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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New York votes to close notorious Rikers Island jail complex

    New York City lawmakers voted to close the notorious Rikers Island jail complex, which has become synonymous with violence and neglect.

    Rikers is scheduled to shutter by 2026, ending a decades long run as one of the world’s largest jails. It will be replaced with four smaller and more modern jails located closer to the city’s main courthouses in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

    “Rikers Island is a symbol of brutality and inhumanity and it is time for us to once and for all close Rikers Island,” said the city council speaker Corey Johnson, a Democrat who shepherded the plan through the council. “As a city we must do everything we can to move away from the failed policies of mass incarceration.”

    The New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, and other Democrats support the plan, which has a price tag of more than $8bn.

    “This is one of those moments where a cycle gets broken. There’s been a cycle of incarceration,” de Blasio said at a news conference after the vote. “That cycle ends now” he added.

    The Rikers complex counts 10 jails on an island between Queens and the Bronx that mainly houses inmates awaiting trial. The complex has housed jail inmates since the 1930s and has long been known for brutality. It saw hundreds of stabbings each year during the 1980s and early 1990s. It has been nicknamed Gladiator School, Torture Island, the Guantánamo of New York and, in summertime, the Oven.
    …………………………….
    With falling crime rates, the number of people incarcerated in the city on a daily basis has declined from a high of nearly 22,000 in 1991 to about 7,000 today. City officials announced this week that they believe they can shrink the jail population even further by 2026, to just 3,300 prisoners.

    Backers of the jail overhaul say they expect the city’s jail population will keep dropping because of criminal justice reforms.

    Some critics of the plan say fewer cells may mean more violent criminals on city streets. Others say building new jails will inevitably lead to incarceration. Anti-jail activists chanted during the vote: “If you build it they will fill it.”

    I would certainly like to see an end to jails and prisons. I also want my magic rainbow farting gold shitting unicorn. Still, this is definite progress in the right direction.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “I’m not just an overrated general. I’m the greatest, the world’s most overrated,” he told diners at the annual Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation dinner.

    “I’m honoured to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress,” he said. “So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly that sounds pretty good to me.”
    …………………….
    “I earned my spurs on the battlefield … and Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor,” Mattis said.

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  3. Bill says:
  4. de stijl says:

    Mick Mulvaney just flat out admitted yesterday to the quid pro quo in Ukraine, like no big deal, what do you folks expect. Of course it happened.

    Desperately tried to walk it back a few hours later.

    Personal tic. I internally call him either “Mulva?…” or “Delores” depending on my mood. h/t to Seinfeld.

  5. de stijl says:

    @Bill:

    I read that story yesterday. Why did the dude try to run away? So bizarre!

    How Bizarre! by OMC was such an oddball, off the wall song. So slinky, and such a strange structure.

    First Maori group to pop world-wide.

  6. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:
    @Bill:

    He initially plead guilty. Did he think he scored a kilo of blow at the food shelf?

    Oh, dude was trying to flee from the cops on a bicycle!

    There is more to this story than has been reported.

    How bizarre, how bizarre! Every time I look around it’s in my face.

  7. de stijl says:

    There was a story from earlier this week where a guy called 911 repeatedly to report that someone stole his weed.

    The dispatcher had to tell him that he should really stop calling because he was putting himself in legal jeapordy.

    Of course, it was in Florida.

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  8. Teve says:

    Josh Campbell
    @joshscampbell
    · 13h
    A Republican source inside the Trump-Pelosi meeting described attendees as “shaken” and “shell-shocked” by the President’s demeanor.

    “He is not in control of himself. It is all yelling and screaming.”

    John Stoehr’s Editorial Board
    @johnastoehr
    I think the proper way of looking at this is that the Republicans in the room are stunned to discover that Trump is bad as his critics say he is. That sickening feeling is the shock of knowing in your bones that you were wrong so wrong in fact that many will die as a result.

    Sam Wang
    @SamWangPhD
    ·
    10h
    And yet his approval is rock solid at 40%. I feel like we’re learning a lot about 40% of our fellow citizens

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  9. Teve says:

    Heidi Stevens
    @HeidiStevens13
    ·
    Oct 16
    When I saw Oprah interview Michelle Obama, Oprah asked how Michelle got over feeling intimidated sitting at big tables filled with smart, powerful men and Michelle said, “You realize pretty quickly that a lot of them aren’t that smart.” I think about that quote every single day.

