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We Know We Can Make It Through Because Degrassi Is Coming Back

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“Degrassi” Cast Reacts to Drake’s Billboard Artist of the Decade Award

Whatever it takes, we’ll clear our schedules and tune in to the new Degrassi series.

On Thursday, Jan. 14, WarnerMedia Kids & Family revealed that school is back in session with a new iteration of the popular teen drama in the works. However, don’t call this new Degrassi a reboot, as the announcement said that this show is “a brand-new version of WildBrain’s award-winning youth franchise of the same name.”

Calling it “a reprise of the original teen drama,” the description further teased, “Degrassi is a character-driven series about the high school experience and the thrilling, often painful journey of self-discovery. Set in Toronto, the new series explores a group of teenagers and school faculty living in the shadow of events that both bind them together and tear them apart.”

The new series will include 10 hour-long episodes and is slated to debut on HBO Max in 2023. 

While fans of Degrassi: The Next Generation—which gave Drake, Nina Dobrev, Shenae Grimes and more stars their start in the industry—may not love the idea of a new class, we do want to remind you that DTNG was a reboot itself, starring some of the OG stars of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High.

Here’s hoping that some of the Next Generation stars will be involved in this new chapter.

Alongside this revival news, WarnerMedia Kids & Family shared that all 14 seasons of Degrassi: The Next Generation (later called just Degrassi) will be made available on HBO Max this spring. So this means we can all relive the on-again, off-again romance between Manny (Cassie Steele) and Craig (Jake Epstein), watch Marco (Adamo Ruggiero) come out to his friends and remember countless other storylines very soon.

Wildbrain

“Series after series, the Degrassi franchise continues to make an indelible impact on young viewers looking for trustworthy and authentic storytelling,” said Amy Friedman, Head of Kids & Family Programming at Warner Bros. “WildBrain continues to artfully capture high school life in a compelling format that can be experienced seamlessly on HBO Max.”

While we wait for more news about this new series, get an update on your favorite Degrassi stars below.

CTV; Shutterstock

Aubrey Graham (a.k.a Drake)

Um…he’s Drake?

Degrassi‘s most successful alum, Aubrey Graham is better known as Drake, the rapper who has sold over 170 million records worldwide, won four Grammys, released several major chart-topping records, won Artist of the Decade at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, served as the “global ambassador” for his hometown Toronto Raptors and is basically one of the most famous people in the world.

But for fans of the long-running series, he’ll always be Jimmy Brooks, the basketball star who was paralyzed in Degrassi‘s infamous shooting episode, “Time Stands Still.” Later on in the series, Graham’s musical skills were put to good use, as Jimmy pursued a career as a rapper (Never forget: “Shut up girl and make my lunch!”), before deciding to undergo a stem cell surgery. Last seen in season eight, Jimmy planned on proposing to his girlfriend Trina.

Drake staged the ultimate reunion in 2018 for his “I’m Upset” music video, which has over 95 million views on YouTube. The power of the class of 2007! 

Sharing son Adonis with ex Sophia Brussaux, the superstar revealed the first photo of his now 4-year-old child in March 2020.

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Nina Dobrev

Her character Mia Jones, a teen mom-turned-model, was less than well-received—She was basically the cause of fan favorite J.T.’s tragic death! But when she left the series in season nine, it as because she landed the lead role on the CW smash hit The Vampire Diaries, which she starred on for six seasons before announcing her exit in 2015. 

In addition to appearing in films such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and Flatliners, Dobrev returned to TV in 2019 to star in the CBS sitcom Fam, which won her the 2019 Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actress Comedy.

After romances with her TVD co-star Ian Somerhalder and Grant Mellon, Dobrev began dating Olympian Shaun White in March 2020.

“They are genuinely so in love and are so cute together. It’s very sweet,” a source told E! News of the couple in December. “They openly talk about their future together. They’re just super happy, and things are going really well with them.”

