Vulnerable Trump begins 2020 campaign amid boasts and backlash

With poor poll numbers against Democrats, president faces coordinated opposition – but history may be on his side

Donald Trump will formally launch his 2020 re-election campaign on Tuesday in one of the weakest positions of any incumbent president in modern times.

Trump will seek to project self-confidence and portray himself as a winner when he takes the stage at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, before a typically raucous 20,000 capacity crowd more than 16 months before election day in November 2020.

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The Constitution Doesn’t Work Without Local News
The Framers of the Constitution understood just how important local news would be to the success of their ambitious American experiment. Alexander Hamilton explained the issue this way in “Federalist No. 84,” using as an example one locality in Maryland: What are the sources of information by which the people in Montgomery County must regulate their judgment of the conduct of their representatives in the State legislature? Of personal observation they can have no benefit. This is confined to the citizens on the spot. They must therefore depend on the information of intelligent men, in whom they confide; and how must these men obtain their information? Evidently from the complexion of public measures, from the public prints, from correspondences with their representatives, and with other persons who reside at the place of their deliberations. This does not apply to Montgomery County only, but to all the counties at any considerable distance from the seat of government. To hold public officials accountable, in other words, “intelligent men”—all people, in fact—need reliable reporting about the activities of government and politicians. But these days, local news is withering in many places across America. The United States is dotted with “news deserts,” regions where no newspaper or other local news organization exists. In many other places, once-vibrant local outlets have become “ghost newspapers”—their name remains, and you can still buy a subscription, but their staff and ambitions are so diminished that they can no longer do the day-to-day reporting that allows citizens to make good decisions at the polls about their governmental representatives.The local-news losses are startling: As I write in my new book, Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy, in the past 15 years, more than 2,100 local newspapers have gone out of business, according to the journalism scholar Penny Muse Abernathy at the University of North Carolina. And about half of American journalism jobs have gone away, too—either as a result of those closures or because of constant layoffs and buyouts in newsrooms—not only at newspapers but at digital-only nonprofits, and at television and radio stations. (These losses occurred before the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic downturn, which has caused even more decline.) The business model for local newspapers, based largely on once-abundant print advertising, has crumbled. And while hundreds of start-up news organizations have emerged, some of them excellent, they have not come close to filling the gap across the country.[Read: The threat to American democracy that has nothing to do with Trump]Local news makes a huge difference. A PEN America study concluded last year that as local journalism declines, “government officials conduct themselves with less integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness,” and corporate malfeasance goes unchecked. With the loss of local news, citizens are less likely to vote, less politically informed, and less likely to run for office, according to the study. Democracy loses its foundation.The tight connection between local news and good citizenship became abundantly clear in 2018 to Nate McMurray, the Democratic candidate for Congress in a heavily Republican district in upstate New York. Although McMurray, the supervisor of the town of Grand Island, was battling a party enrollment skewed against him (the gerrymandered district is the size of Rhode Island and spreads into eight counties), he did have one monumental advantage: His Republican opponent, the incumbent Chris Collins, had just been indicted on insider-trading charges. One would expect that to be disqualifying—but it wasn’t. News of Collins’s indictment did make a difference in the campaign in areas where local news was strong: The Buffalo News has an excellent Washington correspondent, Jerry Zremski, who had broken a major part of the insider-trading story and followed its developments diligently for months. (I spent three decades at The Buffalo News, where I began as a summer intern, including a dozen years as its chief editor.) Many people living in the area around Buffalo, where this newspaper still has a wide circulation, who would have likely voted for the incumbent, crossed the aisle to vote blue. This is clear by a comparison of the election’s results with past voting patterns in the district.This post was excerpted from Sullivan’s recent book.But in the more far-flung parts of the sprawling congressional district, voters were far less informed. The largely rural and suburban district includes Orleans County, which, according to Abernathy’s criteria, is a news desert—one of just a few in New York State.