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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Trump Legal News, Part I: The Trial (Day 21)
      •  Trump Legal News, Part II: Cannon Takes a Shot at Smith
      •  White House: Red Line Was Not Crossed
      •  Democrats "Solve" Their Ohio Problem
      •  Texas Holds Its Runoffs
      •  Trump Is Officially the Enemy of Good
      •  Republicans Promise to Preserve Filibuster
      •  U.K. Elections Set for July

Trump Legal News, Part I: The Trial (Day 21)

The closing arguments in the Trump criminal fraud case are now in the books. Undoubtedly, the jurors are happy, because it was an 11-hour day for everyone involved.

First up was the defense, with Todd Blanche taking a bit over two hours to sum up his side's position. There are really only two things to know here. The first is that Blanche spent enormous time and energy trying to further besmirch Michael Cohen. Blanche even came up with some "clever" Trump-style nicknames for the former fixer, including "MVP of Liars" and "GLOAT—Greatest Liar of All Time." Team Trump better hope there are at least a few sports fans on the jury who understand those references.

Near the end of his remarks, Blanche also tried for a little backdoor jury nullification, asking the jury to "not send my client to prison." This drew an immediate objection from the prosecution, and a tongue-lashing from Judge Juan Merchan: "Making a comment like that is highly inappropriate. It is simply not allowed, period. It's hard for me to imagine how that was accidental." We did not go to law school, but from where we sit, a move like that makes it appear as if the defense is desperate, and doesn't have faith in its case.

Once Blanche was done, it was time for Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass to take his turn. He apparently has not heard that you should always leave them wanting more, because he took about an hour to respond to Blanche's closing, and then almost 4 more hours to run through the entire prosecution case. Many people in the room reported that jurors were clearly becoming bored, and their attention was wandering.

There were two main themes to Steinglass' closing. The first was that Michael Cohen is not the entire case, and that there are mountains of evidence that back up what he said. The second is that there are great principles at stake here, including a transparent and functional democracy, and no man is above the law. Only the jurors know if they found those latter claims to be compelling.

It is expected that the jury will receive instructions this morning, and that they'll begin deliberations by lunchtime. Roughly 50% of the legal-expert talking heads think a verdict will be in by Friday afternoon, because the jurors will be eager to finish this thing. And the other 50% think deliberations will stretch well into next week, because there are so many moving parts and there are 34 different counts to consider. For our part, we are hoping for a verdict no later than 9:30 a.m. PT. We'll probably be disappointed, though. (Z)

Trump Legal News, Part II: Cannon Takes a Shot at Smith

This is sorta inside baseball, so bear with us, but after Donald Trump spun the tale last week that he was nearly shot and killed by law enforcement, Special Counsel Jack Smith filed a motion with Judge Aileen Cannon asking her to tell Trump to zip it. Smith takes the view, quite reasonably, that such rhetoric could potentially put federal agents' lives in danger.

Donald Trump's legal team responded with a motion that is characteristically over-the-top, asking not only that Smith's request be denied, but also that Smith and his team be sanctioned. The defense points out that the rules of the Eleventh Circuit require consultation between the prosecution and the defense, before any motions are filed. The purpose of this rule is to save everyone time and hassle. The Special Counsel takes the view that the threat posed by Trump is pressing, and that there was not time for consultation.

Yesterday, Cannon ruled and—surprise, surprise!—did not grant Smith's request. She also did some editorializing, describing Smith's motion as "lacking in substance and professional courtesy." The motion was dismissed without prejudice, which means that Smith can try again, if he wants, presumably after "consulting" with defense counsel.

Who knows, at this point, to what extent Cannon's rulings are based on the merits, and to what extent her rulings are based on... other considerations. The clear effect of yesterday's decision, however, is to add a little more time to the process while also not subjecting her ruling to appeal. If she'd dismissed with prejudice, Smith could take it to the appeals court. Not so much when she dismisses without prejudice. Meanwhile, everyone continues to wonder if and when the Special Counsel will say "enough is enough" and ask for Cannon to be removed from the case. (Z)

White House: Red Line Was Not Crossed

The White House has taken some time to consider what happened in Rafah over the weekend, and has decided that the Israeli government did not cross the "red line" that would lead to arms being withheld. The administration believes that Israel is trying its best to minimize civilian casualties, and is trying to avoid making war in the most densely populated parts of Rafah, and deems that to be acceptable.

