Editor’s Blog

Critical Point

As Amy Walter points out here, there are a number of new members in very competitive districts who pledged – in varying degrees – not to support Pelosi. There are good reasons to believe that provided a margin of victory, though obviously there’s no real way to know. Very, very few of them have signed this letter. The vast majority of the signers are from very safe districts. So the upshot here is that this likely forces freshmen Dems who will have very hard reelection races in two years to start their term with a tough vote which could get them tossed in two years.

Proud Boys

The FBI officially considers the right-wing paramiliary Proud Boys an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism” and has since at least August.

More From the Anti-Pelosi Micro-Caucus

The anti-Pelosi faction has released its list of 16 incumbents or apparent midterm winners who say they will not vote for Pelosi in the floor vote for Speaker. That is at least a few fewer than expected. Marcia Fudge, who has half-suggested she’d challenge Pelosi, apparently pulled her name from the list. So on a few fronts it seems like the effort is flagging.

But it remains important to understand what’s happening here. Read More

Finnish Biologist Corrects Trump On Rakes

I’ve said so many times that our readers are truly a gift and year after year (18 and counting!) have remained a key part of our editorial process here at TPM. Here is really a special case. You may have noticed that President Trump made this bizarre and almost certainly false comment that the President of Finland told him the Finns avoid forest fires by aggressive raking.

It so happens TPM Reader JI (pictured here at a mushroom exhibition) is an avid TPM Reader from Finland who is also a Phd plant biologist. He did us the service of giving a detailed explanation of how forest fires work in Finland and how raking is just not part of the equation.

My short non-biologist summary would be this: it’s fairly wet and cold in Finland so it’s pretty different. They don’t use rakes to avoid forest fires. Their big problem is bog fires. Many of the best parts of JI’s letter are cris de coeur, insisting on the non-role of rakes in any part of Finnish forage management.

On behalf of all TPM Readers, thank you to TPM Reader JI and we’re sorry about the Trump thing. Email below … Read More

Facebook at War

As you know, I’m something of a Facebook skeptic. A Journal article from last night gives me more reason to think the company’s future is considerably darker than most people realize. According to Deepa Seetharaman, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is now telling top executives that the company is now “at war” and he needs to run the company accordingly. From the article … Read More

Slash and Burn

I wanted to point your attention to an interview Rep. Marcia Fudge (D) did yesterday with Huffpo. Fudge is seen by many – I think accurately – as basically a stalking horse for a handful of anti-Pelosi members on the right of the Democratic caucus. Reps. Moulton, Ryan, Lynch, et al. Her interview gives a taste of the kind of slashing contest Pelosi’s most vocal opponents have in mind. Read More

Coming Home To Roost

Avowed neo-Nazi who praised Pittsburgh synagogue shooter cited the “migrant caravan” as justification in interview with FBI, according to new filing by prosecutors.

More on the DC Neo-Nazi Tied to Pittsburgh Shooter

Lot more detail on Jeffrey Clark Jr, the DC neo-nazi tied to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter.

Seems Plausible

Former federal public corruption prosecutor speculates on why Trump’s going particularly nuts this week …

It is hard to say what’s causing Trump’s current Mueller meltdown. But if reports are true that he and his lawyers are working on answering written questions from the Special Counsel, that probably has him especially on edge. One question in particular poses a huge dilemma for Trump: Did you know in advance about Don Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with the Russians? Obviously, he did. He likely authorized the meeting and got a read out right after it. Why else would he have dictated the bogus “adoption” cover story? Why else, in the days prior to the meeting, would he have promised explosive information about Hillary to come out shortly after it? And Mueller no doubt has additional evidence of Trump’s foreknowledge (from Gates, Manafort, Cohen, phone records, etc.).

Read More

More on Pelosi

Last night I wrote up my take on whether Nancy Pelosi should be the next Speaker of the House under the incoming Democratic majority. Short answer: Yes. For the longer answer, click here. But the day so far as even more convinced me of a point that was partly implicit in what I wrote last night: that any question about Pelosi is quickly resolved when you look at the folks leading the charge to replace her. Read More

Do the Dems Need Nancy Pelosi?
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08:  U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R) (R-WI) speaks with House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) following an event marking the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act at the U.S. Capitol December 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. The bill, passed with strong bipartisan support, provides funding for cancer research, the fight against the epidemic of opioid abuse, mental health treatment, aids the Food and Drug Administration in expediting drug approvals and pushes for better use of technology in medicine.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

I wanted to share a few thoughts about the House Democrats’ leadership election. First, I’m ambivalent about Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker again. Turnovers in leadership are good. The dozens of new House Democrats converging on Capitol Hill this week visibly shows the power of generational succession. The Democrats’ current House leadership has been in place for more than 15 years, an extraordinary length of time by historical standards. Read More

