Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Arizona embraces the culture wars on the losing side

New York Times:

Abortion Jumps to the Center of Arizona’s Key 2024 Races

Democrats quickly aimed to capitalize on a ruling by the state’s highest court upholding an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions.

Democrats seized on a ruling on Tuesday by Arizona’s highest court upholding an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions, setting up a fierce political fight over the issue that is likely to dominate the presidential election and a pivotal Senate race in a crucial battleground state.

Even though the court put its ruling on hold for now, President Biden and his campaign moved quickly to blame former President Donald J. Trump for the loss of abortion rights, noting that he has taken credit for appointing the Supreme Court justices who overturned a constitutional right to abortion. Just a day earlier, Mr. Trump had sought to defang what has become a toxic issue for Republicans by saying that abortion restrictions should be decided by the states and their voters.

Remember, abortion is fading in saliency as an issue, say umpteen anonymous male Republican consultants.

Abortion opponents still expect federal action from Trump. Here’s what it could look like.

— Mike Walker (@New_Narrative) April 10, 2024

Dan Balz/Washington Post:

The Arizona Supreme Court just upended Trump’s gambit on abortion

On Monday, Trump declined to support a national abortion ban, seeking to neutralize the political issue. A day later, Arizona’s ban gave it new life.

On Monday, the former president declined to support any new national law setting limits on abortions. Going against the views of many abortion opponents in his Republican Party, Trump was looking for a way to neutralize or at least muddy a galvanizing issue that has fueled Democratic victories for nearly two years. He hoped to keep it mostly out of the conversation ahead of the November elections.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court showed just how difficult it will be to do that. The court resurrected an 1864 law that bans nearly all abortions, except to save the life of the mother. The law also imposes penalties on abortion providers.

Trump had said let the states handle the issue. The Arizona court showed the full implications of that states’ rights strategy.

Or, if you will, Arizona Supreme Court destroys news organization plans to declare the abortion issue neutralized (it wasn’t).

Get this measure on the Arizona ballot. Run in every district. Then flip Arizona blue at every level (only one seat shy of a Dem majority in the AZ statehouse)

— David Pepper (@DavidPepper) April 10, 2024

Marc A Caputo/ The Bulwark:

MAGA Takes Aim at RFK Jr.: ‘Radical F—ing Kennedy’

They turned on him overnight once they realized he’d be a threat to Trump and not only to Biden.

TRUMP ADVISERS QUIETLY acknowledge they and the right helped build up RFK Jr., especially after the pandemic when Kennedy’s anti-vaccine activism gained broader attention and support among conservatives.

“For more than two years, Kennedy was on more conservative media than any of the Republicans who ran for president, so he’s partly a monster of our own making,” said one adviser in Trump’s orbit. “But the same conservative media apparatus that built him up is starting to tear him down. It’s easy. He’s a liberal.”

That cocksure sentiment pervades Trump’s campaign, where they view Kennedy more as an opportunity than a danger.

Matt Bennett, executive vice president of Third Way, said Kennedy has benefited from his famous last name, his savvy social media use, and his lack of a political record. Bennett doesn’t think the candidate will be able to withstand the scrutiny that’s coming now that the threat he represents has become clearer.

“Kennedy is in for a rough ride. We need to make sure lower-information voters don’t somehow think, ‘Oh, it’s his dad.’ Or that he’s a safe pair of hands,” Bennett said. “He’s a lunatic. He lies. He’s a bad person.”

If you constructed a Venn diagram of states important to the presidential race, the Senate, or abortion access this November, Arizona would be smack in the overlapping middle.

— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) April 9, 2024

Will Bunch/Philadelphia Inquirer:

Is Team Trump meddling in the Middle East?

This weekend, the endless gusher of petrodollars from Riyadh left their oily mark on the dim jewel of Trump’s fast-fading empire, the Trump National Doral course outside of Miami. There, the Saudi-funded LIV Golf tour brought yet another televised and star-studded tournament to a resort owned by the 45th president’s business arm.

We don’t how much the LIV tour — largely a creation of the massive sovereign wealth fund controlled by the Saudi dictator Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) — paid the Trump Organization for the three-day event. The LIV people insist the money is nominal, but no one would argue that the widely seen tournaments are propping up Trump’s coffers at a time when his hotel brand is in the loo, and the established PGA golf tour is avoiding the ex-POTUS and his 88 felony charges.

What every anti-abortion politician in America is reading this morning as they call their pollster and ask them how to pretend this is not their position:

— Cole Leiter (@coleleiter) April 10, 2024

David Gilbert/Wired:

Inside the Election Denial Groups Planning to Disrupt November

Groups like True the Vote and Michael Flynn’s America Project want to mobilize thousands of Trump supporters by pushing baseless claims about election fraud—and are rolling out new technology to fast-track their efforts.

As the most consequential presidential election in a generation looms in the United States, get-out-the-vote efforts across the country are more important than ever. But multiple far-right activist groups with ties to former president Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee are mobilizing their supporters in earnest, drawing on one baseline belief: Elections in the US are rigged, and citizens need to do something about it.

All the evidence states otherwise. But in recent weeks, these groups have held training sessions about how to organize on a hyperlocal level to monitor polling places and drop boxes, challenge voter registrations en masse, and intimidate and harass voters and election officials. And some are preparing to roll out new technology to fast-track all of these efforts: One of the groups claims they’re launching a new platform for checking voter rolls that contains billions of “data elements” on every single US citizen.

Yet another W for patience and uncertainty. It’s never a hot take, but it’s always where the smart money is this early in the campaign. FWIW, if Biden jumps out to a non-negligible lead in the next few months, I wouldn’t be so fast to pop the champagne just yet either.

— Adam Carlson (@admcrlsn) April 9, 2024

Jennifer Rubin/Washington Post:

Don’t overlook these five aspects of Trump’s N.Y. trial

Trump’s first impeachment seems like ancient history. But House impeachment investigators interviewed Hope Hicks and Michael Cohen, and delved into the facts concerning payment to women to silence them before the 2016 election. The hush money scheme was grist for impeachment because procuring office by corrupt means can be a sufficient basis for impeachment.

Philip Bump/Washington Post:

How much time and money will the GOP waste chasing imaginary election fraud?

Fox host Maria Bartiromo has proved to be one of the most credulous members of the right-wing media universe. This was understood by her own employers in 2020 when one executive warned another that she had “GOP conspiracy theorists in her ear and they use her for their message sometimes.” In the wake of the 2020 election, she flirted with the most ridiculous fraud theories then circulating; more recently, she was a constant promoter of the discredited idea that Joe Biden had been bribed by a Ukrainian businessman.

Yet she also remains one of the most prominent voices on Fox News and Fox Business. One need not engage in conspiracy-theorizing to guess some reasons for that.

And finally, the exclamation point on this amazing college hoops season.

Iowa/SC women’s final outdrew the following:•Every World Series game since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series •Every NBA Finals game since Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals •Every Daytona 500 since 2006 •Every Masters final round viewership since 2001!!!!!!!

— Eric Segall (@espinsegall) April 9, 2024

Candace Buckner/Washington Post:

Connecticut unlocked the overwhelming beauty of a team game

More than other team sports, basketball thrives on individual talent. Singular stars fuel intrigue. They make us sit up and pay attention. And the superstars make us believe that one vs. five maintains pretty good odds. Then a night such as Monday comes along and wrecks the belief that you need a superstar to win.

Somewhere in the Purdue locker room sat [Perdue’s center Zach] Edey, his season having ended in disappointment, with a lonely shower awaiting. Meanwhile, the Connecticut Huskies were busy changing clothes on the court. Their new shirts read: “2024 Men’s Basketball National CHAMPS” — that word more prominent than the others.

Cliff Schecter covers General Mark Milley’s opinion of Donald Trump:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Revisiting election predictions

This prediction was from 2023 by David Frum/The Atlantic:

The Coming Biden Blowout

Republicans thought about running without Trump in 2024—but lost their nerve. They’re heading for electoral disaster again.

‘The Republican plan for 2024 is already failing, and the party leadership can see it and knows it.

There was no secret to a more intelligent and intentional Republican plan for 2024. It would have gone like this:

(1) Replace Donald Trump at the head of the ticket with somebody less obnoxious and impulsive.

(2) Capitalize on inflation and other economic troubles.

This one is from the last few days, from a podcast with Greg Sargent/The New Republic:

Why Trump’s Lunacy Is Suddenly Raising GOP Fears of Down-Ballot Losses

Republicans facing tough races seem to have realized that having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket might pose a problem. What took them so long?

GOP members of Congress facing tough races are suddenly worried that having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket might present them with a problem, according to new reports. They fear having to answer for Trump’s degeneracy and extremism, even as the GOP’s small-donor base is not delivering at the very moment that Trump is siphoning off party money for legal fees. What explains this sudden GOP epiphany about Trump? How likely is it that these fears will materialize? We chatted with Tim Persico, a top Democratic operative involved in House races in 2022, who provided insights into how this Trump effect really works.

House Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good endorsed Derrick Evans, a convicted Capitol rioter, in his primary challenge against a sitting House Republican.

