Bureaucrats, Conflicts and Hypotheticals

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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1. Sarah Binder at the Monkey Cage on the future of the filibuster.

2. Also at the Monkey Cage: Josh McCrain on why Donald Trump needs bureaucrats.

3. Dan Drezner on the question of serving in the Trump administration.

4. I agree with Seth Masket that there's no particular reason to be confident, let alone certain, that a different Democratic candidate would have done better than Hillary Clinton. The election was close enough that it's certainly plausible, but it's very, very easy to see the weaknesses of a losing candidate, and extremely difficult to imagine the weaknesses of a hypothetical alternative candidate. 

5. Matt Yglesias on why Reince Priebus isn't a very promising selection for White House chief of staff. Yup. "Not the worst possible pick" is how I've put it.

6. Jonah Goldberg at National Review on Steve Bannon -- one of several anti-Bannon items I saw yesterday from conservatives. Now, will any Republican politicians follow them? 

7. Jennifer Rubin at Right Turn on taking the president literally.

8. I'm not sure I agree with Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald on everything here, but he's correct that the Democratic National Committee didn't "rig" the nomination and probably didn't have the ability to do so, and his reporting on what Republicans would have thrown at Bernie Sanders is good.

9. My Bloomberg View colleague Timothy L. O'Brien continues to explain the conflicts of interest and more that the incoming first family will be bringing with them.

10. Dana Priest at Columbia Journalism Review on getting ready to cover the Trump administration.

11. And also at Bloomberg View: Eli Lake defends the "swamp." Bravo! I'd go a lot further than him, though. Here's the thing: All lobbyists (or at least the organizations they lobby for), and most others involved in government in Washington, have constituencies out there in the rest of the nation, where the rest of us live. They act, in other words, for us. Sure, we're not all represented in exactly the same way, or as well. But if our choices are imperfect representation by legislators, interest groups and political parties or counting on unconstrained presidents to know exactly what we want? I'll take the former, every time, even when it's a president who I think has good intentions.

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To contact the author of this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Brooke Sample at bsample1@bloomberg.net