Biden 243
image description
Ties 15
Trump 280
image description
Click for Senate
Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description
  • Strongly Dem (138)
  • Likely Dem (57)
  • Barely Dem (48)
  • Exactly tied (15)
  • Barely GOP (40)
  • Likely GOP (139)
  • Strongly GOP (101)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2020 2016 2012
New polls: (None)
the Dem pickups vs. 2020: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2020: GA ME NV PA
Political Wire logo Biden Has No Plan to Touch the Alito Controversy
Trump Urged to Pick Establishment Running Mate
Justice Dept Keeps Airing Biden Family’s Dirty Laundry
Biden Indirectly Rebukes Trump at West Point
Trump Ally Urges Senate GOP to Punt Funding Fight
John Fetterman Keeps Picking Fights With the Left

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Sunday Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag

Today might be a record for the number of different subsections.

Politics: The 2024 Presidential Election

D.P. in Oakland, CA, writes: It's so great that you opened last week's mailbag with the comment from P.A. in Columbus: Perspective from a young adult in Ohio is a rare treat for this 75-year-old in Oakland. But I think it's possible that different messages resonate with different constituencies. For example, the Biden "anti-Trump" message plays well out here. While not so important in terms of Biden carrying the state of California, it may motivate otherwise lazy Democrats in critical California House districts to get off the couch in November, even if entirely different messaging may be key to the youth vote in Ohio. If Biden even makes it on the ballot there.

A.M.S. in Silverdale, WA, writes: I think this is one of the Lincoln Project's better new ads:

K.R. in Austin, TX, writes: I understand what the numbers for the economy say, and I think they're accurate. However, I have a feeling that the unemployment rate is currently benefiting from lower-paid jobs and not from higher-paying jobs. That's not necessarily bad, but it may have something to do with why a lot of Democrats think unemployment is high. I haven't seen so many people who work in technology unemployed since around 2008-09. Perhaps those people could technically work, if they wanted, in a restaurant. However, working at a job that pays 1/4 of what one is used to certainly doesn't feel like high employment.

The prices from high inflation didn't go down. They are just going up at a slower rate. Most people don't seem like they're used to the higher prices, and it hasn't been that long since the prices jumped. Also, now that I'm older, I understand more why my parents would complain about how high prices were. I think our brains often get a number in our head about what something costs, and it's constantly a surprise to see the higher price, even after years of higher prices. I remember when a hamburger cost $1 and now it's often $8-10. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

I'm not blaming Joe Biden and I'm going to vote for him. I just understand why, to me, unemployment feels exceptionally high and prices seem exceptionally high despite any specific numbers.

C.T.P. in Lancaster, PA, writes: President Biden may benefit from lower gas prices.

Just read about this on Yahoo Business: "Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the beginning of summer driving season—and thus higher gas prices due to demand. But gas prices are going the other way and supply is outpacing demand as inventory accumulates."

J.H. in Venice, FL, writes: In your item "Haley Caves," you used the term "sane Republicans." Are there any left? Most, like me, left the party eons ago, when it became clear that the party had lost its mind and had fallen in line behind TFG.

P.M. in Edenton, NC, writes: With Nikki Haley now endorsing Donald Trump, I am highly disappointed, and honestly do not know who to vote for in this election. I consider myself a centrist who leans to the right, and voted for her in the primary—she seemed to be the most "sane" choice, and was saying all the right things when she was attacking Trump. Now, she too has kowtowed to him. I will not follow her advice to vote for Trump.

I long for the days of reasonable Republicans—folks like Peter Meijer, who was also ousted by a Trumpist. Will those days ever return? And, if they do, where do people like me go in the interim?

F.C. in DeLand, FL, writes: Today, after the business meeting of the Libertarian National Convention ended, I went upstairs to listen to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. talk to the delegates. He apparently did his research, and focused his comments on governmental overreach and on (perceived) violations of the First Amendment. It was like throwing red meat to the delegates that attended the speech.

In the part of the convention site where vendors and other groups were able to buy table space, there were two separate groups supporting Kennedy's campaign. So there's at least some group of self-identified Libertarians who support his candidacy. (No, I'm not part of those Libertarians.)

I didn't attend the entire Kennedy speech. First, he started speaking while the business meeting was going on. Second, there was a meeting I had to attend while he was still talking, so I had to leave. But from the part of the speech that I heard, in addition to pushing the Amendments to the Constitution in general, he also spent time specifically outlining what Donald Trump did that (he claimed) violated the Constitution.

He moved on from that to support for Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, calling them both heroes. This also got a lot of support from the audience (including myself; I am a Libertarian, after all). From there he questioned how Trump will respond to his accusations about ignoring the Constitution during his upcoming debate with Trump.

Then Kennedy moved on to attacking Joe Biden. Primarily he talked about the pressure on the social media companies in censoring speech. (Again, nice targeting to his audience.)

He moved on to talk about the Milgram experiment, and claimed that those subjects who refused to perform immoral acts were (obviously) predecessors to Libertarians. I suppose that complimenting people is a good way to get their votes.

It was really interesting how much Kennedy was willing to target his speech to his audience. If he had decided to try to get the LP nomination, he might have succeeded. The party has had a tendency of picking candidates less for their orthodoxy and more for their national footprint.

In addition to his targeting his speech to his audience, the other thing I couldn't help noticing was his voice. While you've often mentioned issues with Gov. Ron DeSantis's (R-FL) voice, I never really had a problem listening to his tone. But I think you've understated the issues with Kennedy's voice. The longer Kennedy spoke, the more my ears hurt. I'm not sure Americans really want to listen to that if he ever gets that bully pulpit.

C.Z. in New York City, NY, writes: "We share the readers' overwhelming sentiment that [Kennedy] brings nothing useful to the table [when it comes to the debates]. His only interest is in getting attention for his kooky ideas and trying to boost his fundraising take."

I think this mischaracterizes RFK Jr. He is not in it to scam people because he's greedy. That's Trump. RFK Jr. has delusions of grandeur because of who he's related to. He is running because he thinks he was destined to be POTUS and save us all. His kooky ideas will get attention and he will raise money, but that's incidental... not what's driving him, I think. Trump is the cult leader that RFK Jr. desperately wants to become.

Politics: Signs of the Times

K.F.K. in CleElum, WA, writes: L.H. in Claremont wrote that they had made numerous trips back and forth across the country and saw no Trump signs. I wish I could say the same. I live in a small town in eastern Washington state and I cannot leave the house and go anywhere without seeing a Trump flag, a signboard congratulating Trump and telling me he was "right," whatever that means, and then, several more lawn signs. This is what greets me every time I want to get groceries, go to church or just escape for a hike in the mountains. In no way am I questioning what L.H. has or hasn't seen but it does boggle my mind that they did not have to witness what I face daily. As I have relatives in Baltimore, I would really love to know some of the cross country routes L.H. took. I would love a break from my local politics.

R.H. in Macungie, PA, writes: We frequently travel the back roads of Pennsyltucky into Amish country. Over the past 8 years we have been treated to scores of Donald Trump signs with only an occasional Joe Biden sign popping up four years ago. Over the past 2 years, the signs have all slowly disappeared and they have not returned. "Trump Alley" is completely free of Trump signs right now. It's also free of Biden signs.

Politics: The Middle East

E.B. in Hannover, NI, Germany, writes: Thank you very much for your very nuanced view on the ICC Prosecutor's application for arrest warrants against Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister. I have carefully read lots of international websites in the aftermath of this, and your approach was—together with an article by a former German federal judge in Der Spiegel—the, shall I say, calmest.

You have often mentioned that for a defendant, if the facts are on your side, pound the facts; if the law is on your side, pound the law; and if neither is on your side, pound the table. For me, this pretty much sums up the reaction of many pro-Israeli sources.

Facts: I have seen no Israeli denial that—as the Prosecutor puts it—Israel's reaction included "cutting off cross-border water pipelines from Israel to Gaza (Gazans' principal source of clean water) for a prolonged period beginning October 9, 2023, and cutting off and hindering electricity supplies from at least October 8, 2023 until today." Early in the war, I have seen claims that there is no real lack of water or fuel but that Hamas uses what is available for its own purposes, not for the civilian population and/or that Israel does not actually provide as many resources to Gaza as to being single-handedly responsible for a lack of resources in the Gaza Strip. I cannot say if these claims are correct but I find it interesting that this argument is not pursued by the Israeli government at this time.

Law: There are at least two avenues by which the Israeli government can undermine the Prosecutor's case; the first is jurisdictional, the other one is based on complementarity. Yes, the Prosecutor and the Pre-Trial Chamber have determined that Palestine is a "state" under the Rome Statute (the founding document of the ICC) but I would be surprised if the Trial Chamber (if it ever comes to a trial against Israeli officials—or Hamas terrorists, for that matter) would not investigate the jurisdictional aspect independently again. This is a longshot, but if Palestine were not a "state" under the Rome Statute there would be no jurisdiction for the ICC to prosecute Israeli government officials (or Hamas terrorists) in this situation. Israel also claims that the principle of complementarity has not been taken into account. Complementarity would, however, require a genuine investigation of Israeli authorities into the material accusations made against Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant (not just the possibility of that happening at some point in the future). The attorney general of Israel has recently found the accusations to be "baseless" but there was no talk of a genuine investigation. If and when such a genuine investigation happens, complementarity may kick in but not earlier. Anyway, none of these avenues have been heavily used (yet) to defend the Israeli officials against the warrant application.

Table: If people had read the Prosecutor's statement they would have seen—as you rightly point out—that there is no equivalence claim made by him whatsoever. It is the very essence of his job description to investigate possible crimes independently and not to allow alleged crimes from one side to cancel out allegedly not-quite-that-bad acts from another side. Of course, none of the decisions (of the ICC Prosecutor or the ICJ, a separate court) in the last week determine that Israel is not allowed to defend itself against Hamas. Nonetheless, the Israeli government continues to claim that. The ICC Prosecutor and the ICJ do not take issue with the fact that Israel defends itself, but with the manner in which it does so.

Having praised your article, I disagree with your statement that the ICC Prosecutor's move "will never have any real teeth." You are right that an application for an arrest warrant is not yet the real thing but if the Pre-Trial Chamber actually issues an arrest warrant against Netanyahu, that will make it politically difficult for most European countries to welcome him (without arresting him). European countries have been instrumental in founding the International Criminal Court. They have—wrongfully, in my view—been accused of only "allowing" prosecution of African warlords and anti-Western leaders like Vladimir Putin. The European countries know they must not destroy their credibility with respect to international justice just because they don't like the ICC prosecuting one of their allies.

I guess the United States would use an ICC arrest warrant against the Israeli prime minister as a reason to double down on its opposition against international justice represented by the ICC and still welcome Netanyahu. Among most other Western nations, however, the Israeli prime minister (not necessarily Israel) would probably be isolated. Can you imagine Justin Trudeau or Emmanuel Macron or Keir Starmer (by that time) or Olaf Scholz shaking hands in a friendly manner with (or delivering potentially offensive weapons to) a fugitive from the very court that Canada, France, the United Kingdom and Germany helped found? I cannot, but I can imagine that it will influence European decision-making towards Israel for as long as Netanyahu is Prime Minister, and that's real teeth for me.

J.H. in Westcliff-on-Sea, England, UK, writes: I read the item "Lots of News from the Middle East" with interest and my curiosity was piqued by this sentence: "Congressional Republicans are fuming, and are talking about yanking all U.S. funding for the ICC." Since the U.S. is not a State Party to the Rome Statute that governs the ICC, I was surprised that there would be any U.S. funding for the ICC.

So, I pulled the latest budget and checked. The U.S. does not provide any direct funding to the ICC—its only contribution is that it does not levy tax on the salaries of employees of the court working within the U.S. (standard practice for international civil servants), which the Court calculates deprived the U.S. treasury of a whopping €65,000. So the Congressional Republicans seem to have their usual grip on reality, and can eliminate that funding in their next bill to defund Jewish Space Laser Critical Race Theory Forced Transing of Toddlers.

J.H. in Boston, MA, writes: K.F.G. in Washington, DC wonders about Joe Biden sending the U.S. military with boots on the ground in Gaza to rescue the hostages. You pointed out several logistical issues that could go wrong. But even if Biden had the most expert rescue team available and could be 100% certain no executions or retaliations would take place, he'd still have to consider the political ramifications and optics. Biden is in big trouble with the youth and the left in the US, and his reelection is in doubt, and one of the factors is apparently support for Palestine, and animus toward Biden for his support for Israel.

While I hope to see a safe outcome for all the hostages, Biden sending the U.S. military to the region to side with Israel would be a terrible choice for him politically. U.S. boots on the ground in the Middle East is trouble no matter whose side they're on. But if they had to go, it would have to be not just to fight Hamas, but also to set up and defend a Palestinian state with internationally agreed upon borders. That's the only way it works politically.

But when we consider that, we see immediately that doesn't work at all either. The U.S. cannot make another attempt at nation-building in the Middle East, and of course this would enrage Israel, one of our closest allies, perhaps putting us on a course to war.

There are no solutions here that involve U.S. boots on the ground.

C.S. in Philadelphia, PA, writes: In response to E.J. in Jacksonville, who wrote: "Also, there is a David vs. Goliath aspect to the Palestinian issue, and students are more apt to side with David."

The irony is that David was from the tribe of Judah, while Goliath was a Philistine. As an insult to the (occupied and rebelling) Jews, the Romans would rename their province of Judea to Palestine after the Philistines.

A.G. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: In response to D.L.-O. in North Canaan: I think folks living in the U.S. fundamentally do not understand how smaller countries feel about superpowers. Here is a thinker: Many Egyptians hate Obama for starting the Arab spring. I would venture to say most people on had no idea how he was involved or really heard anything about his involvement. They felt this was his problem to stop and he didn't, resulting in a widespread hatred of Obama and somehow a liking of Trump. The people of Palestine and Israel do not likely see Joe Biden as a casual observer with limited "nudge" ability. If they are anything like Egypt they see him as a kingmaker who can unilaterally create change in the region.

