He’s in New Castle, Indiana, staring into a roaring furnace at a steel factory, a blue hard hat on his head.
He’s at a Texas Roadhouse off I-69, ordering ribs over the too-loud country music.
He’s in Janesville, Wisconsin. Anderson, Indiana. Dubuque, Iowa. Preaching a message of “economic patriotism” across the industrial Midwest: “We made a huge strategic mistake as a country,” he’s saying. “We just let our production go offshore. It was a mistake by, frankly, everyone in power over the last 40 years.”
It might seem like an odd play for the progressive congressman representing Silicon Valley — what’s the lefty scion of the tech-wealthy doing in the Heartland when he could be drumming up money and support at home? — but Representative Ro Khanna is testing a message that could save Democrats in a region they’ve all but lost completely. And for local Democrats and Republicans alike, the strategy seems to be working.
“So, to hear a Democrat coming out and saying, ‘Hey, we want the same things’ … it’s good to hear,” says a supply chain manager who thinks Donald Trump had “a lot of good ideas.”
“I was impressed by the fact that it seemed like his goal was to help our region and do it in a bipartisan way,” says a Republican mayor.
“I hope that you’re running for a higher office,” says a Democratic mayor who voted for Trump in 2016.
Michael Kruse followed Khanna from small town to small town, where the heir-apparent to Bernie Sanders is sowing the seeds for his own national ambitions far from home in deep red states. Could this coastal progressive put the blue back in blue collar?
Read Kruse’s story.
“[He is] a triumph of the embalmer’s art.”
Can you guess who said this about Ronald Reagan in 1981? Scroll to the bottom for the answer.**
Death on M Street … On Aug. 14, a prominent critic of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was found dead in D.C. He’d fallen — or jumped — from a luxury apartment building. Police say they don’t suspect foul play. But to his political allies, the long history of untimely deaths of Kremlin critics makes that conclusion seem hopelessly naive. In this week’s Capital City column, Michael Schaffer looks into a mysterious death with international implications.
39 percent … of Democratic men plan to purchase cryptocurrency in the next year, compared to just 14 percent of Democratic women. The gender gap holds true for Republicans, with 31 percent of men and 11 percent of women wanting to hop on the crypto train.
On the Dean’s List … It’s a tough time for journalism. Local media is drowning. Reporters have targets on their backs and work for little money, if they can find work at all. Plus the price tag for advanced degrees is — whoa, really, that many zeroes?
Can longtime New Yorker contributor Jelani Cobb use his position as the new dean of Columbia J-School to change things from atop the ivory tower? “I don’t have any illusions about how complicated that undertaking will be,” he tells Calder McHugh. But he’s ready to try.
If you haven’t been following every twist and turn of the impending nuclear deal with Iran, count yourself lucky — it’s been almost 17 months of tedious negotiations in Austria. But don’t worry, POLITICO’s Ben Pauker has you covered:
– More of an Iran Deal 1.0 kinda person? Yeah, technically this isn’t a new deal — it’s a dueling series of drafts to restore the agreement (just say “JCPOA” and you’ll sound smart) that Barack Obama inked back in 2015.
– Nuclear watchdogs estimate that Iran’s breakout time — how long it would take to make a nuke — dropped from about 6 months before Donald Trump backed out of the deal in 2018 to just a few weeks today.
– Iran and the U.S. aren’t actually talking to each other, so negotiations are being brokered by European Union officials who are literally running back and forth between hotels in Vienna passing notes and drafts.
– If the deal is made, it would unfreeze roughly $100 billion that would flow to Iran. Some of America’s closest friends — not to mention the entire GOP and a few key Dems — argue that the money would fund terrorism.
– But we’re friends again? Hardly. U.S. fighter jets and helicopters just attacked Iran’s Revolutionary Guard after they targeted an American base in Syria. A deal could still fall apart in the coming days, and even if it gets signed, don’t expect a photo op of Joe Biden smiling next to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The seizure of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago has gripped Americans of all political persuasions, and the story continues to grow as the number of documents rises.
If eBay is any guide, there will be documents coming out of Mar-a-Lago for a long time to come. This week, for example, anyone can buy the Mar-a-Lago newsletter from March-April 1998, for $49.99.
Inside, the curious reader will find plenty of non-classified information, including the secrets of aromatherapy (“research is being conducted on the psychological effects fragrances have on all of us”), a slaw recipe and a schedule of concerts including Wayne Newton, Tom Jones and Don Rickles. A helpful paragraph explores the pre-Trump era of the house, authored by the club’s “butler and historian.” It’s a thin paragraph, which probably explains why the club historian needed two jobs. (From historian Ted Widmer.)
Getting Reagan Wrong … Good morning, America! It’s the Reagan Era, small-government conservatives have won the Republican Party and the country is united under the Gipper’s sunny image. That’s the way the story goes. But it’s wrong, argues Vanderbilt history professor Nicole Hemmer. In her new book, she writes that Reagan’s time was not a placid period of conservative domination, but rather a time of intensifying ideological conflict over the future of the party. A “more pessimistic, angrier and even more revolutionary conservatism” would eclipse Reaganism, she tells Ian Ward — and that process started a lot earlier than 2016.
On August 27, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson celebrated his 58th birthday at his Texas ranch. Rain scuppered outdoor plans, and the president’s family and friends gathered indoors for a Texas-style dinner with two cakes. In these images, the president is opening gifts, from a rifle to berets.
At the time, inflation was making headlines, and on Johnson’s birthday, he dared Americans unhappy with higher prices to face up to “the problems of prosperity” or “go join the Republican Party.”
Telephoning the Western States Democratic Conference from the ranch, the president explained that when the country has “full employment,” consumers can buy more and prices go up. “I’d much rather have the problems of prosperity of the 1960s than the problems of poverty of the 1930s,” he added.
Noting her husband’s tendency to invite unexpected guests, Lady Bird Johnson told AP that there would be extra baked beans, along with barbecue and homemade peach ice cream at the celebration.
**Who Dissed? answer: It was American writer Gore Vidal, who also quipped of the 40th president, “Ronald Reagan’s library just burned down. Both books were destroyed. But the real horror: He hadn’t finished coloring either one of them.”