Republicans End Russia Probe, Italian Democrats Choose Opposition

Republicans put party before country and refuse to investigate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

American president Donald Trump listens to a speech outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, July 12, 2017
American president Donald Trump listens to a speech outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, France, July 12, 2017 (DoD/Dominique A. Pineiro)

Republicans in the House have wrapped up their Russia investigation and declared there was no collusion with the Donald Trump campaign.

Just like that.

I don’t suppose anyone was expecting House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes to release an unbiased report. He has been doing Trump’s bidding from the start. But to simply declare the investigation over, without Democratic consent, is particularly brazen.

This isn’t the first time Republicans have put party before country. When evidence of Russian meddling in the election emerged in late 2016, Senate leader Mitch McConnell warned President Barack Obama that he would consider it an act of partisan politics if his administration publicized the information.

When intelligence agencies finally did tell the public Russia was tampering with the election, on the same day (such a coincidence!) WikiLeaks published stolen emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta.

Political correctness and free speech

Matthew Yglesias shatters some conventional wisdoms about political correctness and free speech in the United States.

The data shows that the country has a whole has become more tolerant of extreme opinions. (Or what used to be “extreme” opinions.) Since the 1970s, the share of Americans who believe atheists, communists, homosexuals and militarists should be allowed to speech in their community has risen.

Racists are the exception. Only one in six Americans (still a majority) believe they should be heard, which is about the same where it was forty years ago. But that is because conservatives have become more tolerant of racist views and liberals less tolerant.

Contrary to the snowflake millennial stereotype, young and college-educated Americans are the most supportive of free speech. High-school dropouts are the least tolerant.

Italian Democrats choose opposition

After a meeting with Democratic Party leaders on Monday, Acting Secretary Maurizio Martina told reporters the center-left would remain in opposition:

To the League and Five Star I say: the citizens voted for you so you could govern. Now do it.

Martina’s pique is understandable. His Democrats governed Italy competently and were rewarded by voters with their worst election result in decades. The Five Star Movement and (Northern) League made wild promises they could not possibly keep and were given a majority between them.

A pact is nevertheless unlikely. The Five Stars and League share Euroskeptic and pro-Putin views, but the former is more left-wing and popular with young and southern voters whereas the latter is right-wing and popular with pensioners and in the north.

The better outcome would be a coalition of the Five Stars, Democrats and left-wing Free and Equal. But that would require the Democrats to lurch to the left on issues like labor reform and taxes.