Tuesday Edition


Former President Trump won the Iowa caucuses last night. (NBC News)


Some major strategic differences on the border crisis are emerging between Republican House and Senate leaders. (Punchbowl News)

House Speaker Mike Johnson told fellow Republicans on a conference call Sunday he wouldn’t back the Senate’s bipartisan border deal and said the border crisis wouldn’t be solved until Donald Trump or another Republican is in office. Johnson’s been facing heavy pressure to reject the Senate agreement from conservatives who support the House’s more robust H.R. 2 border security bill. Conservatives have been upset by some of the specifics (like allowing up to 5,000 illegal immigrants per day before expulsion powers kick in) in the Senate deal, which were leaked by an activist group over the weekend.

According to the Immigration Accountability Project, the Senate’s bill would increase green cards by 50,000 per year and includes immediate work permits for migrants released from custody. The House’s bill would resume border wall construction, increase Border Patrol resources, reform the asylum process and end catch-and-release practices, among other measures.

Johnson’s viewpoint:  The current compromise doesn't have enough teeth to actually fix the problems at the border. Republicans should hold off on a deal until they're in a more politically advantageous position, like hopefully when Trump is in the White House.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s viewpoint: Getting an imperfect border deal passed is better than no deal at all. House Republicans are dreaming if they think they're going to be able to get a border deal passed when/if Trump is in office. It's just going to get harder.


NFL ratings suffered a few years back amid the pandemic and backlash from the league’s stances on social justice, but they’ve since come roaring back. (Fortune)

Source: Nielsen Ratings, Sportico, Fortune

Conservatives have taken credit for dinging the NFL’s ratings with boycotts on two occasions: In 2017, following widespread player protests during the national anthem, the NFL’s average regular season ratings fell 10% from the previous year. In 2020, when the league promoted Black Lives Matter and other racially conscious messages after George Floyd’s death, ratings declined 7% from the prior season. A 2022 Los Angeles Times poll found nearly half of Republicans or Republican-leaners reported decreased interest in the NFL over the last five years.

Conservative commentator Clay Travis at the start of the 2020 NFL season: NFL opening night ratings hit a ten year low. Get woke, go broke hits again.”

NFL regular-season games averaged 17.9 million viewers in the recent season, tying for the second-highest average since 1995. Total viewership is up 7% from the previous season. According to Nielsen, Saturday’s playoff matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins was the most-streamed live event ever.


Vivek Ramaswamy dropped out of the GOP presidential race last night, and his embrace of the "crybaby" politics he criticized in his 2022 book, "Nation of Victims,” might have contributed to why his campaign never really caught on. (Ruthless)

Ramaswamy in a direct-to-camera ad that aired during last week’s Nikki Haley-Ron DeSantis debate: “The mainstream media is trying to rig the Iowa GOP caucus in favor of the corporate candidates who they can control. Don't fall for their trick. They don't want you to hear from me about the truth of what really happened on January 6th, the truth about the COVID origin, the Hunter Biden laptop story, and everything else they have lied to you about.”

Ruthless podcast co-host Michael Duncan on Ramaswamy’s stolen election rhetoric: “He's doing [Black Lives Matter] for MAGA. That's what it is. It's grievance politics. It's ‘hands up, don't shoot’ for Republicans. … This kind of grievance thing, essentially that's the beating heart of the left, isn't it? … All I would say is Vivek Ramaswamy wrote an entire book called ‘Nation of Victims’ and talked about how the GOP has become a party of crybabies and talked about how we've incorporated the crybaby rhetoric of the left and made grievance politics part of our politics.”

An excerpt from ‘Nation of Victims’: “It’s easy to be a sore loser; it’s harder to figure out how to win. The comforting blanket of stolen-election stories allows those who embrace them to avoid self-examination and introspection and place all their electoral shortcomings at the feet of others. This is how the woke left wins — not with a bang, but with a whimper. Not by winning a battle of arguments with the other side, but by getting the other side to adopt its own values and methods without even realizing it, even as they continue to battle one another.”

Hertz’s new plan to sell 20,000 of its electric vehicles and replace them with gasoline-powered cars is the latest sign CEOs may have gotten carried away with the hype surrounding mass EV adoption. (WSJ)

Hertz’s then-CEO Mark Fields in 2021 after the company announced it planned to buy 100,000 Teslas: “Electric vehicles are now mainstream, and we’ve only just begun to see rising global demand and interest.”

The Biden administration has set aside billions in its push to get America to switch to electric cars. From 2023 to 2026, automotive companies plan to invest a total of $526 billion in EVs, according to consulting firm AlixPartners.

But demand for EVs has slowed and investors and auto makers are getting hit:

  • According to a new Deloitte automotive consumer study, only 6% of U.S. consumers want their next car to be a battery-powered EV, down from 8% the previous year.

  • Electric vehicle maker Rivian's market cap dropped from $153 billion in 2021 to $17.3 billion today.

  • In 2022, only 1.2% of new vehicle registrations belonged to EV or plug-in hybrid owners.

  • In August 2023, it took about twice as long to sell an EV in the U.S. as it did in the previous January, while gas-burning vehicles sold more quickly.

Wall Street Journal columnist Allysia Finley: “The EV reversal illustrates the perils of groupthink, which has infected the C-suite and Wall Street just as it has college campuses. Ideological conformity has fueled the ESG (environmental, social and governance) and DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) movements in corporate America, which have proved costly and distracting.”

Since Washington D.C. voters passed a law tripling the base pay for tipped restaurant workers, restaurants’ profits and customers are on the decline. (WSJ)

A recent report from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington on the effects of Initiative 82, which went into effect in May:

  • More than one-third of restaurants reported a decrease in summer sales compared to the previous year, with an average drop of 31%.

  • 52% of D.C. diners are eating at home more often due to increased prices.

  • Over 150 D.C. restaurants have adopted service fees after Initiative 82.

  • Full-service restaurant employment is down 4% since May, per Federal Reserve data.

D.C. restaurant owner Jason Berry in November on public grumbling over post-Initiative 82 service fees: You voted for this. Here's what it costs to do it. You're going to pay for it. I'm not, because you know what? I don't want to go out of business. And if I start taking 3% away from my sales everywhere I go, I'm not going to make it.”

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