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Steve Benen
Works at MSNBC
Attended George Washington University
Lives in Essex Junction, Vermont
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, May 2, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* Some media pundits are quite impressed that Donald Trump opposed the war in Iraq 13 years ago. There's just one important problem (http://on.msnbc.com/1NOCNNp).

* Bernie Sanders' campaign manager recently endorsed a highly controversial plan involving Democratic superdelegates. Now, Sanders himself has committed to that exact strategy (http://on.msnbc.com/1rqTh4h).

* North Carolina's Republican Party picked an inconvenient time to start unraveling. The HB2 debacle hurts, but it's just part of a larger crisis that's led to the ouster of the state GOP chairman (http://on.msnbc.com/1VH6zpZ).

* Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) shocked much of the country with his callousness towards addiction issues and posturing on overdoses. Democrats and Republicans in the Maine legislature went in a very different direction (http://on.msnbc.com/1UsVurn).

* If Ted Cruz honored the principles he outlined a month ago, he'd have no choice but to quit -- which is why he's moved the goalposts (http://on.msnbc.com/23iLOzT).

* Why hasn't Marco Rubio endorsed Ted Cruz? Oddly enough, it's has a lot to do with the presidential election -- in 2020 (http://on.msnbc.com/1W2S3c0).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, April 28, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* Asked about the 2016 race, former House Speaker John Boehner called one Republican "Lucifer in the flesh." He added, "I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life" (http://on.msnbc.com/1qXKFSa).
 
* House Speaker Paul Ryan has a message for health care consumers with pre-existing conditions. They're probably going to hate what he has to say (http://on.msnbc.com/1WUTSY1).
 
* Donald Trump realizes there's a "gender gap" that hurts Republicans. This morning, he tried to make it much worse (http://on.msnbc.com/1TySaIL).
 
* As Bernie Sanders lays off hundreds of staffers, he has a new challenge: Coming up with a wish list for the Democratic Party he hopes to change (http://on.msnbc.com/1rkluK6).
 
* Automatic voter registration is a bold idea whose time has come. As recently as 14 months ago, there wasn't a state in the nation doing this. As of today, that's changed quite a bit (http://on.msnbc.com/1YVWPpz).
 
* For presidential candidates, there's a fine art to selecting a running mate. Yesterday, Ted Cruz proved how bad he is at the task (http://on.msnbc.com/1VWyimf).
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assume the position, trumpoids. your payment is due.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Tuesday, April 26, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* In 2008, Hillary Clinton set a bar when it comes to magnanimity in defeat. In 2016, she's likely to ask Bernie Sanders to match it -- and that will represent an exceedingly interesting challenge (http://on.msnbc.com/1rxBOra).
 
* On a related note, a new national poll shows an unbelievable number of Bernie Sanders supporters willing to vote for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Here's why you should be skeptical about the survey results (http://on.msnbc.com/1VUB6QV).
 
* What's more interesting than Ted Cruz and John Kasich striking a deal to stop Donald Trump? Seeing how quickly their alliance unraveled (http://on.msnbc.com/1Sx6dMz).
 
* If Politico's co-founder hoped to get people talking about a third-party presidential ticket, he succeeded. The trouble is, his argument got people talking about how misguided his argument is (http://on.msnbc.com/1Sqx7ZS).
 
* It's hardly shocking that Donald Trump's supporters would prefer to roll back the clock. But how far back would they like to go? We now have a sense of the answer (http://on.msnbc.com/1Uf5pR8).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, April 21, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* It seemed as if the Republicans' crusade against Planned Parenthood couldn't get any more ridiculous. That is, until yesterday, when the GOP's bizarre investigation got much worse (http://on.msnbc.com/1rooAwK).
 
* When one of our closest allies feels the need to warn its citizens about possibly facing discrimination while visiting the US ... there's a problem (http://on.msnbc.com/1WIrUyn).
 