Really, let's not pretend that if Joe Biden announced his recognition of Palestine as a state that it wouldn't change anything.

The politics of the region are incredibly complicated. There are billions of dollars going there in weapons from both sides. There may or may not be some incentive for a conflict to continue from different politicians around the world.

Lastly and most importantly to A.T. in Oviedo, Trump doesn't like Muslims, to put it mildly. He is staunchly pro-Israel and might be happy to help Israel wipe out Gaza. I'm not sure if his isolationism or hatred of Muslims wins out here, but either way Palestine is a goner with him elected. Not voting at all or voting for Trump is a vote sharply against Palestine.

A.T. in Oviedo, FL, writes: D.L.-O. in North Canaan, CT is delusional if they think the U.S. wields limited power over Israel. It is our money, our U.N. veto and our military power that safeguards Israel.

The fact that Joe Biden chooses not to use his power over Israel is not the same as not being able to do so.

F.F. in London, England, UK, writes: I traveled extensively to Saudi Arabia for years, and I'd like to pick up on your comment that the country is run by bad guys.

If you are referring to domestic policy, the story is that of a country is going through an epochal transformation. They and moving from an extractive and cronyistic monarchy set along side a Wahabi religious secret police infrastructure, one the one hand, to a modern Middle Eastern monarchy, on the other. Women can drive, there are concerts, movie theaters, events, etc. Is it a western-style democracy? No... but I think it's a bit unfair to call the current regime bad guys on the domestic record.

In foreign policy, I think they can legitimately be called into question, principally for the campaign against Yemen, which has been a humanitarian disaster. But the United States was very much their joint venture partner in that campaign, establishing a joint planning cell, supplying weapons, which included cluster munitions.

Politics: Presidential Debates

R.S. in San Mateo, CA, writes: Regarding the proposed Donald Trump question: "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?"

This would be a slam dunk for Trump. The obvious answer is that he did make America great again in his first term, but then Joe Biden came along and ruined it. And now Trump has to save the country by doing it again.

M.G. in Newtown, PA, writes: I agree with your premise there are more potential landmines for Trump than Biden in a presidential debate, but the question you presented for Biden on Israel is a softball and I imagine he'll get asked a tougher question (or questions) than that if the moderators are any good at what they're doing.

S.Z. in Parma, OH, writes: Trump will not debate. He promised to investigate and show the documents of Obama's birth. He promised to show his tax returns, but lied about not being allowed. He was brilliant in school, has fine genes, his uncle was a professor at MIT; where are his transcripts? Trump makes promises and extravagant claims, but doesn't back them up. He would have gone into that building if he was there. He knows more about the military than anyone else, but had bone spurs. He would not debate the other repukes for this year's nominations.

He has to be drugged up to be able to perform his stump spiel at his rallies. He can not answer a direct question without blithering nonsense. He demands a drug test for Biden—projection! He wants a debate on Fox. He... this... that... no debate. He has dementia, and it is noticeably progressing. And he sh**s his pants, and does not care.

K.F. in Framingham, MA , writes: I didn't get a chance to complete the survey about the upcoming debates, but this whole debate posturing reminded me of the old computer game, President Elect. I think I've mentioned that game before. The game included a debates feature. The interface was a bit wonky, which involved allocating the percentage of time you wanted to spend on different parts of your response to questions. I also remember that if your candidate was behind in the polls, a strong debate could definitely turn things around and if you were way ahead, there was certainly no incentive to debate.

The other thing about this part of the game was when it came time to decide whether to hold a debate, it was always up to the candidates to agree to debate. At the end of any "week," you could call for a debate and if the other candidate agreed, a debate would almost surely happen. If one or both disagreed, it would not happen. If there was a third-party candidate, all three could agree to debate, or two out of three could agree and only those two would participate. I think the game's algorithm perhaps gave a negligible boost to candidates who called for a debate while others declined. But the game essentially allowed you to pull a Trump. In other words, you could call for a debate anytime, anywhere, then hope that your opponent would never agree to it. If they declined, you may get some brownie points for being willing and eager while they were not. If they accepted, you would both be asked one more time if you agree to debate at that time. That provided you a chance to backpedal without losing face. You benefit somewhat because you called for the debate, but then when push comes to shove and your opponent accepts the challenge, you can bow out at the last minute and invent all manner of excuses as to why the debate could not happen after all. And you can lean on the plausible deniability that you're not scared to debate—because you were the one who first called for one. For this reason, I have my doubts these debates will actually happen. Call it the old Debate and Switch.

Politics: Trump Legal

G.A. In Santa Cruz, CA, writes: There is a critical aspect of the hush-money reimbursements to Michael Cohen that does not seen to be getting any attention. The payments (which are the basis for the charges) all occurred AFTER January 2017, when Donald Trump was "working" in the White House. He claimed that control of Trump organization was turned over to his son Eric at this time. Then why did Donald sign the checks, and not Eric? Seems like this was a special arrangement between Donald, Cohen and Allen Weisselberg that required his signature and did not involve business interests that Eric should have signed off on.

R.S. in Tonawanda, NY, writes: You reported a rant by Trump against Colombian-born Judge Juan Marchan: "Take a look at where he's from," quoth the Mango Mussolini.

Hello...where was Judge Aileen Cannon born? Colombia, of course. Guess she must have come from the good part of Colombia. Or something.

D.K. in New York City, NY, writes: Model jury instructions for criminal trials in New York state courts have been adopted by a statewide judicial committee. The committee regularly meets and updates these instructions. The instructions are based on statutes and appellate case law. Judges do not need to use these model instructions, but they are encouraged to do so. Departing from the model instructions is a big, red flag for the appellate courts. Getting a judge to deviate from the model instructions is very rare and happens mostly when there are advances in technology, the understanding of the human mind, or shifts in appellate caselaw that renders the current charge out dated, imprecise or impractical. I expect Judge Merchan will deliver the jury instructions exactly as they are written in the model instruction.

(V) & (Z) respond: But if so, why spend multiple hours in court discussing the content of the jury instructions?



C.Z. in Sacramento, CA, writes: For those (like me) who may be depressed that Don the Con isn't already in jail and is still running for president, here's a new song from Randy Rainbow to help cheer you up and celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend.

Politics: Undemocratic Maneuvering

L.O.-R. in San Francisco, CA, writes: Regarding the question from J.E. in Boone about whether the call for a constitutional convention is "a right-wing plan to dismantle most of the rights, freedoms, and protections we now enjoy...": I just thought it would be helpful for readers to know that some of the best pro-democracy groups are strongly opposing this initiative for exactly that reason. For example, Common Cause is working actively against the call for a convention. I trust Common Cause far more than the completely gerrymandered, radical, and unrepresentative legislature of North Carolina.

K.J. in Acworth, GA, writes: Trump wants a third term?

The Supreme Court would never rule in Trump's favor on this matter. All it would take is a hint, not even an outright declaration, from Barack Obama that he would run again if allowed. Obama would not have to be serious; just joking about it would give them pause. There's no way an over-80-year-old Trump could beat an under-70-year-old Obama.

A third term for Trump isn't anything I would ever lose sleep over. Who he chooses for his running mate gives me more concern, because I do not think he would live through his second term. He is unhealthy and I doubt he actually listens to any doctor's advice.

Politics: Flags

A.C. in Kingston, MA, writes: I read with interest the exchange between you and my fellow Bostonian J.H. I think there's an important distinction to be made between "any image of a pine tree on a flag" and the specific flag flown Chez Alito. The Bunker Hill (Charlestown) flag has a pine tree on it, but it's relegated to a corner of a corner—a mostly solid blue flag with a St. George's cross at the top left, and a little pine tree at the top left of that. The New England flag is a solid red background with a pine tree in a white canton. The Appeal to Heaven flag, the problematic one, is a much larger pine tree on a white background with the text in large font above it.

While not as common as crosses or stars, trees are common enough on flags that I wouldn't think to lump all flags with them into the same category, any more than I would assume, because the star is a well-known symbol of communism, that every flag with stars on it represents communist sympathizers.

A.S. in Black Mountain, NC, writes: I am considering buying an Appeal To Heaven flag and flying it upside down.

Politics: Kristi Noem

J.K. in St Paul, MN, writes: My grandparents (who came from German and German-from-Russia farmers) had a farm in North Dakota. There were dogs on the farm for many years. Yes, if the dog got after the chickens or the cattle, it was deemed "gone bad," and shot. There wasn't money for a vet or time to spend training. They operated on slim and often negative margins. I was horrified by this, but that was the way it was done, and I think mainly the simplest or only option at the time. That was 35-70 years ago.

I think what makes Gov. Kristi Noem's (R-SD) actions seem so horrific is the fact that there are more humane and no-cost ways to deal with situations like that—rehoming and rescue organizations and websites. The date is unknown, but probably less than 25 years ago since she had school-age children. She was not without non-lethal options.

D.C. in Oscoda, MI, writes: The governor of South Dakota has drawn a heap of criticism, rightfully so, for her treatment of animals. But every single article I have read about her since this came to light, including several by you, has failed to mention that little motorcycle rally she allowed to go forward in August 2020, with attendance—according to the South Dakota department of transportation—of around 50,000 vehicles for each of the ten days. The CDC later labeled this a super spreader event that helped to carry Covid across the entire country. Unlike New Orleans holding Mardi Gras in February before we knew much about COVID, this was in August, well after. Please call out COVID deniers whenever possible because we need to be continually reminded of the deadly decisions these people made from their elected positions and they should be prevented from being put in charge at any level of government ever again.

M.S. in Sheffield, England, UK, writes: I don't think you necessarily meant to disparage those of us who started out from small and less prestigious schools like my alma mater, South Dakota State University. But I felt compelled to write for the sake of younger readers, and to make a point I think you will agree with.

It matters less where you get your degree and more what you choose to take from it—the education, the experience, everything.

I myself turned a degree from SDSU into a more prestigious Master's degree (and working towards a second!), along with a fun, high-paying career that has taken me across the world. Don't make the mistake of thinking that starting at a small or unknown school means you can't go places.

There are Kristi Noems on every campus. But there are also bright and caring people who will become leaders and change the world.

(V) & (Z) respond: Precisely. (Z) has told his students many, many times that their educations are in their own hands, and that you can get a great education at Upper Southwest Oklahoma State Barbers' College and Trucking School, or a poor education at Harvard, depending on the choices you make. It may be a little easier to get a good education at Harvard, and a little easier to get a bad education at USOSBCTS, but the decision ultimately lies with the student.

Politics: Louis DeJoy

B.W. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: As a longtime reader, I know you strive to present evidence for claims, to update developing stories, and to avoid sensationalizing or propagandizing (even as you're willing to editorialize).

(V)'s recent passing quip about whether Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has "plans to slow down the mail around election time" made me feel compelled to pass along a March 2024 Time Magazine piece outlining DeJoy's tenure to date.

It paints a fairly nuanced picture. Most salient here: The data about 2020 election mail performance look far, far better than I had assumed.

But additionally, it seems DeJoy has operated in a substantially-bipartisan manner so far, collaborating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to achieve longstanding postal union priorities and improved healthcare coverage for postal workers. Additionally, he seems to have worked closely with the Biden administration to ensure rapid delivery of COVID-19 test kits.

Like many people, I have a tendency to be skeptical of Trump appointees, and doubly skeptical of Trump supporters and backers, which DeJoy certainly was (is?).

But does a preponderance of evidence now indicate that, in his official capacity, DeJoy may be operating in good faith? I think it's worth at least considering, and updating our priors (and snark) accordingly.

(V) & (Z) respond: Fair point.

Politics: Republicans and Sex

A.H. in Newberg, OR, writes: You wrote: "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."

I may be mistaken, but I thought from Ms. Daniels testimony that tfg only used the "Missionary Position."

A.G. in Scranton, PA, writes: First they came for abortions, and I said quite a lot.

Then they came for rape victims, and I said even more.

Soon, they'll come again for IVF, and I'll say still more.

And, bet your collective backsides, the Republicans are after anything that makes sex the peril they want it to be. I know this, I've been forced to sit through sermons talking about how sexual desires (generally of women) warp the mind. Girls use sex to trick good men to Satan, don't you know?

Good, Christian girls (with welts from dear husband's belt across their tender backsides and perhaps a black eye or two) should submit to sex whenever a husband demands it as it is important to fulfill her duties as a woman. Because, if she doesn't submit enough, that is what causes the poor, little man to cheat. How do you not know this stuff?

I'm not kidding here. I obviously added the part about being beaten, whipped, and punched...but I know it's part of the program in a good, Christian marriage.

They'll come for condoms, if America's stupid enough to keep electing them. I'll bet dollars to donuts.

Sex is evil.

G.L. in Chicago, IL, writes: I assume you're getting pushback against your response to T.J.R. in Metuchen where you wrote "That's why the prostitutes, and especially the alternate prostitutes, are so important. Especially the male ones, and especially if Larry Craig is attending."

I can, however, offer corroboration of a sort. The drag queen Willam has frequently told a story about how profitable the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia was for him.

Politics: Media Matters

S.M. in Pratt, KS, writes: I have been meaning to write this for a while, but the comments from A.D.S in Calgary finally nudged me into action. This isn't a response to A.D.S., since I mostly agree with their points. Rather, I am tired of hearing the "Democrats are bad at messaging" or "Democrats don't respond." My question to anyone who writes that is "Where?"

Let's look at cable news. On the right you have Fox "News," OAN, Newsmax, NewsNation, The Blaze, etc. CNN has even gone on a rightward bent the last few years. Who do we have in the center? HLN maybe (are they still around?). Only MSNBC is even remotely on the left, and they seem to spend all their time talking about the latest Republican outrage. No room there for Democrats to talk about their accomplishments.

How about broadcast television? The networks have developed a terminal case of both-sidesism. Even if one side is telling the 100% truth, we still must broadcast the lie from the other, and treat them the same. Think I'm kidding, just look at NBC News. They were completely willing to put a propagandist like Ronna McDaniel on their premier political talk show. Local is better right? No. Just a less in-depth version of "both sides are the same." Their coverage of local and state politics is horrible. And that's if you aren't watching a Sinclair station. Then, you just get more propaganda disguised as news.

