Get Real, Folks

Especially since the withdrawal from Afghanistan the insider sheets have been relentlessly hostile to President Biden. Last night the Axios evening headline was “Biden’s China Fail”. Tonight it’s “Scoop: Biden Bombs”. Apparently Biden didn’t convince Joe Manchin to drop his opposition to a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package in their well-publicized-in-advance sit-down at the White House.

Axios’s gloss aside, this does not surprise me. At the most optimistic this is Manchin’s bargaining position going into a critical 6 weeks or so of negotiating within the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate. Manchin’s just going to give way in advance because Biden asks him to? That makes no sense to me at all.

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‘Crisis Standards’ in Idaho

Facing a wave of COVID hospitalizations Idaho today activated its ‘crisis standards of care’ for the entire state. In effect this means a system of rationing care based on who is most likely to survive rather than who is in most immediate need of medical care.

“The situation is dire — we don’t have enough resources to adequately treat the patients in our hospitals, whether you are there for COVID-19 or a heart attack or because of a car accident,” state health director Dave Jeppesen said in an afternoon press release.

The California Recall and Mail-in Voting

From a distance, I hadn’t focused on the importance of mail-in voting for the result of Tuesday’s California recall election. I am not saying that Newsom owes his win to that. I think the more important factors are the ones we discussed yesterday. But it clearly played some role in sky-high turnout for an off-schedule election. Articles in the LA Times and NY Times illustrate some of the dynamics.

California has continued with a temporary, COVID-era mail-in voting regime. In the recall every registered voter who had voted in a recent election was mailed a ballot. You could also vote in person. But basically every regular voter could vote by dropping a ballot in the mail – a very easy choice and easy lift for anyone who wanted to.

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Where Things Stand: There Have Been 500,000 Child COVID Cases In Last 2 Weeks
Prime Membership Required

The American Academy of Pediatrics has new data on the number of COVID-19 infections among children in recent weeks. The statistics are stunning. While 5.3 million children total have contracted COVID since the pandemic hit the U.S. last year, August and September were particularly infectious months for children, according to the new report.

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California Said No

A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss the failed effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the President’s meetings with a certain couple of senators who are threatening his whole agenda.

Watch below and email us your questions for next week’s episode.

You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.

The Urgency Gap

It would seem that the Trumpian made-up threats to democracy–Deep State, mass election fraud, etc–are taken much more seriously by Republicans than the actual threats to democracy – insurrection, Big Lie, political violence – are by Democrats.

As Cristina flagged in the Morning Memo, a new CNN poll shows Republicans are much more likely (75%) to say that democracy is under attack than Democrats (46%).

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Where Things Stand: Pastor Trades Vax Exemptions For Church Dues
Prime Membership Required

Jackson Lahmeyer is a Tulsa-based 29-year-old pastor, small business owner and GOP candidate challenging Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) in 2022. And he’ll get you out of getting the COVID-19 vaccine for religious reasons if you pay the right price.

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What Civic-Moral Calculus Should We Apply to Mark Milley?

In seeing the day two commentary on Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley’s actions in the final weeks of the Trump administration I’m more inclined to praise than to criticize him.

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Does The Recall Result Tell Us Anything About the Rest of Country?

It’s hard to make too much of the California recall. It is after all one of the most Democratic states in the union. The moribund state Republican party coalesced around a standard bearer whose top policy position may have been credible reports he pulled a gun on his fiance during a fight. The only conceivable way Larry Elder could have become governor is with very low turnout and a majority of voters deciding narrowly to recall Newsom and allowing Elder to slip through with like 35% of the vote.

But it doesn’t mean nothing.

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Thank You For Joining Us

Last night, TPM hosted a lively and illuminating discussion, with an impressive lineup of panelists, on redistricting, 2022, voting rights and the dire need for boldness from Democrats the next several months.

If you weren’t able to attend, you can watch below, but I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who took the time to join us — we hope you got as much out of it as we did. And a special thank you to all of our members and those of you who contributed to the TPM Journalism Fund as part of your registration.

We’ll have another virtual event soon. Stay tuned.

Bye! Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) announced that he won’t seek another term in 2022, marking the first departure from Congress among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for sparking the Jan. 6 insurrection.

  • Gonzales cited the “toxic dynamics” of his party as a “significant factor” in his decision.
  • He called Trump “a cancer for the country” in an interview with the New York Times on the day of his announcement.
  • Gonzalez also blasted his colleagues for fueling Trump’s lie about the 2020 election, calling their enablement “horribly irresponsible and destructive for the country.”


Some Casual Great Replacement Theory From A GOP Leader: House Republican Conference chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is putting out ads accusing President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers of trying to carry out a “permanent election insurrection” by trying to make it easier for immigrants to become citizens.



| Muckraker

The initial reports on the contents of the new book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa came trickling in this afternoon.  

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| Prime

We wrote yesterday about the trend of 2020 election truthers — Big Liars, Trumplicans, pick your title — exposing sensitive information about the inner workings of election software, in the name of Truth and Transparency. 

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| News

In May, a federal judge dismissed a Trumpy lawsuit over the 2020 election results in Antrim County, Michigan, where a clerk’s error had briefly resulted in a miscount of the vote. “Expert” witnesses in the suit had seized on the discrepancy, which they claimed was the result of Dominion voting machine technology “purposefully designed” to tamper with vote totals.

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| News

When Democrats discuss the climate goals they hope to meet in the reconciliation package, they don’t mince their words: “transformational,” “once-in-a-generation,” “big enough to meet the moment.” 

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| News

As the U.S.’s two decade war in Afghanistan draws to a close, very few former officials involved in prosecuting it have publicly struggled with the consequences.

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| News

You may remember Tina Peters, the clerk in conservative Mesa County, Colorado, who’s now under investigation for allegedly helping facilitate the leak of sensitive election software information to a QAnon influencer. 

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| Muckraker

It was Sept. 12, 2019.

Congress was asking why the Trump administration appeared to be concealing a whistleblower complaint, as the White House lifted a mysterious block on $350 million in military aid to Ukraine.

And Attorney General Bill Barr, then-head of federal law enforcement in the Trump administration, was watching a Downton Abbey screening at the British Embassy.

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