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Politics

What About The President’s Taxes?

The New York Times says it has what many have sought for decades – the personal and business tax records of Pres. Donald Trump.

What To Know

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Disclaimer:

  • The New York Times says it obtained federal taxes spanning two decades for Pres. Trump and his businesses “by sources with legal access to it” but doesn’t say how or from whom.
  • To date, the NYT is the only news outlet with access to the records – preventing fact-checking & double-sourcing.
  • NYT says it has the right to publish the information, citing the First Amendment.
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The NY Times Reports:

  • NYT’s initial reporting states Pres. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 & 2017 and $0 in most of the past 15 years. NYT says the records show his companies are under financial stress, and that he personally owes $400M+ in debts in the next four years.
  • Follow-up NYT reports state Pres. Trump has questionable Chinese bank accounts, write-offs, & uses the presidency for his financial benefit.
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Why It Matters:

  • Pres. Trump has active and ongoing international family businesses, which are privately held and not required to publish quarterly earnings releases. This makes his background unique and unlike a career politician – but also leads to questions by critics.
  • Every U.S. President since Jimmy Carter has voluntarily released their taxes to demonstrate financial transparency. Pres. Trump has not.
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Two Sides:

Critics of Trump: Records prove a long history of tax avoidance and show Pres. Trump is not as financially successful as he claims, and thus vulnerable to foreign influence for his own financial gain.

Supporters of Trump: The NYT report is a “hit piece” based on records obtained illegally, which show Pres. Trump paid millions in taxes, and took advantage of legal tax credits and depreciations.

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“Their numbers were wrong.”

Pres. Trump on NYT's reporting, adding that with regard to his debts, that he is "very underlevered" and that the $400M+ he owes is a "peanut... not a big deal." The President says he's been treated "very badly" and "unfairly" by the IRS, especially from holdovers from previous administrations. For years he's said that he cannot release his taxes while under audit, although the IRS says there is no prohibition against releasing one's taxes while under audit.
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“I think he really is not a very good businessman … The fact that he’s a bad businessman does not mean that he’s not also cheating on his taxes.”

University of Michigan Law School tax law professor Reuven Avi-Yonah on the big takeaway from NYT's reporting. He says the records, that don't include 2018, 2019 taxes, demonstrate that despite friendly tax laws for real estate developers, Pres. Trump's businesses are most certainly struggling financially.
Politics

The New York Times account of President Trump’s tax returns reveal far more than his personal ability to avoid taxes. They show how the tax law can make it easy for the very wealthy to avoid taxation. And they reveal more than deficiencies in the tax law.”

Economist Dr. C. Eugene Steuerle, cofounder of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, who worked for the U.S. Treasury Dept. under four presidents.
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“No law barred The Times from publishing its article and if there had been one it would in all likelihood be unconstitutional.”

First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams explaining that “First Amendment law could hardly be clearer than that the press is protected in publishing newsworthy information, let alone information about a President in the midst of his campaign for re-election, regardless of whether its source was authorized or permitted to provide it."
Politics

We can't confirm NYT's reporting, but we can confirm that nearly half of all Americans don't pay federal income taxes because they make either too little or too much (and have accountants to help them "strategically plan" avoiding taxes). No person with direct knowledge of Pres. Trump's taxes has corroborated the NYT report.

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What About Hunter Biden?

A report in the New York Post ignites allegations against the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden, while raising questions about the actions of former Vice President himself.

What To Know

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Disclaimer:

  • The New York Post says it obtained information in its report from a laptop hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden.
  • After publishing a debut story on October 14, the Post is the only media outlet with access to the specific information highlighted in this report.
  • While some news outlets have covered additional developments (which we will summarize here), we are limited in our ability to fact-check & double-source.
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The NY Post Reports:

  • In 2019, an unidentified man (allegedly Hunter Biden) dropped off a laptop at a Delaware computer repair shop.
  • That laptop contained a “massive trove” of personal & business information on Hunter Biden.
  • The shop’s owner turned over the computer to authorities & made a copy of the hard drive, which was given to Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer; Giuliani later gave it to the NY Post.
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Why Does It Matter?