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  10. Scott says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-has-awarded-next-years-g-7-summit-of-world-leaders-to-his-miami-area-resort-the-white-house-said/2019/10/17/221b32d6-ef52-11e9-89eb-ec56cd414732_story.html

    I don’t know the specific contracting rules for the White House but I do know Federal contracting and you usually have to put together a RFP, get bids, run a source selection, and legally fully justify that you selected the best contractor. There are exceptions but those are laid out in the Federal Acquisition Regulations and it takes time to write, vet, and get approval for those justifications. So I’m waiting for some other company to file a protest with the GAO. And, of course, the crafting of another article of impeachment for constitutional violations.

  11. de stijl says:

    @Scott:

    Remember when Trump declared we would have a full military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue a few years back?

    Same result is going to happen. Acting COS Mulva…? / Dolores will eventually get enough lawyers in front of him all saying the same thing and the declaration will fade into the ether.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I would assume he was black. He probably didn’t want to get shot for producing his driver’s license, or for having a legal firearm in his possession.

    @de stijl:

    He initially plead guilty. Did he think he scored a kilo of blow at the food shelf?

    No. He’d been in jail since August. He may have figured the drug test was never coming back and he might as well get it over with. People frequently plead guilty to crimes they haven’t committed just to get out of jail, even if it means spending a year or 2 in prison

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  13. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “I earned my spurs on the battlefield … and Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor,” Mattis said.

    Now, see, Mattis is clearly mistaken. Trump did no such thing.

    He bought his spurs from a doctor. He never earned them.

  14. de stijl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s Oklahoma. It is as likely (sorry to besmirch your nym) he is a hillbilly. I’m picturing Ronnie Dobbs from Mr. Show.

    I get the running away (assuming outstanding warrants), but why initially plead guilty? He had a really bad PDO lawyer.

    Y’all are brutalizing me.

    Cross and Odenkirk were and are geniuses.

  15. DrDaveT says:

    Op-ed by General McRaven in the NYT today. The title is:
    Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President

    (ETA: Shouldn’t that be _by_ the President, not from? And I thought ‘from’ should not be capitalized, but I’ve now learned that many style guides tell you to capitalize any word of 4 letters or more in a title, even prepositions. Who knew?)

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: You can’t besmirch the nym of Hillbilly. It literally is not possible. 🙂 Besides, cops shoot hillbillies too.

    As to why he pleaded guilty, I repeat:

    People frequently plead guilty to crimes they haven’t committed just to get out of jail, even if it means spending a year or 2 in prison

    While I don’t have any personal experience with prison, I have had more than my fair share of jail and when people tell me prison is preferable to jail, I believe them. Not knowing what is going to happen, stuck in a limbo without end, filled with people of violent tendencies and various untreated mental illnesses, and a lawyer you’ve only seen once…

    Yeah, I can see me pleading guilty to possession. Easily.

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  17. Bill says:
  18. Matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    No. He’d been in jail since August. He may have figured the drug test was never coming back and he might as well get it over with. People frequently plead guilty to crimes they haven’t committed just to get out of jail, even if it means spending a year or 2 in prison

    Yup that’s probably what happened. People plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit more often than you’d think.

    @de stijl: Here is a starting place to answer your questions.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/walterpavlo/2018/07/31/are-innocent-people-pleading-guilty-a-new-report-says-yes/#71f3ec295193

  19. mattbernius says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Whats notable about Mattis’ comments is that in both cases he referred to him as “Donald Trump” versus using the honorific “President Trump” as protocol requires. That’s a telling decision.

    Mattis may honestly be goading Trump into attacking him. Or at the very least signalling a general lack of respect for him.

    It might be shrewd strategy. Time and Trump tweets will tell.

    (All that said, I would much prefer that Mattis express a direct opinion — but its clear that we cannot wait on so called “great men” to act)

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  20. mattbernius says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    While I don’t have any personal experience with prison, I have had more than my fair share of jail and when people tell me prison is preferable to jail, I believe them. Not knowing what is going to happen, stuck in a limbo without end, filled with people of violent tendencies and various untreated mental illnesses, and a lawyer you’ve only seen once…

    This. One of the benefits to prison is that — while still awful — there are more support programs than in most jails. Funding for support programs for people awaiting trial is sadly limited.

    Additionally, once in prison you are working towards release (versus it’s entirely possible to spend longer in jail than your final sentence will be).