There was a testy exchange yesterday between CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Ed O'Keefe and White House spokesman John Kirby. O'Keefe undoubtedly speaks for a lot of Americans, and Kirby obviously speaks for the administration's perspective:

O'Keefe: How does this not violate the red line that the president laid out?

Kirby: As I said, we don't wanna see a major ground operation. We haven't seen that at this point.

O'Keefe: How many more charred corpses does he have to see before the president considers a change of policy?

Kirby: We don't wanna see a single more innocent life taken. And I kind of take a little offense at the question. No civilian casualties is the right number of civilian casualties. And this is not something that we've turned a blind eye to, nor has it been something we've ignored or neglected to raise with our Israeli counterparts—including, Ed, this weekend as a result of this particular strike. Now, they're investigating it. So, let's let them investigate it and see what they come up with.

O'Keefe: But the president doesn't have like, a personal limit to this?

Kirby: The president has been very clear and very direct about what our expectations are for Israeli operations in Rafah, specifically, but in Gaza writ large. We don't support, we won't support a major ground operation in Rafah. And we've, again, been very consistent on that. And the president said that, should that occur, then it might make him have to make different decisions in terms of support. We haven't seen that happen at this point.

In addition to ongoing bombing, there are now Israeli tanks rolling through Rafah. If the White House is going to stand on the distinction between what's happening now, on one hand, and a "major military operation," on the other, that's a difficult case to make and it's only going to get more so.

And as long as we are on the subject, Nikki Haley thinks she's still presidential material, and so she's now visiting Israel for some reason. During her tour yesterday, she autographed some bombs that are set to be dropped on Gaza, along with the message "Finish them!" Maybe it's just us, but isn't that a little... perverse? Yes, we know that military personnel sometimes write messages on bombs that are going to be used in military attacks. But a civilian, and one who knows full well that the bomb in question could end up killing civilians? Something's very wrong with Haley, in our view. But her point is undoubtedly to send a message to the Republican base, which is very pro-Israel, that she is with them. (Z)

Democrats "Solve" Their Ohio Problem

The Ohio legislature keeps dithering around as it "tries" to address the fact that the Democratic National Convention is scheduled for a date after the state's ballot-access deadline. We put "tries" in quotations, because solving the problem should be a simple matter. The legislature could, for example, get out a copy of the last two deadline-waiver bills it passed, and just white out "2020" or "2012" and replace that with "2024." The fact is, they don't want to resolve the problem, for whatever reason. Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH) has called a special session of the legislature so they can try again, but there's no particular reason to think that anything has changed from the three previous attempts to address the matter.

It would seem that the Democrats don't want to wait anymore, and they don't want to go the lawsuit route, so the Party has decided to hold a virtual roll call of delegates a couple of weeks before the actual Democratic National Convention. That means that by the time the DNC is held, Biden will already be the nominee. Maybe this will work to the Democrats' benefit by giving them two sets of headlines for the price of one, allowing them to dominate the month of August. Or, maybe it will work to their detriment by making the DNC even more pro forma and less interesting than it already was.

In any case, isn't there an obvious problem here? Wait until a year when one party's nominee is clear from the outset while the other party's is not, and the party with the clear nominee has the trifecta in a swing state. What's to stop them from passing a bill declaring that, lead times being what they are, they simply must have the name of the major-party nominees no later than July 1? Or June 1? Or May 1? This year, that's not a big problem for the Democrats, but it certainly would be in 2028. Clearly, either the courts or the Congress need to weigh in here, and make clear that states can't set these arbitrary and unreasonable deadlines, especially since August conventions are now par for the course. (Z)

Texas Holds Its Runoffs

Texas is one of the (mostly Southern) states that require a candidate to get at least 50% of the vote (plus one) to win a nomination or an election, and so yesterday the Lone Star Staters held the runoffs needed to finalize several House races. Here are the results of interest:

  • TX-12: Texas has only three competitive House districts, and the R+12 TX-12 is not one of them. However, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) is retiring, and so the winner of the Republican runoff is de facto going to be her replacement. And now we know that person will be state Rep. Craig Goldman, who trounced far-right business owner John O'Shea, 62.9% to 37.1%. O'Shea had the endorsements of Texas AG Ken Paxton, former NSA Michael Flynn and dirty trickster Roger Stone, so you know what kind of guy he is.

