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Tuesday night's election win for Democrat Andy Beshear in Kentucky certainly has many people trying to read the tea leaves. But perhaps the most important thing about the results was the turnout. Four years ago, 974,225 voters went to the polls in the Bluegrass State, but Tuesday night, 1,442,622 people cast ballots. Democrats from Barack Obama to Sen. Bernie Sanders have talked about energizing voters, getting more people involved. Turns out maybe President Donald Trump is the person who unlocked the key to higher voter participation.
The U.S. bishops are quick to applaud Trump whenever he does something they perceive to be pro-life. I am curious to see how they will respond to this story at USA Today about an immigrant detainee who was pulled off life support. The "most pro-life president ever" is damaging the brand in ways from which it will take decades to recover.
In The Washington Post, Paul Waldman correctly diagnoses the misdiagnosis so many Democratic politicians, led by their pollsters and campaign consultants, make about the relationship of policy to elections. The money quote:
Trump, on the other hand, will claim that [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren wants to institute an oppressive big-government scheme that will destroy everything good about American health care. Which is exactly what he'll say if Joe Biden or anyone else is the nominee. She will counter that Trump has been trying to take away people's health care since the moment he took office. It will be an argument not between [Medicare for all] and a public option, but between M4A and Trump's position, which is that millions of people should be thrown off their coverage and protections for those with preexisting conditions should be revoked.
From the macro to the micro: Also in The Washington Post, Greg Sargent talks to Ben Wikler, the Democratic state party chair in Wisconsin. The two men really get into some of the grunt work that goes into winning a campaign in a state that has been exceedingly close in three of the last five presidential elections. Sadly, this also shows that GOP efforts to suppress the vote don't have to do that much to tip the balance.
In The New York Times, Paul Krugman looks at the Wall Street "snowflakes," people like Leon Cooperman who is all in a tizzy because Warren has criticized billionaires. "Now, human nature being what it is, people who secretly wonder whether they really deserve their wealth get especially angry when others express these doubts publicly," writes Krugman. "So it's not surprising that people who couldn't handle Obama's mild, polite criticism are completely losing it over Warren." Indeed.
Also in The New York Times, Jacob Hacker says that we need to ask the right questions when discussing health care reform, and Warren is asking them. Hacker's essay points out the various ways our current system is broken, a fact that must be the starting point for reform efforts.
At Politico Magazine, a look back to 1991, when casino regulators in Atlantic City, New Jersey, had it within their power to strip Trump of his licenses. They didn't, fearing that the whole city would tank if his three casinos closed. He went public, then got out, made a lot of money, screwed his employees, and Atlantic City more or less tanked anyway. But Trump drew his lesson: With enough bravado, he could get people to roll over for him. Republican senators should consider whether their loyalty to him will be repaid and they could ask the casino workers and city officials in Atlantic City about that, too.
[Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]