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Miriam McDonald

Mature and slightly uptight Emma Nelson was the reboot’s female lead as she was the child of the original series’ fan favorite, Spike. On the series, Emma went through it all (anorexia, gonorrhea, marijuana use, to name but a few), before exiting the show in season nine following her wedding to Spinner. (We still haven’t gotten over that random coupling. Emma and Sean FTW!)

After taking a break from acting, McDonald appeared on Lost Girl and Orphan Black (which was a who’s who of Degrassi alumni), and has worked as a real estate agent and yoga instructor.

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Lauren Collins

One of TV’s best mean girls, Collins’ Paige had one of the show’s most iconic catchphrases: “Hun.” That one word said so much.

She also tackled some of the series’ boldest storylines, dealing with subjects of rape, bisexuality (Oh hey, Alex!) and becoming the first character to burn down her dorm room. Last we heard of Paige, she was working in Hollywood and had finally reconciled with Marco after their falling out in the movie. 

Following Degrassi, Collins served as the host of MTV’s 1 Girl 5 Gays, and has appeared on The Kroll Show, The Strain, Impulse, The Hot Zone and What We Do in the Shadows.

After marrying actor Jonathan Malen in October 2018, Collins welcomed their hun son Charlie in March 2020.

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Jake Epstein

The series’ original bad boy, Epstein played Craig Manning, the bipolar musically-inclined Degrassi stud, who dated Ashley, got Manny pregnant, trashed a hotel room, became a famous singer and developed a coke problem during his tenure on the series. But we still have one unanswered lingering question about Craig: Did he and Ellie end up together?! We need closure.

As of late, Epstein has taken to the stage, starring in Broadway productions such as Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. He also starred in the first National tour of American Idiot and has played the romantic lead in several Lifetime Christmas movies. Next, Epstein joins The Umbrella Academy for the Netflix series’ third season.

In 2018, Epstein married Vanessa Smythe.

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Cassie Steele

One of the show’ most beloved characters, Steele’s Manny was Emma’s trusty sidekick-turned-school hottie and the focus of one of the series’ most controversial episodes ever when she got an abortion in season three. Manny, who romanced Spinner, Craig and Jay during her nine-season run, ended the series as a successful actress in Hollywood. (And we’re pretty sure her infamous topless video never leaked onto TMZ. Phew.)

Since leaving Degrassi, Steele starred in the CW’s outrageously short-lived series The L.A. Complex (Rest in peace!) and launched a career as a musician. Steele recently voiced Tammy Gueterman in Rick & Morty.

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Adamo Ruggiero

Ruggiero joined the cast of Degrassi as fan-favorite Marco Del Rossi in 2002 after initially auditioning for Craig (“When in doubt kiss Craig?!”), becoming the show’s first gay character and taking part in one of the first LGBTQ+ kisses on Canadian television two years later.

After graduating from Degrassi, Ruggiero remained on the show for one season when they tried to follow some of the characters to college, and he returned in later seasons as a teacher. Full circle.

In 2008, Ruggiero came out, explaining Marco’s struggles to come to terms with his sexuality on the show often mirrored his own in real-life, with some of Marco’s scenes taken from his real conversations with family members. “Maybe it’s life imitating art, or maybe that’s what ‘Degrassi’ intended to do. I feel like I’m living proof of what the show wanted to accomplish,” Ruggiero, who is an LGBTQ+ activist, told eTalk Canada at the time. 

From 2008 until 2012, Ruggiero hosted the Canadian reality competition series The Next, and hosted his own web series, Straight Talk with Adamo Ruggiero, where he interviewed his former co-stars.

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Shane Kippel

Kippel starred as Spinner in over 180 episodes of the show, surviving a fallout with his entire group of pals after he inadvertently caused Jimmy to get shot, along with a cancer battle, ending his run on the show married to Emma and managing The Dot. He was one of the few original cast members to appear in Netflix’s Degrassi: Next Class.

