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Political Wire logo Paralyzed Lawmaker Not Allowed to Call Into Meetings
Trump Goes After Cummings Again
Sanders and Warren Could Be Targets of Moderates
Trump Intel Pick Started Conspiracy Theory
Meadows’ Muted Defense of Cummings Speaks Volumes
Lawmaker Denies Sending Resignation Letter

Trump's Attacks on the Squad and Cummings Are No Accident

For the past 2 weeks, Donald Trump has been going full-bore racist. It began with a series of tweets telling four minority Democratic representatives to go back where they came from, which would be Somalia, New York, Michigan, and Ohio. Then he went after Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who represents a majority-black district in Baltimore. Trump went after Cummings on Saturday and then again yesterday. Some Republicans have tried to excuse Trump by saying that he hates the politics these people represent, but not their ethnicities. Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD), who has criticized Trump in the past, was surprisingly muted in responding to Trump's attack on a part of his state as a "rodent-infested mess" where no human would want to live. He just said that more attacks won't get us anywhere.

However, a series of interviews the Washington Post conducted with Trump campaign officials eliminates all doubt about what is going on here. The remarks were carefully planned and entirely deliberate and will form the basis of Trump's reelection campaign. They are designed to (hopefully) solidify the President's base in the Midwest by making the race literally about white vs. black.

The campaign's communications director, Tim Murtaugh, was fairly open about the strategy, saying: "This is Hillary's 'basket of deplorables' all over again." Trump turned "deplorables" into a rallying cry in 2016 and probably will again in 2020. He will be telling his base that the coastal liberals, establishment, and media all see them as trailer trash and this is the moment to give them a good comeuppance. Republican strategist and former White House official Andy Surabian agrees: "He can excite his base without alienating suburbia to the point where they're not voting for him." David Wasserman, of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, noted that if Trump can avoid losing the popular vote by more than 4%, he could still eke out a victory in the Electoral College if he can motivate his voters in the Midwest to show up at the polls in force.

By making the election about race (including the immigration of nonwhites), along with the supposed arrogance of the Democrats and media, Trump can divert attention from the fact that he hasn't actually done a lot for his base, other than passing out a few welfare checks to farmers hurt by his tariff policies. This approach is hardly new in politics; Republicans and Democrats have been playing various iterations of the identity politics game for years.

The Democrats are now engaged in a messy primary and no one knows who will come out on top, but it is a safe bet that if a minority candidate is on the ticket, Trump will try to make the entire contest about whites vs. minorities. From a strictly partisan perspective, the Democrats could neuter this strategy by not having a minority on the ticket. However, having two white men on the ticket is probably unacceptable to many Democrats, which suggests tickets like Biden/Klobuchar, Warren/Bennet, or Sanders/Whitmer—the latter to ensure winning Michigan by running Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) for veep. Of course, politics is often messy and it is still early in the cycle, but if the Democrats' top priority is beating Trump, they need to think about his unambiguous racism in political as well as moral terms. (V)

Good Economy May Help the Democrats in the Midwest

The conventional wisdom is that a strong economy will help Donald Trump get reelected, but there are indications that in the Midwest that may not be entirely true. Recent data suggest that parts of the Midwest that are rebounding economically are turning blue, while parts that are still doing badly are doubling down on Trumpism.

Two examples are MI-08 and MI-11, both R+4. They both voted for Trump and Republican congressmen in 2016, but went Democratic in 2018. Both districts are comfortably outperforming the state as a whole economically. And it is not just Michigan. Eight of the 13 districts that went blue in 2018 in Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Iowa are thriving suburbs of major cities. And of the five flipping districts that were doing worse than their state's average, three were in Pennsylvania, where the new congressional map is the more likely explanation.

So why is there a correlation between doing well and going blue? When communities were battered, they tended to respond to a promise to "Make America Great Again" because they felt it was formerly great, but currently not so great. But many of them have diversified away from a single industry, attracted younger people, and become more forward-looking. This makes them less interested in nostalgia and more focused on health care, education, and infrastructure, all of which the Democrats are pushing hard, while the Republicans are talking a lot about race and immigration.

