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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  The Blame Game Heats Up
      •  Democrats Can't Govern
      •  Democrats Want to Try to Pass Voting Rights Bill within a Week
      •  Red States Are Fighting Their Blue Cities--over Masks
      •  Anti-mask Rules Are Creating a Backlash
      •  Republicans Give Up on Blocking Gay Rights
      •  Judge Grills Lawyers in Smartmatic Lawsuit
      •  Mixed Polls on Florida Senate Race

The Blame Game Heats Up

John F. Kennedy once said: "Victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan." With the Afghanistan fiasco, it is slightly different. In real time, only one person in Congress—Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) who represents Berkeley and Oakland—voted against invading Afghanistan, saying it was a bad idea. She was called a traitor. Now dozens, if not hundreds, of people are busy explaining why it was a bad idea and not their fault.

Let's start with Condoleezza Rice. It was very much her fault because she was George W. Bush's National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005 and the person he most trusted on foreign affairs, an area about which he knew nothing. To start with, she knew about the Aug. 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief entitled: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." and didn't alert Bush to its importance or urge him to take action. After the 9/11 attacks, she was fully on board with invading Afghanistan. She now senses that maybe she is not going to come out of this smelling like roses, so she wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post explaining why the withdrawal was a bad idea. In it, she pointed out that the U.S. invaded Korea in June 1950. Fast forward 71 years, and the U.S. still has 28,000 troops there. In other words, if the U.S. had the guts, it would have kept troops in Afghanistan another 50 years and it would have become a stable democracy selling us smartphones and television sets and A-Pop music. These things take time.

Also chiming in is Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). She said: "This has been an epic failure across the board, one we're going to pay for for years to come." She blamed Joe Biden and Donald Trump. She said nary a word about dad (Dick Cheney), one of the strongest voices in favor of invading Afghanistan in 2001. At the time he was the vice president and had Bush's ear all the time. If Rice and Cheney had told Bush: "No way we can win a war in that godforsaken backward medieval country," he would almost certainly not have invaded.

Now onto the present. Who screwed up? NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg put the blame on the Afghan government. He said: "Ultimately, the Afghan political leadership failed to stand up to the Taliban and achieve the peaceful solution that Afghans desperately wanted." That's true, but omits the fact that trying to turn a country that was living in the 8th century into a modern democracy was probably never going to work, especially not when led by a corrupt government propped up by the U.S. and unable to stand on its own two feet despite almost $150 billion in aid from the U.S.

Now let's take a look at folks who might actually have a better idea of what went wrong. Yesterday, we briefly mentioned the report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Earlier this month (but just before the collapse there had become total), IG John Sopko issued a report entitled: "What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction." The report is not classified, so Congress and the American people can get the truth from an office that has been looking closely at the war for 20 years and which interviewed over 700 people in the country. SIGAR was created by Congress to investigate the entire Afghanistan mission. In 2014 it began working on its "lessons learned" program. Here are the main points in the report:

  • Strategy: The U.S. continuously struggled to define why it was in Afghanistan. Was it because everyone was furious after 9/11 and somebody had to pay? Was it to destroy al-Qaeda? Was it to rebuild Afghanistan like the Marshall Plan rebuilt Germany after World War II? It was also not clear who was in charge of the mission. The Dept. of Defense is great for fighting wars and the State Dept. is great for diplomacy, but no one was really in charge of the overall effort to achieve any of the goals of the mission, assuming someone had specified the mission in the first place.

  • Timeline: Everyone in the project greatly underestimated how hard it would be and how long it would take. The budget was far too small. It was more like 20 1-year projects instead of one 20-year project. There was far too much emphasis on short-term gains that could be shown to the president and Congress, as in: "Look, they had an election! Mission almost accomplished!"

  • Sustainability: The U.S. has often provided humanitarian aid after natural disasters. It is meant to tide people over with food and tents for a short time. Building a nation where none ever existed before is a whole different ball of wax. Agencies were not prepared for that and were judged by how well they had completed some specific short-term task, not on whether it would be sustainable once the U.S. left. Also, there was a trade-off between letting the Afghans run the programs and having Americans run the programs. Letting the Afghans run them would have embedded them in the country much better, but the Afghan officials were all corrupt. Having the Americans run them gave much better short-term results, but carried with it the danger they would collapse the minute the U.S. pulled out.

