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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Abortion Will Be Tested Next Week
      •  This Wasn't How It Was Supposed to Work
      •  Schumer Moves to Fill Joint Chiefs Vacancies
      •  The War in Israel, Part VIII: Biden Is Juggling Furiously
      •  The War in Israel, Part IX: Readers Weigh in On Palestine
      •  Scott Makes the Debate Cut
      •  Das Boots
      •  Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

Abortion Will Be Tested Next Week

A week from yesterday, Ohioans will vote on whether to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state Constitution. Ohio and national Democrats are throwing everything they've got into passing the initiative, called Issue 1. Early voting has been robust, with 300,000 early ballots so far, far exceeding the previous off-year election in 2021.

State Democrats up and down the line are fighting for passage. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is leading the phone-banking efforts. Rep. Greg Landsman (D-OH) is stumping the state for the measure. Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Emilia Sykes (D-OH) are knocking on doors. Lots of money is flowing into the "Yes on 1" campaign from out of state.

The results of the referendum and the margin of victory or defeat will shape messaging and strategy in Ohio and elsewhere next year. If Issue 1 passes by a huge margin, Democrats will try to clone it in every state where that is possible, maybe even deep red states. It could be a powerful way to get marginal voters, especially young voters, to the polls next year. Of course, if the measure is a dud and fails, all bets are off.

State Republicans understand all this very well, so from Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) on down, they are campaigning to defeat it. One thing some Democrats are worried about is that the guy who counts the votes, Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), who is also running for the Senate, strongly opposes Issue 1. Will he use his power to put his thumb on the scale? If he thinks he can get away with it, who knows. If he thinks he might get caught, though, that could mess up his Senate campaign, so he might not.

Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party Alex Triantafilou said: "I don't think that this is going to be the predictor that the left thinks it will be. 2024 will be a referendum on Joe Biden, as these presidential elections always are." That may be partly true, but the loud Republican opposition to Issue 1 now could make it clear to young people and women where the GOP stands on an issue of great importance to them.

A victory for Issue 1 also sends the message to Democrats nationwide that Ohio is not some deep red hellhole that can't be won. That is hugely important for Brown, who is up for reelection next year. If Democrats outside Ohio start thinking of Ohio as a reddish-purple state, money could flow into Brown's campaign coffers.

One of the Republican arguments against the measure is that it states that "individuals," not "adults," have a right to abortion. They interpret this as meaning that pregnant teenage girls would have a constitutional right to an abortion, even if their parents oppose the procedure. LaRose went further and said: "We don't allow children under 18 to get a tattoo without parental involvement. So to imagine a young girl in a crisis in her life, being sort of hustled off by some uncaring bureaucrats to some abortion clinic without having her parents around her is really startling for a lot of us." This is an outright lie. Nothing in the law authorizes any bureaucrat to force anyone to have an abortion. What it does do is prevent some bureaucrat or politician from telling a pregnant teenager: "I have decided you cannot have an abortion. Your opinion does not matter." We'll know in a week how the voting went, but the fall-out could take longer to be clear. (V)

This Wasn't How It Was Supposed to Work

When the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, pro-choice forces immediately began strategizing about how to hold the line, short term, and to keep abortion procedures as accessible as possible. If you had offered Planned Parenthood a deal in which the number of abortions performed nationwide dropped by only 5%, they would have taken it. Anti-choice forces, meanwhile, were thrilled that the number of abortions would go down, and began thinking about a time when maybe the procedure could be eliminated nationwide.

Things have not quite worked out as expected. In fact, according to a new study from the Society of Family Planning, in the year after Dobbs, the number of abortions in the U.S. went... up. And not by a small number, either. There were approximately 2,200 more abortions than there would have been, but for the Supreme Court's decision.

Dobbs did, of course, have a dramatic impact on where the abortions were performed. In the 17 states with the harshest limits on the procedure, there were 115,000 fewer abortions in the year after the decision. However, the 33 remaining states, along with the District of Columbia, more than made up the difference, performing 117,000 more abortions in the year after the decision. In some states, the change is particularly stark. Texas, which got a head start on outlawing abortion, saw the total number of abortions drop by close to 37,000. Illinois, which just so happens to border a whole bunch of abortion-unfriendly states, saw the total number of abortions increase by nearly 22,000.

