What We’re Following
‘Camp Fire’: “Forest fires might be seen as the particularly horrific edge of a sword that is coming for us all,” writes Robinson Meyer on the two massive wildfires—the Camp and Woolsey fires—that have devastated communities in both the northern and southern parts of California. These conditions suggest the worst is yet to come.
On Veterans Day: President Donald Trump’s Paris visit over the weekend, and what he chose to say and do—or not—on the 100th anniversary of the end to the fighting in World War I, has underscored to European leaders like Emmanuel Macron of France that the U.S. administration’s “America First” message means just that. What else we’re thinking about on Veterans Day: Read our November 2017 series featuring perspectives from veterans on issues from universal health care to women in military service to how PTSD impacts children.
Birthright: What happens when a nation limits birthright citizenship? This Caribbean country offers a lesson on what follows, writes Jonathan M. Katz.
In 2000, Florida gave us a recount that ended with the Supreme Court showdown Bush v. Gore. But a more instructive moment to look to as the state begins historic recounts might instead be this 1985 Congressional race in Indiana, writes the historian Julian E. Zelizer:
Arguably, the Bloody Eighth is what led to the eventual GOP takeover of the House, under Newt Gingrich, in 1994. The Bloody Eighth was his trial run, and the 1994 election his proof of concept. Thus even though Democrats won their seat, they lost the long-term narrative.
When pundits look back at the 2000 presidential election, the lesson they tend to draw is that what really matters in a recount is raw power. Who cares that the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision was, by many lights, among the most partisan, least legitimate rulings ever issued? George W. Bush, not Al Gore, became president.
But what’s at stake in this year’s recount is not the presidency—it’s a Senate seat that won’t determine which party controls that chamber, and a governorship that was previously in Republican hands. Of course the result matters, but, as in the fight over the Bloody Eighth, the narrative matters, too. Indeed, how the public perceives the process could influence the 2020 election (and beyond) more than the actual outcome. Which side will claim the mantle of justice? Which will end up looking corrupt?