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The Increasing Trumpification of TikTok
Biden Plans to Give Kenya Key Ally Designation

Voters in Five States Cast Ballots

Two states had full primary slates yesterday, including president. Two more states had partial slates, and a fifth had a runoff. Here are the most notable results:

  • President: This is the first set of primary results in a while where Nikki Haley did not have a decent showing, although that comes with a bit of an asterisk. Trump took 84.9% of the vote in Kentucky, which is very red in presidential elections, to 6.4% for Haley. And Haley was not on the ballot in Oregon, so Trump won by default there.

    As to Joe Biden, he got 71.3% of the vote in Kentucky, as compared to 17.9% for uncommitted, 6.1% for Marianne Williamson and 4.8% for Dean Phillips. And in Oregon, he got 88.4% of the vote, as compared to 6.8% for Williamson and 4.7% for write-in candidates. We don't know exactly who was voting for all those other options in Kentucky, but the type of folks Kentucky Democrats tend to be (i.e., centrists) are voters Biden really needs. So, while he's never going to win Kentucky, the result there is a little concerning for him.

  • GA-02: There were 28 House seats on yesterday's ballots (29 if you count the runoff in California). Of those, only 4 seats are actually competitive. And the only competitive seat from yesterday that is NOT in Oregon is the D+3 GA-02. There, Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) will have to wait for a runoff to see which Republican between Wayne Johnson (44.4% of the vote) and Chuck Hand (32.1%) he will face. Johnson is running a more polished campaign, and is a bit Trumpier. Hand is running a blue-collar, bargain-basement campaign, and is also plenty Trumpy. Anyhow, we will learn on June 18 what happens when the GOP picks between their Johnson and their Hand. Either way, Bishop has been winning elections here since 1992 (15 in total), so he'll be the overwhelming favorite, despite the competitive nature of the district.

  • OR-04: Rep. Val Hoyle (D-OR) had a long career in Oregon state politics (and activism) before winning this D+4 seat back in 2022. Her opponent will be Monique DeSpain, whose main issue is border security. After all, it's only about 200 miles from the Canadian border to Oregon; we assume those hordes of maple-syrup-carrying 'Nades are what she's on about. Her website also lists 16 other priorities, none of which has anything to do with abortion access. We therefore have a pretty good guess as to what issue Hoyle will campaign on, and we also don't think that this seat is particularly in danger.

  • OR-05: This race, by contrast, will be a battle royale. OR-05 is D+2, and it's currently held by Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who first won it in 2022 and who was unopposed yesterday. The Democratic establishment really, really wanted state Rep. Janelle Bynum, who is Black and moderate, and they got her over the more progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who lost to Chavez-DeRemer in 2022. The final tally was 69.8% for Bynum to 30.2% for McLeod-Skinner.

    For reasons we cannot quite discern, virtually every story about this race notes, often in the headline, that in addition to her public service, Bynum owns four McDonald's locations. We guess that means she has something in common with Donald Trump, namely that they are both fans of Big Macs. Of course, there's also one big difference between them, too—Bynum's business actually makes money.

  • OR-06: The last competitive seat is the D+4 OR-06, currently held by Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-OR), who cruised to victory with 88% of the vote. Like the holders of the other competitive Oregon seats, she first won in 2022. She will be opposed by Mike Erickson, who won the Republican primary easily, with 75% of the vote. He lost this seat by 2.5 points in 2022, and he lost two other runs for the House before that.

    Erickson is also basing his campaign around border control, and while we joked about Canadians above, the fact is that Oregon has a serious fentanyl problem. If a person buys the largely dishonest argument (which both Erickson and DeSpain are making) that the fentanyl is being smuggled across the border by undocumented immigrants, then Oregon does indeed have a border security problem. But the truth is that 86% of fentanyl is smuggled by U.S. citizens, and 96% comes through legal border entry points. The image of a brown-skinned man sprinting across the Sonoran Desert with a backpack full of fentanyl might make for good propaganda, but it has virtually nothing to do with reality. Still, there are plenty of reality-challenged people out there, aided by the Foxes and Newsmaxes of the world, so this one could end up being competitive, as it was 2 years ago.

