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Today's Republican Party, Part I: Discovering the "F" and "U" in "T-E-N-N-E-S-S-E-E"

There was a lot of news on Monday. And the thread that runs through most of it, as you can see from the headlines, is a political party that is in a very... special place, let's say. Honestly, if you tried to write a screenplay that included most of today's items, you wouldn't be able to sell it because it would seem totally implausible. And yet...

Let's start out in Tennessee, where the state legislature has dominated headlines for days thanks to the decision to eject two Black Democratic members for daring to, you know, say stuff. When that news first broke, we were willing to concede that violating the rules of the state House chamber, and undermining the decorum therein, was potentially worthy of a rebuke. Not expulsion, mind you, but a slap on the wrist, which is the general penalty for these things. Since then, it has come out that the Republicans in the Tennessee state House are in the habit of cutting off the microphone whenever Democrats speak. And that's when Democrats are even allowed the privilege of the floor; sometimes even that is not extended. Under those circumstances, no wonder the three Democratic members (the two ejectees, plus the one near-ejectee) brought a megaphone with them to work. We probably would have done the same thing.

In any case, when this story first broke, we took a look at the Tennessee state Constitution and noted that it doesn't really go into a lot of specifics about what happens next when a member is expelled. Our presumption was that, for the county governments tasked with filling the two vacancies, the following options were on the table:

  1. Reappoint the members (Justin Jones and Justin Pearson) to their seats
  2. If that's not allowed, reappoint each of them to the other's seat
  3. If that's not allowed, appoint a placeholder, and then reelect them ASAP

We couldn't find anything that seemed to take #1 off the table, but we're hardly experts on Tennessee law, and we found it at least little bit hard to believe that Tennessee Republicans would move forward with the expulsions if it was so easy to reverse them.

It would seem that we gave the Tennessee GOPers too much credit, because Jones' replacement has already been chosen, and it is... Justin Jones. He was sworn back in and retook his seat without having missed a single minute of the legislature being in session. It is expected that Pearson will be reappointed to his seat tomorrow, meaning he will miss a grand total of 2 days of work.

Expelling these two men was already sleazy and undemocratic, but now we can add "stupid" to the list, too. Has the Tennessee Republican Party gained anything through this nonsense? We have no doubt that some voters enjoyed seeing a couple of "uppity Negroes" (to use Jones' phrase) put in their places. But we have a sneaking suspicion that those folks were already voting Republican. And now, the Republicans in the state House are left with two choices: (1) take their medicine and look like undemocratic fools, or (2) expel the Justins again, and get into a very-ugly-for-the-GOP pi**ing contest. Either way, it sure looks like the red team loses. Meanwhile, they've given the blue team a huge PR hammer to wield, one that has "fascist" carved in it in big, block letters. Oh, and they've made rock stars (at least temporarily) out of Jones and Pearson.

Did Republican leadership in the Tennessee state House even stop for 5 seconds to think this through? Did they not understand the rules, and the great likelihood that the Justins would both be back? Again, we don't even know the law in the Volunteer State, and yet it was entirely obvious to us they'd be back; the only surprise was how quickly it happened. It's a real head-scratcher. (Z)

Today's Republican Party, Part II: Broadway-Bound

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has not had a lot of success with his new committee that is designed to somehow undermine the Select Committee on 1/6, and to somehow prove that Joe Biden and/or [FILL IN NAME OF DEMOCRAT HERE] are much more shady than Donald Trump ever was. This may have something to do with one small thing that the 1/6 Committee had that Jordan does not: compelling evidence.

In view of this, the Representative has decided to take the show on the road. Keep in mind that while Jordan's evergreen bugaboos are Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Hunter Biden's laptop, Hunter Biden's di** pics, etc., he is willing to be flexible and to shift focus to other bugaboos for short periods of time. And so, he is currently focused on Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. Bragg may not be evergreen, the way the Bidens are, but he IS ever Black, and hammering on him has gotta make some elements of the base happy. Anyhow, in order to suck up some oxygen and to get some headlines, Jordan is going to hold "field hearings" next week.

