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Here’s why a Dem victory in Wisconsin last night was a big deal

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WASHINGTON — A state Supreme Court race in Wisconsin followed a familiar pattern we’ve seen over the past year in other contests during the Trump Era: Democrats are way overperforming from 2016 and even before that.

“Rebecca Dallet trounced Michael Screnock on Tuesday for a seat on the state Supreme Court, shrinking the court’s conservative majority and giving Democrats a jolt of energy heading into the fall election,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. “It marked the first time in 23 years that a liberal candidate who wasn’t an incumbent won a seat on the high court.”

 Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Rebecca Dallet Scott Bauer / AP file

Dallet beat Screnock statewide by 12 points out of about 1 million votes cast, 56 percent to 44 percent. Remember, in 2016, Trump won Wisconsin 47 percent to 46 percent. And in 2012, Obama won it by 7 points, 53 percent to 46 percent.

And here are the results from some key counties:

Brown (Green Bay)

2012: Mitt Romney 50 percent, Barack Obama 49 percent

2016: Trump 52 percent, Clinton 41 percent

2018: Dallet 55 percent, Screnock 45 percent

Dane (Madison)

2012: Obama 71 percent, Romney 28 percent

2016: Clinton 70 percent, Trump 23 percent

2018: Dallet 81 percent, Screnock 19 percent

Eau Claire

2012: Obama 56 percent, Romney 42 percent

2016: Clinton 50 percent, Trump 42 percent

2018: Dallet 64 percent, Screnock 36 percent

Kenosha

2012: Obama 56 percent, Romney 43 percent

2016: Trump 47 percent, Clinton 47 percent

2018: Dallet 57 percent, Screnock 43 percent

Milwaukee

2012: Obama 68 percent, Romney 32 percent

2016: Clinton 66 percent, Trump 29 percent

2018: Dallet 66 percent, Screnock 34 percent

Waukesha (outside of Milwaukee)

2012: Romney 67 percent, Obama 32 percent

2016: Trump 60 percent, Clinton 33 percent

2018: Screnock 64 percent, Dallet 36 percent

Bottom line: Dallet’s margins were about equal to Democrats’ 2012/2016 performance in the urban areas, and they were significantly better in more rural counties. (Just as an aide, but with the teacher rebellions in Oklahoma and West Virginia, is there something going on in rural America that Team Trump is missing?)

“This is freaking code RED,”said MSNBC GOP analyst Charlie Sykes, who hails from Wisconsin.

GOP Gov. Scott Walker, who’s up for re-election in 2018, tweeted:

Begun the trade war has

The Star Wars reference here is intentional – this U.S.-vs.-China battle over tariffs is straight out of the George Lucas prequels.Bloomberg News: “China said it would levy an additional 25 percent tariff on imports of 106 U.S. products including soybeans, automobiles, chemicals and aircraft, in response to proposed American duties on its high-tech goods.”

CNBC adds that, as of 7:00 am ET this morning, Dow Jones futures had dropped more than 500 points due to worries about this standoff over tariffs.

We agree with the take from Bloomberg’s morning “Balance of Power” newsletter: This is a standoff that both sides – Trump and China – think they can win. “Trump sees China’s economy as fragile and is betting that Xi will force through reforms before risking instability, according to Scott Kennedy, a China scholar at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. Xi, on the other hand, doesn’t think Trump can endure much political pain or equity market losses, and will likely take a quick deal.”

This morning, Trump tweeted:

So in other words: Yes, we’re in a trade war…

WaPo: What Mueller has told Trump’s team so far

Turning to the Mueller investigation, last night’s Washington Post scoop contained two big pieces of news: 1) Mueller is investigating President Trump but doesn’t consider him a target AT THIS TIME, and 2) Mueller is preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office, including potential obstruction of justice.

“In private negotiations in early March about a possible presidential interview, Mueller described Trump as a subject of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors view someone as a subject when that person has engaged in conduct that is under investigation but there is not sufficient evidence to bring charges,” the Post reports. “Mueller reiterated the need to interview Trump — both to understand whether he had any corrupt intent to thwart the Russia investigation and to complete this portion of his probe, the people said.”

More: “The president and some of his allies seized on the special counsel’s words as an assurance that Trump’s risk of criminal jeopardy is low. Other advisers, however, noted that subjects of investigations can easily become indicted targets — and expressed concern that the special prosecutor was baiting Trump into an interview that could put the president in legal peril.”

Trump says no one has been tougher than he has on Russia. His outgoing national security adviser appears to disagree

At his news conference with Baltic leaders yesterday, President Trump declared, “No one has been tougher on Russia than I have.”

But check out these words from outgoing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who said the U.S. could be doing much more against Russia: “For too long, some nations have looked the other way in the face of these threats. Russia brazenly, and implausibly denies its actions, and we have failed to impose sufficient costs,” McMaster said in a speech to the Atlantic Council, per Politico.