  • Personnel: The Americans who ran the programs in Afghanistan were often the wrong people, with no background in Afghan language, history, or culture. Most were incompetent for the task they were expected to do. DoD police advisors watched American crime shows on TV to learn about policing. No actual American police were there. Civil affairs personnel had PowerPoint presentations for the Afghans. Staff was rotated out before they could learn on the job what was needed. Nobody was watching the spending.

  • Insecurity: While the reconstruction was going on, the Taliban were not just sitting around waiting for the Americans to leave. They were using violence everywhere to block the U.S. For example, they intimidated voters in ways even Texas Republicans wouldn't dare try. They convinced many people in rural areas that if they cooperated with the government, they would simply be killed, no questions asked. Without security, building a country was basically impossible. In Germany in 1946, there were no heavily armed roving bands of Nazis threatening to kill anyone who cooperated with American officials trying to reboot the country. That made it a piece of cake compared to Afghanistan.

  • Context: None of the Americans there understood Afghanistan's social, economic, and political dynamics, and if they had, they would probably have rejected them as being obsolete and in need of being updated. There was almost no information about the condition of the country available to U.S. officials. To give one example, the DoD tried training the Afghan security forces in the use of weapons they couldn't even understand, let alone maintain. To give another, there was a big emphasis on writing a constitution and laws in a country that never really had laws and which settled almost all disputes privately and locally. And one more: The Americans never understood the social and cultural barriers to women being treated as equal citizens so the approaches taken (e.g., we'll just pass a law banning X) never worked.

  • Monitoring and evaluation: There was no serious, accurate monitoring of how well the country was doing. Communication with far-flung mountainous regions was close to impossible, staff turnover was enormous, and the emphasis was on short-term projects that could be measured easily (e.g., X number of school buildings were constructed this year).

The inspector noted that former Army Vice Chief of Staff Jack Keane once said that after the Vietnam War, the Army purged everything it learned about fighting insurgents because it lost that war, so what it did must have been wrong. Actually, it should have made what it learned there part of the required curriculum at West Point and taught it to all officer candidates. Sopko is not optimistic about the next reconstruction mission in a conflict-affected country. He said about these missions:

  • They are very expensive. All war related costs in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan have cost $6 trillion since 2000
  • They usually go poorly
  • U.S. officials know that they usually go poorly and do them anyway
  • Rebuilding countries is a continuous, very long-term project that requires a time commitment of decades
  • Large reconstruction projects start small so it is very possible for the U.S. to not realize what it is getting into, when Vietnam 3.0 presents itself

This is a rather different message than "Biden lost the war," which is what the Republicans are going to use.

The SIGAR report is an official one, but some people who know what they are talking about are also writing their own "reports." One of them is Admiral James Stavridis (ret.), who served as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. He served in the military for 37 years, but the only time he was almost killed was when he was sitting in his office at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and American Airlines flight 77 smashed into the building about 150 feet away from him. Within weeks he was given the assignment of running what would later become known as the "Global War on Terror."

He wrote a long article about fighting insurgencies. He said there is plenty of blame for Afghanistan to divvy up among bumbling generals and admirals, weak-kneed diplomats, drug lords, the media, feckless Afghan politicians, and the Pakistani intelligence service. Note that he didn't list any presidents, Congress, or the American people, as we did. Nevertheless, he came up with four lessons we ought to learn for next time, as follows:

  • Understand the country: To build or rebuild a country, it is necessary that the people in charge of the effort have a deep understanding of the languages, history, culture, economics, politics, and other aspects of the country. Parachuting in and translating the U.S. Constitution into the local languages does not do the job. The people in charge of Project Afghanistan knew almost nothing about the country, just as the people running Project Vietnam knew nothing about that country. Saying: "I may not know the country, but I know a lot about bombs and guns" doesn't tend to produce a sustainable long-term solution. Also, if the country has a long history of government corruption, that has to be understood from the start and dealt with.

  • Avoid turnover: In Afghanistan, the Army and Marines had 12-month tours of duty. The Navy had 6-month tours and the Air Force even shorter tours. Special forces would whip in and whip out. You can't build a country if your people are rotated out as soon as they begin to understand the job. The military can force soldiers to stay longer in dangerous war zones, but it might be better for morale to use more carrots, like "if you stay for [X] years you will be promoted in rank."

