The Unholy Alliance Of Donald Trump And Elon Musk

INSIDE: Nikki Haley ... Adam Schiff ... Kyrsten Sinema
Trump advisor Steve Bannon (L) watches as US President Donald Trump greets Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, before a policy and strategy forum with executives in the State Dining Room of the White House February 3, 2... Trump advisor Steve Bannon (L) watches as US President Donald Trump greets Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, before a policy and strategy forum with executives in the State Dining Room of the White House February 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Is It The 2020s Or The 1920s?

Internet sleuths over the weekend picked up on Elon Musk’s private jet traveling to West Palm Beach, setting off speculation that the world’s richest man and Donald Trump might be meeting – at a time when Trump is in desperate need of cash, both to forestall the execution of hundreds of millions of dollars in civil judgments against him and to fund his presidential campaign.

The NYT has now confirmed that the two men did meet Sunday at Mar-a-Lago, a startling image of the current era: The South African immigrant-turned-billionaire-turned-right-wing-anti-immigrant-provocateur holding the purse strings for the anti-immigrant, would-be-authoritarian seeking to reclaim the presidency he failed to seize in an attempted coup.

I mean really, y’all. It’s hard to paint a grimmer picture of the 2020s.

It’s made more grim by the NYT’s own staggeringly insufficient description of Musk’s politics:

Mr. Musk’s comments about immigration have grown increasingly alarmist. He has suggested that the president’s immigration policies threaten the existence of America itself and have pushed American democracy to the brink. He has suggested that Democrats are “ushering in vast numbers of illegals” to cheat in elections. There is no evidence to support his claim of mass voter fraud.

Musk has been trafficking in The Great Replacement Theory for months now. It’s deeply racist. It animates vast swaths of the American right wing. In addition, Musk has elevated himself into a leading light for right-wing extremists, turning his Twitter/X into a hot bed of neo-fascist rhetoric – and he himself has personally promoted and ratified some of the most rancid elements of that rhetoric.

A private Trump-Musk meeting at Mar-a-Lago might in normal times be the stuff of left-wing fever dreams, the pro-Russian kleptocracy flexing its muscle in the gaudy 1920s villa built by the world’s then-richest woman whose third husband was the second U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union and who herself amassed a famously vast collection of Russian art.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Nikki Haley Suspends Campaign

The upshot of Donald Trump’s romp on Super Tuesday was to force his sole remaining rival out of the GOP primary, effectively locking down the Republican Party nomination for the president for third consecutive time.

Haley is expected to announce the suspension of her campaign at 10 a.m. ET in her home state of South Carolina. She is not expected to endorse Trump at this time.

Mourning In America

Josh Green: Trump Triumph Writes an Epitaph for Reagan Republican Party

Trump Again Conjures A Dark Vision

NYT: “Despite dominating the Super Tuesday nominating contests, former President Donald J. Trump gave a victory speech short on celebration or exultation and long on sinister evocations of what he portrayed as a grim fate for the country if President Biden is re-elected.”

Not Up To The Task

The WSJ this morning has Exhibit A for the worst-of-the-worst style of political coverage of the 2024 presidential race. The story is all about the optics of two aging unpopular candidates. Never once is “democracy” mentioned.

Beyond passing reference to “competing visions” for America, the story is all surface and no substance. It gives itself permission to cover the entire race on these shallow terms, overlooking the stakes and abdicating any responsibility to inform and enlighten.

It promises months of such coverage with this lame assessment: “Should they occur, the debates will be scrutinized less for the agenda each candidate would bring to the White House than for whether verbal slips and tortured locution, already a feature of their public appearances, are indications of cognitive decline tied to their advanced ages.”

In contrast, here’s Parker Molloy doing it the right way: Trump’s Extremism Isn’t a Footnote—It’s the Story.

Schiff Poised To Be New California Senator

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) vanquished Democratic Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee and will face former MLB star Steve Garvey (R) in the general election.

The Super Tuesday Landscape

  • NC-08: Republican Mark Harris, whose 2018 campaign for Congress was upended by a fraudulent absentee ballot scheme, is on the verge of returning to Congress.
  • A smattering of “uncommitted” protest votes against Biden over Gaza showed up in Democratic primaries across the country.
  • The Oddities: Trump lost in Vermont, and Biden lost in America Samoa.

So Long, Kyrsten!

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) picked Super Tuesday to low-key bow out of her re-election bid. This was a remarkable success for progressives, but also a tremendous self-own by Sinema herself. It didn’t have to be this way. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) has shown that you can win in Arizona as a mainstream Democrat without pretending you’re stuck representing West Virginia.

In the unlikely event that Democrats hold the Senate, the filibuster could be in real trouble with Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) no longer in office.

Picking Through The SCOTUS DQ Clause Decision

  • Aaron Blake: A conspicuous line on Trump from the Supreme Court’s left flank
  • Marty Lederman: What’s dividing the Justices (and other initial reactions to the Court’s decision in Trump v. Anderson)

The 5 Most Pressing Threats To The 2024 Election

TPM’s Khaya Himmelman talked to the experts, who laid out the threats:

  1. Election deniers are running the show
  2. Election misinformation and disinformation
  3. Violence, harassment, and intimidation of election workers 
  4. The weaponization of a decentralized election system
  5. Voter suppression and voter intimidation

It Never Ends

Feds slap 12 new counts on Sen. Robert ‘Gold Bars’ Menendez in yet another superseding indictment.

Great Read Right Down The Memory Hole

TEXAS, UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 22: George Russell of Mercedes F1 Team (63) competes at the F1 American Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, United States on 22 October 2023. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Road & Track magazine commissioned a freelance writer to cover the Formula One race in Austin. The writer, Kate Wagner, produced a gem of a piece. The magazine published it. Then within hours, it yanked the story from its website and hasn’t said why.

You can still read this fine piece of magazine writing in its archived form … and you should, both on principle and because it’s good.

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