The Far-Right Wolves Are Still Circling While The Biden Saga Drags On

INSIDE: Viktor Orbán ... Josh Hawley ... Joe Biden
DORAL, FLORIDA - JULY 09: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Trump National Doral Golf Club on July 09, 2024 in Doral, Florida. Trump continues to campaign across the country. (Photo... DORAL, FLORIDA - JULY 09: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Trump National Doral Golf Club on July 09, 2024 in Doral, Florida. Trump continues to campaign across the country. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

The March Toward Extremism Continues

As I explain below, today is shaping up to be another long day for President Biden and the White House as they attempt to ride out the chorus of calls from within his own party for him to end his re-election bid. We may have a better read by this evening on whether the dynamics of the past two weeks have substantively changed.

In the meantime, Donald Trump and the Republican Party have mostly taken a half-step back and out of the glare of the spotlight to allow the Biden turmoil to bubble and stew. No reason to interrupt the dynamic that is throttling your opponent’s campaign. But the entire far-right apparatus is continuing to position itself for what looks like an increasingly likely win in the fall, and maybe a big one.

The momentum that the far-right forces would have coming off a landslide win that would give them the White House, Senate, and House would be staggering. I’m not predicting outcomes here. But the wolves are circling closer, and the present picture of our politics is sobering.

A few examples from this week that you might have missed:

  • Wannabe American strongman Donald Trump is expected to meet at Mar-a-Lago today with Hungarian strongman Viktor Orbán, who is coming from the NATO summit in Washington. Orbán, the newly minted president of the European Union (a rotating position) is fresh off a meeting last week with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Doesn’t take much to read between the lines there.
  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) openly trumpeted and embraced Christian nationalism during an appearance at the National Conservatism Conference:
  • The chairman of the Alabama Republican Party declared in a radio interview that democracy somehow leads to socialism, and cast it as a giant conspiracy: “The mainstream media wants us to think of ourselves as a democracy because that leads to socialism.”
  • TPM’s Khaya Himmelman: Big Lie-Pilled Officials Are Now In Charge Of Election Admin In Counties Across The U.S.

Biden Death Watch, Day Infinity

I’m snarking a bit with that subhed, but the day ahead is a looking like a rough one for Biden, with the bulk of the news coverage built around two key events, neither of which seems likely even in the best-case scenario to be able to rescue him but both of which could further doom him.

  • Noon ET: The Biden trio of Steve Ricchetti, Mike Donilon and Jen O’Malley Dillon are scheduled to meet with Democratic senators at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to reassure them that Biden has a viable path to victory against Trump. So far, only one Democratic senator has defected. This meeting seems intended as a bulwark against further defections.
  • 5:30 p.m. ET: Biden gives a solo White House press conference that runs the risk of devolving into a proof-of-life hostage video. Every stutter, stumble, malapropism, misstep, and gaffe will be dramatically inflated in the current atmosphere. The other real risk is that even if he doesn’t flub his lines or repeat any of the worst of his debate performance, the press conference could end up focused on whether he will stay or go, whether he can win, why Democrats should keep him, why so many have already defected, etc. It would be a difficult performance to pull off under the best of circumstances. These are not the best of circumstances.

Going into the day with these set-piece events is the kind of thing White Houses often engineer for their own advantage. But today feels more like a made-for-TV set-up forced on the Biden White House amid all the demands for Biden to come out swinging, look capable, and overcome the doubts about his vigor and resilience by demonstrating a lot of vigor and resilience.

Other Biden Developments …

  • Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) became the first Senate Democrat to call for President Biden to withdraw from the presidential race, penning a WaPo op-ed to that effect.
  • Longtime Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who himself is not running for re-election, became the ninth House Democrat to call for President Biden to end his candidacy. Here’s a tally of which Democrats in Congress have weighed in so far.
  • Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) didn’t do President Biden any favors, with a muddled message in a TV appearance that said he needs to decide soon. Of course, Biden has made it abundantly clear that he has decided … to stay in the race.
  • The WaPo takes a look at the mechanics of Biden withdrawing his candidacy before the Democratic convention versus after. It’s a big difference.

Deep Dive

Tim Alberta embedded himself with the Trump campaign brain trust and has a close look at their strategy, reaction to the Biden debate meltdown, and the electoral map.

How Trump Played The Media On Abortion

Judd Legum and Rebecca Crosby on the flawed coverage of the new Republican Party platform.

Supreme Court Watch

We’re still picking through the debris of the just-finished term, and mapping the way ahead to some future high court reforms:

  • TPM’s Kate Riga: Often In Dissent, Sometimes Alone, Ketanji Brown Jackson Lays Out Progressive Vision For The Court
  • Kevin Kruse offers a historical corrective on what really happened with FDR’s court-packing effort and what it suggests and doesn’t suggest about court reforms today.

Rudy G’s Bankruptcy Looks Poised To Be Dismissed

A ruling is expected Friday that would dismiss Rudy Giuliani’s Chapter 11 filing and strip him of the bankruptcy protections that have kept Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss (and other creditors) from collecting on the debts he owes them.

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Notable Replies

  1. Another day…I don’t know if I can take much more of this. We need a decision.

  2. Avatar for knut knut says:

    I am starting to actually worry a bit here. This should have been trivially resolved. Biden can get on any talk show at any time and could have picked one on Sunday and just gone with the “Man that was bad. My apologies, I need to take a break from my day job and prepare better next time. Now let’s talk about all the great things the IRA is doing for America” or something similar.

    The fact that we’re still talking about this two weeks later leads me to conclude that either a) there really are serious cognitive issues, or b) he has the worst imaginable campaign staff. Neither of which are very comforting.

    Not sure how much of a diff it will make as I think Biden is old and Trump is a lunatic are pretty baked in with the respective bases.

  3. Well, at least the rudy news seems to be a positive.

  4. Tough shit. That’s the job. If he can’t handle the job, he needs to bow out.


    Republicans get into ‘tussle’ over release of Biden impeachment report

    House Republicans won’t let Rep. James Comer (R-KY) release a 400-page impeach inquiry report on President Joe Biden that has left him political limbo, a new report claims.

    The House Oversight Committee chair is reportedly “eager” to show the nation this week a report that fellow Republicans admit is unlikely to result in any impeachment effort, Punchbowl News reported Thursday.

    But he faced serious pushback from conservatives who don’t want waste ammunition on a target already under fire.

    “Let the Democrats keep shooting each other,” added Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) told Punchbowl News. “That’s my advice."

    The inaction leaves Comer stuck the results of an investigation that never uncovered a smoking gun, the outlet reports.

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