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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Supreme Court Needs More Time
      •  Talking about Abortion, Part I: Questions and Answers
      •  Former Bragg Lieutenant Must Obey Jim Jordan's Subpoena
      •  McCarthy Has a Budget Bill?
      •  Lindsey Graham Makes It Official
      •  RFK Jr. Makes It Official
      •  Guess Who Wants Mastriano to Sit This One Out?

Supreme Court Needs More Time

Last week, when he temporarily stayed the anti-mifepristone decision(s) made by Matthew Kacsmaryk and by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Associate Justice Samuel Alito said that the Supreme Court would have a proper response by... last night. However, the Court was not ready to rule, and so instead, Alito gave himself and his eight colleagues two more days to work on it. The new deadline, assuming it's not extended again, is Friday.

Naturally, only the Supremes know what's going on here. That's said, let's run down the possibilities, from most to least likely (in our opinion):

  • They Don't Have a Majority: Keep in mind that there are currently two mifepristone decisions in place, and they are in conflict with each other. The decisions out of Texas and the Fifth Circuit ban the drug, each of them using some dubious legal reasoning. The decision out of Washington keeps the drug legal in 17 states and D.C. Given how messy this has become, it may be that there is currently no interpretation of things that has five votes. And if the Supremes can't get to five votes, then both lower court decisions would stand, which would mean some significant level of chaos.

  • They Do Have a Majority, But Someone Is Buying Time: Alternatively, it could be that there is a majority (probably a bare majority, if this is the scenario) for some interpretation, but one of the justices is buying time to try to flip one of his colleagues. If so, there are really only two justices it could be. The first is Alito, who is staunchly anti-abortion, and who might want an extra 48 hours to work on Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch or Amy Coney Barrett to get them on the side of upholding the ban (we assume, in this scenario, that Clarence Thomas would already be voting with Alito and that Chief Justice John Roberts and the three liberals would not be). The second justice who could be delaying things is Roberts, who might suspect (rightly) that upholding the Kacsmaryk decision would be disastrous for the Court's reputation, and who might be trying desperately to peel off one of the five conservatives to join him and the three liberals.

  • They Are Pulling a Nixon: Richard Nixon famously tried to bury unfavorable news by arranging for it to be released on Friday or Saturday nights (hence, for example, the Saturday Night Massacre). Very hard to believe that would be the motivation here, as there is no truly dead part of the news cycle anymore, thanks to the Internet, cable news, etc. If SCOTUS uncorks something wild, you're going to hear the howls of protest from sea to shining sea, regardless of whether they do it on Friday night at 11:59 p.m. or Wednesday at noon. But we try to consider all possibilities.

  • They Can't Reach Someone: This used to be a real problem... 100 years ago. Written decisions, and that is presumably what's coming here, have to be signed by all the participating justices. And if one of them is unavailable, that can't happen. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, for example, James Clark McReynolds was famous for departing town on unannounced hunting trips, leaving Chief Justice William Howard Taft to fume while he waited for his colleague's signature. In a world with cell phones and FedEx, we just can't see how this could be happening today. Although, with the exotic vacations to faraway locales that Clarence Thomas takes on Harlan Crow's dime, you never know. Maybe he's summiting Everest right now, or personally inspecting the wreckage of the Titanic, or seeing Machu Picchu up close.

Whatever is going on, we'll find out a lot more on Friday... unless we don't. Note that there is a wide range of possible outcomes here; the Court could plausibly extend OR lift the injunction while the case is worked out. Alternatively, they could make some sort of final ruling that ends all deliberation. They have all the information they need, for example, to decree that the plaintiffs in Texas did not have standing to sue (as they have not been injured by mifepristone), or that the statute of limitations for challenging an FDA decision had long passed (which it had). Stay tuned. (Z)

Talking about Abortion, Part I: Questions and Answers

Last week, we solicited questions to be posed to anti-abortion readers. We got a large number of interesting questions, and identified a number of anti-abortion EV-ers who were willing to field them. We recognize that someone who reads this site, even if they are anti-abortion, is probably not representative of the "typical" member of that demographic. Still, we believe this trio has much to offer in helping to understand the broader perspective.