How about radio? Is it even necessary to discuss this one? I listen to a fair amount of terrestrial radio when driving, and I can't think of even one centrist. It is completely dominated by right-wing shows.

But surely social media is better? Facebook and Twitter (I'm not calling it X) are "bastions of free speech," i.e. hate filled spaces brimming with Russian and Chinese misinformation. TikTok is literally owned by the Chinese government. Watch YouTube long enough, and no matter what you search, you will end up getting presented with right-wing-nut videos. And that doesn't even include all the boutique sites. I couldn't bring myself to type T&%#H Social.

So, again, I ask the group, where are the Democrats going to go to get their message out, without it being editorialized, both-sided, misrepresented, or outright lied about?

C.G. in Bologna, Italy, writes: I would like to reassure fellow reader B.C. in Walpole on the letter about The Washington Post. Don't worry, you're not crazy. You just have had the revelation that the media likes Trump and wants him to win, which is something that some people have been shouting into the void for 8 years, but no one is paying attention. Looks like at a certain point in time the allegedly liberal "mainstream media" thought they were WWE writers and could shape the storylines of reality, and obviously are giving preference to the ones that bring higher ratings (see Zucker, Jeff). If that's the case, "Democracy dies in darkness" is a mission statement rather than a warning.

J.N. in Columbus, OH, writes: "I don't know what to make of all this. Maybe I'm cutting out headlines, pinning them to the wall, and connecting them with red yarn. Maybe I'm the one who's crazy."

You're not crazy. Almost every media outlet is openly in the bag for Trump. The most common theory is the craze for clicks/eyeballs, but I'm sure the real reason is almost every media outlet is run by right-wing kleptocrats that want Trump in even if it ends up killing them.

W.W. in Washington County, OR, writes: B.C. in Walpole wrote about headlines in The Washington Post not matching the articles: "I don't know what to make of all this. Maybe I'm cutting out headlines, pinning them to the wall, and connecting them with red yarn."

I think what B.C. is missing that article writers don't write the headlines. I'd also bet a significant amount of money that the WP performs "A-B testing" of headlines, as many other sites do. They try to maximize click-throughs, and fundamentally don't care too much about the mismatch. Which headline gets more clicks? That's what truly matters to the WP. Bottom line, they're "in the business of selling eyeballs."

Politics: Volunteering

M.D. in the Poconos, PA, writes: J.L. in Colorado Springs asks: "I've thought of travelling to a swing state (maybe Arizona, since it's close?) for the couple of days leading up to the election and getting people to the polls since it seems turnout is really important. Is that the best thing to do?"

The old GOTV (Get out the Vote) plan was always to make the major push the last week before the election, but that was when almost everyone voted on Election Day. Now it starts when mail ballots go out, about a month before the election. In all honesty, for Democrats in Pennsylvania, a couple days before the election is really too late. Almost half of our Democratic ballots are already voted. Here, requests for mail ballots need to be made no later than a week before the election (and that is probably too late with our crappy mail delivery) and have to arrive in the county election office by 8 p.m. on Election day.

You don't have to travel anywhere to be helpful to the election outcome in a swing state. There are phone bank events in every county in Pennsylvania and I'm sure as well in the other swing states. We who are working in these swing states need as much help as possible to chase these mail ballots to get people to fill out and return them.

In my county in Pennsylvania, Democrats made up 70+% of the mail ballots voted in the 2024 primary and it will be almost that many in the general, even with independents voting. In Pennsylvania, almost 16,000 mail ballots weren't counted and about half of those were because of being mailed and not arriving until after the deadline. And for the general election, we expect 2+ times the turnout experienced in the primary (only about 30% across the state). So unless something changes there could be 30-35,000 mail ballots rejected if an equal percentage makes the same errors. That alone could swing Pennsylvania to Trump, since Democrats rely so heavily on voting by mail.

We need people to call voters who received mail ballots and ask them to return their ballot as soon as possible as every vote will be needed to present the disaster J.L. fears. If they are using the USPS, they need to put it in the mail more than a week before the deadline as local mail is no longer processed locally here in Pennsylvania with Louis DeJoy's policy of processing mail as far away from our county as possible.

Other reasons for ballots rejected in Pennsylvania are people not signing the outer envelope or not dating or putting an inappropriate date on the return envelope. We've also had cases of people not putting their voted ballot in the required internal security envelope. People need to be educated to do it right so as few are rejected as possible.

You can go to and search on "Pennsylvania phone bank" or "Arizona phone bank" or "Colorado phone bank" and sign up to help. I will take this opportunity to put a plug in for my county, Monroe, the heart of the Pocono Mountains, where we have two Congressional races in different portions of our county that are parts of majority-Trump districts that are represented by two great Democrats (Reps. Matt Cartwright and Susan Wild) who have managed to pull out wins multiple times despite the odds. And in my part of those districts, we have lots of Democrats (44% of Monroe voters are registered Democrats and only 35% Republicans) here who might just need a call to convince them to vote. Why Democrats don't automatically vote like Republicans do, I don't know, but these mail ballots have dramatically increased Democratic turnout since it was implemented in 2019. This helped us out vote Republicans for the first time in memory last year, so that we almost swept all of the county offices up for election (we lost only one out of the six countywide races). There are also post card writing events in these states to the same targeted people, to also encourage them to vote. And all that requires is someone to make a phone call or write out cards from wherever they are located. So I suggest that you don't waste time traveling. Spend it contacting voters in swing states.

All Politics Is Local

A.S. in Brewster, MA, writes: I noticed J.N. in Freeland asked about the 15 incumbent Republicans in Idaho who lost in the primaries that were held this past week. I read this excellent article in The Washington Post about a group of Republicans who were actively working to take back their party from the fringe (now mainstream?) element of their party. I believe that the people who lost in the primaries were the Trumpier candidates.

W.K. in Richmond, VA, writes: In your item "Is Nevada In Play This Year?", you cited a New York Times article:

An additional problem for Biden is that 30% of Nevadans are Latino (vs. 19% nationally) and younger Latinos (especially men) are moving toward Trump. Some polls show Trump at 50% with Latinos; if that is true and it holds, it is game over for Biden. Some young Latino men like macho men who strut their stuff by bossing other people (especially female people) around. Biden doesn't do this, but Trump certainly does. That is a big plus with this group.

Put aside for the moment how unhelpful it is to stereotype a group whose vote a side wishes to court—and that's a horrible bit of stereotyping by the Times, no matter their method of getting to the conclusion. There's a bigger and thus far largely un-asked-about potential reason for Southwestern Latinos to be moving toward Trump: He's promised to go to war against Mexican gangs.

Sure, that idea is... uh, problematic. But that's never stopped Trump. And it's likely to appeal to the type of Latinos who might know one of the gangs' victims and/or might know a thing or two about people who come to the U.S. to escape that violence. There's real possible appeal there. Throw in the fact that it's never a winning proposition to counter an "action" proposal with "How about we just do nothing?" This is why Trump didn't want Congress to pass any bills securing the border this year. "Biden couldn't get it done, but I could!" It's not exactly the same as what Ronald Reagan did vis-à-vis Iranian Hostages with the Carter administration, but it's from the same playbook.

S.N. in Las Vegas, NV, writes: I just moved to Las Vegas, and so have been doing research on Nevada politics to understand my new state better. One factor that I suspect is influencing the polls in Nevada is that, frankly, we don't have a very clear picture of what the 2024 Nevada electorate looks like. As housing prices have risen in California, a large number of Californians have decamped to the Silver State since 2020 to take advantage of comparatively lower real estate costs here. If the various polling firms have not correctly adjusted their models to account for this, that might explain why Nevada appears to be in play this year.

One reason why I think the polls are not accurate is that Republicans are not acting as though they are Republican. The main message coming from Governor Joe Lombardo (R) as of late has been that the Democrats are on the verge of a supermajority in the State Senate. As they already have one in the State Assembly, this would grant them a veto-proof majority in both houses of the Legislature, rendering Lombardo wholly irrelevant during the 2025 legislative session. Lombardo is worried enough about this that he successfully pressured Assemblywoman Heidi Kasama (R-Las Vegas) into dropping out of the primary for Susie Lee (D)'s Congressional seat and running for re-election to the Assembly. Also, The Nevada Independent is reporting that the Congressional Leadership Fund, a major Republican PAC, has declined to reserve any fall airtime in the Las Vegas market, after spending millions here in 2022. That doesn't seem like a decision that would be made if you thought you had a good chance of flipping any of the Southern Nevada congressional seats.

I don't yet know Nevada well enough to be confident in saying which way it will go in 2024, but I've seen enough to not be surprised if it stays in the blue column this year, despite what polling indicates.


A.J. in Baltimore, MD, writes: You wrote:

There are only two places where a judge is appointed for life: the U.S. federal courts, and the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. Even U.S. state courts have some sort of limit—either a judge can only serve a fixed number of years, or to a certain age, or they have to be re-elected or re-appointed.

I think a small correction is warranted. Rhode Island is the one and only state that has life tenure for judicial appointments, just like the federal courts.

(V) & (Z) respond: We stand corrected. We suspected there was an exception, but found multiple sources that said there was none. Obviously, those sources were wrong.

G.L. in Kelowna, BC, Canada, writes: You wrote: "There are no clear examples of democracies that choose executives or legislators for life, unless you squint very, very hard and declare that something like the Vatican is a democracy. But it isn't."

While I appreciate that the U.K. is working very hard to make its way into the category of failed states, it does currently assert a democracy, and thus I should introduce you to the House of Lords. With 783 members, the vast majority are appointed to serve for life.

Currently, 91 of the Lords are "Hereditary Peers" which means they were born into their seats, and they die in their seats (since reforms in the late 1990s, the numbers of Hereditary seats was reduced, the ones surviving were elected from among themselves, and when one dies, the non-seated Hereditary Peers run in an election where the electorate is the sitting Hereditary Peers to decide who gets to fill the seat). 25 are Bishops of the Church of England—these are the only ones who are expected to retire, as Bishops retire at 70 or 75 with permission. (Incidentally, this makes Britain the only country other than Iran to have people sit in a legislative body by virtue of their status in the state religion.)

The remainder are "Life Peers," who, as the name suggests, are appointed for life by the political parties, sometimes due to their expertise in an area or overall character, never in return for generous donations to a party, and sometimes for the valuable skill of being a late 20s blonde who did unclear work in the office of Boris Johnson.

A better argument against appointing legislators for life could not be invented were one needed.

(V) & (Z) respond: That was one of the pseudo-democratic exceptions we were alluding to in our note about the Vetican. Obviously, the head-of-state is hereditary, too.

History Matters

J.C. in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, writes: The first 330 years of Christianity were pretty good. Would that Christianity had remained powerless, speaking truth to power, for that is where its power was, in following after its founder. It jumped the shark when it started seeking something more in something less.

C.J. in Redondo Beach, CA, writes: I have to push back ever so slightly on you not giving John Tyler much credit on the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. I read a book or two that said he was rather heavily involved behind the scenes on getting it done, passing endless notes to his Secretary of State. Obviously, Daniel Webster got his name on it though!

As an addendum, Tyler's daughter-in-law, Priscilla, may have been the most responsible at all. It was a terribly hot and muggy summer, even by Washington standards, while the treaty was being hammered out. Apparently Lord Ashburton considered walking away entirely on account of the weather and that negotiations were moving at such a glacial pace. But Priscilla (who was performing First Lady duties, as Tyler's first wife was very ill), managed to throw some great parties and that kept Ashburton hanging around town.

As far as your statement that Fillmore was the most anonymous president in our history... I think the fact that he so often is referred to as such likely makes him somewhat remembered just for his slightly uncommon first name. Add to that, I seem to remember reading a half dozen years back that Chester Arthur scored lowest on a name recognition survey of U.S. presidents. I can't remember the exact criteria used, but I think they asked a few hundred people to list ten presidents they were aware of and Arthur was mentioned the fewest times.

A.L. in Bochum, NRW, Germany, writes: Many thanks for your summaries of the American presidents. Your evaluation of Ulysses S. Grant, in particular, caught my eye.

Some years ago in my genealogical researches, I found that my great-great-grandfather, who had lied about his age to join the 17th Maine Infantry as a reaction to one of his sons falling at Gettysburg, was himself missing in action on May 6, 1864, presumed dead, in the Battle of the Wilderness the next year. In cursory research, I read that Grant won partly by waging a war of attrition against Lee, because he knew that the North would have more reserves. Let me tell you, I looked at $50 bills differently after that, because one of those losses was my g-g-grandfather! (Fortunately, I live in the Euro zone, so I don't see American banknotes very often...)

Your rehabilitation (in my mind) of Grant led me to read about the Battle of the Wilderness in more depth, taking the easy route: Wikipedia. Upon further consideration, it seems to me that with the combination of primitive communications in those days, fighting in (for the Union) unfamiliar territory, and trying to fight in forested land in the middle of the night (for the element of surprise), it did not strike me that the Union officers under Grant were senselessly throwing away lives in the style of, say, the generals at Gallipoli, or the Russians today in the Ukraine, where when one company gets mowed down, they send in the next one at exactly the same place to meet the same fate.

So thank you for clearing me up about Grant. It meant something personally to me.

(V) & (Z) respond: Yes, part of the revision of Grant's reputation has been the sizable number of analyses showing that Grant generally lost a smaller percentage of his force than his opponents did, despite usually being on the offensive. That is not to say he did nor err; he famously wrote of Cold Harbor (which, like Wilderness, was part of the Overland Campaign): "I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made... At Cold Harbor no advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained."

C.L. in Boulder, CO, writes: Every president probably has his own fan club. You called Rutherford B. Hayes "mediocre" and wrote that his successor Garfield "didn't do much," but they do each have their groupies, respectively Paraguayans and mathematicians.

From Wikipedia: "After the Paraguayan War of 1864-1870, U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes arbitrated a boundary dispute between Argentina and Paraguay and ultimately awarded the territory to Paraguay in 1878. In gratitude, Paraguay renamed the department as "Presidente Hayes" and the capital as "Villa Hayes."