* When it comes to talking about national security, Republicans are ready and willing. When it comes to doing actual work, they struggle with the follow-through. Take Tom Cotton, for example (http://on.msnbc.com/1VIVtjP).
 
* The more Americans hear the Republican talking points on the Supreme Court, the more they think the GOP is wrong (http://on.msnbc.com/1Sy90dP).
 
* When it comes to the road ahead in the Democratic presidential primary, Bernie Sanders' campaign manager and Bernie Sanders' chief strategist aren't exactly on the same page (http://on.msnbc.com/1pkHNh7).
 
* Donald Trump wins applause for saying he supports raising taxes on the wealthy. There's just one problem: the claim isn't even close to being true (http://on.msnbc.com/1WHFLoH).
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I believe the 4 oldest current US Senators are GOPers. Charles Grassley (Iowa) is 82 and will be 83 in September. Orrin Hatch(Utah) turned 82 earlier this year. Richard Shelby (Alabama) will be 82 in May. John McCain (Arizona) turns 80 in August. These are old white guys. All except Hatch are up for reelection this year.

Each of these guys was, for example, 21 years old or older when the USSR launched Sputnik, on October 4, 1957. Do you remember the USSR?

I think it's a problem that these elderly men serve 6 year terms and so can't easily be removed, except by death.

 
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Tuesday, April 19, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* Why are Republicans quietly trying to intervene in the Democratic presidential primary? A former Mitt Romney aide spilled the beans yesterday in an unusually candid way (http://on.msnbc.com/26dj67X).
 
* The Sanders campaign believes the DNC and the Clinton campaign hatched an illegal fundraising scheme. Let's take a look at whether the allegations have merit (http://on.msnbc.com/1SQmyex).
 
* It's a conservative dream that's moving closer to a policy that could actually happen: privatizing veterans' care (http://on.msnbc.com/1MGteQe).
 
* Republicans say their "Obamacare" alternative is in the works. "Give us a little time," a GOP leader said yesterday. He may not fully appreciate just how hilarious that is (http://on.msnbc.com/1VzD75m).
 
* While Democratic candidates fight over how much to increase the minimum wage, Republicans fight over whether the minimum wage should even exist (http://on.msnbc.com/1SqvIl0).
 
* When states like Alabama and North Dakota launch doomed culture-war fights, they're not just wasting time. They're also wasting a surprising amount of taxpayer money (http://on.msnbc.com/1Sj5Yoj).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, April 15, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* Sandy Hook families in Newtown, Connecticut, have a provocative new lawsuit that's moving forward. All of a sudden, it's one of the most contentious issues in the Democratic presidential race and it's important to understand why (http://on.msnbc.com/1SPtrgy).
 
* Doomsayers, including many in the media, want Americans to be terrified of the national debt. Here's why they're wrong (http://on.msnbc.com/1qZe13g).
 
* Ted Cruz wants to change the Constitution to give civil rights to embryos. Ask him to talk about the practical effects of his position, however, and things get even more interesting (http://on.msnbc.com/1T9dfJJ).
 
* Despite decades of experience, one of the top Republican presidential candidates routinely struggles with one thing: talking to -- and talking about -- women (http://on.msnbc.com/1T9VHNu).
 
* Mississippi's Church Protection Act, signed into law this morning, is a great idea for anyone who believes there just aren't enough guns in churches (http://on.msnbc.com/1T9GgF0).
 
* It sounds hard to believe, but the 2016 Republican presidential nominee may not pick his own running mate. That may seem outlandish, but it's actually quite possible (http://on.msnbc.com/1TWyTDa).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, April 29, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:

* With roughly six months remaining before Election Day, the Republican Party has a new problem: The GOP's popularity has reached its lowest point in nearly a quarter-century (http://on.msnbc.com/1VWCVgS).

* Republicans are supposed to say voter-ID policies have nothing to do with partisanship. But once in a while, they slip and accidentally tell the truth (http://on.msnbc.com/1VXCx0X).

