In 2015, I was eating a hotel breakfast of powdered eggs and meatless sausage, and I felt seriously ill — and not from the breakfast. It was the realization that CNN had chosen their favorite from the too-wide field of Republican contenders, and it was Donald Trump. They handed him an open microphone and watched the ratings spike, little caring what damage might be done to the American political system in the process.
Don’t worry, Republicans: I’ll get to you in a second, but you lost in 2020. Sucks to be you.
When Joe Biden was anointed by the moneyed wings of the D.N.C. to become the approved candidate for the Presidency in 2020, it was an impressive gamble on the premise that we vote for the people with whom we most identify. It was a field that contained two highly capable, brilliant, and charismatic women, a massive populist machine that backed an unapologetic socialist, a Rhodes Scholar who nevertheless somehow wasn’t the smartest man in the room… Any of these people would have done the office proud. Instead, we managed to elect the only candidate who was worse at completing sentences than Donald Trump.
(Editor’s Note: We’ve been sitting on this for a little while now; you’ve needed the break. On the other hand, now it’s Pride Month. This is the best context we can think of in which to release this particular rant.)
Right. It’s been five months now, and you’ve had a break. A little chance to rest and relax. You’ve had your little victory and your dance and celebration, and now it’s time for the bad news.
Sure, you beat Trump. But it’s time to stop pretending that you won.
Today, the House G.O.P. selected a new leader for their Conference to replace Liz Cheney. Rather than a divisive conspiracy theorist or a decrepit senior member, they went with newcomer and relative unknown Elise Stefanik, a moderate representing New York’s border North Country.
But who is Elise Stefanik — really? Well, here are a few things you should know.
No headlines say this. A few lines in some of the financial papers hint at it, explaining why every rideshare and gig delivery company just took a massive stock hit. Frankly, when it comes to hard news, it’s tough to go wrong with the financials.
On Wednesday the 5th, President Biden’s Department of Labor issued a reversal for the Trump-era “final rule” that defined most gig workers as non-employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In an interview, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh explained that this was designed to make gig workers eligible for the benefits everyone else gets. In reality, what it’ll do is force the contracting companies to limit worker hours, particularly during slow periods, so they aren’t suddenly required to pay overtime for someone who’s just sitting around doing nothing. For customers, it’s going to be just that much harder to get a ride at odd hours or to get food delivered.
Trump’s second impeachment is over in record time, and of course they didn’t convict him. They were never going to.
Some among you are disappointed, but what’s unsettling is that a few of you are actually surprised. You seem to have been under the misapprehension that this was a trial or something instead of the latest installment of the D.C. Bread And Circus Show (Hold The Bread).
(To be fair: I also thought it was a trial. My bad. -Editor)
On Monday, the second Trump impeachment trial in the Senate is scheduled to begin.
(I know; just when you thought he was finally gone, right? Wrong. Trump is back in the headlines for another few weeks — and it’s a good thing for everyone. But more on that later. -Editor)
In order to prepare for the upcoming outcomes of these events, there are a few aspects of the proceedings that you should be aware of going into this so you can adjust your expectations. That way, there are few surprises and there will be little room for disinformation going forward. The proper correction for fake news is, after all, a strong infusion of the truth.
I was posed a question over Christmas. It was respectful and well-meaning, but the gist of it was, “Why do you bother to do this? You’re no expert, and sometimes you’re wrong.”
And that’s perfectly true: I have no degree in political science, nor even one in journalism. From time to time I’ll make a mistake — sometimes an egregious one. It’s even possible that the entire premise of an article might be completely off-base. These are all quite valid points, and it’s worth remembering them when you read: I might be wrong.
On the other hand, it’s occasionally possible everyone else is wrong.
On the one hand, there’s no obligation anywhere for Trump to concede — not constitutional, not ethical, and certainly not out of self-interest. On the other, it’s genuinely inconvenient — and worse — for Democrats, particularly Uncle Joe.
So what’s up? What should happen right now, and how much should the rest of us care?