“I’d be going door to door, or meeting with people at a diner or a fair, for example, and in the most isolated areas, a lot of people had no idea that their own congressman had been indicted,” McMurray told me. Orleans County, west of Rochester, he said, was “one of the toughest places.” Some people didn’t even know who Collins was, and many were incredulous when McMurray told them of the federal charges.“People told me I was making it up,” said McMurray. That shouldn’t have been the case, given that television news stations in both Rochester and Buffalo were giving plenty of airtime to the scandal as it developed, and those stations were available throughout the district. Nevertheless, the constituents lacked access to the in-depth coverage that a newspaper would have provided. At one time, almost everyone in the district had ready access to print editions of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle or The Buffalo News, or were within easy reach of smaller newspapers in nearby Niagara Falls or Lockport.[John Temple: My newspaper died 10 years ago. I’m worried the worst is yet to come.]As a result, Collins—the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president—was taking full advantage of the decline of credible news sources. He sent fundraising emails to constituents, blasting what he called “fake news” about his misdeeds—and relied heavily on TV ads to promote his supposed effectiveness in Congress. McMurray put it to me this way: “The lack of real journalism in a lot of the more remote parts of the district meant that people were relying on gossip, conservative radio, or social media. People were really deep into their echo chambers, or they just didn’t care.”McMurray lost that 2018 election by a whisker: less than half a percentage point—far less than expected, given the natural party skew of the district. As for the incumbent Collins, he later pleaded guilty to two felonies, resigned from Congress, and was sentenced to prison. Some of his constituents may be unaware of that too, or wouldn’t believe it if they saw it in a neighbor’s Facebook post. Of course, citizens may be uninformed about their public officials for many reasons—among them the spotty civics education in schools and the public’s increased reliance on social media—but the loss of newspapers is surely a contributing factor.Despite some hopeful signs, such as the many nonprofit news sites that have cropped up around the country, the overall trends are troubling. As Tom Rosenstiel, the executive director of the American Press Institute, told me: “If we don’t monitor power at the local level, there will be massive abuse of power at the local level.” That’s something that Alexander Hamilton and his fellow constitutional architects could not have reconciled with what they had in mind: a society in which citizens are well-informed and active participants in how their government operates. If we in the 21st century are to remain true to their vision, we must find a way—indeed, many ways—to reinvent local journalism before it is too late.This article is adapted from Sullivan’s recent book, Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy.
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The United States Needs a New Foreign Policy
It’s tempting to draw sweeping conclusions about what geopolitics will look like after the pandemic. Some argue that we’re witnessing the last gasp of American primacy, the equivalent of Britain’s 1956 “Suez moment.” Others argue that America, the main driver of the post–Cold War international order, is temporarily incapacitated, with a president drunk at the wheel. Tomorrow, a more sober operator can swiftly restore U.S. leadership.There is a lot we don’t know yet about the virus, or how it will reshape the international landscape. What we do know, however, is that we have drifted into one of those rare periods of transition, with American dominance in the rearview mirror, and a more anarchical order looming dimly beyond. The moment resembles—in both its fragility and its geopolitical and technological dynamism—the era before World War I, which triggered two global military convulsions before statecraft finally caught up with the magnitude of the challenges. To navigate today's complicated transition, the United States will need to move beyond the debate between retrenchment and restoration, and imagine a more fundamental reinvention of America’s role in the world.The wreckage of the pandemic surrounds us—with more than half a million people around the world dead, the ranks of the global hungry doubling, and the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression raging. Well before the coronavirus hit, however, the liberal international order built and led by the United States was becoming less liberal, less ordered, and less American. The pandemic has accelerated that trend and aggravated preexisting conditions.