This is nothing short of a disaster for anti-choice activists. They have saddled the Republican Party with a real anchor around its collective neck, and in exchange for that, have seen no reduction in abortions performed. Indeed, we would be remiss if we didn't point out that a core argument for many anti-choice activists is that the people who made Roe possible are guilty of murder. "Blood is on their hands," is the usual refrain. Following that logic would mean that anyone who made Dobbs possible is now part of the guilt equation.

It is true, needless to say, that women who require an abortion have to work harder, on average, to get one now, as opposed to 5 years ago. Will that eventually lead to a downturn in the number of procedures? Maybe, but in view of this new evidence, we kind of doubt it. Why would pregnant women decide that "I just can't make the trip" in, say, 2025 if they didn't say that in 2022? Meanwhile, the folks working to keep various options available (mifepristone-via-mail, abortion clinics located on state borders, etc.) are likely to have their operations running like a finely tuned machine soon, if they don't already.

On the anti-abortion side, there will be much unhappiness about these numbers. And we can't imagine any other response besides doubling and tripling down on things like trying to arrest pregnant women who cross state borders. So, those voters who are motivated to keep abortion legal are going to have more and more motivation to get to the polls to do so. In short, the dog has not only caught the car, it's now laid the groundwork for a vicious cycle of greater and greater extremism (and the political ramifications of it). In that context, the election in Ohio (see above) looms very large, indeed. (Z)

Schumer Moves to Fill Joint Chiefs Vacancies

Gen. Eric Smith is a Marine, and so is undoubtedly very physically fit. However, he's also in his late 50's and he's been grossly overworked due to vacancies at the top of the military hierarchy. And over the weekend, he ended up in the hospital with what proved to be a heart attack.

Was the heart attack caused by overwork? Who knows? Nonetheless, that is the connection that anyone and everyone in Washington made. And so, there was near-instantaneous maneuvering by Democrats to change the Senate rules so that nominees could be approved this one time, en masse, even if Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) continued to refuse unanimous consent. For this to happen, it would have required at least some Republican votes, in addition to all the Democrats and independents.

As of yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) adopted a new tack. Now, he's working to confirm, through normal order, Adm. Lisa Franchetti to be chief of Naval Operations, Gen. David Allvin to be Air Force chief of staff, and Lt. Gen. Christopher Mahoney to be assistant commandant of the Marine Corps. The former pair would fill the current vacancies on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while the confirmation of Mahoney would give him full authority to do Smith's job while Smith is convalescing.

Schumer did not announce it publicly, of course, but we presume that the shift to normal order means the votes weren't there to change the rules, even for a one-time thing. So, the Senate is no closer to a resolution of the promotion situation than it was at the beginning of the week. Tuberville clearly isn't going to yield to pressure, no matter how great that pressure gets. Either the Democrats need to get every member on board and vote to change Senate rules permanently (that would only take 51 votes), or they need to find some workaround that 10-16 Republicans will support, or they need to put a lot more "normal order" promotions on the agenda. (Z)

The War in Israel, Part VIII: Biden Is Juggling Furiously

There's little question that Joe Biden is strong for Israel. We think he really believes in that position, though even if he doesn't, it's impractical to be running for president and not be pro-Israel.

One of the prices of this, as we've noted already a couple of times, is that it's hurting Biden's standing with Arab-American voters. A new poll from the Arab American Institute puts a number on how much it's hurting. According to their figures, only 17% of Arab-American voters are prepared, at this moment, to vote for Biden in 2024. Since he took 59% of the Arab-American vote in 2020, that's a staggering 42-point drop.

Those numbers come with some caveats, of course. To start, just as many non-Arab-Americans are loath to express support for Biden in polls right now, surely many Arab-Americans feel that way, too. That is to say, even if Hamas hadn't attacked Israel, the president would not be at 59% with Arab voters right now. Further, it's still early in the war, and there's still plenty of time for successes to be had, and plenty of time for feelings, which are running hot right now, to cool a bit.