— Mike Walker (@New_Narrative) April 3, 2024

Rep. Carol Miller's spokeswoman responds to Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good endorsing her opponent in her West Virginia district primary. The GOP member v member tensions continue on the campaign trail:

— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaReports) April 3, 2024

Tom Nichols/The Atlantic:

Supporting Trump Means Supporting a Culture of Violence

The former president is encouraging threats against his enemies—again.

Over the weekend, Donald Trump sent out a video with an image of Joe Biden bound like a hostage, and linked to an article with a photo of the daughter of the judge in his hush-money trial in New York. Voters need to confront the reality of what supporting Trump means.

On Good Friday, Donald Trump shared a video that prominently featured a truck with a picture of a hog-tied Joe Biden on it. I’ve seen this art on a tailgate in person, and it looks like a kidnapped Biden is a captive in the truck bed.

The former president, running for his old office, knowingly transmitted a picture of the sitting president of the United States as a bound hostage.

Of course, Trump’s spokesperson Steven Cheung quickly began the minimizing and what-abouting: “That picture,” he said in a statement, “was on the back of a pick up truck that was traveling down the highway. Democrats and crazed lunatics have not only called for despicable violence against President Trump and his family, they are actually weaponizing the justice system against him.”


Hill GOP to Trump: Tamp down the talk of grudges and Jan. 6

They’re concerned about a rerun of the hair-pulling past — where Republican candidates in battleground races are constantly challenged to answer for his more erratic statements.

Trump is unlikely to heed such warnings to pivot to a more consistent general election message. So far this month, he has said that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats “hate” their religion and described some migrants as “not people.”

But the fact that Hill Republicans are even attempting to refocus him, underscored by nearly 20 interviews with lawmakers and aides, illustrates their real worries about a 2024 cycle where their electoral fates are inescapably tied to the man at the top of the ticket.


Republicans are rushing to defend IVF. The anti-abortion movement hopes to change their minds.

The groups are not advocating banning IVF but want new restrictions that would significantly curtail access to the procedure.

Anti-abortion advocates worked for five decades to topple Roe v. Wade. They’re now laying the groundwork for a yearslong fight to curb in vitro fertilization.

Since the Alabama Supreme Court ruled last month that frozen embryos are children, the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups have been strategizing how to convince not just GOP officials but evangelicals broadly that they should have serious moral concerns about fertility treatments like IVF and that access to them should be curtailed.

In short, they want to re-run the Roe playbook.

Today, Trump said he'd spoken with the family of Ruby Garcia, who was recently murdered by an undocumented immigrant in Michigan. Ruby Garcia's family says that isn't true.

— Zack Stanton (@zackstanton) April 2, 2024

Craig Gilbert/Milwaukee Journal sentinel:

For Donald Trump, Wisconsin in 2024 looks a lot like Wisconsin in 2016

Eight years ago in Wisconsin’s GOP primary, Donald Trump suffered his last big defeat on his way to the nomination, undone by a huge geographic divide over his candidacy.

Trump won the Republican vote in the rural north and west but was thrashed in metropolitan Milwaukee and Madison.

This year, Trump wrapped up his party’s nomination long before Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary (and will campaign today in Green Bay).

But the regional schisms in the GOP over the former president have re-emerged, a polling analysis shows.

Gregg T Nunziata/The Dispatch with a conservative opinion about what went wrong:

The Conservative Legal Movement Got Everything It Wanted. It Could Lose It All.

Trump-era advances in jurisprudence came at a deep civic cost.

Contrary to the fears of liberals and the misplaced hopes of Trump, conservative judicial appointees upheld the principle of judicial independence. They refused to serve as reliable partisans and handed Trump and his administration important legal defeats. Crucially, Trump’s nominees rejected his baseless claims of a stolen election.

But these advances in jurisprudence came at a deep civic cost. The president with whom legal conservatives allied themselves used his office to denigrate the rule of law, mock the integrity of the justice system, attack American institutions, and undermine public faith in democracy. Beyond the rhetoric, he abused emergency powers, manipulated appropriated funds for personal political ends, and played fast and loose with the appointments clause, all at the cost of core congressional powers.

Republicans in Congress barely resisted these actions and increasingly behaved more like courtiers than members of a co-equal branch of government. They failed to treat either of his impeachments with appropriate constitutional gravity. House Republicans dismissed his first impeachment process. Leading senators not only ignored centuries of precedent by refusing to conduct a meaningful trial, but they debased themselves by traipsing to the White House to guffaw and applaud while the president celebrated his acquittal.

News: Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola brought in an eye-popping $1.7 million in the first three months of the year, bringing her war chest to $2.5 million as she prepares to defend the Trumpiest seat held by a Democrat.

— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) April 2, 2024

That’s what happens when you’re pro fish.

Cliff Schecter covers Stacey Plaskett taking down Jim Jordan:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Being in Congress is about more than just getting elected

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup is a long-running series published every morning that collects essential political discussion and analysis around the internet.

Bess Levin/Vanity Fair:

Over 100 House Republicans Will Skip GOP Retreat Because They Hate Each Other So Much: Report

They apparently don’t want to spend any more time together than they’re contractually obligated to.
When he abruptly announced his decision yesterday to quit Congress early, [Rep. Ken] Buck said, of the dysfunction on Capitol Hill: “It is the worst year of the nine years and three months that I’ve been in Congress and having talked to former members, it’s the worst year in 40, 50 years to be in Congress.… This place has just devolved into this bickering and nonsense and not really doing the job for the American people.” Specifically calling out his fellow Republicans, he said: “We’ve taken impeachment, and we’ve made it a social media issue as opposed to a constitutional concept—this place keeps going downhill, and I don’t need to spend more time here.”

16. Just as Clinton’s economic policies finally ended the presidencies of Roosevelt and Johnson, Biden’s economic policies are finally ending the presidencies of Reagan and Clinton.

— The Editorial Board (@johnastoehr) March 14, 2024

Jeff Tiedrich/”everyone is entitled to my own opinion” on Substack:

Handy Oakley’s days in Congress are numbered as the House GOP freaks the fuck out boo fucking hoo

the House GOP is in total disarray and it’s super fucking hilarious.

right now, House Republicans are running around the halls of Congress with their pants around their ankles and soup pots on their heads and banging the fuck into the walls and each other — it’s twenty-megaton clownshoes bedlam.

they’re resigning left and right. their majority is shrinking. half the them hate the guts of the other half — every single one of them is an incompetent imbecile who couldn’t govern their way out of a paper bag.

the collective IQ of the whole worthless lot of them couldn’t generate enough wattage to warm a leftover slice of pizza, which makes it all the more amusing to watch them freak the fuck out and melt down into a rancid puddle of stupid.

Yeah, but what do you really think, Jeff?

Want to hear me give my case for the importance of NATO? Over at @UnPopulistMag, I debate this very issue with my discourse partner @shikhadalmia

— Berny Belvedere (@bernybelvedere) March 14, 2024

Will Bunch/The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Voters don’t have a clue about how much worse Trump’s second term would be Many voters seem fooled that Trump 47 would be a bland replay of Trump 45, not the authoritarian nightmare he actually plans.

Gameli Fenuku, a 22-year-old Black college student in Richmond, Va., is exactly the demographic you’d think would never vote for Donald Trump in November — and indeed, he may not. But Fenuku told the New York Times he hasn’t ruled out supporting the presumptive GOP nominee, either. That’s because he remembers his teen years under Trump as a time when a lot of things were a lot better than he sees them now — especially the economy.


The Virginia college student is the face of a phenomenon that is shaping the 2024 rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden with less than eight months to go. The polls and interviews suggest a lot of voters are responding no to the ex-president’s borrowing of Ronald Reagan’s famous question, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” This despite Trump’s army of detractors calling this “collective amnesia” about a twice-impeached president who nearly four years ago was wondering if Americans should be drinking bleach to tackle COVID-19.

Less than three-and-a-half years after the U.S. electorate made Trump the first 21st-century president to lose reelection — and by a solid, seven million vote margin — a poll taken by a liberal climate group found 52% of today’s voters now approve of Trump’s former presidency.

Bill Scher/Washington Monthly:

Biden doesn't need guilty verdicts to win

Any strategy to defeat Trump should not be premised on help from the judiciary.

Most national polls show Donald Trump leading Joe Biden. But when pollsters ask whom would voters prefer if Trump was convicted of a felony, Biden always comes out on top.

This understandably makes Democrats eager for Trump's many trials to get underway, and deeply anxious when Trump's delay tactics succeed.

But the delays are an implicit reminder that nothing is certain about the outcome of the Trump trials, and any strategy to defeat Trump should not be premised on help from the judiciary.

Delay is the name of the game, and judges and Justices seem all too eager to play along.

New: Trump flip-flopped on a possible TikTok ban because he wants to try to drive a wedge between Biden and young voters. Here's how he plans to do it with some thoughts on how to fight back

— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) March 14, 2024

Philip Bump/The Washington Post:

Polling won’t tell you who will win in November, but it’s not meant to

So let’s use the occasion of Biden’s comments to do three things. First, let’s establish that polling is an effective way to measure public opinion. Second, let’s clarify that does not mean that a poll conducted today will accurately capture who will win the presidential election. And third, let’s further clarify that even the last polls conducted before this year’s election will almost certainly show no more than who is more likely to win.

