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Its such a bizarre thing. Elon Musk has owned Twitter for roughly three weeks and as of this morning the site seems to be limping forward, with widespread but inconsistent outages, because the inner functioning of the company has essentially imploded. Or rather Musk blew it up. Pretty much on a whim. Musk had already fired roughly half of the company’s workforce and at least temporarily scared off many of its corporate advertisers. Earlier this week he issued the remaining staff an ultimatum in which they had to choose between becoming truly ”hardcore,” working longer hours and weekends, or taking a small severance and leaving.

Apparently an unexpectedly large number chose to do the latter. Last night hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand of the remaining employees signed off for good, often with messages on Twitter itself, toasting their former workplace in a digital equivalent of a New Orleans funeral.

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The Dems’ Sinema Problem Prime Badge
It's not a question of whether to primary her. She's unelectable on her own.

Kyrsten Sinema has been a thorn in the side of Democrats for the last two years. Unlike, co-thorn Joe Manchin, there’s no obvious reason why she insisted on being one. (As Eric Levitz notes, Mark Kelly’s victory is an indictment of Sinema’s politics.) Manchin is from the most pro-Trump state in the country. Sinema’s not.

In recent weeks, Rep. Ruben Gallego has been signaling more and more clearly that he may challenge Sinema in a primary in advance of her reelection campaign in 2024. Normally in such circumstances partisans try to find a balance between disciplining or displacing an errant elected official and the risk of losing the seat altogether. But that mistakes the challenge Democrats actually face. Because Sinema is already unelectable.

Let’s start with the fact that 2024 is going to be a very challenging year for the Democrats to hold the Senate. The pick-up opportunities are challenging at best. Democrats must defend seats in Ohio, Montana and West Virginia. In other words, Democrats can’t afford to lose a seat in Arizona if they have hopes of retaining Senate control.

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The Beginning of the End—But Only the Beginning Prime Badge

I watched Donald Trump’s special announcement speech last night. I don’t think it was quite as low energy as some have suggested. I’d describe it more as a greatest hits show from an old band. Some have noted that the crowd seemed not always to know when to clap. They were into it but not overwhelmed. This raised a question in my mind. This is not really Trump’s crowd. Trump’s crowd is at those red state rallies. He did himself a disservice by not holding the event at one of those venues. It’s possible that his handlers thought this was a venue where they could keep him more on script. More likely, he’s reacting in a panicked fashion to the DeSantis boomlet and didn’t have the time.

But let’s set the atmospherics aside. I think this is likely the beginning of the end of Donald Trump. But I say this with a different emphasis from most. When I say “beginning of the end” I put the emphasis on “beginning.” There can be a long time between the beginning of the end and the end of the end. I suspect in this case it may play out over a few political cycles.

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Inside the Fetterman Campaign Prime Badge

Yesterday Kate Riga and I held a TPM Newsmaker Briefing with Brendan McPhillips — a lot of very interesting details about how the campaign unfolded from the inside. Did it seem like a jump ball in the last week on the inside? Apparently so. What happened with that NBC interview? What about the debate? We get into all of that. If you’re a member and you weren’t able to join us live yesterday, you can watch the whole thing after the jump.

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Abortion, Democracy and The Bogey of Issue Literalism Prime Badge

One regular refrain of the last month of the 2022 midterm was that abortion and Dobbs had faded as a driving issue in the face of economic concerns. Another was that “democracy” was, for most voters, an abstraction without much relevance to more immediate concerns like inflation. That first bit of conventional wisdom always seemed overstated at best. But the election results point to something different that many observers missed in the narrow and perhaps over-literal way these issues were siloed in polls and election commentary: abortion, election denialism and other elements of GOP whackery melded together into a broader fear of Republican extremism that was larger than the sum of its parts.

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Yes, She Might Still Be Speaker in January Prime Badge

As of this morning it’s more than a theoretical possibility that Democrats will remain in charge of the House next year. Dave Wasserman of The Cook Report this morning put it this way: When you put aside the races already called and the ones in which each party has a clear lead, you’re left with six seats he considers genuine tossups — #AZ01, #AZ06, #CA13, #CA22, #CA41, #WA03. If Democrats get all six, if they run the table, they stay in the margin 218-217.

That sounds unlikely and it is unlikely. But you also have to see it through the prism of the fact that Democratic candidates have been running tables, improbably coming from behind or coming out on top, since mid-Tuesday evening. So it could happen.

Let me add one sort of odd note here. There’s actually a pretty good argument that it’s in Democrats’ political interests not to get the majority here.

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It’s All About Trump Prime Badge

Let me follow up on yesterday’s post about this quasi-revolt against Mitch McConnell. I’ve tried to look more at the whole picture. Or perhaps I was still too sleep deprived yesterday afternoon. But all of these leadership questions and battles we’re seeing now are just proxy battles over Trump. One part of the GOP blames Trump for their disappointing showing and sees this as their best opportunity in years to push him aside, in most cases lining up behind Ron DeSantis, at least for now, as the vehicle to do that. These mini-revolts against McConnell are really just attempts to open up new fronts against McConnell to defend and protect Trump.

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Is There a Revolt Against McConnell? Prime Badge

Entirely predictably the knives are already out in the House for probable Speaker Kevin McCarthy. On cue they all come from the hard right of the caucus who believe the problem in 2022 is that Republicans weren’t sufficiently feral. More interesting is a push on the Senate side to delay the Republican leadership elections in the upper chamber. The wannabe mutineers don’t seem quite willing to say what they’re doing. They’re not coming out against McConnell, proposing an alternative leader or criticizing his management. But since McConnell’s leadership is almost universally assumed there’s only one logic and aim of delay.

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Where We Stand

ITEM One: I continue to be calmly stunned that the battle for control of the House still does not seem settled. Any Republican margin is likely to be so minuscule that it amounts to something of a poisoned chalice for Kevin McCarthy and the GOP generally. As I’ve noted repeatedly, the debt ceiling remains the sui generis, overriding thing. But if you set that aside, given that Democrats will not get 52 senate seats, in purely political terms there’s actually some real advantage in having Republicans hold the House by only one or two seats.

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