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Opinion Happy Hour Roundup

* Erica Werner, Damian Paletta, and John Wagner report that once again, President Trump has shown how weak he is:

President Trump on Tuesday retreated from his demand for $5 billion to build a border wall, as congressional Republicans maneuvered to avoid a partial government shutdown before funding expires at the end of Friday.
But Democrats immediately rejected Republicans’ follow-up offer, leaving the two sides still at impasse as hundreds of thousands of federal workers await word on whether they will be sent home without pay just before Christmas.
The new border funding offer from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calls on Congress to pass a $1.6 billion homeland security spending bill that was crafted earlier this year in a bipartisan Senate compromise.
Under the offer, Congress would also reprogram $1 billion in unspent funds that Trump could use on his immigration policies. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who oversees the panel in charge of homeland security funding, said the reprogrammed money would not be able to be used for a physical wall but could be spent on other border security measures.

Hmm, it’s almost as if, when Trump said he had the votes for a wall and Nancy Pelosi said he didn’t, he was wrong and she was right.

* Alex Isenstadt reports that Trump's reelection campaign is well underway:

President Donald Trump is planning to roll out an unprecedented structure for his 2020 reelection, a streamlined organization that incorporates the Republican National Committee and the president’s campaign into a single entity.
It’s a stark expression of Trump’s stranglehold over the Republican Party: Traditionally, a presidential reelection committee has worked in tandem with the national party committee, not subsumed it.
Under the plan, which has been in the works for several weeks, the Trump reelection campaign and the RNC will merge their field and fundraising programs into a joint outfit dubbed Trump Victory. The two teams will also share office space rather than operate out of separate buildings, as has been custom.
The goal is to create a single, seamless organization that moves quickly, saves resources, and — perhaps most crucially — minimizes staff overlap and the kind of infighting that marked the 2016 relationship between the Trump campaign and the party. While a splintered field of Democrats fight for the nomination, Republicans expect to gain an organizational advantage.

In other words, it reflects Trump’s desire for control. But it will probably also reflect all his pathologies as well.

* Tracie McMillan reports on the corporation you've never heard of that is making billions managing the Republican war on poor people.

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* Susan Glasser talks to Sen. Amy Klobuchar about how Democrats can win the White House.

* Lawrence Lessig explains why the political reform bill Democrats will offer next year is the most important civil rights legislation in decades.

* Simon Rosenberg and Aaron Trujillo explain what they’ve learned about the new digital campaign landscape from the last two years fighting against foreign efforts to attack the Democratic Party.

* Howard Berkes, Huo Jingnan, and Robert Benincasa report that for years, thousands of miners were affected with black lung disease while government regulators did nothing to stop it.

* Matt Barreto looks at new data that shows Trump is decisively losing the argument over immigration, even as he still thinks he’s winning it.

* Noah Berlatsky argues that voter suppression is the most important threat to free speech in America today.

* Dahlia Lithwick reads a new biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to untangle her mix of radicalism and conservatism.

* E.J. Dionne reads all the signs and argues that we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of the gun lobby’s power.

* Anna Greenberg says gender dynamics might not work to Democrats' advantage in 2020 the way they did in 2018.

* And finally, Meagan Flynn reports that a federal judge has struck down New York’s 44-year-old ban on nunchucks as a violation of the Second Amendment.