The report has many allegations – here’s the main one:

  • Hunter Biden leveraged his father, both as VP and after, for his own financial benefit, specifically for business deals in Eastern Europe and China.
  • VP Biden was influenced – willingly or not – by his son’s bidding, while in political office and/or shortly after.
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Two Sides

  • Critics of Biden: The laptop contains “evidence” of unethical, potentially illegal behavior. In short, the Bidens are a part of a political class playing by their own rules, making America vulnerable to foreign influence for their own gain.
  • Supporters of Biden: The report is a political “smear.” The laptop records are fake or even a “plant” as part of a Russian disinformation campaign to skew the presidential election.
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“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe after accusations by Democrats and others, including a group of former national security experts (often critical of the President), that the story fits a pattern of Russian disinformation. As head of the entire Intelligence Community, the DNI oversees the FBI's intelligence services; that dept takes the lead in investigating election interference, both foreign and domestic.
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“…the FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation or persons or entities under investigation…”

The FBI in response to requests by Congress about whether or not the FBI is investigating Hunter Biden and/or information on the reported laptop. The New York Post reports it has seen official documents related to a case. The FBI also said the agency had nothing to add to DNI Ratciffe's earlier statement about election interference.
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“The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story … we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”

Joe Biden's campaign after NYP reported a meeting arranged by Hunter between his father and a Ukrainian executive. Separately, VP Biden said he forced the resignation of an allegedly corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor (who was also investigating that same company).
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“I have heard Joe Biden say he has never discussed his dealings with Hunter. That is false.”

Investor Tony Bobulinski says he has "first-hand knowledge” of Joe & Hunter Biden leveraging their family's name & influence in a potential business deal in China (which never came to be). He says he shared details with Congress & the FBI (The Wall Street Journal reportedly has seen texts, emails too). The Navy vet says he was motivated by patriotism to come forward after the NY Post report - and to clear his name.
Politics

BIG PICTURE: We can't confirm the NY Post reports OR the existence of the alleged FBI investigation into Hunter Biden. The story could be false, in which case nothing will comes of these reports. Or it could be true, and part of a larger story.

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BATTLEGROUND

2020

A deeper dive on some of the states up for grabs in this presidential election & why they matter.

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THE BASICS

  • The Electoral College has 538 electors. It takes 270 to win the presidency.
  • Each state receives the # of electors equal to its # of senators (two) & representatives (based on population).
  • 48 states & DC allocate electoral votes in an all or nothing manner based on the state’s popular vote winner.
  • Pres. Trump won the Electoral College votes (304 v. 227); Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (48% v. 46%).
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ARIZONA

The Grand Canyon State

  • Electoral College Votes: 11
  • 2016 Popular Vote: Pres. Trump won by less than 92K votes
  • FYI: No Democrat pres. candidate has won AZ since 1996 (Bill Clinton), but there was a notable purple wave during the 2018 midterm elections.
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FLORIDA

The Sunshine State

  • Electoral College Votes: 29
  • 2016 Popular Vote: Pres. Trump won by over 112K votes
  • FYI: The last Republican pres. candidate to win without FL was Calvin Coolidge (1924). Only two Democrat candidates have ever made it to the White House without FL – John Kennedy (1960) and Bill Clinton (1992).
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GEORGIA

The Peach State

  • Electoral College Votes: 16
  • 2016 Popular Vote: Pres. Trump won by more than 210,000 votes.
  • FYI: No Democrat pres. candidate has won GA since 1992 (Bill Clinton), but Democrats made significant inroads during the 2018 midterm elections.
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IOWA

The Hawkeye State

  • Electoral College Votes: 6
  • 2016 Popular Vote: Pres. Trump won by over 145K votes.
  • FYI: In the last 12 presidential elections, IA voted for Republicans six times and for Democrats six times.
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MICHIGAN

The Great Lakes State

  • Electoral College Votes: 16
  • 2016 Popular Vote: Pres. Trump won by less than 11K votes.
  • FYI: 2016 was the first time MI voted Republican during a presidential election since 1988 (George H. W. Bush).
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OHIO

The Buckeye State

  • Electoral College Votes: 18
  • 2016 Popular Vote: Pres. Trump won by less than 450K votes.
  • FYI: No Republican candidate has made it to the White House without winning OH dating all the way back to 1860 (Abraham Lincoln). No candidate has won the presidency without winning OH since 1960.
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PENNSYLVANIA

The Keystone State

  • Electoral College Votes: 20
  • 2016 Popular Vote: Pres. Trump won by less than 45K votes.
  • FYI: 2016 was the first time PA voted Republican during a pres. election since 1988 (George H. W. Bush).
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WISCONSIN

The Badger State

  • Electoral College Votes: 10
  • 2016 Popular Vote: Pres. Trump won by less than 23K votes.
  • FYI: 2016 was the first time WI voted Republican during a presidential election since 1984 (Ronald Reagan).
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These aren't the only states to watch this year. Expect to hear a lot about others that have voted consistently for one party but where margins have tightened in recent years - like Minnesota, which has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1972. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the state, but by less than 45,000 votes.

