The Washington Post:
McCarthy takes speaker perch as GOP stares down new mission: governance
The California Republican will now try to wrangle the disparate factions in his conference to deliver on campaign promises
An issue, however, is that the rule allows anyone, including Democrats, to call for a motion to expel the speaker. The rule has been in place for more than a century, but its impact was tested by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Republican leader John A. Boehner (Ohio), who had an understanding that they would not interfere in each other’s leadership battles — including on the motion to vacate — to protect the institution, according to three people familiar with the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
No such understanding is expected between McCarthy and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
Peter Beinart/The New York Times:
Kevin McCarthy Can’t Give Republican Rebels What They Really Want
The problem isn’t that Republicans don’t win legislative victories. It’s that legislative victories can’t answer the party’s underlying discontent, which is less about government policy than about American culture. Democrats worry about voting rights, gun control, climate change and abortion — enormous challenges, but ones that congressional leaders can at least try to address. What Republicans fear, above all, is social and demographic changes that leave white Christian men feeling disempowered, a complex set of forces that Republicans often lump together as “wokeness.”
Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, who had voted against the last two Republican speakers before initially opposing Mr. McCarthy as well, claimed last year that the United States was imperiled by Democrats who “hate America, they hate people who love America, and they hate the religion and the descendants of the people who built America.” That’s not the kind of problem a Republican speaker can fix.
Marc Elias/Democracy Docket:
The Courts Protected Democracy in 2022
Almost everything pundits expected from the midterm elections proved incorrect. They expected an electoral “red wave;” instead Democrats won key Senate and House races. They predicted that election deniers would win pivotal gubernatorial and secretary of state races; nearly all of them lost.
A new report by Democracy Docket shows that much of the conventional wisdom about voting and election litigation was similarly wrong. Drawing on a comprehensive database of every significant democracy-related lawsuit filed in 2022, the report details how Democrats and progressive groups were able to protect voting rights and democracy in court. It also shows how conservatives and the Republican Party, and more specifically the Republican National Committee (RNC), tried to execute its own strategy to undermine free and fair elections that ultimately failed.
At the start of 2022, conventional wisdom suggested that we were unlikely to see a repeat of the high volume of voting litigation sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic and former President Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2020. That proved a faulty assumption.
In fact, 2022 saw an increase in the total number of voting and election lawsuits — from 150 in 2020 to 175 in 2022. While Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin saw the most cases, litigation was spread from coast to coast across 31 states.
Jennifer Rubin/The Washington Post:
Jeffries governs in poetry, Biden in grace — and the GOP in thuggishness
All the more impressive for speaking without notes or a teleprompter, Jeffries set a tone for Democrats that was both contemporary and high-minded, fun and sophisticated. With the cadence of a preacher and erudite vocabulary of a professor, he perfectly encapsulated the difference between his party’s optimism and accomplishment and his opponents’ bitterness even in victory.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Fulton special grand jury completes Trump investigation
In a brief order issued Monday, Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney wrote that the grand jury has fulfilled its duties to his satisfaction.
McBurney also scheduled a hearing on Jan. 24, during which parties — including the Fulton District Attorney’s office that advised the jury, the news media and, presumably, investigation targets — will argue whether the grand jury’s report should be made public. Jurors recommended that their report be published, McBurney said.
How Trump's allies stoked Brazil Congress attack
Along with other prominent Trump advisers who spread fraud rumours, Mr Bannon was unrepentant on Sunday, even as footage emerged of widespread destruction in Brazil.
"Lula stole the Election… Brazilians know this," he wrote repeatedly on the social media site Gettr. He called the people who stormed the buildings "Freedom Fighters".
Ali Alexander, a fringe activist who emerged after the 2020 election as one of the leaders of the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" movement, encouraged the crowds, writing "Do whatever is necessary!" and claiming to have contacts inside the country.
Whose backyard? Realism and the shifting balance of stakes in Ukraine
While it is difficult to assess the value of Ukraine for Russia and that for the West, we can make an important observation: the balance of stakes is rapidly shifting in the West’s direction. As the war stimulates Ukraine’s resistance and anti-Russian sentiment, the value for Russia of a potentially Moscow-ruled Ukraine (or part of it) tends to decrease.
Just as European colonial powers realised during the decolonisation movement, a hostile and mobilised society can be very expensive to occupy in the long run and tends to become more a burden than an asset. This explains why possessions initially considered essential to the maintenance of British or French power and prestige, such as India or Algeria, were eventually abandoned, even though the colonisers had not suffered any decisive military defeat on the ground. The prize was simply no longer worth it.
Conversely, the Russia-Ukraine war has dramatically increased the value of Ukraine for the West. Within a few months, Ukraine has proven to be a highly effective bulwark against Russia’s expansionism and the de facto spearhead of Europe’s defence. Ukraine’s ability to immobilise the Russian army, greatly reducing its capabilities and exposing its weaknesses, contributes much more to NATO’s security than most NATO member states do. Even in the longer term, having the military skills, unique experience and moral strength of the Ukrainian people on NATO’s side would be an invaluable asset.
Yascha Mounk/The Atlantic:
Brazil’s ‘January 6 Moment’ Is a Warning
The threat from authoritarian populists endures.
Three days ago, cable-news channels marked the second anniversary of the assault on the U.S. Capitol by replaying videos taken on January 6, 2021. Anybody who watched CNN on Friday would have seen hours of footage of protesters breaking through thin police lines, storming the Capitol, and wreaking havoc in the symbolic center of American democracy.
This made the videos broadcast yesterday afternoon look eerily familiar. Once again, protesters easily broke through a thin line of police. Once again, thousands of people stormed key government buildings, a look of giddy triumph on their faces. And once again, shocking scenes of mob violence and vandalism unfolded, as a grotesque carnival dragged on for hours in full view of the world.