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Slate Politics – Spoken Edition

Your daily politics update, brought to you by Slate. Hear more Slate articles at Slate.com/Voice. Want to hear a daily selection of the magazine’s best stories? Learn more at slate.com/voice A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com

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The Nonsense Trump Spewed During the Shutdown Wasn’t Oblivious. It Was Tactical.

It was most likely the airports that finally broke the dam. Friday afternoon, as news reports of disrupted flights poured in and the shutdown hit Day 36, Donald Trump finally announced that he would cave completely—if temporarily—on his demands for a border wall. The government will now reopen for three weeks, at the end of which time, he was careful to threaten, he may declare a national emergency if he doesn’t get his way.


4 Feb 2019

Rank #1

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Republicans Are Ditching the Wall

President Donald Trump has yet to break ground on his great border wall, but already it’s proving to be a powerful deterrent. Republicans are running away from it. In TV interviews last weekend, Republican lawmakers bent over backward to avoid the word wall. “I happen to agree with the president on barriers,” said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine pledged “to continue to build physical barriers.


31 Jan 2019

Rank #2

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Democrats Should Not Think Twice About Canceling Racist, Sexist Politicians

In the days since a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook was published, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has resisted calls for resignation from all corners of his party. The Democratic caucuses of both branches of the Virginia state legislature have asked Northam to step down, as have Northam’s predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, and multiple Democrats who’ve announced 2020 presidential runs.


8 Feb 2019

Rank #3

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The Least Pro-Life President Ever

On Tuesday night, in his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump called for legislation to outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” said Trump. On Thursday, at the National Prayer Breakfast, the president renewed his plea. “Every life is sacred,” he declared. “We must build a culture that cherishes the dignity and sanctity of innocent human life.” Abortion is a serious matter.


12 Feb 2019

Rank #4

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It’s Both Difficult and Incredibly Important to Make the Case for Third-Trimester Abortions

Conservative politicians and right-wing activists have targeted a Virginia state legislator this week and in the process reignited a nationwide debate about third-trimester abortions. Delegate Kathy Tran’s bill, which was tabled by a House of Delegates subcommittee this week, would have loosened some restrictions on second- and third-trimester abortions, which are legal in the state under specific circumstances.


5 Feb 2019

Rank #5

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Ralph Northam Is Lying

Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, swears he’s telling the truth. On Friday, Northam confessed to appearing in a racist photo in a 1984 yearbook. On Saturday, after Democrats called on him to resign, he reversed himself and said it was a case of mistaken identity. “I will stand and live by my word,” Northam told reporters at an afternoon press conference.


7 Feb 2019

Rank #6

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Trump Keeps Bluffing About Americans Wanting a Wall

President Donald Trump says he has a mandate to build a border wall. “I was elected partially on this issue,” he declared at the White House on Thursday. Trump thinks that by claiming to have won the 2016 election based on his pledge to build a wall, he can bully Congress into accepting it. He’s bluffing. A close look at election results in 2016 and 2018 shows that Democrats who reject the wall—even those who represent states Trump won—are standing on firm ground.


6 Feb 2019

Rank #7

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The Last Shutdown?

How long must a government shutdown go on before Congress decides it can’t risk another one? We may soon find out if 35 days was long enough. The longest government shutdown in history just concluded with the instigator, President Trump, suffering the same fate as instigators past: humiliating himself for all to see, enraging elements of his base by caving, and failing to secure even a dime of the policy for which he had been holding out. Shutdowns are lousy leverage.


1 Feb 2019

Rank #8

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The Ghosts of 2015

We’re still 368 days away from the Iowa Caucus (Feb. 3, 2020), 532 days from the end of the Democratic National Convention (July 16, 2020), and a whopping 642 from Election Day (Nov. 3, 2020). It is understandable if you prefer to check out from the permanent campaign for at least a few more months.


11 Feb 2019

Rank #9

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Ed Case Shows How Not to Reach Out to Your Nonwhite Constituents

Hillary Clinton said that she kept hot sauce in her bag when she was interviewed on black talk radio in April 2016. Jeb Bush released a Spanish-language Cinco de Mayo ad to celebrate the holiday in 2015 and sold a $75 branded “guaca bowle” on his campaign website during the 2016 Republican presidential primary. The person standing next to me immediately said, “We need to primary this guy in 2020.


30 Jan 2019

Rank #10