  • CA-20: CA-20, by contrast, is R+16, and is not competitive at all. In fact, because of the way California does things, it was a Republican vs. Republican runoff for the seat that had been held by Kevin McCarthy. As expected, McCarthy's preferred candidate Vince Fong won in a walk, with 60.1% of the vote to 39.9% for Mike Boudreaux. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) will have a majority of 5 (218-213) once Fong is sworn in.

  • Fulton County DA: It would seem that the Democratic voters of Fulton County have no concerns about DA Fani Willis, as they handed her a crushing victory in her primary over progressive challenger Christian Wise Smith, 87% to 13%. Given how blue the voter base is, she will win a second term easily.

  • Georgia Superior Court: Similarly, Judge Scott McAfee won a full 4-year term yesterday, dispatching Robert Patillo, 83% to 17%. The election was ostensibly nonpartisan, but it is no secret that McAfee is a moderate Republican and Patillo is a fairly liberal Democrat. In any case, if McAfee's handling of the Trump election fraud case was being affected in any way by political concerns, then those are now in abeyance.

That's it for now. The next big night on the election calendar is June 4, when Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota will have full-blown primaries, while Iowans will vote for U.S. House candidates and D.C. will hold its Democratic presidential primary. (Z)

Trump, Biden Will Debate Twice

Last week, of course, Joe Biden and Donald Trump agreed to hold two presidential debates, one in June and one in September. There will also be a vice-presidential debate in July, which Kamala Harris has agreed to attend. Presumably, her Republican counterpart will agree as well, once that person's identity is known.

To start, be clear that Biden absolutely rolled Trump on this one. Trump has been calling loudly for debates, while Biden has been cautious. When the President finally announced the terms on which he was willing to debate, Trump quickly pounced, and in so doing, gave away the store to Biden. Specifically, the Biden campaign required that the debate host be an outlet that has hosted a Democratic and a Republican candidates' debate in the last two cycles (a list that actually only includes four outlets—ABC, CBS, CNN and Telemundo). In addition, Trump had to agree that there will be a kill switch on the microphones and no audience. These are all perfectly reasonable requirements for a presidential debate, but they also take away major Trump advantages.

Note also the scheduling for the first debate: June 27. When Biden first threw down the gauntlet, he included a little trolling, suggesting that he and Trump meet up on a Wednesday because "I hear you have Wednesdays free." Ouch. Of course, Trump's New York trial will be over by then, but he could well be just weeks removed from having been declared a felon. Not great timing for him, to say the least. (And in case you're wondering, June 27 is actually a Thursday).

You can tell that the Trump campaign knows they got rolled because they commenced all sorts of shenanigans trying to even the score. Daughter-in-law and RNC Vice-Chair Lara Trump has been on any outlet that will have her, complaining the debates are rigged. Both Trump, and members of his campaign, have proposed that Biden should have to take a drug test before debating (presumably to prove Biden's taking Adderall). Trump also promptly agreed to a third debate, on Fox on October 10. Don't expect Biden to RSVP for, or show up for, that one.

There is some talk that Biden finally accepted the debate invitation because he's doing poorly in polls, and he's desperate. That's certainly possible, but we really don't buy it. When you are still almost 6 months from the election, and the polls are close, it really isn't time for Hail Mary passes. We are inclined to think that, unless Biden was WAY ahead (a condition that is nearly impossible in presidential politics these days), he was going to debate, because the debates are more likely to help him than hurt him (keep reading for why we think so).

In any case, the June 27 debate will be the earliest presidential debate ever held (keeping in mind that presidential debates are a relatively new phenomenon). We suspect this will set a new template for the presidential debate schedule; holding three of them in close proximity to each other and to the election doesn't make a lot of sense. Having one in June, and then having the conventions in July and August, and then having another in September is a lot kinder to the public's attention span, and also allows the candidates to show change over time.