Those three things might seem contradictory, but they are not. If you use a paper map to plan your route to your destination, you’ll have a good sense of how long it will take. You should not, however, assume that it will provide you with a Google Maps-like estimate of your arrival time to the minute. It’s not real-time, for one thing, and it’s simply not designed to be as precise.

An anti-fascist consensus, reimagined?   Biden’s State of the Union offered a vision of what it means to “defend democracy” that should, if taken seriously, transform America – and help re-think liberalism – rather than just restore pre-Trump “normalcy” (link in bio):   🧵1/

— Thomas Zimmer (@tzimmer_history) March 13, 2024

Greg Sargent/The New Republic:

Trump Is the Big Loser as the GOP’s Impeachment Farce Implodes

The case against Trump is based on things that actually happened, while the case against Biden is based largely on inventions.

That might seem counterintuitive. What does Trump’s culpability have to do with the case against Biden? Yet step back a bit and the dynamic becomes clear: The GOP arguments for impeaching Biden are revealed at their most absurd when the two cases are laid side by side.

What’s more, when the GOP’s game is fully exposed—that it’s not just about hatching fake evidence of crimes by Biden but also about muddying the waters around evidence of crimes by Trump that is very real—that’s when the GOP posture becomes most indefensible.

Signs of this dynamic are everywhere. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing that purported to grill Robert Hur, the special counsel who recently released a report exonerating Biden that also contained damning but gratuitous claims about his age and memory...

But the hearing was largely a bust for Republicans. The savvy observers at Politico’s Playbook called it a “dud” and reported that it has prompted Republicans to look for an “off ramp” from their impeachment push, which turns on a separate set of claims about the Biden family’s business dealings that have also largely collapsed.


As Biden impeachment stalls, House GOP turns to backup plans

While Republicans have considered other paths to antagonize the White House for months, those plans have taken on fresh importance as a vote to impeach seems doomed.

But Republicans are determined not to give up on a push that’s still a high priority for the GOP base — especially since abandoning it altogether could alienate conservatives they need to turn out in November. So they’re exploring backup options to keep the spotlight on so-far-unproven allegations that Biden misused the public offices he’s held to benefit his family’s businesses.

Those Plan Bs include legislative reforms like tighter financial disclosure and foreign lobbying guardrails; criminal referrals for Hunter Biden and others to the Justice Department; a potential lawsuit for DOJ officials’ testimony and calls from some within their conference to just keep investigating, pushing the probe closer to Election Day.

Any of those off-ramps come with risks of their own — namely that they require cooperation from the Senate or the Justice Department — but, the current GOP thinking goes, Republicans would at least have something to show to their anti-Biden voters with their thin majority on the line.

In other words, having made stuff up from the beginning, they continue to make stuff up. I can’t imagine that’s going to satisfy the base, but it’s all they’ve got.

Between his unpopularity and the structural forces against third parties, Menendez would be lucky to get 5% of the vote. #NJsen

— Nathaniel Rakich (@baseballot) March 14, 2024

Cliff Schecter and Tony Michaels on Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson of North Carolina:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The Hur hearing was a political disaster—for Republicans

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup is a long-running series published every morning that collects essential political discussion and analysis around the internet.

First came the transcript, in which Joe Biden was clearly documented to remember the date his son Beau died, if not the year (that’s normal for most people). And then came the hearing in which Robert Hur could not remember complementing Biden on his memory until Democrats read him the transcript. This part in particular, from the transcript (via The New York Times), is telling:

And when Mr. Biden provided a lengthy description of the layout of his house in Delaware — portions of which were redacted in the transcript for security reasons — Mr. Hur observed that Mr. Biden appeared to have “a photographic understanding and, and recall of the house.”

The level of credulity with which that document was taken ought to prompt some reflection in light of what we saw from Biden at SOTU, what we see in the full transcript, Hur now working with GOP campaign operatives, etc

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 12, 2024

Philip Bump/The Washington Post:

The GOP’s new Biden attack is weakening its old one

Biden “knew the rules,” Jordan added, “but he broke them for $8 million in a book advance!”

This argument, by itself, isn’t tenable. There’s no indication that the material Hur references was essential to the Beau Biden story or to the publisher offering the advance. Hur’s report indicates that the material wasn’t used in the book. But view it from Jordan’s perspective: At last, he has a tenuous link between Biden taking money and his doing something described by a third-party as inappropriate.

Comer, given a chance to ask questions of Hur, tried to backstop the impeachment inquiry without much effect. Unfortunately, Hur’s actual work significantly undercut the idea that Biden was working in cahoots with his family.

completely reprehensible that Republicans smeared Biden for not remembering when his son died when that's clearly a lie

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 12, 2024

The New York Times:

Anti-Trump Group of Republicans Lays Out $50 Million Plan of Attack

The group, Republican Voters Against Trump, will run a series of homemade videos of Americans who voted for him in the past but say they can no longer do so in 2024.

The group, Republican Voters Against Trump, first emerged in the 2020 campaign and made a return appearance for the 2022 midterm elections. It is run by Sarah Longwell, a leading figure in Never-Trump politics whose focus groups and polling are a staple of center-right podcasts and have made her a go-to figure for political reporters aiming to decipher the motivations behind Trump supporters.

Not hard to tell which party had the momentum after the State of the Union

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 11, 2024

Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria/”Popular Information” on Substack:

New data explodes myth of crime wave fueled by migrants

The most comprehensive look at violent crime in the United States in 2023 will come when the FBI publishes its national Uniform Crime Report. But that will not happen until the fall. But, as crime analyst Jeff Asher explains in his newsletter, the FBI report is based on individual Uniform Crime Reports submitted by each state. Asher identified 14 states that have released their Uniform Crime Reports publicly. The data has not been completely finalized and could be adjusted slightly before formally submitting it to the FBI. But this data is the best early look at violent crime trends last year.

Asher found that both murder and violent crime declined in 12 of 14 states.

Swalwell: You said to President Biden, “you appear to have a photographic understanding and recall.” Did you say that? Hur: Those words do appear in the transcript Swalwell: Never appeared in your report Hur: It does not appear in my report

— Acyn (@Acyn) March 12, 2024


GOP Rep. Ken Buck to leave Congress at end of next week

Buck criticized dysfunction on Capitol Hill in discussing his decision to leave, telling CNN’s Dana Bash, “It is the worst year of the nine years and three months that I’ve been in Congress and having talked to former members, it’s the worst year in 40, 50 years to be in Congress. But I’m leaving because I think there’s a job to do out there.”

“This place has just devolved into this bickering and nonsense and not really doing the job for the American people,” he said.

SPEAKER JOHNSON says Buck didn’t give him a heads up ahead of this announcement “I didn’t know,” he said, adding that he looks forward to chatting with him

— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) March 12, 2024


Bloodbath at RNC: Trump team slashes staff at committee

Dozens of staffers are expected to be let go.

All told, the expectation is that more than 60 RNC staffers who work across the political, communications and data departments will be let go. Those being asked to resign include five members of the senior staff, though the names were not made public. Additionally, some vendor contracts are expected to be cut.


Trump advisers have described the RNC’s structure as overly bloated and bureaucratic, which they believe has contributed to the party’s cash woes. The RNC had about $8 million at the end of December, only about one-third as much as the Democratic National Committee.

Under the new structure, the Trump campaign is looking to merge its operations with the RNC. Key departments, such as communications, data and fundraising, will effectively be one and the same.

Republicans just spent four hours broadcasting wall-to-wall, live TV coverage of Trump’s many criminal indictments and reminding everyone Biden was cleared. Brilliant as usual.

— Jim Messina (@Messina2012) March 12, 2024

Enter the Bucks County Beacon, in which a local paper gives us better, more truthful coverage than many national outlets are giving us on this story—all while crediting POLITICO with the original scoop.

Shocking Online Manifesto Reveals Project 2025’S Link To A Coordinated ‘Christian Nationalism Project’

“The Statement on Christian Nationalism” seeks to implement a Scripture-based system of government whereby Christ-ordained “civil magistrates” exercise authority over the American public.

Approximately 100 right-wing organizations have signed onto Project 2025, an expansive plan for controlling (and in some cases dismantling) federal agencies in the event that Trump or another Republican wins the presidential election this year. Many of these organizations are led by Christian fundamentalist political operatives, suggesting that they may use the plan to force all Americans to submit to their extreme religious beliefs.

The Bucks County Beacon has just found explosive new evidence that seems to validate this concern.

The Beacon’s discovery follows an earlier report by Politico journalist Heidi Przybyla, which tied the Center for Renewing America (CFRA), an official Project 2025 partner, to an internal memo expressly listing “Christian Nationalism” as a priority for a second Trump term.

if you're writing Biden off based on the early general election polls, you're making a very big analytical mistake

— G Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) March 12, 2024

Cliff Schecter on Trump’s treatment of Nikki Haley voters:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: A not so Super Tuesday, and a November election for the amnesiacs

New York Times:

Do Americans Have a ‘Collective Amnesia’ About Donald Trump?

It’s only been three years, but memories of Mr. Trump’s presidency have faded and changed fast.

But as Mr. Trump pursues a return to power, the question of what exactly voters remember has rarely been more important. While Mr. Trump is staking his campaign on a nostalgia for a time not so long ago, Mr. Biden’s campaign is counting on voters to refocus on Mr. Trump, hoping they will recall why they denied him a second term.