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When Will I Know?

Election Results 2020

A Supreme Court ruling on voting in a critical swing state highlights why we *might* not know the results of the 2020 election on Election Day.

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BIG PICTURE

  • Mail-in, absentee & early voting laws vary by state. Many states expanded these options due to COVID-19.
  • With less than two weeks to go, we’ve already seen an unprecedented number of people casting their votes early or using mail-in & absentee ballots, rather than waiting to vote on Election Day.
  • State rules differ on poll closing times and when election officials can begin counting votes (incl. mail-in ballots).
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CAN’T TOUCH THIS

  • Many swing states have policies that all but ensure delays in results.
  • Mail-in ballots can’t be counted until Election Day (Nov. 3) in some states, like Georgia, Michigan & Wisconsin.
  • In Nevada, ballots that arrive as late as Nov. 10 may be counted – so long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3.
  • In Pennsylvania, absentee ballots received up to Nov. 6 may be counted  – even if Nov. 3. postmark is unclear.
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“The longer it takes for the election results to be known, the greater the risk that they’re going to be questioned and second-guessed, and that we’re going to be that national news story that we really don’t want to be.”

Lisa Schaefer, Executive Dir. at County Commissioners Assoc. of Pennsylvania, ahead of this week's U.S. Supreme Court's 4-4 ruling rejecting GOP efforts to require absentee ballots be received by Election Day in order to be counted.
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“A lot of people are worried that if it takes a long time to count, people are going to use that to say we can’t trust the results, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. It’s taking so long because of all these security measures to make sure the count is as accurate as possible.”

Lawrence Norden, Dir. of the Brennan Center’s Election Reform Program at New York University, on why he believes time preserves election integrity.
Politics

Proceed cautiously with reports of early, absentee, and mail-in voting numbers - early reports indicate more Democrats are voting early or by mail, whereas more Republicans are expected to wait until Election Day. Concerns about election fraud and reliability of results is a truly bipartisan issue according to one recent poll. Read more on our source page.

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A Third Choice?

Some candidates running for President won’t appear on the debate stage … but they may still shape the race.

Why they matter.

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Why Only Two?

  • A political system with two dominant parties dates back to the first elections in American history.
  • In 1796, candidates from two major parties faced off in the first election for local lawmakers.
  • The two parties to emerge: Federalist (supported the Constitution and strong federal government) & Democratic-Republicans (supported state, local power).
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“… potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

Pres. Washington in his 1796 farewell address, on the rise in power of political parties he described as "potent engines."
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Why Only Two Now?

There’s no single reason.

One famous French sociologist theorized American politics supports only two political parties.

Why? A “winner-take-all” system. A candidate who wins the most votes gets the win. With no reward for runner-up, voters want to vote for the *likely* winner, and the two parties stay in power.

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NAMES TO KNOW

Every year, hundreds of people may run for President.  Here are the three you’re most likely to hear about:

Jo Jorgenson (Libertarian Party) – She’s on the ballot in all 50 states.

Howie Hawkins (Green Party)

Kanye West (Birthday Party)

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WHY THEY MATTER

They may not make it onto the ballot; candidates need to meet state-imposed signature thresholds.

They may not make it onto the debate stage; they need to meet a polling threshold (for presidential debate, they need 15%+ support on major polls).

Regardless, they absolutely can influence the ultimate outcome of the election.

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Example: 2016 Election

In the following “swing” states, third-party candidates collectively won approx:

  • 4% of the vote in Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina
  • 6% of the vote in Michigan & Wisconsin

President Trump won all these states by a margin of less than 4% (with the tightest race being in Michigan, which he won by just .3%).

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BIG PICTURE

“Every minor party or independent candidate who has run in modern history has taken some votes from (both parties).”

