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Archive of Articles in the "Populism" Category

Friday Talking Points -- SCOTUS Season Continues

[ Posted Friday, June 14th, 2024 – 16:36 UTC ]

The biggest political news of the week by far was Hunter Biden being convicted in record time on all three felony gun charges lodged against him. The jury spent only about three hours before returning these verdicts, which completely undercut the narrative Donald Trump has been spouting about how the justice system is "two-tiered" -- by which he means: "weaponized against Republicans while Democrats get a free pass." Kind of hard to make that argument when the president's own son just got convicted of felonies and is facing up to ten years in prison.

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Mifepristone Wins, I.V.F. Loses

[ Posted Thursday, June 13th, 2024 – 15:13 UTC ]

There was significant news today on reproductive rights, from two separate directions. The Supreme Court unanimously (!) overturned a case that challenged the F.D.A.'s approval of mifepristone, one of the two most commonly used abortion pills in the country. The unanimity was possible because the high court essentially punted on the legal question and instead ruled that the plaintiffs had no legal standing to bring their case. Meanwhile, in the Senate, a bill to create a federal right to in-vitro fertilization failed, mostly on party lines. Last week a bill that would have given federal protections to contraceptives also failed. Both will be used in campaign advertising by Democrats to paint Republicans as being against both contraception rights and I.V.F.

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First Debate Will Be All About Style Over Substance

[ Posted Wednesday, June 12th, 2024 – 15:14 UTC ]

Two weeks from tomorrow, CNN will host the first general election presidential debate of the 2024 cycle. This is unprecedented, because it will happen so early in the campaign season. In fact, neither person on stage will officially be their party's nominee at this point, since the conventions will happen afterwards. It will be "Presumptive Republican Nominee Donald Trump" versus "Presumptive Democratic Nominee President Joe Biden." That alone sets it off from every other televised presidential debate.

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Friday Talking Points -- Convicted Felon Donald Trump

[ Posted Friday, May 31st, 2024 – 17:03 UTC ]

For a while, Donald Trump was known as "President Trump." Then he became (depending on your editorial whim) the "former president" or "ex-president." But the only valid title he really could claim after leaving office (former titles being no more than diplomatic politeness, really) was what one judge called him while turning down one of his numerous appeals: "Citizen Trump." Or, as the judge and the prosecution referred to him throughout his first criminal trial in New York City, merely: "Mister Trump."

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Closing Arguments

[ Posted Tuesday, May 28th, 2024 – 15:18 UTC ]

The first criminal trial of an ex-president is nearing its end. Today, the jury heard (and is still hearing, as I write this) the closing arguments of both the defense and the prosecution. Tomorrow, they will get their instructions from the judge and they will then start to deliberate as to whether Donald Trump is guilty or not guilty of what he has been charged with.

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Friday Talking Points -- Run It Up The Flagpole

[ Posted Friday, May 24th, 2024 – 17:58 UTC ]

It is supposed to be a metaphor, of course. It's supposed to be said when a person or company is about to try out a new idea or product: "Let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes." In other words: "Let's try it out and see how it goes -- it might wind up being popular." But this week the saying sprang to mind in a much more literal fashion, since Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito already knew who was going to salute the two very real insurrectionist-themed flags that got run up the flagpoles in front of both his house and his vacation home. Flying them after the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol signified support for those who had besieged the building, plain and simple. It was a rather treasonous thing to do, when you get right down to it. Which Alito fully knew (or should have, at any rate).

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Nobody Likes The Ticketmaster Monopoly

[ Posted Thursday, May 23rd, 2024 – 16:35 UTC ]

It has become increasingly hard in our politically divided country to find any one single issue that pretty much everybody agrees with. The Biden administration just found one, though -- one that will resonate with football fans, hockey fans, basketball fans, country and western fans, rap fans, blues fans, rock-n-roll fans, and fans of almost every other type of music, sports, or pretty much any large performance of any type. And that's even before you add in the considerable power of the Taylor Swift fans. All of the people who enjoy all of these performances and sporting events have one thing in common no matter what their politics may be -- because nobody likes getting forcibly and brutally ripped off for ticket prices. Nobody. So the news today that the Biden administration and 30 individual states have filed suit against Ticketmaster/Live Nation for being a monopoly will be hailed as good news by pretty much everybody who doesn't directly earn their paycheck from the conglomerate.

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Messaging Time In The Senate

[ Posted Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024 – 15:57 UTC ]

With most of the "must-pass" legislation already out of the way for this year, both the House and the Senate are now planning a series of what are commonly called "messaging bills." These are bills that have one main intent -- not to pass the other house of Congress and become law, but instead to "send a message" to the voters. It's a polite way of saying "generating partisan talking points to use on the campaign trial."

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The Era Of Political Shamelessness

[ Posted Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 – 16:25 UTC ]

Donald Trump has broken many parts of the American political system. His supporters revel in this destruction, lumping it all in with Trump's battle to "drain the swamp" or fight back against a supposed "Deep State." His opponents decry Trump's shattering of political norms and conventions and rules (both written and unwritten) as a direct and existential threat to American democracy. But whatever you think, one thing seems more and more obvious. A lot of Trump's bull-in-a-china-shop destruction will outlive his time on the national political stage. And one of the biggest of these might be called "the death of shame."

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Friday Talking Points -- Hannibal Lecter Makes A Campaign Appearance

[ Posted Friday, May 17th, 2024 – 18:17 UTC ]

Presidential debate announcements, Michael Cohen testifying, and The Jerry Springer Show breaking out in a House committee -- it's been an eventful political week all around, folks!

But we have to begin today with a very sobering piece of data, just to put everything in some perspective. We (rather obviously) personally live and breathe the political scene, and it is a fair assumption that anyone who regularly reads this column all the way to the end (a weekly marathon, 'tis true...) is also pretty plugged in to the follies of the everyday political landscape as well. We all pay attention, in other words. Not just to the large and meaningful events, but also to the small and amusing. But it cannot be repeated enough: this is not exactly normal. Most Americans just don't pay all that much attention to politics. Like, at all.

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