That said, Biden and his team are veterans at this, and they've clearly got a problem on their hands. So, there's been some movement from the White House to try to rebalance a bit. Yesterday, Jack Lew was confirmed as ambassador to Israel; he's specifically been charged with working to protect civilians in Gaza. Similarly, the administration is putting pressure on the Israeli government not to take needlessly harsh anti-Palestinian measures, like cutting off the tax revenue that the Israelis collect for the Palestinian Authority.

In short, the President is doing what he can to keep all camps as happy as is possible. Whether he is successful is the $64,000 question.

However, note that Arab Americans are less than 1% of the population and Jews are 2-3%, depending on the definition of "Jewish." What Biden may have lost with one group he may have gained with the other. Also, the only swing state with a substantial Arab American population is Michigan, where the Democratic Senate candidate, Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), is Jewish. So that is the state to watch on this score (Z).

The War in Israel, Part IX: Readers Weigh in On Palestine

As promised, we're going to share some reader thoughts on the Palestinian side of the equation:

  • G.A. in Berkeley, CA: In 1976, I typed on a manual typewriter my undergraduate history senior thesis on Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. It was historic: I finished on July 4, 1976. For the past almost 50 years, I have followed related events as a layperson.

    Some significant things have changed over that time. Among them: the ("cold") peace treaties between Israel, on the one hand, and Egypt and Jordan, on the other; the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979; the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank by agreement with Israel; Israel's voluntary and complete withdrawal from Gaza in 2005; the bloody Hamas coup seizing control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 (the rivalry continues); ever-expanding Jewish "settlements" in the West Bank, where millions of Palestinians live.

    What has not changed is the basic, underlying dynamic: dueling nationalist claims to the same small piece of land. Jews, mostly exiled and abused for millennia, have always felt connected to the land of Israel. The Bible refers to both the land and the Jews as "Israel." And Jews have always constituted a majority in Jerusalem, except during part of the crusader era. European nationalism in the 19th century both increased the oppression of Jews living there and spread to them, initiating waves of emigration to Palestine.

    At the end of World War I, 400 years of Ottoman Turk control of the area ceased. The British "liberators" obtained in 1920 a temporary "mandate" over the area, approved by the League of Nations. Many Arabs had lived in the region for generations. A League of Nations report in 1922 concluded that many other Arabs had recently immigrated to the area due to the increased economic opportunities created by the British and the Jews. Nationalist sentiment increased among the Arabs in Palestine, resulting in clashes with the British and with the Jews. And a distinctly Palestinian sense of nationality grew rapidly among the local population.

    World War II resulted in the extermination of two-thirds of European Jews, some who had attempted to escape to Palestine but were denied entry by the British, in deference to the local Arab leaders—many of whom were openly supportive of Hitler. In 1948, the British mandate ended, and the relatively new United Nations recognized the new country of Israel within boundaries segregated from other areas of Palestine designated for Arabs. (The West Bank was not recognized as a country or part of one, allowing Israel a technical legal argument, following Israel's takeover during the 1967 war, that Israel is not an "occupier" of the area.) The day following Israel's declaration of independence, armies from surrounding Arab countries attacked. During the successful war for Israeli independence, many Palestinians fled, either because the Arab armies asked them to get out of the way, or because they were expelled by the Jews, or just to escape a war zone.

    Surrounding Arab countries largely declined to integrate the emigrating Palestinians. Many of their descendants are still living, often impoverished and ill-used, in refugee camps in these countries, demanding to "return" to a "Palestine" (Israel) that most have never known. Gaza and the West Bank also contain dense refugee camps. The status and desires of these people contribute to the continuing difficulty in resolving the "Israel/Palestine problem."

    The world is quite conscious of the Palestinian "refugees" (mostly descendants of those who left). But usually ignored is the fact that in the 1940s, and particularly after Israel declared independence, a roughly equal number of Jews living in Arab countries (Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, etc.) were beaten, robbed, expelled, and sometimes killed. A new and poor Israel absorbed the survivors. Palestinians often assert that Israel is a European colonial project populated as a result of the Holocaust. The irony is that, until the relatively recent influx of Soviet Jews, about two-thirds of Israelis were these so-called "eastern Jews" from Arab countries, and their descendants, who might even be considered non-white. These Arab countries, which used to have significant Jewish minorities, are now "Judenrein" (German for "free of Jews") or nearly so.