We'll run these over a few installments, so that we don't overwhelm with too much material at one time. And with that said, here are introductions for our three answerers:

C.H. in Atlanta, GA: I am a life-long millennial Democrat and tend to be fiscally progressive and socially conservative. No party is really super aligned to my personal views, so I go with the less-crazy option. I also happen to be quite religious (Notre Dame alumnus) which is what informs my views on social justice, the intrinsic value of human life, and overall morality.

M.E. in Roanoke, VA: I am a practicing Catholic, married, and have three children. My personal political leanings generally align more Republican than Democratic; in practice, because of the importance I place on abortion, I would classify myself as a reliable Republican voter especially at the national and state level (even if the Republican Party is driving me somewhat bonkers at the moment).

I first wrote to in response to Dobbs to express my sentiment that this decision justified the risk I took in voting for Trump. Since then, I've appreciated the opportunity to explore and explain my position in greater detail. I recognize that the majority of the audience here disagrees with my stance on abortion; indeed, I only offered to respond to questions because I feel I have the ability to provide a different perspective on this issue.

I've been reading for many years (I distinctly remember the days of the site "going dark" for long periods of time between elections) and appreciate the site's approach to reporting the news. While I may disagree with some of their conclusions, (Z) and (V)'s careful approach to reporting is the standard to which media should be held. I'm honored to have the chance to play a small role in (hopefully) continuing that tradition of excellence.

K.K. in Washington County, TX: I am 45 and have a B.A. in government, an M.A. in political science, and an M.Div. in theology. My wife and I worked overseas in Bahrain for two years and then in Lithuania for four years. We traveled extensively and saw quite a bit of the world, both the good and the bad. Until very recently, I was a Lutheran pastor in Houston; Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) was my congresswoman. I am part of the LCMS, a more conservative branch of Lutheranism, as opposed to the ELCA, which is an extremely liberal church body. My political orientation is more of a libertarian/conservative bent. I have never voted Democratic, but I have occasionally voted against the Republican if there is a quality Libertarian on the ballot.

I just relocated to another church, in Washington County, TX. It's bout an hour away but the exact opposite of the urban Houston area, which is more to my liking as I was raised on a working cattle ranch in west central Texas and cowboyed for the first 25 years of my life. I am involved in the pro-life movement supporting crisis pregnancy centers, mobile women's health clinics, and many other programs to care for the women and children who need help. And though I doubt we would agree on much of anything, I enjoy hearing the liberal viewpoint on the issues that seem to occupy the liberal worldview, which is why I don't think I have missed a single post y'all have put out since the beginning.

And now, some questions and answers:

O.Z.H. in Dubai, UAE, asks: I appreciate that your views are based on the Bible, and that every life matters, and a 9-week embryo is a life. Ok. But what I don't understand is how you could support a ban even when the life of the mother is in danger. Is the life of a fetus that has had no life experiences of any sort more important than a grown woman who has friends and family and years of memories and life experiences? How is that justified?

C.H. answers: I am not the stereotypical anti-abortion zealot that many pro-choice individuals envision when thinking about those opposed to abortion. I would like to challenge two assumptions in this context. First, although I am a devout Christian, my view of human life is derived independently of religious texts like the Bible. Second, I disagree with the notion that I see one life as being worth more than another, and I believe that the moral question surrounding an individual's reason for seeking an abortion is relevant when considering it as a policy issue.

Regarding the first assumption, I will briefly mention that the only objective point in time when a separate and unique set of genetic material comes into existence is at conception. Every other point, such as trimesters and viability stages, is arbitrary. Furthermore, barring termination, a pregnancy will likely result in a separate and unique human being (or identical twins, if one wants to be precise). Biology, rather than the Bible, guides me in adopting this position.

As for the second assumption, it is precisely because I do not feel that one life is more important than another that I find abortion morally problematic. Often in abortion debates, the pro-choice community presents extreme cases to label those against elective abortion as pro-rapist or anti-mother. I am neither. Most abortions occur because a mother, with or without her partner's input, decides to terminate a planned or unplanned pregnancy.

