The TAKE with Rick Klein
Most Republicans are rather content looking ahead these days — through these bleak days of uncertainty and unease happening on President Joe Biden’s watch and to the midterms beyond.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, keeps wanting to talk about 2020 — as well as one particularly dark day in 2021. His announcement of what he says will be a news conference at Mar-a-Lago on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, to discuss what he falsely calls the “rigged election,” gives fresh urgency to accountability efforts.
Trump isn’t letting up, and neither are his many supporters. Beyond misleading and exaggerated claims that are defining competitive primaries, Republicans across key battleground states have restructured voting and certification procedures; such efforts are poised to continue and intensify well into 2022, as documented in a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice.
The House Jan. 6 committee is facing critical questions ahead, faced with the non-cooperation of at least one sitting member of Congress, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and one former one, Mark Meadows, a former House member from North Carolina who went on to serve as a Trump chief of staff.
Trump and his supporters have grown fond of calling such scrutiny a “witch hunt” or worse, suggesting that looking back at Jan. 6 is about getting even with Trump.
But what happened that day and in the year since remains as relevant as ever — in part because the former president is making it so.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
Even after Sen. Joe Manchin blew up plans to pass his “Build Back Better” social spending plan, President Biden took a friendlier tone than many in his party when asked about the West Virginia Democrat on Tuesday.
“Did Senator Manchin break his commitment to you?” asked ABC Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott.
“Senator Manchin and I are going to get something done,” Biden responded.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images, FILESen. Joe Manchin walks in the basement of the Capitol in Washington, on Dec. 15, 2021.
The statement runs counter to taking the “kid gloves off,” as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., suggested in dealing with Manchin, who has consistently stood in the way of passing major pieces of Biden’s agenda.
It all begs the question of if continuing to play nice with Manchin will ever pay off for Biden and Democrats more generally. The White House has acquiesced to many of Manchin’s demands by considerably slimming down the “Build Back Better” plan in hopes of getting him on board, and it obviously hasn’t been successful.
In the new year, the White House and Democratic congressional leadership will need to figure out how to deliver on the agenda with Manchin’s blessing or not, or else risk appearing incapable of governing during a high-stakes election year.
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema
California lost a congressional seat following the results of the 2020 Census, but Democrats are still slated to retain a majority in their congressional delegation following the redistricting process.
As reported by FiveThirtyEight, this week California’s independent citizen redistricting commission unanimously approved the state’s new congressional map, which will be certified by the end of the year. Out of the state’s 52 newly-drawn districts, 43 are Democratic-leaning seats, seven are Republican-leaning seats and just two become highly competitive seats.
Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILEMembers of the California Highway Patrol wearing protective masks stand outside the California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 15, 2021.
Although this puts California on track with a broader trend of states seeing fewer politically competitive districts, the new map serves as a contrast to headlines about revised maps in other states diminishing the political power of people of color. According to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis, about one-third of the new districts are majority Hispanic — an increase of at least three districts from the previous map.
This change offers California’s Latino community more political weight and opens the door to the possibility of more Latino representation in local and national politics. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that advocates for Black and Asian voters were pleased with the map. More broadly, the political environment fostered through the revised map could be a major factor in how Democrats work to reinforce inroads with Latino voters throughout the 2022 midterms.
ONE MORE THING
President Joe Biden is in peril of losing the broad coalition of voters he pulled together for his 2020 election, as independent voters who spoke with ABC News continue to sour on how he’s handled a range of domestic issues, with some of them questioning if he has the leadership skills to navigate a deadlocked Washington and politically fractured country.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. In a special edition of Start Here on Wednesday, host Brad Mielke travels to Kentucky following the path of destruction left by dozens of tornadoes this month. We explore how this happened, what survivors have been going through, and how the nation can respond. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
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