A recent Oval Office standoff between Democratic congressional leaders and President Trump over government funding seemed to promise a more confrontational year in politics to come — especially as new revelations keep coming from the Mueller investigation.

But, as Tracey L. Rogers writes this week, the more interesting news isn’t that Democratic leaders are challenging Trump. It’s that a new class of elected activists are challenging Democratic leaders.

Both fights may be necessary, particularly at the state level. As Nicole Braun writes from Michigan, lame-duck power grabs by Republicans who lost elections are overriding the will of voters in dangerous ways. The future of democracy in the heartland is at stake.

Also this week, Bob Lord writes that innovation used to be a good thing in the workplace. Now it just makes workers fear for their jobs. Jim Hightower writes about the popularity of progressive policies in so-called “Trump country.” And Khalil Bendib points out that trade wars impact a lot more people than the ones fighting them.

Finally, in our last package before Christmas, Jill Richardson warmly reminds everyone that you don’t have to holiday stuff that you hate.

Happy holidays from all of here at OtherWords and the Institute for Policy Studies.

New This Week…

Politics in 2019 Will Have a Lot More Backbone | Tracey L. Rogers
As Democratic leaders sharpen their challenge to President Trump, movement leaders are stepping up to challenge the party leadership.

Lame-Duck Republicans Are Waging War on Heartland Democracy | Nicole Braun
I teach sociology. Believe me — nothing good will come of what they’re trying to pull here in Michigan and beyond.

You Don’t Have to Do Holiday Stuff You Hate | Jill Richardson
If you don’t get along with your family, you don’t have to see them. If you do love spending time with them, everything else is optional.

Innovation Used to Benefit Workers. Can It Again? | Bob Lord
Machines can make jobs better, but a tiny class of bosses uses them to make jobs disappear. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The Progressive Promise of ‘Trump Country’ | Jim Hightower
The left can offer much of what Trump voters say they want: health care, fair wages, education, clean water, and a government uncorrupted by big money.

When the Elephants Fight… | Khalil Bendib
A lot of ants get killed.

In Case You Missed It…

This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants | Kerri Kennedy
Mary and Joseph fled their country to keep their child alive. We should embrace families making the same difficult choice today.

I’m a Postal Worker. If You Live in a Small Town or Suburb, Listen Up! | Kathy Toler
A Trump administration plan could mean reduced service and higher postage for at least half of all ZIP codes.

The GOP Tax Bill Is Creating Jobs — Just Not in the U.S. | Frank Clemente
Thanks to the GOP tax law, corporations get huge breaks for outsourcing jobs. And workers? They get pink slips.

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Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of OtherWords.org.