It is crucial to differentiate between two unrelated events: a medical intervention where pregnancy termination is not the primary objective, and an elective procedure in which a pregnant woman chooses to end a viable pregnancy for various reasons. A medically necessary abortion might involve terminating a pregnancy as a secondary effect of a hysterectomy for a cancerous uterus or removing an ectopic pregnancy. These types of abortions are not representative of the vast majority of cases, and any inflexible opinions on this matter from politicians or religious leaders do not reflect the mainstream perspective.

The focus should be on elective abortions, which are motivated by factors such as preserving one's lifestyle, avoiding the inconvenience of pregnancy or parenthood, economic issues, or ending a relationship with the father. Regardless of the motivation behind an elective abortion, there is a moral question of whether a parent should be able to end their child's life. I find it challenging to discern the moral difference between ending a child's life a week after birth versus a week before birth. This dilemma does not become any easier when considering earlier stages of pregnancy. Was our daughter, who was smaller 2 weeks before her birth, insignificant enough for her life to be worth less than my wife's desire to not be pregnant? What about 30 weeks before her birth? Was she so tiny and dependent on my wife at that point that she was no longer a distinct human life worth safeguarding?

M.E. answers: My position is that abortion is generally wrong because it intentionally takes a human life. Yet, even apart from the Bible, ethical reasoning broadly recognizes that there are numerous situations where taking a life is regrettable but justifiable. Simply put, I do not support banning abortion if the life of the mother is at serious/actual risk. In this case, abortion would be a tragic and undesired outcome. I view a pregnancy as containing at least two lives, all of which have value and deserve protection. If it is not possible to save everyone, saving one is preferable to saving none.

Indeed, while modern medicine can make pregnancy safer, a well-thought-out policy needs to allow doctors to use their professional judgment when "edge cases" arise. I've been disappointed with some Republican legislatures for not being sufficiently careful in their policies to appropriately handle these cases—simply put, the pro-life side has to do better here.

K.K. answers: To begin, in the states that have laws to protect the life of the unborn, they still permit abortion in those rare and heartbreaking circumstances when it is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. So, the idea that a doctor would have to sit by while a mother died of a complication in her pregnancy is not correct. This is merely a scare tactic to get people to oppose abortion bans. From a biological and Biblical stance, life begins at conception, so every life has intrinsic value based on that. It is not a matter of one life being more important than another, especially based on one person having more experiences or their number of relationships. If that were the case, the life of an introvert would be less valuable than that of an extrovert because the likelihood of them having fewer friends and experiences would not be as great as someone more outgoing. Likewise, because the individual has had a longer life than another does not make their life more valuable.

J.M. in Boston, MA, asks: I'd like to preface my question with a little background: I am the mother of two adult children. My mother had 8 children, was an RN, and would be 100 if she were alive today. She was adamantly pro-choice and would respond to anyone questioning her stance with, "Have you witnessed a 12-year-old give birth to the child of her father who was also her rapist? Can you tell me how many people's lives are destroyed with that birth? Wait: Don't answer my second question, because if you can't answer 'yes' to my first question, you're really not capable of an informed conversation with me."

I completely respect anyone's personal opinion and personal choice about abortion. We're all influenced by our backgrounds, environments, and experiences. I get it.

My question is this: If I can accept that your opinion is right, moral, and just for you, why do you refuse to accept that my opinion is right, moral, and just for me?

C.H. answers: I genuinely appreciate your question, as it brings to light an essential aspect of the discussion that often gets lost. Our culture has increasingly emphasized individualism, which has led to some groups, like certain MAGA supporters, taking the idea of subjective and individual morality to an extreme, resulting in the creation of a parallel universe that dismisses facts and reality.

My belief in objective morality, informed by my faith, compels me to argue that there's an inherent good and evil that exists beyond personal preferences, cultural origins, or historical context. One crucial aspect of this objective morality is the sanctity of every unique human life. This belief is unwavering: it is morally wrong to end another human being's life. However, there may be situations where a greater wrong can be averted by committing a lesser wrong, such as acting in self-defense.

The issue with our current society is that we've become so absorbed in our own opinions, perspectives, and personal choices that we often fail to recognize the importance of shared values and communal morality. This way of thinking is fundamentally flawed. Society thrives when its members collectively accept certain behavioral expectations. A society in which everyone chooses which aspects of communal morality to adhere to is unsustainable. Therefore, it's not morally wrong for society to tell a pregnant woman that ending the human life growing inside her is unacceptable.

