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CHARLIE SYKES: Trump Extends His Losing Streak
JOE PERTICONE: House Is Paralyzed Without a Speaker—Creating National Security Risks and a Shadow Shutdown
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New from Me: Pennsylvania’s New Dem Gov. Picks Republican to Oversee State Elections.
While Republicans in Washington continue to fight among themselves over who will (nominally) run the U.S. House of Representatives, there have been some interesting developments in the states, our laboratories of democracy. In Ohio, Democrats in the state House of Representatives this week sided with moderate Republicans to deny the speakership to Derek Merrin, a far-right member who was picked for the job last year by his party colleagues. Something similar happened in Pennsylvania, where closely matched party caucuses in the state House of Representatives couldn’t reach an agreement on a speaker until Republicans joined with Democrats to elevate a moderate who pledges to serve as an independent.
And this morning, Pennsylvania’s incoming governor, Josh Shapiro, who is set to be sworn in on January 17, added to the spate of surprising reaching-across-the-aisle news with the announcement of his pick to be secretary of the commonwealth—the official who, among other responsibilities, is tasked with overseeing elections. Shapiro, who promised his administration would be “diverse” and “bipartisan,” announced the selection of a Republican by the name of Al Schmidt.
STEVEN WALDMAN: Phantom Candidates and Ghost Newspapers
After the New York Times and other publications reported that newly elected Rep. George Santos probably didn’t descend from Holocaust survivors or run an animal-protection charity, or [gestures broadly] any of it, many suggested that it would have been more helpful for the press to dig into this before the election.
“This would all have been exposed before the election if local newspapers were not running on fumes,” tweeted former Senator Claire McCaskill.
A few news cycles later it emerged that actually the local press had reported on the Santos story. A local paper, the North Shore Leader, had declared that the Republican nominee was “most likely just a fabulist—a fake.”
So which is it: The triumph of the local press or a sign of its demise? More the latter, though for some surprising reasons.
Rep. Elise Stefanik was a star pupil and the future of the GOP — now she’s with the kids in the back of the class, whose only role in Congress is to generate outrage. Plus, Trump turned the party into a roadshow and McCarthy is paying the price. Nick Confessore joins Charlie Sykes today.
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NATALIA ANTONOVA: Why Incels Love Putin.
Although he is losing his genocidal war against Ukraine and experiencing increasing economic turmoil at home, Russian President Vladimir Putin has one thing going for him: The genocidal dictator has children, palaces, and many rumored mistresses—the power-hungry alpha male’s dream. Why, then, is he so admired by prominent “incels”—i.e., men who refer to themselves as “involuntarily celibate,” mostly because they are transparent misogynists who are rightfully spurned by women?
The Book of Matthew warns of false prophets: “You will know them by their fruits.” Today, you will also know them by their fans. And in Western society, where nobody is really forced to like Putin, some of his most ardent fans are deeply troubled people.
🎵 On the Jukebox… 🎵 Kevin by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Help beat the authoritarian censors… Our friends at Samizdat need your help. (Read Yevgeny Simkin’s article on the venture here.)
Apropos of nothing…
The great Maryland recipe hunt… I’m a sucker for cookbook stories.
Why Fanone was on the hill… Encouraging members to condemn political violence.
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin… A fire led to a flood of butter.
Salt Lake’s mystera antennas… Any idea what these are?
Your daily moment of zen: Jair Bolsonaro walking around a Publix in Florida.
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