    The news about Rikers closing is good, but the devil will be in the details and whether or not the City can build more humane jails. There’s also the broader structural problem of the number of people who get lost in the system and stuck in jail. There’s also the general overcharging as well. Without electing more mindful prosecutors and reforming the police, all we’re doing in shifting the population of system effected people.

  21. mattbernius says:

    @Teve:

    Sam Wang
    @SamWangPhD
    ·
    10h
    And yet his approval is rock solid at 40%. I feel like we’re learning a lot about 40% of our fellow citizens

    No offense but eff Sam Wang. He’s a dilettante and based on previous performance, no one should take anything he says about politics or political analysis seriously.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: Who knew? Not me.

    @mattbernius: There’s an old saying that it is best to let sleeping dogs lay but trump just can’t resist kicking the Mad Dog. We’ll see what kind of bite Mattis has.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: Progress has been made:

    the number of people incarcerated in the city on a daily basis has declined from a high of nearly 22,000 in 1991 to about 7,000 today.

    It’s about having the will to continue especially after the inevitable re offender hits the front page.

  24. mattbernius says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s about having the will to continue especially after the inevitable re offender hits the front page.

    Generally speaking that arc corresponds with the overall reduction in crime we’ve see over the last two decades. The unfortunate part is that, last I checked, it isn’t decreasing at the same rate as crime indexes and too many of those people are being held on non-violent crimes and low-risk violent crimes.

    Changes to bail laws will probably help – fewer people will be jailed for being poor. But the reality remains that the city is still too focused on a “tough on crime” approach.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius:

    But the reality remains that the city is still too focused on a “tough on crime” approach.

    Getting over that is a Sisyphean task. Too many vested interests.

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  26. VINCENT ZEBRAITIS says:

    Seriously… why not more comments on Mick Mulvaney?

    He flat out admitted (before he tried to walk it back later) that Trump DID ask for foreign help AND on top of it that there was also the added (but entirely unnecessary to be a crime) quid-pro-quo icing on the cake.

    Have we already, in his words, gotten over it?

  27. Kathy says:

    Interesting article at Huffpost, about how mediocre people are kept on top.

    I’d have gone with a different headline. But the fact is the very notion of a meritocracy is quite dead. Not based on this piece alone, but on lots of other things we can see all around. If “merit” includes such things as your parents’ net worth, connections, and other factors not inherent to a person, then it’s no longer merit.

  28. Liberal Capitalist says:

    (in moderation, and I can’t see why…)

  29. Guarneri says:

    “Democrats and the media cried foul Thursday when acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney argued that it was “appropriate” for the president to withhold funds from Ukraine until it investigated possible interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    But the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in September that imposes restrictions on transactions with Russia until it had been cleared of election interference.

    The House bill amended an earlier Senate bill — S. 1790, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020” — that required the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to investigate possible Russian interference in elections.”

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  30. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Guarneri:

    “Democrats and the media cried foul Thursday when acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney argued that it was “appropriate” for the president to withhold funds from Ukraine until it investigated possible interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    Correct. Because it’s illegal to withhold foreign aid for your own political purposes.

    But the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in September that imposes restrictions on transactions with Russia until it had been cleared of election interference.

    Yes, the President doesn’t control spending. A law can be passed that imposes restrictions. The President can’t ignore a law in order to abuse his power and get a foreign country to help him in his election.

    In other words, you’re trying to demonstrate hypocrisy and are failing.

    The House bill amended an earlier Senate bill — S. 1790, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020” — that required the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to investigate possible Russian interference in elections.”

    And we are dealing with Ukraine, so what is your point?

    Still haven’t been able to find your spine in all those other threads about Turkey, Syria, etc., huh?

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  31. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri: Breitbart? Really? Dude…

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Bill: Makes me think that the individual involved was either on the spectrum, very young, or mentally handicapped. Couple that with a bunch of police trying to make quota and, um, yeah I can see someone pleading guilty to something he didn’t do.

    P.S. And if he’s a minority, double the above with spades….

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I’ve in recent comments mentioned Chris Hayes, Twilight of the Elites, which makes a similar case, opening with a long list of the failures brought to us by our elites from 2000 to publication in 2012: Enron, 9-11, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Great Recession, and so on. Piketty is also relevant. Capital in the Twenty-First Century details the rise of wealth inequality back to Gilded Age levels and predicts it will get worse, with inherited wealth dominating economics and society. Both point out that the wealthy will control the system, and game the system, to retain wealth in their families.