While I respect your right to hold your opinion, I believe that certain moral principles, like the sanctity of human life, should be upheld by society. These shared values are crucial for maintaining a functional and sustainable community. I can't imagine a more worthwhile and necessary shared value than cherishing human life itself.

As we engage in these discussions, we can work together to promote comprehensive sex education, increase access to contraceptives, and support potential mothers by offsetting the costs of delivery, recovery, and raising a child. By taking a more holistic approach and addressing these contributing factors, we can create a society that respects both the sanctity of human life and the individual's right to make informed decisions. Part of that holistic approach, though, is figuring out how society enforces protections on these unborn children.

M.E. answers: No, I have not witnessed this or a similar tragedy. Respectfully, however, I find the line of logic "if you haven't experienced X, you don't get an opinion" intellectually lazy and prone to contradictions.

To directly address your question, the difference comes down to when life begins. If I am correct and life does indeed begin at conception, the overwhelming majority of abortions are immoral. Not just for me, but also (presumably) for you. If I am wrong, then I will be the first to call myself an a**hole.

Ultimately, my opposition to abortion is not merely religious but also secular. Everyone is entitled to their own personal religious beliefs and while I am happy to try and convince you that mine are correct, imposing them on you is wrong. If, however, one can conclude (as I have) that life begins at conception and thus that abortion is immoral even apart from religion, imposition is justified.

K.K. answers: My short answer is that I believe in objective truth, not subjective truth. Something is right, moral, and just because something outside of myself has deemed it so. For me, that is God. It is not an opinion for me; it is a fact. Because you see it differently, as simply your opinion that abortion is right, moral, and just, then you can come to the idea that we should be able to simply agree to disagree. And while I do agree that you believe that your opinion is the correct one, I disagree that it is. To think otherwise would be to go against the objective truth that all life is valuable and murder is immoral.

B.M. in Arlington, MA, asks: If states rather than the federal government are better able to make medical (or moral or religious) decisions on behalf of its citizens (according to the Supreme Court), might counties be even better suited?

C.H. answers: I've never really thought about at which level these decisions are being made. I think counties are likely better suited to provide the type of comprehensive support services that are necessary to help support a pregnant woman and struggling parents. Want fewer abortions? Support pregnant women with both comprehensive pre-natal support and support in raising their child. Because I believe that abortion is the termination of a unique, individual, human being—it doesn't really matter at what level we legislate limitations on elective abortions.

M.E. answers: I want to see an end to virtually all abortion. I don't particularly care at what level the decision is made (perhaps ironically, I think a federal ban makes the most sense). I think you are misinterpreting the goal of the pro-life movement (ending abortion) with the tactics involved (step 1, overturn Roe and related cases). In the post-Roe, pre-Dobbs world, it was effectively impossible to ban the vast majority of abortions. Thus, the minimum necessary to begin the process of ending abortion was overturning Roe. For me, this was never about states being better able to make medical decisions as opposed to the federal government.

K.K. answers: Federalism, as laid out most succinctly in the Tenth Amendment, dictates that those powers not reserved for the federal government or prohibited by the states are the responsibility of the states. Many argue that abortion falls under this, and therefore, it is up to the states to decide. It would then depend on each of the individual 50 states and their state constitutions on whether they set up a system of federalism similar to the Constitution of the United States which would allow the counties or parishes to make those decisions. However, I disagree that this is a states' rights issue. From my viewpoint, abortion is certainly a federal issue, as abortion laws classify certain people as less valuable than others and, therefore, not entitled to the protections of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness enshrined in our founding documents. I am very wary of allowing the government at any level to dictate who is and who is not a person and, therefore, who is and who is not entitled to the rights and privileges of our Constitution. Therefore, there should be the recognition at the federal level of the biological fact that at conception, an individual human being has been created and is alive and has rights that must be protected by the federal government. After all, protecting the lives of its citizens is one of the main jobs we have tasked our federal government with.