  • Wrong technology: The U.S. invariably uses the highest tech that is possible and trains its clients to do the same. In countries like Afghanistan, that is often a terrible idea. It took far too long to find a solution to the IED problem. The aircraft used were too complicated to be maintained there, etc. The Afghan Army should have been given simple, dependable WW II-vintage weapons that they could take apart and maintain themselves, not "better" weapons that they couldn't maintain. And it should have been trained to fight like the Taliban: a light, swift, force not reliant on heavy logistics. During the U.S. Revolutionary War, the Americans wore camouflage and hid behind trees while the British Army wore bright red uniforms and marched together in unison in large groups, all the while thinking that no respectable army would hide behind trees. The folks running West Point have forgotten about that.

  • Public support: After 9/11, the politicians were saying: "We'll go there, bomb the sh*t out of them, and go home. Nobody said: "We're going there to build a civilized country and it will take 20, 30, maybe 50 years." They should have. Without popular support, running a war is politically impossible. That should have been a lesson learned in Vietnam, but it wasn't. Donald Trump used "Bring the troops home" as a campaign slogan. Once people bought into that, there was no turning back. Democracies can't fight wars when the public is against those wars. The only thing that could have been done better is to have made better plans to get the people who helped the U.S. out of the country.

Stavridis is not optimistic that Taliban 2.0 will be much better than Taliban 1.0, certainly not for girls and women. He thinks the jihadis will be doing high-fives at the symmetry of their two great triumphs: the fall of the World Trade Towers and the fall of Kabul 20 years later. He said: "It is hard to construct a positive scenario." The best case for the U.S. is that the Taliban is entirely preoccupied with bringing the country back to the 8th century, does not attack any other countries and does not allow ISIS or al-Qaeda to operate within the country in order to avoid retaliatory drone strikes destroying all the country's large mosques and government buildings. A president could certainly give such an order, and if the time set for the attacks was 3 a.m., when nobody was in the buildings, it probably wouldn't be a war crime.

Politically, the big question is how Afghanistan affects Joe Biden's approval. An average of recent polls from FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics both have Biden under 50%, but still above water, with approval higher than disapproval. That is not a good sign for him, but when the infrastructure bills pass, all could be forgiven as people tend to care more about their roads than what is going on in Afghanistan. (V)

Democrats Can't Govern

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) leaves on schedule and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) loses a recall election, the Republicans will gain a huge talking point in 2022: Democrats can't govern. The issues in the two states are different, but for people who don't pay a lot of attention to politics, if the governors of the two biggest blue states are sent packing within a month, it won't look good. Of course, in New York, the issue isn't Cuomo's ability to govern, it's his inability to treat women with respect. In California, it's the stupid law that requires a new election when the governor is recalled. If the law had simply been "In the event of a gubernatorial vacancy due to death, resignation, or recall, the lieutenant governor becomes governor," the Republicans would never have tried to recall Newsom.

If both governors are gone in November, that could affect the gubernatorial election in Virginia. Terry McAuliffe (D) is ahead there, but loss of two big Democratic governors could hurt him. There is also a gubernatorial contest in New Jersey, but Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) is virtually certain of winning that one.

In 2022, three dozen states have gubernatorial elections. People tend to have short memories, but the unseating of two key Democratic governors could strengthen the GOP in some of them. It could also strengthen the Republican state parties in California and New York.

When Cuomo is gone, the new governor will be Democrat Kathy Hochul, but she will probably face a tough primary in 2022 against New York AG Letitia James. The first poll has Hochul ahead of James 28% to 24%, with many people undecided. A nasty primary probably won't help the Democrats and will siphon off money that could have gone to other races.

In addition, if a Republican is elected governor of California, to a lot of Democrats it will look like the sky is falling and it will be demoralizing. Democrats expect tough fights in Texas and Florida, but they hadn't thought of California and New York as battlegrounds. They may have to. Of course, if Democrats turn out in huge numbers in the recall, the whole "Democrats can't govern" story line falls apart. It then simply becomes "Cuomo is a jerk," not that Democrats as a group can't govern. So more may be riding on Newsom's campaign than originally thought.

