"Alabama sends a message" declared a Wall Street Journal editorial the morning after last week’s special election for United States Senator from Alabama. What message did Alabama send? For the Journal editorial board it seems the message is that morally flawed candidates are likely to lose because voters “will only accept so much misbehavior in a politician, no matter the policy stakes.” For both parties, that is an important message. Donald Trump (and Bill Clinton) got elected notwithstanding some pretty bad behavior, but Roy Moore’s defeat and Al Franken’s downfall suggest the bar is rising.
Jim Huffman | All Articles
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Jim Huffman is Dean Emeritus of Lewis & Clark Law School and a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
To her credit, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has condemned the violence that erupted at a conservative rally in Berkeley, California, on Tuesday. "Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts," said Pelosi. "The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa ... deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted."
When I was a kid we had an easy and effective response to insulting and even threatening comments. “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It worked wonders. In fact uttering those words made you feel like you had one-upped the purveyor of ill will. I suppose there was some risk that the bad kid would respond with physical abuse of some sort to confirm your point. But that didn’t happen very often. Even bad kids usually had parents who would take appropriate action – and the bad kids knew it.
First, did Donald Trump cause candidate Greg Gianforte to body-slam Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs during an interview? Don Lemon, lecturer extraordinaire at CNN, says you have to be brain dead (or something like that) to think otherwise. Lemon is not alone. Many other TV and radio commentators have said Trump is to blame. But really. Did Bill Clinton’s inability to keep his pants on lead to rampant sexual predation? Of course not. People don’t look to their presidents for permission to do what they know is wrong. Sometimes they just do what they know is wrong. Sometimes they do stupid things. And that was true before Trump came on the national political scene. The Resistance only looks silly making such claims. Particularly when there are serious policy ideas to resist.
For both parties, the trouble with politicians in robes is their politics.
After the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s stay of President Trump’s travel ban executive order, the president dismissed the ruling as political. For their part democrats praised the three-judge panel’s unanimous ruling as a principled defense of the constitutional separation of powers and a rebuke of Trump’s abuse of executive authority.
There should be nothing controversial about the purpose of President Donald Trump’s executive order relating to travel to the United States, at least as reflected in the order’s title: “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Who would disagree that it is a core function of the United States government to protect us from foreign terrorism?
Will Lady Justice resist President Trump’s efforts to remove the remainder of her tattered robes? Will our next Supreme Court justice stand naked at the bench, decided on the outcome of future cases before reading the briefs and hearing the oral arguments? It seems that is what Trump expects.
On January 3, 2017, The Washington Post reported that more than 1100 law professors from 170 schools have petitioned the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject President-elect Trump’s nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next attorney general of the United States. The next day The Advocate reported that the number of signatories had increased to 1226, from 176 law schools.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats and the liberal media will remind us of that fact for years to come, as we are still reminded that Al Gore won the popular vote 16 years ago. The standard response from Republicans and the conservative media is that it doesn’t matter who wins the popular vote. The constitutionally prescribed method for selecting the president is the Electoral College. Donald Trump and George W. Bush before him won in the Electoral College and that is all that matters.
The jurors in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation case have found Ammon Bundy and the other defendants not guilty. Surprise seems to be the almost universal reaction. After all, there is no question that the defendants occupied the refuge headquarters, that they were armed, that they damaged federal property, and that the federal workers were unable to do their work for a month and a half. There is also little question that the defendants’ claims with respect to the legal legitimacy of federal ownership of the refuge are without serious merit. So why did the jurors conclude that they were not guilty?
President Obama has come to the defense of Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem at the beginning of a San Francisco Forty-Niners football game. The president is right to defend free expression as a part of what he called the “messy” democratic process. But he is wrong to say that Kaepernick was “exercising his constitutional right to make a statement.”
In 1939 the president of the University of Chicago, Robert Maynard Hutchins, pulled the university out of the Big 10 Conference and terminated the school’s football program in the conviction that commercialized sports are incompatible with the academic and intellectual missions of the university. Few schools followed his lead, but Chicago has ever since adhered to Hutchins’ view of the appropriate role for athletics in the university (now including football which was restored in 1969 but with no aspirations for past glories like its 1905 national championship victory over Michigan.)
A growing number of Republicans are declaring that they will not vote for their party’s nominee Donald Trump. They and other Republicans should take one more step – they should abandon the Republican Party, at least until it once again warrants their support. That is what I have done, six years after being the Republican nominee for United States senator from Oregon.
Oh my! This was to be a Republican year. With Hillary destined from the start to be the Democrat nominee, regaining the White House was almost a sure thing. She’s a lousy candidate and a worse liar. With her heading the Democrat ticket Republicans were certain to hold the House by a large margin and have a better than even shot at retaining a Senate majority, notwithstanding that far more Republican than Democrat senators are up for reelection. But Republicans have squandered their advantage. Their ship is sinking under the load of Donald Trump’s pending nomination as the party’s standard-bearer.
Much has been made of Donald Trump’s insulting and degrading comments about millions of good people, ranging from Mexicans to Muslims to women and even prisoners of war. He has been roundly condemned, and that is as it should be.
If the so-called Republican establishment is successful in thwarting Donald Trump’s nomination at the Republican convention this summer, there is a good chance Trump and his loyal supporters will launch a third party run. Given the Donald’s propensity for naming things after himself, it might even be called the Trump party. But if Trump does secure the Republican nomination, it is possible that Ted Cruz or John Kasich could run under a third party banner. Both, along with Trump, are now hedging on their earlier pledges to support the party’s nominee.
Bernie Sanders is killing it with young voters. According to Iowa caucus entrance polls, Sanders beat Hillary Clinton 84 percent to 14 percent among Democrats aged 17 to 29. Among Democrats aged 30 to 44 the Sanders advantage was 58 percent to 37 percent. Polling in advance of today’s New Hampshire primary indicates that Sanders leads Clinton 89 percent to 11 percent among 18 to 29 year olds and 72 percent to 22 percent among Democrats aged 30 to 39.
The morning after the Iowa caucuses, The Daily Caller headline read “Ted Cruz Wins Iowa Caucuses, Edging Out Trump and Rubio.” At the same time Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ declared “Cruz Crushes Trump and Rubio in Iowa.” Which was it, an edging out or a crushing?