Following his run on the show, Kippel remained close with many of his former co-stars, including Drake, and is still acting while working as a musician and producer.

“It could not have been more natural,” Kippel told E! News of the cast’s interactions in Drake’s “I’m Upset” video. “The energy that was caught on camera, nothing of that was played up for effect. That was how we were really feeling being in each other’s presence, so I’m happy it translated. How it looked on-camera is exactly how it felt when the cameras stopped rolling.”

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Stacey Farber

Farber’s character Ellie Nash (coolest name ever) was one of the series’ best, in our humble opinion, thanks to her awesome sense of style and journalism aspirations.

After leaving Degrassi in season eight, Farber starred on the shortlived series 18 to Life, and has made appearances on hit shows like unREAL and Schitt’s Creek, which was created by her best friend Daniel Levy. 

“I auditioned for Alexis and screen-tested for Stevie,” she wrote in an Instagram caption, “but Rachel was MINE goddamnit (named for my Mom- duh) and besides, I much prefer the role I’ve had, watching him thrive off camera.”

Farber is currently appearing on Superman & Lois and is set to join the cast of the Netflix hit series Virgin River for its third season. Oh, and she’s still close with Drake, the rapper once dubbing her his “Penny Lane.” NBD.

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Daniel Clark

Sean Cameron made being bad look so good. Come on, the white tank, the drag-racing, the eyebrows. No wonder both Emma and Ellie fell head over heels for Sean, who eventually enlisted in the Canadian army.

Aside from a small supporting role in Juno opposite Elliot Page, Clark left the acting world behind. After graduating from New York University, Clark went on to work as a news reporter on FusionTV’s America with Jorge Ramos and as a producer at ABC News. 

Degrassi fans were upset when Clark was left out of the “I’m Upset” reunion, with Clark commenting on Drake’s Instagram, writing to his former co-star, “really sad I missed this. Brought back some amazing memories — miss and love you brother.” 

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Shenae Grimes

Degrassi‘s first star to make the move to Hollywood, Grimes landed the juicy role of Annie Wilson (a.k.a. the new Brenda Walsh) in the CW’s 90210 reboot. But fans of the series remember her as Darcy, the super religious cheerleader, who was raped in season seven. In one of the series’ most memorable sendoffs, purely because of how random it was, Darcy left Degrassi (and boyfriend Peter) for Kenya.

Since 90210 ended, Grimes married British model Josh Beech. The couple welcomed a daughter, Bowie Scarlett, in September 2018 and announced in February that they were expecting their second child, who she gave birth to in August 2021.

The 31-year-old also blogs about fashion, motherhood and more on Lost in LaLa and has starred in projects such as Scream 4 and The Detail. She recently launched her own podcast, Unzipped, with her 90210 co-star AnnaLynne McCord.

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Sarah Barrable-Tishauer

In another version of life imitating art, Barrable-Tishauer graduated as valedictorian from Concordia University, a few years after her character Liberty Van Zandt was named the valedictorian of Degrassi. We love that for both of them.

Since graduating from university, the 31-year-old, who uses the stage name Me Time, works as a DJ and advocate “who engages dance music as a catalyst for social change,” according to her website. She also worked as an account manager at a marketing company and talked about balancing her two careers in an interview with Refinery29 in 2017.

“You can probably imagine having a nine to five job and also DJing until 3 a.m. is kind of a difficult thing to balance, so I’ve just tried to keep my gigs on weekends and just a couple times of month because I just don’t have a lot of time,” she said. “So, it’s kind of like I live this dual life Marketing by day, bass by night, but I’m really loving it.”

In May 2020, she got engaged to her boyfriend Ryan.

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Ryan Cooley

No, we can’t look at Cooley without crying over his fan-favorite character J.T. Yorke’s death in season six!

OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way: After his heartbreaking exit from the show, Cooley made an appearance on Lost Girl and starred in Oh No! It’s an Alien Invasion before leaving the acting world behind. He’s now the vice president of Konrad Group, a global digital agency, which Snake, his former media teacher, would probably take credit for. 

Cooley got engaged to his girlfriend Stefanie in February 2019. 

As for why Cooley was MIA in the “I’m Upset” music video, Drake responded to disappointed fans on Instagram, writing that Cooley “thought it was a scam” when he received a phone call about the reunion.

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Andrea Lewis

Justice for Hazel! Lewis has the distinct honor of starring on Degrassi and co-starring in Cadet Kelly with Hilary Duff, an iconic Disney Channel Original Movie. 

After Hazel received her diploma from Degrassi, Lewis started her own company, Jungle Wild Productions, creating the web series Black Actress and Beyond Complicated. And on her YouTube channel, Lewis opens up about her time on Degrassi and posts lifestyle videos. 

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Melissa McIntyre

Super serious about her music career, McIntyre’s character Ashley Kerwin left the series after season four, returning later for seasons six and seven. 

McIntyre appeared to have left the acting world after her second goodbye on Degrassi and has a scarce presence on social media. 

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Christina Schmidt

If only Terri could see herself now! A series regular on the first three seasons, Schmidt exited the series after her character was put into a coma by her abusive boyfriend Rick. 

After leaving the Canadian teen drama, Schmidt continued to have a successful modeling career, and recently was on the cover of Fashion Magazine in Canada. 

“Growing up, I never thought I was an inspiration to anybody in any way,” she told the publication. “I never realized that some of these young girls really needed someone to look up to. There wasn’t Instagram or Facebook, and the majority of television stars were definitely not as diverse as those you see today, so having someone like them on a TV show was huge. This all just started making sense to me years later, though, when they would express how I made such an impact on their lives.”

She has a son named Orlando and is dating Landen Wakil.

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Jake Goldsbie

Oh, Toby!

After appearing in eight seasons as Ashley’s step-brother/J.T.’s sidekick turned Homecoming King, Golsbie went on to graduate from Concordia University. He currently works as a producer and hosts two podcasts, Columbia House Party and Sportsfeld

In October 2019, Goldsbie announced he was engaged to his girlfriend Cassie and the pair wed in November 2020. 

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Mike Lobel

It’s hard to believe Lobel managed to make troublemaking bully Jay Hogart so likable by the end of his six-season Degrassi run after he gave Emma gonorrhea at the ravine and was expelled for his role in Jimmy’s shooting. And yet he managed to do it!

After his time on Degrassi, Lobel starred on the Canadian teen comedy Really Me and appeared in the TV movie The Music in Me. The 36-year-old currently recurs on the CBC’s Detention Adventure and was in the band Future Peers until it broke up in December 2019.

One of the few co-stars that didn’t get a call from Drake for the “I’m Upset” video, Lobel simply responded by tweeting, “I’m a little upset.” Well played. 

Behind the scenes drama? What do I watch next? Click here to get all the TV scoop straight in your inbox.

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Happy 52nd Birthday DJ Quik!

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David Marvin Blake a.k.a. DJ Quik was born in Pomona, California and shortly after relocated to Compton, California. His love for music began at a very young age, and by age 12 he could already play a number of instruments. Quik jumpstarted his path to fame by selling mixtapes he made with the turntable he received while still in school. Through self-promotion, his fame began to rise and he started to DJ and host events in Southern California.

Whether due to knowledge of his coming success or lack of interest, Quik dropped out of high school in the 11th grade. Shortly after, he suffered homelessness when his family home was taken away in foreclosure. There’s little information about what happened over that period of DJ Quik’s life but in 1990, everything changed.

DJ Quik had created so much of a buzz on the streets selling tapes and making appearances at parties and events he gained the attention of local record labels Ruthless Records and Profile Records. Despite a one million dollar offer from Eazy E, Quik went ahead and signed with Profile.

