Tools

Stock market plunges as recession alarm blares

An economic alarm bell has sounded in the US, sending warning signs of a possible recession ahead. Yields on 2-year and 10-year Treasury notes inverted early Wednesday, a market phenomenon that shows investors want more in return for short-term government bonds than they are for long-term bonds. It’s the first time that has happened since...
Load more
Read full article on: nypost.com
More than 130 people were killed in the Beirut blast
5 m
edition.cnn.com
Alaska Airlines no longer making face mask exemptions, banning passengers who refuse
No mask? No flight.
foxnews.com
Survivor of world's first nuclear attack recounts Hiroshima bombing 75 years later
The U.S. dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan 75 years ago. A few days later, a second nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, forcing the Japanese to surrender and bringing an end to WWII. Ramy Inocencio met a survivor of the attack, who has spent three-quarters of a century on a quest to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
cbsnews.com
Transcript: DCPS Chancellor on coronavirus impacts on fall year
The following is a transcript of an interview with DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee with "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan.
cbsnews.com
Former First Lady Michelle Obama reveals she has "low-grade depression"
Former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed on the second episode of her Spotify podcast she has a low-grade form of depression.
cbsnews.com
‘High Fidelity’ canceled by Hulu after one rocking season
Booting the Zoë Kravitz reboot of Nick Hornby's tale "was not an easy."
nypost.com
Dr. Anthony Fauci calls Brad Pitt’s Emmy nod for ‘SNL’ portrayal ‘surreal’
"He's one of my favorite actors, so I really do hope he wins."
nypost.com
How a New Generation Is Carrying on the Legacy of Atomic Bomb Survivors
As the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki age, the question of who will continue to voice their stories is growing more urgent
time.com
Aimée Osbourne doesn't regret not appearing on 'The Osbournes'
"The Osbournes" made her siblings famous, but Aimée Osbourne now says she always knew she had no desire to appear on the hit MTV reality show.
edition.cnn.com
Los Angeles police officers attended private party inside bar despite statewide shutdown
A clip published by an activist media group showed multiple people responding "yes" after an individual asked, "You here for the LASD party?"        
usatoday.com
Beirut explosion: France's Macron promises foreign aid won't fall into 'corrupt hands' as outrage mounts over negligent Lebanon 'regime'
As outraged protesters gathered in central Beirut on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron assured that foreign aid dollars would not fall into corrupt hands on the second day since a massive explosion devastated the Lebanese capital, leaving so far at least 157 dead and 5,000 injured.
foxnews.com
Why Joe Biden Can’t Make a Plan
Will we have a coronavirus vaccine by Inauguration Day, or will it still be several months off? If we do have a vaccine, will it have been competently distributed, or will America be a haphazard patchwork of immunity? Will the spread of infection, and the deaths that follow, slow or quicken? Will the economy have stabilized, or will the country be careening into the worst hole in human memory?Joe Biden does not know the answers to any of those questions—no one does. But the many uncertainties make it exceptionally hard for the presumptive Democratic nominee to plan what he’d do if he is elected president.“When President Biden is sworn in, in January, who knows how many people will have died by then?” California Representative Karen Bass, a potential vice-presidential candidate, told me. “And then who knows what the economy would be? We could be in a depression.”By August of most presidential-election years, the candidates have offered policy blueprints for the four years ahead. This exercise always has a level of science fiction to it—the ideas are aspirational, based on generous assumptions about what Congress and the voters will actually support. This race is different: Donald Trump has repeatedly whiffed when asked what he’d do in his second term (even though the questions have been gently lobbed at him by friendly Fox News hosts), and the coronavirus has left Biden laying out broad guesses, not knowing how bad public health and the economy will be by the time he’d take over, if he wins.[Read: The advantage of a Biden shadow cabinet]What Biden faces will be familiar, on a smaller scale, to any American trying to plan for the future. Six months ago, few outside of China had ever heard of social distancing or the coronavirus. Six months from now, the situation could have changed multiple times.The result, though, is that Biden is left hoping America elects him on a hunch of what he’d do—because it remains a mystery.Jake Sullivan, the adviser managing coronavirus policy development for Biden, has been helping put together what the campaign calls the “Build Back Better” agenda, which includes general proposals such as investing in manufacturing and small businesses and taking a more structural approach to thinking about racial equity and health care. It hasn’t been easy.