And A.C. in Kingston pointed out James Garfield's proof of the Pythagorean theorem, published in 1876. Granted, Garfield's math proof was published before he became president, but mathematicians claim their icons where they can.

M.H. in Santa Monica, CA, writes: In terms of politics and pop culture, there are at least 10 ways in which 2024 is eerily a replay of 1968.

  1. There are campus protests because of a war overseas.
  2. The incumbent Democratic president (who used to be a Senator and VP) is polling poorly.
  3. The Republican nominee is an unpopular politician seeking a comeback.
  4. A Bobby Kennedy is running for president.
  5. Abortion is basically banned in many states.
  6. Young men are wearing beards much more often than in the recent past.
  7. Joni Mitchell performed "Both Sides Now" on TV.
  8. The Rolling Stones are going strong.
  9. A well-reviewed Planet of the Apes film is playing in movie theaters.
  10. The Democratic National Convention is in Chicago in August.

Could we all be in the Twilight Zone?

D.C. in Delray Beach, FL, writes: I lived through 1968 and wrote papers about the elections that year. I agree with all of what (V) and (Z) wrote and would respectfully add a few words of context.

President Johnson still had a firm grip on the party leadership despite having suddenly become a lame duck on March 31. He was ready to support his loyal soldier Hubert Humphrey and could quietly pass the word about it to state leaders. He certainly had little use for RFK, and while he respected Eugene McCarthy thought him too dovish and naive on the Vietnam War.

Moreover, Humphrey in April almost immediately found deep pockets of financial support along with signals of support from unions and establishment factions for whom RFK was just too radical.

My suggestion for the best book on the 1968 election is American Melodrama: The Presidential Campaign of 1968, written by three British journalists, Lewis Chester, Godfrey Hodgson, and Bruce Page. See especially pages 142 and following for more on this subject. It includes this quote from national committeeman Eugene Wyman who was Johnon's key man in California: "Hubert's going to be able to put together an incredible coalition, he's got top management, top labor people, he's got the labor vote, the solid South, and the important Negro leaders."

J.S. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: R.H.D in Webster wrote:

Now, we don't know yet if Joe Biden will face the same fate as Jimmy Carter did. But I'll add one last thing: It was no surprise the 52 American hostages were released on Jan. 20, 1981, because the Iranians knew that Reagan was going to come after them if they weren't. You can bet that if Trump somehow wins back the White House, Hamas will release all of their hostages and quickly surrender before Jan. 20, 2025, because come that day, Trump will give Benjamin Netanyahu a blank check to do whatever he wants and they will be finished.

This is fundamentally incorrect. It has been noted many times that Ronald Reagan, or at least someone in his inner circle, worked a deal with Iran to ignore Carter's attempts to free the hostages and not release them until after he won. At that point Carter, worked until the final hour on January 20, 1981, to release them.

Reagan is a GD traitor to the country and him and Ollie North should have been rioting in a prison cell. Just like Reagan, Trump is a traitorous POS.

The Sports Report

M.D. in Overland Park, KS, writes: I feel your characterization of Harrison Butker's commencement speech at Benedictine College was far off the mark. As someone who couldn't be much more different politically (liberal, atheist, pro-choice, feminist) from Butker, it was obvious that the vocation he urged the audience to heed was their vocation as Catholic men and women. This has little or nothing to do with their profession, but has everything to do with their belief that God calls them to live in accordance with their faith and that it is through this that they will find greater happiness. The implication was not that a woman's place was "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" but instead that regardless of accomplishments in the workplace, real fulfillment comes from being a wife and mother. Likewise, he argued that as a man's joy comes from fulfilling his role as a husband and father despite whatever endeavors he may have elsewhere. Butker's judgment was plainly directed inward at his fellow Catholics, and the core point of the speech was that the world's problems stem largely from the failure of Catholic laity, in whose number he included the President, to follow the teachings and traditions of the Church and from her priestly leaders' failure to lead unabashedly. Far from being a "jerk," I felt he came off as sincere, likeable, and intelligent.

But you know who missed a real opportunity here? The White House Press Secretary. Instead of a noncommittal statement shifting responsibility, the right answer would have been a hearty, "Of course Mr. Butker is welcome! We may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but we support the free practice of religion and celebrate his accomplishments as a member of the winning Kansas City Chiefs."

(V) & (Z) respond: The nuns of Benedictine College didn't see it that way. And you're also eliding over the anti-LGBTQ stuff, not to mention the thinly veiled dog-whistle antisemitism.

G.H. in Reading, MA, writes: I must disagree with your assessment that President Biden should more or less rollover and tolerate Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker, should he actually attend the team invitation to the Biden White House.

We all recognize hate speech when we hear it. I would encourage Biden to stand up and provide a voice for women, LGBTQ, and "cafeteria" Catholics (like Biden), who exercise their right to intermingle faith and social views.

Perhaps a well-timed zinger from Biden suggesting "Harrison. Hello and welcome. Please accept our congratulations for being recruited to play ball for the Taliban!" Said with a smile of course. Many of us would appreciate a bit of "dishing it back" at these sanctimonious fanatics (for a change).

M.G. in Arlington, VA, writes: You wrote: "The Utah Jazz (having moved from New Orleans) represent a city where there is no jazz, and where there are hardly any Black people."

Take 5 seconds and google "jazz in Salt Lake City", and you will find a plethora of venues and performances. Unfortunately, it looks like the SLC Jazz Festival has folded, but it was a thing for over 20 years, according to its still extant website.

For what it's worth, I am a musician by profession, and some of the finest jazz musicians I've ever met have been LDS Church members who have at some point lived in Utah.

Furthermore, in another 5-second google search, I found this handy website breaking down the demographics of Salt Lake City. 6,119 Black people may not sound like much compared to other metro areas, but it's still more than "hardly any."

M.M. in San Diego, CA, writes: The eight "Guardians of Traffic" on Hope Memorial bridge in Cleveland aren't freestanding statues but rather art deco sculpture:

A Guardians statue, as described

Just hoping the players are a bit more mobile (having a great season so far).

J.H. in Lodi, NY, writes: When the Cleveland baseball club owners changed the team name to the Guardians, they must have been inspired by the galactic Marvel movie. Therefore, they were honoring a misfit gang of thieves and ne'er-do-wells that includes a cybernetic raccoon and a humanoid tree, but no one who ever played a game by the rules.

W.F. in Long Island, NY, writes: Has anyone else noticed that the two most recent team re-brandings seem to be subtle references to A Handmaid's Tale? The erstwhile Cleveland Indians are now the Guardians, while the one-time Washington Redskins are now the Commanders. Did they swap offending Indigenous people with taking on misogynistic overtones? If this was a coordinated effort, I have to grudgingly tip my cap to the subtlety. More likely, though, it was a combination of coincidence and ignorance with a sprinkling of tone deafness (Exhibit A: Harrison Butker's commencement address), but we might never know for certain. After all, the team owners probably aren't Margaret Atwood readers.

Happy Birthday!

