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- Why the Democrats Can’t Nail Bill BarrHouse Democrats have been waiting for more than a year to grill Attorney General Bill Barr, a man they’ve accused of all manner of professional misconduct—from repeatedly and inappropriately intervening to protect President Donald Trump to deploying federal agents to incite violence in American cities.Today they finally had their chance, as Barr testified, at long last, before the House Judiciary Committee. For Trump and Barr’s toughest critics, however, it was a frustrating experience. Barr defended the Justice Department’s handling of protests in Portland, Oregon, and other cities—“We’re not out to cause trouble,” he said—and his decision to order a reduction in the sentence that federal prosecutors requested for Trump’s longtime associate Roger Stone (a punishment the president eventually commuted). “The judge agreed with me,” the attorney general insisted, in a rare moment when his voice betrayed annoyance. He denied that there was “systemic racism” in police departments across the country,… ..... Read More.2 weeks ago
- When Conservative Justices RevoltUntil two months ago, Leonard Leo was among the unambiguous winners of the Trump era. The bookish lawyer and architect of the conservative legal movement has spent the past three and a half years executing his decades-long vision of remaking the federal judiciary—he was instrumental in the Supreme Court appointments of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. But during the Court’s term this summer, an old conservative nightmare recurred: Republican-appointed justices, including Gorsuch, aligned with their liberal colleagues on big, consequential decisions about immigration, abortion, and LGBTQ protections.In recent decades, conservative justices have consistently moved to the left once reaching the bench: Anthony Kennedy, who was nominated by Ronald Reagan, routinely cast the deciding vote against social conservatives on gay rights. Conservative-movement stalwarts have never forgiven David Souter, the George H. W. Bush appointee, for voting to uphold the constitutional right to abortion in the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey,… ..... Read More.2 weeks ago
- Don’t Count Trump OutLet’s stipulate right away that President Donald Trump is losing this race. Set aside the particulars—how suburban voters are migrating toward Joe Biden, and how seniors are rethinking their support too. Consider the basics.Presidents are supposed to keep Americans employed. The jobless rate now stands at 11 percent—more than 3 points higher than when Jimmy Carter lost reelection in 1980 and when George H. W. Bush was defeated in 1992.Presidents are supposed to keep Americans safe. About 140,000 have died from COVID-19, more than twice the number that perished in the Vietnam War, which doomed Lyndon B. Johnson’s reelection chances in 1968.Presidents are supposed to attract voters outside their loyal base. Trump’s approval rating stands at 38 percent, according to Gallup; no president since Harry Truman in 1948 has won reelection with a number less than 40 percent.So what—it’s over, then? Maybe not. Facing the combined calamities of a pandemic… ..... Read More.2 weeks ago
- How to Lose a Swing StateDonald Trump needs Arizona on his side in November. Losing the state and its 11 Electoral College votes would, at the very least, mean a drastically narrower path back to the White House. Keeping Arizona red shouldn’t be a challenge; the state has long been a Republican stronghold. But Arizona is changing rapidly, and right now, the forecast for the GOP looks grim: In 2018, Kyrsten Sinema became the first Democrat to win a Senate race in the state since the 1980s, and Joe Biden has been leading in the presidential polls there for weeks. In this year’s Senate race, the astronaut turned Democratic candidate Mark Kelly is ahead of the incumbent Republican Martha McSally by a comfortable margin. And after the state was reopened by its Republican governor, it experienced a massive surge in COVID-19 infections.One might think that, in its moment of peril, the Arizona GOP would attempt… ..... Read More.2 weeks ago
- The Florida Democrat Who’s Been Warning About a Pandemic for DecadesDonna Shalala has a new dog named Fauci. He’s a rescue dog, maybe part Yorkie, she figures. The name seemed right: He was found running into an Italian restaurant in Miami, where she lives, so the animal-shelter staff suggested that she give him an Italian name. And like everyone else, she’s been thinking a lot about Anthony Fauci for the past few months. Shalala, a first-term congresswoman representing Florida, has been in politics for five decades, but she told me that watching how President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have been unable to stop the spread of the coronavirus—which is spiking in the state—has made her “terrified” for the first time in her career. DeSantis “is personally responsible for a number of unnecessary deaths and sickness in our state because he hasn’t exerted strong leadership,” she said in a conversation that can be heard on the latest episode… ..... Read More.2 weeks ago
- What New York’s Election Failures Tell Us About NovemberMore than a month after New York’s June 23 primary elections, state election officials are still counting votes. In some legislative districts, they haven’t even started counting absentee votes. In the best-case scenario, election officials hope to declare winners by the first Tuesday in August—six weeks after Election Day. It might take a lot longer than that. Election officials in New York City have already invalidated upwards of 100,000 absentee ballots—about one of every five that were mailed in from the five boroughs. And furious candidates are already filing lawsuits charging discrimination and disenfranchisement.The chaos in New York is a warning about November’s elections: Voting is being transformed by the pandemic. But no state has built new election infrastructure. No state has the time or the money to make sure vote-counting will go smoothly in November. And just about every state is about to be hit with a massive surge… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago