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.
It is hard to accept when you might actually be the real snowflake.
But that’s the bitter pill Florida Republicans find themselves having to swallow.
The latest news: Florida state Republicans just passed a bill — pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — that piles on an already-cemented state policy that bans the teaching of Critical Race Theory, and systemic racism-related issues, in Florida public schools.
This latest bill goes even further. It passed out of the Florida state legislature’s Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee this week by a 6-3 vote, per Orlando Weekly.
A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss the seeming end of (most) Democrats’ push to reform the filibuster and pass voting rights laws.
You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.
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.
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion last night notifying the court it has found substantial evidence that the Trump Organization, helped along by the Trump children, used “fraudulent or misleading” information to secure financial loans and tax breaks for the company.
You’ve likely caught up on the basics of the news since it broke last night. Essentially James’ court filing details allegations about the ways in which her office believes members of the organization and the Trump family lied to tax officials and banks about the values of certain property assets for financial gain and tax benefits. The New York AG’s filing revealed the office is seeking subpoenas for testimony from the Donald himself, as well as his two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. She alleges that the two elder children had a hand in the valuation fudging.
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.
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.
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.
School district officials who oversee hundreds of schools in Virginia are actively defying their new Republican governor’s efforts to tamp down COVID-19 mitigation measures in the state.
The backlash is similar to what we saw play out in Texas and Florida when Republican Govs. Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis enacted similar executive orders late last year, attempting to block individual schools and municipalities from creating their own policies for combatting the pandemic.
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.”
Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined all the Republicans in blocking a temporary filibuster rule change that would have allowed Democrats to pass voting rights legislation with a simple majority.
The same people who organized Trump’s fateful rally on the Ellipse had something else in store on Jan. 6: a separate, previously unreported rally planned in front of the Supreme Court.