* Alice Ollstein reports that the Republican voter suppression effort just suffered a major setback in North Carolina:

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who narrowly unseated Republican Pat McCrory in November, announced Tuesday that he is reversing course in a major voting rights case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state will no longer defend a series of voting restrictions passed in 2013 by the GOP-controlled legislature and signed by McCrory that a federal appeals court has ruled constitute unconstitutional “race-based vote suppression.”

Since 2013, the state has fought to implement a law that eliminated same-day voter registration, cut a full week of early voting, barred voters from casting a ballot outside their home precincts, scrapped straight-ticket voting, and got rid of a program to pre-register high school students who would turn 18 by Election Day. That law also included one of the nation’s strictest voter ID requirements.

The NAACP sued the state, and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the civil rights group in a blistering ruling last July, holding that Republican lawmakers set out to suppress African-American voters “with almost surgical precision.”

That’s good news for the people of North Carolina, but there are efforts underway in Republican states all over the country to do basically the same thing. Meanwhile, Rick Hasen has some of the backstory right here.

* Noah Barkin reports that diplomacy in the Trump administration is…complicated:

In the week before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Brussels and pledged America’s “steadfast and enduring” commitment to the European Union, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon met with a German diplomat and delivered a different message, according to people familiar with the talks.

Bannon, these people said, signalled to Germany’s ambassador to Washington that he viewed the EU as a flawed construct and favoured conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis.

Three people who were briefed on the meeting spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. The German government and the ambassador, Peter Wittig, declined to comment, citing the confidentiality of the talks.

A White House official who checked with Bannon in response to a Reuters query confirmed the meeting had taken place but said the account provided to Reuters was inaccurate. “They only spoke for about three minutes and it was just a quick hello,” the official said.

Well, as long as we’re sending clear signals to the world so they know where America stands.

* Jonathan Cohn uses the floundering of Trump’s infrastructure “plan” as a case study to show that he has no patience for governing.

* Simon Rosenberg has a good piece warning the Trump White House that the backlash to anti-immigrant measures can be swift and strong, including from Republican-aligned constituencies.

* Rebecca Savransky reports that after 1,000 of Mitch McConnell’s constituents showed up to a speech he was giving to express their opinions about matters of policy, he called them “losers.”

* Andrew Joseph tells the story of one little boy in fragile health whose life could be threatened by Republican plans to undermine Medicaid.

* Michelle Celarier reports that multilevel marketing companies — aka purveyors of pyramid schemes — are super-stoked about how the Trump administration is going to let them loose to do whatever they want.

* David Karol warns against the belief that Trump became president because of his appeal to independents.

* Kevin Drum notes that as California’s immigrant population has surged in the last couple of decades, its crime rate has fallen even faster than that of the country as a whole.

* Michelle Goldberg surveys the emotional wreckage of life under Trump one month into his presidency.

* At the American Prospect, I argued that Democrats need to forget about “reaching out” to Trump voters, at least for now.

* And over at The Week, I told Republicans that their obsession with making liberals mad doesn’t really accomplish anything.