In 2020, places that are still hard hit and going nowhere may continue to respond to racist, nativist, and nationalist rhetoric, but places that are doing better than they were are less susceptible to those messages. If the economy continues to do well, more communities in the Midwest may become more forward looking than backward looking, and that might not benefit the Republicans as much as they are expecting. (V)

Black Democrats Want a Public Option

Health-care politics is complicated. Take, for example, the Democrats' dilemma about whether to fight for Medicare for all (and eliminate private insurance) or to fight for a public insurance option (and keep private insurance for those who like their current plan). A CNN/SSRS poll shows that among black Democrats, 58% want a public option and only 23% prefer Medicare for all. Among all Democrats, 64% like Medicare for all. Why the difference? For many black Democrats, Barack Obama's signature achievement was the Affordable Care Act, and Medicare for all would wipe it out. They don't like that.

This difference plays out clearly in the primaries, as Joe Biden backs a public option and most of his main rivals want Medicare for all. While this one issue doesn't give Biden a lock on the black vote (and the South Carolina primary), it does help him with a key Democratic constituency. Given the dynamics of the issue, it will be tricky for Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to tell South Carolina voters, 60% of whom are black: "I want to wipe out Obama's legacy." And if she does not do well in South Carolina, it could hurt her badly on Super Tuesday, only a few days later.

This is an example of why it is so hard to make predictions about politics. Issues that don't seem important at first may actually be decisive. In this case, Harris' appearing to disrespect Obama could hurt her in South Carolina and beyond, independent of the merits of her health-care plan. Similarly, Donald Trump gets support from a substantial number of voters not because they like his specific policies on some issues, but because he hates (or pretends to hate) the same people they hate. The idea that the voters examine all the candidates' positions on the issues and then pick the one closest to their own views is rather naive. (V)

Nadler: No Deadline for Impeachment

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is slouching toward starting hearings about impeaching Donald Trump. He doesn't really want to go there, because he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) know that Trump would get 53-55 votes for acquittal in the Senate, depending on what Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) decide to do. However, Nadler feels that his court cases for forcing witnesses to obey subpoenas to testify before his committee and produce documents he wants is strengthened if he can show the judges that he needs these subpoenas to be obeyed in order to carry out legitimate congressional tasks, such as considering whether to impeach the president.

That said, Nadler doesn't want to rush things until he gets his witnesses and documents, in order to sway public opinion. Yesterday, on CNN's "State of the Union," Nadler said that there is no deadline for taking a vote on impeachment. He said: "So we have to do this [in] whatever time frame there is." In short, there will be no articles of impeachment until he has first won his court battles and gotten his witnesses (especially former White House Counsel Don McGahn) to testify. (V)

Government Shutdown in the Fall is Still Possible

Congress is very likely to pass a 2-year budget bill when it returns from summer vacation, but even if it does, we are not out of the woods yet. Privately, Donald Trump has been griping that he wants all the money for his border wall. Last week, the Supreme Court allowed him to start spending $2.5 billion of the Pentagon's money for wall construction, but most estimates for the complete wall run in the $25-50 billion ballpark. Trump desperately wants the rest, and he is never going to get a bill with it through the House without making huge concessions in other areas, such as giving green cards and a path to citizenship to all the dreamers.

Also, despite the congressional agreement on the budget, individual appropriations bills for all the executive departments must be passed this fall, and House Democrats are likely to have somewhat different priorities from Trump in various areas, especially for Homeland Security. How that plays out depends on how hard Trump pushes. He absolutely does not want a government shutdown and possible recession, but he also doesn't want to bow down before Nancy Pelosi.

A possible compromise is to pass all the noncontroversial appropriations' bills, such as those for HUD and HHS, and leave the tougher ones for later, with DHS being the last one. Then, just as the clock is about to strike midnight, the tough departments could be funded for 3 months or 6 months at their current levels. This pattern could be continued until the 2020 election. The only fly in the ointment here is that it means that only a very small bit of wall can be financed and Trump really wants to go back to the voters with: "I built the wall," not with: "If you give me another term, I'll build the wall." So a collision between Trump and Pelosi is by no means off the table. (V)

Axios: Trump Will Nominate Texas Representative as DNI

Yesterday Donald Trump fired Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (his own appointee). Axios is reporting Trump will replace him with Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX). Ratcliffe's TX-04 district, which is in the northeast corner of the state, is R+28, so the resulting special election doesn't look like a likely Democratic pickup.