  • TX-23: This R+5 district is one of the state's three competitive districts. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) faced a challenge from the right in the person of 28-year-old YouTube personality Brandon Herrera, whose content mostly involves fetishizing guns, and who thought that was a swell match for the district that includes the town of Uvalde. It was close, but Gonzales held on with 50.7% of the vote, as compared to 49.3% for Herrera. The Representative will go on to face small business owner Santos Limon in the general.

  • TX-28: At D+3, this is also a competitive district (the third competitive district, the R+1 TX-15, did not have a runoff). There was a runoff for the Republican nomination, and the easy winner was Jay Furman, whose campaign basically boils down to three things: culture wars, the border, and "I was in the Navy." In fact, his favorite talking point is to claim that "Texas has become America's Alamo!", whatever that means. In any case, Furman is not a great fit for this purplish, 75.3% Latino district, but he has the good fortune to be facing off against Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who has been indicted, of course. So, this could go either way.

  • TX-SD-21: We don't often write up individual races for state legislatures, but this one took on a national flavor. SD-21 is represented in the state House by Dade Phelan (R), who is a traditional-style Republican, and who led the move to impeach Ken Paxton. Since Paxton is a Trumper, the Trumpy wing of the GOP, including Trump himself, backed Phelan's challenger, David Covey. The final tally was close, but it looks like Phelan pulled it out, 50.7% to 49.3%.

On the whole, then, the Trumpy/far-right elements of the Republican Party didn't have a great day yesterday. We'll see if that trend continues in the next set of elections, with five states and DC casting ballots next Tuesday. (Z)

Trump Is Officially the Enemy of Good

Virginia is not among the states casting primary ballots next week, but it does have primaries for the House on June 18. The state has a couple of districts that are actually competitive (VA-02 is R+2, VA-07 is D+1) and another trio that are on the cusp of being competitive (VA-01 is R+6, VA-05 is R+7, VA-10 is D+6). It's VA-05 that people will be watching on the 18th, but not because it's vaguely competitive.

No, VA-05 is the district represented by Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), the chair of the Freedom Caucus. Good has committed two political sins. The first is that he led the movement to oust Kevin McCarthy. So, McCarthy's allies are now gunning for him. The second is that he endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for president. Good eventually switched to Donald Trump, but that's not good enough. And so, the hardcore Trumpers, including Trump himself, are gunning for Good, too.

Yesterday, the former president took to his boutique social media platform to blast Good, decreeing that the Representative is "BAD FOR VIRGINIA AND BAD FOR THE USA." Get it? Good is BAD? The Trumpers and the McCarthyites are both backing state Sen. John McGuire (R), who is ultra-Trumpy and who never once cast a vote against McCarthy's speakership. So, he passes the only tests that matter.

Interestingly, although this is Good's third election for the U.S. House, it's his first primary. Previously, he was nominated by a district convention—which Virginia law no longer allows. There has been no polling of the race, as far as we can find, but McGuire's state Senate district overlaps with VA-05 by quite a bit, and he's pretty popular. Add in the Trump factor, and our guess is that McGuire knocks Good off. (Z)

Republicans Promise to Preserve Filibuster

Punchbowl News talked to a bunch of Republican senators, and all of them said, in various ways, that they are going to keep the Senate filibuster even if Donald Trump is returned to the White House. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), for example, declared: "The day that Republicans vote to nuke the filibuster is the day I resign from the U.S. Senate. That is how strongly I feel about it." Several of his colleagues were similarly firm in their convictions.

We think they are actually telling the truth. Yes, politicians lie, and Senate Republicans tend to be particularly truth-challenged. However, the modern Republican Party is predominantly obstructionist. They don't want to DO things, they want to STOP things from getting done. The filibuster is a very important part of their toolkit. It's the Democrats who tend to be hurt by the filibuster, not the Republicans.

