After mulling some long-shot legal actions to force a runoff or even a re-running of the election, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams ended her impressive but narrowly unsuccessful campaign, stepping out of the way of Republican Brian Kemp’s ascension to the governorship, which he claimed several days ago.
In a snakepit of narcissism and paranoia like the Trump White House, almost everyone is liable to become a target for negative gossip, intrigue, and sharp elbows, often deployed by the boss himself. But I have to admit I didn’t see this particular story line coming, as reported by the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers:
In a widely anticipated but still significant development, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley indicated he would exercise his prerogative under the seniority system to take the gavel of the Finance Committee upon the retirement in January of its current chairman, Orrin Hatch. That opens the way for the next-highest-ranking Republican on Judiciary, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, to take over that committee.
Politics breeds strange bedfellows and the Trump presidency is no exception. Few would have predicted in 2009 that Van Jones, who resigned that year as an adviser to the Obama White House after his Marxist-activist past came to light, would less than a decade later become a cheerleader for a “law and order” racist. But Wednesday brought the news that Trump is supporting a bipartisan criminal-justice bill that, if made law, would reduce mandatory-minimum sentences for certain drug felonies and make retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, among other mandates. “[The First Step Act] rolls back some of the provisions of the  Clinton crime law that disproportionately harmed [the] African-American community,” the president said, according to NBC News. “Give the man his due,” Jones tweeted on Thursday, “[Trump] is on his way to becoming the uniter-in-chief on an issue that has divided America for generations.”
On a day when Georgia’s Republican election officials are almost certain to certify the victory of her opponent in the state’s tense but exciting gubernatorial contest, Democrat Stacey Abrams is reportedly mulling an unprecedented legal maneuver that would seek to overturn the results based on a general pattern of voter suppression by allies of Brian Kemp, who was himself the election supervisor during the entire campaign. The Associated Press explains:
If the Democrats’ solid midterm win had been a little bit bigger and a little bit wider, the Donkey Party might have turned towards the 2020 cycle feeling so confident about its prospects that any questions about geographical strategy would involve choices among very good options. Instead, if you look at the 2018 results in terms of the states they will need to deny Donald Trump a second term in office, it’s all a bit ambiguous. Twenty-four of the 39 House seats Democrats flipped (so far) were in states carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Four of the seven governorships they conquered (pending final results in Florida and Georgia) were in HRC states as well, as was one of the two Senate seats they turned around (pending the final results in Florida). In other words, the 2018 gains weren’t all or even mostly in enemy territory when it comes to the states that will cast 2020 electoral votes. That leaves some tough strategic decisions.
On Election Day last week, voters in Washington state approved Initiative 1639, a sweeping ballot measure that stands to usher in some of the strictest gun control measures in the nation. And the vote wasn’t close, with 60 percent of voters casting their ballots in favor of I-1639. But the overwhelming public support has run up against a familiar foe for those on the side of gun control: the National Rifle Association.
Despite efforts by Democrats to delay a Thursday deadline to allow completion of a machine recount in Palm Beach County, where counting machines melted down earlier this week, it appears this phase of the Florida saga is ending. That likely means curtains for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, while Senator Bill Nelson’s hopes of overtaking his Republican opponent, Governor Rick Scott, will depend on a hand recount that is scheduled to conclude on Sunday.
There’s no end in sight to New York City’s public housing crisis. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that a federal judge, William H. Pauley, rejected a proposed settlement between the New York City Housing Authority and the Manhattan district attorney’s office that would have provided $1.2 billion in city funds to repair crumbling public housing units. The NYCHA, which manages the nation’s largest public housing system, currently faces $32 billion in unmet capital needs, according to the Times. The settlement also would have appointed a court monitor to oversee necessary overhauls. That disrepair puts residents in danger — 15,000 people in NYCHA housing lost heat during a snowstorm last winter, and in April, Shola Olatoye resigned from her role as head of NYCHA amid reports that she falsely told the city’s Department of Investigations that NYCHA inspected for lead paint in its units.
It’s a well-established tenet that most midterm elections are functionally referenda on the president of the United States. And the particular president in office right now helped make the 2018 midterms emphatically about himself via high-profile campaigning and some characteristically inflammatory behavior designed to energize his supporters and opponents alike.
And right now, America is a breeding ground for tyranny
By Andrew Sullivan
Inside the most unorthodox campaign in political history.
By Gabriel Sherman
There’s nothing simple about this candidacy—or candidate.
By Rebecca Traister
What should Democrats in Congress — and Barack Obama, and you — do now?
By Jonathan Chait
Select All / Nov. 9, 2016
Social media helped overturn the political order.By Max Read
The Cut / May 12, 2016
What I learned listening to Stern with my father.By Stella Bugbee
Science of Us / Dec. 9, 2016
In the richest country in the world, one bad break can trigger a downward spiral.By Jesse Singal