University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Barry Burden, describing how third-party candidates have shaped modern presidential elections. Burden also says despite popular belief, a vote for third-party candidates is NOT automatically a vote siphoned from Democrat candidates.
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Has a third-party candidate ever won the presidency in modern times? No. But former President Theodore Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate and came in second to Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Ross Perot won 19% of the votes in 1992 but still didn't win any electoral votes.

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DEBATE DAY: 2020

The first nationally-televised presidential debate featured zero candidates… and two of America’s “most admired” women at center stage.

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The First Televised Debate

  • 1956 presidential race: Democrat Adlai Stevenson vs. incumbent Republican President Dwight Eisenhower
  • The candidates didn’t face off against each other. Instead, two surrogates for their parties debated in a broadcast televised on CBS’s “Face the Nation” *only* 2 days before the election.
  • The surrogates, neither on the ticket, were women.
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Ladies’ Night

  • Fmr. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt represented the Democrats.
  • Maine’s Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress, represented the Republicans.
  • Both women were viewed as friendly & among the “most admired” in America.
  • Opinions on who won? Mixed!
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Candidates Take The Stage

  • 1960 = The first time candidates face-off on T.V.
  • Democrat Sen. John F. Kennedy vs. sitting Republican VP Richard Nixon.
  • VP Nixon appeared shortly after a recent hospitalization and an earlier campaign stop, looking “green, sallow” and in need of a shave.
  • Sen. Kennedy rested earlier in the day and looked “tan and fit” like a “matinee idol.” He went on to win the election.
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“Should a presidential election turn on makeup? No, but this one did.”

Producer-director of the 1960 debate Don Hewitt, who later went on to found CBS's 60 Minutes. Vice Pres. Nixon refused makeup - and some, including Hewitt, believe it literally colored the perception of him as a candidate, making him appear less vibrant than his competitor.
Politics

Tonight's first presidential debate will take place at the Cleveland Clinic in front of a limited audience of about 75 people. The second debate is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, FL, and the third debate will take place on Oct. 22 in Nashville, TN. On Oct 7, the one and only vice presidential debate will be held in Salt Lake City, UT.

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Buckle Up

The 2020 Election is shifting into high gear

The Democratic convention commences this week, followed by the Republican convention next week. Here’s common terms you’ll hear in the weeks & months ahead as we race towards voting day.

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BIG PICTURE

  • FEB – AUG: Voters select candidate they want to see in November’s general election during state primaries & caucuses. Results determine how delegates vote at party conventions.
  • AUG: Dems & GOP delegates vote for their party’s candidate at conventions.
  • NOV: Voters cast their votes for president & VP in general election. Results determine how many Electoral College votes each candidate receives.
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Delegates & Conventions

  • Candidates are “presumptive nominees” until they are officially selected by delegates at conventions.
  • There are 2,551 Republican delegates at stake and 4,750 at stake for Democrats.
  • Each party drafts its own rules on how delegates are awarded to candidates.
  • Most are “pledged” to vote for candidate that won primary/caucus.
  • Candidate with most votes becomes each party’s presidential nominee.
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Primaries & Caucuses

  • Caucuses: Differs by party, but usually voters gather at public locations to debate and then vote in multiple rounds until a “winner” gets the required number of votes.
  • Primaries: Voters cast secret ballots – like general elections statewide. Some states hold “open” primaries, where any registered voter can vote regardless of party affiliation (ex: registered GOP can vote in SC Democratic primary).
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Electoral College 101

  • When you vote in November, you *actually* vote for a slate of electors (Electoral College members) who pledged to vote for candidate that wins popular vote in your state.
  • Each state receives the # of electors equal to its # of representatives (based on population) & senators (two).
  • Electoral College has 538 electors – majority (270) votes needed to win. House of Representatives decides if tie.
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Of course Pres. Trump and former Vice Pres. Biden aren't the only ones one the ballot on November 3. There are also 35 Senate seats up for grabs. Currently the Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 independents who vote with Democrats. All of the 435 House seats are up for grabs.

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Putting aside WHO

WHAT does the Vice President actually do?

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“I am Vice President. In this I am nothing, but I may be everything.”

