Archive of Articles for July, 2016

Cleveland, Day Three -- Cruz Refuses!

[ Posted Thursday, July 21st, 2016 – 00:18 UTC ]

Heading into tonight's speechifying, I was convinced that Ted Cruz would emerge afterwards as the heir apparent to the Republican nomination in 2020, should Donald Trump fail to win in November. Now, I'm not so sure.

But before we get to the big story of the night, let's start at the beginning. Today, the realization finally dawned in the Trump camp that they had to do something to stop the bleeding over the plagiarism storyline. A staffer was summarily dragged out who offered to fall on her own sword, and magnanimous Donald pardoned her, saying "everyone makes mistakes." So they likely successfully prevented the story from continuing for another day. But it would have been overshadowed anyway (obviously) by the end of the night.

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Cleveland, Day Two

[ Posted Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 – 21:47 UTC ]

We are now halfway through the Republican National Convention, and I still have yet to hear a single policy proposal or thing that the Republicans or Donald Trump are for. Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but not by much.

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Cleveland, Day One

[ Posted Monday, July 18th, 2016 – 22:22 UTC ]

I'm writing this while watching all of Day One of the Republican National Convention. I apologize in advance for the rather stream-of-consciousness nature of the post, but I also caution that you should get used to it, because we are in for two weeks of convention-palooza.

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Friday Talking Points [400] -- A Campaign Retrospective, Part 1

[ Posted Friday, July 15th, 2016 – 15:31 UTC ]

We begin today with a warning. Our regularly-scheduled Friday Talking Points are going on hiatus for at least three weeks. Next Friday, we'll be heading to the Democratic National Convention, and the Friday after that we'll be heading back home. For both today and next Friday we're taking a look back (through the lens of our talking points) at the entire 2016 presidential campaign season so far. We have no idea what we're going to do the Friday after that (indeed, we can't even promise that there'll be a column at all on July 29th, at this point). Regular FTP columns will resume the first Friday in August, just in time for the traditional "Silly Season" of American politics.

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Pence? Kaine? Really?

[ Posted Thursday, July 14th, 2016 – 16:18 UTC ]

Will one of the most exciting primary election seasons ultimately end in sheer boredom? That was my immediate reaction today to hearing the news that Donald Trump is all but set on selecting Mike Pence as his running mate, and that Hillary Clinton's first choice might just be Tim Kaine. After I yawned widely, of course. Pence? Kaine? Really? These are the best two choices for vice president around? Wow.

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Fart Proudly In Philadelphia?

[ Posted Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 – 17:06 UTC ]

In 1781, Benjamin Franklin wrote a satirical letter, purporting to be a proposal for a subject for European scientists to study. Franklin, an amateur scientist himself, was making a snide point about what he considered to be rather frivolous research by the Europeans. The equivalent today would be those American politicians who routinely point out some of the more far-fetched research the federal government now funds. This tongue-in-cheek document is now known by the title "Fart Proudly," although Franklin didn't actually use that phrase in his satirical essay.

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Unified, Mostly

[ Posted Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 – 16:02 UTC ]

Hillary Clinton got her long-awaited endorsement from Bernie Sanders today, in an event designed to unify the Democratic Party base heading into their national convention. Although there are still plenty of "Bernie or Bust" die-hards out there, Democrats had already largely unified behind Clinton, even before Sanders officially endorsed her today. Perhaps this all would have played out differently in a different election year, but Donald Trump is proving to be a powerful unifying force among Democrats -- because his elevation to president is seen as being downright unthinkable by both Bernie and Hillary supporters. Getting behind Hillary may be problematic for some Bernie supporters, but considering the alternative is a big motivating factor for most.

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War On Weed's End In Sight

[ Posted Monday, July 11th, 2016 – 17:51 UTC ]

The end of the federal government's War On Weed is approaching fast. No matter how the details work out, that much seems pretty clear at this point. What began roughly 100 years ago as a racist legislative overreaction to Latino workers' preferred method of relaxing -- and was then ramped up (under Richard Nixon) to punish hippies and minorities and college students -- could once again become sane governmental policy, ending almost a century's institutional demonization of a fairly harmless natural substance. When it happens, it will be the most significant governmental shift on a pointless and endless social "war" since the end of Prohibition. The only remaining questions are how the mechanics of the war's end will work out, and how fast it'll happen. But whether it ends with a bang or a whimper, that end is definitely now in sight.

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Friday Talking Points [399] -- Stop All The Madness

[ Posted Friday, July 8th, 2016 – 16:42 UTC ]

We're going to open this week's column by quoting a Southern rock band from a while back. We have to admit that we never thought we'd ever quote this band, because Molly Hatchet wasn't generally known for deep and insightful lyrics (indeed, they were mostly known for the bandleader's propensity for whistling during their songs). But after their big blockbuster album, the band put out a followup which had one song on it with both a haunting melody and the saddest of lyrics, written after John Lennon's death. Today, they seemed the most appropriate response to all the carnage we've seen this week. So, from "Fall Of The Peacemakers," here are the thoughts of Molly Hatchet:

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Hillary Woos Bernie Supporters

[ Posted Thursday, July 7th, 2016 – 16:50 UTC ]

It's been a busy week for Hillary Clinton, that's for sure. But while almost all of the media attention has been on the results of the F.B.I.'s investigation into her email server, Clinton also took the biggest step she's yet taken to offer the supporters of Bernie Sanders an inspiring reason to vote for her. Her embrace of the "tuition-free college" idea Bernie ran on is a fundamental shift in direction for Clinton's campaign, and represents the biggest effort she's so far made to woo his voters into her camp. Sanders is rumored to be on the brink of formally endorsing Clinton (which could happen early next week, perhaps in New Hampshire), so her college tuition shift could be his last big influence on her agenda.

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