We have to be honest; we know a fair bit about civics and about how Congress works, but even we didn't know field hearings were a thing. It would seem that Jordan has arranged to borrow some space in the federal building that is around the corner from Bragg's offices in Manhattan. And the plan is to hear testimony from "victims" of Bragg's allegedly "radical pro-crime" policies.

What an unbelievable waste of time and federal money this is. Jordan is so clearly operating in bad faith, as he usually does, that it's simply not worth paying attention to whatever he comes up with. We are not, in general, believers that government officials have the power to dramatically increase/decrease crime, no matter how incompetent/competent they are. But even if Jordan comes up with something that, in other circumstances, might be compelling, you just have to assume it's a lie or a misrepresentation when it comes from him. He's long ago lost the benefit of the doubt.

Meanwhile, because the hearing is just going to be a propaganda-fest, the media isn't going to pay it much attention. Certainly, there won't be live coverage the way there was with the 1/6 hearings. Sure, the Foxes and Newsmaxes of the world will give it some coverage, but the people who take their cues from those sites already believe Bragg is Satan's representative on Earth. Meanwhile, this helps the rest of us to see that Jordan has been on the job for not much more than 2 months, and he's already getting desperate. This does not bode well for his chances of coming up with some actual Democratic dirty laundry that he can get mileage out of airing. (Z)

Today's Republican Party, Part III: Bomb Mexico!

We've already warned you that today's posting is heavy on Republican kookiness. That is just how it runs sometimes. We wish it wasn't that way, but we don't get to choose the times we live in. Anyhow, of all the items in store for today, this one might well be the kookiest of all. So, hold on to your hats.

As it turns out, Donald Trump's border wall did absolutely nothing to help with the nation's fentanyl crisis. There are two possible explanations for this. The first is that he didn't actually build the border wall, despite his many promises to do so. The second is that the fentanyl that comes from Mexico is usually smuggled through ports, and not across land, so even the Great Wall of China wouldn't do much to stop the flow of the drugs. Feel free to choose whichever of these explanations you like best.

It would seem that, having noticed the ongoing flow of fentanyl, and having concluded that voters probably aren't going to buy "elect a Republican president and we'll build a wall" again, many Republicans are pondering a very different approach, namely sending U.S. planes to bomb Mexico.

The general idea these Republicans—among them Donald Trump, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), and several others—have is that the Mexican drug cartels are like ISIS. And so, the only way to rein them in is through use of extreme amounts of deadly force. Bombing runs are just one idea; another is to invade Mexico with special forces. Inasmuch as cartels do not exactly put up giant flags saying "Guadalajara Cartel HQ," it is unclear how the U.S. will know exactly where to bomb so as to avoid killing innocent civilians. Also, it is extremely unlikely that the Mexican government would sign off on this scheme, although some Republicans (most obviously Cotton) say that it really doesn't matter if the U.S. gets permission from Mexico or not.

Again, many of today's items make our heads spin, but this one in particular... wow. Staging a military invasion of a neighbor and an ally, very likely without their permission? Is it not obvious how problematic that is? And how it's not going to do a damn thing besides cause the cartels to become more violent, while also driving an even greater number of refugees to seek asylum in the U.S.? Let's put it this way: John Bolton, who is so hawkish he eats small rodents for breakfast, thinks it's a bad idea.

We would certainly hope that cooler heads would prevail should a Republican take the White House and then bring this plan up for discussion. But given how openly and enthusiastically some members of the Party are already talking about the scheme, can we really be sure? In particular, doesn't this seem like something Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) would consider doing if he gained power, just in search of some positive right-wing press? (Z)

Today's Republican Party, Part IV: Yes Sir, Mr. Carlson

As long as we are on the subject of Republican governors who will do anything for a little attention from the right-leaning media, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) is back in the news with a really icky story.

At the center of this particular drama is Sgt. Daniel Perry, who spent much time and energy fantasizing about and bragging about the possibility of killing members of Black Lives Matter. In the summer of 2020 (i.e., shortly after the murder of George Floyd), there was a BLM protest in Austin, TX, near Perry's residence. He got into his car, hightailed it to Austin, and then drove into a crowd of protesters. When Perry was challenged by a gun-wielding Air Force veteran named Garrett Foster, Perry rolled down his window and shot Foster five times at point-blank range. Foster died, of course.