J.G. in El Cerrito, CA, writes: Congrats on 20 years in the business! I concur with your Freudenfreude piece celebrating all the years of your work and offering thanks to those behind the scenes who help make it happen. I was surprised, however, that you failed to acknowledge the many contributions of the staff mathematician. Sure, they been the recipient of some good natured ribbing over the years, but this seems an oversight. No doubt they are off sulking with the staff dachshunds.

(V) & (Z) respond: Yes, the staff dachshunds were particularly unhappy about the inexcusable oversight. They considered mounting a hunger strike, but then realized that involved not eating.

S.K. in Bethesda, MD, writes: I do not know exactly the first time I came across your site. It was mentioned somewhere else (possibly a Washington Post politics blog), and I came over to take a look. It was probably some time in early June, because at the time, I was trying to decide where to go to work on the presidential election, since I wanted to be in a state that could be decisive. Eventually, with the guidance of, I chose Ohio, and went there for the final weeks of the campaign—which turned out to be the right place to be (wrong outcome, but right place!). I've been a loyal reader, and occasional commenter, ever since. I am confident that I have not missed an entry since some time in June of 2004. I enjoy the analysis, the special features, the questions and comments, and the humor. After the devastation of Election Day 2016 (which I spent in Pennsylvania because of what I learned from the site—again right place, wrong outcome... for what it's worth, I've been in the right place with the right outcome a few times as well!), I considered taking a break from reading the site for my sanity, but found coming here a way to remind myself there were still other sane people around. Though I read other politics and current events content obsessively, the perspective I get here is invaluable to my understanding of how we got here, where we are, and where we might be going. You provide both an education and a community: I'd be lost without it! Congratulations, and thank you!

M.S. in Alpharetta, GA, writes: Happy 20th anniversary, You don't look a day over 16.

I remember finding your site in 2004. It was probably over that summer, certainly before fall, because I'm sure I was reading your site before the 2004 election. Back then, I think it was only published a few days a week. Anyway, I've been a faithful follower of your site for just about 2 decades now.

THANK YOU BOTH for all you do, to inspire people. As educators, I'm sure you understand the impact you have on the youths (not to be read like Fred Gwynne in My Cousin Vinny). Well, multiply that by the internet to approximate the impact you have on everyone.

P.K. in Marshalltown, IA (with ties to Canada through marriage), writes: All of America and our Canadian cousins wish EV the happiest of birthdays!

Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas holding up a
beer, along with the caption 'Happy Birthday, Eh'

M.G. in Newtown, PA, writes: I discovered your site because of the right-wing website Election Projection, which I found when I was looking for sources for poll aggregators in the run-up to the 2004 election. While recognizing that Election Projection was fair/honest in terms of its aggregation methodology I was turned off by the site's slanted political views and was hoping to find something more fair/balanced. The person running that site mentioned your website as a place to go if you were looking for something more "to the left." I haven't been around since day one but I have been faithfully visiting your site since 2004 and while I don't agree with everything you post I'm glad you're around. You've been a regular part of my morning routine for a long time now.

Thanks to all of you at the site for all you do.

(V) & (Z) respond: Thanks to all readers for the very kind words! We are overwhelmed!

K.E. in Port Angeles, WA, writes: Based on my recollection of your Election Day post back in 2004, the first sentence of the post was: "When you wake up tomorrow morning, John Kerry will be president." Not an exact quote perhaps but close. I remember because the statement provided optimism which, of course, evaporated when George W. Bush won decisively and I felt a bitter resentment that you were wrong. Probably due to my cynical nature, that sentence created a sizable crater somewhere in my brain that I stumble into at times when I read your postings. Is my memory correct or am I off my rocker? Or was there further commentary that tempered the optimism of that first sentence? I currently read your site because in spite of some bias, your commentary and contribution from astute readers offer useful insights of current events often missing from mainstream media sources. Thank you for reading my question and hope you will let me know if my recall is correct.

(V) & (Z) respond: First, it is very unlike us to be that certain when an election is that close. Second, our archives are all online, and you can check for yourself: On the day before Election Day, Election Day and the day after Election Day, there's nothing like that, as far as we can see.


J.S. in Hillsboro, OR, writes: A.H. in Newberg asked about your grass reference in relation to Kentucky and Oregon—and A.H. and you both responded with a joke about cannabis.

And here I thought you were talking about the fact that Oregon is responsible for "essentially all of the U.S. commercial production" of several grass seed varieties.

Perhaps not as funny, but interesting nonetheless.

C.F. in Tigard, OR, writes: Since you asked about grass, Oregon does not have an official state grass. When Cliff Bentz was in the Oregon legislature during the 2019 session, he requested a resolution declaring basin wildrye the official state grass of Oregon. It did not make it out of committee. Maybe Big Bluegrass made some phone calls and persuaded the committee chair not to have a hearing.

(V) & (Z) respond: Everyone knows The String Cheese Incident is really a dark money super PAC.

J.L. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: Americans are way more plugged in than our neighbors to the north:

A Canadian bee and an American bee; for the latter
the head has been replaced with a USB connector. So, the U.S. bee is USB.
Final Words

A.D. in Gaithersburg, MD, writes: Earlier this month, while visiting my kids in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, I took a stroll around the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. While there, I took the attached photo, which I thought the staff dachshunds might get a kick out of:

A tombstone shaped like a full-sized
couch, with eight different dachshund sculptures placed upon it

If you have suggestions for this feature, please send them along.

If you wish to contact us, please use one of these addresses. For the first two, please include your initials and city.

To download a poster about the site to hang up, please click here.

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster and Zenger
May25 Saturday Q&A
May25 Today's Presidential Polls
May24 Flag Day Comes Early This Year
May24 Supreme Court Rules for the Republicans in South Carolina Map Case
May24 Trump Held a Rally in the South Bronx Yesterday
May24 Donald Trump, Weaselman
May24 Trump's Fundraising E-mails Depend on Fear
May24 TrumpTok
May24 Rick Scott Is Trying Again
May24 The Fake Electors Are Also Trying Again
May24 Top RFK Jr. Adviser Quits, Citing Hateful Atmosphere
May24 This Week in Schadenfreude: Banned
May24 This Week in Freudenfreude: Happy Birthday to... Us
May24 Today's Presidential Polls
May23 Haley Caves
May23 Issues for the Trump Jury
May23 Lara Trump Is Reshaping the RNC
May23 Giuliani Pleads Not Guilty in Arizona Case
May23 Many Voters Don't Have a Clue
May23 Expect a Reproductive Rights Blitz in June
May23 Republicans Want to Talk about the Border
May23 Biden Keeps Trying to Cancel Student Loans
May23 Biden's 200th Judicial Nominee is Confirmed by the Senate
May23 Today's Presidential Polls
May22 Voters in Five States Cast Ballots
May22 Trump, Biden Will Debate Twice
May22 Trump Legal News: The Trial (Day 20)
May22 Trump's Troubles, Part I: More Classified Documents Were Found in Florida
May22 Trump's Troubles, Part II: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
May22 Trump's Troubles, Part III: "The Apprentice" (The Movie)
May22 Spain, Norway and Ireland to Recognize Palestine
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