According to the sources Axios talked to, Trump was thrilled with how Ratcliffe lit into Robert Mueller during the latter's congressional testimony last week. The decision to replace Coats, a Trump appointee in the first place, has been floating around in the back of Trump's mind for at least 5 months. Trump thinks Coats' job is just another bureaucratic layer and he hates bureaucracy. But it was created for a good reason. The U.S. has 17 intelligence agencies, some military and some civilian. Absent the DNI, when a president wants to know something relating to national security, he has to convene a meeting of the 17 agency heads and listen to 17 (often contradictory) opinions.

It's sometimes tough for a president to make any sense of this, so in the aftermath of the intelligence failure leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, George W. Bush created the position of director of national intelligence to ride herd on all 17 agencies and, when asked, to summarize to the president what they have to say and give his advice on what the president should do. Trump would like to get rid of the job entirely, but he can't legally do that, so his plan is to appoint Ratcliffe, who has no background in national intelligence, downsize his staff and budget, and then largely ignore him (think: John Kelly's last six months as chief of staff). This would essentially remove the layer of bureaucracy that Trump does not like.

The problem, which is presumably obvious to anyone whose name does not rhyme with 'Frump,' is that when there is a foreign policy crisis, and the President wants to know what to do about, say, Iran, he is going to get 17 (probably contradictory) opinions. Sometimes having a layer of bureaucracy is a good idea, especially if it means one person is responsible for the entire operation and can give a single opinion about what to do. But now, Trump is going to have to make all the tough calls on his own. Fortunately for the country, his gut knows more than the 17 agency heads who have been doing this their whole careers. (V)

Trump and Johnson Are Working on a Trade Deal

Donald Trump and freshly minted U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson are already hard at work on a trade deal. Trump claims it will be much bigger than the volume of trade the U.S. and the U.K. have now and this will boost both economies.

As usual, the reality is different from the rhetoric. Johnson is firmly committed to a "no deal" Brexit if he can't get the European Union to give him better terms than it gave former Prime Minister Theresa May. The E.U. is unlikely to sweeten the deal much because it wants to make the U.K. suffer from Brexit, lest any other E.U. countries get similar ideas. If no deal can be reached, then Johnson is committed to pulling out of the E.U. unilaterally, and on Halloween, appropriately enough. It will be a lot scarier than small children in ghost costumes and will leave a mess much bigger than candy wrappers behind. A no-deal Brexit would hurt the British, European, and world economies more than any U.S.-U.K. deal could help.

An important part of the issue is that the U.K. is not America's biggest trading partner by a longshot. It is seventh, after China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and South Korea. Also, the volume of trade between the U.S. and U.K. is not determined by E.U. rules, but by how much British stuff Americans want to buy and how much American stuff the Brits want to buy. Is Johnson going to commit to buying millions of tons of U.S. soybeans? Is Trump going to commit to buying hundreds of thousands of Aston Martin luxury cars, and thousands of tons of crumpets? The reality is that the level of trade is largely set by what consumers and businesses in each country demand, not by tariffs, and lowering the tariffs is unlikely to change much of anything. And even if Trump and Johnson can agree on a deal in principle, there are months and months of hard negotiating ahead to work out all the details, each one of which could generate massive resistance from affected companies. (V)

Mueller's Testimony Didn't Increase Demand for Impeachment

Some Democrats were hoping that former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony before Congress would drive up public demand for impeaching Donald Trump. They are going to be disappointed, because it didn't. A new Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted after Mueller's appearance before two House committees shows that only 37% of the voters want to begin impeachment proceedings, while 46% do not want to begin impeachment proceedings, with the rest undecided. Prior to Mueller's testimony, 38% wanted to see Trump impeached, so the testimony basically had no effect.