There is a bit of news on the California recall. On Tuesday, a debate was held among some of the top Republican contenders. The one polling first, conservative radio host Larry Elder, didn't show up to defend himself, so all the candidates took potshots at him. Another oddity came at the start of the debate: A man went up on stage and served businessman John Cox with legal papers seeking repayment of $100,000 from Cox's futile 2018 campaign for governor. Also, former representative Doug Ose had a heart attack and dropped out of the race. (V)

Democrats Want to Try to Pass Voting Rights Bill within a Week

Now that the census data is available, state legislatures are going to get to work gerrymandering their states, where the law permits that. One of the things that H.R. 1 bans is partisan gerrymandering, so Democrats want to pass it before the maps are drawn. They also want to pass H.R. 4 (the new Voting Rights Act) before states change even more voting laws.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is on board with a new Voting Rights Act. She wants a vote on it next week, when the chamber returns. She will get her vote and it will pass, despite ranking member Mike Johnson (R-LA) calling the VRA "an unconstitutional federal power grab over local election laws." The House has already passed H.R. 1.

The problem will be in the Senate, where Republicans will filibuster both bills. Then Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will have a little chat with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and ask him to work his bipartisanship magic on the Republicans. Schumer knows very well that won't work, but his only hope is that Manchin finally comes to realize that it won't work. Then Schumer will ask Manchin how he proposes dealing with a situation that will probably give Republicans control of Congress for the next decade or so. Schumer is hoping that this exercise will convince Manchin that the solution is to reintroduce what is technically called "diaper time" (since bathroom breaks aren't allowed during a talking filibuster). In any event, it looks like the test is at most a few weeks away. (V)

Red States Are Fighting Their Blue Cities--over Masks

A number of red states contain deep blue cities. For example, Arizona has Phoenix, Georgia has Atlanta, and Texas has Houston. In many cases, Republican-controlled state legislatures have moved to overturn local ordinances on everything from workplace protections to environmental standards. These moves were grudgingly accepted but now there is an issue in which the cities are explicitly defying the state legislatures: masks in schools.

Unlike issues like who should regulate Uber, this one involves public health and (indirectly) affects millions of people, some of whom might die if the state legislatures get their way. Rulings in state courts are expected soon, possibly within days. These rulings will be appealed, potentially up to the U.S. Supreme Court, although SCOTUS might not take the cases because they are about state constitutions and state laws. In that event, it would be up to the state Supreme Courts to make rulings, which could differ from state to state. While the U.S. Supreme Court will generally take cases in which one circuit court has ruled one way and another circuit court has ruled a different way, the Supreme Court generally accepts the fact that state constitutions aren't all the same.

The newly released census figures show where we are heading. The biggest population gainers in the country are the blue cities in the South. Economic activity there is also exploding. Republicans retain control of the state legislatures largely through gerrymandering, so a minority of people in largely white, conservative areas can elect most of the state legislators. In the long run, the question is how long can the blue cities be denied the political clout commensurate with their populations and economic power, but in the short run, it is about masks.

In a study, the Brookings Institution found that in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, 99% of the population growth since 2010 was in the large metropolitan areas. In Arizona, North Carolina, and South Carolina, it was over 100%, since rural areas lost population since 2010.

In Texas, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, all of which are defying Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) on masks, now account for 68% of the state's total population. That says that even Texas is more about cities than about the wide-open spaces with lone cowboys riding the range. It should be noted that although the cities are largely Democratic, plenty of Republicans also live in the cities, so that combined with Republicans in rural areas, they still form a majority.

While localities generally derive their power from the state government, states don't control everything. For example, dress codes are always local and it is doubtful that a state as big as Texas would want to adopt a uniform dress code for every high school in Texas, even if it could. At least one school district sees dress codes as a loophole in Abbott's mask ban. It has made the wearing of masks mandatory, along with the wearing of shoes and shirts or blouses (or dresses). No doubt there will be lawsuits about this, but they could take years to resolve. In the meantime, other school districts are considering the same thing.

What will happen if the cities continue to defy Abbott is an open question. Republicans used to believe that the lowest level of government that can handle a problem was the best one. Now they are in a bind. Democrats control the highest level (the federal government) and the lowest level (the cities), so they are in the somewhat odd position of arguing that the middle level (the states) should have all the power. Now Republican-controlled state legislatures have become completely uninhibited about overruling local governments—something they strongly opposed until recently. While gerrymandering keeps the state legislatures Republican, that doesn't work in statewide elections. Louisiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia currently have Democratic governors. Democrats have a decent shot at winning the governors' mansions in Arizona and Georgia in 2022, and at least a fighting chance in Florida and Texas. If Democrats can elect governors in many of the red states, they can veto bills passed by the gerrymandered state legislatures, which will lead to real fireworks. (V)

