The TAKE with Rick Klein
Political revolutions don't typically start with op-eds -- and these bylines might not speak loudly by themselves.
Still, some takes that are coursing through the political discussion at the moment are worth digesting, if not internalizing, for party leaders depending on motivation to come via party identification.
Following two buzzy but ultimately busted high-profile campaigns in the space of two years, Andrew Yang announced last week that he was leaving the Democratic Party to pursue electoral reforms he thinks can't come from either party.
"There are phenomenal public servants doing great work every day -- but our system is stuck," Yang wrote. "It is stuck in part because polarization is getting worse than ever."
"Rational Republicans are losing the party civil war," they wrote.
There's an air of resignation in that essay in particular. It published just days after the longest-serving GOP senator appeared alongside Trump at a rally showcasing the former president's lies about the last election; Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, seeing an eighth term, cited Trump's poll numbers among Republicans and said he "wouldn't be too smart" if he rejected his endorsement.
Democrats, meanwhile, are hoping party loyalty delivers the governorship in Virginia and New Jersey in three weeks. And President Joe Biden's best and only shot at his domestic agenda can only be achieved by near-unanimity among Democrats in Congress.
Yet signs of weakening party bonds have long been evident -- from Trump's unlikely rise to the political success of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a lifelong independent who almost captured the Democratic presidential nomination twice.
Trump and Sanders are among the most powerful voices inside the Republican and Democratic parties at the moment. Voices that find themselves outside those parties don't have the same resonance but do carry particular meaning right now.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
Vaccine mandates and politics are back on a collision course in Texas, where on Wednesday the state House will be hearing public testimony about a bill that would offer individuals the ability to claim exemptions from vaccine requirements by an employer or business.
The bill, HB155, was introduced last week but advanced in the legislative process a day after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added the issue of banning vaccine mandates to lawmakers' special session agenda on Monday. Abbott -- who frequently touts COVID-19 vaccines as safe and effective -- also signed an executive order prohibiting vaccine mandates "by any entity," effectively contradicting the Biden administration's federal policy.
In response, the White House maintained the federal mandate overrides the Texas executive order and slammed Abbott for "putting politics ahead of public health."
"Why would you be taking steps that prevent the saving of lives that make it more difficult to save lives across the country or in any state?" White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
While the governor's executive order is already receiving pushback from Democrats and business leaders across the state, Abbott is also finding himself at odds with one of the most high-profile Texas-based businesses -- American Airlines. In a statement issued to ABC News on Tuesday, the airline indicated plans to follow through with requiring employees to be fully vaccinated, as established by the White House. Southwest is also resisting Abbott's efforts.
The TIP with Quinn Scanlan
Tuesday marked the last day to register to vote in Virginia's off-year election, and with the gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin neck and neck, top Democrats are planning to descend on Virginia.
First lady Jill Biden will join McAuliffe for events in Henrico County Friday, and Stacey Abrams, one of the Georgia leaders credited with helping the Peach State flip blue in the last election cycle, will campaign with McAuliffe in Norfolk and vote-rich northern Virginia Sunday along with another Georgian, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Next weekend will bring an even bigger name when former President Barack Obama campaigns with McAuliffe in the state capital.
The current president stumped with McAuliffe back in July, but since then, Biden's average approval rating has dropped about eight points. During a virtual rally last week, McAuliffe said he was "facing a lot of headwinds from Washington," acknowledging that Biden was "unpopular" in the commonwealth at the moment.
Despite that, McAuliffe made clear Tuesday that Biden, a longtime friend of his, is still welcome in Virginia, telling reporters, "He'll be coming back. You bet he will."
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. On Tuesday morning's episode, ABC News' legal analyst, Kate Shaw, breaks down Gov. Greg Abbott's anti-mandate mandate. Then, ABC's Victor Oquendo reports on the new information from the Gabby Petito autopsy. And, ABC's Ines de La Cuetara walks us through a migrant crisis on the Poland-Belarus border. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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