Now for some crosstabs. 64% of Democrats want impeachment hearings, while only 6% of Republicans do. Independents are split, with 34% for impeachment and 42% against impeachment. Who knew? Well, actually, Nancy Pelosi probably knew, as she has undoubtedly been commissioning in-house polls all along. With numbers like these, one begins to understand her reticence.

On the other hand, more and more people are coming to believe that Russia had an impact on the election, with 42% believing it, 22% believing Russia tried and failed, and 17% believing it didn't even try. Given the overwhelming evidence that Russia tried in numerous ways to help Trump, and Mueller's absolutely unambiguous statement that not only did Russia interfere with the 2016 elections but is already hard at work interfering with the 2020 elections, it is perhaps a bit surprising that 17% of the country is simply immune to facts. We are not sure how this works, but maybe if you inject facts into some people, they produce antibodies that reject future facts. It works with the smallpox virus, so why not with facts?

The poll also showed that 41% of voters approve of the job Trump is doing and 57% disapprove. This is consistent with basically all polls since Trump's inauguration, with his approval rating mostly staying in a narrow band from 37% to about 43%. (V)

Monday Q&A

We did do a Saturday Q&A (albeit a little later than normal) along with some other stuff. If you missed it and would like to read it, click here. We did a few Mueller testimony-related questions there, and we shall do a few more now.

If I recall correctly, there were 14 matters referred for prosecution or investigation in Appendix D of the Mueller report. Could Robert Mueller's evasiveness and his unwillingness to go beyond his remit during testimony (despite that being the bold, conclusive, and patriotic thing to do), be related to those ongoing investigations? And, specifically, a desire not to mess with those legal processes (i.e., creating a mistrial or some other type of procedural error), because that's where the real smoking gun is? Or am I way off base? P.M., Somerville, MA

You do recall correctly, although a couple of those 14 have now been made public. Anyhow, there is no question that this is, at least, part of the reason for Mueller's tight-lipped performance. There are clearly some things—probably a lot of things—that he knows that he did not want to let slip. That said, "smoking gun" implies that there is something among those prosecutions that would be fatal to Donald Trump's presidency. It's possible, but not likely, we think.

Many news sites have commented on Mueller's performance as "shaky" or "struggling." Reporters and analysts have commented that he seemed nervous, but anybody in his position would be. A few conjectured that this may be a sign of him slipping. In my view, this is a brilliant legal scholar and honorable human being who was walking a tightrope between what he thinks is right and the limits that were placed on him by the DOJ, and which he feels constrained to honor. Might a better explanation be that he is a lawyer who was inspecting every question for possible "gotchas" and was fully aware of the potential consequences of any slip with regard to his reputation, the credibility of the report, and the possibility of perjury charges? It seems to me that asking for clarification, double-checking the citations, referring back to the written report whenever possible, and being minimal with his verbal responses are all appropriate tactics for any lawyer on the witness stand. So, is there any corroborating evidence for the theory that this was the performance of a man in decline? P.J.S., Monterey, CA

It's true that Mueller was juggling many different considerations, and also dealing with many different challenges. He didn't want to screw up any ongoing prosecutions or investigations (per the previous question), didn't want to violate the rules set by the DoJ, and didn't want to say anything incriminating about anyone who would not have an opportunity to defend themselves in court. He was also clearly uncomfortable, particularly during the first round of testimony (Judiciary Committee). Whether that was due to nervousness, or a general dislike of public speaking, or something else, we can only guess. In view of how difficult the task before Mueller was, and the generally negative reviews, a counter-narrative has emerged in some corners that he actually did a fantastic job. For example, this piece by Politico Magazine's Renato Mariotti, which is headlined "Actually, Robert Mueller Was Awesome."

As to the specific possibility that he was showing age-related cognitive decline, there is no way to "prove" that—particularly since Mueller isn't going to sit for a battery of tests to measure his mental acuity. That said, a fair number of his answers came off as something more than just cautious or brief—he sometimes seemed confused. And some senior members of Congress, who have heard Mueller testify numerous times over the years, and recall much stronger performances from him, had the same sense of things. On the other hand, the folks who worked with Mueller on the report say he was razor-sharp the whole time, attended every meeting, and stayed on top of every detail, making claims about his mental decline laughable. So, there's some evidence that the cheese is slipping off the cracker, and other evidence that it's still firmly on the cracker, and we'll likely never know for sure.