[Read: The pandemic’s geopolitical aftershocks are coming]With the United States and its allies reeling, distracted, and divided by the pandemic, China’s ambition to become the dominant player in Asia has grown, as has its desire to reshape international institutions and rules to suit its power and preferences. The pandemic has also magnified the insecurities of Chinese leadership, amplifying their worries about economic sluggishness and social discontent. The result is greater domestic repression and an even more pugnacious brand of “wolf warrior” diplomacy.Always attuned to the weakness of others, Vladimir Putin is losing sight of Russia’s own weakness. The collapse of the oil market and Putin’s mismanagement of the pandemic have made Russia’s one-dimensional economy and stagnant political system even more brittle. A potent counterpuncher, Putin still sees plenty of opportunities to disrupt and subvert rival countries, the kind of tactics that can help a declining power sustain its status. His margin for error, however, is shrinking.Europe is caught between an assertive China, a revisionist Russia, an erratic America, and its own political breakdowns—none more perplexing than Brexit. The drift in the transatlantic alliance is worsening, with the U.S. looking for Europe to do more with less say, and Europe fearing that it will become the grass on which the great-power elephants trample.The pandemic has also intensified the Middle East’s disorder and dysfunction. Hard-liners in both Tehran and Washington pose combatively at the foot of a dangerous escalatory ladder. Proxy wars in Yemen and Libya spin on. Syria remains a bloody wreck, and Israel’s impending annexation in the West Bank threatens to bury a two-state solution.As the pandemic’s wave crests over developing countries, the world’s most fragile societies will only become more vulnerable. Latin America now faces the biggest economic decline in the region’s history. Africa, with its growing cities and daunting food, water, and health insecurities, faces greater risks than perhaps any other part of the world.All of these challenges and uncertainties are further complicated by ongoing technological disruptions, and by ideological and economic competition.The pace of change has outstripped the capacity of faltering, inward-looking leaders to shape the rules of the road. False information spreads with the same alacrity as truth; infectious diseases move faster than cures. The same technologies that unlock so many human possibilities are now being used by authoritarian leaders to lock in citizens, surveil them, and repress them.With the triumphalism of globalization long behind us, societies struggle with widening inequality and mercantilist impulses. Democracy has been in retreat for more than a decade, the compact between citizens and governments badly frayed. International institutions are beginning to break—paralyzed by too much bureaucracy, too little investment, and intense major-power rivalry. Looming above it all is the forbidding menace of climate change, as our planet gradually suffocates on carbon emissions.[Amy Zegart: The race for big ideas is on]This moment screams for leadership to help forge a sense of order—an organizer to help navigate this complicated mess of challenges, stabilize geopolitical competition, and ensure at least some modest protections of global public goods.But now we are living through the worst intersection of man and moment in American history. “America First” really means Trump first, America alone, and Americans on their own.The post-pandemic future of the United States is not preordained. We still get a vote, and we still get to make some fateful choices. They are more complicated than those we faced at the end of the Cold War, when our undisputed primacy cushioned us from our mistakes and sustained our illusions. But today’s choices are even more consequential than those of 30 years ago.The United States must choose from three broad strategic approaches: retrenchment, restoration, and reinvention. Each aspires to deliver on our interests and protect our values; where they differ is in their assessment of American priorities and influence, and of the threats we face. Each is easy to caricature—and each deserves an honest look.RetrenchmentIt’s not hard to persuade many Americans—struggling through the human and economic costs of the pandemic, pained by the open wounds of our racial divides, and doubtful about the power and promise of the American idea—to pull up our national drawbridges and retrench. Nor is it hard to make the case that the prevailing bipartisan foreign-policy consensus fumbled America’s post–Cold War “unipolar moment”—leaving the U.S. overstretched overseas and underinvested at home.Proponents of retrenchment argue that for too long, friends and foes alike were glad to let the United States underwrite global security while they reaped the benefits. Europe could spend less on defense and more on social safety nets. China could focus on economic modernization, while America kept the peace.The U.S. may be first among unequals for now, but the notion that its leaders can resurrect the era of uncontested American primacy, prevent China’s rise, or will our diplomatic relationships and tools into exactly their pre-Trump, pre-pandemic shapes is a mirage.