Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TPM.
Setting the Table Prime Badge

I think there’s something to this. From TPM Reader JK

I know that this hasn’t necessarily been an active debate on the site, but I remember reading recently a comment suggesting impeachment was not worth it. I know it was not the explicit goal of impeachment, but there can be no doubt that the impeachment proceedings have been a tremendous benefit to Biden (and probably Democrats in general) in this election. The impeachment proceedings provided the Democrats a chance to educate the country on the ratfuckery Trump was up to with respect to manufacturing those incomprehensible allegations against Biden and Hunter Biden. I believe those proceedings gave the media a preview of the bullshit that was coming their way and it allowed them to have their guards up when it inevitably did get pushed. And when the nasty bile did come their way, they mostly laughed it off. In my mind, it was the impeachment proceedings that made that happen.

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Bright Side Prime Badge

TPM Reader TB looks to some advantages if Democrats do well on Tuesday …

Thanks for your coverage of the campaign and of the Trump Presidency over the last 4 years. Like you and your readers, I have spent most of the last 4 years being dismayed and deeply concerned about the country with Trump in the White House. There have been many moments, however, when I have felt like Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi when he said “everything that has transpired has done so according to my design”. That specifically related to Palpatine himself leaking the location of the shield generator to the Rebels, thus leading them into a trap. If the election goes well like the polls currently predict, there is an argument to be made that the Dems couldn’t have designed a more devious plan for 2020.

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Random Observations

Looking at the totality of the polls, the big story still seems to be an essential stability. In our conversation with Guy Cecil of Priorities USA yesterday, he said that their internal polls showed much more stability than the more scattershot public polls. But even those public polls seem quite consistent. The thing you see in these last few days is that the density of polling is so great that a lot of the randomness and bounciness created by different pollsters with different methodologies and house effects releasing polls at different times gets washed away. The picture doesn’t necessarily change but it can come into clearer focus.

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Scales Falling

This morning I’m feeling a vague sympathy with a certain class of elite liberal law professors who I think imagined they were engaged in a contest of ideas with their conservative counterparts. I’m by no means talking about all of them. I mean the folks who write high profile OpEds which tell us that even though they strongly disagree with this or that Circuit Court or Supreme Court nominee they are nevertheless eminently qualified, a sterling mind and of judicious temperament. Across the country over the last week and with extra punch last night we are seeing Republican federal judges showing that they will mix and match any theories, manufacture theories, ignore basic traditions of constitutional interpretation all to arrive at decisions which boost Republican partisan advantage as much as possible. I’m speaking precisely when I call them Republican judges.

In a clutch – and this is a clutch – they’re dispensing with the formalities and appearances, to the extent they existed.

Steel Your Nerves

We are truly in the time that tries everyone’s nerves. Most of the indicators look very promising for Joe Biden and Senate Democrats; House Democrats will almost certainly expand their majority. But elections are inherently unpredictable, especially in this election whether novel and improvised ways of administering elections create inherent uncertainty and one side is placing its hopes on making voting as hard as possible.

A few thoughts on what I’m seeing.

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Among the Abusers and the Abused Prime Badge

This has been building for a while. But it’s really something and fully out loud now, an embattled President openly mocking and deriding a loyalist Senator struggling to defend her seat in state critical to the President’s own electoral fortunes. “You got one minute! One minute, Martha! They don’t want to hear this, Martha. Come on, Martha. Let’s go. Quick, quick.” Zoë Richards has the story.

I got asked yesterday what Trump’s deal is with McSally. I think he’s told us, ironically about another Arizona Senate. As he said, he likes heroes who don’t get captured. Yes, McSally has awkwardly tried to separate herself from some of the President’s most extreme antics. And Trump had various sources of bitterness with John McCain. But neither really captures this part of Trump.

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Probability and Dread Prime Badge

How we make sense of probabilities in math and science is one thing. But as humans we can never separate probabilities from stakes. If the consequences of one outcome are sufficiently dire that factors inevitably into our experience of the question, even bleeding into our perception of the chances of that dark outcome occurring. Here I’ve noticed a subtle shift in recent days in people’s discussions about the outcome of next week’s election. It seems to have shifted from ‘Who’s going to win?’ or ‘Who’s likely to win?’ to ‘Can Trump still win?’

The answer to that last questions is clearly “Yes”. But the question itself is an important shift driven by the fact that in likelihood terms the evidence is now pointing overwhelmingly against the President.

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Facts Are Facts

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine looked at the current COVID outbreak in Tennessee and broke the hospitalization numbers down by the counties patients were coming from and whether those counties had masking mandates. The results are stark. The growth in hospitalizations is greatest in counties without masking requirements. Indeed, the inverse relationship between masking and hospitalization lines up across the spectrum from areas with little masking to those where mandates are widespread. You can see the discussion of the study here.

But this chart tells the story pretty clearly.

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See the Corrupt Court for What It Is Prime Badge

If you needed to know anything more about Amy Coney Barrett – I didn’t, but if you did – she made her first act last night appearing at a splashy campaign event for President Trump. Once the Senate voted to confirm her on a party line vote, she had a lifetime appointment and literally no need for anything from President Trump. Indeed, she would quite likely have marginally improved the odds that the corrupt conservative Court majority would remain in place by declining such an appearance.

She did it anyway and that was a choice.

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Facebook Generates Extremism for Society and Profits for Investors Prime Badge
KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018/09/06: Facebook  logo is seen on an android mobile phone in front of a computer screen  with facebook sign. (Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

We’re all in the final stretch of the big contest. But I wanted to flag your attention to a column in the Post about some new peer-reviewed research about Facebook and its effect on political polarization. Unsurprisingly the more time someone spends on Facebook the more polarized their beliefs become. But it’s five times more polarizing for conservatives than for liberals. And that’s not the most telling data.

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