It’s Friday, December 6. In today’s newsletter: An old Democratic kingmaker might return to the scene. Plus, can the pro-abortion-rights umbrella expand again?




How Nancy Pelosi hopes this ends

When the House speaker asked committee chairs to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, her tone seemed to communicate how reluctant she remains about the way the inquiry is playing out.

Pelosi finds Congress moving through a highly partisan impeachment, one supported by about 50 percent of the public, and one with a near-zero chance of making it through the Republican-controlled Senate.

Back in October, Pelosi told our contributing writer Ron Brownstein that she was concerned about impeachment fatigue:

“How much drama can the American people handle?” she asked. “Where does the law of diminishing returns set in? Where is the value added not worth the time?”

There’s a reason the Baltimore native frequently quotes Thomas Paine’s “the times have found us” essay, my colleague Todd Purdum writes. Despite everything, she seems to truly believe in her duty to hold the president accountable:

In less fraught circumstances, a phrase like The president leaves us no choice might be a mere political talking point. In this case, it seems that, by Pelosi’s lights, it’s the cold truth.

Read Todd’s full story here.

—Christian Paz



(Tom Brenner / Reuters)

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend the 97th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Ellipse near the White House on Thursday, December 5, 2019.



(Win McNamee / Reuters)

The rare in “safe, legal, and rare”

President Bill Clinton’s “safe, legal, and rare” catchphrase in 1992 started as a political workaround for Democrats that, over the following decades, fed into a larger effort to build political coalitions. A new generation of progressives has strayed from that line, Caitlin Flanagan writes:

Whether they mean to or not, these young women are introducing a purity test where there shouldn’t be one: within the community of pro-abortion-rights voters. In this new calculus, true believers are welcome; anyone else can find the door.

Read her full argument here.

+ Caitlin explores the future of the abortion conversation further in the December issue of the The Atlantic: Is there any way for two sides to talk to each other honestly?


What exactly did Pete Buttigieg during his time with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company?

Just break the NDA, Mayor Pete, Derek Thompson argues:

Buttigieg not only has an obligation to come clean about his corporate experience. Unless the work he did at McKinsey is utterly vile, it would be strategically wise to break his nondisclosure agreement and dare McKinsey to censure its most public alumnus.

What’s the worst that could happen? McKinsey’s PR team could release a statement expressing deep disappointment, or declare that it is considering legal action, or even announce immediately that it is suing for a nondisclosure violation. Buttigieg should welcome the showdown.

Read the rest.



(Doug Mills / The New York Times / Redux)

Is Harry Reid still a Democratic kingmaker?

Since retiring in 2017, the former Senate Majority Leader has kept a low-profile, enduring pancreatic cancer.

That hasn’t stopped his party’s 2020 hopefuls from seeking out his advice and favor. Edward-Isaac Dovere caught up with 80-year-old Reid, who could lead back-room machinations should no Democrat emerge as the party’s clear nominee.

Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have both stopped by for meetings and checked in via phone. Pete Buttigieg made a special pilgrimage to see him. Bernie Sanders welcomed Reid to his hospital room after his recent heart attack. Before Mike Bloomberg started filing the paperwork to enter the primaries, he didn’t alert many Democratic Party figures—but he did call Reid.

Read Isaac’s full story here.

+ The Democratic establishment’s uneasiness regarding Biden might have signaled a green light for new entrants such as Mike Bloomberg and Deval Patrick, Isaac reported previously.


Today’s newsletter was written by Christian Paz and edited by Shan Wang. You can reply directly to this newsletter with questions or comments, or send a note to

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