“We’re trying to set down road maps and guidelines that work and would be relevant under a range of different scenarios,” Sullivan told me, “with enough specificity that we can show how the vice president would be different from the current incompetent response, but also with enough flexibility to accommodate a number of different realties that may present themselves with respect to what the economic and pandemic situation may be by January.”Biden and his team are more optimistic about the trajectory of the pandemic itself, believing that the infection and death rates will be more under control by January. They’ve seen evidence that real therapeutics are coming soon, and they are holding out hope for a vaccine.[Read: A vaccine reality check]That’s where their hope runs out. Early in the pandemic, Biden’s advisers were having private discussions that looked at a potentially fast, “V-shaped” economic recovery, I’m told. Into the summer, they were eyeing the turnarounds in some European countries, thinking that might be possible here. But with each day, they have gotten more worried about what would await Biden if he wins. “We don’t know exactly what the unemployment number is going to be, or what the economic situation is going to be, but we know it’s not going to be good,” Sullivan told me.Like any other major presidential nominee, Biden already has a transition team in place in the event that he wins. By law, that process needs to begin over the summer, with collaborations among agencies across the federal government, even if that means a lot of wasted effort should Biden lose. Ted Kaufman, Biden’s close friend and former chief of staff, is running the campaign’s transition process. This is the third transition Kaufman has been a part of, and when he served as a senator from Delaware after being appointed to the seat Biden gave up to be elected vice president, he wrote a law strengthening the transition process.This transition is like nothing Kaufman has dealt with before, he told me.Already, Kaufman said he has begun building a bigger team than normal to account for the different scenarios the transition will have to consider. “We have to plan what we call ‘unconventional challenges’ surrounding Trump, COVID-19, and the economy,” he said. “Changing power for the most powerful country in the history of the world is always a challenge. Every four years, it gets exponentially harder, and that’s even truer with today’s unconventional challenges.”Take reopening schools—potentially the pandemic problem that will shape society and the economy the most over the next year. Trump has no plan to reopen schools, other than demanding that they open and claiming that they’re not opening for “political” reasons, rather than because of the health and infrastructure worries that most parents and staff have. “My view is the schools should open. This thing's going away. It will go away like things go away,” Trump said on Wednesday morning in an appearance on Fox News. Biden, meanwhile, has issued a framework that calls to put health first and that proposes a $90 billion fund to help schools make changes. He can’t do anything to implement it. And if he does win, he would be coming into office more than halfway through the school year. Biden’s advisers are tossing around ideas internally, such as potentially proposing once in office that a new school year start date of March 1 or April 1, and then extending it into next summer, but they know that at the moment, this is all just wishful thinking. And that doesn’t even account for the state-by-state negotiations with teachers’ unions that any extension would entail, and that would likely require federal leadership, among all the other elements they’d need to make any of this workable.Or imagine what would happen if promising developments are made on a coronavirus vaccine by the fall. Most expect that Trump would be pushing people to rush to get it, whereas Biden expects to urge careful safety testing first. Aside from the cognitive dissonance of Trump, who has courted anti-vaxxers, being pro-vaccine and Biden hesitating, there will almost certainly be huge problems in production and distribution of a vaccine. The Trump administration has taken no clear steps to prepare, and Biden can only issue statements about how more preparations are needed. Even if a vaccine is ready by Election Day, there’s no way to know how many Americans would be vaccinated by Inauguration Day.