From Vox, Sarah Kliff on the Better Care Reconciliation Act: The Senate bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, explained; the Senate health bill takes what Americans hate about Obamacare and makes it worse; and the Senate GOP health bill in one sentence: Poor people pay more for worse insurance (and more). The Senate version of Trumpcare may phase out Medicaid — entirely. What pundits call a “moderate” Senate healthcare bill will kill people (and more). Republican aide says “moderates always cave” — that explains everything. The window of opportunity to stop the GOP health plan is closing. Is Donald Trump the last line of defense for Obamacare?

Obama slams Republicans in blistering 1,000-word takedown. The media bias toward “new” news helped the GOP hide its secret health care plan. The health bill might pass because Trump has launched the era of Nothing Matters politics. Why Republicans will pass Trumpcare: The GOP is getting what it wants — what loyalist would wish to resist that? Why the GOP sticks with an unpopular health bill, in one revealing quote.

From the Washington Post, a report on Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault (and more). Congress investigating Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials. Bob Bauer on when collusion with Russia becomes a crime. Why did Trump care more about pee than collusion? The president isn’t necessarily beholden to a hostile foreign power — he could just be a conspiracy theorist with a severe personality disorder. Face it: The president’s actions say guilty. From the Washington Monthly, Trump is obsessed with the Russia investigation (and more) and he is increasingly his own worst enemy. Report: Trump blames his WH counsel for failing to contain Russia probe.

Larry Alexander (San Diego): Ignorance as a Legal Excuse. Adviser: Trump hates the job, but “doesn't want to go down in history” for resigning. Trump doesn’t want to be president — he wants to be communications director.

Robert Olen McDonald (Kansas): Freakonomics as a Discourse of Perversion. Yulia S. Medvedeva (Missouri): Business as Usual? The Cultural, Economic, and Social Capital of Magazines in a Russian City. The man who knew too much: Scientist who helped connect Litvinenko’s murder to the Kremlin assassinated in Britain. Kenan Malik writes in defense of cultural appropriation. The White House is interested in Thucydides — uh-oh. Olivia Nuzzi on Sarah Palin’s latest business venture: Running a right-wing content farm. S. D. Chrostowska provides a typology of the beggar in Western culture.

Danielle Kurtzleben on President Donald Trump, unreliable narrator. Trump’s cryptic tweet about “tapes” had the ironic effect of unleashing a series of events that now imperil his presidency. David Frum on the lasting damage of Trump's “tapes” bluff to Comey (and more).

Francois van Schalkwyk (Stellenbosch): Open Access as a Reassertion of the Values of Science. Too many studies have hidden conflicts of interest; a new tool makes it easier to see them. How biased is science, really? Science needs a solution for the temptation of positive results. Daryl Bem proved ESP is real — which means science is broken. We live in a pre-truth universe: The next Magellan, tomorrow’s Einstein might be more inspired by our ignorance than by our discoveries. The giant shoulders of English: The advantages of having a scholarly lingua franca should not obscure the disadvantages.

A Cold War theory for why scientists and the government have become so estranged. A new take on political science: Training researchers to run for office. Scientists have shown they can march — can they help win elections? Scientists think they’re more rational than other people.

Stuart Chinn (Oregon): Threats to Democratic Stability: Comparing the Elections of 2016 and 1860. Democracy faces the enemy within: What kind of sensible political system generates 63 million votes for a thuggish incompetent to become its supreme leader? The problem with democracy is that it relies on voters: Sean Illing interviews Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, authors of Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. Daniel Little on democracy and the politics of intolerance. Populism, X: Roger Kimball on the imperative of freedom. Socialist survivalism: Curtis White on a democracy beyond democracy (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4).

Stephen M. Griffin (Tulane): Trump, Trust and the Future of the Constitutional Order. How would removing Trump from office affect U.S. democracy? Political science research and other nations’ experiences suggest that, without a careful process backed by a broad national consensus, removing the president would only worsen the country’s polarization. American democracy remains healthy, but its health has worsened for the first time in recent history, according to a new survey of 1,126 political scientists (and more). Masha Gessen on why Trump’s incompetence won’t save our democracy.