[Kori Schake: The damage that ‘America First’ has done]Retrenchment is easily distorted as a kind of nativist isolationism or pathological declinism. It is often portrayed as a Bannonite call to throw overboard a sense of enlightened self-interest, and focus at long last on the “self” part. The heart of the argument is far less radical; it’s about narrowing our concept of vital interests, sharply reducing global military deployments, shedding outdated alliances, and reining in our missionary zeal for democracy-building abroad. Retrenchment means jettisoning our arrogant dismissiveness of nationalism and sovereignty, and understanding that other powers will continue to pursue spheres of influence and defend them. And it means acknowledging that the U.S. can manage threats and adversaries more effectively than it can vanquish them.The main risk in retrenchment lies in taking it too far, or too fast. Any effort to disentangle the United States from the world comes with complicated downsides. President Barack Obama’s attempt to shift the terms of American engagement in the Middle East offers an important caution. His thoughtful long game met the unsynchronized passions of the region’s short game, creating significant dislocations and doubts about American power.There are bigger structural questions too. Even if the U.S. accepted its relative decline and shrunk its external ambitions, where’s the rising ally to whom America can pass the baton, as the British did to the U.S. after World War II? However sclerotic some of our alliances have become, how confident are American leaders that they can shape our fate better without them? Isn’t there a danger of the United States becoming an island power in a world inhospitable to islands—with China gradually dominating the Eurasian landmass, Russia a weakening accomplice, and Europe an isolated appendage?And would an America retrenching in hard power still be able to play the organizing role on issues like climate change, nuclear nonproliferation, and global trade, which no other country can play right now?RestorationA case can be made that American diffidence, not hubris, is the original sin. Warts and all, U.S. global leadership ushered in an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. We give it up at our peril. Retrenchers subscribe to the diplomat George Kennan’s view that the sooner the U.S. sheds its paternalistic altruism and becomes just another big country, the better off it will be. Restorationists believe that consigning America to such a role, in an otherwise rudderless world, would be a fatal mistake.[Thomas Wright: A bigger foreign-policy mess than anyone predicted]They argue that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. failed to take full advantage of its primacy. American leaders naively enabled the rise of our future rivals, thinking they’d be satisfied with a seat at our table, rather than displacing us at its head. The U.S. slowed NATO’s expansion to pacify Russian anxieties, only to see an ever more revanchist Russia get back on its feet, and welcomed China into the World Trade Organization as a “responsible stakeholder,” yet failed to hold it to account when it continued to behave irresponsibly, breaking the rules while the American middle class broke its back.Restorationists argue that America suffers most not when it does too much, but tries too little. They believe that U.S. leaders feared the uncertain slippery slope of intervention abroad far more than the certain waves of human tragedy that would flow absent American action. They see “leading from behind” as an oxymoron and think the U.S. failed to appreciate how much emerging democracies depended on America, and how methodically authoritarians would contest the democratic model.Although the United States may no longer enjoy unrivaled dominance, power differentials still lean significantly in our favor. Despite our self-inflicted wounds, we still have the world’s strongest military, most influential economy, most expansive alliance system, and most potent soft power.Restorationists worry about the risk of overreaction to relative American decline. The contest with China is not another Cold War to avoid, but one to fight with confidence and win. The U.S. should reject any return to a world of closed spheres of influence—and be clear-eyed about the rise of techno-authoritarianism, and push back hard with a new concert of democracies. And although we might need to rebalance our foreign-policy tools and avoid the excesses of the post-9/11 era, the risks of slashing our defense budgets and our global military posture outweigh the rewards.For critics, Saturday Night Live’s “More Cowbell” sketch—admittedly not your standard foreign-policy analogy—embodies the restorationist view. To paraphrase the immortal words of the producer Bruce Dickinson: The world has a fever, and the only prescription is more U.S. leadership, however discordant and self-involved we can sometimes be, and however fatigued our bandmates might be with our prima donna act.The promised cure, however, leaves many questions unanswered. Do the American people have the stomach and resources right now for a cosmic struggle with authoritarianism or unbounded competition with China? Are the maximalist aims sometimes thrown around in this debate necessary or achievable? How far are our allies willing and able to join us in common cause? Will a more assertive international posture accelerate or delay the renewal of the American middle class? Is restraint an invitation to disorder or the best defense against it?ReinventionThere lies an alternative between breaking up the band and resigning ourselves to the perpetual din of the cowbell.We live in a new reality: America can no longer dictate events as we sometimes believed we could. The Trump administration has done more damage to American values, image, and influence than any other in my lifetime. And our nation is more divided by political, racial, and economic tensions than it has been in generations. But even so, assuming we don’t keep digging the hole deeper for ourselves at home and abroad, we remain in a better position than any other major power to mobilize coalitions and navigate the geopolitical rapids of the 21st century.