- Via the Insider: Sen. JD Vance says Republicans have to ‘recognize how much voters mistrust us’ on abortion. I gotta admit that my main reaction is the notion that J.D. Vance is talking about trust.
- Via WaPo: Where’s Melania? In the grand scheme of things, the lack of presence of the former First Lady does not matter much. There are bigger concerns on the table. Still, I am struck by how this is just another example of how Trump is treated differently by both his supporters and the press than others in the past. The fact that his wife is not standing by him in a visible way during his legal troubles is the kind of thing that the press/public would have reacted negatively to for almost anyone else. And, of course, it is noteworthy that the party of “family values” doesn’t seem to care. I would further note that despite ongoing cried about the “liberal MSM” that the WaPo piece strikes me as ultimately sympathetic to Melania Trump’s invisibility.
- Speaking of the liberal MSM, this story is trying hard to make a horserace narrative (also via WaPo): Biden faces expanding list of potential challengers in reelection bid. The expanding list is: Jill Stein, Dean Phillips, RFK, Jr., and hypothetical Joe Manchin as a No Labels candidate. In regards to Phillips, the piece hilariously (IMHO) describes him thusly (emphasis mine), “Biden also faces nettlesome campaign opponents in Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.)”. This piece is thirsty for a horserace. And I understand that given the potential closeness of Trump-Biden that third-party votes could matter, but please. Sidenote: Stein, Kennedy, and a hypothetical Manchin are challengers to both Biden and Trump, which undercuts the headline.
- Speaking of more important stories (yet again from WaPo): Trump and allies plot revenge, Justice Department control in a second term.
In private, Trump has told advisers and friends in recent months that he wants the Justice Department to investigate onetime officials and allies who have become critical of his time in office, including his former chief of staff, John F. Kelly, and former attorney general William P. Barr, as well as his ex-attorney Ty Cobb and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley, according to people who have talked to him, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. Trump has also talked of prosecuting officials at the FBI and Justice Department, a person familiar with the matter said.
In public, Trump has vowed to appoint a special prosecutor to “go after” President Biden and his family. The former president has frequently made corruption accusations against them that are not supported by available evidence.
That this continues to evoke not much more than a yawn in many quarters is disturbing in the extreme.
- To that point, Philip Bump (again, WaPo) notes that A lot of Americans embrace Trump’s authoritarianism. I hate to say it but a lot of the survey data in that piece reminds me of things I saw studying Latin American cases of democratic breakdown. For example, a plurality of conservatives in a recent survey endorsed the idea that we need a “strong leader” and then there are things like this: