Monday Edition



Republicans, including former President Trump, claim Jan. 6 demonstrators have been treated more harshly than participants in the often destructive Black Lives Matter protests that took place in 2020 after George Floyd’s death. (Axios)

More than 1,265 people have been charged with allegedly taking part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the Department of Justice said last week. Of the roughly 750 federal defendants whose cases have been adjudicated, 467 have been sentenced to prison, with some sentenced to serve as many as 12 and a half years. Roughly 154 defendants have been sentenced to home detention.

A 2021 Associated Press investigation:


Amid a wave of post-Roe victories for abortion rights supporters, Florida is the latest state to put abortion on the ballot. (Politico)

A referendum on a constitutional amendment protecting abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy will take place later this year, after a group of advocates last week secured the required amount of signatures. A successful vote could overturn existing abortion policy in the Sunshine State, where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed to change the current 15-week ban to six weeks.

Americans, even in red states, have voted in favor of abortion access every time it’s been on the ballot post-Roe. A record-high 69% of U.S. adults say abortion should generally be legal in the first trimester, per Gallup. 61% of voters disapprove of Roe v. Wade being overturned, according to a NBC News poll from June.


Republicans and Democrats are increasingly using procedural tools meant for running the government as a way to get back at the opposing party. (The Messenger)

Ballot disqualification: GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he’s investigating a "credible case" for getting President Biden kicked off of Florida's 2024 presidential election ballot. Last month, officials in Maine and Colorado ruled former President Trump constitutionally ineligible to run. "This is just going to be a tit for tat and it's just not gonna end well," DeSantis said of the efforts to get Trump removed from ballots.

SCOTUS confirmation: The Supreme Court justice confirmation process has become increasingly polarized in recent years. While Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed in 1993 with 93% of the opposition party’s support, only 2% of Democrats voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

Impeachment: House Republicans in mid-December formally authorized an impeachment inquiry into Biden. Trump was impeached twice during his term. Republicans decried the process as politically motivated and warned Democrats had set a standard that might be used against them in the future.

CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin on the politicization of the impeachment process: “Politicians in this context always are using impeachment for political purposes, and they’re unabashed in their willingness to use it against their opponents while previously having defended against its use for their allies.”


Wayne LaPierre announced last week he’s stepping down as CEO of the National Rifle Association, which is facing a civil fraud trial that starts today. (Axios)

The NRA, a leading gun rights group, has struggled recently with accusations of mismanagement, internal strife, and declining influence. New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit seeks to disband the group, alleging LaPierre and other officials funneled $64 million in charity donations into lavish spending for NRA executives.

Journalist Ed O’Keefe to PBS in 2015 on the NRA’s influence: “They are the best equipped, most feared special interest group on Capitol Hill.”

The NRA’s revenue, which includes dues, fees and other contributions, tops hundreds of millions of dollars annually, but has declined of late.

In a new essay for The Atlantic, journalist Adam Serwer argues conservatives’ oppression of women, by way of abortion bans and other social policies, is the “real” reason for a decline in Republicans and Democrats marrying each other. (The Atlantic)

Serwer: [As] long as the only solution conservatives offer is a society that deprives women of certain basic rights or autonomy, those who adhere to such beliefs can expect many potential partners to look elsewhere. That isn’t a matter of political intolerance; it’s a question of freedom.”

The marriage polarization trend came along well before the recent fights over abortion:

  • Marriages between Democrats and Republicans declined from 9% in 2016 to 4% in 2020.

  • Other research showed that in 1973, 54% of newlyweds belonged to the same political party, but fast forward forty years, and that number soared to 74%.

  • In the 1960s, less than 10% of people were worried about their child marrying someone from a different political party, but by the mid-2000s, it shot up to over 25%.

  • Meanwhile, the ideology gap between young people is growing as young women increasingly lean more liberal.

Ink Stained Wretches podcast co-host Chris Stirewalt on marriage polarization: “This is an example of political idolatry, putting the wrong thing in the wrong place. As as the man said, there are no actual atheists in adult life. Everybody worships, you just get to choose what you worship. And of course, if you worship politics, it will curdle your life. It will corrode your life and the lives of people around you because that's not where it belongs.”

Here are some facts about Americans’ drinking habits. (Pew Research Center)

Alcohol intake is up on average in recent years:

Chart: Pew Research Center

People are drinking more wine and less beer:

Chart: Pew Research Center

Way less teens are drinking. Compare the share who reported drinking in the past 12 months from 2023 and 2001:

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