Speaking more specifically, what are the things that Senate Republicans actually care about when it comes to getting things done? There's not too much, since again, their primary agenda is obstruction. They do care about tax cuts, but those can be done with reconciliation, leaving the filibuster in place. They care about approving right-wing judges, but that can be done with the judicial carve-out, leaving the filibuster in place. It is possible that they might want to shoot for something on abortion, but it's unlikely there are 50 Republican votes for anything on that front, since Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), etc. are not likely on board. So, killing the filibuster would not help on that front, while keeping it in place would allow Senate Republicans to say, "We really WANTED to do something, but we didn't have 60 votes to overcome those infernal Democrats."

Put another way, what was the last time Senate Republicans were seriously hindered by the filibuster? It has to be at least a decade, and maybe two or three decades (note that the Obamacare repeal was also a reconciliation issue, and so was not affected by the filibuster). It's true that Donald Trump, if reelected, could demand that the filibuster be abolished. But he did that in 2017 and in 2018, and Senate Republicans refused. So, the filibuster is likely safe unless the Democrats kill it. (Z)

U.K. Elections Set for July

As most readers have heard by now, U.K. PM Rishi Sunak has decided to call elections for July 4. It figures to be the most momentous July 4 in British political history (Note to staff historian: Confirm there have been no other important events in British political history that took place on July 4).

We reached out to our British correspondents to share some thoughts on the news, and G.S. in Basingstoke, England, UK and A.B. In Lichfield, England, UK were amenable to putting something together on a quick timeline. First up, G.S.:

As regular readers of the news will know, a General Election in the UK is now inbound. The latest possible date that Rishi Sunak could have dissolved Parliament was December 17 of this year (meaning an election on January 28, 2025). Whitehall officials were known to be leery of any date that coincided with your own electoral fun in November, so Sunak, apparently wary of the "squatter in Downing Street" mentality that waiting until the last minute would generate—and conceding that things, apparently, are not going to get better—took a very wet stroll to the lectern in Downing Street (accompanied by the deafening sounds of Labour's 1997 election song "Things CAN Only Get Better" from a nearby protestor) and announced the election will be on July 4.

In the few days since the announcement, things could not have gone much worse for the incumbents; the Conservatives have had predictable backlash to their plans for all teenagers to do a year's mandatory national service (and you thought there was no way to energize the young vote!), a further raise to the state pension (if this was so important, why didn't you do it in the last budget rather than an election giveaway?) and outgoing MPs from their own party being suspended for actively supporting even-more-right-wing-than-the-Tories parties. All this following on from disastrous local elections in England in early May which saw the Conservatives lose a net 474 seats, a near 50% loss rate compared to 2021. They ended up electing fewer councillors—just barely—than the national third party, the Liberal Democrats, the first time this has happened in 30 years. The net gainers were Labour (186), the Lib Dems (104), Independents (93) and the Greens (74).

So what do May's results portend for July 4? Part of the problem with accurately predicting nationwide elections here is the occasionally very local (compared to the US) nature of politics; readers may remember the Uxbridge by-election, where this correspondent confidently asserted that it was the most likely to "flip" of the three elections that day (it didn't.) To that end, I will direct readers to three differing psephologists/sites and invite them to draw their own conclusions.

The first (and most pro-Tory) is Professor Michael Thrasher, who extrapolated the local election results to predict a hung Parliament—where the "winning" party would have a plurality, but not a majority of the 650 seats and so require to form a coalition or govern as a minority party. The political "picture" painted here is somewhat similar to the election in 2015, where then-Prime Minister David Cameron was able to utilise a "coalition of chaos" threat (about a Labour government propped up/beholden to a Scottish National Party or other supporter), conveniently ignoring his having governed in a coalition for the previous 5 years. The vast majority of the political commentariat here have been somewhat dismissive of Professor Thrasher's analysis; that said, If this situation were to transpire, it would be a huge shock for the aspirant Labour party and certainly lead to questions about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer's lack of... well, any boldness whatsoever.