“Remember how you felt the day after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016,” the Biden campaign wrote in a fund-raising appeal last month. “Remember walking around in disbelief and fear of what was to come.”

Early still, but "Project 2025 isn't real" is my Take of the Day candidate.

— David Weigel (@daveweigel) March 5, 2024


Trump-allied election groups burned through millions with no evidence of widespread fraud

  • Groups allied with Donald Trump have been struggling with their finances, according to tax records.
  • Officials have debunked Donald Trump’s conspiracy that the 2020 election was stolen or there was widespread voter fraud.
  • Another problem that has plagued some of the groups is they didn’t receive any fundraising help from Trump himself.

Primary results @GOP #SuperTuesday@NikkiHaley percentages: VT 47% CO 40% MA 36% VA 33% ME 25% AR 24% NC 23% TX 19% Seems many GOP voters don't want Trump? Recall Haley got 43% in NH; 40% in SC; Trump lost 49% in Iowa

— Tim McBride (@mcbridetd) March 6, 2024

The above were 9 pm results, but the point still stands (Haley won Vermont). Some but not all of those Haley voters were Democrats. More were independents. Many Republicans chose not to vote for Trump even though he cleaned up in both delegates and vote percentage. And no one fully understands what that means for fall. Still, Haley is out.

Nikki Haley will suspend her presidential campaign and leave Donald Trump as the last major Republican candidate via @sppeople & @MegKinnardAP

— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) March 6, 2024

Super Tuesday exit poll data from CBS:

Party ID of Haley voters and Trump voters?

As in previous contests, much of Haley's support comes from voters who are not Republican. In Virginia,  this is particularly striking. Republicans make up just a third of those voting for her in that state.

In Virginia, about a quarter of Haley's supporters are Democrats.

In North Carolina, most of her supporters are independents.

Molly Jong-Fast/MSNBC:

Trump's Super Tuesday 'win' comes at a cost

Nikki Haley wants to harness the "never Trump" vote. Can she help make one of Team Trump's worst fears come true?

Despite never having a chance at winning, Haley’s quest quickly became quixotic, exposing cracks in Trump’s election strategy and structure. After all, Trump has always run on appealing to the GOP base’s basest nature. He won by shifting the electorate, getting traditionally low-turnout voters to vote for him. If that base’s enthusiasm falters even a little bit, that alone could be enough for Biden to hold on to the presidency.

Haley showed us that there are real fractures not only in Trump’s strategy, but in the GOP primary base. Per The Associated Press, "According to AP VoteCast surveys of the first three head-to-head Republican contests, 2 in 10 Iowa voters, one-third of New Hampshire voters, and one-quarter of South Carolina voters would be so disappointed by Trump’s renomination that they would refuse to vote for him in the fall." Now that he has 91 criminal counts against him and is heading into a criminal trial in March, it seems even more unlikely that the “never Trump” contingent will change their minds in November.


The complaining around Schiff’s strategy betrayed a fundamental misreading of normie Democrats, who *want* to focus attacks on Republicans, and not have a months-long intra-party feud.

— Bill Scher (@billscher) March 6, 2024

Meanwhile Joe Biden also romped. Not much drama. Hey, did you know for the most part Biden outperformed Obama in 2012?

Arizona Republic:

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema won't seek reelection, ending chances of a 3-way Arizona Senate race

Ending more than a year of speculation about her future, U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said Tuesday she won’t seek reelection because extremism in both major parties makes it impossible to tackle the nation’s needs.

In a video message on social media, Sinema, I-Ariz., rattled off what she views as a successful legislative record and lamented that “Americans still choose to retreat further to their partisan corners.”

"It’s all or nothing. The outcome is less important than beating the other guy,” she said. “The only political victories that matter these days are symbolic. … Compromise is a dirty word. We’ve arrived at that crossroad and we chose anger and division. I believe in my approach, but it’s not what America wants right now.”

She did herself in by fighting for tax cuts, alienating Democrats along the way. Matt Fuller/X via Threadreader put together a good summary of her saga:

I can’t tell you exactly why Kyrsten Sinema is leaving Congress. But I can tell you that @sambrodey’s coverage of her was genuinely exceptional and some of the most revealing reporting about Sinema or any other politician. Small thread: 
In Oct. 2021, Sam reported on how Sinema’s bizarre transformation into a centrist troll had burned some of her personal friendships.

Yes. Sinema wasn’t beaten. She lost it.

— Richard M. Nixon (@dick_nixon) March 6, 2024

David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:

The Biden Administration’s Going All-In on Its Push for a Gaza Ceasefire

Vice President Harris’ meeting with Netanyahu’s rival—and her passionate words on behalf of Palestinians—are just a couple ways the White House is trying to halt the fighting.

You could hear the urgency in the vice president’s remarks when she passionately addressed the plight of the people of Palestine both on Sunday when she spoke in Selma, Alabama, and on Monday after she met with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz—who also happens to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s primary domestic political rival, and who made the visit to D.C. despite protests from Netanyahu.

Alon Pinkas/Haaretz:

The U.S. Finally Realized: Netanyahu Broke an Unbreakable Alliance

Over 15 years, through hubris and rudeness, Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to turn Israel from an ally into a high-maintenance, ongoing crisis whose actions are inconsistent with U.S. interests in the Middle East

Gantz's meetings with Vice President Kamala Harris, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and lawmakers in Congress are not ordinary meetings. They are meetings reserved for a prime minister, or someone they think will or should be premier.

More than anything, they are meant to rile Netanyahu – the self-ordained ultimate maven on U.S. affairs whom the Americans have concluded is a liability, not an ally.

Thanks @FoxNews!

— Biden-Harris HQ (@BidenHQ) March 6, 2024

Cliff Schecter on Hunter Biden and impeachment:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: It’s still primary season and not general election season

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup is a long-running series published every morning that collects essential political discussion and analysis around the internet.

Rick Hasen/Election Law Blog:

Supreme Court Decision in Trump Colorado Disenfranchisement Case Almost Certainly Being Released Monday at 10 am ET (So It’s Technically Out Before Super Tuesday and Colorado Voting) and It Will Not Let Colorado Disqualify Trump

Opinion releases usually happen when the Justices physically take the bench in Court, and the next opportunity for that which was listed on the Supreme Court website was March 15.

But the Court just changed its website to indicate that one or more opinions is going to be posted on the Supreme Court website at 10 am ET Monday morning. And the Justices won’t be taking the bench to do it.

While they want to get it out before Tuesday, early voting in Colorado has already started.

Greg Sargent/The New Republic:

Liz Cheney Nukes the Supreme Court Over Trump Delay—and Hands Dems a Weapon

What percentage of voters know that Trump can cancel prosecutions of himself if he wins back the White House?

The court’s decision is terrible news, to be sure, but it gives Democrats an opportunity to clarify a few crucial points, and they should seize it.

First, Democrats should stress that voters need to know before the election whether Trump committed crimes—and this is due to them as a matter of right. Second, Trump is seeking these delays to end all prosecutions of himself if he regains the White House—to corruptly place himself above the law by pardoning himself or having his handpicked lickspittle attorney general do it. Democrats must say clearly that if the court helps delay the trial until after the election, it will be enabling him to do that.

Rep. Tony Gonzales on if Rs are squandering their majority: "Here we are fighting with each other over X, Y and Z. You think China is doing that?" Joe Manchin: "This 118th Congress, I"m ashamed to end my career in the absolute worst performing Congress in the history" of the US

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 3, 2024

The Hill:

Haley takes the victory in DC GOP primary

Nikki Haley will win the Washington, D.C., Republican presidential primary, netting her first victory of the GOP nominating process, Decision Desk HQ projects.

The win for the former United Nations ambassador breaks a streak of more than a half dozen victories for former President Trump to start out the GOP contests for the nomination. It’s a much-needed triumph for Haley to show she can top Trump somewhere, but she still has a long road ahead of her.

She has pledged to stay in the race at least through Super Tuesday this week, when more than a dozen states will vote. But she was not able to win any of the early-voting states in January and February, and no upcoming state obviously jumps out as a clear opportunity for her to win.

Still, the win in the winner-take-all D.C. primary will give her all of its 19 delegates. Voting in the District took place across three days from Friday to Sunday.

This will only add to Trump’s instability. It won’t really help Haley win. 

Dan Pfeiffer/”The Message Box” on Substack:

Some Quick Thoughts on that Bad NYT Poll

Another NYT/Siena poll shows Trump leading, panic ensues

Hey Dan, You Got Any Good News?

Sure. Here are some positive points for you:

  • President Biden’s path to winning this race is pretty simple (on paper) — win back people who have voted for him in the past, vote for Democrats in other elections, and share ideological alignment with Democrats on issues such as abortion and climate change. We don’t have to convince a single Trump 2020 voter to win.

  • There are fissures to exploit in Trump’s coalition. Even though Trump has locked up the Republican nomination, Nikki Haley is still getting 20% of the Republican primary vote. Each and every one of these Haley voters is a persuasion target for Democrats.

  • Biden is dramatically overperforming with senior citizens. He leads Trump by 6 points in this poll which, as pollster John Della Volpe points out, is an 11 point improvement over 2020.

