Nate Silver dives into a parallel universe with a thoughtful examination of alternative facts:
Clinton did manage one significant political accomplishment: getting Merrick Garland appointed to the Supreme Court. With the court set to consider a slate of landmark cases this year on matters including redistricting and abortion, the importance of that achievement should not be understated. But it came at a price. The deal she struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which gave him input on several Cabinet appointments in exchange for his finding a few Republicans to back Garland, has come back to haunt her. The McConnell-approved choices, such as Attorney General Joe Lieberman and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, have often seemed to side more with congressional Republicans than with the White House. Furthermore, the deal meant Clinton paid for something — the Senate’s approval of well-qualified Cabinet and court picks — that other presidents have gotten for free.
Despite the roadblocks in Congress, Clinton does have the powers of the executive branch and all that entails. But since Democrats had already held the White House for eight years, there aren’t many presidential actions Clinton can take that Obama didn’t pursue already. Mostly, she’s been left to preserve his legacy, which Trump or another Republican president surely would have attempted to dismantle, especially in areas such as immigration, drug policy and criminal justice — and perhaps most importantly, Obamacare, which Trump repeatedly pledged to “repeal and replace” on the campaign trail. Fairly or not, it’s been hard for Clinton to get a lot of credit from the Democratic base for not undoing things as opposed to doing new things, and although she remains broadly popular with Democrats (with an 85 percent approval rating), her enthusiasm numbers are tepid.
The whole thing is worth a read.
Before discussing the most important sports story in North America since...well, since the States were United, let me highlight some of the political and professional stories percolating:
- The Economist has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. "This choice is not hard."
- Meanwhile, the High Court in London ruled today that Parliament must actually vote to trigger Brexit, which gives MPs another crack at the piñata and perhaps a way out. No telling when Teresa May plans to schedule this vote as the UK Supreme Court still has to hear the case. In any event, the government now can't trigger Article 50 for the indefinite future.
- TPM's electoral scoreboard now stands at Clinton 269, Trump 221, with New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Florida now toss-ups. Nate Silver points out that his estimates have Clinton at about the same point Obama was in 2012, giving Clinton 293 to Trump's 244. Deeply Trivial explains more about Silver's statistics.
- Meanwhile, if it seems like the FBI is in full-on Clinton-hating mode, it's because they are. The Guardian's Spencer Ackerman reports that the bureau is "Trumplandia" and totally off the rails. Great. TPM (where Ackerman worked previously) analyzes the journalism making the FBI's political interference worse.
- University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone is appalled by elected Republicans threatening a scorched-earth rear-guard assault against Clinton's policies. Brian Beutler agrees it could be a long two years until the 2018 mid-terms in which absolutely nothing gets done.
Stay tuned for the real story of the day.