Editors’ Blog

Where Things Stand: Trump Wants To Clear Out The National Archives If He Wins In 2024
This is your TPM evening briefing.

If Donald Trump ever grows tired of being faux-bashful about 2024 and actually announces he’s running, we know what at least one item on his agenda will be: purging the “woke and broken” National Archives.

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Strange

Herschel Walker announced his first event since the new raft of allegations and it was scheduled first for 9 a.m. and then shifted to 1 p.m. today. I thought it would be on the cable networks. I didn’t see it there. At least not on CNN. But it was livestreamed on Facebook. So I watched it. It was weird.

It was Walker talking on the back of a flatbed truck in what seemed like a lumber yard. There was no discussion of any of the controversies. It was basically twenty minutes about his life story: football, Jesus, chickens, finally MMA. And that was it. The closest he got to anything to do with the present controversies were some implicit references to his not giving up. It didn’t seem like there was much of any audience response.

OPEC May Have Just Ended the US-Saudi Alliance Prime Badge

Yesterday Rep. Ro Khanna (D) said we should send a message to the Saudis that they change their oil quota decision or face a cut in the military spare parts their U.S.-manufactured army requires to function. This is in the context of new hardball from the White House, which is apparently sending a comparable message. Just a moment ago I saw a tweet from Sen. Dick Durbin (D) saying that it’s time for the U.S. to ditch the U.S.-Saudi alliance. These are things we’ve heard for ages from backbenchers in the House or others distant from the centers of power. They’re close to unheard of for people at the center of power.

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Goose Cooked Prime Badge

Get the all the facts before you make up your story, says the bible. Well, not the bible but still a good rule of thumb. It’s one Herschel Walker’s campaign didn’t go with apparently. The Daily Beast has a follow up story to the abortion story which triggered the (I think even more damaging) attacks from his son. Walker categorically denied the story and claims he has no idea what woman might be leveling the accusations. Since Walker appears to have had quite a few out of wedlock children, one might snark that … well, maybe he doesn’t know who she is. After all, there are so many.

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Where Things Stand: Walker Talks An Awful Lot About ‘Redemption’ For Someone Who Doesn’t Need Saving
This is your TPM evening briefing.

Herschel Walker released a new campaign ad this afternoon, two days into his latest scandal’s news cycle. And for someone who’s denied the paid-abortion allegations in the “strongest possible terms,” the born-again Christian talk is really muddying that story.

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Wow

This is quite a statement in Walker’s defense from many vantage points.

Newt Gingrich: “I think he is the most important Senate candidate in the country because he’ll do more to change the Senate just by the sheer presence, by his confidence, by his deep commitment to Christ,” Gingrich said. “You know, he’s been through a long, tough period. He suffered a lot of concussions coming out of football.”

Crystal Ball Remains Cloudy Prime Badge

My friend Steve Clemons, now of Semafor, says that RNC officials believe the Dobbs backlash is fading and popular concern is refocusing on inflation and economic woes. That’s one strain of argument we’ve heard a lot recently and it’s what you’d expect people at the RNC to say. But it’s also potentially in line with recent polling which has showed some ebb of the Democratic momentum which started in the aftermath of Dobbs and accelerated with declining gas prices.

Meanwhile, today OPEC+ — led by Saudi Arabia — announced a substantial lowering of production which seems certain to spike gas prices. The White House had been pulling out all the stops trying to prevent that, unsuccessfully. File that away in your folder of whether Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States or of the GOP.

All this said, the actual picture on the ground seems muddled.

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Musings and Big Pictures Prime Badge

From TPM Reader JS

I think you’re spot on that climate is the underlying stressor. Since we live in such a complex society, it’s usually hard to see down to the fundamentals how easy it is to disturb. Covid showed that just a few failures can rapidly spread. We’re never that far away from a collapse.

But what impressed me about a book I recently read about the collapse of Sub-Roman Britain was a phrase the author repeated, and I’m not sure it’s his, anyway, it was “the four horseman ride together.” In other words, some natural disasters happens, say, a famine, and then disease results, then war, and so on. I’m struck that, apparently, one day, the government just stopped sending bullion to back coins, and a warlord took almost the entire army to Gaul to where they had a mint to get the soldiers their pay and just never went back. 

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Programming Note

Because of the Holiday, no podcast this week. We’ll be back next week.

Where Things Stand: Trump’s Bad Candidates Ask God For Help
This is your TPM evening briefing.

There’s nothing quite as humbling as begging for divine intervention.

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