Editors’ Blog

The Curious Lure of Writerly Anti-Politics Prime Badge
 Member Newsletter

We’re now a day out from President Biden’s semi-expected but still shocking decision to depart the presidential race and the rapid ascension of Vice President Kamala Harris as presumptive nominee. We don’t know what the first polls will tell us. We should be prepared for them, at least at first, not to be dramatically different from Biden’s in the weeks leading up to the big and now genuinely historic debate. That’s not pessimism about Harris’ campaign. It’s a recognition that the best argument for the switch is not that she would instantly transform the campaign but be better able to make the case against Donald Trump over the next three months. But now the great majority of Democrats are treating her ascension with something approaching euphoria.

That’s both a measure of her as a candidate and an end to the protracted agony of the last three weeks. But already we’re hearing that this rush of support for Harris is yet another bad thing. Democrats have only just changed the last terrible thing pundits said they were doing only to be told that their solution is also a disaster in the making or at least a mistake. I don’t want to pick on anyone but this piece by Graeme Wood seems to capture this whole new storyline. In a way the argument is just a continuation of the Thunderdome craze of the last six months: a contested convention, blitz primaries, and the like. The new terrible mistake is rallying around Kamala Harris too quickly. Because this just compounds what Wood and seemingly many other pundits and columnists feel is the belief that “Democratic politics felt like a game rigged by insiders to favor a candidate of their choice, and to isolate that candidate from the risk associated with campaigning.”

Read More 
That Was Quite a Weekend

I’ve mentioned a few times that the theme for this year’s TPM Journalism Fund drive is ‘preparing TPM for what comes next’. At the moment not only do we not have a clear idea of what comes next in 2025, we don’t even have a clear idea of what comes next tomorrow. We live in uncertain times. And that’s why we think TPM is as important as its ever been. So if you haven’t found a moment yet to contribute to this year’s drive please take a moment right now. Just click right here. It’s a great way to start the week. To get 50% of the way toward our goal of $500,000 by the end of the first week of the drive we need to get to $200,000 by the end of today. That’s just less than $10,000 more than we’ve raised so far ($190,340). If you’re ready to take the plunge just click right here.

Our whole team thanks you.

The End of Thunderdoming?

Less than a half hour after President Biden announced on Twitter he was ending his White House bid he returned to Twitter to announce that he was endorsing Kamala Harris to be the nominee. She and everyone else in Democratic politics is going out of their way to stress that with Biden out of the race there will be an “orderly” and “transparent” process of choosing a new nominee. Harris, in her announcement, said she looks forward to “earning and winning” the nomination.

Read More 
A Small Matter of the Politics

This isn’t what I want to be discussing right now. But it’s so urgent that it’s necessary. Donald Trump and Chris LaCivita are about to hit Kamala Harris with an avalanche of racist and sexist attacks and a ton of slut-shaming. Democrats across the board need to be saying now what we all know, which is that this will bring out the very worst of Trump. Racism and sexism are his brand. Charlottesville is his brand. You can’t just be on the receiving end of this stuff. Trump is about to show the kind of gutter white nationalist and racist pol he is. Force the press and all observers to see this totally predictable move through that prism.

Read More 
BREAKING: Biden Ends Reelection Bid

I will just add a personal note here: This breaks my heart, even as I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the right and really only path now possible for the country, for the Democratic Party and for Biden’s legacy. Joe Biden has been an extraordinary President under the most difficult of circumstances, managing to pass multiple pieces of historic legislation with what amounts to a tie Congress. There are comparable accomplishments abroad which I don’t have time in this brief note to enumerate. I also believe Biden’s a deeply good man. And I don’t think the two verdicts are unrelated. Terrible that his political career ends with this dismal, horrible three and a half weeks. But there’s time to see the larger arc of the story which remains a powerful one and a consistent one, and one that will need to be crafted and captured to find a campaign victory in November.

Back To This

Yesterday CNN’s Sanjay Gupta published the most detailed set of questions about how little we know about the injury Trump suffered a week ago. It’s a very good piece and raises a lot of good questions quite apart from the ones I’ve been raising. But it was also notable for noting explicitly, if in passing, what I’ve been calling attention to for the last few days: that we still don’t know what actually caused Trump’s injury.

Here’s the quote from Gupta that caught my eye: “It’s not even clear that he was struck by a primary projectile from the rifle, a secondary projectile or a combination of both. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know without an in-depth evaluation.”

Just to explain the meaning, the bullet is the primary projectile. A secondary projectile is another flying object put in motion by the bullet — so a metal fragment, a shard of glass, etc.

Pelosi Going Full Thunderdome?

Politico and other outlets this morning are reporting the Nancy Pelosi has ‘voiced support’ for the ‘open convention’ approach to replacing Joe Biden if he steps aside. I find this more than a little surprising. To put it mildly.

Two thoughts occur to me.

The first is that in a chaotic and fevered moment like this you simply can’t believe everything you read. I don’t mean the stories are fake. I mean there’s a huge appetite for information and often not enough to fill it. So you get shards of information either fourth hand or badly out of context. This applies especially to a lot of the ‘King Lear’ reporting you’re currently seeing about Biden and the various things he’s ‘thinking’. Much of this reporting is really people on the 2nd or 3rd ring of Biden’s circle of advisors trying to figure out what’s happening or relaying what they’ve heard or surmised. Then this gets turned into a story with an official imprimatur and it’s rapidly woven into an official narrative of what’s happening. Suddenly there are lovers and haters of what ‘happened’ when it’s really not clear the thing happened in the first place.

In this case, though, the reporting seems more specific. Politico says this came up at a July 10th meeting of the California Democratic House delegation. In a discussion of next steps if Biden steps aside, Pelosi was apparently against anything that looked like party bosses making the decision rather than its voters.

Read More 
Mass Shooter/School Shooter Theory Gets Some New Proponents

I wanted to flag to your attention another data point that suggests that reader of ours was on to something when he posited that Tom Crooks, 20 year old who tried to shoot Donald Trump, was more in the line of school shooters and mass shooters than political assassins as we’ve conventionally understood them. CNN now reports that Crooks had been googling information about Ethan Crumbley, a 2021 school shooter, who’s parents were later prosecuted over his murders. Indeed, the FBI seems to be quite literally moving toward this theory of Tom Crooks’ murders.

Read More 
Let’s Keep It Going

We’re now in our third day of this year’s TPM Journalism Fund drive. We hit our goal for yesterday which was to reach $150k. (I was a bit surprised and very relieved.) We have a much more modest one for today which to hit $175k by the end of today. We’re currently at $161k. These goals aren’t arbitrary. We’ve learned over the years where we have to get each day to hit our goal. Anyway, this annual drive is always really important to TPM’s vitality and future. So please consider making a contribution if you haven’t already. Just click right here. If you’re flush like so many others in the Biden economy make it big. But if not even a buck or two pushes us in the right direction. Please accept our appreciation in advance and thank you for being readers, members and contributors.

One Other Detail

Here’s a small update on the lack of any word from federal law enforcement or hospital officials on the what and how of the injury Donald Trump suffered last Saturday in western Pennsylvania when a 20-year-old gunman tried to shoot him. As I’ve noted, Pennsylvania State Police initially told reporters on the scene that Trump had been struck by shards of glass. Then Trump himself said he’d been hit with a bullet and that was the end of the matter. There’s small detail from a local news report from last Sunday that suggests it as at least plausible that the initial report was correct, that Trump was struck by some flying debris.

A report from local TV station WPXI at 4:50 PM Sunday said this (emphasis added) …

Read More 
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: