Archive | The Atlantic

Will the Senate Expel Roy Moore If He’s Elected?

By Julian E. Zelizer

Some Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have suggested that if Alabamians elect Roy Moore to the chamber in the special election, they’ll expel him. This promise from the GOP might be the best way that leadership can signal to Republican voters that they can vote for Moore despite the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him. If he is elected, they will handle the problem.

But the chances of McConnell and his colleagues following through on this threat are extremely small. Historically, the House and Senate have been very reluctant to deploy their most punitive power.

Under the Constitution (Article I, Section 5) the House and Senate each have the authority to punish its members for “disorderly behavior.”  Under the rules Congress has adopted, each chamber has three options for dealing with problematic colleagues. The House and Senate can censure or reprimand a member by a majority vote. This, the least of the possible acts of punishment, is a formal condemnation that still allows the person to remain in office. The House and Senate can also each exclude someone by a majority vote, which prevents an elected member from taking their seat because they lack the technical credentials. Finally, the most severe punishment available to the House and Senate is to expel a seated member for improper behavior, which requires the consent of two-thirds of the membership.

Both chambers have been willing to exercise the least drastic power without much hesitation. During the 19th century, there were numerous censures in the House of Representatives when decorum broke down—ranging from physical acts of violence to unruly language. William Stanberry was censured in 1832 for insulting the speaker; Lovell Rousseau was censured in 1866 for assaulting a member. The Senate famously censured Joseph McCarthy in 1954. Democratic Senator Thomas Dodd was censured …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Jake Tapper Would Prefer Not To Be So Agitated

By Adrienne LaFrance

Jake Tapper sometimes wakes up angry. This may be a good thing for America.

Amid the chaos of the Donald Trump presidency, and the deep partisanship that filters through seemingly all aspects of American life in 2017, Tapper is motivated by the same forces that have animated much of his career in journalism. He can’t stand hypocrisy. He can’t stand unfairness. He can’t stop talking about it.

“I recognize that it’s probably a pain in the ass for a lot of people now,” he told The Atlantic. “But it is just who I am.”

“I’m just like, I don’t want any of this to be happening,” he added. “There are so many lies and so much indecency, and I’m not only talking about President Trump. There is just a world of it exploding—and we are, I fear, as a nation, becoming conditioned and accepting of it. And it’s horrific.”

Tapper, who is writing a novel about America in 1954, says he sees an echo of that era in today’s political climate. Despite the many unprecedented aspects of the Trump presidency, Tapper argues, the nation has grappled with the same kind of turmoil, the same unseemliness, the same level of uncertainty that’s playing out now. “There was this before,” he says. “It was McCarthyism. It was incredibly indecent. It was full of lies and a lot of people should have known better and did not stand against it. There was a very powerful person, and everybody was worried about alienating his supporters.”

Here’s a condensed and lightly edited transcript of Tapper’s conversation with The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, recorded for the second episode of The Atlantic Interview podcast.

Jeffrey Goldberg: You’ve become very, very famous.

Jake Tapper: I don’t know that that’s true.

Goldberg: You were in GQ magazine!

Tapper: It was a very nice …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Donna Brazile’s Tell-All Is Troubling For the Wrong Reasons

By David Litt

“Why am I supposed to be the only person that is unable to tell my story?” asked Donna Brazile, during the early days of her media blitz. Apparently she shouldn’t have worried. Her campaign memoir, Hacks, just debuted at number three on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Still, I suspect Brazile’s urge to speak her truth—and her anger at anyone who might be trying to stop her—is genuine. Being a political operative, even a high-level one, is an act of self-censorship. You don’t express yourself. You help other, more important people express themselves. You forgo the pride of authorship for the chance to make a difference. It’s a reasonable tradeoff.

Until it isn’t. For some of us, there comes a time when our own voices bubble up. We want to be heard. And if we’re lucky enough to find publishers, we write books.

I say this from experience. My own political memoir, Thanks, Obama, came out two months ago. In many ways it’s quite different from Brazile’s. Where she spent decades in the upper echelons of Democratic politics, I entered the White House as a junior-level speechwriter when I was 24 and left as a mid-level one five years later. Also, while far from perfect, my experience in politics was positive, which is bad for book sales but good for mental health.

Even so, I empathize with Brazile’s hunger for self-expression. I know how it feels to decide (or be tricked by your ego into thinking, or both) that you have a story worth telling.

And I know what it’s like to grapple with a new set of responsibilities. It’s a question I thought about constantly while writing Thanks, Obama, and again while reading Hacks. What do operatives-turned-authors owe not just their publishers and readers, but the people and organizations they used …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Gun Control Legislation That Even Republicans Like

By Clare Foran

Republicans and Democrats have found gun legislation both sides agree on. But that doesn’t mean it will pass.

In the wake of mass shootings in Nevada, Texas and California, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, an outspoken advocate of gun control, introduced a bill to strengthen the federal background check system for gun sales. Debates over gun control on Capitol Hill nearly always give way to inaction in the face of Republican opposition. But Democrats aren’t alone in supporting this new legislation: It is also backed by Republican Senators John Cornyn, the second highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, Orrin Hatch, Tim Scott and Dean Heller.

The legislation doesn’t call for expanding restrictions on gun purchases, it’s meant to stop people from buying guns when they were never supposed to be able to in the first place. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, relies on state and federal officials to report mental health and criminal conviction records that legally bar individuals from purchasing firearms. But those records don’t always make it into the system.

After a gunman killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas earlier this month, the Air Force conceded that it failed to report the shooter’s prior domestic violence conviction, an action that if it had been taken might have prevented the purchase of the firearms used in the shooting. The new legislation is intended to make sure that something like that never happens again.

Any Republican who decides to back the legislation can argue that they just want existing laws to be enforced. And it looks like the GOP won’t have to fear backlash from the gun lobby. “We applaud Sen. John Cornyn’s efforts to ensure that the records of prohibited individuals are entered into NICS,” Chris Cox of the NRA said in a statement. “The …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: ‘He Will Not Step Down’

By Elaine Godfrey

Today in 5 Lines

President Trump blasted Minnesota Senator Al Franken after the lawmaker was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a woman, but did not mention Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct. During a rally in Alabama, Kayla Moore said her husband isn’t letting the allegations get to him: “He will not step down.” Reverend Jesse Jackson, the 76-year-old civil-rights leader, announced that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority resigned amid questions about the slow rate of repairs to the island’s electrical grid. And in a statement on Facebook, Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill defended “heterosexual males” amid allegations of sexual misconduct, and described his own sexual history.

Today on The Atlantic

  • It ‘Looks Like Hypocrisy’: Marie Griffith, the author of the forthcoming book Moral Combat, explains why American Christians are defending Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. (Emma Green)

  • What She Knew: Liberals seem eager to acknowledge the sexual-misconduct allegations against former President Bill Clinton. But when will they admit that Hillary Clinton likely knew about them? (Caitlin Flanagan)

  • The Specter of Fake News: Republicans’ constant attacks on the mainstream media have come back to haunt them. (Rosie Gray and McKay Coppins)

  • Radio Atlantic: Andrew Anglin achieved notoriety after he founded the Daily Stormer, the world’s biggest website for neo-Nazis. Anglin and his mob of followers have terrorized people around the world, and their influence has been cited by the perpetrators of fatal violence. What lessons should be learned from Anglin’s radicalization? And what is society’s best response to his ideas? In this episode of Radio Atlantic, Luke O’Brien and Rosie Gray join Jeff and Matt to discuss these questions, and how far-right extremism is evolving.

Follow stories …read more

Via:: <a href= class="colorbox" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: ‘He Will Not Step Down'” rel=nofollow>The Atlantic



The Disappearing Right to Earn a Living

By Conor Friedersdorf

In most states, a person who desires to install home-entertainment systems for a living, or as a part-time gig for extra cash, faces relatively few barriers to entry. This is work teenagers routinely do for grandparents after they make a technology purchase. But in Connecticut, a home-entertainment installer is required to obtain a license from the state before serving customers. It costs applicants $185. To qualify, they must have a 12th-grade education, complete a test, and accumulate one year of apprenticeship experience in the field. A typical aspirant can expect the licensing process to delay them 575 days.

These figures are drawn from License to Work, a report released this week by the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm that has sued state governments on behalf of numerous small-business owners and members of the working class who’ve faced unduly onerous obstacles while trying to earn a living.

Occupational-licensing obstacles are much more common than they once were. “In the 1950s, about one in 20 American workers needed an occupational license before they could work in the occupation of their choice,” the report states. “Today, that figure stands at about one in four.” These requirements are at their most reasonable when regulating occupations such as anesthesiologist or airline pilot, as in those instances, they can mostly affect a privileged class.

They are at their most pernicious when they are both needless and most burdensome to the middle class, the working class, and recent immigrants to a society. The IJ report focuses its attention on these cases, surveying 102 lower-income occupations across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It concludes that “most of the 102 occupations are practiced in at least one state without state licensing and apparently without widespread harm.” In other words, dropping many of those requirements likely wouldn’t …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



Zimbabwe: How to Make and Break a Democracy

By Emily Buder

On Wednesday, Robert Mugabe, the autocratic President of Zimbabwe, was ousted and placed under house arrest by the country’s military. While Mugabe’s fate remains uncertain, the apparent coup may bring about the end of a 37-year dictatorship masquerading as a democracy. But this wresting of power shouldn’t have been necessary—it was supposed to happen ten years ago.

In 2008, international sanctions forced Mugabe to draft a democratic constitution. Danish filmmaker Camilla Nielsson obtained unprecedented access behind the scenes of a democracy-in-the-making. Her documentary Democrats, excerpted above, follows the two top political operatives steering the constitutional process: Paul Mangwana, representing ZANU-PF, Mugabe’s party; and Douglas Mwonzora, a representative of the opposing party, the Movement for Democratic Change. Filmed over the course of three years, Democrats offers a firsthand account of the fraught and sometimes violent process of chartering a constitution—or, as a constituent puts it in the film, “giving my country a new life.”

Of course, that new life never came. Although Mugabe did eventually ratify the constitution, he never implemented democratic laws. Meanwhile, unemployment in Zimbabwe hovers at 90 percent and the economy continues to collapse. The fate of country hangs in the balance.

Democrats is banned by Zimbabwe’s Board of Censors.

…read more

Via:: The Atlantic



How Much Attention Should Extremists Get?

By Caroline Kitchener

This article is edited from a story shared exclusively with members of 34,787 subscribers. Donald Trump’s had 280,012. Today, Trump’s subreddit—“The_Donald”—has swelled to over 520,000 accounts. Its trajectory mirrors the recent growth—in size and impact—of other fringe groups.

  • June 2015: The_Donald is founded. Martin and Phillips both told me that when The_Donald was created, the Reddit community largely wrote it off as a joke. Because The_Donald didn’t have an official-sounding name, the original moderator thought it wouldn’t take off as Trump’s main Reddit community. “I actually figured it would just be a nice place for a small group of supporters to have fun triggering anti-Trump people and, frankly, laughing with Trump at the same time,” an anonymous moderator going by jcm267 told Motherboard.
  • October 2015: Donald Trump tweets a meme from The_Donald (~1,200 subscribers). When Trump tweeted an image of Pepe’s face on the president’s body, along with the text “You Can’t Stop the Trump”a meme that had circulated on The_Donaldthe subreddit erupted. “They were amazed at this accomplishment,” Blackburn said. “They had an explicit example of how they had affected the world.”
  • December 2015: Reddit’s other communities begin a concerted effort to “infiltrate” The_Donald (~2,900 subscribers). When much larger political communities like Reddit’s and 4Chan’s main politics groups became aware of The_Donald, they invaded the subreddit, downvoted all its posts, and harassed its users. Some of them ended up sticking around.
  • April 2016: Mainstream media begins publishing articles about The_Donald (~114,000 subscribers). As Trump won a string of primaries, The_Donald amassed over 100,000 new subscribers. Responding to this growth, The New York Times, Mashable, and Vice covered the community.

Conservatives Reap the Whirlwind of Their War on the Media

By Rosie Gray

All news is “fake news”—at least if you’re a diehard Roy Moore supporter.

With sexual misconduct allegations continuing to mount against the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, Moore has defied calls to drop out of the race by advancing an audacious conspiracy theory—that partisan fabulists in the mainstream media are working with his enemies in the political establishment to wage a nefarious smear campaign against him. Not long ago, such claims likely would have backfired. But in the Trump era, anti-press sentiment has reached a fever pitch on the right—something candidates like Moore are eagerly exploiting.

Moore has not directly denied many of the specific allegations. Instead, he has sought to cast himself as the victim of a witch hunt and sow just enough doubt in the stories to muddy the waters in voters’ minds.

“Their only response to this is really to find other villains in the process to take the heat off of them,” said the Republican strategist John Brabender, a former Rick Santorum campaign adviser. The two villains they have chosen are The Washington Post and other mainstream outlets, to “discredit the messenger,” Brabender said, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment, “to make the point that this is really just elitist establishment figures who never wanted Roy Moore.”

“From a pure strategy standpoint that is logically where you would go,” Brabender said. “That is the only way you could survive this.”

Charlie Sykes, a former conservative talk radio host, said Republican voters have been conditioned over years of right-wing media consumption to reflexively reject any news that challenges their worldview. “These alternative-reality silos—not only do they reinforce an ideological message, but they can be impenetrable,” he said.

Sykes admits that he was once part of the problem. When he hosted his popular Milwaukee-based radio show, he routinely devoted …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Deepening Partisan Split Over Sexual Misconduct

By Peter Beinart

Earlier this week, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait asked his fellow liberals to imagine that Roy Moore were a Democrat. “It’s easy to feel superior about this when opposition to grotesque treatment of teenage girls lines up neatly with your own party’s well-being,” he wrote. “If you’re a liberal, ask yourself what you would do if the circumstances were reversed.”

Thanks to Al Franken, we can now answer that question better. The details of each man’s offense differ: Moore is accused of pursuing teenager girls while he was in his 30s, and two women have accused him of sexual assaulting them when they were teenagers. Leeann Tweeden, a broadcaster for KABC in Los Angeles, said Franken kissed and groped her without her consent. Still, each party’s reaction is telling. Each is split, but in opposite ways.

In the GOP, the people taking the harshest line against Moore are congressional leaders like Mitch McConnell. They want Moore to withdraw from his senate race largely because they fear Democrats will use him to tar other Republican candidates as sexist, as they did in 2012 when Todd Akin, the GOP’s Senate candidate in Missouri, said it was impossible for women to get pregnant from  “legitimate rape.” But McConnell and company have been stymied by local Alabama Republicans—and Donald Trump-supporting media personalities like Steve Bannon and Sean Hannity—who won’t abandon Moore. In the GOP, it’s the Washington establishment that wants Moore gone. Grassroots activists and the right-wing media want him to stay.          

In the Democratic Party—so far—it’s largely the reverse. As of Thursday night, not a single Democratic Senator had called on Franken to resign. While decrying his behavior, they’ve mostly called for an investigation by the congressional Ethics Committee, which isn’t all that punitive given that the committee—as The Atlantic’s Elaine Godfrey has …read more

Via:: The Atlantic