Trump Got More Donations Than Biden After Conviction

AP (“Trump dwarfs Biden in latest fundraising numbers in show of political force after felony convictions“):

Donald Trump’s campaign outraised President Joe Biden by more than $60 million last month, according to federal filings that detailed the Republican fundraising explosion sparked by Trump’s felony convictions.

Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee together raised a robust $85 million in May and reported $212 million in the bank at the end of the month. The strong showing does not include roughly $40 million raised by Biden and his top surrogates in recent days — or a separate $20 million donation from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to pro-Biden groups.

Still, Trump’s fundraising for, for one month at least, seemed to dwarf Biden’s, according to the filings made public Thursday.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee said it raised a jaw-dropping $141 million in May, including tens of millions donated immediately after Trump was convicted of 34 felonies in the New York hush money case. At the same time, billionaire Timothy Mellon donated a stunning $50 million to a pro-Trump super PAC the day after Trump’s guilty verdict, according to the filings.

Overall, Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee reported more than $170 million in the bank at the end of May, although Biden’s campaign questioned whether the groups were devoting resources to cover Trump’s legal fees.

“Our strong and consistent fundraising program grew by millions of people in May, a clear sign of strong and growing enthusiasm for the president and vice president every single month,” said Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez. “The money we continue to raise matters, and it’s helping the campaign build out an operation that invests in reaching and winning the voters who will decide this election –- a stark contrast to Trump’s PR stunts and photo-ops that he’s pretending is a campaign.”

Taken together, the numbers detailed in the campaigns’ latest Federal Election Commission filings suggest Democrats may still maintain a cash advantage in the 2024 presidential contest. But almost four months before Election Day, Trump’s side is closing the gap — if it isn’t closed already.

POLITICO (“Trump raised so much last month he erased Biden’s cash advantage“):

Former President Donald Trump’s huge May fundraising haul erased President Joe Biden’s longstanding cash advantage as the two gear up for a rematch.

Trump’s campaign had $116.6 million in the bank at the end of May, compared to $91.6 million for Biden.

It wasn’t due to poor fundraising on the incumbent’s part — Biden’s campaign saw a decent fundraising rebound in May after a weak showing the month prior. But Trump’s fundraising while he was on trial in New York that month, punctuated in the final days when he was convicted, was enough to surpass Biden in campaign cash, something that had long been seen as a crucial strength of his.

The latest campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission also revealed how Biden has continued to build out his campaign apparatus, while Trump has largely held onto cash. And down-ballot races are also heating up, with party committees and other outside groups bringing in — and spreading around — more cash than before.

After months of a relatively sleepy start, the real money race has begun.

Those are among the takeaways of the campaign finance reports filed by presidential campaigns, party committees and a handful of other groups on Thursday. The reports covered all activity for the month of May.

Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee said they raised $141 million in May, a figure that included the significant fundraising boost after the former president’s criminal conviction on hush money charges. (The full breakdown behind that number won’t be available until mid-July, when Trump’s joint fundraising committees file their own reports.)

But the former president’s campaign filing Thursday showed a significant surge in the final two days of the month — the day the jury handed down a guilty verdict and the day after.

Just looking at large-dollar donations, the campaign reported receiving at least six times as many daily donations those two days compared to a typical day. And the fundraising spike was likely even greater, considering that doesn’t include unitemized donations of less than $200 or any donations that the joint fundraising contributions hadn’t yet transferred.

In total, Trump’s campaign and the RNC reported just over $170 million cash on hand combined at the end of May, overtaking Biden and the Democratic National Committee, which reported just shy of $157 million.

BBC (“Trump campaign gets $50m boost from single donor“):

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has received $50m (£39.5m) boost from the conservative billionaire Timothy Mellon, a federal filing showed on Thursday.

The Super-Pac fund called “MAGA Inc” disclosed to the Federal Election Commission that it took in more than $68m from donors last month.

Reuters reported that Mr Mellon, an heir of the Pittsburgh-based Mellon banking family, gave $50m. Another $10m came from billionaires Liz and Dick Uihlein.

US media reported that Mr Mellon sent the donation the day after Trump was convicted on 34 charges of falsifying business records in his New York hush-money trial.

Mr Mellon has also been the biggest donor to independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr, giving the pro-Kennedy Super-Pac American Values at least $20m.

Essentially, then, the difference in last month’s fundraising is that Trump got a $50 million donation from a billionaire whereas Biden got a paltry $20 million from another.

I’m skeptical that the money itself will much matter. Both candidates are so well-defined that it seems unlikely advertising, the traditional major campaign cost, will have much impact. And both can get all the “earned” media coverage they want, anyway.

To the extent it does matter, though, I’d give Biden the edge. First and foremost, he doesn’t have massive and growing legal bills to pay off so even relatively similar totals will be a net benefit to him. Second, the Democrats are considerably better organized after Trump destroyed the RNC machinery.

The World According to Trump

Going back as far as I’ve paid attention to such things—which is going on four decades at this point—Foreign Affairs has published essays from the top foreign policy advisors to the two major party presidential nominees a few months before the election. Yesterday, they published an essay by former President Donald Trump’s last and possibly future National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien under the title “The Return of Peace Through Strength: Making the Case for Trump’s Foreign Policy.”

Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s not confidence-inspiring.

Distinguished Professor Dan Drezner pronounces it a “constant river of horseshit” and takes issue with O’Brien’s rosy assessment of Trump’s first (and one hopes last) term. Retired nuclear scientist and occasional OTB commenter Cheryl Rofer dubs the parts of the essay touching on her expertise “bluster rather than strength.”

The piece that most caught my attention, though, was this:

The navy should also move one of its aircraft carriers from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the Pentagon should consider deploying the entire Marine Corps to the Pacific, relieving it in particular of missions in the Middle East and North Africa. U.S. bases in the Pacific often lack adequate missile defenses and fighter jet protection—a scandalous deficiency that the Defense Department should fix by quickly shifting resources from elsewhere. [Emphasis mine]

This is all O’Brien says about this idea but it makes no damn sense. At all.

It’s arguable, I suppose, that we should move American troops, period, out of the Middle East and North Africa. We’ve ostensibly been “pivoting to Asia” since 2011 and three successive presidential administrations have dubbed China our “pacing challenge” and the last two have acknowledged Russia as an “acute threat.” But MENA has become an economy of force mission mostly conducted by special operations forces. The Marine Corps’ contributions are really small, so taking it off their plate doesn’t return much in the way of combat power.

Regardless, it’s not at all clear what O’Brien would have the Marine Corps do in the region. The emerging Force Design concept has returned them to a maritime force enabling Navy operations with stand-in forces. But that’s for a future fight, not steady-state deterrence.

Further, if we are to take “the entire Marine Corps” even figuratively rather than literally (presumably, O’Brien would allow Marines to continue going to school, performing recruiting duty, staffing the Pentagon and other Combatant Commands, and similar essential missions elsewhere), stationing the entire Fleet Marine Force in INDOPACOM would crush retention. It’s one thing to deploy to combat or to a float every few years, it’s quite another to be assigned to a hardship station permanently.

Leaving aside the logistics of where we’re going to base and house these people, are these going to be accompanied (i.e., with family) tours? If not, that’s a deal-breaker in that it’s near impossible to sustain a family if permanently separated. If so, it’s also probably still a deal-breaker because most spouses will not be interested in living in Okinawa or some other place far from home for 20-30 years.

The half-assedness of the essay brings home a point that Drezner mentions in his post and that those of us in the national security space have been emphasizing since at least 2016: Trump has no foreign policy bench. The #NeverTrump moment, which I date to a March 2016 open letter at War on the Rocks , was anchored by the Republican foreign policy establishment. As such, most of those with expertise and experience had disqualified themselves from serving well before the election. Trump tried to make do with a bunch of retired (and, in the case of H.R. McMaster, active duty) general officers, CEOs like Rex Tillerson who were way in over their head, and his idiot son-in-law. There were relative bright spots (Secretary of Defense Mark Esper comes to mind) but most were just third-rate yahoos.

Granted, since Trump famously skips his intelligence briefs and eschews expert advice, anyway, it might not matter all that much. But an erratic mind getting advice from those who don’t know what the hell they’re doing is not the ideal way to run a global supervisor.

A Photo for Friday

Hume's Toes

“Hume’s Toes”

May 22, 2024

Edinburgh, Scotland

This leads to the first-time-ever bonus PfF, mostly because as soon as I saw it I thought, “David Hume could out-consume Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel”!

IMG_4120

Friday’s Forum

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Kennedy Won’t Qualify for Debate

WaPo (“RFK Jr. won’t meet CNN debate requirement for ballot access“):

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has repeatedly claimed that he appears on enough statewide ballots to qualify for next week’s debate between President Biden and Donald Trump and has threatened to sue CNN for not letting him on the stage.

But a Washington Post survey of state election officials found Kennedy is not on the ballot in several states where he has claimed he is — and he will not reach the requirement by Thursday’s deadline to qualify for the debate. The rules of CNN’s debate indicate candidates must appear on enough ballots nationwide to earn the requisite 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, along with earning 15 percent support in four national polls.

Election officials in Utah, Delaware, Oklahoma, Michigan and Tennessee have confirmed Kennedy will be on the ballot. Additionally, CNN has counted California and Hawaii, where Kennedy is the presumptive nominee of minor parties where the states have either not certified him or received paperwork. Those states add up to 100 electoral votes. Kennedy also has not yet met the polling requirement for the debate, though could if a qualifying poll is released before Thursday.

Kennedy intended to get on all 50 states’ ballots quickly as he sought to gain national attention that would come from sharing a debate stage with the two major-party candidates. Kennedy has pointed to his exclusion as evidence that he has been treated unfairly by the parties and the media.

His campaign has spent months gathering the signatures that states require for independent candidates — those not affiliated with a political party — to appear on the ballot in November. Those signatures are then verified by state election officials before the candidate is certified to appear. Kennedy can also appear on states’ ballots if he’s nominated by a minor political party that has already petitioned for ballot access. But many election officials told The Post they won’t certify those petitions or green-light minor party nominees for several weeks, making it impossible for Kennedy to check off the requirement in time for the debate.

Kennedy’s campaign has argued that Biden and Trump similarly should not qualify for the stage under CNN’s rules because they have not yet officially been selected as the presidential nominee by their respective parties. The Republican and Democratic nominating conventions are in July and August, respectively. But CNN has said that because Trump and Biden are their respective parties’ presumptive nominees, and major-party candidates don’t have to petition states for ballot access, both satisfy the electoral college criteria for the debate, according to CNN.

Given the realities of our political system, this is a good outcome. Kennedy has zero shot of winning the election and his presence in the debates and on the ballot would simply take away exposure from the two plausible candidates.

That said, Kennedy is polling somewhere around 10 percent nationally in surveys that include his name. He’s far and away the most serious third-party candidate in almost three decades. (Ross Perot was included in the 1992 debates but failed to meet the threshold in 1996; he nonetheless got 8 million votes, 8.4% of all voters.) Given how unpopular Biden and Trump are, it’s quite likely that he could considerably improve his standing were he allowed to go toe-to-toe with them on the debate stage.

Further, his camp is right to complain that the rules are stacked. He has to be officially approved for the ballot in enough states to win the contest before the states approve candidates for ballot access. It’s literally impossible. Meanwhile, even though Biden and Trump are technically not yet their parties’ nominees, they’re given a pass because everyone knows they will be. And, of course, they don’t have to jump through any hoops to qualify for ballot access because the Democratic and Republican nominees automatically qualify.

Netanyahu Isolated

AP (“Netanyahu dissolved his war Cabinet. How will that affect cease-fire efforts?“):

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disbanded his war Cabinet Monday, a move that consolidates his influence over the Israel-Hamas war and likely diminishes the odds of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip anytime soon.

Netanyahu announced the step days after his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, withdrew from the three-member war Cabinet. Gantz, a retired general and member of parliament, was widely seen as a more moderate voice.

Major war policies will now be solely approved by Netanyahu’s security Cabinet — a larger body that is dominated by hard-liners who oppose the U.S.-backed cease-fire proposal and want to press ahead with the war.

Netanyahu is expected to consult on some decisions with close allies in ad-hoc meetings, said an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

These closed-door meetings could blunt some of the influence of the hard-liners. But Netanyahu himself has shown little enthusiasm for the cease-fire plan and his reliance on the full security Cabinet could give him cover to prolong a decision.

NYT (“Israeli Protesters Mass in Jerusalem to Call for Elections“):

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on Monday to call for elections and the immediate return of hostages held in Gaza in a demonstration that followed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent decision to dissolve his war cabinet.

The protest outside the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, highlighted the competing pressures the Israeli prime minister is under from conflicting elements of Israeli society.

[…]

In the crowd in front of the Knesset on Monday was Yair Lapid, the opposition leader in Parliament, video posted on social media showed. Some of the marchers carried a banner stating that they were “leading the nation to the day after,” a reference to the end of the war in Gaza.

An Israeli police statement said that the police had helped facilitate the rally near the Knesset, and no arrests were immediately reported there.

However, confrontations appear to have been more intense when some protesters broke off to march to Mr. Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem, breaching a police roadblock. Anti-government activists have regularly gathered there throughout the war.

The activists chanted, “You are the chief, you are to blame” in front of the prime minister’s residence. Photographs showed some of them gathered around an open fire. Water cannons were fired, and at least nine people were arrested. The Israeli police said in a statement that some of the protesters had attacked officers, slightly injuring some of them.

Former Israeli consul general Alon Pinkas takes to The Guardian to proclaim, “Netanyahu’s ‘war cabinet’ had little power – but its demise does him real damage.”

There is very little drama in Netanyahu’s decision, or rather bland and laconic statement that he is dissolving the “war cabinet” that he himself formed on 11 October 2023. Constitutionally and in terms of affecting policy, the decision is a Seinfeld decision: it’s about nothing. The constitutionally authoritative body – the one with real power – is the security cabinet. The war cabinet was a convenient and circumstantial political invention. But Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz’s recent withdrawal from the government made the forum redundant in terms of policymaking, and politically explosive, since the extreme rightwing ministers now demanded to join.

[…]

Ostensibly, Netanyahu formed the war cabinet for the same reason that Chamberlain, and particularly Churchill, did: to streamline the decision-making process, to make policy debates more effective, briefings more constructive, and to avoid the useless and time-consuming cacophony of pontifications by tens of ministers speaking for what they believe is the historical record, and catering to an enthusiastic audience of themselves only.

In Israel’s case there was also an overriding political reason. The inexperienced, inept, incendiary extremist rightwing government that Netanyahu ceremoniously formed in December 2022 was ill-equipped to deal with wartime strategic thinking, planning and decision processes. Netanyahu needed to shield himself from criticism, surround himself with experience and – since “responsibility” and “accountability” are alien terms to him – shift the onus on to others.

He needed a forum he could conveniently castigate and blame when things went wrong, and criticise members for preventing him from making what he would later call triumphant decisions. Blaming faulty intelligence, the military and the General Security Service (Shabak), and then implicitly – the explicit will come later – attacking US President Biden for depriving him of a historic victory wasn’t enough. He needed the informal forum he could later attack for impeding him.

[…]

But this doesn’t mean it has no political implications. It does, in abundance. First, what the war cabinet failed to do. The presence of two former chiefs of staff of the IDF-turned-politicians, former generals Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, was supposed to add balance, seriousness and purpose. Instead, they failed to secure from Netanyahu a coherent vision for postwar Gaza, a definition of the war’s attainable political goals and plans for different tactical and operational management of the war. For example, once the IDF identified southern Gaza as Hamas’s centre of gravity, the war cabinet failed to effectively question the decision to invade the north instead.

It also abjectly failed to enforce a different force and munitions employment to avoid the indiscriminate deaths of civilians in Gaza. Most glaringly, the war cabinet abjectly failed to respond to Biden’s framework for postwar Gaza, a political process with the Palestinians and a reconfigured security structure for the Middle East. What it did succeed in doing is influence a premature, arguably reckless, attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon in mid-October, and a callous invasion of Rafah as recently as May.

At the same time, the dissolution of the war cabinet forum deprives Netanyahu of his legitimacy and constricts his manoeuvring room. Now the US has no political allies nor a forum to engage with.

The dissolution may not affect policy, but it weakens Netanyahu politically even more than he already is. He owns not only the 7 October debacle, not only the management of the war, but also the weeks ahead – and now he faces them alone.

Netanyahu is not legally required to call for new elections for another two years and change—so long as he can keep a governing coalition together. It’s unclear how much longer he’ll be able to do that.

While the existence of mass protests is never a good sign, I never know how to read them. Are they representative of a major change in the public mood? Or just a particularly motivated niche?

There has been some shift in recent months of Israeli public sentiment toward ending the war and gaining the release of the hostages. How that translates to the large political dynamic, I haven’t the foggiest.

Netanyahu himself is certainly wildly unpopular. But his party still won the largest vote, by a considerable margin, in the 2022 elections despite all manner of criminal charges hanging over his head. He’s been a remarkably resilient figure for a quarter century now.

What he’s tended to do—and I strongly suspect he’ll do now—is double down rather than compromise. With his political career hanging by a thread, he’ll go harder in Rafah.

Interestingly, while he’s increasingly isolated at home, he continues to get bipartisan support here. Congressional Democrats who had been blocking the sale of more F-15s to Israel for months relented yeterday.

Biden Offers Amnesty for Illegals Married to Americans

WaPo (“Biden to waive penalties for undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens“):

President Biden will clear the way on Tuesday for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens to apply for legal residency in one of the most expansive immigration programs of his presidency, administration officials said.

The policy shift is a bold move for the Democratic president months before the November elections, and a rebuke to congressional Republicans who have ignored his calls to expand border security and to create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, many for decades.

Biden will unveil the policies at a celebration at the White House to mark the 12-year anniversary of another executive action taken to aid immigrants when he was vice president. On June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama said he would allow undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children to apply for work permits, a program that transformed hundreds of thousands of lives.

The White House had no immediate comment on Tuesday’s announcement.

Marrying an American citizen is typically a fast track to U.S. citizenship, but immigrants who cross the border illegally are subject to significant bureaucratic hurdles that have left them in limbo for years. Federal law requires such immigrants to leave the United States for up to 10 years and then apply to return, but immigrants call the penalty excessive.

Biden will allow undocumented spouses to apply for legal residency without having to leave the United States, a major relief for those who have jobs and are raising young children and worry that there is no guarantee they will be allowed back into the country.

[…]

About 500,000 undocumented spouses and 50,000 undocumented stepchildren of U.S. citizens are expected to be eligible to apply, according to a copy of the plan released by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security. To be eligible, immigrants must have lived in the United States for at least a decade as of Monday, have been married by that date, and meet other requirements. Their immigrant children must be under 21 to qualify, officials said.

Officials said the majority of immigrants expected to benefit from the program are Mexican nationals who have lived in the United States for an average of 23 years. Applicants who are approved will have three years to apply for permanent residency, also known as a green card, and will have work permits in the meantime.

NYT (“Biden to Give Legal Protections to Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens“):

President Biden on Tuesday will announce sweeping new protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have been living in the United States illegally for years but are married to American citizens, officials familiar with the plan said.

[…]

Under the policy, undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens will be shielded from deportation, provided work permits and given a pathway to citizenship. Officials briefed on the conversations said it could affect up to 500,000 undocumented spouses, although the exact scale of the program remained unclear.

[…]

Marrying an American citizen generally provides a pathway to U.S. citizenship. But people who crossed the southern border illegally — rather than arriving in the country with a visa — must return to their home countries to complete the process for a green card.

That means long separations from their spouses and families. The new program would allow families to remain in the country while they pursue legal status.

Officials briefed on the discussions said the announcement could amount to the most sweeping unilateral move by a president to provide relief to unauthorized immigrants since President Barack Obama implemented DACA. In a separate move on Tuesday, Mr. Biden is also expected to announce new ways to help people in DACA, known as Dreamers, gain access to work visas.

[…]

The decision comes as Mr. Biden tries to strike a balance on one of the most dominant political issues in 2024. Aware that many Americans want tougher policies on the border, Mr. Biden just two weeks ago announced a crackdown that suspended longtime guarantees that give anyone who steps onto U.S. soil the right to seek asylum here.

Almost immediately after he issued that order, White House officials began privately reassuring progressives that the president would also help undocumented immigrants who had been in the nation for years, according to people familiar with the conversations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

The program Mr. Biden is expected to announce on Tuesday is known as “parole in place,” which has been used in the past for other populations, like families of military members. It gives unauthorized immigrants in the United States protection from deportation for a period of time and access to a work permit.

Republicans have already assailed the policy.

“This is an attack on Democracy,” Stephen Miller, the architect of former President Donald J. Trump’s anti-immigration policy, said on social media on Monday.

The action could, however, help Mr. Biden in battleground states, like Nevada, Arizona and Georgia, each of which has more than 100,000 voters who live in “mixed status” households, according to the American Business Immigration Coalition, which represents hundreds of companies and supports the proposed policy change.

I’m more of a stickler for the rules than most but it’s really hard to make a good moral argument for deporting people married to American citizens because they didn’t have permission to be in the country at the time of the ceremony. While there are doubtless some small percentage of people who get married to game the immigration system, the overwhelming number of these people are simply building lives together and starting (or have long since started) families. Sending them back to their countries of origin, and thus separating them from their family, for months or even years would be unconscionably cruel.

At the same time, it’s not obvious to me that this is a sound political move. I’m skeptical that the number of “mixed families” in battleground states outweighs the percentage wanting to crack down harder on the border.

The newfangled site operating under the venerable Newsweek brand and other right-leaning sources are touting a new CBS/YouGov poll under headlines like “Majority of Hispanics Now Favor Mass Deportation.”

