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Cochise County’s Bottom-Up Guide to Election Denial

Cochise County’s Bottom-Up Guide to Election DenialAs millions of Americans returned to their jobs this week after the Thanksgiving holiday, several of the elected leaders of Cochise County, Arizona, opted not to do theirs.The board of supervisors in this sparsely populated southeastern chunk of the state refuses to certify the county’s midterm-election results. Of course, nothing actually went wrong in Cochise County’s election. Instead, on Monday, the two Republican members of the Cochise County board outvoted its single Democrat to delay certification of the election, missing the deadline. By refusing to complete the process, these two officials chose instead to make a kind of generalized protest against imagined election fraud in Arizona. Their action could mean that Cochise County voters won’t have their ballots counted in the state’s final results.Nullifying the votes of some 47,000 people for no reason is certainly a choice—and a nihilistic one at that. These two…

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How Election Denial Lost

How Election Denial LostOutside the Maricopa County tabulation center last weekend, a few dozen outraged Arizonans paced single file along the sidewalk waving KARI LAKE flags. Through megaphones, some of them denounced imaginary corruption schemes and clamored for a “redo” election. Others chanted the Lord’s Prayer, like the musicians on the Titanic playing hymns to calm the passengers.The noteworthy thing about the Maricopa protest, though, wasn’t the scene. It was its singularity. Two years ago, shouts of “Stop the steal!” could be heard across the country in nearly every state. This year, the refrain was largely limited to one block in downtown Phoenix, where at times reporters outnumbered the demonstrators.If any state was going to devolve into chaos after a disappointing election for Republicans, it would have been Arizona—ground zero for election denial in 2020, and where this year, primary voters nominated an entire slate of fringe election cranks to…

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The Wrong Way to Do Politics at the Office

The Wrong Way to Do Politics at the OfficeIn a 2005 episode of The Office, Michael Scott, the office manager, requires his employees to choose an upside-down index card from a tray and place it on their forehead. The cards bear a racial or ethnic label—Black, Jewish, Italian, and so on—and Michael tells the employees to treat one another according to the label listed on the card and to “stir the melting pot” by playing to racial stereotypes. The scene, which ends with Michael getting slapped in the face, mocks corporate America’s ham-handed approach to diversity training. Back in 2005, almost no one saw the C-suite or the human-resources office as an engine of progressive change. Indeed, the idea that workers would look to their employers for leadership on any delicate social or political matters seemed risible.Yet, today, a new status quo has emerged.I am a political scientist and am…

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What is the Supreme Court’s understanding of our democracy?

What is the Supreme Court’s understanding of our democracy?When the current Supreme Court justices who were appointed by Republican presidents (six of the nine-member court) try to justify the elimination of long-standing fundamental constitutional rights, or regulations to protect our environment, they are fond of referring to the importance of “the people” having a say through their “elected representatives.” For example, on June 24, Justice Samuel Alito proclaimed on behalf of Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas in Dobbs that it is time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” On June 30, Gorsuch informed us in West Virginia v. EPA that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon dioxide emissions must be overturned because “none of us wishes to abandon our Republic’s promise that the people and their representatives should have a meaningful say in the…

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Biggs renews challenge to McCarthy amid lack of consensus alternative

Biggs renews challenge to McCarthy amid lack of consensus alternativeRep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday renewed his challenge against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for Speaker as McCarthy’s opponents aim to keep him from securing the gavel on the House floor but lack a viable GOP alternative. “I’m running for Speaker to break the establishment,” Biggs, a former chair of the confrontational conservative House Freedom Caucus, said in a tweet on Tuesday alongside a Daily Caller op-ed railing against McCarthy’s leadership. “Kevin McCarthy was created by, elevated by, and maintained by the establishment.” Biggs’s office told The Hill on Tuesday that despite the tweet and op-ed he is still open to and interested in an alternative Speaker candidate. In the meantime, though, Biggs is keeping himself in the running, and said last week that he plans to vote for himself on the House floor. Biggs, who mounted a last-minute, long-shot challenge…

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Should Biden Run Again? Ask James K. Polk.

Should Biden Run Again? Ask James K. Polk.It was never James K. Polk’s intention to run for president. A former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Polk had served a single two-year term as governor of Tennessee — then a largely ceremonial and toothless role — but lost both his reelection race and a subsequent comeback bid. Effectively, his political aspirations had stalled out. He hoped that he might reboot his career by winning the second spot in 1844, under the presumptive Democratic nominee, former President Martin Van Buren. Then things got strange.Many Southern Democrats were ardent expansionists, with designs to build an empire for slavery that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Integral to that plan was statehood for Texas, which had broken away from Mexico and declared independence. Van Buren was tepid on the issue. His main opponent, Lewis Cass of Michigan, was not. When the…

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