[Peter Beinart: America needs an entirely new foreign policy for the Trump age]We can’t afford to just put more-modest lipstick on an essentially restorationist strategy, or, alternatively, apply a bolder rhetorical gloss to retrenchment. We must reinvent the purpose and practice of American power, finding a balance between our ambition and our limitations.First and foremost, American foreign policy must support domestic renewal. Smart foreign policy begins at home, with a strong democracy, society, and economy. But it has to end there too—with more and better jobs, greater security, a better environment, and a more inclusive, just, and resilient society.The well-being of the American middle class ought to be the engine that drives our foreign policy. We’re long overdue for a historic course correction at home. We need to push for more inclusive economic growth—growth that narrows gaps in income and health. Our actions abroad must further that goal, rather than hamper it. Prioritizing the needs of American workers over the profits of corporate America is essential. Leaders must do a far better job of ensuring that trade and investment deals reflect those imperatives.That doesn’t mean turning our back on trade or global economic integration, however. Supply chains in some sectors with national-security implications will require diversification and redundancy to make them sturdier, but policy makers shouldn’t disrupt global supply chains that benefit American consumers and fuel emerging markets. An improved economic approach might involve elements of industrial policy, focusing more government support on science, technology, education, and research. That ought to be complemented by reform of our broken immigration system.A second major priority for a reinvented foreign policy involves grand global challenges—climate change, global health insecurity, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the revolution in technology. All of those problems directly affect the health, security, and prosperity of Americans. None of them can be solved by the United States on its own. All will require international cooperation, despite intensifying strategic rivalry.They require a new multilateralism—a patchwork of coalitions of like-minded states, which the U.S. is still better placed than any other country to assemble; a hard-nosed approach to reforming international institutions; and agile diplomacy. Just as our forward military basing helped deal with threats to security during the Cold War, preventive diplomacy can help cushion our society against inevitable shocks, and strengthen its resilience.A third vital priority is our greatest geopolitical challenge: managing competition with China. In recent decades, undisciplined thinking led us to assume too much about the benefits of engaging with China. Today, undisciplined thinking of a different sort is causing us to assume too much about the feasibility of decoupling and containment—and about the inevitability of confrontation. Our tendency, as it was during the height of the Cold War, is to overhype the threat, over-prove our hawkish bona fides, over-militarize our approach, and reduce the political and diplomatic space required to manage great-power competition.Preventing China’s rise is beyond America’s capacity, and our economies are too entangled to decouple. The U.S. can, however, shape the environment into which China rises, taking advantage of the web of allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific—from Japan and South Korea to a rising India—who worry about China’s ascendance. That will require working with them—and engaging Chinese leadership directly—to bound rivalry with Beijing, define the terms for coexistence, prevent competition from becoming a collision, and preserve space for cooperation on global challenges.Everything rides on developing a strategy that reinforces—rather than trades against—these three interrelated priorities. China, obviously, is not America’s only geopolitical challenge, just by far the most important. We cannot ignore other regions where we have enduring interests: Europe remains a crucial partner, and North America our natural strategic home base, despite the current administration’s rare diplomatic feat of alienating the Canadians. Nor can we ignore the inevitable crises at home and abroad that so often derail the neatest of strategies.Armed with a clear sense of priorities, the next administration will have to reinvent U.S. alliances and partnerships and make some hard—and overdue—choices about America’s tools and terms of engagement around the world. And it’ll have to act with the discipline that so often eluded the U.S. during its lazy post–Cold War dominance.If“America First” is again consigned to the scrap heap, we’ll still have demons to exorcise—our hubris, our imperiousness, our indiscipline, our intolerance, our inattention to our domestic health, and our fetish for military tools and disregard for diplomacy. But we’ll also still have a chance to summon our most exceptional national trait: our capacity for self-repair. And we’ll still have a chance to shape our future, before it gets shaped for us by other players and forces.
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Help! My Boyfriend’s Fetish Is Inspired by Middlemarch.