When he turned himself into police, and again at his trial, Perry claimed self-defense. Somewhat dubious for a person who made a point of insinuating themselves into the situation that led to the killing, though of course it worked for Kyle Rittenhouse. Perry's problem is that his pre-murder bragging was done using mediums (like text messages) that leave a paper trail (well, metaphorically). And part of his bragging was his claim that not only would he be able to kill a BLM protester, he would get away with it by claiming self-defense. It took the jury 16 hours, but they returned a verdict of murder in the first degree. That's a capital offense in Texas, of course.

Guess who was not pleased that a white man was convicted of killing a BLM protester? Fox entertainer Tucker Carlson, who isn't even trying to hide his white supremacist views anymore. Within 2 hours of the verdict, which was delivered last Friday, Carlson was on the air demanding "justice" for Perry. This turned up the heat on Abbott, who very clearly takes his orders from Fox's primetime lineup.

In Texas, governors do not have the power to pardon someone all by themselves. They have to ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for a review, and then if the Board recommends clemency, the governor can give the thumbs up. Abbott has already ordered such a review, and has insisted it be expedited. The Board knows full well what result the Governor wants, and if he gets it, he's already said he will overturn the jury's verdict and free Perry from prison. It's one thing to review a case if, say, new evidence has come to light. It's another thing to review a case because Tucker Carlson told you that you better do so if you know what's good for you.

Ultimately, the pecking order of the modern Republican Party could not be clearer. Every GOP officeholder is terrified of Carlson, and what he might do to them if they displease him. Carlson, for his part, is terrified of Donald Trump. And Trump is terrified of Alvin Bragg, Fulton County DA Fani Willis and special counsel Jack Smith. Very strange times, indeed. (Z)

Today's Republican Party, Part V: Trump Throws a Hail Mary

Speaking of Donald Trump, and his terror/desperation, here's an item that is surely the least surprising of the day. As we have noted, special counsel Jack Smith has kindly invited former VP Mike Pence to drop by for a chat with a grand jury. Pence fought back, but only halfheartedly, and agreed to show up after losing a court challenge. Had Pence kept pressing the matter, he would have lost several more times, but at least he would have dragged it out and made it look like he was "fighting the good fight." The problem is that he doesn't particularly want to fight the good fight, either because he'd love to cut Donald Trump off at the knees, or because he's tired of paying lawyers, or both.

Although Pence is apparently OK with surrendering, that's not OK with Trump. And so, the former president has filed an appeal of the order commanding Pence to testify. Trump's argument here is one of his favorites, namely executive privilege, which he deploys as if it were a skeleton key, able to defeat all obstacles.

Of course, executive privilege isn't actually a skeleton key. In fact, it hasn't ever worked for Trump since he ceased to be president. Or, to put that another way, it hasn't worked since Trump ceased to be chief executive, and so ceased to have the privileges that come with that office. Has he fooled himself into believing that it will work this time, the way he fooled himself that at least one of his election-challenge cases would hit pay dirt? Or is he hoping to get before a very friendly judge, like Neomi Rao? Or is he just trying to buy time, in the hopes that he can drag this out until campaign season heats up in 2024, and it becomes much harder for the DoJ to go after him? Your guess is as good as ours, but this certainly speaks to high-level dysfunction in the GOP, and so fits with the overall theme of the day. (Z)

Today's Republican Party, Part VI: Nancy Mace Suggests Everyone Just Ignore Matthew Kacsmaryk

Many of the items above should disturb pretty much everyone. But here's one that should be disturbing to Republicans, particularly those members of the party who are hoping for a red wave (or even a red trickle) in 2024.

Since Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk effectively outlawed mifepristone by fiat last Friday, there has been much outrage on the Democratic side of the aisle. We'll have more on this tomorrow, but for now it's enough to say it was a deeply problematic decision for the Judge to make, since he substituted his extremely non-expert scientific opinion in place of the opinions of a gaggle of FDA scientists, not to mention more than 20 years of real-world experience.