Thanks, all! We'll leave it there for today. (Z)

Former Bragg Lieutenant Must Obey Jim Jordan's Subpoena

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is the leader of the House Trump Apologist Committee (Note to staff researcher: Confirm that name is correct). In that capacity, the Representative has invited former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Pomerantz to Washington for a nice chat about the case against Donald Trump filed by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. In response, Bragg requested a restraining order quashing Jordan's subpoena. Yesterday, District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, after hearing arguments in the case, ruled that the subpoena is valid and Pomerantz has to show up in Washington.

Vyskocil's opinion could just as easily have been crafted in response to the Trump tax return case. She writes:

The subpoena was issued with a 'valid legislative purpose' in connection with the 'broad' and 'indispensable' congressional power to 'conduct investigations.' It is not the role of the federal judiciary to dictate what legislation Congress may consider or how it should conduct its deliberations in that connection. Mr. Pomerantz must appear for the congressional deposition. No one is above the law.

In case you are wondering, Vyskocil is a Trump appointee to the federal bench. However, note that she was one of the most qualified nominees he chose, with 33 years in practice before donning the robes. Also, we read the decision, and to our admittedly non-lawyer eyes, it looks well-reasoned.

Bragg has not yet said whether he will appeal. If the decision here was Jordan's (or Trump's), they would appeal, appeal, appeal as many times as possible. But Bragg is a fellow capable of determining when he's in an untenable position, and so he might well decide to back down. (Z)

McCarthy Has a Budget Bill?

We are somewhat leery of writing up each day's budget-related maneuvering by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), because there is every chance that today's chess move becomes tomorrow's irrelevancy. That said, he's entered into territory where we think we have to note what's going on. To wit, he's got an actual draft bill that he's pieced together.

The bill is called the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which means it is tantalizingly close to being the LSD Act of 2003. Too bad, because that would have been groovy, man. Needless to say, a bill like this is only vaporware until it comes up for a vote and passes. McCarthy insists he has the votes, and maybe he does, although it's 230 pages and nobody has had time to read the whole thing yet.

Assuming it does pass the House, it won't even come up in the Senate. The bill would basically kill most of the infrastructure bill from 2022, and the Democrats are not interested in undoing one of their signature accomplishments just 'cause House Republicans have decided that the debt limit entitles them to run the country. And the McCarthy bill really isn't a serious attempt at finding some sort of middle ground; it's full of talking points and editorializing. For example, one section is entitled "PROHIBIT UNFAIR STUDENT LOAN GIVEAWAYS" while another is headlined "REPEAL MARKET DISTORTING GREEN TAX CREDITS." Oh, and the "carrot" that McCarthy & Co. are offering, in exchange for the Democrats undoing the party's entire legislative program, is increasing the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion or until March 2024; whichever deadline is hit first. So, the blue team would be buying, at best, a little less than a year, and then they would be in yet another hostage situation.

Joe Biden has promised to negotiate once there's an actual bill that can pass the House, and presumably he'll be as good as his word, though the negotiations might be short. We already know what Republicans' spin will be, because it's right there in the bill. Undoubtedly, Democratic operatives are hard at work on the spin from that side. Our guess: "The Republicans are so desperate to cut taxes on rich people, they are willing to reduce the amount of food aid given to needy women and children." The upshot here is that we may be about to enter a new phase in this game of debt-ceiling chicken, but we are still far from the finish line. (Z)

Lindsey Graham Makes It Official

No, not that. We assume that won't become official until after he leaves office, if it ever does.

What we mean is that it took just one objection to derail the "temporarily replace Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on the Judiciary Committee" plan, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) became the person to lodge that objection. That means that a full floor vote on the resolution would be required to pass the resolution. And, of course, the filibuster is available, so 60 votes would be needed.

At this point, three possible options would appear to be off the table. To wit:

  1. Actually adopting the resolution. There aren't 10 Republican votes for it.
  2. Getting one Judiciary Committee Republican to vote "present" while Feinstein is ill. Graham was the obvious possibility, and he's not interested.
  3. Changing the filibuster rules. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) are filibuster fetishists, as it is. They are also looking to cultivate a reputation right now as "mavericks" willing to buck the Democrats. "Sen. Manchin/Sinema voted to rewrite the sacred rules of the Senate so they could help seat dozens of ultra-liberal judges" is not the sort of attack line they want to hear from their opponents. And incidentally, with apologies to Dave Barry, "Filibuster Fetishists" would be a pretty good name for a rock band. It would also be a pretty good alternate name for, once we launch that site.

