Playing With Electoral College Fire

When Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said yesterday that he wanted the Electoral College to be briefed by U.S. intelligence on their findings on Russian hacking and possible interference in the elections, a line was crossed. Up until now, talk about trying to influence the electors to abandon their obligations to vote for the candidate chosen by their state’s voters has been more a matter of marginal Democrats working their way through the various stages of grief about Donald Trump’s victory. Podesta’s letter is something more than that. The Clinton camp isn’t going to be able to alter the outcome of an election that was decided on November 8th, but they are setting a dangerous precedent that could permanently poison an already deeply dysfunctional American civic culture in ways that Democrats may come to regret in the future.

61
Shares
Google+ Print

Playing With Electoral College Fire

Must-Reads from Magazine

But She Fights

A Trump of their own.

There were many arguments for opposing Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, but the retort usually boiled down to a single glib sentence: “But he fights.”

28
Shares
Google+ Print

Politicians Need Free Speech Too

A lesson from Finland.

High-ranking politicians are entitled to freedom of speech and conscience. That shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but it often is, especially in European countries where the range of acceptable views is narrow–and narrowing. Just ask Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who spent the summer fighting off an investigation into his participation at an anti-abortion vigil in Canada. On Friday, Soini survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament over the issue.

20
Shares
Google+ Print

Planet Earth Dodges a Bullet

Banality and evil.

A week ago, I wondered what was going on in Sunspot, New Mexico. The FBI had swept into this mountain-top solar observatory, complete with Black Hawk helicopters, evacuated everyone, and closed the place down with no explanation whatever. Local police were politely told to butt out. It was like the first scene in a 1950’s Hollywood sci-fi movie, probably starring Walter Pidgeon.

5
Shares
Google+ Print

The Unprincipled Boycott of Israel

The demands of the politicized life.

John Cheney-Lippold, an associate professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan, has been the subject of withering criticism of late, but I’m grateful to him. Yes, he shouldn’t have refused to write a recommendation for a student merely because the semester abroad program she was applying to was in Israel. But at least he exposed what the boycott movement is about, aspects of which I suspect some of its blither endorsers are unaware.

29
Shares
Google+ Print

The Low, Low Price of Serfdom

Nothing ventured.

Convenience, wrote Columbia University law professor Tim Wu, is a tyrant. It makes our lives easier and more enjoyable, but everything comes with a price tag. We may not recognize that which we are sacrificing in the pursuit of convenience, but we are sacrificing nonetheless.

14
Shares
Google+ Print