In view of Kacsmaryk's presumption, many Democratic officeholders have called on the Biden administration to ignore the Judge's ruling. After all, it's not only problematic, it's also at odds with the decision announced on the same day by Washington judge Thomas Rice. And now, a sitting Republican members of the House has joined that chorus. It's Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who sat for an interview with CNN and expressed her view that there was "no basis" for Kacsmaryk's ruling, and said "I agree with ignoring it at this point... this thing should just be thrown, out quite frankly."

Many times, we have made mention of the 18 House Republicans who are in districts that Biden won in 2020, and how anti-abortion extremism might rebound to their detriment. But guess what? Mace is not one of those 18. She represents a non-swing district (SC-01, which is R+7) in the Deep South. If she thinks this new ruling is a loser, to the point that she's already speaking up, without waiting to see how the cards fall? Especially since she's a very shrewd political operator? Again, that should be very disturbing to members of Team GOP. (Z)

Today's Republican Party, Part VII: Harlan Crow Likes Clarence Thomas, and... Nazi Stuff?

As we note in the first item above, a screenplay that incorporated all of yesterday's news would never get made in Hollywood, because it just wouldn't seem plausible. To review:

  1. A Republican-controlled state legislature that humiliated itself on the national stage
  2. A Republican Congressman who is so desperate for attention he's starting the Congressional Investigations Roadshow
  3. A cadre of Republicans who think it would be swell to bomb Mexico
  4. A Republican governor willing to overturn a jury decision on orders from a TV entertainer
  5. A Republican former president going to court to force his former #2 to remain loyal
  6. A Republican congresswoman running for the hills following a huge "victory" for the Party

These are not generally the signs of a political organization that is in good, working order.

And now, the icing on the cake, as it were. Everyone knows, at this point, about Clarence Thomas' habit of accepting lavish vacations and other gifts from his "family friend" Harlan Crow. This would be the same family friend who did not become a family friend until after Thomas was seated on the highest court in the United States. Surely just a coincidence, right?

As it turns out, this is the story that just keeps giving. Crow is under the microscope, and it turns out he is quite an... interesting fellow. It would seem he has a thing for for Adolf Hitler memorabilia. This includes two original Hitler paintings, a signed copy of Mein Kampf and a large collection of Nazi uniforms and medallions and handkerchiefs. And just so the Hitler stuff isn't lonely, Crow also has a "Garden of Evil" featuring statues of notable totalitarian dictators. In addition to a Hitler statue, there's also Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nicolae Ceausescu and Josip Broz Tito.

Crow's collection isn't exclusively made up of Nazi stuff. For example, the wall where one of the Hitler paintings hangs also has an original Norman Rockwell work, and an original by George W. Bush. Most people would say "one of these things is not like the others," though they may differ on exactly which one is the outlier, depending on their political sympathies. The billionaire says that he keeps the evil dictator stuff as a "historical nod to the facts of man's inhumanity to man." Maybe that's really what he thinks. Maybe not. Either way, it's very, very strange. You just can't make stuff like this up.

We are really, really hoping that today is not another day of GOP whackadoodlery, so we can do a much more standard post tomorrow. (Z)

Greatest Blunders: Venality, Round 1, Part II

Aaaaaaaand we're back. Let's jump right into the reveal of the second portion of the Venality quadrant:


First page of the Dred Scott decision, picture of Trump's classified files

#6 James Buchanan pulls SCOTUS strings prior to Dred Scott decision (Early 1857): James Buchanan was both very arrogant and very stupid. This, as readers may have noticed, is a dangerous combination for a president.

In any event, with five Southerners on the Supreme Court, Dred Scott was going to lose his case regardless of Buchanan's involvement. Nonetheless, the then-president-elect saw himself as a latter-day George Washington, and could imagine himself being lionized as "savior of the Union." So, he put his thumb on the scales. Specifically, he had extensive conversations with Associate Justice Robert Cooper Grier, as both men knew each other well from their time in Pennsylvania politics. Grier kept Buchanan informed as to the Court's deliberations; Buchanan encouraged Grier to vote with the majority (so the ruling would not appear sectional) and also used Grier to lean on the Court for a ruling that would "permanently" settle the slavery issue.

