What Role Did Gerrymandering Play in Giving the GOP Its House Majority?
Plus, The Conservative Case Against the Independent State Legislature Doctrine.
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: The Hollow Men of the GOP
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THEODORE R. JOHNSON: What Role Did Gerrymandering Play in Giving the GOP Its House Majority?
Though votes are still being counted in a few places, enough congressional races have been called to confirm that Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives in January. But the red wave that many predicted never materialized, and the Republicans are projected to have the narrowest majority in more than a century.
Once again, the anti-anti-Trumpers are standing back and hoping Trump will run out of tricks, instead of calling him out as an existential threat to democracy. Plus, will McCarthy really get the gavel — and how long could he possibly hold it? Tom Nichols joins Charlie Sykes today.
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KIMBERLY WEHLE: Appointing a New Special Counsel Was the Right Call.
Attorney General Merrick Garland is under fire for taking the extraordinary step of appointing a special counsel to investigate what he called “certain extraordinary cases” involving potential criminal actions by former President Donald Trump and his cadre of enablers. The probe is twofold, involving (1) the unlawful interference with the transfer of power and certification of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021; and (2) the taking of classified documents and other presidential records to Mar-a-Lago and possible obstruction of the related investigation. Garland made clear that the criminal investigations and prosecutions of 900+ people based on their “physical presence” at the Capitol will remain with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.
Translation: Special Counsel Jack Smith is tasked exclusively with deciding whether to go after the big fish.
Legend has it that in 1823, during a game of school football (what we Americans call soccer) in the town of Rugby, England, a young man named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran towards the opposition’s goal line. He was condemned, naturally, for cheating or, as the stories put it, for acting “with a fine disregard for the rules of the game.”
The result was minor chaos. Ellis was tackled by his peers. What emerged from those childish recriminations and confrontations was a new game, rugby, with entirely new rules. In intramural sports, changing the rules in the middle of the game can lead to innovation and invention. In politics, especially in a democracy, the results are likely to be much less desirable.
Happy Monday! I may not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving in the presence of others since… I have COVID, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it better with the 2023 Bulwark Thanksgiving recipe collection. Always happy to add a last minute recipe if you reply to this email, but I hope it’s a great holiday for you. I’ll be taking some time off later this week and next for the holiday, provided I recover, so there may not be many Overtimes after Wednesday.
One thing I am thankful for is the love and support of my family, the great vaccines, and being boosted (2x). So, I’m not doing so bad. It helps to have a nice isolation suite with a 24/7 attendant, our pandemic dog Rusty.
A book for COVID/holiday reading… Our late TWS colleague, whom I met but never worked with, P.J. O’Rourke has a book from beyond the grave. His official Quotationary and Riffapedia. Looking for a great holiday gift? This is it.
Some great people I do/have worked with, Dylann Croll, Hannah Long, and Alice Lloyd (at TWS) and Windsor Mann did work on it. I’m sure P.J. is smiling down from the above to preserve and promote his great work. Thank you, all.
USA! USA! While I’m not a big soccer fan, I did go to one of America’s best soccer colleges, so while I’m sick, why not watch a very long match in a questionable country that probably shouldn’t be hosting soccer’s most corrupt tournament?
Talking to the actors of Devotion… Our friend Ward Carroll goes behind the scenes.
Why do people talk to Isaac Chotiner? Daniel Drezner asks the question. His interviews are brutal. He reminds me of a guy named Jan Helfeld, whom I profiled eight years ago. I asked him why people would keep doing interviews with him, and he told me this.
He recounts the story of Mike Wallace connecting him with his agent in New York. “The agent said, ‘You have a good gimmick here, Jan. But I don't think it's going to work because the people will not want to do interviews with you.’” Jan wasn’t worried.
“Some people are careless. Some people are good—they admit being wrong. Some people overestimate—‘Oh, the other guy got screwed, but wait til I get him. I'll show him a thing or two.’ And the last thing is there are so many people, the universe is big.”
Basically, big brains people in politics often think they are invincible, and as it turns out, they’re not.
Will Tucker apologize? His claims about an impending Diesel shortage turned out to be hilariously wrong. Must be midterm season.
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