Anti-mask Rules Are Creating a Backlash

While we are on the subject of cities requiring masks and states banning mandates, a backlash seems to be brewing. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) recently said that mask mandates are "the most significant threat to freedom in my lifetime, certainly since the fall of the Berlin Wall." In FoxWorld that is accepted as true gospel, but outside of it, not so much. A new Axios/Ipsos poll shows that 64% support mask requirements in public places. As expected, there is a huge partisan gap, with 88% of Democrats and 40% of Republicans in favor of mandates. Still, 64% is almost two-thirds. The poll also showed a geographic breakdown of 71% in urban areas being in favor vs. 49% in rural areas.

Specifically about schools, fully 69% support school districts that require teachers, students, and administrators to be masked in school. Again, there is a partisan gap, with 92% of Democrats but only 44% of Republicans supporting masking mandates in schools. And only about one-third of Americans support state governments overriding local governments on masking requirements.

Facts about COVID-19 apparently depend on someone's vaccination status. A bit over 80% of vaccinated people believe masks reduce the spread of the coronavirus but only 47% of the unvaccinated believe that. Also, 77% of the vaccinated believe that breakthrough cases in vaccinated people are mild, compared to 27% of the unvaccinated. So it looks like each group has its own set of facts. Or, at least in some cases, "facts." (V)

Republicans Give Up on Blocking Gay Rights

At the start of June, RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel sent out a tweet: "Happy #PrideMonth!" Inside the RNC, nobody cared, but outside there was a backlash. Democrats accused her of being a hypocrite. Evangelicals were furious with her. Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council, wrote a scathing post. Among other things, he said: "Right now, there are few things she—or any Republican—could have said that would have been more tone-deaf and offensive than applauding the woke agenda her base is trying to combat." And it went on from there, talking about playing eeny meeny miny moe with our First Freedoms and advertising Perkins' appearance at a church in California. McDaniel just ignored him.

What happened? Republicans are still wildly against transgender rights, but on one of the issues that used to be in the top two—same-sex marriage—the party has basically conceded defeat. In top Republican circles, there is no discussion about trying to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. Up-and-coming Republican leaders, like Reps. Dan Crenshaw (TX), Young Kim (CA), and Elise Stefanik (NY), don't even want to talk about that subject. It is settled law and time to move on.

As recently as 2014, only 30% of Republicans supported same-sex marriage. Now it is 55%, The change started in 2016 with the nomination of Donald Trump. While he didn't overtly support gay rights, he also didn't bash gays in the way that many previous Republicans had. After the election, he said: "It's law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean, it's done."

One of Trump's deputy press secretaries, Judd Deere (who is gay), said: "As president, he hired and promoted LGBT Americans to the highest levels of government, including positions at the White House ..."

The next sexual battlefront is going to be transgender rights. Potential 2024 presidential candidates Nikki Haley (R) and Ron DeSantis have supported laws that require athletes to participate in sports in the gender written on their original birth certificates. One bit of evidence that this issue may have traction with many Republicans is the dismal showing of Caitlyn Jenner, who came out as transgender 6 years ago, is getting in the California recall election. She is nowhere near the top, usually polling about 2-3%, even though she is one of the best known Republicans running. Probably within a few years, however, this issue will also burn out and Republicans will need to find something else to maintain their base in a perpetual stage of outrage. (V)

Judge Grills Lawyers in Smartmatic Lawsuit

Voting-machine vendor Smartmatic has sued Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, and Sidney Powell for $2.7 billion for claiming that its machines were rigged for Joe Biden. Even if the machines were rigged for Biden, it wouldn't have mattered, since in the 2020 election, they were used only in Los Angeles County, which is heavily Democratic.

Fox is trying to get the case to be dropped, but Manhattan Supreme Court Judge David Cohen didn't seem to be buying Fox's argument during an oral hearing on Tuesday. For example, Lou Dobbs claimed on air that Smartmatic was banned in Texas, thus demonstrating that Smartmatic can't be trusted. The truth is that Smartmatic has not been banned in Texas. Cohen asked Fox' lawyer: "How is that not defamatory?" The lawyer, Paul Clement, argued that the statement was protected by the First Amendment. It is a good argument to make to a jury, most of whose members don't understand the First Amendment. It is not a good argument to make to a judge. Judges know exactly what it says.

