A high-stakes game of Capture the Flag

Interesting article today in The New Yorker:

I’ve been noticing the same correlation between American flags (many of which are similarly “modified” as described in the article) and yard signs supporting Trump’s re-election. The Trump campaign has also been quite aggressive with flags and banners. Biden’s campaign seems to be catching up in that area, but overall I’ve never seen so many flags flying in my town.


New Zealand confirms commitment to competence and compassion

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party appears to have won a landslide election, leading the National Party by a 49% to 27% margin. The result would mean that Labour can form a government by itself, as they will have won a majority of the seats in the New Zealand Parliament. This would be the first time that’s happened since the country switched to proportional voting in 1996.

In short, it’s a resounding vote of confidence in the 40-year-old Ardern, who became prime minister in 2017 in a coalition government with two other parties. What is it about Ardern that New Zealand’s voters connected with?


“What am I going to do?”

This comment from Trump tonight at a rally in Georgia:

It’s good he’s thinking about it, because it’s increasingly likely that it’s going to happen. I find it somewhat comforting that he is contemplating life after being president. In many ways, I think it would be a relief for him, since he didn’t appear to really want the job in the first place. Maybe he will go peacefully (though his supporters are another question).

On the other hand, he loses the prime visibility of being the “leader of the free world,” the ability to violate the emoluments clause repeatedly for his own and his family’s benefit, and, most importantly, whatever immunity from prosecution being president may confer on him. He might want to leave the country just for that reason.

The Trump brand was always pretty sketchy. Now it’s radioactive. But there’re probably still some suckers waiting to be fleeced somewhere in this great big world after he returns to just being “The Donald.”

Your results may vary: Unintended consequences for Republicans

This is surely not SCOTUSblog, but let’s look at two significant court rulings from yesterday:

In both cases, Republicans claimed that their position was the prudent one, noting the deadline crunch in the census case and ballot security issues in the drop-off location case. Opponents claimed that Republicans were trying to restrict the electoral power of minorities, particularly those of Hispanic heritage, by deliberately undercounting them in the census (which could result in states losing seats in Congress, among other issues) and making it more difficult for them to cast their votes.


Why the Michigan Supreme Court decision really matters

Back in July I wrote a post called “Why Trump v. Vance really matters.” In it, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Donald Trump’s tax records could be subpoenaed by a grand jury in Manhattan. The 7-2 decision (which included Chief Justice Roberts and Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch) was significant because it held that no one, not even the chief executive of the country, was above the law.

On October 3, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (who is a Democrat) had violated the state’s constitution by continuing to renew the declarations of a state of emergency, even after the state legislature (which is controlled by Republicans) had refused to legitimize them by approving the extensions. The Court held that, under the various constitutional and legislative acts Whitmer was using to justify her actions, the legislature did, in fact, need to weigh in, and she was not authorized to continue to re-up the declarations on her own authority.