Washington Post: “Sure, Trump has been consumed by the impeachment proceedings, popping off daily, if not hourly, about what he dubs a “hoax.” But he and his aides also have staged photo opportunities and public events designed to showcase the president on the job — a strategy one year out from the election to convince the American people that he is hard at work for them at the same time that Democrats are trying to remove him from office.”
Said Trump at a rally earlier this week: “I’m working my ass off. The failed Washington establishment is trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you and because we’re winning. It’s very simple.”
New York Times: “Despite a sense of relief at the prospect of resuming talks to end the 18-year conflict, Western diplomats and Taliban leaders were scrambling to figure out whether Mr. Trump had suddenly moved the goal posts for negotiations.”
“They were particularly confused by his remarks, made during an unannounced Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan, that the United States was once again meeting with the Taliban to discuss a deal, but that ‘we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire.’”
“Demanding a cease-fire would amount to a big shift in the American position and require a significant new concession from the Taliban — one that the Americans have little leverage to extract.”
Washington Post: Trump’s talk of cease fire surprises Taliban.
New York Times: “As Mr. Buttigieg, 37, looks to solidify his support in the remaining weeks before the Democratic primary season begins, he has found a wellspring of enthusiasm among a critical bloc of voters more frequently associated with Joseph Biden: older white Americans.”
“During a burst of campaign stops in Iowa this week, his first trip to the state since a Des Moines Register/CNN poll showed him with a commanding, nine-point lead here, Mr. Buttigieg repeatedly made appeals to older Iowans that were hardly subtle. ‘We’ve got to act not just to shore up Social Security but to make sure everybody can retire and live in dignity,’ he said at a rally on Monday evening in Council Bluffs, Iowa. ‘Call it my ‘Gray New Deal.’’V
“The early boom for 2020 Democrats’ left turn is yielding to moderate muscle as Elizabeth Warren falls, Joe Biden persists and Pete Buttigieg rises,” Axios reports.
“Poll after poll shows voters like the idea of Medicare for All. But the second you tell them about costs and tradeoffs, they turn on it… Warren collapsed in the latest national Quinnipiac University poll just as she’s been diving into the details of how she’d pass Medicare for All — and fending off a barrage of attacks from her more moderate rivals.”
“She’s not the only Democrat who’s run into trouble. Kamala Harris realized she could be checkmating herself by dismissing private health insurance — which is why she changed her Medicare for All plan to allow private insurers to offer Medicare plans.”
The Atlantic: “Two of the nation’s last three presidents won the presidency in the Electoral College, even though they lost the popular vote nationwide. In 2000, Al Gore outpolled George W. Bush by more than 540,000 votes but lost in the Electoral College, 271–266. Sixteen years later, Hillary Clinton tallied almost 3 million more votes than Donald Trump but lost decisively in the Electoral College, 306–232. And, as a recent New York Times poll suggested, the 2020 election could very well again deliver the presidency to the loser of the popular vote.”
“Despite this, defenders of the Electoral College argue that it was created to combat majority tyranny and support federalism, and that it continues to serve those purposes. For example, Representative Dan Crenshaw of Texas, responding to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent criticism of the Electoral College, tweeted that “we live in a republic, which means 51% of the population doesn’t get to boss around the other 49%,” and that the Electoral College ‘promotes more equal regional representation and protects the interests of sparsely populated states.’”
“But arguments like these are flawed, misunderstanding the pertinent history.”
Greg Sargent: “Wasserman looked at the Kentucky and Louisiana outcomes and concluded that they were plainly driven by big Democratic gains among suburban and educated voters.”
“Turnout skyrocketed, but on both sides, because Trump is energizing pro-Republican turnout, as well. The difference-maker was that Democrats engineered big swings in suburbs with a lot of college-educated voters, such as the areas outside New Orleans and in northern Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati.”
“The crucial point here, though, is that Republicans also made gains — that is, they increased their margins, as well as turnout — in more rural parts of the country.”
“Where the presidential candidates spend most of their time says a lot,” KTVZ reports.
“We looked at data showing the number of campaign visits from each of the four early-voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Who’s spent the most time campaigning in each state might surprise you.”
Politico: “Rep. Carolyn Maloney was surprised when, in 1993 and new to Congress, she first strolled into a hearing room and saw the walls lined with all-male portraits… Nearly three decades later, Maloney is heading the powerful House Oversight Committee. Her election to the post last week made her the 26th woman to ever chair a committee in the House and the sixth woman to lead one of the 20 standing House committees in a single Congress — a record in the 231 years of the chamber’s existence.”
“Previously, the most women to chair committees was four. It’s yet another small crack in the glass ceiling, particularly for Democrats, and Nancy Pelosi, who is on her second tour as the first woman speaker.”
A super PAC supporting Sen. Cory Booker will reportedly air a new advertisement in Iowa comparing him to South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), The Hill reports. The ad begins by showing images of Buttigieg with the narration “He’s a Rhodes Scholar, a successful mayor, a uniter.” The ad continues: “No, not that guy. It’s Cory Booker.”
“In just three weeks, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has captured a level of media attention that’s eluded most 2020 Democrats with months on the trail and in debates,” Axios reports.
“Recent stories about Bloomberg generated more social media interactions than Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Julián Castro or Tom Steyer have ever gotten, according to data from NewsWhip.”