“The three-star Army general added that Russian President Vladimir Putin believes he is ‘winning’ through the county’s ‘hybrid warfare,’ which ‘combines political, economic, informational, and cyber assaults against sovereign nations.’ But, he argued, the U.S. and its allies will prevail. ‘We will triumph over new threats, including those posed by Russia’s increased aggression around the world,’ he said.”



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France bulks up military with mega cash injection as budget soars to €41BN – up €1.7BN

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EMMANUEL MACRON announced a huge increase in spending for the French Armed Forces, in his latest bid to win over voters ahead of next year’s Presidential elections.

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Biden seeks to bring his party together amid infighting over agenda

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WASHINGTON — The true fate of President Biden’s legislative agenda was always going to be clear when Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. huddled with progressives to tell them what he’s specifically for on reconciliation, and when Biden rolled up his sleeves to tell his party how it should proceed.

Today, it appears we might get an answer to that second question — or at least the beginning of the answer.

President Biden is expected to meet today with House and Senate Democrats to discuss a way forward on the infrastructure/reconciliation legislative packages, especially with the infrastructure bill set for a House vote on Monday, per NBC News.

“As of Tuesday evening, the White House had not settled on the final timing and invite list for the gatherings but a source familiar with the planning told NBC News that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are expected to attend a 2 p.m. ET meeting at the White House,” NBC’s Teaganne Finn, Sahil Kapur, Geoff Bennett and Haley Talbot write.

The standoff here: “Progressive lawmakers have said they won’t back the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, a top priority for the Democratic leadership, unless the larger $3.5 trillion reconciliation package passes first. Moderates, meanwhile, said they won’t support the reconciliation measure unless the bipartisan infrastructure bill passes on Monday as scheduled.”

The real endgame to this stalemate has always been Manchin finally showing his cards about what he can support on reconciliation, given that Democrats need his vote (as well as Sen Kyrsten Sinema’s) in the current 50-50 Senate.

But the other key component was Biden leading his party and trying to find a way out.

Can Biden really afford to see his infrastructure deal go down to defeat next week?

Progressive House Dems are threatening to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure deal that the Senate passed last month — as a way to keep both it and the reconciliation package (which is still TBD) tied together legislatively.

But can Biden afford to see the infrastructure bill go down to defeat in the House? Even if the measure gets another vote whenever the reconciliation stalemate gets resolved?

Here’s what Biden said last month when the infrastructure package cleared the Senate by a 69-30 vote, with 19 Republicans joining all 50 Democratic senators:

“Folks, above all, this historic investment in infrastructure is what I believe you, the American people, want — what you’ve been asking for for a long, long time. This bill shows that we can work together.

“I know a lot of people — some sitting in the audience here — didn’t think this could happen. This bill was declared dead more often than — anyway. That bipartisanship was a thing of the past. From the time I announced my candidacy (inaudible) bringing the country together and doing things in a bipartisan way, it was characterized as a relic of an — an earlier age.

“As you may well remember, I never believed that. I still don’t.

“So, I want to thank those senators who worked so hard to bring this agreement together. I know it wasn’t easy.

“For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage. And I want to personally thank you for that, and I’ve called most of you on the phone to do just that.

“You have — and no doubt, you will –- disagree with me on many issues. But where we can agree, we should. And here, on this bill, we proved that we can still come together to do big things, important things for the American people.”

Bottom line: Will someone who ran for president touting his deal-making ability (including with the opposition), who delivered an inaugural address on achieving unity, and who routinely emphasizes the power of his word in negotiations really allow his party to defeat this bill?

Even if it’s a temporary defeat?

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Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

$30 million: How much the DSCC is investing in a new field program targeting nine states with the hopes of holding onto their slim majority.

500 million: How many more Pfizer Covid vaccine doses America is buying to donate to the world.

42,455,954: The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 125,672 more since yesterday morning.)

682,653: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 2,360 more since yesterday morning.)

386,780,816: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC. (That’s 542,935 more since yesterday morning.)

54.8 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

66 percent: The share of all U.S. adults at least 18 years of age who are fully vaccinated, per CDC

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

U.S. diplomats suffering from the so-called “Havana Syndrome” had a tense meeting with Secretary of State Blinken this month.

The New York Times reports that the Trump campaign wrote a memo in mid-November that acknowledged many of the conspiracy theories spouted by Trump’s allies claiming massive election fraud were false.

Many Americans are having to postpone important medical procedures because hospitals are inundated with Covid patients.

Democrats are criticizing the Biden administration over the treatment of Haitian migrants.

The Washington Post reports that few GOP Senate candidates are backing Trump’s call to depose Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The former French Ambassador to the U.S. hammered the Biden administration over its handling of L’affaire Sous-marine.

And this Wednesday night at 7:00 pm ET, Speaker Pelosi, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and other Democratic lawmakers will join progressive health-care activist Ady Barkan for the online premiere of his documentary “Not Going Quietly.”



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'Get a grip and give me a break!' Boris rages in French as he loses patience with Macron

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BORIS Johnson has lost his temper at Emmanuel Macron over Frances’s reaction to the AUKUS pact between the US, UK, and Australia.

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