  • 53% of voters think Trump committed serious Federal crimes and one in five of those voters still plan to vote for Trump — that’s another group of people we might be able to move back into our column.

  • 19% of voters disapprove of both Biden and Trump. These are the so-called “double-haters” Biden is currently winning those voters 45-33. In 2020, he won them overwhelmingly, so there is obvious room to grow.

None of this easy. There are no silver bullets, and nothing will change the race overnight. As indicated by this and numerous other polls, it’s evident that the President is encountering substantial challenges. However, as I previously emphasized, I firmly believe that Joe Biden has the potential to secure victory in this election.

Weary of another round of Biden age chatter? I discuss the paradoxes of class in 2024: Biden’s program is lifting up the working class but Trump will be done in by his weakness with the college educated. Key: the anti-Dobbs, anti-vulgarity vote Free access

— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) March 3, 2024

Tyler Pager/Washington Post:

The private chats and chance encounters that shape Joe Biden’s thinking

After conversations with his grandchildren, fellow churchgoers and Delaware neighbors, the president brings their worries to the Oval Office

As president of the United States, Biden has access to practically unlimited information. He receives a daily classified briefing from the world’s most powerful intelligence apparatus. He can mobilize the vast machinery of the U.S. government to deliver data on various topics. He can convene meetings with world leaders, Cabinet officials or experts in any field — and often does.

But to a remarkable degree, Biden relies on direct personal interaction for information: catch-up chats with his children and grandchildren; talks with fellow parishioners after Mass; exchanges with workers on his property in Wilmington, Del; spontaneous calls to former colleagues. From consumer prices to masking guidelines to loneliness, the president brings their worries to the Oval Office.

Interesting piece on who Biden talks to, especially given the bubble built around every White House. 

“I’m the only one who has ever beat him. And I’ll beat him again.” “If you thought you were best positioned to beat someone who, if they won, would change the nature of America, what would you do?”

— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) March 4, 2024

Evan Osnos/The New Yorker:

Joe Biden’s Last Campaign

Trailing Trump in polls and facing doubts about his age, the President voices defiant confidence in his prospects for reëlection.
Back in the Oval Office, where winter sun shone through glass doors, I asked Biden if it was possible for him to reach voters who had those beliefs. He treated the question as a provocation: “Well, first of all, remember, in 2020, you guys told me how I wasn’t going to win? And then you told me in 2022 how it was going to be this red wave?” He flashed a tense smile. “And I told you there wasn’t going to be any red wave. And in 2023 you told me we’re going to get our ass kicked again? And we won every contested race out there.” He let that sink in for an instant and said, “In 2024, I think you’re going to see the same thing.”

Against the will of Netanyahu, @gantzbe is about to visit Washington for meetings with @VP Harris and NSC adviser Jake Sullivan. Bibi has ordered Israel’s ambassador to boycott the meetings. I wager @POTUS will drop by; might even invite Gantz into the Oval Office. Gantz is a…

— Martin Indyk (@Martin_Indyk) March 3, 2024

Will Bunch/Philadelphia Inquirer:

Mitch McConnell is the arsonist who set America on fire and ran away

A corrupt Supreme Court, looming dictatorship and a "Handmaid's Tale" society is the America Mitch McConnell created and runs away from.

You gotta hand it to Mitch McConnell, the GOP’s 82-year-old Senate minority leader who arguably has done more to bend, staple and mutilate America in the 21st century than anyone else. He did so with zero charm or charisma, in the slow, ageless and ultimately inscrutable manner of the giant Galapagos turtle he so weirdly resembles.

But last Wednesday, the ancient gambler of the Senate looked carefully at his final hand. He knew when to run.

Alexander Bolton/The Hill:

GOP senators face Trump civil war with McConnell retiring

The race to replace Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is laying bare the power struggle between pro-Trump and anti-Trump Republicans in the Senate.

GOP lawmakers aligned closely with the former president are urging any candidate wanting to succeed McConnell to embrace Trump. Other Republican senators want McConnell’s successor to keep a healthy distance from the controversial former president.

Cliff Schecter notes that Steve bannon is going after Rupert Murdoch:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Michigan primary vote still sinking in

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup is a long-running series published every morning that collects essential political discussion and analysis around the internet.

Philip Bump/Washington Post:

Michigan’s choose-your-own-lesson presidential primary

Trump and Biden won their respective contests, but the lessons each should take aren’t entirely clear

The focus on Biden is heavily a function of this public, state-specific effort to send him a message. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, there’s an ongoing protest vote, mostly manifested in support for former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley’s technically existent challenge to Trump’s bid for the nomination.

In Michigan, that meant that Trump underperformed Biden in nearly every county….

[But there’s more conflicting data]

What’s the lesson? Take your pick. You have six charts to pick from.

The most important lesson, certainly, is the most boring one, the one for which no chart is needed: Biden and Trump both won easily and will almost certainly be the two major-party candidates on the ballot in November.

Does Haley's declining primary vote mean Trump is really OK with the GOP base? Let's look at 1992 Buchanan got 37% in NH against the incumbent Bush As his vote in later primaries generally ranged b/t 10-30% he drew less attention Final pop vote was Bush 73 Buchanan 23 ...

— Bill Scher (@billscher) February 28, 2024

...But to my eye a Haley drawing ≈20 is still a significant undercurrent of discontent with the presumptive nominee, even if it's less than what she got in NH/SC.

— Bill Scher (@billscher) February 28, 2024

Danielle Lee Tompson/”Failure to Communicate” on Substack:

CPAC as Simulacra

Spending a few days in the flagship event of the American Conservative Union told me a lot about the exhausted discourse in our country

CPAC is a simulacra, that is to say a copy of a copy of itself, reflecting not only a larger trend in Republican politics but American politics generally.

This year I sojourned to the Gaylord Resort in Maryland’s National Harbor not so much for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that has been going on since Reagan times, but some other work and interviews related to my book. Perhaps I also went because, at this point in my life as a scholar of conservative media, it is my habit.

Something this year about CPAC felt hollow, a brightly branded wrapper that did not hold much by way of substance. There were few big American political names beyond Trump. Guests looked in vain for the usual hotel suite parties paid for by eager lobbying groups. I did not smell the sweaty pheromones of drunk college Republicans in their khaki pants or grandma’s pearls about to lose their virginities— they barely showed up. Aside from some guy getting dragged away by security dressed in a white KKK robe and a few errant neo-Nazi Groypers in sunglasses and trench coats, I did not even see the usual robust number of sketchy far-right figures who typically troll the conference. They just seemed like a handful of lame young men who hadn’t grown up.

New polling showing that when Democrats explain how Republicans killed the toughest border bill in decades, Republicans' 15 point advantage on the border DISAPPEARS. Time to go on the offense, team.

— Chris Murphy 🟧 (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 29, 2024

Florida Politics:

Ron DeSantis says Citizens Insurance is ‘not solvent’

Gov. Ron DeSantis is telling the nation that people in his state shouldn’t rely on the state-run insurer of last resort, raising new questions about Citizens Property Insurance ahead of what is expected to be an active hurricane season.

“It is not solvent and we can’t have millions of people on that because if a storm hits, it’s going to cause problems for the state,” the second-term Republican Governor said on CNBC’s “Last Call.”

The Governor’s comments are particularly interesting as they were in the middle of a rumination about private insurers bringing new capital into the state, in which he claimed that “about 30% of those policies from Citizens” taken out by “new private insurance (companies) will actually be able to offer lower rates to those people.” That suggests roughly 70% of people are paying more since the take out of Citizens’ policies.

77-13: Senate approves short-term funding for the federal government in two stages through March 8 and March 22 to avert Friday's midnight shutdown deadline. 60 votes were needed. House passed the CR earlier today 320-99 and it now heads to President Biden to be signed into law.

— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) March 1, 2024

Bolts magazine:

Red State AGs Keep Trying to Kill Ballot Measures by a Thousand Cuts

Organizers say state officials have stretched their powers by stonewalling proposed ballot measures on abortion, voting rights, and government transparency.

When a coalition of voting rights activists in Ohio set out last December to introduce a new ballot initiative to expand voting access, they hardly anticipated that the thing to stop them would be a matter of word choice.

But that’s what Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost took issue with when he reviewed the proposal’s summary language and title, then called “Secure and Fair Elections.” Among other issues, Yost said the title “does not fairly or truthfully summarize or describe the actual content of the proposed amendment.”

So the group tried again, this time naming their measure “The Ohio Voters Bill of Rights.” Again, Yost rejected them, for the same issue, with the same explanation. After that, activists sued to try and certify their proposal—the first step on the long road toward putting the measure in front of voters on the ballot.

“AG Yost doesn’t have the authority to comment on our proposed title, let alone the authority to reject our petition altogether based on the title alone,” the group said in a statement announcing their plans to mount a legal challenge. “The latest rejection of our proposed ballot summary from AG Yost’s office is nothing but a shameful abuse of power to stymie the right of Ohio citizens to propose amendments to the Ohio Constitution.”

These Ohio advocates aren’t alone in their struggle to actually use the levers of direct democracy. Already in 2024, several citizen-led attempts to put issues directly to voters are hitting bureaucratic roadblocks early on in the process at the hands of state officials.