[Read: What Biden learned the last time the world stopped]Meanwhile, ideas for how to spark economic growth, even those that Biden has proposed in campaign speeches, are all being trimmed. “If you want to do a big infrastructure bill, how much can you do?” Kaufman said. “I don’t know what there’s going to be when Trump gets through, in terms of our debt as a percent of the gross domestic product. We know it’s not going to be good.”Biden’s approach to the economy is to go big on spending—maybe not at the level of the $4 trillion in stimulus money spent so far, but probably not far behind. Campaign aides are assuming that he would have to pass a big spending bill next year, but cannot tell yet if that money would be more for relief or for recovery planning.Advisers are carefully watching the current negotiations in Congress, anxious that they could create new problems if they result in a deal that expires at the end of January—assuming Congress is able to make a deal at all. There is some logic to that, given that Senate Republicans haven’t approved any new funding since May, and that Congress expects to go on a long recess through the election and might not want to leave such big decisions to a lame-duck session in December. However, that means Biden could be immediately thrown into intense congressional negotiations if he’s elected, likely after a transition made difficult by Trump’s expected lack of cooperation and with other crises looming. Then again, polls suggest that Biden might be coming into office with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, which would redefine the negotiations to make a deal both more to his liking and easier to finalize.Biden has been in regular contact with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Aides who have been told about these conversations say they’re mostly check-ins from Biden, who is leaving the negotiations to congressional leadership. “Having been in a lot of those rooms, the vice president knows you can’t run an operation like this by remote control,” Sullivan told me. In speaking with other aides on the Hill, they describe a sense of relief in not having to worry about getting from Biden what Senate Republicans have been getting from Trump. In March, the Senate GOP waited on an approving tweet from him before voting on the last big relief bill. In the past week, Trump has called the new Senate Republican bill “semi-irrelevant,” and had White House aides push for $1.75 billion to build a new FBI headquarters, to the annoyed surprise of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.[Peter Beinart: Biden goes big without sounding like it]Local and state governments are also trying to sort out their long-term planning, not knowing what the situation will be, or what will be happening in the federal government.New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, for example, has already extended his state’s budget for three months over the summer, as he worked to get a handle on the state’s outbreak and a sense of the finances in Trenton. Because Murphy is the only major Democratic leader who’s kept up a good relationship with Trump during the pandemic—even getting an invitation to dinner at the president’s Bedminster golf club in June—I asked Murphy what he might expect from a Biden presidency instead.He answered carefully, trying to preserve his relationship with Trump, and to account for how hard it is to tell what Biden would do.“It’s probably more values based. You’d see consistent mask wearing by him. You’d probably see a pretty significant investment in manufacturing to replenish the strategic stockpile. I suspect a lot of the energies, which are largely private sector, being put into therapeutics and vaccines would be encouraged by his administration and by his folks,” he told me. “There’s no question I’m for Joe Biden for president. But if that were not to come to pass, you just hope, please, God, you’ll get a continually more robust response by the current administration.”
theatlantic.com
RNC and Trump campaign prepare to wage war over voting laws
Republican officials said the Trump campaign's lawsuit over a new Nevada law on mail-in voting is a preview of what they predict will be a months-long, multi-million dollar battle over the practice.
edition.cnn.com
Adidas expects profit rebound as COVID-19 shakes up fashion world
Coronavirus-fueled office closures have provided a surprising boost to Adidas, which on Thursday announced it expects to return to profitability in the third quarter as more customers dress down as they work from home. The German sportswear giant’s CEO told reporters that customers in the 18-34 age group say they plan to spend more time...
nypost.com
Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell opens up about being pulled over by white police officer
While at Louisville, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell says he was pulled over by a white police officer. He shared the story.        
usatoday.com
Beirut residents search for missing loved ones: "It might be too late"
Ghassan Hasrouty is one of dozens who have not been heard from since the devastating blasts that left more than 130 dead and thousands wounded.
cbsnews.com
Another 1.2 million Americans file jobless claims
More than 55 million people have filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the last 20 weeks. CNN's Christine Romans reports.
edition.cnn.com
North Korea ships massive aid supplies to city with coronavirus scare, despite regime still claiming no cases
A North Korean city placed in an “ultra-emergency state” over a suspected coronavirus case has been sent more than 550,000 aid items, the country’s state media is reporting Thursday, despite the Hermit Kingdom’s continued insistence that the disease doesn’t exist within its borders. 