    Today, extremist Palestinians and extremist Israelis aid each other in preventing a solution to the common problems of the respective entities to which they belong. Palestinian extremists and their supporters demand a "free" Palestine "from the [Jordan] river to the sea"—in other words, without Israel and without Jews. Nationalist and national-religious Jews claim a biblical right to colonize all of the West Bank, while denying political rights to the millions of Palestinians who live there. (Unlike the Palestinian extremists and their supporters who would eliminate Jews, the Israeli extremists do not propose to eliminate the Palestinians, though they might like to do so.)

    Jewish and Islamic religious emotions feed the problem. Jews view the Temple Mount as their holiest site, while Muslims view the same area as the Noble Sanctuary, the third-holiest site within Islam. National religious Jews claim a right to settle exclusively anywhere within biblical Israel. Traditional Islam disparages Jews, and Jews in Arab lands were treated and ruled as inferior.

    Complex as this all is, the problems of the area cannot be understood without examination of the interests of foreign actors, which would require a long essay. To mention just a few interests: Under a 1994 treaty, Israel recognizes bordering Jordan's role with respect to West Bank Muslim holy sites. King Abdullah, a Hashemite (ancient origins in Saudi Arabia), is generally considered a "moderate," though Jordan's restive population is overwhelmingly Palestinian, and the stability of Jordan is not assured.

    Most Muslims, including most Palestinians (this includes members of Hamas) are Sunnis. Iran, the center of rival Shiite Muslims, has attempted to extend its influence throughout the Middle East, in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and most notably through (Shiite) Hezbollah, the strongest military force in Lebanon, recognized as terrorist by many countries. Sunnis and Shiites generally do not like each other (Sunnis often kill minority Shiites in Pakistan, for example), so Iran's funding of Sunni Hamas, and Hamas's cooperation with Hezbollah, are both odd and tactical.

    After Syria invaded Israel in 1973, Israel seized the Golan Heights and has annexed it, angering Syria. Syria is allied with Russia, which has helped the Assad government win its civil war. Russia maintains its only Mediterranean port at Tartus, Syria—but also sustains relations with over a million Russian emigrés to Israel. Russia has been increasing its military cooperation with Iran, which is helping to supply Russia with arms to use in its invasion of Ukraine. And on and on (Turkey and Gaza, Kurds; America; Saudi Arabia...)

    Any time an improvement in the "Israel/Palestine problem" seems imminent—at present, the possibility of Israeli/Saudi recognition—one interest or another explodes it. And any time the situation appears completely dire, negotiations are often percolating under the surface. Ultimately, neither Israelis nor Palestinians are going to disappear. A two-state solution may be one of the only resolutions that could last, but this seems as far away as ever with the existence of entities such as Hamas and its supporters.

  • T.P. in Kings Park, NY: J.W. in North Canton writes: "I think it's very telling that no Arab country wants the Palestinians." This is my least-favorite argument about the present conflict. I can't think of any conclusion that could be drawn from it other than a justification of mistreatment or death because Palestinians are too horrible to deserve human rights.

    In fact, there are several reasons why Israel's Arab neighbors don't want to allow a massive influx of Palestinians. It is a certainty that a substantial number of radical Islamic militants would be mixed in with the refugees, but more important, in my view, is the fact that they know that Israel would never allow refugees to return. Even states like Egypt that have made peace with Israel do not want to abet a process of ethnic cleansing.

  • A.M. in Miami Beach, FL: In response to the point raised by J.W. in North Canton, one could also look at the repercussions to Palestine if Arab countries did accept the refugees—the far right in Israel would immediately open the floodgates to settlers while making conditions as bad as possible for Palestinians, to encourage them to leave immediately for their new "hosts." And boom, problem solved, "we don't need no stinkin' Palestine because there are no Palestinians." It would be a gift to Israel, and would absolve them of any eventual resolution of borders. Palestinians would go from physical occupation of at least part of their homeland, to "forever refugees," powerless and voiceless in both their homeland as well as their refuge.

    It seems unlikely there will ever be peace in the region, with three strong factions (Israelis, Arabs and Iranians) all fighting for dominance and control. I think it would likely take two generations of relative peace before real progress could be made, and all three factions include members too wedded to encouraging chaos and use of agent provocateurs to let that happen.

