John Light

John is TPM‘s Prime editor. His writing has also appeared at The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Salon, Slate, UN Dispatch, Vox, Worth, and Al Jazeera, and has been broadcast on Public Radio International. Before joining TPM, John was a producer for Bill Moyers and WNYC, and worked as a news writer for Grist. He grew up in New Jersey, studied history and film at Oberlin College, and got his master‘s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Articles by John

Hello TPM Members, and welcome to the weekend.

We heard from Mueller this week, though we didn’t hear much.

Looking ahead to next week, we’ve got another two-day, 20-candidate round of Democratic debates.

Here’s what happened at Prime:

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“House Democrats have spent the last two years waiting for someone else to solve the Trump conundrum,” career federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne writes for Cafe.

What became clear Wednesday is that there is no savior here, no knight in shining armor is going to ride in and save the day. It is now up to them, and to them alone, to determine whether they follow the polls or whether they follow the evidence.

Read her post at Cafe.

This week was defined by a new level of overt racism from the President, and the utter failure of the overwhelming majority of those in his party to respond to it.

Here’s what happened in Prime.

  • A reader, the child of immigrants from India, writes: “I know Trump is a bully, I know he’s trying to rally his racist supporters, I know he’s trying to distract from other issues, but at the end of the day he’s challenging my identity as an American, as someone who BELONGS in this country. That causes real pain and real trauma.”
  • The GOP adopts a herd mentality when one of their own is guilty of racism, Matt Shuham writes.
  • A reader writes in about how a New York Times article changed his opinion of his favorite candidate.
  • Documents unsealed this week show panic in Trumpworld as the deal with Stormy Daniels almost collapsed in 2016.
  • Josh Kovensky digs into the bizarre details of the NRA’s planned giving program.
  • Josh Marshall writes: “I’ve noticed a pattern accelerating in recent days by which the latest outrage from the President — whether it’s a new bad act, suspicious DOJ decision, rape accusation or racist outburst — leads Democrats not to vituperation against the President but a new round of increasingly febrile agitation and attacks against the congressional leaders of their own party.”
  • A reader responds: “What’s missing here is any kind of communication from the party leadership that they feel the same apocalyptic urgency about the threat to democracy that the base does.”
  • The backstory behind that congressional rule that says you can’t call the president racist.
  •  Newly revealed emails show a jaw-dropping level of coziness between a Trump administration political staffer and his former employer, the right-wing advocacy group Texas Public Policy Foundation.

In case you missed it, we published two remembrances of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at TPM Cafe this week, both by prominent law professors who clerked for Stevens.

Deborah Pearlstein writes on how Stevens might respond to the Trump administration’s census shenanigans. Amanda Cohen Leiter reflects on Stevens’ propensity for writing his own opinions, even when arriving at the same conclusions as other justices, in order to preserve his thinking for posterity.

Reader AV writes:

I’ve been a reader for a very long time, I read all your stuff. I’m Prime AF, but I haven’t written in seven years. I think that part of it is that politics are very personal for me. I’ve been very close to local politics where I live, I was a Congressional staffer, and I ran for office myself, and none of that comes close to the politics of today. Today we are in a space where politics are all about who we are, all about our identity.

My parents moved from India to the US in the 70’s and my brother and I were born in the US. Neither of my parents were US citizens at the time, so maybe that makes us anchor babies. When Trump tweeted those statements about going back to where you come from, I was brought back not to India, but to my childhood. I was bullied for the color of my skin, for the language my parents spoke, for our religion, and for our food. I’ve been told to go back to where I come from or to leave this country a number of times in my life. I know Trump is a bully, I know he’s trying to rally his racist supporters, I know he’s trying to distract from other issues, but at the end of the day he’s challenging my identity as an American, as someone who BELONGS in this country. That causes real pain and real trauma.

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The President’s golf club is hosting a strip club event. Register today to pick your own “caddy girl” — after the deadline, you’ll have to participate in an auction to decide which cabaret dancer drives your golf cart. The event was ostensibly a fundraiser for a local nonprofit — until, following reporting by the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold and TPM’s Matt Shuham, the non-profit bailed.

That’s all a lot of fun. In the background, there’s another story: With Trump in the White House, the Trump properties aren’t doing great.

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This year, the Democratic primary is heavy on ideas. Unlike the Republican primary in 2016 from which Donald Trump emerged, or even past Democratic primaries, there is one leading candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has propelled herself into frontrunner territory with a relentless focus on far-reaching policy proposals.

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On Friday, a New York Times article made the rounds which profiled the Concerned Community Citizens (“or C-Cubed”) of Saint Cloud, Minnesota, an Islamophobic group obsessing over the local population of Somali refugees and fretting about white replacement. “I think of America, the great assimilator, as a rubber band, but with this — we’re at the breaking point,” Kim Crockett, vice president of a think tank called the Center of the American Experiment, told the Times. “These aren’t people coming from Norway, let’s put it that way. These people are very visible.”

This morning, the Saint Cloud Times, the local newspaper, hit back at the Islamophobia in its community.

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