* Congress debated this week whether women and men should be treated the same when registering for the draft. The discussion did not go as planned (http://on.msnbc.com/1UlSD3k).

* When Republicans on the Benghazi Committee urge the Pentagon to track down someone who made an odd claim on talk radio ... there's a real problem with the partisan investigation (http://on.msnbc.com/1SDkEPl).

* If there were a contest to see who could come up with the worst argument against closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) would be up for a gold medal (http://on.msnbc.com/1XYqKNF).

* Given how little the Senate actually gets done, it's tough to understand why its members end up taking so much time off (http://on.msnbc.com/1rFjSer).
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Rachel should call out Clinton on the "off the reservation" remark today. Clinton should hold herself to or higher than the standards she holds other candidates and know the remark was a racist one against Native Americans.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, April 27, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* By introducing Carly Fiorina, of all people, as his running mate, Ted Cruz thinks he's displaying strength. He's actually doing the opposite (http://on.msnbc.com/1pGmXZv).
 
* Dennis Hastert, apparently a serial child molester, was the longest serving Republican House Speaker in American history. Now he's headed to prison (http://on.msnbc.com/1N01UN9).
 
* The man who wants to be North Carolina's Attorney General wants to "fight to keep our state straight." He insists this sentiment isn't anti-gay (http://on.msnbc.com/1WpMa7u).
 
* Ordinarily, Republican governors are content to oppose minimum-wage increases in their own states. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is taking this one step further (http://on.msnbc.com/1qU6pyn).
 
* Two weeks after the conventional wisdom said Donald Trump was finished, there's new reason to believe the Republican race is, as he put it, "over" (http://on.msnbc.com/1Nzxf9f).
 
* After yesterday's primary defeats, Bernie Sanders isn't done fighting; he's just shifting to a new goal to strive for (http://on.msnbc.com/1T4sm49).
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California

There's also a big difference in demographics:

Florida has twice as high a percentage of blacks and California has much higher percentages of Hispanics and Asians.
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Friday, April 22, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* Occasionally, Paul LePage, Maine's s far-right governor, engages in offensive behavior that's more repulsive than funny (http://on.msnbc.com/1WJWOq4).
 
* One of the key points of contention between the two Republican presidential candidates is ... bathrooms? (http://on.msnbc.com/1SyCHbz)
 
* When it comes to denying hundreds of thousands of Americans representation in Congress, Republicans are supposed to stick to a certain script. John Kasich forgot (http://on.msnbc.com/1ShHbEw).
 
* After several years in which so many states have created new voting restrictions, it's heartening to see a state move aggressively in the opposite direction (http://on.msnbc.com/1NojSbS).
 
* Obama has a message for states looking to cut off Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding: Don't (http://on.msnbc.com/1U8U5Ga).
 
* The Library of Congress doesn't want to want to refer to undocumented immigrants as "illegal aliens." The question is why congressional Republicans want to force the Library of Congress to do it anyway (http://on.msnbc.com/1QstlcM).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Wednesday, April 20, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* Now that Democratic and Republican voters in New York have had their say, what's next? I'm glad you asked (http://on.msnbc.com/1qDLUFL).
 
* Bernie Sanders' campaign has an idea about how to get the Democratic nomination, even if he comes in second in the primaries. A lot of people are going to find the plan controversial (http://on.msnbc.com/1Su9WfX).
 
* How fractured is Republican politics right now? John McCain believes it's in his interest to stay far away from his own party's national convention (http://on.msnbc.com/1NldUsc).
 
* When even far-right Kansas Republicans start running away from him, you know Gov. Sam Brownback's (R) failures are becoming a serious problem (http://on.msnbc.com/1QnD4B9).
 
* There was a time when access to porn was a staple of the culture war. Some are apparently eager to bring it back. Take some unexpected developments in Utah, for example (http://on.msnbc.com/1MInfKP).
 