Needless to say, it did not work out as Buchanan planned. The Court's decision, which not only decreed that as a Black man, Scott had no right to sue, but also that Congress had no right to place limits on slavery, most certainly did not "settle" the slavery issue. What it did do was utterly ruin the credibility of the Court, and also of Buchanan, in one fell swoop. The day the Dred Scott decision was announced was very probably the day that the Civil War became inevitable.

We are fortunate today to live in a time when a Supreme Court justice would never share their deliberations with outsiders, and would certainly not allow their decisions to be influenced by personal political considerations. Progress!

#11 Donald Trump decides to keep his classified documents collection (May 2022): We may know one day why the former president decided to take a collection of classified documents home with him when he left the White House. But we don't know yet, and so we can't know exactly when he made this particular choice. What we do know is that in May 2022, he knew that NARA and the DoJ were on to him, and he decided to defy them rather to come clean.

This is one of those blunders—and there are several of them in the competition, as we've noted—where nobody knows how the story ends. But when Trump chose to give the finger to the feds, he passed the point of no return. He could have claimed ignorance, and people definitely would have believed it. And even if they didn't believe it, there wouldn't have been enough there to prosecute. But by trying to hold on to the documents, he clearly crossed a line (one that Mike Pence and Joe Biden, fellow document-keepers who alerted the government as soon as they became aware of their mistakes, did not). And it could very well end up costing Trump big-time.

Trump on the phone; Santos in drag

#3 Donald Trump Calls Georgia officials to demand they find more votes for him (Jan. 2, 2021): As with the previous blunder, this is a story that is still being written. Truth be told, we don't know why the seeding committee put this one so high on the list and the classified documents so much lower. In both cases, the former president appears to be caught red-handed. In both cases, he could face prison time. In both cases, he did something incredibly careless and incredibly stupid, and there's plenty of hard evidence to prove it.

Just in case you've forgotten the details of the call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), the then-president was recorded demanding that the Secretary "find, uh, 11,780 votes," which would have flipped Georgia to Trump by one vote. The reason that Trump was recorded was because he had made calls like this prior to this date, including to Raffensperger. So, Raffensperger was just covering his rear end (with two other colleagues listening in on the call, just in case).

In contrast to the classified documents, this blunder by Trump has already has at least one clear set of consequences. Because the Donald was angry with Raffensperger and with Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA), he threw a temper tantrum and announced that there was no point in voting in the runoff elections in Jan. 2021, since everything was rigged anyhow. Did this cause some Trumpers to stay home? Probably. Did that allow for the elections of Sens. Jon Ossoff and/or Raphael Warnock (both D-GA)? It's very possible.

#14 "George Santos" lies about, well, everything (1988?-Present): Rep. "George Santos" (R-NY) has been lying about anything and everything for so long that there's really no way to know when it all began. He was born in 1988 (probably?), so we'll just have to assume the starting point came sometime around then. Well, unless he found a way to tell lies in the womb.

In any case, everyone reading this knows two things: (1) "Santos" has told all sorts of whoppers, and (2) there is absolutely no chance he makes it past this round, given what he's up against.

Letter about the e-mails signed by James Comey; political cartoon of a teapot labeled with the names of the key figures in the Teapot Dome Scandal

#7 Hillary Clinton decides to use a private e-mail server (January 2009): It is absolutely true that Clinton's two immediate predecessors as secretary of state, namely Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, used private e-mail servers because the government-provided service was godawful. However, Clinton also knew this was against the rules, and that she was under a much bigger microscope than any Cabinet member in history.

We all know what happened, of course. The existence of the e-mail server was discovered, and Republicans treated that as a scandal on the order of Watergate, Teapot Dome, and Iran-Contra combined and multiplied by ten. The amount of harm done to national security was negligible, especially given that the bad guys apparently didn't know about the server. But that didn't stop House Republicans from launching a dozen investigations.

