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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  DoJ Appeals
      •  Saturday Q&A
      •  Today's Senate Polls

DoJ Appeals

As expected, the Department of Justice has filed an appeal of Judge Aileen Cannon's Mar-a-Lago special master rulings.

The DoJ isn't shooting for a complete overturning of Cannon's decisions, and appears to be content to allow the special master process to play out with most of the documents taken from the presidential estate. What the government wants is for the Eleventh Circuit to exempt the 100 or so classified documents. The filing makes clear the Department's view that Cannon's rulings on that count are grossly in error, as "The markings establish on the face of the [classified] documents that they are not [Trump]'s personal property." Ipso facto, attorney-client privilege does not apply.

The DoJ filing asks for the appeals court to take action "as soon as practicable." It would not be a surprise if, at very least, the circuit issued a stay of Cannon's ruling on Monday, so as to give some time to consider the matter. Since the case is being fast-tracked, and since the legal issues here aren't especially complicated, an actual ruling could come by the end of the month. As we have noted previously, the odds are against Trump getting two of his judges on the three-judge panel, as the members will be chosen randomly from all of the circuit's judges, including the ones who have assumed senior status. And even if he does get two of his judges (or three), the odds are against them being in the bag for him, the way Cannon appears to be. Recall that on most occasions where a Trump case has gone before a Trump judge, Trump has lost.

For now, however, we wait. (Z)

Saturday Q&A

The... er, cream alternative continues to rise to the top.

Current Events

A.A. in Branchport, NY, asks: There are several things about the Mar-a-Lago documents legal maneuvering that I don't understand.

There is the issue of the judge, one of the last federal appointments made by Donald Trump. Since there is a potential conflict of interest, why has she not recused herself from Trump matters? Why has this not even been mentioned?

Hasn't she trashed her career, such as it was? Or will the conservative cabal consider her a candidate for the new conservative ruling class?

Then there is the upcoming DoJ appeal. As you've explained, Trump's odds of finding judges favorable to him are not good. Suppose that the courts uphold the DoJ appeal. Won't the MAGAt-in-Chief simply appeal to the Supreme Court, which will surely rule in his favor?

And then he skates again... right?

V & Z answer: Federal judges are left to decide for themselves whether or not a conflict of interest exists. And if they decide that one doesn't, there is little recourse. In theory, a judge could be impeached, but Congress has only tried it once, and that was two centuries ago, and the judge was not convicted.

We think it unlikely that Cannon's rulings have hurt her career. Indeed, the Federalist Society has surely taken note that she will stand on her head to produce the desired outcome, regardless of the law. We suspect she's moved way up the list of "judges who should be suggested for a promotion the next time a Republican is in the White House."

And yes, if the Eleventh Circuit rules against Trump, he probably will appeal to the Supreme Court. However, the Supremes might not take the case. And even if they do, they probably won't rule in Trump's favor. Recall that they have generally gone against him in the past, including in every single election-related case they heard.

Finally, note that the current dispute is related solely to the handling of documents. Even if Trump wins, and wins, and wins again, all it will do is slow down the DoJ's investigation. It won't end the overall case.

D.E. in Lancaster, PA, asks: How is Donald Trump's threat that if he is indicted that bad things will happen to this country comment not considered witness intimidation, witness tampering and/or obstruction of justice? Especially given his history of his statements leading to violence.

Also do you think his followers would follow through? Storming the Capitol, which in their entitled minds they consider their property, is one thing but storming a prison is another altogether. Again considering his history and his threats, one would have to assume that they would remand him to a jail cell without bail to await his trial in order to keep him from inciting a mob. Additionally, a lot of his hardcore cult followers are either already in prison due to January 6 insurrection and/or would be under surveillance and court orders not to participate in any Trump rallies. And I dare say the government won't be caught giving him the benefit of the doubt again.

V & Z answer: Trump is arguably guilty of all of those things. However, he's a near-genius when it comes to approaching the line without crossing it. Further, as we've suggested multiple times, we think the feds (and the state-level) authorities will spend their time and energy on the more easily proven offenses. That said, if Trump is ever prosecuted in relation to the events of 1/6, his incitement to rebellion this week could come up once or twice.

