The flap over Biden comparing governors to Neanderthals takes us back to an earlier era of stupidity in American politics

President Joe Biden speaks during a virtual call in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Out of the foggy mists of time, Neanderthals emerged this week. With them came the dim outlines of a world far distant from the present: the world of 2012.

Suddenly, it is the era of derp again. Derp was the defining complaint about politics in the early teens of the 21st century. With a relatively prosperous country and both parties nominating well-disciplined candidates who were clearly qualified for the Oval Office, the 24-hour cable news cycle needed to cover something. …


What you need to know about the unprecedented second trial of Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump turns from reporters as he exits the White House to walk toward Marine One on the South Lawn on January 12, 2021
Donald Trump turns from reporters as he exits the White House to walk toward Marine One on the South Lawn on January 12, 2021
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump presents a series of unusual constitutional questions. There is little argument about the facts of the case: Donald Trump repeatedly tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election and then, on January 6, 2021, egged on a crowd that would later storm the Capitol, terrorize lawmakers, damage historic property, and kill a policeman. Instead, the debate and Trump’s likely defense have pivoted on questions of law. Can a federal official be impeached after leaving office? And were Trump’s actions an impeachable offense? …


An unprecedented attack on the Capitol led to a precedent-shattering bipartisan second impeachment

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, Donald Trump became the first person in American history to be impeached twice. By a vote of 232 to 197, Trump was once again branded with the political mark of Cain by the House of Representatives. Unlike the 2020 impeachment, the 2021 vote did not divide neatly along party lines. In the end, 10 Republicans broke ranks to support removing Trump from office, and another four failed to vote, even by proxy. Trump now faces the prospect of a Senate trial, which will take place after he leaves office on January 20.

The damage Trump has done…


The day started with a rally. It ended with death, destruction, and the agonizing certification of the 2020 election.

Photo illustration; source: Getty Images (3)

The longest, ugliest presidential election in modern American history reached its formal conclusion with a joint session to formally certify the presidential election on January 6. It didn’t end until 3:39 a.m. on January 7, after a mob invaded the Capitol building and delayed proceedings for hours. Here is how one of the strangest and most chaotic days in Washington, D.C. history played out.

10 a.m.: Pro-Trump rally begins on White House lawn

The day begins with a “Save America March” and rally held on the Ellipse in front of the White House, featuring President Donald Trump and die-hard supporters once again embracing false claims about the 2020 election…


The invasion of the U.S. Capitol has revived the question, and from some unexpected sources

President Donald Trump arrives at the “Stop The Steal” Rally on January 6, 2020. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

So this is what it takes to make all the resistance fantasies come true. With 14 days left in his term, there are starting to be real rumblings about the 25th Amendment being invoked to remove President Donald Trump from office. The provision, which allows for the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members to declare the chief executive unable to discharge his duties, has been the subject of liberal fantasies since before Trump took office.

But the invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a mob has done what four years of turmoil, upheaval, and scandal couldn’t: Revived serious…


YOUR PARANOID QUESTIONS

January 6 is going to be unprecedented, but Biden will still become president.

Vice President Mike Pence attends a rally in support of Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s refusal to concede defeat in the presidential election has made the ceremonial counting of electoral votes by Congress on January 6 a consequential event for the first time in modern American history. Is there anything that can happen on Wednesday that would allow Trump to actually remain in office for a second term? Let’s look at the precedents — and what will be unprecedented about January 6, 2021.

Joe Biden is still going to be president, right?

Yes.

Then why is this happening?

Because everything is unbearably dumb.

There have been presidential elections so narrowly decided that they spawned full-scale political crises. There have been presidential elections that have fallen just within…


YOUR PARANOID QUESTIONS

Spoiler: The president pretty much has free rein to pardon whomever he wishes

Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

With weeks to go before Joe Biden enters the Oval Office, speculation is running rampant around whom President Trump will decide to pardon. Trump has several family members and allies under investigation, and the list of names ranges from Jared Kushner to Rudy Giuliani to the president himself. But are there any limitations on Trump’s presidential pardon power, or does he have the ability to bestow Get Out Of Jail Free cards to whomever he chooses?

Can Trump pardon anyone?

Yes, the presidential pardon power is very open-ended. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that the president “shall have Power to Grant…


YOUR PARANOID QUESTIONS

Joe Biden will become president on January 20, 2021

Donald Trump leaves after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Veterans Day. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump’s refusal to concede and accept the results of the presidential election has sparked anxiety from many about the state of American politics in 2020. Despite it now being mathematically impossible for Trump to win 270 electoral votes, the incumbent’s insistence that only massive fraud has prevented his reelection has led many to question the stability of American institutions.

But, is there anything Trump can actually do to change the result of the elections, or will his 18 Brumaire simply be an extended tweetstorm and scurrilous litigation?

Will Donald J. Trump be president on January 21, 2021?

No. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. will be.

You sure?

Yes.

So what’s the point of this piece?

It’s that things could…


The recriminations and finger-pointing are premature

Photo illustration; source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

So much for a “blue wave.” While Joe Biden is still favored to become the next president of the United States, the remarkable pre-election polling errors reached a magnitude not seen since the Chicago Tribune’s infamous “Dewey Beats Truman” headline and left Democrats feeling uneasy on Wednesday.

As the country waits for ballots to be counted in the Rust Belt states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, Democrats reckoned with the fact that they lost House seats and appear to have fallen short of a Senate majority. After all that buildup, Tuesday was not a stinging rebuke of Donald Trump.

Democrats will…


The GOP relied on the president’s flair for the theatrical plus a lot of old-fashioned canvassing

Black and white image of Donald Trump against stars and stripes graphics in foreground.
Black and white image of Donald Trump against stars and stripes graphics in foreground.
Photo illustration; Image source: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

With Election Day here, Republicans are feeling more optimistic about the prospects for Donald Trump’s reelection than they have in weeks, thanks to Trump’s improved poll numbers, a strong economic rebound in the third quarter, and mammoth crowds that have turned out for the president’s rallies despite an ongoing pandemic.

Trump has stumped the country in recent days with an amplified version of his long-standing laundry list of grievances, grudges, and resentments. Appearing on stages alongside a video of Biden gaffes and stumbles (punctuated with commentary from Fox News host Sean Hannity), Trump unspools a tale of economic success and…

Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs is a politics reporter based in Washington. Follow him on Twitter at @bencjacobs.

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