voting

Cancel the Debates

Pity the poor closed-caption writers. Pity the poor ASL interpreters. But most of all, pity poor us, the American electorate. Tonight was the first presidential debate of the 2020 election, and if there is any sense or mercy left in this nation, it will be…

Even Fast-Casual Restaurants Are Telling Me to Vote

I have recently been reminded, asked, or commanded to vote approximately 6 million times. These nudges have come from the people and places I’d expect—candidates, local officials, civic and political organizations—but also, more so than in any other election year I remember, from the places…

Trump Secretly Mocks His Christian Supporters

One day in 2015, Donald Trump beckoned Michael Cohen, his longtime confidant and personal attorney, into his office. Trump was brandishing a printout of an article about an Atlanta-based megachurch pastor trying to raise $60 million from his flock to buy a private jet. Trump…

Large-Scale Political Unrest Is Unlikely, But Not Impossible

When a reporter recently asked Donald Trump if he would accept a peaceful transition of power, the president wouldn’t commit. “We’ll see what happens,” he said. In an apparent reference to mail-in ballots, he went on, “We’ll want to have—get rid of the ballots and…

What the Supreme Court Fight Means for the Senate Majority

The struggle over Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement on the Supreme Court could help propel Democrats to the brink of a Senate majority in November’s election. But whether it lifts them over that threshold could turn on the terms of the confirmation fight. Given the nature…

A Defense of Court Packing

It was only a matter of time, really. Ever since Senate Republicans refused to hold a vote on Merrick Garland four years ago, progressives have argued that Democrats need to wrest back control of the Supreme Court by packing it full of liberal justices. By…

The Election Is Already Under Way in America’s Courts

Although the election is not technically until November 3, election season is already well under way—most significantly in the dozens of election-litigation cases that are determining how people can vote, whether they can vote, and whether their votes will be counted. In the many cases…

Can Democrats Stop the Nomination?

Anyone confidently predicting one way or another whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can seat a new justice on the Supreme Court is blustering. Here is the only thing that’s certain: The coming fight will not be resolved by principle—no matter how senators talk or…

RBG’s Greatest Insight

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s time on the Court was often characterized as a pitched battle between the principles of equality and individual liberty. Conservative majorities have tended to elevate individual autonomy rights over equal treatment and equal opportunity in our politics, our workplaces, and our…

A Dangerous Moment for the Court

The Supreme Court seems strangely immune to the bitterness that plagues our politics. Even now, when Americans can no longer agree on basic facts, the Court’s relative popularity has endured. Following Donald Trump’s 2016 election, the Court has what may be its most conservative majority…

Don’t Make the Election About the Court

I know that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s empty Supreme Court seat has provoked an epic, long-awaited clash between Democrats and Republicans, that the very principle of judicial independence hangs dangerously in the balance. I realize that the social-media wave cannot be stopped, that the talking heads…

The Immigrants Who Created New Possibilities

Of the many questions at stake in this fall’s election, one of the less obvious is this: Will the United States remain a country where someone like Barack Obama or Kamala Harris—a person of color with immigrant parents—is likely to be born? The answer depends,…

Senate Republicans’ Last Chance to Stand Up to Trump

Nearly every reporter in Washington has experienced it: A Republican member of Congress says, “Off the record,” shifts into a quieter voice, and expresses how much he or she doesn’t like President Donald Trump. Soon after, you watch this same elected official speak up in…

Four Reasons to Doubt Mitch McConnell’s Power

To use power, you must have it. On the night of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that a Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg would receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. That announcement promised a use of…

Howie Hawkins Is No Kanye West

Howie Hawkins may be the Green Party’s presidential nominee, but he isn’t Jill Stein—or at least, he can’t be, because he’s not on the ballot in as many swing states as Stein was in 2016. Courts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania decided this week to keep…

Facing Backlash, University of Georgia to Allow On-campus, In-person Voting

Facing criticism from students and voting rights advocates, the University of Georgia (UGA) reversed an earlier decision to cancel in-person voting on its campus while still allowing football games to take place as scheduled. In a Thursday statement, UGA spokesman Greg Trevor said the university…

The Fall’s Best Movies Are About American Soul-Searching

David Byrne has long been a master of perfectly designed worlds. The 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, with his band Talking Heads, captured how carefully he stages his shows, bringing in band members one by one to emphasize how each contributes to the harmonies…

An Experiment in Wisconsin Might Reveal the Key to Defeating Trump

No state has haunted the Democratic Party’s imagination for the past four years like Wisconsin. While it was not the only state that killed Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes in 2016, it was the one where the knife plunged deepest. Clinton was so confident about Wisconsin…

The Slow-Fingered President

President Donald Trump has warned his Twitter followers three times as often about the threat from mail-in ballots as he has urged them to protect themselves from the threat of COVID-19. Since March, when the stay-at-home orders started, he has written a little over a…

Trump on Voting: ‘If Biden Can Do It, Anyone Can’

President Donald Trump took the opportunity to make a case for in-person voting after Joe Biden and his wife Jill voted in person in Delaware’s primary. Trump wrote on Twitter: “if Biden can do it, any American can do it!” 0…

The Great British Humbling

“The cretinous stupidity of it!” snaps the tragic hero in Joseph Roth’s The Radetzky March as he faces up to his likely death in a duel over his wife’s honor. He did not want the fight and no longer loves his wife anyway, but the…

The Coming Crisis of Legitimacy

In normal times, it would seem outlandish to worry that an American president might refuse to concede defeat upon losing his bid for reelection. This year it is not. Even though he won in 2016, Donald Trump falsely claimed that he was the victim of…

Making Joe Biden Cool

Ben Wessel was nervous. Joe Biden had just won the Democratic nomination, and the youth-focused super PAC Wessel runs, NextGen America, now had to figure out how to persuade the generation of TikTok and trigger warnings to turn out to vote for a 77-year-old man…

Texas Democrats Lose Universal Voting Bid

Texas Democrats have lost their bid to expand mail-in voting to all eligible voters. The state’s Democratic party chairman says they’ll continue the fight in a lower court. 0…

Appeals Court Denies Texas Democrats Bid to Expand Mail-In Voting

A federal appeals court has denied Texas Democrats’ effort to expand mail-in voting in the state amid the pandemic. The Texas Democrats brought the lawsuit against the state’s Republican leadership, arguing that Texas’ law that restricted no-excuse mail-in voting for any person ages at least…

The Oscars’ New Diversity Standards Are Low. That’s Part of the Point.

Five years after the #OscarsSoWhite movement began, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is again turning its attention to Hollywood diversity. Yesterday, the organization announced new inclusion requirements that seem bold at first glance, a drastic remit to studios about the kinds of…

This Republican Party Is Not Worth Saving

I was a Republican for most of my adult life. I came of political age in 1980, and although I grew up in a working-class Democratic stronghold in Massachusetts, I found a home in Ronald Reagan’s GOP. Back then, the Republicans were a confident “party…

The Deadline That Could Hand Trump the Election

Many Americans know that counting all of the votes in this November’s presidential election is going to take extra time. Few people realize there’s a specific deadline by which states must finish. The 1887 Electoral Count Act seems like an obscure piece of political trivia.…

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