There is a fourth possibility that is probably on life support:

  1. Using discharge resolutions to get around Judiciary Committee tie votes. This is an extremely onerous approach, and one that would require all 50 Democratic and independent votes to be successful. Again, Manchin and Sinema are not looking to be a part of this sort of thing right now.

And so, that leaves us with just two outcomes that seem plausible to us:

  1. Feinstein finds a way to return to work part-time.
  2. Feinstein resigns.

Inasmuch as Congress has a long history of getting votes out of members who are on death's door, we would guess that figuring out a way for Feinstein to resume the bare minimum amount of her duties is the more likely of the two.

Now, it is at least possible that the Senator's so far gone, mentally, she is not capable of understanding the issues here and making an informed decision about her continuing service. Doubtful, but if this is the case, we're in something of a brave new world. That said, this is exactly why conservatorships exist, and if and when a conservator was appointed, they could resign Feinstein's seat on her behalf. Obviously, the Democrats really, really don't want to go there, but if they have to, well, they're just not going to give up 2 years of judge confirming. (Z)

RFK Jr. Makes It Official

Normally, we put the most important news of the day at the top of the page. Thereafter, the broad organizing concept is: (1) stories about presidential politics, (2) stories about Senate politics, (3) stories about House politics, and (4) stories about state politics.

This is not a hard and fast rule, of course. That said, do you know how much of an afterthought you have to be when you launch your presidential campaign, and yet you end up at the bottom of the page? And yet, that is where the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. belongs. He's going to get some attention, and he might even be a minor annoyance to Joe Biden in primary season, the way a flea annoys a dog during the summer or a fly annoys Mike Pence during a debate. So, we feel we have to write RFK Jr. up. However, he has about as much chance of being president as Sarah Palin does. So, we're not going to put this item anywhere near our "serious news" real estate.

Not only did Kennedy formally announce his presidential bid yesterday, he also brought his campaign website,, online. The very fact that he was able to get that URL tells you how unserious a candidate he is. If you wanted or or, you needed to jump on that years ago. If you wanted, you probably needed to jump on that more than a decade ago. But nobody bothered to squat on

If you look at the site, you can imagine a potentially viable presidential contender. He's got some ideas of the sort that please many Democrats, and he's obviously a member of one of the great dynastic families in American political history. That said, he doesn't have a fraction of the charisma of his dad or his uncles. And, of course, he's a well-known nutter, prone not only to anti-science thinking but also conspiracy theorizing. That just won't play with voters on the left side of the aisle.

Another sign that he's not a serious candidate? He's struggling to pick up endorsements... from other Kennedys. Keep in mind how much bad behavior these people are willing to overlook, even among the black sheep of the family. And then consider that the relatives describe Bobby Jr. as "sad" and "tragic" and "who?" Every single Kennedy that CNN talked to for that linked piece said they are voting Biden in 2024.

So, there's not going to be a Junior Kennedy in the White House anytime soon. Well, until JFK Jr. comes out of hiding and forms a fusion ticket with Donald Trump, allowing the pair to take their rightful places on the American throne:

A woman waves a Trump/JFK Jr. 2024 flag

Note that the 25th anniversary of JFK Jr.'s alleged "death" arrives on July 16, 2024. And whaddya know; the Republican National Convention will take place from... July 15 to July 18, 2024. Need we say more? (Q)

Guess Who Wants Mastriano to Sit This One Out?

In theory, Doug Mastriano is waiting for two people to weigh in on a run for Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate seat: his wife and God. He has not announced yet; it's not clear which vote he's waiting for. However, he loves attention and he hungers for power, so one has to presume he will eventually get the two yeses he is looking for.

This is not a situation that pleases mainstream Republicans, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). They know full well that Mastriano is popular enough to win the primary, but is toxic enough that he's a dead duck in the general. Live turtles don't like dead ducks, especially when those ducks' opponents are well-heeled well-liked three-term incumbent senators like Bob Casey (D-PA).