* The good news is, Treasury officials have made some excellent decisions about who to honor on the $20 bill. The bad news is, we won’t get our hands on the new bills until around 2030 or so (http://on.msnbc.com/1rl2qvx).
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Monday, April 18, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* The Affordable Care Act is helping the uninsured, but that's only part of a bigger picture. The closer we look, the clearer the picture becomes about narrowing the gap between haves and have-nots (http://on.msnbc.com/1SqvInX).
 
* The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning in the biggest immigration case in a generation. You've got questions and I've got answers (http://on.msnbc.com/1VwNVRk).
 
* Ted Cruz wants voters to know, if elected, he won't try to ban adult sexual devices. Of course, that raises a related question about his ideology and Americans' privacy rights (http://on.msnbc.com/26aBRsH).
 
* Responding to Bernie Sanders' argument, if Southern states aren't representative of Democratic politics in general, which are? (http://on.msnbc.com/1SOnnVb)
 
* The architect of some of the worst far-right economic plans in modern times has a message for voters: Ted Cruz's tax plan "is better than Reagan's." What could possibly go wrong? (http://on.msnbc.com/1YDdeze).
 
* Once a year, Donald Rumsfeld writes a letter to the IRS, asking the agency to make federal taxes easier to understand. And every year, Rumsfeld's letter goes to the wrong people -- because he doesn't know what the IRS does (http://on.msnbc.com/1qUo5dj).
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"The foundation for any debate is understanding the facts as they exist."

So, this debate is only going to be among Democrats then?
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Steve Benen

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I published another dozen new items today -- Thursday, April 14, 2016 -- and here are some highlights:
 
* While much of the political world has focused on Paul Ryan's presidential plans, a nagging detail has emerged: The Republican leader appears to be failing in his job as Speaker of the House (http://on.msnbc.com/1VnUs0D).
 
* As a public-health threat grows more serious, and congressional Republicans chose not to step up, the White House has stopped being polite and started getting real (http://on.msnbc.com/1VYQBWH).
 
* Bernie Sanders was willing to support campaigns other than his own, but only if they're "the right candidates." We now know exactly what that means (http://on.msnbc.com/1W0mC0u).
 
* On a related note, when a presidential candidate chooses not to compete in states he's likely to lose, that's smart. When a candidate says those states, which happen to be racially diverse, "distort reality," that's not smart (http://on.msnbc.com/1VrPzEp).
 
* Across much of the South, Republicans have pushed a striking number of new anti-LGBT measures, prompting controversy and backlashes. Louisiana's new Democratic governor is moving in the opposite direction (http://on.msnbc.com/1Sceacf).
 
* One of the year's biggest political reports is on track to be released soon. The question isn't what's in it -- the question is who (if anyone) will take it seriously (http://on.msnbc.com/1Vo8bVa).
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Work
Employment
  • MSNBC
    Producer, The Rachel Maddow Show, 2012 - present
  • Washington Monthly
    Contributing Writer, 2008 - 2012
  • The Carpetbagger Report
    Founder, Publisher, 2003 - 2008
  • Americans United for Separation of Church and State
    Communications Department, 1997 - 2002
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Currently
Essex Junction, Vermont
Previously
Washington, DC - Miami, FL
Story
Tagline
Campaign-covering, chart-making, policy-wonking progressive blogger/reporter/commentator for MSNBC
Introduction

Before joining MSNBC, I was a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, headlining the "Political Animal" blog. I've also written for a variety of other publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, and Salon.com. My blogging career started in February 2003 with the launch of The Carpetbagger Report.

Bragging rights
In July 2009, The Atlantic named me one of the top 50 most influential political commentators in the United States. (I finished one slot above Lou Dobbs, which made the honor that much more satisfying.)
Education
  • George Washington University
    1996
Basic Information
Gender
Male