And we think that anything approaching 1/6 is unlikely, if and when Trump is arrested or imprisoned. That required a lot of the same type of people in the same place, egged on by the former president and others. The same circumstances won't exist if he's popped. There may be some isolated incidents of violence, but nothing large-scale.

S.C-M. in Scottsdale, AZ, asks: Given the really bad rulings coming from Aileen Cannon, I assume all of this will be appealed quickly. In the meantime can the DoJ simply not provide the special master with the classified material, indicating it would severely compromise national security and put lives at risk? How would Cannon even enforce her order?

I hope the Eleventh Circuit is not in the bag for Trump, otherwise this could get really messy. Talk about a constitutional crisis in the making.

V & Z answer: The Department of Justice is not in the habit of openly defying the courts, as that would serve to indirectly undermine its own authority. However, there is some amount of leeway, time-wise, when it comes to surrendering the documents to the special master. Presumably, AG Merrick Garland & Co. will drag their feet for as long as possible in hopes that a ruling from the Eleventh Circuit will render the matter moot.

B.Y. in Salem, OR , asks: Based on the actions I have seen from those who were supposedly reputable people until Trump entered their world, why on earth would the DoJ agree to one of the special masters on Trump's list? There is no way Trump does not have kompromat on Judge Raymond Dearie, one of the individuals that Trump put forth as acceptable and the DoJ has agreed to. Never mind the precedent it sets, having the target of a FBI search choosing the person who decides the fate of what was found.

V & Z answer: If you were to visit a Native American casino in California, you would not be able to play craps, because games of chance involving dice are illegal in the state. However, you would be able to play California Craps. That game has all the same bets as the craps you might play in Las Vegas, but instead of dice, a pair of random shufflers packed with cards ace through six spit out cards. If the shufflers fire off a four and a three, then that's seven and you've just crapped out. If they fire off a six and a six, and you've made the (very foolish) bet that the roll will be two sixes, then you win your 30-to-1 payoff.

Could California try to crack down on these obvious workarounds? Perhaps. Could the casinos go to court and argue that they should be allowed to use dice for their craps games, as opposed to having to use cards? Perhaps. But neither side chooses to push their luck, because the benefits of winning are not as great as the costs of losing.

In the case of Dearie, we think it is very, very unlikely that he's been compromised by the Trumpers. Maybe, but we doubt it. We suspect that Trump's new lead attorney, Chris Kise, understands that the pool of potential special masters is very small, and that if their side did not come up with some reasonable candidates, they might be shut out of the selection process altogether. After all, it's already somewhat unusual that they have input at all. Meanwhile, we suspect that the DoJ also understands that the pool of potential special masters is very small, and that if it refused to accept one of Trump's proposed masters, that would be playing into his hands by allowing for additional days or weeks of foot-dragging. The government undoubtedly knows Dearie very well, as he has been a federal judge for decades. And since he's a reasonable pick, they jumped on that option.

D.M. in Granite Bay, CA, asks: Can you clarify something for me? I believe that you have mentioned that when the Feds searched TFG's property, they could find items other that what they were specifically looking for, and those items could lead to other investigations/charges. My son tells me that in his AP Government class, they discussed that such an occurrence would be a violation of the Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment, since there would have been no probable cause to search for those other items. Please help me, for once, win an argument with my teenage son.

V & Z answer: Let us introduce you to a legal concept known, colloquially, as the sugar bowl. It comes from a maxim that is often expressed something like this: "If you are looking for stolen televisions, you cannot look in sugar bowls."

Put another way, if you're searching someone's residence or business, you can't go on fishing expeditions. However, implicit in the concept is that the authorities can make use of evidence encountered in the course of a legal search, even if the evidence is not related to the crime(s) specified by their warrant. So, if the feds are searching for stolen TVs, and they find a stolen diamond ring in a sugar bowl, they can't do anything with that because they shouldn't have been looking in the sugar bowl. But if the ring is taped to a TV screen, or is sitting on the dresser immediately underneath the TV, or had fallen behind the TV, then it is fair game and is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

We should probably note that the doctrine that "the authorities can't just look anywhere" has a memorable name, namely the sugar bowl, but the doctrine that "the authorities can seize evidence unexpectedly uncovered in the course of executing a warrant" also has a name, it's just less memorable. It's called the plain view doctrine (or clear view doctrine, or plain sight rule).