In the end, the e-mail server did not particularly affect Clinton's service in the State Department, or the Obama presidency. But it became a giant millstone around her neck when she ran for president in 2016. Maybe, in the absence of the server, Republicans would have successfully created another millstone, like Benghazi or Uranium One. But the red team actually tried those, early and often, and they didn't stick the way that Clinton's e-mails did. Also, those other "scandals" did not produce an October surprise, but the e-mails certainly did, very probably leading to the election of Donald Trump.

#10 Warren Harding appoints Albert Fall Secretary of the Interior (March 5, 1921): Harding was not the sharpest knife in the presidential drawer, but he knew enough to observe, "I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they're the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!"

Harding might well have been speaking of Fall, who was certainly a friend, and was a well-known shady character. He won more than one election in a manner that was not necessarily legal, and he was certainly on the take for much of his Washington career. Harding should have known full well not to trust Fall with... well, anything, but instead Fall was given the Interior Department.

On assuming the secretaryship, Fall immediately got to work lining his pockets. He managed to get responsibility for vast, valuable federal government oil reserves transferred from the Navy Department to the Interior Department. Then Fall awarded no-bid contracts to two oil-baron buddies, Harry Sinclair and Edward Doheny. Sizable bribes were paid to the Secretary in exchange for this consideration (at least $400,000, which would be about $7 million today). Fall was careless about showing off his newfound wealth and he ended up on trial, convicted, and imprisoned. It's not clear if Harding knew about the shady business, as he died before the scandal broke, but he really should have known.

Kennedy's car after it was dredged up; Craig blowing into the ear of another man

#2 Ted Kennedy drives drunk in Chappaquiddick (July 18, 1969):

We spent much time debating the inclusion of this one as, once again, we don't want to make light of people's deaths. However, we ultimately decided to include this one because it was very consequential, and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne was inadvertent, not willful (in contrast to, say, the deaths that result from invading a foreign country).

The Kennedys were well known for their hedonistic ways, consuming ample alcohol (and sometimes drugs), cheating on their wives, sexually harassing female staffers and just generally behaving in a manner that did not bring honor to either their family or their gender. After Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, his family got into the habit of hosting reunions of his campaign staffers at Chappaquiddick Island, off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. At the fourth such reunion, RFK's brother Teddy was in attendance, as was Kopechne. The two of them left the party at 11:15 p.m. on July 18; both had been drinking rather heavily.

Exactly what happened thereafter will never be completely clear. Kennedy drove his vehicle off a bridge; it flipped over and settled on the bottom of a body of water called Poucha Pond. Exactly when the accident took place, when Kopechne succumbed, and whether Kennedy made any effort to help her remain matters of dispute. In any event, he survived, she didn't, and he didn't even report the accident until the next day.

In the short term, the incident caused a relatively minor scandal, while Kennedy got a slap on the wrist. But the story lingered, and was the subject of at least 15 books. This effectively ended Teddy's presidential hopes, and made certain that he would never rise higher than U.S. Senator.

#15 Larry Craig visits a men's bathroom at the airport (June 11, 2007): Recall that we tried to limit the number of sex scandals that made the bracket, choosing a few representative specimens. Craig is here as the avatar for the "do as I say, not as I do" crowd, as countless politicians have publicly blasted various types of sexual behavior (particularly homosexuality) while privately partaking of the same behavior.

Craig, for his part, represented Idaho in the U.S. House of Representatives for five terms, and then in the U.S. Senate for another three, making for a Washington career that spanned nearly three decades. During that time, he played the role of puritanical Republican to a T, blasting Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky and pushing for harsh punishment for then-Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) for engaging the services of a gay prostitute. Craig also voted against same-sex marriage, against extending benefits to same-sex couples, and against making violence perpetrated upon LGBTQ people a hate crime. The LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign gave Craig a rating of "zero."

Turns out Craig was living in a glass house while he was throwing all those stones. As early as 1982, during his first term in the House, there were rumors of male pages in the House being propositioned by the Representative. He did not get caught red handed (or, feel free to substitute your choice of color and body part) until 25 years later, while visiting a Minneapolis airport bathroom known for cottaging. Craig used his feet and his hands to express interest in the gentleman occupying the bathroom stall next to his. Unfortunately for him, that gentleman was an undercover cop. The resulting criminal charges and court case marked the end of Craig's political career.

