Adam Gopnik/New Yorker:
The Real Meaning of Emmanuel Macron’s VictoryThe fact is that, in difficult circumstances, Macron has managed to win the Presidency twice.[Marine] Le Pen did not get an enormous vote as a far-right extremist; she got an exceptionally large, though losing, share by pretending not to be a far-right extremist. She also benefited enormously from the presence of [Eric] Zemmour, who was so much further right and so unapologetically anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant that Le Pen seemed temperate by comparison. The whole force, and successful burden, of Macron’s remarks as the campaign ended was to remind people who Le Pen really is, and what her family legacy has been—though struggling to differentiate herself from her openly fascistic-minded father, she inherited her position mainly because of her family name—and what she really stood for. He did, and the French understood the reminder.
The U.S. Needs an Endgame in the Russia-Ukraine War
So far, Biden and the public are fully behind sending arms to fight Russia. But will the time come for a Putin-appeasing peace treaty?
Still, the quest for total victory in Ukraine is premised on the belief that defeat is the best deterrent. Having forged NATO unity and a surprising degree of economic sacrifice by the Europeans, Putin should be under no illusions that next time will be easier. The Ukraine war is one of those rare times when the morally right course—forcing Russia to retreat from all of Ukraine—is also the approach that appears to make the most strategic sense. There are no certainties in an irrational war seemingly brought on by Putin’s passion to restore the Soviet Union. But America should do everything in its power—short of sending troops—to bring victory parades to Kyiv.
The Legacy of the Soviet Afghan War and Its Role in the Ukrainian Invasion
The unifying feature of the Afghan movement was a sense of victimization. Regardless of their politics, Afghan veterans were united by the feeling that they had been betrayed: by a government that sent them to a fight in a disastrous war, by people who now said they were murderers, by the fact that they weren’t considered heroes in the way that World War II veterans were, and by the lack of recognition and benefits they had expected and that were granted to veterans of other wars. In response, they started founding political and mutual aid organizations built around the idea that veterans of Afghanistan were and should be loyal to each other above all else. They felt they didn’t owe anything to and couldn’t rely on anyone but fellow soldiers of complicated wars—members of an international “combat brotherhood” that included them, veterans of Vietnam, and eventually veterans of the conflict in Chechnya and other “local wars.” Above all, they felt that they couldn’t rely on the state, the Soviet state or later the Russian state, to take care of their needs and would take care of each other themselves.
Yet by 2014, when I sent my email for my PTSD research, Afghan veterans’ groups had become loyal advocates of the government, frequently represented at and organizers of pro-Kremlin rallies. Afghan veterans’ groups gathered and trained volunteers to send to Crimea and the Donbas in 2014. Some Russian “volunteers” wounded there were treated in a sanatorium belonging to an Afghan veterans’ group, according to a 2014 interview with fighters published by a now-defunct Russian-language website. Veterans’ groups were some of the first Russian organizations to establish branches in Crimea after its annexation. Many Afghan veterans, even though they were mostly in their 50s and 60s, went to fight in eastern Ukraine themselves.
The Most Damning Part of the Meadows TextsHe knew the president was lying. And he kept helping to spread the lies anyway.We’ve known for a long time, based on audits, investigations, and court reviews, that Donald Trump’s allegations about massive fraud in the 2020 presidential election are false. We also know, based on firsthand accounts from Trump’s former aides, attorneys, and political allies, that Trump’s advisers repeatedly told him the allegations were false. That leaves two possibilities: Either Trump is lying, or he’s trying to overthrow the government based on an impenetrable delusion. Take your pick.
Now we’re compiling similar evidence against Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff during the election. He, too, knew Trump’s accusations were false. And instead of telling the truth, Meadows helped spread the lies.
The latest evidence comes from a batch of more than 2,000 text messages, revealed by CNN that were sent to or from Meadows between November 3, 2020, and January 20, 2021. Three of the exchanges are particularly instructive: one in early November of that year, another in late November, and a third in early December.
Multiple RNC staffers have spoken to Jan. 6 panel, sources say House investigators have questions about the party’s messaging and fundraising in the weeks after the 2020 election.
Most of the officials who have spoken with investigators are former employees who worked during the 2020 election cycle, including the fraught period between Election Day and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, one of the people said.
That means the committee has more insight than previously known into the Republican Party’s activity in the lead-up to January 6. The interviews underscore the select committee’s interest in how political messaging by the national GOP apparatus — which partnered with the Trump campaign on digital fundraising efforts — may have stoked falsehoods about the 2020 election.
They also want to know just how successful one particular email campaign was at getting users to click through to donation websites. Those emails prompted people to give money based on false claims the election was stolen, the select committee has emphasized.
Committee investigators have said they’re interested in who authorized the RNC’s specific messaging about the election outcome and whether it played a role in stoking the violent mob that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Just Call Trump a Loser
His record is clear. Some nervy Republican challenger should say so.
But if Trump does decide to inflict himself on another race, he will enter as the clear Republican favorite, enjoying a presumption of invincibility inside the GOP. This has engendered a belief that anyone who challenges Trump must tread lightly, or end up like the roadkill that his primary opponents became in 2016.
That notion is outdated.
Trump’s bizarre and enduring hold over his party has made it verboten for many Republicans to even utter publicly the unpleasant fact of his defeat—something they will readily acknowledge in private. I caught up recently with several Trump-opposing Republican strategists and former associates of the president who argued this restraint should end. The best way for a Republican to depose Trump in 2024, they said, will be to call Trump a loser, as early and as brutally as possible—and keep pointing out the absurdity of treating a one-term, twice-impeached, 75-year-old former president like a kingmaker and heir apparent. In other words, don’t worry about hurting Special Boy’s feelings.
Most Governors Facing Re-Election This Year Are Quite Popular Democrats in Rhode Island, Wisconsin and New Mexico have the weakest job approval ratings of governors up in 2022
Most governors facing re-election in November are beginning the year popular with voters in their states, according to Morning Consult Political Intelligence quarterly tracking. And despite declines over the past year, a handful of Republicans among them are some of the most-liked governors in the country