Political junkies did not learn anything new from the Mueller hearings, and each side still believes what it wants to believe. However, the hearings were carried on broadcast networks, and to me, those "special reports" are going to grab the attention of those who are mostly politically disengaged and otherwise would have been watching talk shows, game shows, and the last of the soap operas. These people might have finally learned what obstruction of justice is, that the Trump campaign benefited from an attack by Russia on our election system, and that Russia continues to do so with impunity. As such, do you think over the next few weeks that while Congress is in recess that representatives will face a greater push for an impeachment inquiry from their constituents back home? R.B., Pittsburgh, PA

We will be happy to be proven wrong, since democracy works best when citizens are dialed in, but we are skeptical that Mueller's testimony will change many hearts or minds (see above for polling that supports this). The headlines generated by his appearance have already faded away, and there weren't all that many of them in the first place, as he consumed one or two news cycles, at most. The television ratings were very poor; the six networks who broadcast the hearings combined for an average of 13 million viewers at any given time. That means that every time Mueller spoke, 1 American in 25 was hearing what he had to say.

It's very easy for those of us in the high-information bubble to forget just how little those who are outside the bubble know. There is a sizable portion of the American public that cares nothing for politics and/or news, and pays zero attention at all times. There is another portion that pays attention to politics and/or news only in election years. And there is yet another portion that might pay attention to politics and/or news under normal circumstances, but is tuning both out right now as a self-defense strategy in the era of Trump.

Never forget: Only one American in three can name the three branches of the federal government. With that state of civics knowledge, it's just very difficult for us to believe that low-information voters are absorbing much of anything that is meaningful from 7 hours of pretty dry testimony.

I have heard that the Mueller investigation is itself subject to investigation concerning possible infractions during its investigations, among them illegal surveillance of a suspect. Is this true or is it fake news? P.B., Lille, France

As written, your statement is not quite correct. There are two things you might be thinking of. First, AG Bill Barr has announced plans to launch investigations into the origins of the FBI's probe into Russian interference, and into the surveillance of Carter Page. These two things ultimately gave rise to the Mueller investigation, but investigating them is not the same thing as investigating Mueller himself (or his team).

The other thing you might be thinking of is that a lawsuit has been filed against Mueller for illegal surveillance. The person who filed the lawsuit, and who claims to have been illegally targeted, is...Jerome Corsi. Not only is Corsi a subject of the Mueller investigation, he's also a snake oil salesman and a conspiracy theorist. So, a lawsuit filed by him should not be taken seriously. And, of course, even a serious lawsuit is a very different thing from an investigation.

In your opinion, why hasn't Cory Booker caught on? R.H., Racine, Wisconsin

Our best answer is that the problem is not with him, per se. He's an impressive fellow with a distinguished résumé and a strong track record. The problem is that there is only so much oxygen available for the candidates, and other members of the field have been able to suck most of it up.

Let's not forget that polls, at this point in the process, are very much about name recognition. And if we think about the frontrunners, it's not too hard to figure out how each of them pulled it off. For Joe Biden, it's his long political career and his service as VP. For Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), it's his 2016 campaign. For Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), it's her efforts to develop a national profile over the last four years and her public squabbles with Donald Trump.

The two "breakout" candidates so far took different paths. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend) is a novelty, as a millennial and a gay candidate, and has proven to be a skilled user of social media and of television appearances. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) wasn't registering on anyone's radar until her performance in the first debate. Booker isn't going to be a novelty, since the U.S. has had a black president at this point, but he could follow Buttigieg's lead in terms of making appearances on unorthodox outlets (like Fox News), and Harris' lead in terms of using the debates to make a statement.