We have now completed the second of the four brackets; here's how it looks prior to any matchups being resolved:

#1 Hamilton-Burr vs. 
#16 Clarence Thomas; #8 Fox Lies about Fraud vs. #9 Nixon Taping System; 
#4 Hart's Monkey Business vs. #13 Cal Cunningham Zipper; #5 Welch Shreds McCarthy vs. #12 Clinton: 'No Relations';
#6 Buchanan Dred Scott vs. #11 Trump Classified Files; #3 Trump Calls Georgia vs. #14 'George Santos'' Lies;
#7 Hillary's E-mail Server vs. #10 Harding Takes a Fall; #2 Kennedy Drives Drunk vs. #15 Craig Has a Gay Time

The ballot for this round is here. If you have comments on any or all of these matchups, and why you voted as you did, please send them here. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Apr10 Courts Give Opposing Rulings on Mifepristone
Apr10 D.C. Appeals Court Upholds Part of Jan. 6 Prosecutions
Apr10 Montana Senate Election Is Getting Very Nasty
Apr10 Clarence Thomas Responds
Apr10 How to Make Trump Go Away
Apr10 The Loonies Are Fighting the Loomies
Apr10 The Democrats' Hardball Tactics on the Debt Limit Seem to Be Working
Apr10 Why Are Swing Seats in the House Disappearing?
Apr10 Welcome to the Future--in Tennessee
Apr10 Election Fraud Is Real
Apr08 Saturday Q&A
Apr07 Tennessee Legislature Expels "Uppity Negro(es)"...
Apr07 ...Will Wisconsin Legislature Follow the Same Roadmap?
Apr07 Restricting Trans Rights Has Apparently Become Red States' Top Priority
Apr07 Today in Extremely Bad Judgment...
Apr07 ...And in Sorta Bad Judgment
Apr07 This Week in Schadenfreude: Don't Let the Door Hit You in the Rear on the Way Out
Apr07 This Week in Freudenfreude: Old King Coal Is Not Merry Old Soul Anymore
Apr06 Pence Will Not Appeal the Ruling Requiring Him to Testify
Apr06 The Afterparty Was Fun
Apr06 Will Anything Change Now?
Apr06 McConnell: " "
Apr06 Stormy Daniels Was in the News Tuesday
Apr06 Is Trump Out of the Doghouse with Rupert Murdoch?
Apr06 Whitmer Signs Bill to Repeal Anti-Abortion Law
Apr06 Jacky Rosen Is Running for Reelection
Apr06 RFK Jr. Is Running for President
Apr06 Is a New Constitutional Convention a Real Possibility?
Apr05 The Prodigal Son Returns
Apr05 Democrats Go 2-for-2 at the Ballot Box on Tuesday...
Apr05 ...But Suffer a Big Setback (Potentially) in North Carolina
Apr05 Abortion Is Going to be on the Ballot in Many Places
Apr05 Tennessee Republicans Channel Their Inner Mussolini
Apr05 Things Are Getting Interesting in West Virginia
Apr04 Today's the Day
Apr04 The End Days May Soon Be Upon Us
Apr04 The Pence Campaign Has Solved the Puzzle
Apr04 Senate Democrats Should Be Back at Full Strength Soon
Apr04 DeSantis Acolyte Thinks He's Able to Beat Kaine
Apr04 Finland, Finland, Finland... Finland Has It All
Apr03 Trump's Likely Legal Strategy: Delay, Delay, and More Delay
Apr03 Some High-Profile Republicans Have Stayed Silent about Trump's Indictment
Apr03 Trump's Rivals Are in a Bind
Apr03 Hutchinson Is In
Apr03 Former Leaders Have Been Indicted in Many Countries
Apr03 Most Important Election of the Year Is Tomorrow
Apr03 Chicago Will Pick a New Mayor Tomorrow
Apr03 Judge Make Key Rulings in Dominion Defamation Case
Apr03 If Not a National Divorce, How about a Trial Separation?
Apr03 How the Other Half Votes