Secondly, we have Electoral Calculus, a site not dissimilar to this one, where polling data (not election results) is used to form a national picture. For those who do not wish to click through the link, their latest analysis has Labour winning a total of 472 (possibly as high as 545, and no fewer than 351) of the 650 seats in Parliament—a majority in all circumstances. Needless to say, anything even approaching 472 would be beyond Labour's wildest dreams (and way beyond even Tony Blair's landslide of 1997), giving a majority of something like 290 and enabling Sir Keir to enact pretty much whatever program of legislation he thought fit. At this stage, it is worth nothing that your regular British correspondents are somewhat-to-highly skeptical of Electoral Calculus; it does not really attempt to incorporate local factors into its conclusions, and is guilty (at least in this correspondent's opinion) of underestimating the strength of Tory support in the rich, rural constituencies that make up much of the center and southeast of England.

Finally, you have the person this correspondent would regard as the leading British psephologist, Professor Sir John Curtice. Sir John is a fixture of election night television over here; his calm, measured predictions, using exit polls, released at precisely the moments polls close, have been, well, almost unerring in their eventual accuracy for the past few elections. Sir John is not one for releasing figures, but has made two specific observations with regards to events last week. Firstly, those disaffected with the Tories are now often changing their vote to the aforementioned even-more-right-wing-than-the-Tories Reform Party—leading to a situation where the conservative vote can plausibly be split, leaving Labour/a third party to pick up the seat (and you thought third-party voting just advantaged Republicans, right?). Secondly, the picture points to some reasonably tactical voting; Labour and the Liberal Democrat share of the vote increased more when they were the main challengers, and Tory support fell more when the challenger was in danger of defeat. Neither of these developments portend at all well for the Prime Minister. Sir John has recently described the Prime Minister's decision as "either very brave or extremely foolhardy."

We will see while you're enjoying your own fireworks whether he is right.

And now, A.B.:

With G.S. offering an overview of the election landscape, I thought I would offer a quick summary of eight key points to look out for over the remaining weeks of the election campaign. As G.S. notes, British politics can be highly localized, and while the national polls currently show Labour with an average lead of 20% (a lead almost unimaginable in current U.S. politics), different dynamics are in play in different regions and in different U.K. nations.
  1. How well will Labour recover in the "Red Wall" seats? These are the traditional Labour-voting seats in the post-industrial Midlands and North of England (the equivalent of the Midwest Rust Belt) that switched to the Conservative Party in the 2019 "get Brexit done" election that consolidated Boris Johnson as Prime Minister (and didn't that go well?). Labour need to do well here to stand any chance of regaining power. One set of constituencies to watch out for are the three seats of the pottery-producing city of Stoke-on-Trent. In 2019, all three Stoke seats were won by the Conservatives for this first time in the city's history; win these back, and Keir Starmer is well on his way to Number 10.

  2. How well will Labour recover in Scotland? Until the 2015 general election, Labour had dominated national elections in Scotland, but the 2014 Scottish independence referendum (where, it's worth remembering, independence lost by 10%), transformed the position of the parties, and the pro-independence Scottish National Party has dominated national elections north of the border for a decade. In 2019, Labour won a single Scottish seat—compared to 41 in 2010. But over the last couple of years the SNP has overseen a series of scandals and missteps, including the former chief executive (and husband of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon) being arrested for embezzlement; previous First Minister Humza Yousaf disastrously mishandling the end of an arrangement where the Scottish Greens propped up his minority government, forcing Yousaf to resign, and newly installed First Minister John Swinney refusing to accept recommended sanctions against an SNP politician who tried to claim £11,000 for data roaming expenses on his iPad (perhaps showing that Boris Johnson taught the SNP a thing or two after all). This has all led to Labour taking the lead in Scottish opinion polling over an increasingly tired and unpopular SNP. Some polls suggest that the SNP seat share could more than halve from the 48 seats won in the 2019 U.K. general election, with Labour picking up most of the difference. Labour could probably just about win a majority at Westminster without doing well in Scotland, but the path to that majority would be immeasurably eased if they pick up seats in the Central Belt between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

  3. How well will the Liberal Democrats do in the "Blue Wall"? The Liberal Democrats, the U.K.'s traditional centrist third party, have never quite recovered from the collapse in their support following their 2010-2015 coalition with the Conservative Party. They're currently polling at about 10%, compared to the 23% they won in 2010, and even that 10% represents a recovery from 7.4% in the 2017 election. But the party have become quite ruthless at targeting their vote on winnable seats, particularly in the affluent south of England where small-c traditional conservative voters may be fed up with the Conservative Party, but can't quite bring themselves to vote for Labour. This would be welcome for the LibDems, no doubt, but would also help Labour by further depressing the number of Conservative MPs.