How come none of the candidates name their vice-president choice during the primaries/debates? For example, Joe Biden could commit to someone like Stacey Abrams and it would probably boost his standing as a candidate and appeal to the left. Then, if he lost, she would still be free to go to another candidate. Is there any history of candidates doing this? R.F., Shanghai, China

We're going to start our answer by telling you about...the Emancipation Proclamation, which was actually two proclamations—a preliminary announcement of Abraham Lincoln's intent, and then the final and formal announcement. Lincoln decided in July of 1862 to issue the preliminary proclamation, and took the matter to his cabinet for advice. To his surprise, they agreed unanimously that the time had come. However they counseled him that he should wait until after a military victory, so he could appear to be coming from a position of strength. That victory did not come until September (Antietam; Sept. 17, 1862), and so he did not issue the preliminary proclamation until Sept. 22, 1862. The final one, for those who are interested, was issued about three months later, on Jan. 1, 1863.

And now, your question. The VP pick allows a campaign the opportunity to claim some major headlines in the dog days of summer (ideally during the other party's convention), and also allows them to course-correct a bit, if they discover they're weak with evangelicals (Sarah Palin, Mike Pence), or Southerners (Tim Kaine), or fiscal conservatives (Paul Ryan), or the party establishment (Joe Biden, George H. W. Bush), or Satan worshipers (Dick Cheney). So, if a candidate is clearly in the lead (i.e., Hillary Clinton), it behooves them to wait. And if they are not in the lead, then choosing a VP prematurely comes off as presumptuous and a little desperate, similar optics to the ones that Lincoln's advisers feared in July 1862.

We would suggest that this basic dynamic is why early VP picks, while not unheard of, are pretty rare. That said, with a field as large as the one this year, you never know what kind of Hail Mary pass someone might try.

Finally, waiting until the end to make a pick allows the candidate to take advantage of unexpected developments. Suppose that in May 2020, the only candidates left standing are Biden and Buttigieg, with all the millennials and Bernie supporters now on the Buttigieg bandwagon. Not picking Abrams now would allow Biden to pick Buttigieg rather than being stuck with Abrams. No one knows where we will be almost a year from now, so not picking someone now gives the candidates the maximum flexibility.

Did presidential candidates ever actually kiss babies? A.R., Allenstown, NH

Not only did they, presidential candidates still do. Here is photographic evidence, featuring each of the last three presidents:

Trump, Obama, and W. kissing babies

This custom dates back at least two centuries. There's a story from the election of 1832, when a woman presented Andrew Jackson with her baby so that he might kiss it. Noting the infant's very dirty face, Jackson—who was traveling with former Secretary of War John Eaton—declared "Ah! There is a fine specimen of American childhood! Kiss him, Eaton!" and handed the baby off. The moral of the story: Donald Trump is definitely not the first president to insist that his cabinet secretaries kiss something they would rather not.

I saw a claim on Twitter that the media is anti-Sanders, and I asked for evidence. Someone pointed me towards this article highlighting numerous polling errors presented by MSNBC, always against Sanders. I know there could be other reasons for it, like maybe the media messes things up all the time, and this is only cherry-picking the ones that harm Sanders, but I'd like to know more. Do you have any thoughts or insights into the assertion that at least some mainstream networks are biased against Sanders? D.C., San Francisco, CA

We think that this is a case of confirmation bias. Recall that Sanders' pitch, at its core, is that the system is unfair and is stacked against some people. He appeals to folks who feel similarly. And once you've concluded that the financial system is stacked against you, and the government is stacked against you, it's not too hard to decide that other entities are also fundamentally stacked against you: the media, Facebook, pollsters, etc. And if you reach that conclusion, you're going to take particular notice of examples that support your views. Ipso facto, confirmation bias.

To believe the thesis advanced by the linked article, you would have to accept the following propositions:

  • That MSNBC—the liberal news outlet—hates Sanders and wants to take him down
  • That they are willing to compromise their integrity to do so
  • That they believe that slightly tweaking information about him (but only on occasion) will substantially move the needle with voters

The linked article, for example, makes much hay out of an occasion where he should have been listed third in a report on polling results, but instead he was listed...fourth. Egads—heads must roll! It is also worth noting that the author of that piece identifies herself as a "Bernie Bro" in her Twitter biography, so MSNBC didn't exactly get a fair shake from FAIR.