The host of the first debate, incidentally, will be CNN, which has already picked Jake Tapper and Dana Bash as moderators. That same duo moderated the Republican candidates' debate in Iowa in January of this year (Trump was not present, of course). Here is our assessment of their performance:

Speaking of the moderators, Dana Bash and Jake Tapper were a little better than what we've seen in the past four debates, but not by much. They, like their predecessors, often struggled to maintain order, with the result that there were many occasions when the two candidates were shouting over each other. On top of that, some of the questions were good, but some were very, very poor. For example, the moderators asked DeSantis if he believes Haley is sufficiently pro-life, and [Nikki] Haley if she believes that [Gov. Ron] DeSantis [(R-FL)] is sufficiently pro-life. What value do such questions have? There is NO WAY either of them is going to say: "Yes, my opponent is very strongly pro-life; I really admire them for that." And so, the question might just as well be: Please spend 90 seconds attacking your opponent on the issue of abortion. What does that have to do with "debating" or "journalism" or anything other than egging the candidates on?

Because of the rules used to winnow down the field, there were only two people on stage that night, Haley and DeSantis. We hope that the benefit of that experience, plus the mics with kill switches, plus the lack of audience, will allow Tapper and Bash to do better this time. The second debate will be hosted by ABC, incidentally, and moderated by David Muir and Linsey Davis. They're rookies, so they better take lots of notes on June 27.

And now, let's address the questions about the debates we asked of readers:

Which debate(s) do you expect to watch?

Among the readers 66.8% said they expected to watch both, while an additional 8.1% expected to watch at least one of them.

Obviously, the readers of this site are particularly interested in, and attuned to, politics, and the general public's interest will be nowhere near that high. That said, we think the debates will draw very good ratings, even if they involve two of the best-known presidential candidates in history. There are some pretty big storylines involved (e.g., "Is Biden senile?" and maybe "How will Trump deal with being a felon?"). Plus, the fact that there are only two debates, and they are months apart, will reduce the weariness factor by a bunch.

Which debate(s) do you expect to actually happen?

Only 25.4% of readers think that both debates will happen, while 27.6% think only the June one will happen, and 6.4% think only the September one will happen. Nearly 40% think that neither will take place.

Our thinking is that Trump has boxed himself in here, and it will be very difficult for him to weasel his way out of the June debate. However, when and if the June debate happens, and when and if Trump does poorly, he could absolutely claim that he was treated unfairly and that he won't be at any future debates. So, we're with the 27.6% who think June only is the likeliest outcome.

Do you think the debates will affect the election?

Among the readers, 20.4% said "yes, and maybe a lot," while 42% said "yes, but only a little," and 17.9% said "maybe yes, maybe no. That means that roughly 80% of readers allow for the possibility that the debates will affect the election.

We think that is absolutely right, in part because we think interest will be high, and in part for reasons we will address in the next answer. Had we been answering the survey, we would have been in the 20.4% who allowed for the possibility of a major effect. That said, when a race is very close, even a small effect is de facto a big effect.

Which candidate is more likely to benefit from the debates?

The great majority of readers (74%) think that the debates are more likely to help Biden. Only 4.4% think they are more likely to help Trump. The rest don't know or don't think the debates will move the needle.

We recognize that the readership of this site skews pretty Democratic, but we think that this is not really a partisan question, and that the readers are right that this is more likely to help Biden than Trump. We've thought a fair bit about this, and we have four reasons we believe that is the case.

First, both Trump and Biden have age/loss of mental acuity as a liability. However, our observation has been that, in reality, Trump has a more serious problem than Biden does. Meanwhile, thanks to the right-wing (and even, sometimes, the non-right-wing) media machine, Biden has a worse reputation on this front than Trump does. Add it up, and it will be easier for Biden to impress, and easier for Trump to disappoint, we think.

Second, Biden is considerably more disciplined than Trump. The President may stutter, and he may even misspeak, but he is unlikely to say anything truly awful or stupid. Trump, on the other hand, often issues forth with really problematic stuff (see below for an example from yesterday). Put succinctly, Trump is much more likely to have a "macaca" moment than Biden.

Third, and on a somewhat related point, there are obviously going to be questions from the moderators (and possibly from the general public). We went through the questions that readers suggested for each candidate, and picked out 10 toughies that each of them might actually get (sorry, we don't believe a debate moderator would ask Biden "Why are you such a coward?" or Trump "Why are you such a poopoo-faced doody head?"). Anyhow, here is the list for Biden:

  • Your support of Israel seems to be mixed. Please explain where you stand.
  • Your reputation with young voters has become toxic. How do you expect to repair it?
  • You're really, really old. What are your plans for supporting the next generation of leaders within the Democratic Party?
  • How will your administration address income inequality in America?
  • You say that reducing inflation is a top priority. How do you square that with your pursuit of tariffs?
  • You said one term. What gives?
  • You know the border is a major issue. Why haven't you done anything to mitigate people's fears?
  • Would you support forgivable loans to small businesses whose owners did not attend college?
  • What mistake or mistakes can you admit you made as president, and how would you change?
  • Your opponent has painted you as a criminal mastermind, pulling off the heist of the century by stealing the 2020 election, while simultaneously saying you are a sleepy and senile, doddering old fool. Please tell us which of these characterizations we should believe.

There are some VERY difficult questions there. But they are foreseeable, we think, and are manageable. There aren't too many where Biden is at risk of really shooting himself in the foot.

And now, the list of Trump questions:

  • Your position on abortion is to allow the states to establish their own laws. So you support Louisiana, which has no exceptions for rape and incest, and criminalizes the procedure?
  • Your mismanagement of the COVID pandemic response led to an excess mortality of about 800,000 Americans. Why should the American people entrust someone whose demonstrated history of mismanagement led to more American deaths than all wars of the last 75 years to handle our next crisis?
  • You've said that Hunter Biden should be arrested for profiting off of his father's presidency. Should your children face charges for profiting off of your presidency?
  • You said you would be a dictator on day one. Tell us how you would run the country like a dictator.
  • You promised to replace Obamacare with "something terrific". What exactly was that?
  • You are again running on the 2016 slogan "Make America Great Again," implying you did not achieve this in your first term in office. Why would a second term be any different?
  • You accuse people who do not support you of all kinds of "isms." Can you define what "communism" and what "fascism" are?
  • Will you pardon yourself if elected?
  • Who won the 2020 presidential election?
  • Your signature issue for your first term was border security. You have been quoted as saying you created the "most secure border in American history" when you left office, but since then you've been consistent that the border is completely insecure now under the Biden administration. Is this an acknowledgment that the money spent building a wall didn't work, since those miles of wall are still there, and haven't been removed? What would you change in terms of your future border security policy that would "fix the problem" and would persist from your administration to a subsequent Democratic administration?

We think there are a LOT more landmines there. And that would be true even if the candidate was someone fairly disciplined and fairly intelligent, like Ron DeSantis or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Trump does not like to prepare for debates, and he also tends to lose his temper. We see a much greater chance of a disastrous answer, or non-answer. For example, even if he dodges a 2020 election winner question, it still reminds voters of his (very unpopular) position on the subject.

Finally, we think that it's a problem for Trump that the debates will remind people about who he really is. There appear to be some rose-colored-glasses when it comes to looking back at his presidency, with some people apparently forgetting some of the most unpleasant parts of it. And since he left office, he really hasn't had a megaphone. He was kicked off the big social media platforms, and a great many Americans don't follow his boutique platform OR the breathless reporting of the latest outrageous thing he said on there, or the latest outrageous thing he said after his trial. Since Biden, by virtue of the bully pulpit, does have a megaphone, this dynamic is much less likely to apply to him.

In short, we are not saying it's a certainty that the debates will work for Biden or against Trump. But we were also not the slightest bit surprised that readers were nearly 17 times more likely to think the debates will work in Biden's favor than in Trump's favor.

Would you like to see Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on stage?

There was more consensus on this question than any other. Only 5.9% of readers want to hear from RFK Jr., while 85.6% do not, and the rest don't care or don't know.

A new poll yesterday from Harvard CAPS/Harris gives the impression that most Americans want RFK Jr. there. However, note that is with the caveat that he, and any other third-party candidates who get an invite, should "clear a viable threshold." Exactly what that means to each respondent is not clear. However, CNN actually has established a threshold, and it's that a candidate has to be on enough state ballots that they are mathematically able to win the presidency. In other words, 270 EVs' worth of state ballots. Kennedy is not likely to clear that hurdle by June, but he probably will by September. So, if the September debate goes forward, the people who would like to hear from the son of Bobby will probably get their wish.