Now that we are done with the Hunter impeachment sham, I want to remind everyone of the real White House family scandal. Why did Jared Kushner receive $2 billion from Saudi Arabia months after leaving his post overseeing Middle East policy?

— Congressman Robert Garcia (@RepRobertGarcia) February 29, 2024

David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:

Biden and Netanyahu Both Hope the Other Is Out of Power Soon

The dysfunctional relationship between the two leaders has gotten so bad they’re both imagining a near future where they can work with the other’s successor

This week, U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrated yet again why theirs is the foreign policy world’s worst marriage.

They don’t share the same goals. They don’t trust each other. And they just can’t seem to communicate.’

It is no wonder that both—as well as those close to each of them—spend much of their time hoping for a divorce and a chance at happiness with a new partner. The reality, however, is that those hopes are not likely to come to fruition and we may be enduring the consequences of this dysfunctional relationship for quite some time to come

On the other hand, a major political crisis is coming to a head in Israel as the Defense Minister (Gallant) proposes drafting yeshiva students for military service (they currently are exempt). The ultraorthodox parties keeping Netanyahu in power would be forced to resign on principle, which would in turn bring down the government. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile in Haaretz:

Biden Has a Vision for Israel's Future. Netanyahu Doesn't

It is unprecedented that a superpower crafts and offers a long-term grand strategy for a significantly smaller, asymmetrical ally, as U.S. President Joe Biden is doing with his plan for a new Middle East. The least Israel can do is give the plan the attention it deserves

For the first time in its 76-year history, Israel has the opportunity to substantially improve its strategic situation and environs – and astonishingly, it is saying no.

The scale and magnitude of the strategic benefits the so-called Biden plan potentially provide to Israel cannot be exaggerated. It is, therefore, confounding to see the rude indifference, arrogant dismissal and open derision with which Israel has responded to the proposed U.S. outline for a reconfigured Middle East. The plan may be incomplete or imperfect at this point, but it is there for the taking.

Trump talked a lot about bring manufacturing back to America. But under Biden, manufacturing investment has grown faster than any time in recent history. And it's not even close. During Trump's presidency, manufacturing spending grew by 5%. Under Biden it has grown by 279%.

— Michael Thomas (@curious_founder) February 29, 2024

Cliff Schecter on reproductive freedom:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: IVF, courts, and fundraising

Lourdes A. Rivera/HuffPost:

What the Alabama Supreme Court’s Decision Says About Our Failing Democracy

The high court ruling that the “wrongful death of a minor” law could be applied to an embryo created through in vitro fertilization is another extremist strategy in the criminalization of pregnant people.  
For those of us following the Alabama Supreme Court closely, this is, while deeply disturbing, not surprising. Ten years ago, this court ruled that the definition of a “child” included fetuses at any point in gestation in the context of child abuse laws, meaning a pregnant person could abuse their “child” even as an embryo, ushering in the unprecedented mass criminalization of pregnant people in the state: more than 600 such cases from 2006 through 2022, outpacing every state in the nation in criminalizing pregnant people.

Lots to say about the Michigan primary, but the pundits aren’t done rewriting their preferred narrative. Check in tomorrow, but meanwhile:

Michigan voter on Trump: I think he is pretty much an asshole

— Acyn (@Acyn) February 28, 2024

Marilou Johanek/Ohio Capital Journal:

National and Ohio Republicans desperately pretending they haven’t been attacking IVF

All Ohio Republican U.S. Senate candidates opposed November amendment passed by 57% of Ohio voters that guaranteed rights to fertility treatment

Don’t believe a word. The same extremists lining up to support a federal abortion ban, that would override hard-earned reproductive freedoms in states like Ohio, are now tripping all over themselves to profess their support for IVF and personal choice. Yeah right. The truth is freedom-killing MAGA Republicans were caught off guard after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos (created and stored for in vitro fertilization) are children under state law.

Public reaction to the decision — that repeatedly invoked scripture as its legal foundation for effectively stopping in vitro fertilization treatments across Alabama — was highly negative. Of course it was. Millions of Americans struggle with infertility issues. Many have turned to IVF for hope. So the patriarchal zealots on a mission from God to force their religious beliefs down our throats — to control what you read, say, do, who you marry, when and how you have kids — saw the polls on IVF and rushed to pretend they would absolutely protect access to it.

Don’t believe a word. The extreme agenda of Christian nationalists to inject government into our private lives and subjugate women as vessels of the state was bluntly exposed in the Alabama IVF case. 

Watch him get 80 percent in the Michigan primary, and have the same journalists call it a setback, reflecting deep divisions among Democrats.

— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) February 26, 2024

Brian Beutler/”Off Message” on Substack:

IVF And The Faithlessness Of The GOP

Republicans desperately trying to cover their tracks are running the same play as the Supreme Court justices who lied about settled law to get confirmed so they could overturn Roe v. Wade.

In reality, Republicans do not care about truth in advertising, per se.

To the contrary, they have embraced near-total faithlessness. Long gone are the days when they ran and lost on a plan to privatize Medicare—now they promise not to touch entitlements on the campaign trail, hoping to win enough power to simply break the promise. When their policies are unpopular or disruptive, they don’t even bother with Obama-style salesmanship, where policy and rhetoric at least point in the same direction. They now simply pursue a range of toxically unpopular policies, while telling voters they do not.

Former Conservative Prime Minister of Australia.

— Patrick Chovanec (@prchovanec) February 27, 2024

Associated Press:

Trump is winning big with his base, but there’s no sign that he’s broadening support

AP VoteCast shows that Trump, the former president, has galvanized the core of the GOP electorate in IowaNew Hampshire and South Carolina. His voters so far are overwhelmingly white, mostly older than 50 and generally without a college degree. This, however, is very different than the electorate he could face in November, when he’d have to appeal to a far more diverse group and possibly win over supporters of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Her pull has been limited in the GOP primaries – but her candidacy may foreshadow problems for Trump.

AP VoteCast reveals that a large portion of Trump’s opposition within the Republican primaries is comprised of voters who abandoned him before this year.

Mike Allen/Axios:

Trump's demographic problem

Those who went to the polls reflected Trump's strengths:

  • This was the oldest South Carolina GOP electorate this century. (Chuck Todd)
  • 60% of primary voters were white evangelical or born-again Christians. (CNN)

Reality check: That group isn't remotely big enough to win a presidential election. He would need to attract voters who are more diverse, more educated and believe his first loss was legit. South Carolina exit polls show he didn't do that.

  • That's why Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate's only Black Republican, remains on Trump's short list for V.P.
  • A bigger problem yet: Polls show these skeptics would be even less likely to swing his way if he's convicted of a crime — a real possibility among his four ongoing cases, insiders tell us.

NEW: Nancy Mace is circulating a non-binding resolution to express support for IVF & condemn judicial rulings or legislation that restrict access to fertility treatments, per draft sent to me & @FoxReports. But it’s symbolic — doesn’t actually enshrine IVF protections into law.

— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) February 27, 2024

Marc Caputo/The Bulwark:

‘The numbers right now aren’t good.’

Why Trump is fundraising more than ever.

Trump’s legal issues have impacted his money picture in multiple ways: (1) They made some big donors nervous about giving to him, depriving him of money he otherwise would have had sooner. (2) They led some big donors to give to Haley instead, thereby prolonging her campaign. (3) They armed Trump critics with the argument that he wants the RNC to pay his legal bills. (4) The big financial judgments against him have made cash more scarce for Trump—which in turn make it harder to fill gaps by self-funding (which Trump has always been loath to do and hasn’t done this cycle).

“He’s much more engaged than I’ve ever seen him at this, and that’s because he has to be,” said one Republican familiar with the campaign’s finances. “The numbers right now aren’t good, but we should raise a billion dollars or $900 million at this pace now. We’ll have enough.”

Molly Jong-Fast/Vanity Fair:

Mike Johnson Is in Way Over His Head

Who’d have guessed a Trumpy backbencher would bungle the Speaker’s job?
Well, now you’ll even find Republicans pointing out that Johnson wasn’t the first draft pick. “We went through five choices and Mike Johnson’s the fifth choice,” Representative Patrick McHenry told CBS News last week. McHenry, who served as Speaker pro tempore last year after Kevin McCarthy, his ally, was ousted, may feel like he can finally speak freely since he’s not running for reelection. He’s part of a wave of House GOP retirements that includes Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Mike Gallagher, and Ken Buck. (Notably, Gallagher and Buck both voted against the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.) In the CBS interview, McHenry continued to muse about Johnson: “He has not been around these leadership decisions. He’s had a really tough process. We’ve thrown him into the deepest end of the pool with the heaviest weights around him and [we’re] trying to teach him how to learn to swim. It’s been a rough couple of months.” Sounds like McHenry has a little Speaker’s remorse! Or, as Punchbowl put it bluntly on Monday: “Johnson, quite frankly, has been hesitant to lead on any issue at all.”

This is the moment when the effort to boot Fani Willis off the Trump RICO case died.

— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) February 27, 2024

That's a wrap from Fulton County Superior Court on Terrance Bradley's testimony. That bombshell turned out to be a big 'ole dud.

— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) February 27, 2024

Cliff Schecter looks at Kevin McCarthy and Matt Gaetz:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Good people in Alabama suffer more than anyone over what Republicans do


‘These Embryos Are Five Years Worth of Money, Sadness, and Hope. I Just Want to Be a Mom.’

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled last week that frozen embryos are legally considered children, which effectively banned IVF treatment in the state. Here’s how the decision impacts one couple.
Crain, a journalist and artist who lives in Birmingham, has spent the past several years reporting on the loss of women’s rights to their own bodies in Alabama while dealing with the mental and physical toll of her own private fertility journey. She and her husband had been preparing to transfer their frozen embryos from their latest egg retrieval when she heard the news about the Supreme Court’s decision.

“It's insane,” she says. “While I don't view my embryos as scared children sitting in the freezer calling for their mommy, I do feel that they are mine and no one else's. And right now I can't, can't touch them physically, mentally, spiritually, if I wanted to. I legally can't.”

Republicans freaking out on IVF issue as Dems step up messaging

— Tim McBride (@mcbridetd) February 25, 2024

Eric Garcia/Independent:

CPAC celebrates the Alabama IVF ruling – while Trump and Republicans distance themselves

Republican candidates and the GOP’s presumptive presidential candidate have come out opposing restrictions to IVF. But some conservatives at CPAC celebrated the Alabama ruling

Republicans have begun to sense that the ruling is unpopular. Last year, the Pew Research Center found that 42 per cent of Americans have either used fertility treatments or knew someone who has, particularly as women continue to have children older. On Friday, Mr Tuberville posted on X/Twitter that he had spoken with Alabama’s speaker of the house, saying that the legislature will take up a bill to protect IVF.

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to have kids,” he said. “IVF will remain legal and available in Alabama.”

Similarly, National Review reported that the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent a memo to Republican candidates for Senate instructing them to “clearly state your support for IVF and fertility-related services as blessings for those seeking to have children.”

Two of the candidates for Senate in swing states who appeared at CPAC – David McCormick in Pennsylvania and Kari Lake in Arizona – both put out statements saying they opposed restrictions to IVF.

Republican leaders have instructed their politicians to publicly support IVF even if they have previously sponsored legislation that would ban IVF. The GOP is held together by its willingness to lie in unison.

— Mark Jacob (@MarkJacob16) February 24, 2024

John Archibald/

Alabama Supreme Court is a theocracy

Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Tom Parker was downright gleeful.

He quoted Genesis in his sermon — I’m sorry, his concurring opinion — in the Alabama ruling that turned in vitro fertilization on its head by defining frozen embryos as children.

He quoted 17th century Dutch theologian Petrus Van Mastricht. Ya know, good ole Van Mastricht. He quoted a 16th century Bible – because older is closer to God, maybe – and quoted the Sixth Commandment, thou shalt not kill.

He quoted Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin and one of Roy Moore’s old pals at the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery. He wrote of the “wrath of God.”

The people of Alabama, he said, decided all this was public policy.

“It is as if the People of Alabama took what was spoken of the prophet Jeremiah and applied it to every unborn person in this state: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I sanctified you.’”

Did I say it wasn’t a sermon? It was definitely a sermon.

This interview of a hard-core Trump voter in South Carolina by @Boris_Sanchez @cnn is absolutely fascinating 👉 Despite his loyalty to Trump, he validates my point @nytopinion about the devastating effect of a conviction 👇

— Norm Eisen (norm.eisen on Threads) (@NormEisen) February 25, 2024

Context for the above CNN video (the indictment remarks are at 00:41, listen to his reaction about conviction):

Among Haley supporters via @CNN exit polls: If Trump wins nomination: 21% satisfied 78% dissatisfied If Trump is convicted: 15% still fit for presidency 82% unfit for presidency

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) February 25, 2024

There’s too much out there on Biden’s weaknesses, not enough on Trump’s. So, here’s two more on Trump, starting with Dan Pfeiffer/”Message Box” on Substack:

Yet Another Underwhelming Trump Primary Win

Trump is on the glide path to the nomination, but he isn't improving his performance with swing voters

However, the real story is that Trump underperformed expectations and failed to expand his coalition. Once again, despite another dominant primary victory, the results highlighted Trump's vulnerabilities and offered a roadmap for defeating him in November.

Based on the exit polls, Trump’s campaign team should be popping some Xanax with the champagne over his win in South Carolina.

You cannot win the White House with the coalition that Trump is getting in these primaries. He must expand his coalition, persuade people who aren’t already on board, and get beyond the Big Lie-believing MAGA base. Through three primary contests, Trump has gained no ground.

Republican primary voters who vote for a candidate other than Trump are significantly less likely to return to him in the general. This is where resources should be spent. Everything else is a distraction. GOP defections will be the single largest factor in the November outcome

— Mike Madrid (@madrid_mike) February 25, 2024

Many here don’t believe it and don’t trust GOP voters. But they often have more sense than their candidates, at least if they aren’t white evangelical voters in South Carolina:

CNN exit polls in South Carolina primary: White evangelical Christians: 75% Trump 24% Haley Everyone else: 51% Haley 49% Trump

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) February 25, 2024

Walter Shapiro/The New Republic:

How Nikki Haley Can Beat Trump

She won’t win the Republican nomination, but by staying in the race she’s lowering Donald Trump’s chances of returning to the White House.

In a Tuesday speech giving her full-throated justification for staying in the race beyond her home state’s primary, Haley said, “Like most Americans, I have a handful of serious concerns about the former president. But I have countless serious concerns about the current president.” That line alone virtually guarantees that Haley will not magically appear as a surprise guest at the August Democratic convention.

Although the plucky Haley portrays herself as a loyal Republican, her limited—but scorching—attacks on Trump are worth examining in detail. She is appealing to a dwindling band of Reagan Republicans, suburban moderates and up-for-grabs independents. There are probably not enough of these voters to hand Haley a primary victory, but these are constituencies that the Joe Biden campaign will also target in November. Haley, in effect, is offering a crash course in how to woo swing voters who do not automatically assume that Trump is a racist and fascist out to trample the Constitution.  

Biden is building an anti-Trump coalition, not a pro-Biden one. every message that keeps folks in that coalition is a good one, every entity that peels off voters (third party) is a bad one (see Sarah Longwell above).

David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:

A Vote for Trump Is a Vote for Putin—and a World in Danger

Global peace, Europe’s future, and our security are on the ballot in November. The final word on Ukraine’s future, NATO’s future, and Putin’s future will come from American voters.

It is time to remove from our analytical lexicon the terms that are commonly used to minimize the dangers associated with the Trump-MAGA-Putin alliance. After more than eight years of compiling evidence that demonstrates Russia’s efforts to co-opt the American right is perhaps the most successful intelligence operation of our time, we have to reject the transparent vocabulary of keyboard warriors that still cry “hoax” every time new and irrefutable evidence of GOP-Russia ties is presented.

In the past two weeks alone, there has been the evidence that the core of the GOP sham impeachment effort against President Biden turned on the testimony of a man with ties to Russian intelligence; Trump’s invitation to Putin to do “whatever the hell he wants” with Europe; the MAGA right’s decision to postpone further even considering aid to UkraineTucker Carlson’s jaunt to Moscow to amplify the Kremlin’s lies about itself; the refusal of Trump to condemn the murder of Alexei Navalny in Russian prison; and the arrest of yet another American for no good reason in Russia.

Republicans pretending they want to protect IVF but getting owned by their own voting records.

— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) February 24, 2024

Thomas Zimmer/”Democracy Americana” on Substack:

“Project 2025” Promises Revenge, Oppression, and Autocratic Rule

The Right’s plans for a return to power are driven by a radicalizing siege mentality and a desperate desire to restore dominance

One of the more frustrating aspects of studying and talking about American politics is that if you simply trace the radicalization of the Right and the Republican Party, there is a good chance a mainstream audience will dismiss you as a leftwing conspiracy theorist or an unhinged “activist.” Donald Trump’s outrageousness notwithstanding, it is difficult to convey to people who don’t pay much attention to politics how much the power centers of conservative politics have been taken over by anti-democratic extremism. One way to deal with this problem is to get people to actually read and listen to what emanates from the Right. If you don’t believe and can’t trust my (lefty / liberal) assessment, maybe you can believe them? In that spirit, I think it’s worth spending time diving deep into Kevin Roberts’ “Promise to America” – with lots of extensive quotes, as it is important to get a sense of what these people sound like when they are not being sanitized and normalized by mainstream media coverage. This will serve as Part I of my dissection of “Project 2025,” focusing on the worldview and ideas that are guiding the plans on the Right; there will also be a Part II in which I will look more closely at what those plans entail, and the strategies for how to realize them and turn America into the kind of society the reactionary Right desires.


New Details Suggest Senior Trump Aides Knew Jan. 6 Rally Could Get Chaotic

Text messages and interviews show that Stop the Steal leaders fooled the Capitol police and welcomed racists to increase their crowd sizes, while White House officials worked to both contain and appease them.

On Dec. 19, President Donald Trump blasted out a tweet to his 88 million followers, inviting supporters to Washington for a “wild” protest.

Earlier that week, one of his senior advisers had released a 36-page report alleging significant evidence of election fraud that could reverse Joe Biden’s victory. “A great report,” Trump wrote. “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

The tweet worked like a starter’s pistol, with two pro-Trump factions competing to take control of the “big protest.”