foxnews.com
Former 'Ellen' DJ Tony Okungbowa Details 'Toxicity' on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'
Tony Okungbowa — also known as DJ Tony on The Ellen DeGeneres Show — echoed his former colleagues in an Instagram post, in which he detailed the “toxicity” that comes with working under Ellen DeGeneres. “Hey Guys. I hope you
breitbart.com
How NYC plans to restart TV, film and stage productions
“It’s been very hard to see these industries that are really so definitive of NYC just (struggling) to find a way forward."
nypost.com
Trump Jr.'s surprising tweet about potential gold mine
Donald Trump Jr. and Vice President Mike Pence's former top aide are calling on the Trump administration to block a controversial gold and copper mine proposed in Alaska that the Obama administration said would cause permanent damage to a critical salmon fishery. CNN's Drew Griffin reports.
edition.cnn.com
After Isaias rocks Each Coast, more storms on the way
Millions are still without power Thursday morning.
abcnews.go.com
Poseidon's Huntington Beach desalination plant still in choppy waters
Does Orange County need all that expensive water from Poseidon's proposed seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach?
latimes.com
This dirt pile sold for $1.2 million in New York City
The owner of this empty lot in Manhattan will need a lot of imagination to fill it. Originally listed for $1.5 million, this plop of dirt in Washington Heights is 25 feet by 90 feet and came with overgrown weeds, old asphalt and a creepy back building that could work as a two-car garage —...
nypost.com
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ on Hulu, a Feelgood Charmer and Lazy Southern Parable
Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen pal around on the coast, feelgood-style.
nypost.com
Biden Says He Wouldn't Stand In The Way Of A Trump Prosecution
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he would not stand in the way of a future Justice Department pursuing criminal charges against President Trump after he leaves office.
npr.org
What will it take for schools to reopen safely in the midst of a pandemic?
Educators, health officials and scientists are still working to understand what it will take to make schools safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
latimes.com
'This rice is life-giving!': An Eagle Rock chef shares her recipe
Cacao Mexicatessen chef Christy Lujan shares her restaurant's recipe for cilantro lime rice.
latimes.com
Thunder follow Chris Paul's lead by making noise in NBA bubble
Oklahoma City has been a longshot to win an NBA title this season after trading its two best players last summer. The Thunder are now a threat to pull an upset.
latimes.com
A Bunch of Mice Ran 11 Marathons in Six Weeks
What have you accomplished this pandemic?
slate.com
How inequality is changing the Republican Party — and breaking American politics
President Donald Trump shakes hands in 2017 with then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, as Vice President Mike Pence beams. | Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images A new book tries to untangle the relationship between white identity politics and skyrocketing inequality. Historically, conservative political parties face the problem Harvard political scientist Daniel Ziblatt calls “the conservative dilemma.” How does a party that represents the interests of moneyed elites win elections in a democracy? The dilemma sharpens as inequality widens: The more the haves have, the more have-nots there are who will vote to tax them. This is not mere ivory-tower theorizing. Conservative politicians know the bind they’re in. When Mitt Romney told a room of donors during the 2012 election that there were “47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what” because they “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” even though they “pay no income tax,” he was describing the conservative dilemma. “Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect,” he said, a bit sadly. If anything, Romney understated the case. Sure, 47 percent of Americans, in 2011, didn’t pay federal income taxes — though they paid a variety of other taxes, ranging from federal payroll taxes to state sales taxes. But slicing the electorate by income tax burden only makes sense if you’re wealthy enough for income taxes to be your primary economic irritant. That’s not true for most people. Romney’s 53 percent versus 47 percent split was a gentle rendering of an economy where the rich were siphoning off startling quantities of wealth. Occupy Wall Street’s rallying cry — “We are the 99%!” — framed the math behind the conservative dilemma more directly: How do you keep winning elections and cutting taxes for the rich in a (putative) democracy where the top 1 percent went from 11 percent of national income in 1980 to 20 percent in 2016, and the bottom 50 percent fell from 21 percent of national income in 1980 to 13 percent in 2016? How do you keep your party from being buried by the 99 percent banding together to vote that income share back into their own pockets? In their new book, Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality, political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson offer three possible answers. You can cease being a party built