  • J.B. in Berlin, Germany: The German-Israeli comedian Shahak Shapira listed things that everyone should agree on: "Palestinians are not Hamas. Muslims are not terrorists. Israelis are not the Israeli government. Jews are not White Supremacists. Hamas is a terrorist organization. It stands in the way of peace. Settlements are bad and stand in the way of peace."

    I agree and would add: "Both Palestinians and Israelis can be victims and perpetrators at the same time. Human rights are for all people. Children are not terrorists (according to the U.N., 70% of the victims in Gaza are women and children). International law should apply to all states, both revenge and colonial historical experiences should not be allowed to override it. The right to exist and self-determination should apply equally to Israelis and Palestinians. Terrorists as well as right-wing extremists do not belong in any government or administration."

  • J.B. in Hutto, TX: Those calling for a ceasefire in Gaza have laudable motives, concerned as they are for the innocent Palestinian civilians trapped in Gaza. But a ceasefire now would, in fact, be the worst possible outcome of the conflict. It would leave Hamas in control of Gaza, free to use its territory to launch further attacks on Israel. It would allow Hamas to keep using the innocent Palestinians of Gaza as human shields. Simply put, a ceasefire now means victory for Hamas and would be seen across the Middle East as a vindication for the brutal atrocities carried out against innocent Jews on October 7.

    During World War II, the Allies refused to consider any kind of ceasefire with Nazi Germany, insisting on unconditional surrender. Perhaps this prolonged the war, but that was seen as a price worth paying to avoid a peace that left Nazi Germany intact. Israel (and the free world, for that matter) is in much the same situation now. No peace or ceasefire should be contemplated until Hamas is utterly defeated. Only then would any kind of just and lasting peace agreement be possible.

  • C.A. in Atlanta, GA: If you're interested in learning more about the Palestinian perspective, this series, called Whispered in Gaza, is excellent. Each video is a 2-3 minute recording of a Gazan saying what they want foreigners to know about life under Hamas. After listening awhile, I realized they all took an enormous risk to tell their stories. It was recorded in 2022, but I still find everything extremely relevant to recent events.

Thanks to all contributors, as always. (Z)

Scott Makes the Debate Cut

Yesterday, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) announced that he's qualified for the third Republican candidates' debate. He doesn't actually have enough qualifying polls, at least among the polls that have been publicly released, but he must have inside information about some release-is-imminent poll that will put him over the hump.

Assuming Scott is correct, then the Nov. 8 debate is likely to be a five-person affair: Chris Christie, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy and Scott. Donald Trump has qualified, of course, but will presumably take a pass. Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) might still make it, but he needs a polling near-miracle that's probably not coming. Asa Hutchinson's goose is cooked, and everyone else has already dropped out.

Inasmuch as it has avoided a de facto death sentence, at least for now, Scott 2024 will remain viable for at least a little longer. Thanks to Scott's Senate money, he's got enough cash, and isn't at risk of running out, the way Pence did. He probably won't make the fourth debate stage; the question is when that debate will happen. If the RNC squeezes it in before Christmas, then failing to make the cut could mark the end of the road for Scott. However, time is running out for the Committee to make that announcement (it usually requires about 6 weeks' lead time). If the fourth debate is after the New Year, then the candidates will be within spitting distance of the Iowa caucuses, and so Scott might as well hang on and pray for divine intercession. (Z)

Das Boots

As long as we are on the subject of Ron DeSantis, let's talk about something we never expected to be writing about when we woke up yesterday: the Governor's boots.

It's really pretty remarkable that there are multiple answers to the question: "What was the kerfuffle over Ron DeSantis' boots?" And the latest of those involves the theory that he's got lifts hidden inside his boots that are so aggressive that he's essentially wearing secret stilettos.

There aren't too many clear, close-up pictures of DeSantis' footwear. That might not be purely coincidental; if there are shenanigans going on, the Governor might well try to avoid pictures of his feet. However, if you look at video footage, the boots really do look unnatural:

Ron DeSantis' boots. The toe area looks flat and empty.

It sure doesn't look like there's anything in the part of the boot where the toes and most of the foot should be. It's suspicious enough that Politico tracked down three cobblers who are expert in boot lifts, and they all said there is no question that DeSantis is using them.

