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426 posts
  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
The post-apocalyptic landscape of Wasteland Express Delivery Service.
The post-apocalyptic landscape of Wasteland Express Delivery Service. (Pandasaurus Games)

President Trump has conducted the midterm election like a game of Wasteland Express Delivery Service, a post-apocalyptic vision of commerce in America.

In Wasteland Express, players buy and sell goods at various outposts to generate the profits they need to win. But once they sell something to any given outpost, they can’t go back with their next truckload of goods — the transaction was so acrimonious, the buyers won’t do business with them.

In recent weeks, the president has said things about individual Democrats and the Democratic Party in general that suggest he won’t be doing business with them next year. Take, for instance, these three tweets he made Saturday, then retweeted Tuesday morning:

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Voters in Washington state will decide whether to charge large industrial emitters a carbon pollution fee to address climate change.
Voters in Washington state will decide whether to charge large industrial emitters a carbon pollution fee to address climate change. (Associated Press)

With Washington, D.C., unlikely to act on climate change any time soon, voters in Washington state Tuesday are deciding whether to impose the nation’s first carbon tax.

Initiative 1631 would charge a “fee” (basically a tax) on large emitters of greenhouse gases, such as oil companies and electric utilities. The money raised from the fee would be used to develop renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, energy efficiency programs and other projects designed to reduce carbon emissions. The state could eventually raise $1 billion a year by 2025 — money that could help transform the state’s infrastructure and economy. 

This is the second time voters in Washington have considered a carbon tax. Voter rejected a 2016 initiative that would have levied a higher carbon tax on fossil fuels but refunded all the revenue through tax cuts and rebates. 

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  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
  • Election 2018
Expect to see some fast vacancies in the Trump administration after the election.
Expect to see some fast vacancies in the Trump administration after the election. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

I tend not to make too many predictions about elections because it’s too easy to be wrong, too hard to be right, and in the end it doesn’t matter because the elections will turn out the way they’ll turn out (give or take a Russian thumb or two on the scale).

So let’s move to the second-most interesting thing tied to the election: who President Trump will fire, and when.

  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
Connie Fooge hands out "I Voted" stickers as voters submit their ballots at an early-vote center in Minneapolis on Nov. 5.
Connie Fooge hands out "I Voted" stickers as voters submit their ballots at an early-vote center in Minneapolis on Nov. 5. (Craig Lassig / EPA/Shutterstock)

As I got out of the YMCA pool early Monday morning, the lifeguard — a young man most likely still in college — said he was still bothered by Sunday’s shift from daylight saving time to standard time. So, I asked, you’ll be voting for Proposition 7 tomorrow?

Evidently, this was the first time anyone had mentioned that proposition to him. From the look on his face, I wondered if he realized that Tuesday was election day.

Regardless, after I told him that the measure would let the Legislature vote to end the time changes and put us on daylight saving time permanently, with Congress’ approval, he had the zeal of the converted. As I dripped my way to the locker room, I heard him calling out to other swimmers getting out of their lanes, “Vote yes on Prop. 7! Vote yes on Prop. 7!”

  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
Even as President Trump has vilified him on other grounds, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has worked to transform immigration courts.
Even as President Trump has vilified him on other grounds, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has worked to transform immigration courts. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

One of the more overlooked aspects of President Trump’s attacks on the government he was elected to run is the slow and steady reshaping of immigration courts by Atty.Gen. Jeff Sessions. That also points up one of many anomalies of this administration: Sessions has found himself in the odd position of being Trump’s punching bag for recusing himself from the Mueller probe, while simultaneously doing exactly what Trump wants in making it harder for people to fight deportation or seek asylum.

Trying to force more people out of the country plays directly into Trump’s anti-illegal-immigration campaign, including his fake caravan crisis at the southern border. But it also reflects Sessions’ long-held opposition to immigration of all stripes. As a member of the Senate, he was one of the sturdiest roadblocks to enacting comprehensive immigration reform while seeking to reduce legal immigration.

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  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
  • The Swamp
President Trump at a recent rally in Illinois. He has tried to use immigration as a fear lever in Tuesday's vote.
President Trump at a recent rally in Illinois. He has tried to use immigration as a fear lever in Tuesday's vote. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

One of the more depressing aspects of President Trump’s flood of lies about the immigration system and immigrants themselves is that so many of his supporters are willing to believe what’s patently untrue.

The president was back at it Thursday, speaking from the Roosevelt Room in the White House, when he ranted against illegal immigration — it is a problem, but much less so than in the past — and characterized the northbound dwindling caravan in southern Mexico as full of “tough people” — the migrants pushed through Mexican police seeking to stop them — and obliquely suggested they included rapists, a persistent theme with Trump.

  • Trump
  • Opinion
A bilingual "help wanted" sign for Auto Zone is posted outside the store in Canton, Miss., in September.
A bilingual "help wanted" sign for Auto Zone is posted outside the store in Canton, Miss., in September. (Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press)

Nine of the last 13 U.S. elections have been “change” or “wave” elections, as voters threw out the party in charge of the White House, the House of Representatives or the Senate in search of a new direction in Washington.

The phenomenon has been especially pronounced in midterm elections, which flipped control of the House on three occasions since 1994 and the Senate three times since 2002.

Notably, however, none of those turnabouts came when the economy was performing as well as it is now. Friday’s strong jobs report, coming on the heels of last week’s encouraging advance estimate of third-quarter GDP, shows that the U.S. economy remains in something of a Goldilocks zone — not too hot, not too cold.

  • Opinion
  • Guns and Ammo
Americans tend to buy firearms for self-protection, yet owning a gun increases the risk of suicide.
Americans tend to buy firearms for self-protection, yet owning a gun increases the risk of suicide. (John Locher/AP Photo)

About two-thirds of gun deaths in the U.S. each year are suicides, traumatic and desperate acts that often lie at the nexus of mental illness and ready access to a firearm. Yet a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that only 13% of people know that gun suicides far outpace homicides, a likely function of regular news coverage of violent crimes and a tendency to not cover suicides.

Why does that matter?

As the study’s authors point out, people who buy firearms for self-protection from criminal attacks or home invasions — even though firearms offer more reassurance than actual protection — may not be aware of the other related risks.

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  • Trump
  • Opinion
President Trump stops to talk to reporters and members of the media as he walks from the White House on Oct. 26.
President Trump stops to talk to reporters and members of the media as he walks from the White House on Oct. 26. (Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post)

Trying to amp up the spooky Halloween vibe he’s projected onto the midterm elections, President Trump went to Twitter on Wednesday to introduce a new boogeyman: Luis Bracamontes, a convicted cop-killer now on California’s death row. 

The tweet — still pinned to the top of Trump’s Twitter feed — has drawn criticism galore from the media and Democrats. But I’m not going to pick apart what it says; instead, I’m struck by how many people are outraged that Trump should be saying (err, tweeting) such things himself.

Here is a comprehensive comparison between Trump’s ad and the infamous Willie Horton ad that supported then-Vice President George H.W. Bush’s campaign against Michael Dukakis in 1988, which Bush’s campaign manager arranged but then denied any involvement in:

Last week, Matthew Shepard’s parents, Judy and Dennis, sat for a television interview. Their son, of course, had been beaten, pistol-whipped, tied to a fence post, and left to die near Laramie, Wyo., in 1998. Now, 20 years later, his ashes were being interred at the Washington National Cathedral.