Neo-Nazi Brothers Tied to Pittsburgh Massacre

Occasionally you’ll find a news story which lays out a series of stunning facts but doesn’t quite add them up. The Washington Post published just such a story this afternoon about two brothers named Jeffrey Clark, Jr. and Edward Clark, both of whom were active in “alt-right” circles and followers of Richard Spencer. Jeffrey was arraigned today on weapons charges in DC. Edward is dead. Their story points to the possibility that Roberts Bowers synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh may not have ended with him. Read More

TPM Turns 18

I want to thank everyone for the great, touching, funny recollections about TPM’s first 18 years. TPM started 18 years ago with this post about the Florida recount. I was just on an editorial call and one of my colleagues pointed out that the post begins as though it is part of a continuing conversation, one in an on-going series of installments. “As if things couldn’t get any weirder, did you notice the name of the lawyer who made the Republicans’ unsuccessful arguments before that federal judge today?” Here we are in another Florida recount, almost as vexed. The lawyer was Ted Olson, who now just signed on to sue the White House on behalf of CNN and Jim Acosta. Things repeat but transform utterly. And to the question? No, that wasn’t the case at all. This was the beginning and there was no storyline or running conversation that preceded it. Read More

WSJ Says Deputy NSC Director to Be Canned Over Spat with FLOTUS

A red wave of crazy news out of the White House today which may have John Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen and others booted off the island. But just as interesting is this news in the just updated version of the story from The Wall Street Journal. Trump has decided to can, according to the Journal, John Bolton’s NSC deputy Mira Ricardel because of conflicts with the First Lady …

From the JournalRead More

Today’s Agenda: Challenges To Whitaker Prime Badge
McSally Concedes Senate Battle

A few points are worth noting. Read More

Arizona

Kyrsten Sinema now has a more than 35,000 vote lead over Martha McSally in the Arizona senate race. It seems hard to see how she doesn’t win the election. But don’t miss a key down-ballot race. Katie Hobbs (D) has now opened up a 3,645 lead over Steve Gaynor (R) in the Secretary of State’s race. Hobbs looks to be in the stronger position but unlike the Senate race, but this one isn’t done. Given what is likely to be Arizona’s key role in 2020, having a Secretary of State who supports voting rights is a big deal.

TPM at 18

Tomorrow we celebrate 18 years of continuous publication here at TPM. Drop us a line. What’s your favorite TPM memory? Who’s your favorite TPM alum? Perhaps most important, what would you like to see from TPM in the coming year? Send in your emails with subject line “TPM 18”.

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Trump’s Post Election Dip Is No Surprise
on August 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Gallup is out with its weekly Trump approval number today and he’s down at 38% approval, 56% disapproval. That’s one of his lowest numbers all year. Polls go up and down of course. But there’s a point I want to make that goes beyond what appears to be Trump’s permanent ping-ponging between 36% and 42% public approval. Put simply, I doubt it will be an accident or momentary that President Trump’s support goes down post-election. Partisanship is a heavy constraining force on public support in this era. Read More

TPM 18

In two days, TPM will celebrate 18 years of continuous publication.

A Good Book for This Centenary

I thought I would observe the centenary of the end of World War I and Veterans’ Day with a book recommendation: The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End. This is a powerful, deeply important book. Today we are observing the century since the armistice that ended the First World War. But this anniversary obscures a reality this book explores with great depth and hideous illumination. In the West, mainly for England, France, and Belgium, the war took a catastrophic toll. But it was conducted largely within accepted distinctions between combatants and civilians. Just as importantly it ended with a rapid and full transition from war to peace, hostilities to demobilization. The history is dramatically different the further we look to the east. Read More

Russian Fake News Operative Detained by FBI?

Alexander Malkevich runs an outfit called USA Really, a kind of Russia Today/RT on steroids, basically a Russian-financed news operation the aim of which is to portray the USA as in a state of tumult and chaos. Admittedly this is probably an easier case to make than it might have been in the past. Needless to say, Malkevich, a Russian national is an epic Trump. Here’s how McClatchy described it in June … Read More

McSally’s Ace in the Hole

Here’s one notable side note to the Arizona Senate contest, which now seems very likely to end with Kyrsten Sinema as Sen-Elect.

Martha McSally has very conspicuously not gone the route of Rick Scott in Florida. She’s not claiming the election is being stolen or making allegations of voter fraud. She’s basically letting the counting go on.  That has reportedly angered national Republicans who want her to do just that. Good for her. But it’s important to note that McSally’s interests are really not aligned with those of the national party. Read More

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