Donald Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff who was found guilty last month of criminal contempt of court, reminds me of that adage of South American dictators: “For my friends, anything. For my enemies, the law.”
The president can grant clemency to anyone, but Trump’s predecessors used this power carefully.
David Frum writes in The Atlantic that Barack Obama only issued his first round of pardons two years into his presidency. George W. Bush waited until May 2004, six months before his reelection.
Trump, by contrast, appears to have put no formal deliberation into Arpaio’s pardon. He didn’t even wait until the former sheriff could be sentenced! Read more
Two Arguments for a More Proportional Voting System
Democrats could win 54 percent of the votes in next year’s congressional elections and still fall short of a majority.
G. Elliott Morris reports for Decision Desk HQ that because Democrats are clustered in America’s cities and face harsh gerrymanders, they aren’t likely to win a proportionate share of the seats.
We can debate at length whether this is unfair or by design, but that discussion isn’t changing Republican minds.
Advocates of a more proportional system should try two different arguments:
Politics should not be reduced to two options. There is no major party for Americans who are economically as well as socially liberal (“libertarian”). Nor was there, until recently, a party for nativists. Republicans are turning into one, but that will leave conservative internationalists on the outside.
Proportional representation would discourage regional factionalism. Jason Willick argues in The American Interest that if one region of the country drifts too far from another politically, and the minority region is out of power at the federal level, that could set the stage for secession or civil war. At a time when political violence in the United States is rising, it’s not hard to understand the perils of balkanized political coalitions. Read more
Macron’s Liberalization Has Made Travel More Affordable in France
One of the few silver linings to last year’s presidential election in the United States was that candidates from both major parties recognized that opioid addiction should be treated as a public-health, rather than a law-enforcement, problem.
Which makes it all the more disheartening that Donald Trump is taking exactly the wrong approach to this crisis.
Politico reports that the new president believes in a “tough law-and-order approach” to arrest the rise in drug overdose deaths.
142 Americans die from opioid abuse every day. That is more than die in car accidents or from guns.
The crisis is concentrated in postindustrial states like Kentucky and West Virginia: the heart of Trumpland. Read more