ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles in the "News" Category

Anatomy Of A New Trumpian Conspiracy Theory

[ Posted Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 – 16:36 UTC ]

President Donald Trump began his political career with a baseless conspiracy theory: Barack Obama was not born in the United States, therefore he was not eligible to be president. This theory is false in two significant ways: (1) even if, just for the sake of argument, Barack Obama had been born in Kenya, he still would have been eligible to be president (see: Ted Cruz, George Romney, John McCain); and (2) Barack Obama was indeed born in Hawai'i, just after it became a state. But all of that didn't matter to Trump, who became the most prominent "birther" around, long before he began his run for the presidency. But just because he now is president, his penchant for looney-tunes conspiracy theories has not abated one bit. In the past two days, he's floated out another whopper, about a planeload of thugs which flew either into or out of Washington to disrupt the Republican National Convention.

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It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

[ Posted Friday, August 28th, 2020 – 17:52 UTC ]

Is it over yet?

No, really, this has to be it... it's gotta be over now... right?

Not unlike experiencing the end of The Lord Of The Rings for the first time, last night I watched President Donald Trump give the longest convention acceptance speech in modern history (with the only possible other contender being Trump's 2016 speech) while continually wondering (from about ten past the hour onwards) when he would begin to wrap it up. Several times I was convinced he had done so... but then he just kept on talking. I mean, Frodo's safely back in the Shire, so it's got to be the end, right?

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Remind Me, Who Exactly Is President?

[ Posted Thursday, August 27th, 2020 – 16:36 UTC ]

Last night, while watching the continuing study in contradiction that is the Republican National Convention, I had to wonder at several points who, exactly, is president right now? After all, the campaign for Donald Trump seems to be operating from the point of view that if only Trump were president then he could solve America's massive current problems. On subject after subject, we were told that things out there are really, really scary and that the only response to this dystopian world was to elect a savior who would deliver us from all the frightfulness.

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Melania Steals The Show

[ Posted Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 – 16:41 UTC ]

When reading other reviews of the Republican National Convention today, many seemed to me to be making the mistake of proclaiming: "Trump is preaching to the choir, he's only interested in firing up his base." There is indeed a lot of this sort of thing, but there is also a sustained effort at pandering to distinct voter demographics where Trump is either performing weakly or worse. The two efforts -- fire up the base and reach out to possible "persuadable" voters -- set up another disjointed disconnect of epic proportions, to be sure, but as Trump says, it is what it is.

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Uplifting? Could Have Fooled Me

[ Posted Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 – 16:50 UTC ]

Republicans promised they'd put on an uplifting convention. To say they failed to reach this goal on their first night is a vast understatement. What we got instead was fear, on steroids.

Granted, their job was a tough one from the get-go. During the Democratic convention, there was a mix of (as Joe Biden framed it) the light and the dark. But the Democrats' message was pretty clear: we're in a dark period right now, and we can move towards the light with the repudiation of Donald Trump and all his enablers. The Republican message was the opposite, which is a pretty hard case to make, considering the current state of affairs. According to the Republicans, everything is just peachy right now, but if Biden wins, things will become apocalyptically bad overnight. There's just one problem with this formulation, however, and that is that we are hardly experiencing Utopia right now, as the COVID-19 deaths climb towards 180,000, unemployment is still in double digits -- higher than at any point during the Great Recession -- and the economy looks like it is now stalling due to the Republicans refusing to pass another pandemic stimulus bill. In other words, the American public is fully capable of looking around at their own lives and seeing that Utopia is far from what they're experiencing right now.

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Trump Fears The Stoner Vote

[ Posted Monday, August 24th, 2020 – 16:30 UTC ]

Today's one of those days when I had a subject already in mind for a column, but then read a few other columns that essentially already said what I was going to say (and in at least one case, said it much better than I could have). Fortunately, a second subject also popped up while reading the news today. So what I'm going to do is provide a few longish excerpts from the articles I read on the first subject at the end of this column, as a sort of "imagine the column Chris would have written" mental exercise (I even had a theme song in mind...), complete with the links to the original articles.

Instead, I'm going to write about weed. Weed voters, in particular. Now, any longtime reader of this column knows that I've been banging this particular drum for a very long time -- in particular, the fact that marijuana legalization is a political issue ripe for support from one of the major political parties. Sadly, both parties continue to shy away from it, although the Democrats have done a lot more "evolving" on the issue than most Republicans. Some Democrats, I should say, because not everyone's on board yet. I didn't notice this at the time, but here's a rundown of what happened to the party's official platform document this time around:

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Democratic Convention Day Four: America's Promise

[ Posted Friday, August 21st, 2020 – 17:57 UTC ]

From the wisecracking Julia Louis-Dreyfus to Joe Biden's resounding speech, the last night of the Democratic National Convention was a solid hit, with only one sour spot (but we'll get to Mike Bloomberg in a moment...). National nominating conventions are traditionally supposed to build in pitch and intensity all week long to the "big finish" on the final day. Democrats certainly succeeded in this regard last night, topped off by perhaps the best speech Joe Biden has ever given. All around, the fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention was a solid winner.

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Democratic Convention Day Three: A More Perfect Union

[ Posted Thursday, August 20th, 2020 – 17:00 UTC ]

Before I begin, a personal note is necessary. I am somewhat distracted today so this may be a shorter and more disjointed column than the last two. I say this because somewhere between one-third and one-half of the county I live in is currently on fire. Ashes are raining down outside my window, and while I am not personally at risk yet, plenty of others I know are -- they've been evacuated and have no way of knowing if their homes have already burnt to the ground or not. Perhaps such an apocalyptic setting is fitting, as I watch and write about the most important election of my lifetime, who knows?

That "most important election" line is often used -- I've heard it for almost every election I've ever participated in, in fact. But this time the current magnitude of importance actually does live up to the dire billing. This is indeed the most important election for American democracy that I think I've ever seen. Donald Trump is not like any other Republican presidential candidate anyone has ever seen. Back in the 1980s, the election of Ronald Reagan gave rise to very real fears that World War III would soon be right around the corner. These fears were not unjustified (given his anti-communist history), and a bigger existential threat to the country is impossible to imagine. But the fears ultimately proved to be groundless. With Trump, however, the enemy is not without but within. Trump has destroyed so many of the norms of American politics that facing four more years of his misrule would put the future of the American experiment in democracy in real danger.

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Democratic Convention Day Two: Leadership Matters

[ Posted Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 – 17:20 UTC ]

The second night of the Democratic National Convention had an unexpected surprise, because the part that is usually the most boring to watch turned out to be the most interesting adaptation of the new technological mode we've all been forced into. Or, more simply: the roll call was phenomenal!

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Democratic Convention Day One: We The People

[ Posted Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 – 16:50 UTC ]

I have to admit, I viewed the first night of the Democratic National Convention with some sadness. The sadness was personal, because this is the first time since Barack Obama's first election that I did not attend the convention in person. Seeing for myself how conventions are run in 2012 and 2016 was certainly a fantastic experience because being in the same room is a whole lot different than watching it on television. So I missed that aspect of it, as did everyone else who has ever had the chance to attend a national party convention.

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