The Weekend Politics Thread is Above the Law – For Now

I was planning to update everyone on my continuing tyranny as WPT host – Quebec-based metal band Voivod was going to be involved – but then all this recent excitement happened. Consequences are busting into the room like the Kool-Aid Man. Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort in / going to prison? Oh yeah!

The last few days have been pretty wild. President Individual-1 has been directly implicated in federal crimes, and he has responded with the Twitter equivalent of, “You’ll never take me alive, coppers!” No Trumps have been arrested yet, and the GOP Congress is in hiding as always, but this has got to be pretty uncomfortable for them. The status quo won’t hold up forever under this kind of pressure. Maybe the Trumps will consider this popular way of handling a situation of being an evil monster whose public support is dwindling: go to war against that public. Behold, Wisconsin!

The lame-duck state government is finally addressing a potential catastrophe for their state, years in the making: the majority of voters want the GOP gone. Obviously, subversions of democracy such as, uh, democratic elections cannot be allowed to stand. So they’re changing all the laws to make the branches of government that will still be held by the GOP next year into the only ones retaining any authority. The ones that Democrats just won? Those don’t count anymore – too bad, so sad. People in Wisconsin and around the US are furious at this, but this bothers the GOP not at all. They’ve already lost the majority of voters, so what good does it do to court them anymore?

What makes this particularly galling is that Democratic candidates in the legislature received 54 percent of the vote in last month’s midterm election but, because of Republican gerrymandering, the GOP has 64 percent of the seats in the state assembly. So a minority of Republicans are basically overruling the majority of Wisconsinites.

–Michael A. Cohen (different guy!), The Boston Globe, December 7

Just straight up laughing in the law’s face doesn’t always work, though, as we’ve recently seen in the UK. Disclaimer: I’m an American, so my understanding of British politics is based entirely on Robert Shaw’s performance as Henry VIII in “A Man for All Seasons.”

However, I couldn’t help but notice that there have been a few snags in that whole Brexit plan. Having received legal advice that might go over poorly with certain constituents – namely, that a successful Brexit requires Northern Ireland to be sold to Spain [OK, not true, but not as far off as one would think] – the May government decided to hide the advice from Parliament. They did not care for that.

Minutes before May rose to speak, lawmakers delivered a historic rebuke, finding her Conservative government in contempt of Parliament for refusing to publish the advice it had received from the country’s top law officer about the Brexit deal.

–AP, December 5

So now that Parliament has taken this unprecedented action, what happens next? That’s where the fun is! You see, nobody knows! As with all these examples of powerful government officials just plain breaking the law, it’s impossible to know whether they’ll get away with it until it’s done. We’ll either see these people ride through it, or see the Kool-Aid Man come for them, delivering vaguely fruit-flavored cosmic justice. Let’s watch and see, and then talk about it a bunch! No threatening Mayor McSquirrel or anyone else, please.