We frequently note that we are fans of Occam's razor around here—that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. And when it comes to MSNBC's alleged anti-Bernie bias, we think there are two very simple explanations. The first is the one you note, that getting lots of numbers right is tough, and mistakes get made. We are lucky that the person who puts in our polling data is extremely careful but, in a similar sort of thing, we accidentally put the wrong political party (e.g., in D-CA or R-MI) about one time out of 50. That works out to about once a week. The second is that some viewers do not always have an awareness of the distinction between news content and opinion content, and might not realize that Sanders-critical op-eds are not meant as statements of fact.

Follow-up: In Saturday's posting, we suggested that if anyone wants Microsoft to keep supporting Windows 7, they would surely have to pay for it. Several readers with expertise in this area wrote in to tell us two things: (1) Microsoft definitely offers extended support for a (hefty) price, and (2) sometimes, some specialized versions of Windows are supported for a longer period than the vanilla versions are. We cannot determine if the machines have a specialized Windows installation, but they very well could. Thanks to everyone who brought these things to our attention!

If you have a question about politics, civics, history, etc. you would like us to answer, click here for submission instructions and previous Q & A's. If you spot any typos or other errors on the site that we should fix, please let us know at

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul27 Trump Can Start Building His Wall
Jul27 This Weekend in Trump Racism
Jul27 America Will Get Less Safe This Week
Jul27 Democrats Aren't Giving Up on Impeachment
Jul27 Another GOP Representative Throws in the Towel
Jul27 Democratic Presidential Candidate Update: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Jul27 Saturday Q&A
Jul26 Who Needs Election Security?
Jul26 Judge Blocks Asylum Rule
Jul26 Federal Government to Resume Executions
Jul26 Governor of Puerto Rico Resigns
Jul26 Today in Schadenfreude
Jul26 Good Polls for Biden
Jul26 Two GOP Representatives Won't Run for Reelection
Jul25 Mueller Appears Before the House, Everyone Comes Off Badly
Jul24 All Eyes on Mueller
Jul24 Brits Choose BoJo for Next PM
Jul24 Trump Sues to Protect His Tax Returns
Jul24 Senate Confirms Esper to Lead Department of Defense
Jul24 Afghanistan Wants Answers
Jul24 Trump Thinks Villainizing Omar Will Win Minnesota for Him
Jul24 House Democratic Candidates' Fundraising Is Brisk
Jul23 Budget Deal Is in Place
Jul23 Trump Administration to Exercise Broad Immigration Enforcement Powers
Jul23 Everyone Is Jockeying for Position Prior to Mueller's Testimony
Jul23 Pence Mystery Explained...Maybe
Jul23 A Skeleton from Biden's Closet
Jul23 Cumulus Media Buries Pete Buttigieg Interview
Jul23 Tuesday Q&A
Jul22 Trump Goes After "The Squad" Again
Jul22 Nadler Goes After Trump
Jul22 And So Does Iran
Jul22 You Might Not Want to Work for the Progressive Presidential Candidates
Jul22 Trump Could Win!
Jul22 An Unusual Number of House Seats Should Be Competitive in 2020
Jul22 Russian Meddling, Yesterday and Today
Jul19 Trump, GOP Respond to "Send Her Back!"
Jul19 U.S. Downs Iranian Drone
Jul19 Daniels Payment Was All Cohen and Trump...and Hope Hicks
Jul19 Trump Nominates Scalia to Lead Labor Department
Jul19 House Votes to Raise the Minimum Wage
Jul19 Lineups Set for Next Round of Democratic Debates
Jul19 Democratic Presidential Candidate Update: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN)
Jul18 House Has a Busy Day...
Jul18 Trump Rallies in North Carolina
Jul18 Feds Conclude Investigation into Trump Organization's Role in Hush Money Payments
Jul18 Second Round of Democratic Debates Comes into Focus
Jul18 Harris Tops Quinnipiac Poll of California
Jul18 More on Q2 Fundraising
Jul18 Thursday Q&A