January 15, 2022 | Reading Time: 2 minutes

Gerrymandering, SCOTUS, vaccines, immigration, slavery, ‘Pandemic Politics’ and more

The week that was.


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The Supreme Court is not your friend, and this is the Editorial Board‘s Weekend Edition.

I’m your host, John Stoehr.

Jason Sattler explains why the good news about congressional redistricting — or gerrymandering — isn’t really good news. “Apologists of the attrition of America’s democracy make all kinds of excuses to help normalize the slow drip forming the stalactite that will eventually fall and stab what’s left of our democracy’s heart. It’s geography! It’s normal! Democrats do it, too!”

Jay Weixelbaum, in an interview with me, walks us through the reasons he believes the United States is undergoing a major transition between two paradigms. “Paradigms are a buildup of chaos in our political, economic and social systems, as unresolved problems feed off each other. In chaotic periods, even small events can have enormous impact. We’re right in the middle of the shift, so it’s hard to see where we are going.”


Shana Kushner Gadarian, in an interview with me, talks about a forthcoming book she co-authored, Pandemic Politics, and why the data she’s collected point to a clear conclusion: partisanship equals death. “I think we have historical evidence that party leadership might not be interested in talking about or urging public health funding for particular diseases when they are either stigmatized or not seen as affecting their partisans (like in the HIV-AIDS crisis early on).”

Rod Graham explains why the Democratic Party’s leaders need to be honest about immigration. “The problem is that while everyone may eventually reap these benefits of innovation, some people will be in a position where they don’t feel at home in their community, become more socially isolated and cannot work with neighbors to address issues in their community.”

Noah Berlatsky explains why it’s better and cheaper in the long run to pay people to get vaccinated. “Paying people $250 to get vaccinated would replace the income for two eight-hour days at a $15 an hour job. Even lower payments – say $100 – could dramatically change the calculus around vaccination, work and transportation costs.”

Mia Brett explains why slavery is still with us all these years after the end of the Civil War. “The clause of the Constitution that likely protected slavery the most was the Three-Fifths Compromise in Article 1, Section 2. Even though this clause was superseded by the Reconstruction Amendments, we are still feeling its effects today.”


Sara Aniano, in an interview with me, tells us that misinformation, propaganda and lies are going to be with us a while. “Once Trump normalized discourse that was hateful, xenophobic, conspiratorial and sexist, he made it more mainstream. People who previously self-censored those thoughts felt free to not only think them, but say them – particularly on social media, where anonymity removes accountability. That hasn’t really changed.”

Lindsay Beyerstein explains why news coverage of the Republicans’ fake electoral certificate has not been nearly as urgent or outraged as it should be. “What wasn’t apparent at the time was that John Eastman had a plan to use these fraudulent electoral votes as grist for a procedural coup.”

Josh Chafetz, in an interview with me, explains why the six Republican justices on the Supreme Court are okie-dokie with mass death but not with the administrative state. “The ‘major questions doctrine’ is a carve-out to this regime that basically says, ‘We won’t defer to agencies when the agency has taken it upon itself to decide a ‘major question.’ This is pernicious because what counts as a “major question” is entirely in the eye of the observer.”

John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.

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