M.G.F. im Minneapolis, MN, asks: In light of Donald Trump's Save America PAC paying for his lawyer I have to ask—are there no laws against self dealing for PACs? Certainly in the nonprofit world, it would be illegal for an officer to direct the organization to pay for the officer's legal defense in a matter unrelated to their work for the organization.

V & Z answer: The laws governing PACs are pretty fuzzy, in sizable part because the PACs are considered expressions of the First Amendment right to free speech. It is unquestionably illegal for a candidate to use his or her PAC's money to fund their own political campaigns, but that's not what's happening here. It is also unquestionably illegal to collect funds in service of one purpose and then use them for something entirely different, as that would be fraud. For example, the Save the Dolphins PAC can't use its money to promote the repeal of gun laws. But Trump has been intentionally vague as to exactly what his PAC donors are paying for. Further, anyone who claims they had no idea their money might go to covering his legal bills wasn't paying much attention.

All of that said, the DoJ is currently looking into the possibility that Trump's PAC broke the law.

J.K. in Auckland, New Zealand, asks: While I'm aware that you are academics and not legal experts, but the prospects of a Trump criminal trial scares me. Partly because I doubt that an impartial jury could be empaneled and that anything short of an acquittal would be seen as proof that the DoJ is corrupt.

I wonder then if an alternative could be found. One that allows Trump to avoid prosecution, but also bars him from holding public office. Could not the DoJ present Trump with a deal, either as part of a plea agreement or diversion that in exchange for avoiding prosecution/jail? He agrees not to hold public office?

V & Z answer: Our guess, and we are sure our lawyer-readers (lawyeaders?) will write in if we are in error, is that it would be very hard to concoct an agreement of this sort that would be enforceable if Trump decided to violate it. The only idea we have, if this is what the DoJ wanted to do, would be to have him sign a document affirming that he engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States. Then, if he tried to run, the Department could get that paper out and point out that Trump was ineligible for office under the terms of a Fourteenth Amendment.

M.R. in Concord, MA, asks: Looking at the Russian retreat in the news today, I had a dark premonition that Vladimir Putin would decide the best way for Russia to achieve its goals and save face would be (horrifically) to use a nuclear weapon on Ukraine.

What should other nations do if this happens? Ukraine cannot retaliate in kind, and if another nation used a nuclear weapon on Russia it would retaliate against them.

V & Z answer: To start, it's clear that Putin's grip on power is growing weaker. If he launched a nuke, inviting the consequences that entails, he might well be pushed out of office by his own people, through means either legal or extralegal.

As to the international response, it would be... bad for Russia. At very least, NATO would start hitting Russia with bombs and drone attacks. More likely is that a NATO coalition would invade Russia; at that point, Putin would have shown himself to be an unacceptable danger to the world, and the leaders of the NATO nations would have the political cover for doing what's needed to force a Russian surrender, as well as a duty to do so. This would also be the sort of situation that ends with the losing nation (Russia) occupied, perhaps long-term, and also with things like war crimes tribunals. Putin and his cronies are very unlikely to risk it.


D.K. in Iowa City, IA, asks: I know you have been asked this before. Do you have any ideas about who would be a good Democratic presidential candidate in 2024? Governor, senator, comedian, public figure? I have looked and can't even guess.

V & Z answer: This question makes the assumption that Joe Biden doesn't run again, and that Kamala Harris doesn't, either (or runs, but doesn't get the nomination).

At this still-early date, we think that the Democrats' strongest alternatives are largely the folks who are currently in swing-state Senate races. Assuming they win their elections this November, Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Val Demings (D-FL) and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA) are all intriguing candidates. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) is also making a strong play right now.

A.L. in Highland Park, NJ, asks: Now that you have started the "Today's Polls" feature at the tail end of your posts, I must ask: How much do you trust these polls? I do not mean the statistical uncertainty (I know how to take the square root) but how likely is it that any of these polls is actually sampling the people they should be? Do you have any insight into the likely voter models various pollsters use, and if they are based in reality? How likely is it that all the pollsters are missing a large chunk of hardcore Trump supporters who have basically disconnected from participation in dialog like polling, and candidates like Herschel Walker, Ron Johnson, and Mehmet Oz are sitting on a comfortable cushion of support? Conversely, how likely is it that pollsters are missing voters activated by the Dobbs decision, by attacks on LGBT+ issues, not to mention the various Trump and Trump-adjacent scandals including possible treason?

