Liberals are not in the habit of expressing gratitude for the five conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, especially since one of them, Justice Neil Gorsuch, presides where some liberals believe President Obama’s nominee should rightly be. But liberals should be grateful, at least this week, in the wake of a ruling that struck down a federal anti-gambling law because the decision strengthens blue-state resistance to President Donald Trump. Moreover, it might deepen appreciation for something liberals historically dislike: federalism and the doctrine of state’s rights.
In 48 states, the winner of the state’s popular vote is awarded all of its electoral votes. This is called winner-take-all. According to four lawsuits in four states (two red, two blue), winner-take-all is unconstitutional. It violates the doctrine of one person, one vote, the suits allege. It also disenfranchises everyone who voted for a losing presidential candidate. Plaintiffs want states to adapt what’s called proportional voting. That’s when a state’s electoral votes are awarded according to a candidate’s percentage of its popular vote. But if the plaintiffs prevail, they may not achieve what they say they will.
President Donald Trump’s former communications director, Hope Hicks, comes off pretty well when compared to the cabal of con men, cretins, tricksters and ne’er-do-wells that otherwise orbit the president. So it’s tempting for Trump’s critics to express a degree of sympathy for the former fashion model and native of Greenwich, Conn., whose reputation is for inner strength and quiet perseverance.
Now that Elizabeth Esty has said she won’t run for reelection in November, Connecticut Republicans are hoping they can pick up the state’s 5th District Congressional seat. They believe they have the advantage for two reasons. One, the Democratic governor is monumentally unpopular. Dannel Malloy, who is also not seeking reelection in November, is the least liked governor in the entire country. Two, Esty is leaving under a cloud of controversy. Last week, she conceded to being complicit in a former chief of staff’s sexual and physical assault of a female aide.
The debate over a proposed compact in which Connecticut would cast its seven electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote is missing the forest through the trees. The problem isn’t that presidents win despite the popular vote. The problem is that presidents win despite not winning a majorities in the states. That may seem like a distinction without a difference, but it’s not.
Connecticut police departments are clearly turning civil forfeiture into a lucrative business model, and they are doing so with the help of the United States government.
A triumph of the conservative movement was getting citizens to think of government as something separate and distinct from the citizenry. In reality, government is not a lurking entity waiting to tax us and give nothing in return. As Abraham Lincoln said, the government is of, by and for the people. The government is us.
Connecticut media was abuzz last week with the news that former Senator Joe Lieberman was on President Trump’s short list for the job of FBI director. That got people talking, as these things tend to do, but that’s all it’s going to be.
There’s more than one kind of political leverage. There’s the kind you pull in the legislative process: bargaining, horse-trading, quid pro quo. There’s the kind you pull in swaying public opinion to pressure counterparts into dealing. Dick Blumenthal knows the difference.
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association is what it sounds like, but don’t be fooled. It’s more than that. Much more.
After Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a 2015 law increasing taxes on state businesses, the trade group turned political. It funded GOP candidates to beat Democrats in the state Senate in 2016 and to push back against what it saw as Hartford’s “anti-business” agenda.
Last month, I’d have given Tesla an even chance at breaking into Connecticut’s new car market. The electric car maker has been trying for years, but has been blocked by the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association. The trade group opposes exceptions to the state’s franchise laws. Tesla has been making headway, but nothing seemed certain.
Then came The Big News.
Nancy Pelosi has a knack for infuriating Republicans. That stems in part from being a woman. That stems in part from being from California. That stems in part from being one of the best former Speakers of the House in U.S. history. But I think it also stems from the fact that the House Minority Leader is extraordinarily tough without ever appearing tough in her couture clothing and strings of pearls. In fact, underneath a velvet glove is an iron fist.
Politicians are human beings, of course, but we should be careful to avoid too much empathy. Political animals, after all, crave power most. If the choice is between doing the right thing and holding power, political animals choose the latter unless constituents force them, like good shepherds, to rethink their natural inclinations. Gov. Dannel Malloy is no exception.
One of the enduring myths in American politics is that you don’t have to participate in politics if you don’t want to. Many are so disgusted they go to great lengths to avoid politics. Whole movements in U.S. history have been dedicated to that goal, and most failed when it was realized it can’t be done.
There are two universal truths to bear in mind as legislators in the Connecticut General Assembly negotiate the next fiscal-year budget. One is that every line of every budget of every government in human history has had a constituent. The other is that politicians are like water. They follow the path of least resistance. In the case of the governor’s proposed budget, Gov. Dannel Malloy wants spending cuts. He does not want to hear the word “tax” after having raised revenues twice in six years. But since every budget line has a constituent, and since constituents have a habit of opposing elected officials who take something away from said constituents, elected officials almost always try to find ways to punt.