ESSENTIAL #1: “‘I WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN,’ TRUMP PLEDGES AT NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST” KATHRYN WATSON, CBS NEWS
From the article: “President Trump, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Thursday, assured his audience that his administration will protect religious liberties.
"I will never let you down," the president told his audience — which included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "I can say that. Never."
The president has relied on religious conservatives, particularly evangelical Christians, for much of his base. His speech came after he devoted some of his State of the Union address to the issue of late-term abortion, a key issue for many conservative Christians — especially after bills in New York and Virginia aiming to ease late-term abortion restrictions. The president reiterated his commitment to the pro-life movement Thursday.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “CAN A ‘MODERATE’ WIN THE 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION?” PERRY BACON JR., FIVETHIRTYEIGHT
From the article: “If you follow politics through cable news, or via Twitter, you might get the impression that the Democratic Party is dominated by voters who are almost exclusively coastal, liberal, secular, well-educated and relatively young. And it’s true that some of these groups are becoming more prominent — more Democrats than ever identify as liberal, for example.
But there still might be room for a “moderate” candidate to do well in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, maybe even win. Democrats overall are more conservative, more religious and less well-educated than I think is commonly believed. In other words, there remains a moderate wing of the Democratic Party — it just might not be a cohesive one.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “A CONFLICT-RESOLUTION EXPERT ON WHETHER POLITICAL AND RACIAL DIALOGUE HAVE VALUE IN THE TRUMP ERA” ISAAC CHOTINER, THE NEW YORKER
From the article: “Paula Green has worked in peace-building and conflict resolution for three decades, often in places torn apart by war and ethnic violence. After the 2016 election, she took on an assignment closer to home, as lead organizer for Hands Across the Hills, a group that tries to create dialogue among Americans of varying political beliefs. In 2017 and 2018, Hands Across the Hills brought together progressives from western Massachusetts and conservatives from eastern Kentucky’s coal country for two meetings, one in each of their communities, so that they could speak to Americans with different points of view and work together on common projects. This week, the Times reported on several conflict-resolution groups that are doing similar work, amid fears that the U.S. is becoming dangerously divided.
I recently spoke with Green by phone. During our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed what her work abroad made her think about the U.S., why she thinks the stereotyping of Trump voters is a problem, and whether more dialogue can really heal our politics and society.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “THE DEMOCRATS IGNORE SASSE’S BORN-ALIVE BILL AT THEIR OWN PERIL” TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK
From the article: “On Monday, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) brought to the floor of the Senate his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill that in more rational times would be passed with unanimous consent. (And, in fact, a similar measure was.) The bill, which is a very short read, simply requires hospitals to provide the same care to infants who are born alive after a botched abortion that they would to anyone else.
The response from Democrats and in most corners of the media has been a deafening silence, opposition through unwillingness to engage. Democratic Senator Parry Murray went to the floor and stayed only as long as was necessary to make the procedural objection and depart. No other Democrats went to the floor for debate ”