We share the readers' overwhelming sentiment that he brings nothing useful to the table. His only interest is in getting attention for his kooky ideas and trying to boost his fundraising take.

And there you have it. T-minus-36 days and counting. (Z)

Trump Legal News: The Trial (Day 20)

If you don't like reading items about Donald Trump, well, this is not your day. Here are the main storylines from the final day of testimony in his criminal fraud trial:

  • The Defense Rests: As expected, the defense concluded its case after finishing with its second witness, Robert Costello (the first, Daniel Sitko, appeared so briefly that he isn't even mentioned in most news stories).

    Anyhow, this means two things. First, Donald Trump obviously did not testify on his own behalf. Remember that the next time he pretends like he wants to testify and he's going to testify. After all, the lawyers work for him, and if he insists on taking the stand, he wins.

    Second, Costello is thus the defense's main witness, and he wasn't a very good one, for a number of reasons. By all accounts, he wasn't very credible. Also, he was ultimately speaking to a relatively trivial element of the overall case. And, as The New York Times' Maggie Haberman pointed out, the fact that Costello caused the courtroom to be cleared because he couldn't act like an adult was not a good look for Team Trump. Taken in total, Trump's defense team ended on a sour note, and likely left a bad taste in jurors' mouths. They almost certainly would have been better off resting when the prosecution did, and mounting no defense at all.

  • Jury Instructions: Once the testimony was complete, then it was time for the jury to go home for the day, and for Judge Juan Merchan and the lawyers to discuss the jury instructions. Naturally, both sides want to squeeze a bunch of stuff in there that would steer the jury in their particular direction. However, Team Trump was considerably more aggressive about this, and managed to aggravate Merchan yet again. In particular, the defense has tried over and over to sneak in an argument that Trump was effectively acting on advice of counsel, and so can't be blamed if illegal stuff happened. Merchan has said "no" multiple times, and he refused to include a jury instruction along those lines, telling Trump lawyer Emil Bove: "My answer hasn't changed, and honestly I find it a little disingenuous for you to make this argument again."

  • Trump Declares Victory: Yesterday, Trump told reporters that "We have a phenomenal case. We've won the case by any standard; any other judge would have thrown this case, any other judge would have thrown this case out." Recall that he showed this same sort of overconfidence before losing the civil fraud trial, the first E. Jean Carroll case, the second E. Jean Carroll case, etc., so consider what he's really communicating here.

  • Trump the Bigot: Trump hates to be held to account by anyone, but he particularly hates it when the person holding him to account is not a male of European descent. And yesterday, he finally unleashed the racist anger that has undoubtedly been building in him for weeks and weeks, declaring: "The judge hates Donald Trump. Just take a look. Take a look at him. Take a look at where he comes from. He can't stand Donald Trump. He's doing everything in his power." "Where he comes from," of course, is Colombia. Also note that Trump is increasingly referring to himself in the third-person, like a monarch. What's next? "We are not amused?"

  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Biggest A**-Kisser of All?: Aspirational Trumpublicans are running out of time to score brownie points with cheap stunts. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who desperately wants to be Trump's running mate, filed an ethics complaint against Merchan yesterday, because she claims his Democratic strategist daughter would benefit from a finding of "guilty." This is the fifth time Stefanik has tried this stunt against various judges who she thinks were mean to Trump; the previous four were all dismissed.

    Meanwhile, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) didn't think of a way to abuse the judicial process to score points with Trump, but he did join the throngs of GOP officeholders who are making the pilgrimage to New York. And in Nehls' remarks to reporters, he repeated the various talking points about unfair, election interference, conspiracy, blah blah, and then said there are only two people who draw huge crowds of rabid followers to their events: Trump and the Pope. Why don't these Trumpers just get on with it, and officially proclaim the Evangelical Apostolic Prosperity Gospel Church of Trump, helmed by Supreme Pontiff Donald I? That would REALLY boost fundraising.