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  34. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: It’s fascinating. They read the words but they don’t understand the words. Can they really not see the difference between normal political give and take over legitimate policy differences and seeking personal political gain?

  35. MarkedMan says:

    Romney is accusing Trump of backing down because he was intimidated by Erdogan. Process that for a second. The President of the United States, confronted by the President of frickin’ Turkey, tucked his tail between his legs and ran away. And according to Republicans in the meeting yesterday with Pelosi, Trump admitted as much when he had his melt down. He had no choice but to pull out troops because Erdogan would have attacked whether there were US troops there or not.

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  36. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Still haven’t been able to find your spine in all those other threads about Turkey, Syria, etc., huh?

    Listen, he’s gone full ethno-nationalist for profit. So of course he passively supports the abandonment and ethnic cleansing of an ally.

    The only question that remains is what size tax cut is necessary for him to passively support the rounding up of fellow citizens. He’s a good German American after all.

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  37. Teve says:

    Jon Sopel
    @BBCJonSopel
    Wow. #Erdogan tells news conference the letter sent by
    @realDonaldTrump
    telling him not to be a ‘tough guy’ wasn’t in line with diplomatic or political customs. He said they wouldn’t forget the lack of respect. “When the time comes necessary steps will be taken”

  38. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    That’s a very serious accusation.

    I hope it’s not true. I mean, regardless of what we may think of Trump, if he’s so easily cowed, then a real attack could happen anytime. Or China might demand some lebensraum in the South China Sea, and then what will a cowardly weakling do?

    If it’s true, then Romney should back it up with some evidence.

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  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:

    If it’s true, then Romney should back it up with some evidence.

    Yes, he should. Although if there is evidence it may be from private conversations he can’t disclose. But let us not forget who’s the second biggest liar in the Republican Party, even if we kind of like this statement.

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  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    If it’s true, then Romney should back it up with some evidence.

    From my comment:

    And according to Republicans in the meeting yesterday with Pelosi, Trump admitted as much when he had his melt down. He had no choice but to pull out troops because Erdogan would have attacked whether there were US troops there or not.

    If that doesn’t get denied by others in attendence, what other proof is necessary?

  41. Teve says:

    Amanda Carpenter
    @amandacarpenter
    John Kasich just told CNN he’s “across the Rubicon” and that President Trump should be impeached. “I say it with great sadness.”
    2:07 PM · Oct 18, 2019·TweetDeck

  42. MarkedMan says:
  43. Scott says:
  44. Teve says:

    @Scott: Trump said the Turks had to have that area “cleaned out”, and it’s well known that fire is the cleanser.

  45. Teve says:
  46. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Link is down. What was it?

  47. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: it’s a Twitter link so what usually happens is you click on it, it says something went wrong, you highlight the address in the address bar and hit return, and then it works. Don’t ask me why.

  48. Just nutha says:

    @gVOR08: Yes, they can tell the difference. They’re hoping that others can’t. And they’re right a fair amount of the time.

  49. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I see what you mean.

    That’s not serious. It’s critical. What if Iran threatens to move troops into Iraq? Or Saudi arabia into Qatar?

    Even if it’s not true, it feels true. and someone will inevitably test Trump’s resolve.

    Vegetius famously said “If you want peace, prepare for war.” This is debatable, and it’s not a guarantee ever, but it’s far better than giving way at every threat of war.

  50. Teve says:

    If that still doesn’t work I copied it here

  51. CSK says:

    @Teve: I laughed out loud.

  52. Jax says:

    I see the State Department report on the eeeeemails is out. Nobody’s charged, nobody’s getting locked up.

    Now they should investigate the current State Department’s “communication on unsecure devices” status.

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  53. Teve says:

    Last year Floridians overwhelmingly voted for amendment 4 which restores voting rights to people who have a felony in their past. The Republican legislature immediately passed a bill saying that every single court cost, fine, and fee had to be completely paid off first. A federal court in Tallahassee just ruled that that is some bullshit and the state better correct itself. Thanks in part to my fellow heathens at the ACLU. 🙂

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  54. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    Ten to one the crowds will still cheer “lock her up!” as though this investigation never happened.

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  55. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    A federal court in Tallahassee just ruled that that is some bullshit

    Thanks, Teve — that made my day.