And now, there is another prominent Republican who has spoken up and said (only in private, thus far) that he definitely does not want Mastriano running in 2024. That would be none other than Donald J. Trump.

Trump's concern is, and always has been, Donald Trump. In 2022, The Donald was thrilled to have Mastriano run for governor, since Mastriano constantly sang the former president's praises, and since non-establishment candidates were a poke in the eye for the GOP establishment (e.g., McConnell). But in 2024, Trump expects to be the Republican nominee. And while he's not the shrewdest political strategist the world has known, he is more than savvy enough to know that Pennsylvania is a must-have, and that Mastriano is more likely to drag the Republican ticket down than he is the elevate it.

We shall see if Trump's lack of enthusiasm is enough to override the votes of Mrs. Mastriano and God. Certainly, for some Trumpers (the ones who don't seem to have read the portion of the Bible about golden idols), Trump is above the Holy Father on the flowchart:

Trump supporter standing next to a full-size
golden statue of Trump

If Trump's thumbs down is not enough by itself, perhaps the former president can offer Mastriano some sort of deal, like "drop out of the Senate race, and I'll appoint you to the Cabinet when I'm elected." That certainly wouldn't be the first time a deal like that has been struck by a presidential candidate, though Mastriano would be wise to get it on paper. Notarized. With multiple witnesses. And a video recording. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Apr19 Dominion Settles with Fox...
Apr19 ...But the Trump Defamation Case Marches On
Apr19 Today in Judicial Dishonesty, Part I: Another Skeleton from Clarence Thomas' Closet
Apr19 Today in Judicial Dishonesty, Part II: Matthew Kacsmaryk Under the Microscope
Apr19 Q1 Fundraising: Ten Storylines
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Apr18 New York Waste of Time, Part II: "George DeSantos" Is Running for Reelection
Apr18 Senate Republicans to Senate Democrats: Buzz Off
Apr18 Fox-Dominion Case Is a Go
Apr17 Alito Freezes the Abortion Pill Decisions for 5 Days
Apr17 Pompeo Is Out
Apr17 Let the Politicking Begin
Apr17 Trump Is Deposed Again
Apr17 Glenn Youngkin Is Probably Not Running for President in 2024
Apr17 Tomorrow Is the Big Day
Apr17 Another Top Biden Pick May Bite the Dust
Apr17 It's Spring and Thus Lamb Time
Apr17 Democrats Won Rich Districts, Republicans Won Poor Districts
Apr16 Alito Freezes the Abortion Pill Decisions for 5 Days
Apr16 Pompeo Is Out
Apr16 Let the Politicking Begin
Apr16 Trump Is Deposed Again
Apr16 Glenn Youngkin Is Probably Not Running for President in 2024
Apr16 Tomorrow Is the Big Day
Apr16 Another Top Biden Pick May Bite the Dust
Apr16 It's Spring and Thus Lamb Time
Apr16 Democrats Won Rich Districts, Republicans Won Poor Districts
Apr15 Saturday Q&A
Apr14 The National M&M Debate Is No Longer about Spokescandies
Apr14 The End of the Line for Feinstein?
Apr14 ProPublica Has Found More Dirt on Clarence Thomas
Apr14 The Honeymoon Is Over?
Apr14 This Week in Schadenfreude: Paging Barbara Streisand
Apr14 This Week in Freudenfreude: A Diamond Anniversary
Apr13 DeSantis Doesn't Know He Is Not Going to Run
Apr13 Trump Is Up to His Old Tricks
Apr13 Trump Sues Michael Cohen for $500 Million
Apr13 More Fallout from the Tennessee Legislature's Stunt
Apr13 Tammy Baldwin Is Running for a Third Term
Apr13 Montana Revisited
Apr13 Katie Porter's Divorce Papers Leak
Apr13 Hochul Tries Again
Apr13 California Super PAC Will Spend $35 Million to Beat Five House Republicans
Apr13 Tim Scott Launches Exploratory Committee
Apr12 Biden Is Definitely Running, but Is Definitely Not Announcing It Yet
Apr12 Sweet Home Chicago
Apr12 DeSantis Is Failing