Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TPM.
Rejoice—Kyrsten Sinema’s Political Career is Already Over

Amidst all the disappointment and tribulation of recent days please join me in taking a moment to step back, in a posture of mindful gratitude, to contemplate the fact that Kyrsten Sinema’s career in electoral politics is already over. Yes, the damage she’s already done will be difficult to remedy. She still has three solid years to do yet more damage. And she probably will. But none of that damage, none of the hijinks and characteristic game-playing to come, will or can change her electoral fate. In political terms, she’s already dead senator walking. And the most perplexing but paradoxically delightful part of it is that she doesn’t even seem to realize it yet.

How can I be so sure she’s a goner in such an uncertain time and in a reelection campaign almost three years away? It’s not just the increasingly likely primary challenge, which could end her Senate career on its own. Her problem runs much deeper. She has already made herself essentially unelectable, whether her quest for reelection ends in a primary or the general election.

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Rep. Hinson Wins Stolen Infrastructure Valor Award! Prime Badge
Freshman Rep was against it before she was for it!

We have another ‘Stolen Infrastructure Valor’ All Star in the form of Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa. Hinson voted against the Bipartisan Biden Infrastructure Bill which passed late last year. In a press release from November 8th Hinson denounced the bill as a “socialist spending spree” and “Washington Gamesmanship, Spending at its Worst.” But she’s letting bygones be bygones. Or I guess she was just against it before she was for it. Because now Rep. Hinson seems to think it’s seriously awesome. And she’s bragging to constituents about almost a billion dollars she claims to have “secured” for upgrading locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River.

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Filibuster or No Filibuster is Not a Binary Choice Prime Badge

We’re now watching the final parts moving into place as two Senate Democrats making a unmovable stand in favor of preserving the filibuster. You can see our live-blogging of the nitty gritty details here. I want to return to a more general point. Filibuster or no filibuster is not a binary choice. The current filibuster is the product of an incremental evolution over many decades. To the extent it matters, the framers of the constitution never envisaged anything like it. We know this because they included a few special cases where a super-majority would be required – for treaties, for removal from office, etc. If they thought it should be required for ordinary legislation they would have said so. But again, it’s not a binary choice.

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Trump Demands Supporters Cheat in 2022 and 2024 Elections Prime Badge

I was scanning through my email this morning when I found this article from Roll Call rounding up what was new in ex-President Trump’s rally Saturday in Arizona. The claims about white people being replaced or deprived of COVID medications in favor of Blacks or Hispanics have gotten more focused and intense, which isn’t terribly surprising based on what I told you back on the 5th; efforts to stop “amplifying” Trump have largely allowed him to further radicalize without any scrutiny. But I really got interested after I read way down into the piece and saw that Trump is now explicitly exhorting his supporters to cheat in elections to counter Democrats’ (of course non-existent) cheating.

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This is Must Read Prime Badge

I hope you’ll take a moment to read this amazing piece by Josh Kovensky. In short, the Oath Keepers – the group at the center of the insurrection whose leaders were just charged with seditious conspiracy – got the idea for storming the Capitol from a Serbian scientist living in Europe who said that Trumpers could use the model of the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic to overturn the election of Joe Biden. It came in the form of a viral video and the Oath Keepers went from there.

Certainly the Oath Keepers didn’t need a lot of encouragement to get violent on behalf of Trump. But the viral video encouraging Trumpers to drive Biden from power like Milosevic seemed to coalesce their thinking into a plan of action and gave them a historical antecedent that showed the good guys winning. The Serbian scientist, Aleksandar Savic, relocated to Texas not long after Joe Biden’s inauguration and Josh Kovensky tracked him down for a conversation. Read it here.

Make A Note of It Prime Badge

Make a note of this for future reference. Axios’s Sara Fischer notes that Al Jazeera seems to be sidelining or perhaps even shuttering “Rightly”. What’s that? It’s yet another right-leaning niche publication, launched in February of last year to “provide fresh voices that are too often left out of the mainstream media space.”

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Fast And Furious Prime Badge
The Omicron surge in New York City is closely following the chronology seen in South Africa.
COVID testing

New York City was one of the first parts of the United States hit by the Omicron variant. The trajectory of the city’s surge now appears remarkably similar to the pattern we saw earlier in South Africa and other countries.

Data out of South Africa showed a roughly four week interval between the start of the Omicron surge and its peak. “Peak in four weeks and precipitous decline in another two,” said Fareed Abdullah of the South African Medical Research Council. “It was a flash flood more than a wave.”

New York City numbers appear to match this pattern almost exactly.

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COVID Notes #9 (Special Antigen Test Edition) Prime Badge

So many people are getting COVID, trying to figure out whether they have COVID or trying to figure out how long to isolate whether they have COVID or suspect they might. So I wanted to share with you some examples of positive and negative antigen tests. There’s nothing surprising or groundbreaking about what I’m going to show you. But it can just help to see some examples if you’re trying to make sense of this stuff in your own home, workplace or family.

These are six tests from a COVID infection that was antigen positive for 9 days.

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A Telling Sign Prime Badge

Notwithstanding Sen. Sinema’s speechlet this afternoon I certainly hope they will still force a vote on the rules change itself. But another point occurs to me, one we’ve discussed before: there will never be another Democrat elected to the Senate who supports the current filibuster. This is obvious for a number of reasons. But I was reminded of it when I got a fundraising email from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) who’s running for the open Ohio Senate seat. Like you, I get a million of these. Ryan’s just one. But here’s how the email starts …

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This Is Why You Call the Vote Prime Badge

Newsflash: perfidious silly person Kysten Sinema has now told a friendly reporter at Politico that she’s “weighing” or “considering” or some other chin-scratch-full but meaningless gerund that she may go to the floor of the Senate and give a speech denouncing any changes to Senate rules that will allow Democrats thin majority to do anything. This as President Biden goes to the Senate to press his case for a rule change that will allow democracy-protecting legislation to come to a vote.

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