  56. Jax says:

    @Kathy: It’s gotta be disappointing to them, day after day….is this the day she gets locked up?! No? Well, maybe tomorrow….

    I wonder how many are still down in their bunkers, waiting for Obama to take their guns? Should we….check on them? 😉

    I’ve had an ongoing conversation with a longtime friend who is a Trumpie for the last 3 days. I think he finally muted me when I made a list of alllllll of the things we now know Republicans are actually ok with, they were just faking concern during Obama and Clinton. It’s exhausting. I had to make the list after he declared himself the “most informed person”, and listed his sources of information as 10 hours of talk radio a day and the Drudge Report.

    I get it, now. He’s essentially absorbing poison into his earholes.

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  57. An Interested Party says:

    Both point out that the wealthy will control the system, and game the system, to retain wealth in their families.

    I wonder if we’ll ever have a À la lanterne period…

    @Teve: Can anyone point to any time in the past 40 years when Republicans actually worked to make voting more accessible for people rather than making it more difficult…

  58. Teve says:
  59. gVOR08 says:

    @Jax: I see NYT finally got this story about HER EMAILS!!! up on their main page. It ends not with a bang, but a whimper, concluding that while innocent mistakes may have been made, no one really did anything wrong. Which is a surprise to no one with any common sense. Although it’s a pleasant surprise that the State Dep’t investigation appears to have been honest. I’ll be waiting, certainly without holding my breath, to see if NYT ever hints at having learned anything from this whole fiasco.

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  60. Jax says:

    @gVOR08: I cancelled my subscription to NYT when the Ukraine crap started and they went full “eeeeemails” on it. It’s interesting that Trumpies are totally happy to use them as a source when they think it benefits them, otherwise they are “failing” and “fake news”.

  61. Teve says:

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump
    Susan Rice, who was a disaster to President Obama as National Security Advisor, is now telling us her opinion on what to do in Syria. Remember RED LINE IN THE SAND? That was Obama. Millions killed! No thanks Susan, you were a disaster.
    10:59 PM · Oct 18, 2019·

    Susan Rice and Barack Obama got millions killed? Dang liberal media musta covered it up.

  62. Teve says:

    Joe Kassabian
    @jkass99
    ·
    Oct 14
    I love how America’s collective brain is so diseased that the left wing wanting everyone to have education and healthcare is treated as radical while the right wing threatens civil war over paper straws and pronouns.

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  63. Jay L. Gischer says:

    @MarkedMan:

    @MarkedMan: Here’s the Washington Post story

    That story now has multiple confirmations including from SecDef Esper. I think this could ruin Trump. He’s supposed to be the strong daddy. They love that he’s a fighter. Now what is he? Someone who can be bullied by Turkey? Turkey!!!?

  64. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L. Gischer: Do you know what they call someone who gets pushed around by Turkey?

    Chicken.

    (Thank you, thank you… try the veal)

  65. Bruce Henry says:

    If Syria attacks Turkey from the rear, do you think Greece will help?

  66. Teve says:

    Virginia Heffernan
    @page88
    ·
    1h
    It seems clear that ANY of these Democrats who fairly wins the nomination can beat Trump—but ONLY IF there’s no 2016-style cheating.

    In other words:

    Instead of panicking that Nancy Kerrigan can’t win, seems like it’s time to keep a close eye on Tonya Harding.

  67. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    It seems clear that ANY of these Democrats who fairly wins the nomination can [win]—but ONLY IF there’s no 2016-style cheating.

    I was hearing the exact same thing in 2008. Memories of 2000 were still fresh, and many believed 2004 was stolen as well, courtesy of the Diebold machines in Ohio.

    There is a realistic way to look at Republican voting skulduggery, and then there’s a paranoid perspective that bears little relationship to reality. The important point is that election cheating, even at its most effective, only has the potential to matter in very close elections. Republicans do not under any circumstances have an all-powerful ability to change an election’s outcome. They can put their thumb on the scale through voter-suppression (which is actually a bigger issue than outright fraud), but it’s never going to affect things beyond the margins. The margins matter, of course, but only if the election is close. There is in fact no evidence that the 2016 outcome was the result of vote-cheating (though there’s a lot of evidence it was influenced by the Russian assault on social media, which is a separate issue). Of course Republicans are going to try to cheat. That’s a given. However, they would need a great deal to go their way in order for that cheating to be decisive.