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Stephen Miller has expanded his power in the White House ‘because there is no one else there’

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The federal shutdown over funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall entered its 31st day Monday, with 800,000 workers going without pay.

The Guardian’s Washington DC bureau chief David Smith wondered Monday why Trump appears to be committing political suicide. After all, the border wall is not a  popular idea: 69 percent of respondents polled by NPR in December said that the wall was not a priority for them. Unsurprisingly, a large number of federal workers oppose the shutdown, despite President Trump’s frequent claims that federal workers want a wall so badly they’re willing to forego pay.

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Smith concludes that Trump continues to pursue the unpopular policy because many of the president’s more moderate advisors have vacated the administration, leaving extremists like Stephen Miller and Mick Mulvaney as the president’s chief counselors.

Miller helped craft the zero tolerance policy that led to kids getting separated from their parents at the border. He’s an ardent supporter of the wall. Meanwhile, Mulvaney’s brand of conservatism favors limiting the power of the federal government.

“Stephen Miller has become the singular voice on immigration in the White House. It does appear he has achieved the role he was blocked from by Steve Bannon, John Kelly and to an extent Jim Mattis. Now there is no one to block him,” Wendy Schiller, a political science professor at Brown University, explained.

“The anti-globalists are in the ascendant because there is no one else there,” Dan Cassino, an associate professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University, told The Guardian.

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Then, there’s perhaps one of Trump’s most trusted advisors: Fox News, which the president reportedly watches throughout the day.

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, observed that it’s a mix of toxic elements that’s making it difficult to resolve the stand-off.

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“He likes the drama of it: a president taking a heroic stand on television. It influences him and might even make him dig in more. He does not want to turn on TV and read a chyron saying he’s conceded. Then there are crowds he spoke to in the campaign,” Zelizer told Smith. “He’s talked about this wall and boxed himself in. He hears those voices in his head and doesn’t want to give in.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Go back to Harlem!’: Florida woman has n-word laced meltdown after bumping black woman’s shopping cart

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On Saturday, the Atlanta Black Star reported an incident in Florida, in which a white woman screamed racial slurs at a black woman at a Publix supermarket in Miami after their shopping carts jostled each other.

After the woman allegedly banged into Nicki Johnson's cart, she refused to apologize, saying, "I didn't hit you with my cart, and f**k you,  you f**king n****r."

Johnson whipped out her cell phone camera, and began recording the incident, saying "You, why don't you call me a n****r again?"

"You thinking I'm sorry?" snapped the woman. "Let me tell you something, I don't have to call you anything. Get away from me, I will call security and there are surveillance videos. Get away from me!"

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‘I’m a nurse, what are you?’: Tennessee lawmaker humiliates anti-choice activists in brutal public grilling

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Anti-choice activists in Tennessee were unprepared for the grilling they got from a Democratic Party lawmaker when making the case for a bill that would outlaw abortion before many women knew they were pregnant.

One of the speakers in favor of the fetal heartbeat bill was Baptist Pastor Randy Davis, who was questioned by state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis).

"How many women executive pastors do you have in your convention?" Robinson asked Davis. "Or senior pastors."

"None," Davis replied.

"So is it the same ideology that restricts access to women being able to lead a congregation that leads you all to support women not being able to make a medical decision about their body?" Robinson asked.

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2020 Election

Trump is doing everything he did in 2016 to get elected — and it’s failing this time: columnist

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On Saturday, Washington Post columnist Dan Balz wrote that President Donald Trump is relying on the same old bag of tricks that let him lurch blindly to a surprise victory in 2016 — but that that playbook is unlikely to get him elected again, let alone deliver sound domestic or foreign policy.

"After a week in which the threat of recession rocked global financial markets, his trade war with China showed no signs of progress and the government of Israel got into a nasty dispute with two members of Congress, President Trump went to bed Thursday night with other weighty issues on his mind. 'Great news,' he tweeted. 'Tonight we broke the all-time attendance record previously held by Elton John at #SNHUArena [Southern New Hampshire University] in Manchester!'" wrote Balz. "This is the frivolous mind-set of the president of the United States. Trump’s flurry of statements over the past few days have brought into focus once again something fundamental about him: He has little understanding of what it means to govern. He would rather tweet from the bleachers."

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