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Progressives’ Supreme Court Victories Will Be Fleeting
In several big-ticket cases this term, the conservative Supreme Court appeared to give significant wins to progressives. On issues including abortion, immigration, and LGBTQ equality, a majority of the Court voted for seemingly progressive results. And in the subpoena cases issued on the last day of the term, the Court rejected the president’s sweeping argument that his personal financial records are off-limits to Congress and state grand juries. But on closer inspection, these opinions and others actually gave conservatives some important wins as well.One of the most crucial apparent victories for progressives came in the Louisiana abortion case. The Supreme Court struck down Louisiana’s restrictive abortion law that would have required all abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of where they perform abortions. Four years ago, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court invalidated the same law when Texas enacted it.The result in the Louisiana case was certainly a progressive win. But the reasoning in Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion spells trouble for abortion rights down the road. The majority opinion, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, said that the law was invalid because it offered very little benefits and imposed some rather substantial obstacles. The chief justice wrote separately to say that he agreed the Louisiana law was invalid, but only because he believed that the Court must stay in line with its decision four years ago.[Read: What the Supreme Court’s abortion decision means]Significantly, the chief justice also hinted that he agreed with his more conservative colleagues that the reasoning in the Court’s prior decisions protecting abortion rights should be narrowed if not abandoned. The conservative majority therefore seems poised to apply a watered-down standard to future cases that do not involve laws the Court has previously struck down, or that involve laws with less dramatic effects. (The Louisiana law could have closed two of the three abortion clinics in the state.)Under the chief justice’s approach, a state could pass a law restricting abortion for almost any reason and not have to prove that the law produced any actual health or safety benefits for women. That legal standard could allow states to enact medically flimsy health restrictions, whereas the Court’s previous standard required states to demonstrate, with evidence, that laws actually benefited women’s health and safety. Indeed, after the Court decided the Louisiana case, it instructed the lower courts to revisit two decisions that invalidated abortion restrictions, including one that struck down a law that would have required women to obtain an ultrasound 18 hours before they have an abortion.The Court’s decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program also contains some ominous signs for progressives. Here, too, the opinion gave progressives a significant win by ensuring that DACA recipients do not suddenly become vulnerable to deportation.But again, the reasoning in the decision provided a boon to the conservative legal movement. The Court began its analysis with a statement that the Trump administration “may rescind DACA” so long as it follows the correct procedures. The Court, however, concluded that the administration’s initial memo rescinding DACA did not follow the appropriate procedures, because the administration did not adequately spell out its decision-making process, including whether it had considered alternatives to ending the entire DACA program or DACA recipients’ reliance on the program.[Jin K. Park: DACA isn’t what made me an American]Moreover, the DACA decision narrowed the circumstances in which courts will find that so-called facially neutral policies, meaning those that do not mention race, are nonetheless unconstitutional. Facially neutral policies are unconstitutional when motivated by racial discrimination. The Court’s analysis in the DACA case, which concluded that the challengers did not establish that racial discrimination motivated the rescission, makes it more difficult to prove that racial discrimination influenced a government policy. The chief justice said that the president’s racist statements about immigration, including those about how Mexicans are criminals and rapists, were “unilluminating,” and did not suggest that animus toward immigrants led to the end of DACA.The further whittling away of legal protections against discrimination was evident in several of the Court’s other cases this term. One was a little-noticed decision, Comcast v. National Association of African American–Owned Media, that formally ratcheted up the legal standard for proving racial discrimination in contracting.But the arguably more significant decisions came in cases for which the Supreme Court never heard oral arguments. The Court put on hold two lower-court decisions that loosened state restrictions on voting in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The plaintiffs challenging the voting restrictions argued that racial minorities, Black voters in particular, would be especially hurt by them because of the higher incidence of the coronavirus in Black communities, the higher death rates from the coronavirus in Black communities, and the voting restrictions’ disproportionately adverse effect on Black communities. In one case, a Wisconsin court extended the deadline for voting absentee; in the other, an Alabama court loosened some of the requirements for voting absentee. In both cases, the Supreme Court, by a 5–4 vote, with the conservatives in the majority, stayed the lower-court decisions, thus allowing states to enforce restrictive voting laws in the midst of a pandemic, making voters choose between risking their life and not voting at all.Finally, there was the Title VII decision. Here, too, the outcome was a major win for a progressive legal cause—LGBTQ equality. The Court ruled that an employer discriminates on the basis of sex, in violation of Title VII, when the employer discriminates against an employee because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The decision means that existing federal law