ESSENTIAL #1: “CONGRESS IN 2019: WHY MEMBERS SHOULD PREPARE FOR A LIKELY RECESSION” ROBERT SHAPIRO, BROOKINGS
From the article: “What happens in the economy in 2019 almost certainly will be overshadowed by the investigations of Donald Trump, his children, members of his presidential campaign and inauguration committee, and executives of his businesses and foundation. Even so, economic developments will shape the political environment in which Americans weigh the results of those investigations and the president’s overall job performance. And it is increasingly likely that President Trump and the 116thCongress will face a steadily weakening economy in 2019.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL FACE IN THE NEW YEAR” RONALD BROWNSTEIN, THE ATLANTIC
From the article: “Each of the current crises may recede in 2019, but the overall trajectory of Trump’s presidency points toward more, not less, disorder. Trump has systematically dismissed advisers such as Mattis who were considered, however imperfectly, the most powerful constraints on his behavior. And Trump will face new provocations that are likely to trigger his most belligerent impulses—especially from an incoming Democratic House majority that’s poised to investigate every aspect of his presidency (including his personal finances). Looming close behind are more potential indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the release of his final report on Trump, Russia, and the 2016 campaign. In 2019, combustion may be as great a risk to Trump as collusion.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “‘WHAT OBAMA HAD, HE HAS THAT’: JEFFRIES’ STOCK RISES AS PELOSI SUCCESSOR” HEATHER CAYGLE, RACHEL BADE AND JOHN BRESNAHAN, POLITICO
From the article: “More than a few Democrats see Jeffries’ youth and Brooklyn swagger — he’s been known to quote rapper Biggie Smalls on the House floor — as the antidote for a caucus long ruled by a pack of old-school septuagenarians. But the speakership is far from guaranteed.
With Nancy Pelosi’s grip on the gavel likely secure for at least the next two years, Jeffries, 48, would first have to elbow aside others on a leadership team that’s suddenly brimming with young upstarts. He also must navigate some of the same land mines that tripped up his fellow New Yorker, outgoing Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “WHAT HAPPENED TO BIOETHICS” YUVAL LEVIN, THE NEW ATLANTIS
From the article: “Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, bioethics was a prominent national issue, and an active and intensely contested political question. In 1998, human cloning was much on the agenda, with Dolly the sheep having been cloned not long before and the Clinton administration and congressional Republicans both eager for some boundaries — even if they didn’t quite agree on what those ought to be. In 2008, we were coming off of eight years of intense debate about federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a debate that involved high-stakes politics, a prime-time presidential speech to the country, a veto by President Bush of a bill a Republican Congress had sent him, and a politicization of the case for biomedical research of a sort we had never seen before.
Such intense focus on bioethics seems almost strange now. At the very least, public interest has faded a lot. But in order to think about why, and about what lessons we can learn about where things stand today, we might recall a couple of facets of that unusual period of intense focus on bioethics, particularly the stem cell debate in the first decade of this century.”