* Michael Grunwald said that this is the most depressing story he’s ever written. But coming from the reporter who got the details of that fateful meeting on the night of the 2009 inauguration when the Republicans plotted their strategy of total obstruction, it’s worth a read.

* Pat McCrory has finally conceded in the North Carolina Governor’s race. Tom Jensen tells the story about how the opposition organized to defeat him.

Pat McCrory’s now official defeat in the race for Governor of North Carolina has real implications for the progressive movement nationally in the era of Trump.

The dominant reason given for McCrory’s defeat will be the unpopularity of HB2, and certainly that played an important role. In August we found that only 30% of voters in the state supported it, and that McCrory’s handling of the issue made them less likely to vote for him by a 12 point margin. If he’d vetoed it, he very well might have been reelected.

But the seeds of McCrory’s defeat really were planted by the Moral Monday movement in the summer of 2013, just months after McCrory took office…

What happened in the summer of 2013 to make McCrory so permanently unpopular? He allowed himself to be associated with a bunch of unpopular legislation, and progressives hit back HARD, in a way that really caught voters’ attention and resonated with them…

McCrory spearheaded or went along with all of this. And he might have gotten away with it without much impact on his image. Most voters don’t pay close attention to state government.

But the Moral Monday movement pushed back hard. Its constant visibility forced all of these issues to stay in the headlines. Its efforts ensured that voters in the state were educated about what was going on in Raleigh, and as voters became aware of what was going on, they got mad.

* Senator Susan Collins of Maine has signaled there might be some serious cracks in the Republican plans for Medicare and Obamacare.

Though Collins opposed the Affordable Care Act and says it needs many fixes, she might not support repealing the law if a suitable, detailed replacement is not identified. However, Collins stressed in a brief interview Friday that she’s not sure how she would vote on the issue…

Collins said plans to privatize Medicare – which have been proposed by Price and House Speaker Paul Ryan – have many problems, and she’s voted against similar ideas. Privatizing Medicare would provide skimpier benefits and be more costly to seniors, critics say.

“Suffice it to say I have a number of reservations,” Collins said Friday during an interview by phone. “A complete upending of a program (Medicare) that by and large serves seniors well is not something that appeals to me.”

* Protesters got some welcome news today about the Dakota Access pipeline.

The Army said Sunday that it will not approve an easement necessary to permit the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, marking a monumental victory for the Native American tribes and thousands of others who have flocked in recent months to protest the oil pipeline.

“I’m happy as heck,” said Everett Iron Eyes, a retired director of natural resources for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and one of the organizers of a camp protesters set up near the pipeline site. “All our prayers have been answered.”

* Steve Benen accurately notes the Republican’s “alternate reality.”

GOP leaders said Obama’s auto rescue wouldn’t work; his Recovery Act wouldn’t end the Great Recession; his health care reform law would crush the job market; and his tax increases would push the economy towards another recession. None of these things happened in reality, and Republicans managed to get the entire story backwards.

But instead of explaining how and why they were wrong, Pence and Ryan have decided to simply make up their own story, claiming that the job market has been “crushed” and “killed” by White House policies.

Chances are, they’ll continue to embrace their own alternate reality because the electorate has rewarded their failures with complete control of federal policymaking. It’ll be the first time Republicans have enjoyed such dominance since the Bush/Cheney era – which also happens to be the last time Americans saw a healthy economy deteriorate into an economic catastrophe.

* Kevin Drum demonstrates that Donald Trump is a serial, compulsive liar. First, take a look at this tweet:


Then, note what was included in his legal filing to halt the recount five days later.

* Finally, Alyssa Rosenberg says, “Stop speculating about working-class white men and go watch ‘Loving.’”

In the month since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States — and really, in the year leading up to the election — members of the white working-class, especially men, have been subject to intense analysis. And the way everyone who doesn’t fall into that category reacts to working-class white men has been under scrutiny as well. The implications for these conversations are enormous: the priorities of our political parties, the conduct of our civic discourse and the shape of our public policy will all be affected by the answers we arrive at.

Which is why it was a relief last week to watch “Loving,” Jeff Nichols’s intimate film about Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) Loving, whose marriage and the way the state of Virginia punished them for it became the center of the Supreme Court case that struck down the nation’s miscegenation laws. After all the bitterness of our post-election debate, and the distance of analysis, it was deeply affecting to simply spend time with the Lovings, and to watch a movie that defies efforts to force all working-class white men into a single deified or reviled mold.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.