forbids employers from discriminating against LGBTQ individuals.But the reasoning in the decision suggests that victory will be limited in significant ways in the near future. For example, the opinion went out of its way to suggest that another statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, might prevent Title VII from prohibiting discrimination by employers who have religious objections. Indeed, the author of the Title VII opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch, joined an opinion in another case that concluded the Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows religious exemptions to another statute, the Affordable Care Act. In the Title VII, DACA, and Louisiana abortion cases, the outcomes appeared to be progressive while the reasoning signaled forthcoming wins for the conservative legal movement.In the remaining major cases—the presidential-immunity cases—conservatives won the outcomes they wanted even though the Court seemed to reject the Trump administration’s legal arguments. In both Trump v. Mazars and Trump v. Vance, the Court rejected the administration’s broadest attacks on subpoenas that sought the president’s financial records. The Court ruled out the possibility that a president’s personal financial records could never be subpoenaed while the president was in office. The Court also rejected the argument that subpoenas regarding the president are valid only if Congress or state prosecutors can make some heightened showing of need for them.[Quinta Jurecic: Mazars is a victory for rule of law]But the Court also declined to hold that the subpoenas could be enforced now. As a result, Donald Trump got what he wanted—a decision that ensured his financial records would not become public before the 2020 election. In the congressional subpoena case, the Court directed the lower courts to apply a legal standard to the subpoenas that would allow the president to raise more specific arguments for how exactly the subpoenas burdened the presidency or sought too much information. And in the New York grand-jury subpoena case, the Court directed the lower courts to consider slightly reformulated, and more specific, challenges to the subpoenas that the president might want to raise. As a result, Congress and the New York grand jury will not obtain the president’s financial records in the near future, and the public will not see them anytime soon. That represents a significant win for Trump, who has sought to keep his financial records secret and certainly does not want them coming to light right before the election. By permitting the president to raise slightly different legal challenges to the subpoenas—and by directing the lower courts to be more attuned to the separation-of-powers concerns with subpoenas implicating the president—the Court guaranteed that these subpoenas will be tied up in litigation for the foreseeable future.Liberals seemed to win several major Supreme Court cases this term, either because the results of the cases benefited liberal causes or because the Court rejected conservatives’ sweeping arguments. But even in cases where liberals appeared to win, conservatives did not exactly lose—and, indeed, seem on the brink of winning a lot in the years ahead.
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How China’s new national security law will hobble Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement
Protesters and candidates face new risks.
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Portland police declare riot during another night of unrest in city
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French Health Care Workers Given A Raise, Honored On Bastille Day
Nurses and healthcare workers will get about $208 a month more in their paychecks. The annual Bastille Day celebrations are also being used to thank those on the front lines of the pandemic.
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Dear Care and Feeding: My Ex Insists on Getting a Tattoo Right Now. How Could He Put Our Kids at Risk for COVID-19?
Parenting advice on divorce, grandparent names, and tacky baby clothing.
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The ’90s Lawsuit Against America Online That Set Up Today’s Social Media Battles
The heated debates over Section 230—which limits websites’ liability for user-generated content—can be traced back to this 1997 case.
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Coronavirus updates: Oregon to limit group gatherings; Hawaii extends quarantine; New York to send testing, contact tracing teams to Atlanta
New York will deploy testing and contract tracing teams to Atlanta. Hawaii extended its quarantine. Oregon to limit group gatherings. Latest news.       
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Japanese official says "problems" let COVID spread on U.S. bases
Governor of Okinawa voiced "serious doubts about U.S. measures against infections," as July 4th parties blamed locally for dozens of cases.
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Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower defaced
Cellphone video shows partially disguised man splashing red paint on it only days after it was completed.
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Supreme Court Clears Ways for First Execution of Federal Inmate Since 2003
Daniel Lewis Lee had been scheduled to receive a lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital at 4 p.m. EDT Monday
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Face masks in shops to be compulsory in England, as experts warn of 120,000 winter deaths
Wearing face masks in shops and supermarkets in England will be compulsory from July 24, with those failing to comply with the new regulation facing fines of up to £100 ($125), the UK government will announce Tuesday.
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16 years old and stuck in solitary confinement 23 hours a day because of coronavirus
John spent his 16th birthday the same way he's spent every day during the UK's Covid-19 lockdown — alone in a cell for 23 hours -- with no visits, no internet and few phone calls. He is one of hundreds of children locked up in UK prisons, the forgotten casualties of Covid-19.
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