To make it quantitative: Is it possible that all the polls are systematically off by 2%-3% off in either direction? How about 5%?

V & Z answer: To start with your last question, 2%-3% off is certainly possible. So is 5%, but considerably less so.

As to your broader concerns, we will point out four things. First, every election cycle has its challenges and unique elements, and even if the pollsters nail the current one, that's no guarantee that they'll nail the next one. Similarly, if they blow one, that's no guarantee that they'll blow the next one. Second, the recent "big" polling misses came in years where Donald Trump was actually on the ballot, and he's not this year. Third, even when there were big misses, they generally weren't systematic, they were limited to particular races and/or regions (e.g., the Midwest). Fourth, and finally, we average polls in an effort to cancel out the possible errors made by any one pollster. This has generally worked out pretty well, including in 2016 and 2020.

That said, if a substantial number of Republicans refused to be polled and the pollsters miss this and don't correct for it, yes, they could be statistcally off.

D.P. in Oakland, CA, asks: There's been a lot of talk over the past 6 years of how Trump voters have been undercounted by pollsters because they don't respond truthfully. Recently there's been some speculation that women and younger voters may be undercounted this year.

Can you remind what the polling was prior to the Raphael Warnock/Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) runoffs? It seems to me that it was a huge surprise when they both won. If so, are the conditions this year similar, such that the edge Herschel Walker (R)/Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) have in some polls may be illusory.

V & Z answer: The polling before the Warnock/Ossoff runoff was nearly unanimous in predicting a nail-biter. Here is our post from the day of the election. We had three polls on that day; one had Warnock and Ossoff both leading by four points, one had both men trailing by one point, and one had both races as a tie.

B.O. in Malvern, PA, asks: One question I have and I can't seem to find a good answer on Google: What exactly were the policies that Donald Trump implemented that have some Republicans telling me "I like what he was doing, if only he would shut his mouth!' What exactly was he doing other than causing chaos, destroying the environment, and giving tax breaks for the rich? Is there something I'm missing that was great for the country? I'm not asking as a joke: I'm exactly trying hard to understand what people see/saw? that was so great in terms of policy.

V & Z answer: To start, a lot of Republican voters really, really like tax breaks for the well-to-do. Further, what you call "destroying the environment," they call "deregulation" and/or "job creation." Beyond that, many Republicans are thrilled about the judges that Trump appointed.

It is also instructive, we think, that many folks are a little vague on what they like about the former president. We interpret that to mean that they approve of his "owning the libs," or his harsh border policies, or his dog-bullhorn racism, but they don't care to admit it openly.

R.B. in Portland, OR, asks: In your answer to J.M. in Laguna Beach, you wrote: "The only ways in which the Republican Party, and the country in general, will be purged of Trump, we think, is if he dies or if he goes to prison. And even the latter case is no guarantee."

This got me thinking of a related question I haven't seen answered yet, and not even discussed. You can find a lot written about whether Trump will run again in 2024, and what he might plan to do if he were elected to a second term. But I've seen nothing about what is likely to happen with his influence were he to run again and lose, especially if it were a major loss. Do you think some major portion of the donors, leaders, and Republican base would move on?

V & Z answer: Trump's influence is clearly not going to collapse overnight. There have been many occasions where it would have happened, if it was going to, and it didn't. That means it will ebb and flow over time, until it ebbs all the way to zero. If Trump's candidates take a beating this year, his power will ebb some. And it will ebb some more if he gets indicted. And it will ebb even further if he loses the 2024 election, or is unable to secure the nomination.

All of this said, there are still True Believers out there who wish David Duke would run for president again. Or Sarah Palin. Or Hillary Clinton. Or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

D.R. in Yellow Springs, OH, asks: In reference to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and his proposed federal abortion law, you wrote that "there's no chance that he ever accidentally gets someone pregnant." Presumably, this is a reference to him being gay. Other than the fact that he's a 67-year-old bachelor, is there any evidence that Graham really is gay?

Whenever I've asked people how they know he's gay, I get an answer along the lines of, "Everybody knows that. It's the worst-kept secret in Washington." But I've never heard anyone reply with any actual evidence, such as a longtime male companion or an event like Larry Craig's 2007 arrest in the Minneapolis airport.