around tax cuts for the rich and try to develop an economic agenda that will appeal to the middle class. You can try to change the political topic, centering politics on racial, religious, and nationalist grievance. Or you can try to undermine democracy itself. Despite endless calls for the GOP to choose door No. 1 — and poll after poll showing their voting base desperate for leaders who would represent their economic interests while reflecting their cultural grievances — Republican elites have refused. Take the 2018 tax cuts. Donald Trump might have run as a populist prepared to raise taxes on plutocrats like, well, him, but according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the bill he signed gave more than 20 percent of its benefits over the first 10 years, and more than 80 percent of the benefits that last beyond the first 10 years, to the top 1 percent. For that reason, it’s one of the most unpopular bills to ever be signed into law. It’s not the kind of accomplishment you can run for reelection on. From Let Them Eat Tweets, by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson That’s left Republicans reliant on the second and third strategies. Hacker and Pierson call the resulting ideology “plutocratic populism,” and their book is sharp and thoughtful on how the GOP got here and the dangers of the path they’ve chosen. Where it’s less convincing is in its description of where “here” is: Does Trump represent the culmination of the Republican coalition or the contradictions that will ultimately tear it apart? The logic, and illogic, of plutocratic populism Plutocratic populism presents as a contradiction — like shouted silence or carnivorous vegan. The key to Hacker and Pierson’s formulation is that, in the GOP, plutocracy and populism operate on different axes. The plutocrats control economic policy, and the populists win elections by deepening racial, religious, and nationalist grievances. “To advance an unpopular plutocratic agenda, Republicans have escalated white backlash — and, increasingly, undermined democracy,” Hacker and Pierson write. “In the United States, then, plutocracy and right-wing populism have not been opposing forces. Instead, they have been locked in a doom loop of escalating extremism that must be disrupted. This is their synthesis of the great economic anxiety versus racial resentment debate. Republican elites weaponize racial resentment to win voters who would otherwise vote their economic self-interest. Hacker and Pierson are careful to sidestep the crude version that holds that ethnic and religious division are mere distractions. Voters see racial and religious dominance as political interests as compelling and legitimate as tax benefits, and the demand for politicians to reflect those underlying resentments and fears is real. David McNew/Getty Images A demonstrator questions the citizenship of President Obama at an American Family Association (AFA)-sponsored T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already) Party in 2009. Weirdly, their sign says nothing about taxes. This is a key point in Hacker and Pierson’s analysis: They focus on the decisions made by GOP elites, not the desires of conservative voters. Their fundamental claim is that if Republican elites had chosen a more politically sellable economic agenda, they would have — or at least could have — resisted the lure of white resentment and still won elections. But once they made tax cuts for the rich and opposition to universal health care the immovable lodestones of their governance, they had little political choice save to power their movement with the dirty, but abundant, energy offered by ethnonationalism. The most compelling evidence Hacker and Pierson cite for this argument comes from a study conducted by political scientists Margit Tavits and Joshua Potter, which looked at party platforms from 450 parties in 41 countries between 1945 and 2010. Tavits and Potter find that as inequality rises, conservative parties ratchet up their emphasis on religious and racial grievances — particularly in countries with deep racial and religious fractures. The pivot only works, Tavits and Potter say, when there is high “social demand” for ethnonationalist conflict. The question this raises, and which Hacker and Pierson don’t really answer, is what would happen to this demand in the absence of conservative politicians willing to meet it — particularly in an age of weakened political parties, demographic change, and identitarian social media? Trump’s rise, which Hacker and Pierson present as the culmination of plutocratic populism, can also be read as a symptom of its mounting internal contradictions, and of the way Republicans voters are increasingly capable of demanding the representation they want. It may be that the uneasy coalition that married white identitarians to Davos Man is breaking apart. Indeed, reading Hacker and Pierson’s book, I found myself wondering whether inequality was, itself, the cause of the coalition’s collapse: Perhaps the plutocratic agenda is becoming too unpopular to even survive Republican presidential primaries. And if that’s so, is the future of the Republican Party more moderate on all fronts, or more purely ethnonationalist? The Donald Trump question If you survey the modern Republican party, the figures most intent on turning it into a vehicle for ethnonationalist resentment are the least committed to the plutocratic agenda. Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, Sen. Josh Hawley, and 2016 candidate Donald Trump are all examples of the trend: they are, or were, explicit in their desire to sever the ties that yoke angry nationalism and a desire for a whiter America to Paul Ryan’s budget. Conversely, the Republican figures most committed to plutocracy — like Ryan or the Koch Brothers or the Chamber of Commerce — tend to back immigration reform, recoil from ethnonationalist rhetoric, and in 2016, they opposed Trump in favor of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. They just lost on all those fronts. Hacker and Pierson emphasize the fact that once in office, Trump abandoned populist pretense and gave the Chamber of Commerce everything it had ever wanted and more. But as with so much else with Trump, it can be hard to distinguish decision-making from disinterest. Trump outsourced the staffing of his White House to the Koch-soaked Mike Pence and his agenda to congressional Republicans. The question, then, is whether the dissonance of his administration represents an inevitability of Republican Party politics or simply a lag between Trump demonstrating the base’s prioritization of ethnonationalist resentment and a politician who will both win and govern on those terms. This is the central unanswered question of Hacker and Pierson’s book: If you cut the plutocrats out of the party, either because bigotry drove them out or campaign finance reform neutered them or the Ayn Rand-rapture ascended them, would their absence lead to a Republican Party that moderates on economics and eases off the ethnonationalism, or would it lead to a Republican Party that moderates on economics so it can more effectively pursue social division? Put differently, do you get 2000-era John McCain or 2020-era Tucker Carlson? I suspect the latter. Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon Tucker Carlson abandoned conservative economics in favor of a purer, more confrontational ethnonationalism, and it’s made him Fox News’s highest-rated host, and spurred talk of a 2024 presidential run. Hacker and Pierson admit they are assessing the GOP as an elite-led institution, and quite often, that’s probably the right way to look at it. But they end up virtually ignoring the power that Republican voters actually hold and, when they are sufficiently offended, wield. Bush and Rubio and Christie were humiliated in 2016. GOP-led efforts at immigration reform failed in 2007 and 2013. Majority Leader Eric Cantor was deposed by Rep. Dave Brat. The Republican autopsy, which recommended that the GOP become more racially and generationally inclusive, was ignored. At key moments, Fox News tried to support immigration reform and deflate Trump, and it lost those fights, and remade itself in Trump’s image. There are lines even conservative media can’t cross. Hacker and Pierson marshal data showing the very rich are more economically conservative than the median voter, but also more socially liberal. As the GOP becomes more crudely identitarian, there’s some evidence that it’s losing the economic elites who George W. Bush once called “my base”: Contributions from the Forbes 400 have been tipping toward the Democratic Party in recent decades, and there’s reason to believe that’s accelerated under Trump. Hillary Clinton won the country’s richest zip codes in 2016 — a change from past Democratic performance — while Trump’s electoral college win relied on gains among lower-income whites. Hacker and Pierson don’t assess the Democratic Party much in their book, but the future of plutocratic populism likely depends on the direction that coalition takes. Joe Biden’s Democratic Party is a tent restive billionaires might feel comfortable in. Yes, they’ll pay higher taxes, but they’ll also receive competent protection from pandemics, and won’t have to explain away the white nationalists in their ranks. If Bernie Sanders’s vision is the future of the Democratic Party, billionaires will remain in the Republican Party, where they are at least seen as allies. Minoritarian authoritarians The most chilling argument in Hacker and Pierson’s book is that Trump’s rhetoric has focused us on the wrong authoritarian threat. The fear that he would entrench himself as an individual strongman has distracted from the reality that his party is insulating itself from democracy: As their goals have become more extreme, Republicans and their organized allies have increasingly exploited long-standing but worsening vulnerabilities in our political system to lock in narrow priorities, even in the face of majority opposition. The specter we face is not just a strongman bending a party and our political institutions to his will; it is also a minority faction entrenching itself in power, beyond the ambitions and careers of any individual leader. Whether Trump can break through the barriers against autocracy, he and his party—with plutocratic and right-wing backing—are breaking majoritarian democracy. A useful thought experiment in American politics is simply to imagine what would happen if the system worked the way we tend to tell our children it works: Whoever wins the most votes wins the election. In that