As expected, the jury won't hear closing statements until Tuesday of next week. Those are going to take one day, and then the jurors will have the case. So, we will presumably have a resolution by the end of next week, but not too much more news on this front this week. (Z)

Trump's Troubles, Part I: More Classified Documents Were Found in Florida

Thanks to a 2023 decision from U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell that was unsealed yesterday, we now know that 4 months after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago for classified documents, an additional four documents marked "classified" were found in Trump's personal bedroom. The decision also contained a note that a Trump employee scanned a bunch of classified documents and stored them on a laptop that belonged to Save America PAC.

Will this affect Trump's case? We suppose that depends on whether or not it ever gets to trial. But it certainly adds to the weight of the evidence that this was no accident, and that Trump knew exactly what he was doing. In fact, it pretty clearly suggests there was some sort of criminal intent, since what innocuous purpose could there possibly be in sharing the documents with a political action committee?

What this story definitely tells us is that the government really has no idea exactly what documents Trump took, and no idea whether he's still got originals, or copies, or if other people/entities have copies. It is entirely plausible that, say, Vladimir Putin could have classified materials that went from the Trump White House to Mar-a-Lago to someone like Sebastian Gorka to the Kremlin, and the government would be none the wiser. This is why Trump's behavior is such a problem, though again, we'll see if he ever pays a price for it. (Z)

Trump's Troubles, Part II: Open Mouth, Insert Foot

And now something that could very well cost Trump—not in court, but at the ballot box. Somehow, some way, a local reporter in Pittsburgh, Jon Delano, landed an interview with the former president. And Delano asked whether Trump supports restrictions on a person's access to contraception. Trump's reply:

We're looking at that, and I'm going to have a policy on that very shortly, and I think it's something you'll find interesting. I think it's a smart decision. We'll be releasing it very soon.

Asked to clarify if he does support some restrictions, Trump said: "You know, also, things really do have a lot to do with the states, and some states are going to have different policy than others." That is obviously a "yes" without using the word "yes."

It is also obviously a really stupid thing to say, politically. Restrictions on abortion access are unpopular enough, but restrictions on contraceptives? That's a whole other level of unpopular. Clearly, someone got to Trump (or, at least, to his "Truth" Social account) in an attempt to clean up the mess, with the following message sent out under his name:


Yes, it's a Democrat-fabricated lie, based on... actual footage of Trump saying these things. Footage that the Biden campaign has already posted to social media.

Trump's got several problems here. The first is the existence of the footage. The second is that he's now committed to releasing a policy statement, and no matter what that statement says, it's going to alienate some voters. The third is that we all know what he really meant; he's not planning to go after contraception, but he's absolutely planning to support states that go after abortifacient pills.

This is almost certainly the most problematic issue for Trump, and his continued flailing around does not suggest he's ever going to be able to tame it. Maybe, by taking 20 different positions, he can avoid being pinned to any one. Or maybe, by taking 20 different positions, it will become crystal clear that he'll do whatever he thinks will keep his base happy, which then means even more draconian restrictions on reproductive choice. (Z)

Trump's Troubles, Part III: "The Apprentice" (The Movie)

As many readers will have heard, the world now has its first Trump biopic. It's called The Apprentice, and it was just screened at Cannes, where it was well-received. That title may give the impression that it's about Trump's career as a TV personality, but it is not. It is about the early days of Trump's business career, and his relationship with mentor (and sleazeball) Roy Cohn. In other words, the title references Trump himself, not his TV show.

We have not seen the film, and we do not want to see the film, although by the nature of our work, we may have to see the film. It is not unlike the 5 hours of torture that (Z), as a Civil War historian, was forced to submit himself to when the godawful Gods & Generals came out. That said, even without seeing it, we already know there are two particular sequences that are especially unflattering to Trump. The first is a sex scene with then-wife Ivana that is clearly meant to suggest rape. The second is a sequence that jumps back and forth between Cohn's funeral and a doctor's office, implying that Trump skipped the funeral (which he did) so that he could get liposuction and a scalp reduction to reduce the size of his bald spot (which he also did, but not on the day of the funeral).

Could this film affect Trump politically? Maybe. Images are powerful things, and while the True Believers are going to dismiss the movie as lies, it could serve to remind fence-sitters of some of the more vulgar elements of Trump's character. That said, people have to actually see the movie for that to happen. And Trump, who has apparently never heard of the Streisand effect, is doing his very best to help out on that front, threatening to sue the filmmakers for defamation.

