Early Returns

Voter Fraud and the Truth About Crowds

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. Julia Azari and Seth Masket on social movements, political parties and identity politics. You won't find a bigger believer in political parties than me, but they are exactly correct that parties matter mostly because people get interested in political action for whatever reason and then join a party to make it happen. Party politics purely for their own sake happens, and that's OK, too, but if that was the full extent of what parties are, then those organizations, and the democracy they enable, would be feeble indeed. 

2. At the Monkey Cage, Brian Schaffner and Samantha Luks asked people about photos of the Donald Trump and Barack Obama inauguration crowds. Interesting results.

3. Dan Drezner on Trump and manufacturing.

4. Rick Hasen at Slate on Trump's bogus voter fraud claims

5. Jamelle Bouie at Slate makes the case that the Women's March is responsible for Trump's missteps this week. Plausible! And certainly true to at least some extent. Either way, it's certainly correct that Trump is far from "Teflon" status. 

6. Greg Sargent at the Plum Line on how Democrats intend to keep the Trump conflicts-of-interest story alive. 

7. Kevin Glass at the Washington Examiner on reconciliation and the filibuster

8. Jonathan Chait makes the case that Trump and the mainstream conservative Republican Party are really linked through Jacksonian impulses. It's an interesting case, but I suspect there's plenty of room for a schism nevertheless -- although whether (and, if so, when) it materializes is far beyond my powers of prediction. 

9. And other than how horrible this story is -- Trump, as he has before, clearly believes that it is obvious from looking at some people that they must not be legitimate voters -- it is really the most Reaganesque thing I've heard in a long time. Ronald Reagan had lots of stories like this that his staff knew about and that they tried to prevent him from telling, some because they weren't true (such as those from movies he'd present as fact) or because they were politically off-key. Reagan, of course, had other strengths that compensated for his weaknesses. We've yet to see what strengths Trump brings to the job. Glenn Thrush reports at the New York Times.

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