Is there any evidence of Graham being gay at all, or is this just something "everyone knows"?

V & Z answer: There have been allegations by various men, such as porn star Sean Harding, that they were procured by Graham, or they know people who were procured by Graham. That's not proof, of course, but it does mean that the rumors do have some basis beyond just guessing.

Graham, for his part, says he is a "confirmed bachelor" who does not pursue romantic relationships anymore. That used to be code for "gay," of course (Liberace, Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, Tony Perkins and Jim Nabors were all "confirmed bachelors"). In any event, whether Graham is having gay sex (per the rumors), or he's having no sex (per his own characterization), it means no pregnant women.


R.L. in Alameda, CA, asks: Here is a question of much less consequence than whether or not TFG belongs in jail and if our democracy is worth saving. It is something that has long bugged and befuddled me.

Why are Pennsylvania and Virginia commonwealths rather than states? What's the difference? Louisiana has parishes. Alaska has boroughs. All other states (I think) have counties. Again, why the different names for basically the same thing? Is there a difference between a county, parish and borough? Curious minds want to know.

V & Z answer: Kentucky and Massachusetts are commonwealths, as well. And when it comes to U.S. states, the term is just pleasant verbiage adopted centuries ago to reaffirm a commitment to democracy and equality. The term has no legal meaning in that context. When it comes to territories, by contrast, it does means something, namely that they are self-governing. Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands are both commonwealths.

As to parishes, that term comes from the fact that Louisiana was once a French and a Spanish possession, and that those nations used "parish" (well, technically paroisses and parroquias, respectively) for that particular political subdivision. This reflects the fact that much political power in those nations flowed through, and from, the Catholic church. There is no real distinction between a parish and a county, other than that the titles of the executive officers are sometimes different. Oh, and the word "county" reflects the fact that power in England flowed through, and from, the nobility. A county was, originally, an area ruled by a count or countess.

As to boroughs, Alaskans consciously chose that term because they knew that they would have a number of "counties" that were both very large and very sparsely populated. So, they did not wish to be constrained by the rules and laws that govern counties—for example, that there has to be a sheriff and a county court in each one. It doesn't make much sense to have all of the usual county-level apparatus in, say, Yakutat City and Borough, which has a population of only 604.

A.S. in Bellevue, WA, asks: Can you share some of the history of how states came to award all their electoral votes to presidential winner in state instead of allocating them proportionately based on the candidates based on percentage of vote they got? I can see why the winner would like "winner take all," but over time, seems like proportionate allocation might be better for a party that isn't confident that it would always win (plus, it's obviously fairer for the electorate, but I know that never stands in the way of the party in power).

V & Z answer: First, there have been numerous states that have experimented with different sorts of EV apportionment schemes. In fact, there are almost always one or two that are using something different at any given time (currently, Maine and Nebraska). However, these states invariably discover that splitting up their EVs is an invitation to be ignored by presidential candidates.

More importantly, the people who make these decisions—usually, state legislatures—are concerned about their party's power right now, not in some undefined future circumstance. Can you imagine deep blue California switching to a proportional system right now, and basically gifting the Republicans 20 EVs because one day the Republicans might be in control again? Can you imagine deep red Texas doing so in the other direction? We can't, either.

B.F. in Spokane, WA, asks: My understanding is that it is tradition (and not law) that limits the Supreme Court to nine justices. Therefore, couldn't Joe Biden simply start nominating ( and a Democratic Senate) approve additional justices? This would avoid the filibuster problem and allow a smaller majority to expand the court.

V & Z answer: Sorry, but your understanding is incorrect. Congress determines the size of the Supreme Court, and the last time the legislature tweaked the number of justices, in the Judiciary Act of 1869, they set it at nine.


F.S. in Cologne, Germany, asks: You have written that Ulysses S. Grant was very unpopular in the Southern states. And yet, he won electoral votes in several of them. For example, he won Alabama and South Carolina twice (and Black people couldn't vote in 1868).

V & Z answer: It is true that the Fifteenth Amendment was not adopted until 1870. However, under the Reconstruction Acts, passed in 1867 and 1868, Black voters were granted the franchise in reconstructed states. Meanwhile, most white voters were temporarily disenfranchised.