case, George W. Bush would never have passed his tax cuts nor made his Supreme Court nominations, and neither would Donald Trump. The Republican Party would likely have had to moderate its approach on both economics and social and racial issues, as there’d be no viable path forward that combines an economic agenda that repels most voters and a social agenda that offends the rising demographic majority. As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in 2012, before becoming first Trump’s most slashing critic and then one of his most sycophantic defenders, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.” As I argue in my book on polarization, which similarly ends with a call for democratization, if Trump had won exactly as many votes in 2016 but lost the election because of it, he and his followers would be blamed for blowing a clearly winnable contest and handing the Supreme Court to the Democrats for a generation. In that world, the toxic tendencies he represents would be weakened, and the Republican Party, having lost three presidential elections in a row, would have been far likelier to reform itself. Its ability to keep traveling the path of plutocratic populism stems entirely from the minoritarian possibilities embedded in America’s political institutions. Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images Hundreds of activists, mostly women, gathered in front of Trump International in Columbus Circle for a “Not My President!” rally in December 2016. As Hacker and Pierson show, this is a point of true convergence between the identitarians and the plutocrats: Both have lost confidence that they can win elections democratically so they have sought to rewrite the rules in their favor. What hold on power they retain comes from the way American politics amplifies the power of whiter, more rural, more conservative areas — and that’s given the conservative coalition a closing window in which to rig the system such that they can retain control. America does not exist in a steady state of tension between majoritarian and minoritarian institutions. Those institutions can be changed, and they are being changed. A party in power can rewrite the rules in its own favor, and the Republican Party, at every level, is trying to do just that — using power won through white identity politics and geographic advantage, but deploying strategies patiently funded by plutocrats. As Hacker and Pierson write: Recent GOP moves in North Carolina show what’s possible in a closely balanced state. Republicans first took the statehouse in 2010. They quickly enlisted the leading Republican architect of extreme partisan gerrymanders, Thomas Hofeller. A mostly anonymous figure until his death in 2018, Hofeller liked to describe gerrymandering as “the only legalized form of vote-stealing left in the United States.” He once told an audience of state legislators, “Redistricting is like an election in reverse. It’s a great event. Usually the voters get to pick the politicians. In redistricting, the politicians get to pick the voters.” In 2018, North Carolina Republicans won their “election in reverse,” keeping hold of the statehouse even while losing the statewide popular vote. In North Carolina’s races for the US House, Republicans won half the statewide votes and 77 percent of the seats. A global elections watchdog ranked North Carolina’s “electoral integrity” alongside that of Cuba, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has sought to reword the census so Hispanics fear filling it out, in the hope that the political representation they’d normally receive flows to white, Republican voters instead. So far, the White House has been too clumsily explicit about the aims of this strategy for courts to clear it, but that’s a mistake that can easily be remedied by savvier successors. Hacker and Pierson argue that the conservative dilemma matters because conservative parties matter. History shows that democratic systems thrive amid responsible conservative parties — parties that make their peace with democracy and build agendas that can successfully compete for votes — and they collapse when conservative parties back themselves into defending constituencies and agendas so narrow that their only path to victory is to rig the system in their favor. This is the cliff on which American democracy now teeters. The threat isn’t that Donald Trump will carve his face onto Mt. Rushmore and engrave his name across the White House. It’s that the awkward coalition that nominated and sustains him will entrench itself, not their bumbling standard-bearer, by turning America into a government by the ethnonationalist minority, for the plutocratic minority. Further Listening I spoke with Hacker and Pierson about their book, and the questions it raised for me, on my podcast, The Ezra Klein Show. Listen here, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your pods. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
vox.com
Joe Biden unable to answer softball questions and media's silence is 'mind-blowing,' says Sarah Sanders
It is "shocking" how quiet the mainstream media is reacting to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's incoherent answers to "softball" questions, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told "Fox & Friends" Thursday.