Powell's lawyer, Howard Kleinhendler, took a different tack. He said Smartmatic lacks standing to sue Powell because she lives in Texas. That's not going to fly when the alleged defamation took place in New York. Cohen also asked the lawyer to explain Powell's statement that the company handbook described how to wipe out votes. He didn't have an answer.

Smartmatic's lawyer, Erik Connolly, told the judge that Powell's lies were all part of a deliberate plan to direct viewers to her website to make donations to her. He said: "The defamation and fundraising go hand in hand." If the trial goes forward, which seems likely given the judge's questions, then during the discovery process, Connolly is going to want to know how much Powell raised on days when she made defamatory statements versus days when she did not. She is likely to fight subpoenas for that information, but Visa, MasterCard, and AmEx are probably not going to risk disobeying the judge. If Connolly can show that whenever she claimed Smartmatic rigged its machines (which she never mentioned were used only in Los Angeles), she took in a lot of money and other days not so much, he will have established a clear motive for her lying. That's probably not going to work in her favor with a jury.

Finally, Giuliani's lawyer, Joseph Sibley, admitted that Giuliani said things about Smartmatic that were not so nice, but said they were merely "product disparagement," not "defamation."

Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems, which has also sued all of them, are independent companies. Dominion also wants $2.7 billion from the defendants. Giuliani and Powell do not have $2.7 billion, so it matters who gets first dibs on what they do have, if the companies win. Fox, in contrast, probably could pay $5.4 billion if it came to that, but it is not going to come to that. But judgments in the tens or hundreds of millions are conceivable. (V)

Mixed Polls on Florida Senate Race

A pair of polls from Florida give mixed messages on the Florida Senate race between Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and his main challenger, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). A poll by St. Pete Polls for the Florida Politics Website puts Rubio ahead of Demings 48% to 46%. The other poll, commissioned by gaming company BUSR and run by Susquehanna Polling and Research, has Rubio up 50% to 39%.

A couple of notes are in order here. First, Florida is fairly evenly balanced between Democrats and Republicans and most races are won by 1-3 points. An 11-point blowout in a state race is very rare. Second, St. Pete is a local Florida company and has experience in Florida polling. It has a B+ rating from FiveThirtyEight. Third, Susquehanna is a Pennsylvania firm that has worked for clients including Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, but also Chris Matthews and The New York Times. But fundamentally, it is a Republican firm. It also has a B+ from FiveThirtyEight. We are inclined to believe St. Pete here, simply because 11 points is an exceptionally large gap for a Florida race with two well-known candidates. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug18 Future Tense
Aug18 Proof of Concept for Fox
Aug18 Today's Rachel Maddow News...
Aug18 Abbott Is Diagnosed with COVID-19
Aug18 And So It Begins
Aug17 Afghanispin
Aug17 Send in the Clowns
Aug17 You Win Some, and You Lose Some
Aug17 Toobin Advocates No Federal Prosecutions for Trump
Aug17 Fox Definitely Has Its Candidate
Aug16 "This Is Not Saigon"
Aug16 Biden Is Pro Electric Car--and also Pro Gasoline Car
Aug16 Trump Rules the House--but Not the Senate
Aug16 Trump Got It
Aug16 One-Third of Native Americans Are Not Registered to Vote
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Aug16 Buttigieg Is an Amazingly Good Politician
Aug15 Sunday Mailbag
Aug14 Saturday Q&A
Aug13 Let the Games Begin
Aug13 The Sh*t Hits the Taliban
Aug13 SCOTUS to Students: Get Vaxxed
Aug13 Hochul Running for Reelection
Aug13 This Week in Schadenfreude
Aug13 It's a Snap Eh-lection
Aug13 Donald Kagan, 1932-2021
Aug12 The Reconciliation Bill Is Not Home Free Yet
Aug12 Judge Orders Trump's Accountants to Give Congress His Tax Returns
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Aug12 Biden Could Be the Democrats' Last Chance At Winning Back Noncollege White Voters
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Aug12 The Government Is Broken
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Aug12 Greg Abbott Is Not Ron DeSantis
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Aug11 Rep. Ron Kind to Retire
Aug11 A Government "Designed for Failure"
Aug10 The Infrastructure Two-Step
Aug10 Trump Buys Some Time on the Tax Front
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Aug10 ...Or Maybe It's Not Getting Hard at All
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