John Adams, America's first VP and second President. Initially, the Constitution was somewhat vague as to whether the Vice President's succession as President in the case of POTUS's death was temporary or permanent. Also, during those early years, Americans only voted for Pres & the runner-up got VP; Pres. Adams' VP was from an opposing party.
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The Original Constitution Didn’t Say Much About VP

  • It stated the VP is the President of the Senate, but only votes as a tie-breaker in deadlock votes.
  • It also stated the Senate must elect a president pro tempore (president for a time) in the VP’s absence.
  • The Senate’s official website says, “Our Constitution’s framers created the vice presidency almost as an afterthought.”
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The Amendments That Shaped The VP

  • 1804: Eight years after Pres. Adams was left with a VP from the opposing party, the 12th Amendment made the VP a separately elected office from the Pres.
  • 1967:  Four years after the assassination of Pres. Kennedy & seven years before Pres. Nixon’s resignation, the 25th Amendment made it “official” that the VP serves out the remainder of term if a pres. dies or resigns.
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Four VP Fun Facts

  • 3 women nominated for VP by a major party: Geraldine Ferraro, Sarah Palin & Kamala Harris.
  • 14 VPs became Pres – most due to death of incumbents. 4 were elected – most recently Pres. George H.W. Bush.
  • Unlike the two-term limit imposed on a President, the Constitution imposes no such term limit on the VP.
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WHERE DOES THE VP LIVE? Since 1977, every Vice President has lived with his family on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C., which is also home to America's master clock.

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THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

In the wake of this week’s historic Supreme Court decision, here’s a look at the uniquely American institution that shapes how the U.S. elects a president.

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How It Works:

  • When you vote this November, you won’t *really* vote for president and VP. You’ll vote for a slate of electors.
  • Electoral College members pledge to vote for the candidates that win the popular vote in your state.
  • The Electoral College has 538 electors. It takes 270 to win the presidency. If there’s a tie, the House of Representatives decides winner.
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Origins & Evolution

  • Deciding how America would vote for pres. & vice pres. was tough for the U.S. founders who considered many options – some wanted Congress to decide, some wanted a popular vote. The compromise: the Electoral College at the 1787 Constitutional Convention.
  • The only constitutional requirement – electors can’t serve in federal gov’t.
  • Did You Know? Until 1804, electors only voted for pres. and runner-up got VP.
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Electoral College Today

  • Every state receives the # of electors equal to its # of representatives (based on population) & senators (two). D.C., which has 0 votes in Congress, has 3.
  • State laws govern who can serve and state political parties nominate electors.
  • In most states, electors make a pledge that they’ll vote for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in their state.
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This Week’s Case

  • Most states, but not all, legally require electors to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote.
  • Some of those states impose penalties, or disqualify those who don’t vote as pledged – a.k.a “faithless electors.”
  • The Supreme Court heard challenges to two state laws penalizing “faithless electors” from Colorado & Washington who voted OPPOSITE the popular vote of their state during the 2016 election.
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“The Constitution’s text and the Nation’s history both support allowing a State to enforce an elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee—and the state voters’ choice—for President.”

Justice Elena Kagan, writing the court's unanimous opinion, which held that states may require electors to vote for the candidate they pledged to support and penalize those "faithless electors" who don't. The decision notes that "faithless electors" have never impacted the outcome of an election.
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Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Electoral College was not perfect, but "excellent." Many disagreed then & many still do. A Supreme Court ruling allowing electors to go "rogue" could have strengthened the argument for those who want to abolish the Electoral College for the popular vote (which would require a constitutional amendment).

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Today, the Supreme Court hears one of the most significant challenges to current abortion law in America in recent years.

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About U.S. Abortion Laws

  • Roe v. Wade: A case heard before the Supreme Court in 1973 that legalized abortion with limits; a woman’s right to an abortion is *not* absolute.
  • Abortion is legal in the 1st trimester but states can regulate and, in some cases, outlaw abortion at certain points in the pregnancy, *unless* there is a threat to the health/life of mother.
  • BIG PICTURE: This is why states have different laws.
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BACKSTORY

  • 2014: Louisiana law (Act 620) requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital w/in 30 miles of the abortion site. The law never took effect due to legal challenges.
  • 2017: Trial court struck it down. Finding only 1 clinic/doctor would be able to perform abortions, court ruled it placed an “undue burden” on women.
  • 2018: Federal appeals court disagreed, reversed the trial court’s decision.
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Important Context

  • Under current legal precedent, states cannot pass laws that impose an “undue burden” on the right to access abortion.
  • In 2016, the Court struck down a nearly identical law to Louisiana’s out of Texas, finding it imposed an “undue burden” on those seeking abortions.
  • Supreme Court has changed since 2016. Pres. Trump appointed justices – Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.
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“The true, and often overt, intent of legislators behind pretextual laws like Act 620, which have no demonstrable medical benefit, is to severely restrict, and ultimately eliminate, access to legal abortion under the guise of patient welfare.”