Sheesh. This “analysis” lacks context that SC has an open primary. It is clear that a sizable number of Dems showed up just to cast an early anti-Trump vote. It says nothing about the GOP base. Need to wait until we get to closed primaries before drawing a conclusion like this.

— Patrick Murray (@PollsterPatrick) February 25, 2024

From Cliff Schecter on John Oliver’s Clarence Thomas offer:

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: How the ‘need for chaos’ keeps Trump in the running

Brian Beutler/”Off Message” on Substack:

Will Democrats Really Shrug Off The GOP's Latest, Biggest Betrayal?

Republicans teamed up with Russian intelligence to smear Joe Biden; they inflicted serious political damage on him over YEARS; Democrats can't let bygones be bygones

To recap quickly: Last week, David Weiss, the Trump-appointed prosecutor who has investigated, charged, and jerked around Hunter Biden, indicted Alexander Smirnov, the one witness who claimed to have evidence that the younger Biden really was trotting the globe soliciting bribes on behalf of his father. Turns out, Smirnov made it all up!

That development, taken in isolation and at face value, was a huge, embarrassing blow to Weiss and to congressional Republicans, who have plastered Smirnov’s allegations all over the media and used them to justify a decision they’d already made, at Donald Trump’s behest, to impeach Joe Biden.

But that wasn’t the end of it. DOJ then took the surprising step of trying to keep Smirnov confined before trial, and when a judge got in the way, prosecutors revealed that Smirnov’s lies stemmed from his work as a Russian intelligence agent. It’s not just that Republicans (in DOJ and on Capitol Hill) tried to frame Biden based on lies. It’s that the lies were part of a familiar Russian operation, encouraged and abetted by Trump himself for nearly a decade now, to slime his opponents ahead of elections.

Today it’s the 2024 election, but Smirnov first seeded his lies ahead of the 2020 election, when DOJ was controlled by Trump, and his corrupt attorney general Bill Barr.

Somehow Smirnov’s Russian intelligence contacts eluded all of these Republicans for four years. Unless of course they didn’t.

Smirnov, via a California judge, is back in custody. This, after a Nevada judge temporarily freed him.

A bit of advice:

Please do not report that the Republicans support IVF without noting their actual records, or asking them if that means they do not think embryos are people.

— Christina Reynolds (@creynoldsnc) February 23, 2024

Like clockwork, leading GOP candidates in #AZSEN, #OHSEN, #PASEN, and #MTSEN all sticking to the NRSC’s message and releasing statements supporting IVF treatments

— Kirk A. Bado (@kirk_bado) February 23, 2024

Running for election makes you do interesting things. But once you win …?

Dan Froomkin/Press Watch:

The Hunter Biden story has done a total 180 but the MSM is in denial

The real story is that the ludicrous Republican impeachment investigation has now been exposed as a Russian intelligence op. This, even as Republicans do Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding by blocking support for Ukraine and only a few short years after Trump aides welcomed Russian moves to help the Trump campaign in 2016.

But the political reporters at our most esteemed newsrooms who went to great lengths to portray the Biden impeachment investigation as a serious inquiry seem unable to change gears.

I’m not surprised. It  would require them to admit they were wrong. They don’t do that.

FSB is the proud successor to the KGB, which ran similar operations in West Germany in the Cold War.

— Cas Mudde (@CasMudde) February 23, 2024


Biden impeachment effort on the brink of collapse

A wide swath of House Republicans are acknowledging they likely won’t have the votes, especially given their struggle to recommend booting Alejandro Mayorkas.

The House GOP’s push to impeach Joe Biden appears close to stalling out for good.

First, the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas scraped through on the narrowest of margins — and took two tries, raising serious doubts about Republicans’ appetite for an even bigger impeachment fight. Then, a high-profile informant making bribery allegations against the Biden family was not only indicted, but has now linked some of his information to Russian intelligence.

See also AxiosHouse Republicans see Biden impeachment slipping out of reach

Some musings about what SCOTUS could be up to when it comes to Donald Trump’s presidential immunity claim:

4. Possibility 2 is that the Court has voted to go all the way to the merits—to issue a brief ruling by the full Court that *affirms* the D.C. Circuit's rejection of former President Trump's immunity. Such a disposition would also take a little time to craft/get everyone behind.

— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) February 23, 2024

7. In other words, although there are several explanations for why it's taking the Court this long, the most likely ones are all *bad* for Trump. None of this is a guarantee, of course; one of the *problems* with the shadow docket is how much we're left to guess. But that's mine.

— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) February 23, 2024

Derek Thompson/The Atlantic:

The Americans Who Need Chaos

They’re embracing nihilism and upending politics.

The researchers came up with a term to describe the motivation behind these all-purpose conspiracy mongers. They called it the “need for chaos,” which they defined as “a mindset to gain status” by destroying the established order. In their study, nearly a third of respondents demonstrated a need for chaos, Petersen said. And for about 5 percent of voters, old-fashioned party allegiances to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party melted away and were replaced by a desire to see the entire political elite destroyed—even without a plan to build something better in the ashes.

“These [need-for-chaos] individuals are not idealists seeking to tear down the established order so that they can build a better society for everyone,” the authors wrote in their conclusion. “Rather, they indiscriminately share hostile political rumors as a way to unleash chaos and mobilize individuals against the established order that fails to accord them the respect that they feel they personally deserve.” To sum up their worldview, Petersen quoted a famous line from the film The Dark Knight: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Alabama IVF ruling puts spotlight on state plans for tax breaks and child support for fetuses

— The Associated Press (@AP) February 24, 2024

Conor Sen/Bloomberg:

Boy, This Economy Is Hard to Read. Mea Culpa.

I’m now sorry that I described recent signs of recovery as akin to a “dead cat bounce” that would eventually be swamped by high interest rates.

The catalyst is the growing confidence among consumers and businesses alike, ironically driven by the slowdown in inflation the Fed has been working to engineer. Monetary policy remains tight — look no further than the struggles in the automobile and commercial property sectors or affordability challenges for homebuyers — but, for now, there are too many industries showing signs of resilience or acceleration to believe that the central bank’s stance will cause the labor market or economy to unravel.

No Labels' spoiler bid has suddenly entered full meltdown mode. No serious candidates are interested. The group's public justifications are increasingly ludicrous. Time to pull the plug. We have lots of new reporting and info in this piece. 1/ Link:

— Greg Sargent (@GregTSargent) February 23, 2024

Daniel Nichanian/Bolts magazine:

Judges Play Musical Chairs on Arkansas’ Highest Court

Four members of the state supreme court are trying to jump to different seats on the bench, a situation that could empower the conservative governor by granting her more appointments.

The only two candidates not already on the court face tough odds, crushed by their opponents’ name recognition and fundraising. Each told Bolts that they’re concerned about the prospect of the governor shaping the court’s membership when justices are supposed to be chosen by voters.

Many states select justices via elections, but then stretch the spirit of that approach. Justices in other states routinely resign before their term is up, enabling governors to name a replacement; in Minnesota, for instance, all current justices owe their seat to an appointment despite the state’s election system. As Bolts has reported, a loophole in Georgia law has even allowed state justices and other officials to maneuver to outright cancel some judicial elections.

In Arkansas, the reasons for this situation are very different across the two elections. One of the two open supreme court races this year is to replace Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, who is retiring rather than seek a new term. Three of the court’s associate justices—Karen Baker, Barbara Webb, and Rhonda Wood—are running for the open chief justice position, which is akin to seeking a promotion, since the chief justice has broad responsibilities over supervising the state’s judicial system.

Ryan Burge/”Graphs About Religion” on Substack:

Has Christian Nationalism Intensified or Faded?

Comparing Survey Data from 2007 and 2021

It's all happened so fast that it's hard to get our arms around a pretty basic question in the discussion about Christian Nationalism - are those sentiments increasing or decreasing in the general public? Well, now I can answer that with a great deal of specificity.

If one is looking for the empirical foundations of the Christian Nationalism debate, it’s in a series of statements that were posed to respondents in the Baylor Religion Survey back in 2007 - Wave II. They are as follows:

  1. The federal government should advocate Christian values
  2. The federal government should allow prayer in public schools
  3. The federal government should allow the display of religious symbols in public spaces
  4. The federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation
  5. The federal government should enforce strict separation of church and state
  6. The success of the United States is part of God’s plan.

Response options ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The middle option is undecided. I know that there's a lively debate about defining Christian Nationalism and whether these questions are tapping that concept accurately. I am going to sidestep that discussion entirely here. The authors I mentioned above are much more well-versed in those debates than I am. My focus here is narrow - I just want to see how responses to those questions have changed over time….

I think it's fair to say that the results point to the fact that Christian Nationalism is fading in the general population. That's evident in a number of these statements. For instance, in 2007, 55% of folks said that the government should advocate Christian values. In 2021, that share had dropped to just 38%. That's substantial.

My argument would be that extremism makes things less popular with the general public. Same with scandals, same with overreaching.

One presidential candidate makes the killing of Alexey @Navalny about himself, the other goes and meets with the grieving family and promises support for their cause. But yes, they're basically the same.

— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) February 22, 2024

Cliff Schecter on Lindsey Graham: