Luck of the Irish

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RFK Jr.’s running mate: This week, environmental lawyer/alt-science peddler Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—who is running for president as an independent, and polling quite highly—selected Nicole Shanahan, Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s ex-wife and a tech entrepreneur in her own right, as his veep.

Shanahan was the main funder and creative mind behind RFK Jr.’s surprisingly good Super Bowl ad:

Of course, this one pays homage to JFK’s 1960 campaign ad—a fact that pissed off much of the Kennedy family, who by and large do not share RFK Jr.’s beliefs and seem moderately to severely embarrassed by him.

“My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces—and my Mother’s,” Bobby Shriver, RFK Jr.’s cousin, wrote. “She would be appalled by his deadly health care views. Respect for science, vaccines, & health care equity were in her DNA.”

Now, Shanahan has been picked as running mate—which led to a strange reaction from the Libertarian Party chair. “I think that a lot of libertarians are a little bit confused over why he chose Nicole Shanahan,” L.P. Chair Angela McArdle said to The Hill. “I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but she doesn’t necessarily fit into alignment with any of our views.” But why would she need to align with Libertarian voters’ views? Well, there’s been plenty of speculation that the Libertarian Party seeks to throw RFK Jr. on top of the ticket—an odd choice if you consider what his Environmental Protection Agency would look like, for one.

Up until now, many pollsters and pundits had believed that RFK Jr. running as an independent would hurt former President Donald Trump more than President Joe Biden. “Right after Kennedy went indie, an NPR-PBS-Marist survey showed Biden leading Trump by three points (49 to 46 percent) in a head-to-head contest, but by 7 percent (44 to 37 percent, with RFK Jr. at 16 percent) in a three-way race. Similarly Quinnipiac had Biden leading Trump by one point head-to-head (47 to 46 percent) but by three points (39 to 36 percent, with 22 percent for RFK Jr.) with Kennedy in the mix,” reported Intelligencer‘s Ed Kilgore.

Now, Kennedy appears to be helping, not hurting, Trump’s chances: “The RealClearPolitics polling averages nationally now show Trump leading Biden by 1.6 percent (46.6 to 45.0 percent) in a two-candidate race, and by 5.4 percent (40.7 to 35.3 percent, with Kennedy at 12.3 percent) in a three-candidate race.”

But Kennedy faces a significant ballot access roadblock ahead—which is solved by accepting the L.P. nom, if that’s what’s offered to him. Currently, Kennedy is on the ballot in Utah only. But his campaign assures voters that “it has collected enough signatures to also qualify in Nevada, Hawaii and New Hampshire,” per Politico. His super PAC also says it’s garnered enough signatures to be included in Michigan, South Carolina, Arizona, and Georgia. (I assume the real reason why he won’t take the L.P. plunge is because the moderator of an upcoming L.P. presidential debate is yours truly, and I’m no fangirl.)

Branding the Bible: In other news from the very normal campaign trail and our very well-adjusted candidates, Trump has started selling $60 Bibles for Holy Week. “We must make America pray again,” Trump said in a Truth Social sales pitch for the bibles, which is interesting messaging for a man who has repeatedly declined to name his favorite verse, called it “Two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians” in a 2016 speech at Liberty University (where you really shouldn’t get that wrong), and…didn’t regularly attend church before it was politically advantageous to him (still only choosing to attend on holidays and for photo ops).

“People are so shocked when they find…out I am Protestant. I am Presbyterian. And I go to church and I love God and I love my church,” said Trump, who has generally declined to name a church he attends regularly, back in 2015. “In one video shared on Truth Social and played at Trump’s rallies, a narrator’s voice booms: ‘On June 14, 1946, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God gave us Trump,'” reported Axios. And in December, Trump said he wanted to “create a new federal task force on fighting anti-Christian bias.”

All of this comes together to look an awful lot like pandering to Christians, while also trying to hawk the word of God for a quick buck. Par for the course for Trump, but forgive me for not being particularly excited about this field of presidential contenders.

Scenes from New York: It’s good that the Bronx district attorney isn’t asking for more money for her office. But pretty much everything else about her plea to City Council is concerning:

Progressive criminal justice mindset, in one quote: “The lack of resources for youth and mental health are driving violence, subway crime and retail theft. I cannot prosecute my way out of this. … We must invest in communities.”

OK, but your job is to *be the prosecutor*, not…

— Liz Wolfe (@LizWolfeReason) March 27, 2024


  • “Trudeau pledges to boost renters’ rights in bid for young voters” reads this disturbing headline from Bloomberg.
  • Jo Boaler is a professor of math education at Stanford, responsible for having designed the new California Math Framework (CMF), which will not teach the majority of middle schoolers algebra in the name of equity (soft bigotry of low expectations, anyone?). But Pirate Wires’ Sanjana Friedman reported that Boaler “sent her own children to a $48,000-a-year private school that teaches its middle schoolers algebra” and that there are “30 claims of alleged citation misrepresentation in her research—the very research that underpins the CMF.”
  • “Efforts by Hunter Biden’s lawyers to dismiss tax charges against the president’s son were met with skepticism by the judge overseeing the case,” reported Axios.
  • The evolution of a pro-life Democrat.
  • Down with Slack mob caving!

Either hire someone or don’t. Either print an op-Ed or don’t. If you don’t want any views or reps that have ever been Trump-aligned, either say that or stand by decision to represent a large part of the electorate. This immediate retreat in face of Slack channels is so lame.

— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) March 27, 2024

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