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Editor's Blog





Updated: 2016-12-02T23:39:00Z

 



Matches and Gas

2016-12-02T18:41:36-05:00

This Trump call to the President of Taiwan is as dangerous as it sounds. What makes it even crazier is that we don't really know if this is a considered and deliberate provocation, an accident because Trump doesn't even know the diplomatic protocol on this or just something some China hawk aide talked him into while he was eating a Taco salad.

I suspect there's an element of each in play.

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Keith Ellison

2016-12-02T18:07:46-05:00

I wanted to share a few thoughts about Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) who is running for DNC Chair and is now at the center of a growing storm of criticism in large part because the ADL put out a statement saying statements by Ellison recorded in 2010 are "disturbing and disqualifying." The latter, categorical word "disqualifying" is the key one. We reported the ADL comments yesterday.

Here are my thoughts.

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Think a Lawsuit Might Be In Order

2016-12-02T16:52:04-05:00

It now seems pretty clear that there's a big problem with the lease Donald Trump holds on his new hotel in DC. It says clearly that no federal elected official can participate in or benefit from the lease. On January 20th, Trump becomes that person. I've been waiting for more lawyers to pop up to say that the contract doesn't actually say what it appears to say. But everyone seems to agree that it does. There was just a segment on CNN discussing this. And they note that the landlord is the GSA (General Services Administration) - the agency that owns the government's buildings and a lot of its stuff. The GSA administrator serves at the pleasure of the president and is appointed without Senate approval. So Trump's landlord will be appointed by Trump and can be fired at any time by Trump.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that GSA will not enforce this part of the contract.

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Hiring: NYC News Editor

2016-12-02T14:58:30-05:00

TPM is hiring a News Editor to work in our New York City office. This is a full-time editing position directing TPM's breaking news coverage. It includes leading the breaking news team that contributes to TPM's Livewire, overseeing the TPM home page, and deep immersion in TPM's social media strategy.

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Thoughts on The Post 2016 Strawman War

2016-12-02T12:35:54-05:00

I remember the discussion of 'identity politics' from the 1980s and 1990s. I've also spent a significant number of years on college campuses. So I'm well aware of the bonfire of the identities you can find in the hothouse atmosphere of academia. But after Hillary Clinton's shock loss to Donald Trump the intra-Democratic debate rapidly set on the idea that Hillary Clinton had run an 'identity politics' campaign when what was needed was a populist economic message which (in the very hackneyed version of the argument) would appeal to working class whites or (in the less hackneyed version) would appeal to middle and working class Americans across the boundaries of race, culture and region that so divide and bedevil our politics. There are realities, real decisions and strategies embedded in these arguments. But without getting too deep into those particulars, what I think is most important to say is that this is an argument mainly based on straw men that say more about the angst of inter-party antagonism and stinging defeat than the realities of what we've seen or face going forward.

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Quack Quack

2016-12-02T10:43:18-05:00

The new nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services is a longtime member of a far-right medical group with a lengthy reputation for peddling conspiracy theories about everything from the causes of breast cancer to Vince Foster's suicide.

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Another Key Pain Point

2016-12-02T10:38:12-05:00

This is very important. GOP Senators in Medicaid expansion states are feeling the heat on the drive to repeal Obamacare.

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The Wages of Bullcrap

2016-12-01T22:04:45-05:00

This will get dark, comical and ridiculous. Republicans - particularly Marco Rubio - did significant damage to Obamacare by getting rid of the so-called 'risk corridors' in Obamacare by labeling them bailouts. They were not 'bailouts' but systems to cushion the transition to the Obamacare system, given the inability to make perfect guesses about the risk pools in the system. Now, according to The Hill, Republicans are looking at giving vast sums of money to insurance companies to give them a way to ride out the market collapse that the repeal of Obamacare would likely trigger - that is, ride it out until Republicans can think up something to replace Obamacare with.

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Reporter Denied Credentials to Trump Event ... By Carrier!

2016-12-01T17:53:20-05:00

Curious story here out of Indiana.

A local news investigative reporter, Rafael Sanchez, who investigated Carrier's plans to move jobs from Indianapolis to Mexico was denied credentials at today's celebration at the Carrier plant with President-Elect Trump and Veep-Elect Pence.