On February 12, 1991, DJ Quik released his debut album, Quik Is the Name, which debuted at #29 on the Billboard 200 chart, where it would peak, and sold 50,000 copies in its first week. After about four years, the album was certified platinum by the RIAA and has to date sold 1,068,203 copies. The album hosted hit singles, “Born and Raised in Compton” and “Tonite.” After his debut success, Quik went on to produce eight more solo studio albums and a collaborative album with rapper Kurupt called Blaqkout in 2009.

Outside of music, DJ Quik has made appearances as an actor on popular TV shows: Method and Red, Entourage, and Everybody Hates Chris. His career is one of the more influential ones on the West Coast. Quik was an instrumental part of the G-Funk sound and helped it to gain popularity early in the rap world. Countless rappers, producers, and DJs alike have noted their influence by DJ Quik and if you ride around SoCal today, there’s no doubt you can hear one of his hits playing on someone’s stereo. If you don’t already listen on the daily, take some time today to appreciated the career of one of the West Coast’s OGs.

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2000s Emo and Pop-Punk Blowout When We Were Young: 5 Questions We Have

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On Tuesday afternoon, an emo festival designed to bait millennials around the world materialized of thin air. Headlined by My Chemical Romance and Paramore, When We Were Young is set to take place in Las Vegas on Oct. 22. The poster is full of band names you either haven’t thought about in years or have thought about every single day since you hit puberty: AFI, the Used, 3OH!3, Hawthorne Heights, the Ready Set, Anberlin. Alongside the emo and pop-punk heavyweights like Bring Me the Horizon, Bright Eyes, and Avril Lavigne are some newer names, like viral punks the Linda Lindas and TikTok stars Jxdn and Lil Huddy.

The festival almost feels like a desert mirage: Is this too good to be true? Are we in for the emo revival’s own Fyre Festival? Here are five questions we have about the year’s hottest 2000s-nostalgia ticket.

Where the hell did this festival come from?

Believe it or not, this is actually the second When We Were Young festival. The first one took place in Santa Ana, California, in 2017, a week before Coachella. Across two days, a similar but less flashy set of punk, emo, and indie-rock nostalgia acts shared a bill, with Morrissey, AFI, Descendents, Cage the Elephant, and Taking Back Sunday among them.

Is this seriously all happening on only one day?

The poster for the fest is wildly crowded, and it’s quite ridiculous to expect that this many bands can appear in just 12 hours, unless all their sets are whittled down to 20 minutes of pure hits. According to ticketing information, there will be three stages across the festival grounds, which means a ton of horrible choices about which bands to prioritize throughout day-long fest, which is due to begin at 11 a.m. and end at 11 p.m. Which brings us to one big question about the co-headliners …

Will we have to choose between My Chemical Romance and Paramore?

We feel for any emo kid who has to make this heartbreaker of a call. Both bands are listed at the top of the bill, right next to each other. Both also remain wildly popular. Paramore have returned from a hiatus to record a new album while My Chemical Romance reunited in 2019, only for their tour to be pushed back twice now due to Covid. Given the single day of performances spread across three stages, it seems likely (though not confirmed) that the two headliners could be performing at the same time. So many great things come with difficult choices.

Were Fall Out Boy unavailable?

Excited tweets about the festival have opened the floodgates for questions about who was left out. The lineup is, in many ways, a snapshot of a time and place in early-2000s alternative-rock music. Of course, it is simply one day in Vegas and many bands have their own tours and schedules to adhere to. But the absence of Fall Out Boy (playing only their first three albums, for the sake of the vibe) is a personal vendetta I will carry against this lineup.

Are the folks behind Warped Tour fuming?

Credit where credit is due: Warped Tour was a major launchpad for the majority of artists on this bill. It ended officially in 2019 with a mini 25th-anniversary tour, but the true final trek was back in 2018. The Warped Tour sound is having a huge revival right now, not just for the kids who grew up on it but also for Gen Z artists, many of whom have landed on the WWWY lineup.

