Archive of Articles in the "Politicians" Category

What Might Have Been

[ Posted Monday, April 15th, 2024 – 16:32 UTC ]

I was reminded recently (by a reader who tweeted it to me) that the "People v. Donald Trump" trial which began today is not so much: "the porn-star hush-money case," but rather more properly: "the 2016 election-interference case." Because when all the tawdry details are stripped away (so to speak... ahem...) this is indeed what remains: Trump gamed the system to suppress bad news about him which could have influenced how people voted. And since a relative handful of votes in a few key swing states provided him with his victory, if he hadn't done so things could easily have gone the other way. To put it differently, we might now be in a frenzy of horserace speculation about which Democratic candidate would be the nominee to succeed President Hillary Clinton, at the end of her second term.

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Friday Talking Points -- The Abortion Election

[ Posted Friday, April 12th, 2024 – 17:31 UTC ]

If Democrats have their way, the 2024 election will be a one-issue election for many voters (enough to win, hopefully). And conservative Republicans just keep making it easier and easier for that to actually happen.

In the half-century that Roe v. Wade was the law of the land, Republicans made a lot of political hay out of being what they called "pro-life," but what is now more accurately referred to as "forced-birth." They want to force every woman who ever gets pregnant -- no matter the circumstances, no matter the consequences -- to give birth, no matter what. American women (and men, it should be noted) do not support these radical restrictions of their rights. And they're now going to get to vote on it, in the clearest way since Roe was overturned. The 2024 election may well go down in history as being "the abortion election," to put this another way.

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The People v. Donald Trump

[ Posted Thursday, April 11th, 2024 – 15:09 UTC ]

Barring any last-minute surprises, we are now all on the brink of seeing a spectacle that has never happened before: an ex-president of the United States defending himself in criminal court against felony charges. Donald Trump's lawyers filed a flurry of motions this week to try to stave off this inevitability, but to no avail. Each one was summarily dismissed or postponed and in none of them did Trump achieve what he had been seeking, which was to delay the start of his first criminal trial. I should mention that I say "his first" with optimism, since he is facing three other possible felony court cases -- but nobody knows when (if ever) any of them will begin. Hope springs eternal, but for now what we've got is: "The People of the State of New York versus Donald Trump."

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Arizona Supreme Court's Abortion Decision Could Hand Entire State To Democrats

[ Posted Wednesday, April 10th, 2024 – 16:04 UTC ]

We are still over half a year away from the 2024 election, so it would be premature to say: "This is the issue is that the election will all be about" (since anything could happen in the meantime which could eclipse all the biggest current issues). But it is looking like abortion rights are going to be a major part of it, at the very least. The fallout from the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision continues -- in statehouses, in ballot measures, and in court decisions. Republicans continue to learn that the most Draconian abortion laws are incredibly unpopular, and they scramble to figure out some way to deal with it all. Democrats are out there championing "freedom" and "protecting your rights" and "get the government out of your private business," which are all very potent arguments in general and which all seem to be resonating with the voters on abortion.

Yesterday, the Arizona supreme court dropped a bombshell into the political fray. It ruled that an abortion law first written in 1864 was still valid and constitutional and would soon go back into effect. This law, written during the Civil War era, completely bans abortion with only one exception. Here is the relevant text of the original, from the section criminalizing poisoning (and "just after the section banning duels"):

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Will April Be The Cruellest Month For Speaker Mike Johnson?

[ Posted Tuesday, April 9th, 2024 – 15:29 UTC ]

That title (and double-L spelling) comes, of course, from T. S. Eliot's masterpiece poem "The Waste Land," which begins: "April is the cruellest month...." Will this prove to be the case this year for House Speaker Mike Johnson? Will he still be speaker when the May flowers start a-blooming? The answer to those questions might hinge on whether he actually gets anything done this month or not. He's certainly got plenty of things on his plate, and he has actually indicated he's going to move a few of the more critical ones forward -- which (naturally) has absolutely incensed certain members of his caucus. And if he does get them passed, it will further enrage them -- possibly to the point of throwing him overboard.

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Trump Punts On Abortion

[ Posted Monday, April 8th, 2024 – 16:22 UTC ]

Last week, Donald Trump promised he'd be making a statement "next week" which would lay out his position on abortion laws. Astoundingly, he actually followed through today by releasing a video on his pet social media network. I say "astoundingly" because Trump has promised to unveil new policies "next week" throughout his entire political career, but he seldom (if ever) actually does so. As Little Orphan Annie might say, "next week" is always conveniently a week away, for Trump.

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Friday Talking Points -- Shake, Rattle, And Roll

[ Posted Friday, April 5th, 2024 – 17:56 UTC ]

Living in California means not being generally surprised by earthquakes, but we realize that this is simply not so in New York City and the Northeast in general. So when a 4.8 temblor hit New Jersey, we certainly could sympathize. However, it seems East Coast tectonic zones have a certain personality trait that goes (we can't resist) right down to the bedrock? Here was the tweet that the "USGS Earthquakes" account put out this morning:

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No Labels, No Candidates

[ Posted Thursday, April 4th, 2024 – 15:58 UTC ]

President Joe Biden's re-election campaign just got some good news today, as No Labels announced it is throwing in the towel and will not be running a third-party presidential ticket this year. This brings an end to one of those political science experiments that might have sounded good in the abstract, but which doesn't really live up to its promise in the end.

The basic idea was to run a so-called "Unity ticket," consisting of one Republican and one Democrat, for president and vice president. No Labels was initially coy about which one would lead the ticket, but in recent months let it be known that they were looking to run a moderate Republican for president, with a centrist Democrat as his or her running mate. All those voters out there yearning for a different choice than the two men who ran last time would thus be given a new option to vote for. No Labels deluded themselves into thinking they could draw enough of this protest vote to actually win enough states to win the presidency.

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Nebraska Contemplates An Electoral College Change

[ Posted Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024 – 15:58 UTC ]

Nebraska, as anyone who has taken an American civics course will tell you, has a unique form of government. But "unique" isn't the "uni-" word that we all learned to describe it, that would instead be: "unicameral" -- since its legislature only has one chamber, not two. Every other state follows the model of the United States Congress, with an upper chamber that corresponds to the U.S. Senate and a lower chamber matching the U.S. House of Representatives. Nebraska, however, decided long ago that such a division was not necessary. Nebraska also has one other governmental quirk that is not completely unique, since it shares this one with Maine: neither state awards its Electoral College votes in the "winner-takes-all" fashion that the other 48 states use. This, however, might be about to change in the Cornhusker State.

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The Comstock Act Needs To Go

[ Posted Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024 – 16:18 UTC ]

Up until the advent of Donald Trump in American politics, there had been a pervasive attitude among many politicians that there were certain norms and traditions that had been established and long-followed, so there was no need to codify any of them into actual laws. One of these was the belief among Democrats that Roe v. Wade was settled law and that as time went on it had become increasingly impossible to even consider that it would ever be overturned. The judiciary had staked out certain rights, so there was no need for Congress to enact the same rights -- doing so would actually be redundant.

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