On election night (and thereafter) Senate results included an asterisk: The special election in Mississippi for the seat resigned by Thad Cochran earlier this year was going to a November 27 runoff. That wasn’t a big surprise; a win required a majority. And with conservative firebrand Chris McDaniel (who very nearly took down Cochran in a 2014 primary) in the field, the odds were low that appointed Republican senator Cindy Hyde-Smith would top 50 percent, particularly with an unusually well-regarded Democrat, former congressman and U.S. secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, on the ballot. But the margin between the incumbent, who won 41.5 percent of the vote, and Espy, who won 40.6 percent, raised some eyebrows; the only public poll of the race showed Hyde-Smith leading by nine points.
You’d think that on November 8, 2016, the political world would have learned that early election night impressions can be misleading. But rushes to judgement were common on and immediately after Election Day 2018. Some of them were simply prefab partisan spin reinforced by a selective view of the early returns:
Donald Trump did not go to Arlington Cemetery on Veterans Day. He was “extremely busy,” he told reporters in a press call on Friday. But his conscience does not appear to trouble him. During a recent visit to the Marine barracks in Washington, he even congratulated himself for his commitment to veterans. “The fact is I’ve done a lot,“ he said. But as is often the case, reality does not exactly comport with Trump’s version of events. The president hasn’t accomplished much for veterans, as a burgeoning scandal within the Department of Veterans Affairs demonstrates.
Over the past few weeks, as they fell even further behind with women voters across America, Republicans and the White House have begun appropriating the language of the #MeToo movement. Galling as it is, it’s not surprising — just another Orwellian turn among many. But the clumsiness of this latest hijacking, involving doctored tapes, hoaxes, and more than the usual quota of lies, is based on several wrong assumptions about the press.
The conservative movement has long dismissed the value of neutral expertise — environmental scientists, arms control analysts, budget forecasters, or any other meddlesome nerds who question the simple verities of right-wing politics — as biased. Conservative media is built on this insight, constructing an alternate information ecosystem, in which only conservative sources can be trusted.
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.”
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