Warped founder Kevin Lyman teased that a Warped-adjacent festival would arrive under a different name in 2021, though that didn’t happen. Meanwhile, Attila’s Chris Fronzak has been looking into buying the rights to Warped, though he legally couldn’t put on the festival until 2023. If When We Were Young goes off without a hitch, we could very well see even more fest lineups scratching that Hot Topic nostalgia itch.

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Dan Crenshaw Withers Under Questioning From Young Woman, Gets Booed at Conservative Event

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Dan Crenshaw, the acerbic congressman from Texas desperately trying to brand himself as an unnatural chimera of Donald Trump and John McCain, is in hot water today for a video recorded at a Montgomery County Tea Party fundraiser in which he snaps at a young woman for asking him a pointed question about Jesus.

The entire setting and context for the exchange is like a Mad Libs of terms to bubble out of the right-wing fever swamp. Crenshaw was confronted at a Tea Party fundraiser by a young woman questioner, who challenged him to defend statements that he made likening Jesus to a fictional superhero while on former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink’s podcast. The video of the confrontation was shared by Scott T. Parkinson, the VP of Government Affairs for Club4Growth, a conservative PAC that recently endorsed Illinois Rep. Mary Miller, who achieved brief online prominence after she said “Hitler was right about one thing” during a speech the day before the Jan. 6 insurrection. Parkinson’s reasoning for committing GOP-on-GOP violence on Crenshaw probably stems from the Texas lawmaker’s recent online flame-war with Marjorie Taylor Greene, though it’s tough to say why any of these people do what they do. 

Anyway, the woman asked Crenshaw to defend a quote he gave to The Jocko podcast: “The important thing is that we have societal hero archetypes that we look up to,” Crenshaw said. “Jesus is a hero archetype. Superman is a hero archetype. Real characters too, you know, I could name a thousand,” which the questioner (again, a young woman) interpreted as Crenshaw saying Jesus was not a “real character” (The Week points out that this argument appears to be drawn from right-wing pop psychologist Jordan Peterson’s work, adding to the game of Mad Libs). 

The first part of the question is inaudible, but Newsweek reports that Parkinson’s video picks up right after the woman claims Crenshaw “lied about being Christian.”

“I can’t wrap my head around this,” the woman says after reading Crenshaw’s quote about Jesus and hero archetypes back to him.

“I’ll help you,” Crenshaw snaps. “Put a period after ‘Jesus,’ and don’t question my faith.”

The crowd then erupts in a chorus of “wows” and boos. “Don’t question my faith, don’t question my faith,” Crenshaw says again, to more boos, and, at the end, a confusing chant of “Let’s Go Brandon,” just to round out the fever swamp bingo card. 

I don’t think Dan Crenshaw is gonna raise a lot of money off *this* video. pic.twitter.com/YJyLdUhTke

— Scott T. Parkinson (@ScottTParkinson) January 18, 2022

The identity of the young woman is unclear, but Jameson Ellis, a Republican attempting to primary Crenshaw, tweeted that she is 18 years old.

Regardless, we have a young woman asking a gotcha question based on a dumb podcast quote, a member of Congress angrily defending himself instead of patiently and easily explaining the context of his words, the member of Congress getting booed by an audience of Tea Party Republicans, and a hard-right conservative PAC operative sharing a video of the encounter in order to shame Crenshaw for not being sufficiently right wing. 

Taken together, the episode is a perfect look at how the far right eats its own, chewing up candidates for perceived slights and spitting them out further right — which will surely happen with Crenshaw — or out of the party’s graces altogether, like it did with Liz Cheney. If the modern GOP is a place too hostile even for the daughter of Dick Cheney, it’s pretty clear it’s going to hammer any dreams of John McCain-centrist-maverick behavior out of Crenshaw as soon as possible. It’s a pity that won’t make him any less annoying.

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