Assuming this is true—and we concede, we are convinced—then it speaks once again to how poorly-tuned DeSantis' political radar really is. Yes, there's an old chestnut that, in the TV era, the taller candidate always wins. That is mostly just a statistical quirk, like the thing about the Super Bowl and/or the last Washington Commanders game before the election predicting the winner. Certainly, the taller candidate did not win in 2020, as Joe Biden is about an inch shorter than Donald Trump. If DeSantis thinks that his 5'11" frame is not quite imposing enough on TV, then fine, wear the lifts for the debates and any other event where candidates' heights will be easily compared. But even in that case, it's kinda silly, and in any other context it's outright dumb. Not only is it not treating the disease that's killing DeSantis 2024, it's not even treating one of the symptoms.

Meanwhile, even if it's not true, the fact that the story caught fire says something about perceptions of the candidate. Specifically, it says that people suspect that the Governor is manipulative, and also that he's got strange priorities. That's what makes it so easy for people to believe the story is true, and to pass it along. And people do not generally prefer to vote for candidates who are manipulative and have strange priorities. (Z)

Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

For those who celebrate today's (and tomorrow's) holiday, we hope your celebrations go well. And yes, we know it's really "¡Feliz Día de los Muertos!" but that coding creates some issues in the headlines.

For everyone, including those who do not celebrate, we are going to use this as an excuse to squeeze one more item out of the Halloween season. And so, we'll start with a holiday-themed "poll" from YouGov. We put "poll" in quotations, because the pollster only released its data to The Washington Post (and not publicly), and the results actually appear to have been produced by drawing information from several polls.

In any event, knowing that Halloween was coming up, YouGov decided to ask people whom they would be most scared to have appear on their doorstep. The results for all respondents were given, and so too were the results for various demographics. Here are the rankings (so, for example, Kim Jong-Un was considered scariest by respondents in general, by men and by independents; second scariest by women; and fourth scariest by Democrats and Republicans):

Person Everyone Men Women Democrats Republicans Independents
Kim Jong Un 1 1 2 4 4 1
Vladimir Putin 2 2 1 2 5 2
Hunter Biden 3 4 4 NR 1 3
Xi Jinping 4 3 7 NR 8 4
Donald Trump 5 7 3 1 NR 5
Donald Trump Jr. 6 10 5 3 NR 7
President Biden 7 8 6 NR 3 8
Kamala Harris 8 5 8 NR 2 9
Mitch McConnell 9 6 9 NR NR 6
Ron DeSantis 10 NR NR 5 NR NR
Chuck Schumer NR 9 NR NR 7 NR
Eric Trump NR NR 10 6 NR 10
Matt Gaetz NR NR NR 7 NR NR
Jim Jordan NR NR NR 8 NR NR
Elon Musk NR NR NR 9 NR NR
Lindsey Graham NR NR NR 10 NR NR
Bernie Sanders NR NR NR NR 6 NR
Stephen Colbert NR NR NR NR 9 NR
Jimmy Kimmel NR NR NR NR 10 NR

While we know what is supposedly being measured here, we don't fully grasp what's really being measured. Hard to imagine that a goofy presidential son, regardless of their partisan identification, is even 1/100th as dangerous, scary, etc., as Xi Jinping. After all, Xi is one of the handful of people who has an answer to the question: "Yeah? You and what army?" Also, since the pollster did not release anything publicly, there's no way to know how many options respondents were given. For example, could you vote for "any Canadian, doesn't matter which"? Probably not, unfortunately.

The Internet also did a thriving business in Halloween-related memes yesterday, including plenty of a political bent. We also received a couple of suggestions, from readers J.L. in Los Angeles, CA and J.G. in San Diego, CA. And so, we present the ten best, in our view:

  1. This one is evergreen:

    Trick or treaters hear a voice from behind a front door
that says 'You want handouts? The candy is on the roof, maybe some will trickle down.' One of the kids thinks 'Oh, great, a Republican.

  2. This one makes a similar point:

    A libertarian has a candy vending machine outside

  3. We suspect a lot of readers can sympathize, particularly as they think about getting together with relatives at Thanksgiving:

    Nothing can scare me more this Halloween than hearing your political opinions.