foxnews.com
Pete Hamill: From high school dropout to legendary journalist
Errol Louis writes about the incredible life of Pete Hamill, who died Wednesday at the age of 85
edition.cnn.com
Grammy-winning producer Detail charged with more than a dozen counts of sexual assault
Detail, a Grammy Award-winning music producer behind hits from Beyonce, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa, was arrested on Wednesday on more than a dozen counts of sexual assault.
foxnews.com
Rep. Rodney Davis tests positive for COVID-19
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis has tested positive for coronavirus, less than one week after he delivered a presentation on staying safe from the virus in the Capitol. Davis, the top-ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee, was diagnosed Wednesday morning, he said in a statement. The congressman said he had been giving himself twice-daily temperature...
nypost.com
Jake Paul’s neighbors heard ‘mysterious explosions’ before FBI raid
Jake Paul was already facing a $2 million tax lien when a cache of weapons was found in an FBI raid.
nypost.com
Zoe Kravitz’s ‘High Fidelity’ Reboot Canceled at Hulu
Top five TV heartbreaks, go.
nypost.com
Hiroshima survivors mark 75th anniversary of attack, urge ban on nuclear weapons
Survivors of the world’s first atomic bombing gathered in diminished numbers near an iconic, blasted dome Thursday to mark the attack’s 75th anniversary, many of them urging the world, and their own government, to do more to ban nuclear weapons.
foxnews.com
Cacao Mexicatessen Cilantro Lime Rice
This vegan cilantro lime rice is the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
latimes.com
Bellator 243's Georgi Karakhanyan looks to make statement against Myles Jury
Veteran Georgi Karakhanyan looks to make it two straight victories when he meets Myles Jury on the main card of Bellator 243.        Related StoriesBenson Henderson skeptical of Michael Chandler's 'knockout warrior' self-assessmentBellator 243's Sabah Homasi relieved to learn relatives safe in Beirut explosionA free agent after Bellator 243, Michael Chandler keeping options open 
usatoday.com
Ellen Pompeo stuck with 'Grey's Anatomy' all this time for the money: 'I’m financially set'
Ellen Pompeo revealed the main reason she’s stuck with “Grey’s Anatomy” all this time simply comes down to financial security. 
foxnews.com
US workers file over 1 million jobless claims for 20th straight week
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits topped 1 million for the twentieth straight week — bringing the total number of initial jobless claims filed during the coronavirus pandemic to more than 55 million. An additional 1.186 million people filed for unemployment last week, according to the US Department of Labor. Jobless claims were...
nypost.com
Coronavirus live updates: Dr. Deborah Birx warns of 'different' outbreak; testing declines amid delays; L.A. cutting power to party houses
The Department of Labor releases its latest jobless claims figures Thursday. Congress anticipates relief package by week's end. Latest COVID-19 news.        
usatoday.com
Meghan McCain is Sick of “B.S.” Questions About Leaving ‘The View’: “I Hate This”
Do you really think Meghan McCain would miss an election cycle?
nypost.com
Fewer Americans filing for unemployment aid
The number of people applying for initial unemployment benefits fell below 2 million for the first time since March.
cbsnews.com
Portland Riots Continue After Withdrawal of Federal Officers; Target Local Police
Riots have continued in Portland, Oregon, for several nights despite the withdrawal of federal law enforcement officials, as left-wing activists from Black Lives Matter and Antifa have attacked local police and battled them in the city streets.
breitbart.com
'Nothing compares': Unemployment filings top 1 million for 20th straight week
The unprecedented streak of jobless claims has shattered all previous records.
abcnews.go.com
Car recalls for July 30-Aug. 6
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued recalls for July 30 through Aug. 6.       
usatoday.com