If that were not enough, Grant's opponent in 1872, Horace Greeley, was way more liberal than he, and had used the pages of his popular newspaper to push for vigorous prosecution of the Civil War.

R.H.F. in Webster, NY, asks: The late Queen Elizabeth II's reign spanned 14 U.S. presidents. She met all but one of those 14, Lyndon B. Johnson. Do you know why these two never met in person? Was it logistics, the Cold War, or the Vietnam War?

V & Z answer: Neither the Queen nor LBJ ever explained why they never crossed paths. To the extent that there was an official, or at least semi-official, explanation, it's that LBJ was busy with the Vietnam War and the Queen was pregnant with Prince Edward (born in March 1964).

A more probable explanation is that LBJ didn't much care for highfalutin' elitists, and the Queen didn't much care for vulgar hicks.

P.V. in Kailua, HI, asks: In your comments about Ken Starr, I was surprised to see you include Frank Luntz among known miscreants such as Gingrich, Rove, Atwater, and Limbaugh. I had always had the impression that Luntz, though personally holding right-wing beliefs, was a relatively straight-shooting pollster. Given that political polling is your specialty, I am willing to accept that I am mistaken but now I am curious to hear your take on Luntz.

V & Z answer: Luntz, as far as we know, is not dishonest. Neither is Rove, for that matter. But both men chose to apply their powers in very particular ways. Luntz was essentially Gingrich's right-hand man for several years, and in particular helped the former speaker craft his messaging. Perhaps most famously, Luntz penned a memo, widely circulated among Republican politicians and pundits, and entitled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control." It encouraged right-leaning folks to use the following words and phrases whenever talking about Democrats:

decay, failure (fail), collapse(ing), deeper, crisis, destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, unionized bureaucracy, "compassion" is not enough, betray, consequences, limit(s), shallow, traitors, sensationalists, endanger, coercion, hypocrisy, radical, threaten, devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive attitude, destructive, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, insecure, anti-(issue), pessimistic, excuses, intolerant, stagnation, welfare, corrupt, selfish, insensitive, status quo, mandate(s) taxes, spend (ing), shame, disgrace, bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, abuse of power, machine, bosses, obsolete, criminal rights, red tape, and patronage

If you're looking for people who played an outsized role in poisoning American political discourse, Frank Luntz deserves a spot on the list.

D.L. in Springfield, IL, asks: In your answer to S.W. of New York City, you wrote that for Trump to sit for his presidential portrait would be tantamount to admitting he won't be president again.

This made me wonder, does Grover Cleveland have two portraits, since his non-consecutive terms are counted separately? If he has only one, after which of his terms was it painted?

V & Z answer: He has only one, and it was painted in 1891, between his two terms. This despite the fact that Cleveland made no secret, from the day he left the White House, that he intended to return.

S.S. in Eaglewood, FL, asks: Where are presidential portraits usually placed in the White House? Who gets to choose the location? Can the President just put TFG in the basement?

V & Z answer: Customarily, portraits of recent presidents are put in particularly prominent places. However, the White House is the residence of the president, and the president gets to do pretty much whatever he wants with his residence. It will not surprise you to learn, we imagine, that Trump trampled on custom, presumably out of personal pique. When he took office, and for the first few months of his term, the portraits of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were hung right inside the entrance of the White House. However, they were then banished to an obscure, little-used room, and were replaced by William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Apparently, McKinley and TR were not chosen because Trump has a particular affinity for those two, but because it was an opportunity to "own the libs." The former president was aware that some libs dislike the name Mount McKinley and that others dislike the Roosevelt statue that used to be in front of The American Museum of Natural History.

If the Trump portrait is hung in the Biden White House, then Biden could indeed put it in the basement or the bathroom or anywhere else. However, if Biden was going to play that game, we suspect he would be a little more passive-aggressive about it, so that Fox couldn't make the decision the subject of a week-long investigation. For example, Biden might hang the portrait in the White House dining room, counting on reporters to notice that it was covering the spot where Trump threw his lunch plate at the wall, resulting in the ketchup flying onto the wall and staining it.


J.L. in Los Angeles, CA, asks: I was curious to hear (Z)'s thoughts about this story, wherein Texas is removing books about the Queen because she's dead and they are no longer accurate.

