TPM. More on this soon. And if you have any questions, let me know at the regular email.

A Brief ‘Are You Kidding Me?’ Coda to the Ad Stuff

I want to do a brief follow up to the last few posts I’ve done on the changes in the digital ad market for news. First, I published the charts and a description of what it meant. Then I did a follow up. In those exchanges one of the people taking me to task was a guy who runs a tech site who was saying basically, this is sensationalism and hyperbole! We’re making bank on ads. It’s awesome!

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Schumer on Netanyahu in Context Prime Badge
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There was really quite a stunning development in the Senate this afternoon. Schumer went to the floor to call for new elections in Israel, calling Netanyahu “an obstacle to peace” and going on to say he is pursuing “dangerous and inflammatory policies that test existing standards for assistance.” If Netanyahu remains in power after the war, the U.S. should “play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course.”

These words require some context and deconstruction.

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Polls Eight Months Out

Elliot Morris, the new boss at 538, has up a helpful discussion on the question of just what polls in March mean about the outcome of the November election. As you’d expect, they’re not terribly predictive. In fact, when Morris goes back through 538’s database, which goes back to the 1940s, they’re not really predictive at all and are frequently wildly off. You can read the piece for the examples. Of course that doesn’t mean they’re “wrong” necessarily. It just means they’re not predictive.

The big qualifier is that the big swings from earlier polls to final results have gone down over time. And the big driver of that is partisan polarization. The biggest example of a huge swing from March to November was Jimmy Carter being up by 14 points and then losing to Ronald Reagan by 10 points. Neither of those margins are remotely plausible today in a presidential general election. It just shows how many fewer voters are really up for grabs these days. The other factor which likely constrains movement in the polls, unique to this race, is the fact that the race is between, in effect, two incumbents. We literally know in advance what each man would be like as President.

Biden’s Options

There’s a good article in Haaretz today about the limits of U.S. sway over Israel with any kind of cut-off in U.S. weapons supplies. The piece is paywalled, so you can’t read it if you don’t have a subscription. But the gist covers a lot of ground we’ve discussed. Israel can make a number of the weapons itself, just not as quickly or cheaply. Most big-ticket items either aren’t being used in Gaza or don’t need to be replaced — aircraft, for instance. What Israel really needs are various munitions. But in the absence of those it might be forced to use bigger and more lethal bombs in Gaza. There’s even the risk that it might boomerang and strengthen Netanyahu at home.

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