  4. How badly will the Conservatives do in London? The UK's capital contains 73 Westminster constituencies, more than the 57 constituencies in all of Scotland. Currently, 49 are held by Labour, 21 by the Conservatives, and 3 by the LibDems. Just like in the United States, major cities tend to be more left-leaning than rural areas, and some polls suggest that the Conservatives could be almost wiped out across London, with most of those seats picked up by Labour (the LibDems have aspirations in a couple; party leader Sir Ed Davey represents one of London's leafier outer seats). This would obviously also help Labour.

  5. How well will Reform UK do? Reform UK are the rebranded Brexit Party, sitting on the populist hard right of British politics. Polling suggests that as Conservative polling has declined, Reform have picked up at least some disgruntled right-of-center voters, and the party is now battling the Liberal Democrats to see who'll win the third-highest vote share. However, because Reform's vote is evenly spread across England (it has very little traction in Scotland or Wales), the party is unlikely to win any seats; they don't have the LibDems' experience or ability to ruthlessly target winnable seats. But in the U.K.'s electoral system, there's no need for a candidate to win a majority in a seat, they only need win the highest vote share. So if Reform can bleed 5-10% of the vote from the Conservatives in enough critical seats, allowing Labour or the LibDems to win the seat instead, they can significantly harm the Tories without picking up a single seat themselves.

  6. Will tactical voting hurt the Conservatives? One of the factors that led to Tony Blair's 1997 landslide was a willingness for Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters to vote for the party best-placed to defeat the Conservative candidate rather than their own party. With Rishi Sunak's government so catastrophically unpopular, there are signs that this will happen again in 2024, though the extent is difficult to predict. But the more voters who are willing to vote tactically against the government, the worse the night will be for the Conservative Party. The really entertaining dilemma here will be in Conservative seats in Scotland, where the main challenger is usually the SNP—providing a challenge for voters in deciding which party they consider to be the least incompetent.

  7. Will Nationalists/Republicans win more seats than Unionists in Northern Ireland? Northern Irish politics exists in its own unique world, with unique parties reflecting shades of opinion on the relationship between the U.K., Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Outlining this in more detail would require an essay of its own, but there's a significant chance that the two parties with Nationalist and Republican viewpoints (traditionally rooted in the north's Catholic communities) will win more seats than Unionist parties (traditionally rooted in the Protestant communities), with the non-sectarian centrist Alliance Party perhaps set for its best-ever result. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Sinn Féin refuse to take up the Westminster seats they win in Northern Ireland, but given the extent to which the relationship between the U.K. and the E.U. has been impacted by the need to address the special circumstances of Northern Ireland, a significant decline in the Unionist seat vote and seat share will be seen as potentially symbolic. The Unionist cause has not been helped by Jeffrey Donaldson, the former leader of the Democratic Unionist Party—currently the largest Unionist Party in Northern Ireland—being arrested earlier this year on historical rape charges. Yes, it's been quite the year for political scandals across the U.K.

  8. Whither Wales? Labour have long been the dominant party in Wales, and are expected to continue to do well in the general election as well. But perhaps because the Welsh feel they don't want to miss out on the round of scandals impacting the rest of the U.K., a whiff of discontent has arisen in Wales over a messy dispute involving donations to newly installed Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething. At this point it seems unlikely that this will have a significant impact on the national election result, but there's a slight chance it may cost Labour a seat or two in the Principality.
As an aside, Gething is Wales's first Black First Minister. There was a brief period from March to May this year where the U.K. Prime Minister was a Hindu of South Asian heritage, the Scottish First Minister was a Muslim of South Asian Heritage, the Welsh First Minister was Black, and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland (who have co-equal constitutional status) were both women, meaning no leader of any UK parliament was a white man; this observation may perhaps be somewhat counterbalanced by Charles III, but it was still a historical moment worth noting.

Thanks, gents! We look forward to further commentary as the Fourth draws nearer. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
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