It doesn't seem right to me. Should books written while Abraham Lincoln or FDR or Ronald Reagan were still alive also be taken out of circulation simply because those men are no longer alive? How fast should libraries move to update their resources after a major world event? I mean, I understand not wanting to keep an encyclopedia that lists the Soviet Union as a current world power or includes Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia on the map. But this story just seemed a little... well... odd.

V & Z answer: When it comes to Texas and books, it's not surprising that some people's hackles are up, since the Lone Star State has long ago ceded the benefit of the doubt. However, children's books tend to be very short, simple, and laser-focused on their subjects. And child readers tend to be less than clear that not everything in a book may be true anymore. If children's librarians feel that the inaccurate books create more problems than they are worth, then (Z) thinks that is a reasonable judgment that they are in a position to make.

S.S-L in Norman, OK, asks: Should we be pronouncing attorneytators as atturni-taters or atturn-i-tay-tors? I'm not sure if we're being compared to fried starch or homicidal robots...

V & Z answer: If we were attorneys, as you are, we would certainly adopt the usage that brings to mind angry robots as opposed to the usage that brings to mind... breakfast.

Today's Senate Polls

Hard to imagine why Don Bolduc suddenly decided the 2020 election wasn't stolen, after all. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
New Hampshire Maggie Hassan* 51% Don Bolduc 40% Sep 14 Sep 15 Emerson Coll.
Ohio Tim Ryan 40% J.D. Vance 44% Sep 12 Sep 13 Emerson Coll.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Sep16 One, Two, Three Strikes--You're Out!
Sep16 Cannon Rules in Trump's Favor, Again
Sep16 Evel DeSantis Unveils His Latest Stunt
Sep16 F That
Sep16 Bolduc Discovers 2020 Election Wasn't Stolen
Sep16 This Week in Schadenfreude: Phony Ballots, Real Criminal Charges
Sep16 This Week in Freudenfreunde: Her Majesty's a Pretty Nice Girl
Sep16 Today's Senate Polls
Sep15 Trump Won Some and Lost Some
Sep15 Bolduc Wins in New Hampshire
Sep15 GOP Pollster Warns Republicans
Sep15 Five Takeaways from the Primaries
Sep15 Politico Predicts Every Congressional Race
Sep15 DoJ Is Now Looking at All the Pieces
Sep15 Rubio Cosponsors Graham's Abortion Bill
Sep15 No, Actually, It Is NOT the Economy, Stupid
Sep15 Today's Senate Polls
Sep14 New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware Bring up the Rear
Sep14 Graham Uncorks an Abortion Curveball
Sep14 Judge, DoJ Both Push Back Against Trump
Sep14 The News on Inflation Is... Good?
Sep14 Warnock, Walker to Debate October 14
Sep14 Stefanik Plans to Hang Around
Sep14 Ken Starr, 1946-2022
Sep14 Today's Senate Polls
Sep13 A Busy Day on the Trump Legal Front
Sep13 Without the Trump Gravy Train, The Washington Post Is Hurting
Sep13 House Republican Conference Set to Have a Majority... of Election Deniers
Sep13 Cohn Rains on Democrats' Parade
Sep13 More Republicans Backtracking on Abortion
Sep13 Not Open to Debate
Sep13 Today's Senate Polls
Sep12 Biden Talks about Democracy in 9/11 Speech
Sep12 The Last Round of Primaries Before Election Day Is Tomorrow
Sep12 Russian Forces in Northern Ukraine Are in Full Retreat
Sep12 Same-Sex Marriage Bill Might Yet Pass Congress
Sep12 Truth Social Is a Gigantic Failure
Sep12 Republicans Are Worried about Budd
Sep12 New York Democrats Are Worried about Everything
Sep12 Two Models Now Favor the Democrats to Hold the Senate
Sep12 Cruz Told the Truth
Sep12 Michigan Is the New Kansas
Sep12 Is CNN Moving to the Right?
Sep12 The Lincoln Project Is Still Alive
Sep11 Sunday Mailbag
Sep10 Saturday Q&A
Sep10 Today's Senate Polls
Sep09 The Queen Is Dead; Long Live the King
Sep09 Department of Justice Appeals Special Master Ruling
Sep09 Bannon's Get Out of Jail Free Card Goes Counterfeit