A recent poll found that a majority of Hispanic people favor the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The CBS News/YouGov poll found that a majority of registered voters overall (62 percent) would favor the government starting “a new national program to deport all undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. illegally.” Thirty-eight percent said they would oppose it.

The survey polled 1,615 registered voters between June 5 and 7, and had a margin of error of 3.8 points.

Notably, the poll found that mass deportation was popular with Hispanics, with 53 percent saying they would favor such a program and 47 percent saying they would oppose it. White people were more supportive of mass deportations, with 67 percent saying they would back the program, and 33 percent saying they would oppose it. Among Black people, it was 47 percent in favor and 53 percent opposed.

An Axios poll published in April also found that a majority of Americans support the mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, including 45 percent of Latinos who were in favor of such a measure.

To be sure, there are umpteen caveats about polling on a headline policy issue, let alone parsing subsamples. But there’s no reason at all to doubt that Americans writ large are frustrated by our border policies and, unfair though it may be, blame Biden as the incumbent President.

Even the Newsweek report notes that the polling is not necessarily indicative of real policy preferences:

But a “much smaller portion of Americans who purport to favor mass deportation of undocumented immigrants would support what it would practically entail,” Thomas Gift, an associate professor of political science and director of the Centre on U.S. Politics at University College London, U.K., told Newsweek.

“Showing papers on-demand. Racial profiling. A huge increase in the number and scale of ICE raids. But the polling is reflective of just how dissatisfied American voters are with the failure of both Republicans and Democrats to secure the border. Immigration is again surging to the top of the ‘most important problem’ list because Washington has shown itself completely ill-equipped to execute common-sense immigration enforcement.”

Which is a point Steven and I have been making for years, since well before Trump got into politics. It’s all well and good to say we should send illegal immigrants home en masse, it’s quite another to actually do it. Even aside from the positive impacts these workers have on our economy and the moral issues surrounding upending their lives, sometimes after years or even decades of building roots here, there is no magic wand solution. Rounding up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people involuntarily would be a brutal policy logistically. And would essentially make anyone who “looks Hispanic,” regardless of their legal status, targets of constant harassment.

Biden is on the right side of the issue, wanting to toughen border enforcement and end the abuse of the asylum system while treating folks who have been here for years in violation of our immigration laws with some sense of humanity. We’ll see whether that pays off politically.

1967 Wasn’t That Long Ago

Photo by SLT (Region’s Field is the current home of the Birmingham Barons)

Let’s start with the positive. There was a Major League Baseball game played in Birmingham, AL this week at Rickwood Field, the oldest professional ballpark in the country, which was once home to the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues. The game was a celebration of those Black players who had been denied entry into the Major Leagues. The recently departed Willie Mays played for the Black Barons when he was still in high school. For more on that story see WaPo, For Black baseball, game at Rickwood Field is tribute to past, hope for future or NPR, MLB game in Alabama takes on extra significance following Willie Mays’ death .

What I really want to highlight, however, is from (of all places) Awful Announcing: Reggie Jackson details sickening racism he faced playing in Alabama: ‘Wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

One of the most important and powerful moments from the night occurred when Reggie Jackson teared up during Fox’s pregame coverage as he recounted the racial slurs and threats he encountered as a minor leaguer playing in segregated Birmingham.

“How emotional is it for you to come back to a place that you played with one of the greatest teams around?” Alex Rodriguez asked Jackson from the MLB on Fox set at Rickwood Field. After being drafted by the Kansas City Athletics, Jackson played with their Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham A’s, in 1967, who played their home games at Rickwood Field.

A clip can be found here:

I would echo the following from the write-up:

There’s often an inclination to spin racism off as a story of progress. It’s important to remember these horrific details shared by Jackson occurred just 58 years ago. Many of the people who targeted Jackson with vicious racist attacks and death threats in 1967 are probably still alive today.

I think this is worth noting for reasons I outlined, at length, in my post Thinking about the Past . It also intersects with the following:

Don’t get me wrong: Birmingham in 2024 isn’t the same as Birmingham from 1967 (likewise, America writ large has made important strides), but I can’t help but reflect on how recent 1967 is in the grand scheme of things and, to the point of those linked posts, the degree to which a host of difficulties (and just basic realities) of 2024 were shaped by 1967.

It is also a reminder that those who call for America to be made great again by turning back the clock are either ignorant of what they are asking for or are all too malignant in their desires.