Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TPM.
Jan 6 Insurrectionist Seeking Asylum in Belarus Prime Badge
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: President Donald Trump is seen on a screen as his supporters cheer during a rally on the National Mall on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Donald Trump

Some stories perfectly typify the larger stories they are a part of. Journalists sometimes call these stories too good to check. But sometimes they seem in fact to be true. Which brings us to Evan Neumann, 48, one of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol complex on January 6th.

He was no bit player. He made it to the FBI’s Most Wanted list for assaulting Capitol Police officers during the storming of the Capitol. Over the weekend Neumann showed up on state-run Belarus 1 TV channel seeking asylum in the former Soviet republic, as a victim of persecution in the US.

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Good Break for Dems

Gov. Sununu of New Hampshire has just announced he won’t be running for Senate in 2022. That is a big, big relief for Democrats who need to hold Sen. Maggie Hassan’s seat to have any hope of holding on to the chamber next year. Hassan isn’t out of the woods. But Sununu is popular and his family has all but monopolized state-wide office in the state for a couple generations. He was their best shot at picking up that seat.

The Infrastructure Bill is a Big Fat Cudgel Waiting to Be Used Against House GOPs Prime Badge

The outcome of elections in 2022 and 2024 are tied in large part to events the President can influence but not control: the state of the COVID pandemic, the health of the US economy and in particular the mix of price hikes and supply shortages amidst COVID exhaustion we’ve seen increasingly in 2021. But there are already steps Democrats can and really must start taking to lay the groundwork for strong showings. One really critical one comes out of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Biden Infrastructure Bill passed late Friday evening. It goes without saying that Democrats should run on the contents of the bill. There’s tons of funding for repairing roads and bridges, replacing all the country’s lead pipes, broadband and much more. But just as critical is using it as a cudgel against Republicans – something GOP fury at the 13 representatives makes crystal, crystal clear.

To understand this you don’t have to go any further than looking at the announcements Republicans put out announcing their decisions to vote against the bill.

Let me explain.

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Real Keeping

After far too long a week, a bit of reality world is in order.

In his apparently humiliating near defeat, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s margin appears to be 50.9% to 48.3% over Jack Ciattarelli. In Virginia the margin of Glenn Youngkin’s triumph appears to be 50.8% to 48.5% over Terry McAuliffe.

We can add to this that Murphy is the first Democratic Governor of New Jersey to be reelected in 44 years. Meanwhile, going back 48 years the party which does not hold the presidency has won the Virginia’s race all but one time. That was when Terry McAuliffe won in 2013.

Youngkin’s Son Tried Twice to Vote Illegally on Election Day

A rather bizarre development in Virginia. On election day Glenn Youngkin’s 17 year old son twice tried to vote illegally. Indeed, he attempted to do so – twice – in a precinct where his family doesn’t even live.

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Being a Whiny Little B Isn’t Good For Your Soul Prime Badge
Let us Tour the Emotional World of Democratic Second-Guessing and Doom-casting.

Yesterday CNN headlined that President Biden returned to a Democratic “nightmare”. The Times Peter Baker said Biden was returning to a “different country”. There’s no doubt Democrats had a rough night. They lost a close governor’s race in Virginia, a state they have come to see increasingly as home turf. They also narrowly lost control of the state House of Delegates which they first took control of in 2019. And while Democrat Phil Murphy won in New Jersey, Republicans made a very close race of it, in large part by a big drop off in Democrats showing up to vote.

As I wrote Tuesday night, this isn’t a surprising result. The President’s popularity is underwater. Polls say the public sees the country going in the wrong direction – a reality regardless of whether you or I think it is an accurate perception. But let’s also get real: the incumbent President’s party has consistently lost these two governorships every cycle for more than 30 years. The one exception was Terry McAuliffe in 2013. Murphy’s victory in New Jersey sees the first Democrat reelected governor in that state in 44 years.

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India Walton Goes Down in Defeat to Write-in Mayor

A lot of progressives across the country as well as in Buffalo were enthused by what a few months ago had seemed like the near certainty that India Walton, a self-described democratic socialist who won the Democratic primary against longtime Mayor Byron Brown, would be the next Mayor of Buffalo. But it appears that Mayor Byron Brown has managed a comeback victory as a write-in candidate.

(Neither Republicans nor New York’s various minor parties fielded candidates. So Walton was literally the only name on the ballot. Brown’s campaign spent about $100,000 on rubber stamps with his name to hand out to voters.)

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Reports from the Scene

One anecdote doesn’t capture a state. But I wanted to pass on this note from a TPM alum …

I read and enjoyed your piece on McAuliffe’s loss. I think it’s all on target, atop the fact that McAuliffe just isn’t a base moving guy on his own.

It may not have changed the result given the headwinds at play, but from where I sit in the Northern VA suburbs of DC, it also seems like McAuliffe and the VA Dems got completely out-hustled and out-campaigned, while leaving their reliable voters to do the work for them.

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Youngkin Defeats McAuliffe Prime Badge
We Shouldn't be Surprised. The Popular Mood Has Turned Sour for Democrats.

The networks haven’t called it. But the numbers crunchers I watch have. What do we make of this result? My main reaction is that we should not be surprised that Youngkin won. By this I do not mean that this morning I would have told you this was going to be the result. In fact, I had an inkling in the last day or so that McAuliffe might pull it out. I mean on the larger canvass: this shouldn’t surprise us.

Why? Let me explain.

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The Pandemic Through A Mirror, Darkly

I just saw this comment from my friend Chris Hayes …

My unified theory of American social and political life is that we’ve lived through and are living through a once-in-a-century trauma/disruption and the results of that are going to revereberate throughout almost every facet of politics for a while.

I agree with this, with this additional and I believe critical fact: the pandemic hit during a period of intense social and political turbulence and instability in the United States. Not only Trump’s presidency, the escalation of destabilizing actions during his presidency but remember that the pandemic struck within days of the end of the President’s impeachment trial.

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