Fresh Podcast For You!

We just shared our quick reactions to the debate on a special episode of The Josh Marshall podcast. Check it out here, or click through for an embedded player.

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A Bad Night for the President

I worried what this momentous night would bring. In the event I think it was somewhere between bad and disastrous for President Trump.

The most important fact about this debate is that going into it President Trump was clearly behind. He needed to shift the dynamic of the race, force some major error, introduce some new factor. That didn’t happen. I saw nothing tonight that seems at all likely to improve things for President Trump. Nothing.

Biden did fine. Not great. But fine. I’d say he had a B performance with some B+ or even A- minus moments. But for him that’s fine. He’s ahead. He’s not running as best debater. He’s not running as most dynamic figure. He’s not competing for most unstable affect. He’s running as the guy who will end the nightmare. If that’s the goal he turned in just the right performance.

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Reactions in a Moment

We’re recording a quick podcast of reactions. I’ll share my thoughts on the debate momentarily.

Debate Live Blogging

9:47 PM: One critical thing to remember here is that President Trump is behind. He needs to shift the dynamic. Even at its best for Trump this is not changing any dynamic.

9:32 PM: That part from a few moments with Biden saying can you believe him after all his lies, how he hasn’t leveled with you about how he blew it at the beginning. That was the clearest part of the whole debate.

9:25 PM: I’m seeing a lot of people complaining about Chris Wallace, saying Trump is dominating the debate. That’s not what I’m seeing. Trump is taking up more time. But I don’t think he’s helping himself.

9:05 PM: And here we go … Trump hard mad mugging from the start.

9:03 PM: He’s been decent in debates. But can’t forget that this first off debate is hosted by the top host from Fox News.

The Poverty of Debating. Especially This One.

Our whole team will be bringing you full coverage of tonight’s debate. And I will too. I confess though I find it a funny thing to cover. Biden is a policy-knowledgable, well-meaning guy who’s been in elected office most of his adult life. Trump is a compulsive liar with little interest in or knowledge about any policy question currently working to delegitimize the election itself.

Both will play to form because neither are capable of doing otherwise.

This means that what we are watching, what we are all collectively evaluating are the possibilities of unpredictable events and the general optics and how those impact the very small number of voters who are not strongly committed to either candidate. It’s almost impossible that any of these ‘events’ will have any substantive bearing on how either man would serve as President.

And yet, as we know they can have a big impact.

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Where Things Stand: No Surprises Here
Prime Membership Required

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was practically jumping at the opportunity to back Rep. Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) attempt to force an investigation into one of the most basic pillars of journalistic protections.

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5-Alarm Fire!

The big hearing in the Flynn case just took a dramatic turn when the judge demanded to know whether Flynn’s lawyer had discussed the case with President Trump.

An FDR Moment
Prime Membership Required

Last week we were joined on the podcast by a rising star of the New York Democratic party, incoming Congressman Ritchie Torres. Torres is 32 years old, currently serving on the City Council and recently won a very hard fought primary race for the Democratic nomination in the 15th district, which is in the Bronx. This is one of or perhaps the most Democratic district in the country. So he will certainly be a member of the House next year. We talked about the “FDR moment” incoming Democrats may confront in 2021.

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The Growing Power Imbalance

Last spring, TPM published a series of essays on structural reforms to American democracy that Democrats could consider should they win the Senate and the White House in November. Now, with weeks to go until Election Day, the fight over the future of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat has thrust conversations about such reforms back to the fore. With the Senate and Supreme Court tilted to the right, and Republicans willing to toss aside norms and precedent to further strengthen their position, there’s too much at stake, the argument goes, for Democrats to declare any particular lever of power off limits.

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Where Things Stand: Trump’s Meager Tax Bill
Prime Membership Required

The New York Times’ bombshell reporting on Sunday of President Trump’s tax avoidance was especially potent because its top-line takeaway was so easy to digest: Trump paid a mere $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. Did you pay more — maybe even a lot more — than that? I know I did, and many Americans are in the same situation.

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First Debate Recap: Trump’s Sh*t Show
First Debate Recap: Trump’s Sh*t Show
Josh, Kate and David are joined by investigative reporter Tierney Sneed for a special post-debate recap episode....
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