  4. Today's Republican Party, Part I:

    A trick-or-treater advises that their parents don't believe in masks

  5. Today's Republican Party, Part II:

    A skeleton with a Moms for Liberty shirt hovers over graves labeled 'civil rights,'
'public education,' 'empathy,' 'critical thinking,' 'libraries,' and 'diversity.'

  6. Today's Republican Party, Part III:

    TRUMPKIN: Orange on the outside, Hollow on the inside, and should be thrown out in November

  7. And some equal opportunity mockery:

    Joe Biden says: 'I have just two words for you: Happy Halloween to everyone!

  8. You have to admit, the hair is spot on:


  9. This one might be a little TOO on the nose:


  10. And because we've been talking a lot about religion recently, we're going to count this as political. We checked with the judge, and she says she'll allow it:

    Jehovah's witnesses don't celebrate Halloween... I guess they don't appreciate random people coming up to their doors.

And onward to Thanksgiving! (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct31 What Kind of Man Is Mike Johnson?
Oct31 More Crimes Against Statistical Analysis
Oct31 Today in House Musical Chairs
Oct31 Trump Legal News: Still Crazy After All These Years
Oct31 The War in Israel, Part VI: Israel Is Tearing the Democrats to Pieces
Oct31 The War in Israel, Part VII: Readers Weigh In, Yet Again
Oct30 Could Haley Break Through?
Oct30 Mike Johnson, Mystery Man
Oct30 Johnson Is Starting to Govern and Will Soon Discover What It Is Like
Oct30 Ivanka Must Testify
Oct30 Poll: Republican Voters Say Trump Didn't Try to Overturn Election Results
Oct30 Nevada in the Spotlight
Oct30 Democrats Are Worried
Oct30 New York Republicans Want to Expel "Santos"
Oct30 Virginia Removed 3,400 Eligible Voters from the Rolls
Oct29 It Just Didn't Fly
Oct29 Sunday Mailbag
Oct28 Saturday Q&A
Oct27 Johnson's Carriage May Soon Turn into a Pumpkin
Oct27 Maine Site of Latest Mass Shooting
Oct27 One Zombie Presidential Campaign Ends, Another Begins
Oct27 House 2024: It Is About Time to Put up or Shut Up
Oct27 I Read the News Today, Oh Boy: Witch Hunt
Oct27 This Week in Schadenfreude: Biden Is a Real Joker
Oct27 This Week in Freudenfreude: The Student Becomes the Teacher
Oct26 Now Comes the Hard Part
Oct26 Were the House Republican Women Too Smart to Run for Speaker?
Oct26 Trump Took the Witness Stand Yesterday--and Was Fined $10,000
Oct26 Support for Israel Will Be a Key Issue in the Iowa Caucuses
Oct26 Biden's Support for Israel Angers Muslim Americans
Oct26 Meadows Got Immunity and Spoke with Jack Smith at Least Three Times
Oct26 Clarence Thomas Had a Loan Canceled--with Ethical and Tax Consequences
Oct26 Early Voting Is Underway in Virginia
Oct26 Dan Sullivan Wants to Make an End Run around Tuberville
Oct26 Gavin Newsom Meets with Xi Jinping
Oct26 RFK Jr. Moves to the Right
Oct26 Suppose There Is a Contingent Election in the House on Jan. 6, 2025
Oct25 Queen for... 6 Hours?
Oct25 Trump Legal News: Turn, Turn, Turn!
Oct25 Biden Tells Granite State to Kick Rocks
Oct25 It's a Two-Way Race in Maryland
Oct25 The War in Israel, Part IV: He Who Controls (Mis)information...
Oct25 The War in Israel, Part V: Readers Weigh In, Again
Oct24 Eight Men Out
Oct24 Trump Legal News: A Saucerful of Secrets
Oct24 Presidential Field Is Minus One Johnson...
Oct24 ...Meanwhile, Pence, Scott Go Where Campaigns Go to Die
Oct24 The War in Israel, Part I: The Future of the World Is in the Hands of 8 or 10 People
Oct24 The War in Israel, Part II: The Buck Stops Here
Oct24 The War in Israel, Part III: Readers Weigh In