A friend-of-the-court brief filed by 197 congressional Democrats arguing the law should be struck down because its goal is to chip away at abortion rights - not to make abortions safer. Groups like Planned Parenthood and 22 state attorneys general filed similar briefs.
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“The burdens of Act 620 are minimal—principally, a modest increase in the waiting time (less than an hour) to obtain an abortion. The benefits described above are more than sufficient to justify that burden.”

A friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Trump administration, urging the court to allow the law to go into effect to protect women. A similar brief was filed by more than 200 Republican (and two Democrat) members of Congress.
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Louisiana Abortion Law

  • Current state law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks & requires two doctors visits before an abortion may be performed.
  • 2019 law (not in effect because of legal challenge) bans abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected (approx. 6 wks).
  • Some say Louisiana is on the forefront of protecting life; others say it’s spearheading efforts to outlaw abortion.
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The Supreme Court likely will issue a decision before July. States like New York and Illinois have tried to expand access to abortion. States like Arkansas, Alabama and Indiana will wait to see what happens with this law to see about passing further laws restricting abortion.

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State of the
Union Address

3 Quick Facts About Today’s Annual Speech By The President

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WHY IT HAPPENS:

“He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

The Constitution states simply that the President must deliver an update on his assessment of the union and priorities, but it makes no mention of how or when or where "He" must do so.
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EVOLUTION:

  • Origins date back to the British tradition of the Crown delivering a speech to start each new legislative session.
  • First delivered in 1790 by Pres. Washington in person in New York.
  • Delivered via a written letter to Congress from 1801 – 1913.
  • Known as President’s Annual Message to Congress until 1946 and as the State of the Union ever since.
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WHO ATTENDS:

  • President may invite up to 24 guests (including First Lady).
  • Each sitting member of Congress gets two tickets (1 for them & 1 for a guest).
  • Also invited: Supreme Court justices, Fmr. members of Congress, Joint Chiefs of Staff, & President’s Cabinet (*except* one cabinet member purposefully excluded, a “designated survivor” who stays in a separate location during the address in case a disaster strikes).
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THE NEXT DAY ... Less than 24 hours after Pres. Trump will deliver his third State of the Union address on the House floor, Congress' other chamber will convene on the Senate floor at 4pm to vote on whether or not to remove him from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

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IOWA CAUCUSES

What to know about the first votes of the 2020 presidential election.

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What’s A Caucus?

  • Oxford Definition: A private meeting of the leaders or representatives of a political party, previous to an election or to a general meeting of the party, to select candidates for office …
  • Oxford says its origins are “obscure” but some say it was a Native American term for a meeting of tribal leaders.
  • Word dates back to 1700s in Boston, but caucuses have been used in America since at least the 1800s.
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Caucus 101:

  • Caucuses vs. Primary Elections: One big difference? Who runs the operation: primaries are run by the individual states (often like general elections with secret ballots), whereas caucuses are run by the parties.
  • 2020: Three states (Iowa, Nevada, Wyoming) & four U.S. territories (Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa) will hold caucuses this year.
Politics

About The Iowa Caucuses:

  • Voters registered with a party gather at 1,600+ precincts at 7pm.
  • Democrats: Gather in groups based on the candidate they support – only candidates that get at least 15% get awarded delegates. Whoever gets the most delegates is the winner.
  • Republicans: After 3-5 min. speeches in support of each candidate, they votes via paper. Whoever gets the most votes is the winner.
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Why Does Iowa Matter?

  • It’s first so it provides the first look at how real voters (albeit the most politically active ones) will *actually* vote (not polls about their opinions).
  • For Democrats in particular, whoever wins in Iowa tends to go on to secure the Dem pres. nomination. Ex: 6 of the party’s last 10 nominees won in Iowa.
  • Winning Iowa can be game-changer for lesser known candidates (Jimmy Carter in 1976; Barack Obama in 2008).
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BIG PICTURE: Iowa is not necessarily a predictor for November's winner (or loser). Since Iowa held the first caucuses in 1972, only three winners (2 Democrats & 1 Republican) went on to win the presidency.

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