The bar for defamation of a public figure is impossibly high, particularly in a medium like film, where it's baked in that certain liberties will be taken for dramatic purposes. So, we doubt Trump actually will sue, since he's already got more legal bills than he can handle. And if he does sue, it's not going to go anywhere. But just the threat is going to create some buzz and some curiosity, and maybe some of the people Trump doesn't want seeing the film will get to the theater as a result. (Z)

Spain, Norway and Ireland to Recognize Palestine

This news broke very late on Tuesday (at least, for people living in the U.S.), but the nations of Spain, Norway and Ireland announced yesterday that they will formally recognize Palestine on May 28. Slovenia and Malta may jump on board, too, so the number of U.N. members who formally recognize Palestine will rise from 143 to somewhere between 146 and 148. That's out of 193 total U.N. member states.

As always, this is not our field of expertise. But this development suggests two things to us: (1) Israel, and more specifically the Netanyahu administration, continue to lose the PR battle, and (2) the world is slowly lining up behind a two-state solution. A two-state solution does not appear to be especially viable right now, it is true, but history also shows that what the world wants, the world generally gets. In particular, if the U.S. and U.K. announce that it's "two states, or no more aid to Israel," then that would probably seal the deal, especially since most of the European holdouts (like France) would likely fall in line. How close the U.S. and U.K. actually are to doing something like that, well, readers' guesses are as good as ours. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
May21 Trump Legal News: The Trial (Day 19)
May21 Lots of News from the Middle East
May21 Who Is Winning the Money Race?
May21 Trump Has Identified an Ideal AG Candidate
May21 TMTG Is Losing Money Hand Over Fist
May21 Today's Sports Report
May21 Today's Presidential Polls
May20 Unhappy Birthday, Rudy
May20 Is Nevada in Play This Year?
May20 Trump Wants a Third Term
May20 Judge Merchan Will Soon Be on the Spot
May20 Trump: RFK Jr. Is a Fake Anti-Vaxxer
May20 Trump's Top Two Expenses Are Fundraising and Legal Fees
May20 Trump May Help the Democrats Capture the Governor's Mansion in Florida in 2026
May20 Republicans Think That If Biden Wins, They Will Lose the House
May20 Today's Presidential Polls
May19 Sunday Mailbag
May18 Dow Closes Above 40,000 for the First Time Ever
May18 Not Again, Sam
May18 Saturday Q&A
May17 Trump Legal News: The Trial (Day 18)
May17 In Congress: This Week in Performative Politics
May17 The Supreme Court: Just a Minute There, Fifth Circuit
May17 Abbott: From 25 Years Down to 1
May17 I Read the News Today, Oh Boy: Heat of the Moment
May17 This Week in Schadenfreude: Giuliani about to Lose a Second Job
May17 This Week in Freudenfreude: Living in the 18th Century
May16 There Will Be a Debate?
May16 LA-06 Is Back in Black
May16 Who's Gonna Win This Thing?, Part II: Keep an Eye on William Davis
May16 Who's Gonna Win This Thing?, Part III: A Poll Gone Mad
May16 Who's Gonna Win This Thing?, Part IV: Lichtman Makes His Pick
May16 Mitt Romney: Hey, Don't Forget I'm Tone Deaf, Too!
May15 Results Are in from Maryland, West Virginia and Nebraska
May15 Trump Legal News: The Trial (Day 17)
May15 And Don't Forget the Other Crooks
May15 Another $1 Billion in Arms for Israel
May15 Who's Gonna Win This Thing?, Part I: The Siena Poll
May15 Carter "Coming to the End"
May15 Today's Presidential Polls
May14 Trump Legal News: The Trial (Day 16)
May14 Voters Head to the Polls in Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia
May14 Uncovered, Part I: Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti
May14 Uncovered, Part II: Brain Food
May14 Where is RFK Jr. on the Ballot?
May14 House Republicans Tee Up Israel Bomb Bill
May14 They Doth Protest Too Much, Wethinks
May14 Today's Presidential Polls
May13 Netanyahu Is Losing...
May13 ...But What Does That Mean for Biden?