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Why GOPs Will Beg Dems To Help Kill Obamacare and Medicare

2016-12-01T13:56:26-05:00

We are only a few weeks into the booyah! boasting phase of the Trump GOP Era. But we are already seeing a central theme emerging, especially on health care policy. Both on repealing Obamacare and phasing out Medicare, Republicans are now realizing they have to ask Democrats for help, despite the fact that they control every branch of the federal government. (Don't believe me. See what The Wall Street Journal says.) This is obviously the case in the Senate if Mitch McConnell maintains the filibuster and thus the need for 60 votes. What's not clear I think is that it remains the case even if McConnell finds a way to push through changes with only 50 votes.

It's important to understand why this is happening.

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Protecting Dreamers from Trump

2016-12-01T12:24:30-05:00

Senators launch bipartisan effort to protect Dreamers from Trump.

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Oh My

2016-12-01T09:21:09-05:00

A new poll shows that only 1 in 4 voters wants Trump to repeal Obamacare, in part that number is driven by a lot of Republicans deciding it's cool after all.

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Two Point Five Million

2016-12-01T09:24:03-05:00

Here's your semi-recurring update: Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead has now reached 2.52 million votes. In percentage terms that's a 1.9 percentage point margin. It will rise at least a bit more. We can likely be confident that her final margin will be at least 2 percentage points. To compare, that's 5 times the margin of Al Gore's popular vote win in raw vote terms and 4 times his margin in percentage terms. At this point, not only did Clinton win the popular vote. It wasn't even all that close. When George W. Bush had another bite at the electoral apple in 2004 and finally did win the popular vote it was by 2.5 percentage points. Barack Obama's margin in 2012 was 3.9 percentage points.

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The Big Defense Dollars

2016-11-30T17:20:27-05:00

Whatever else, there are a thousand Carrier employees and their families in Indianapolis today who are looking forward to a much happier holiday season than they were a week ago. Good for them.

So how did Trump do it? One big stroke of luck he had was having a Vice President-elect who is still the sitting governor of Indiana. Governors do deals like this all the time. That was key. But the Indiana Business Journal published a story today which adds the critical detail.

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Scoop: Charlie Dent is Good to Go With Medicare Phaseout

2016-11-30T11:17:43-05:00

Nearing retirement age? Sucks to be you. One of the Reps whose office made it seem like he might be opposed to Paul Ryan's Medicare Phaseout plan, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), is actually clearly in favor - though he says he wants to see the precise details.

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World, Show Trump (and the Kids) the Money!

2016-11-30T10:29:58-05:00

On CNN we just heard a law professor who is an expert on professional and government ethics explain why Trump's removing himself from the operation of his businesses is irrelevant in terms of what we now rather quaintly call 'conflicts of interest'. This is true, of course. And Richard Painter, former Bush White House ethics counsel and now a Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota, says that turning over ownership to his children, which Trump has not agreed to do, "would be a very, very good move in the right direction."

This is no doubt accurate, as far as it goes. But it doesn't go very far.

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This Explains How and Why Medicare Will Live or Die

2016-11-30T09:33:19-05:00

Today two of our reporters were up on Capitol Hill looking for answers to what was afoot on the Medicare Phaseout and Obamacare fronts. I was particularly interested in the former. And Tierney Sneed was able to get some very key information from Sen. John Boozman (R) of Arkansas.

Boozman was already on our list of Medicare wobblers based on his office's responses to constituents. But Arkansas is also one of the poorest state's in the country. By various metrics, it's a state particularly reliant on programs like Medicare. So where does Boozman stand?

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Okay

2016-11-29T23:20:16-05:00

Romney: "[Trump] continues with a message of inclusion and bringing people together."

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Life Comes at You Fast

2016-11-29T22:58:08-05:00

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Donald Trump and Mitt Romney share dinner tonight at Manhattan restaurant Jean Georges. We've seldom had a more poignant evocation of the anguish of becoming a Trump dignity wraith.

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Medicare Up for a Vote

2016-11-29T17:16:57-05:00

Schumer plans to make Rep. Price's confirmation hearing for HHS a into a showcase for and proxy battle over Trump and Ryan's plans to phase out Medicare and replace it with private insurance and vouchers. That's a good idea. But we still need to know where everyone in Congress stands, everyone in both house of congress. Here's the list so far. Lots of members are giving shifty, changing answers to constituents, unwilling to give any clear answer to reporters.

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