How the Epstein Case Explains the Rise of Conspiracy Theorists

The more we learn about the allegations against reclusive billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, the more he seems like a figment of the online fever swamps. The wealthy financier arrested last week for underage sex trafficking is accused of operating an international sex ring that could implicate high-powered men across business, politics, and Hollywood. Every nightmarish detail of his story—from the creepily decorated mansion, to the flights on “the Lolita Express,” to the stays on “Orgy Island”—sounds like it was conjured by conspiracy theorists. Just this morning, President Donald Trump told reporters that Alex Acosta was stepping down as Secretary of Labor amid mounting outrage over the sweetheart deal he gave Epstein… Read More

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Could a Democrat Really Unseat Mitch McConnell?

It’s official: “Cocaine Mitch” has a 2020 challenger. The Democrat Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot turned congressional candidate who starred in one of the most viral political ads of 2018, will take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky seat. Her campaign is only two days old, but already the outline of a strategy has emerged: On a few choice issues, McGrath plans to position herself as a sort of pro-Trump Democrat, while framing McConnell as the poster child for a swamp in dire need of draining. It’s going to be a struggle. Defeating the six-term incumbent Republican in the ruby-red state would be an incredible upset… Read More

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The Clarence Thomas Effect

Clarence Thomas is currently the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court. For much of his tenure, court watchers and critics have dismissed his jurisprudence as largely irrelevant, demoting him to the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s judicial sidekick. In the public imagination, he is most remembered for his worst moment. Last fall’s confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh resurrected the debate over Anita Hill, the woman who famously accused Thomas of sexual harassment during his 1991 confirmation hearings. And yet, during his time on the Court, Thomas has written prolifically and introduced ideas that have gradually gained influence among other justices. Of all the Supreme Court justices, Thomas takes an approach… Read More

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The Clarence Thomas Effect

Clarence Thomas is currently the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court. For much of his tenure, court watchers and critics have dismissed his jurisprudence as largely irrelevant, demoting him to the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s judicial sidekick. In the public imagination, he is most remembered for his worst moment. Last fall’s confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh resurrected the debate over Anita Hill, the woman who famously accused Thomas of sexual harassment during his 1991 confirmation hearings. And yet, during his time on the Court, Thomas has written prolifically and introduced ideas that have gradually gained influence among other justices. Of all the Supreme Court justices, Thomas takes an approach… Read More

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The Benefits of Being the First Loser

America will not long remember the presidential candidacy of Representative Eric Swalwell. The California Democrat’s bid for the White House lasted a day less than three months; more than twice that amount of time will go by before voters cast the first primary ballots next year. Swalwell failed to register more than 1 percent in a single poll, and when he dropped out yesterday, it was still so early in the race that candidates from his own state were still getting ready to jump in. If this year’s Democratic primary race is a slightly-smaller version of the NCAA basketball tournament, Swalwell didn’t just get knocked out in the first round—he… Read More

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Economics Is Broken

For years, the government of Bhutan has enshrined gross national happiness as its guiding light. Though national leaders had long eschewed traditional economic metrics like gross domestic product in favor of a more subjective understanding of development, in 2008, the country’s constitution formally established that ensuring “a good quality of life for the people of Bhutan” would be its primary aim. GNH would be the measure of the country’s progress, quantified by a complicated index based on “areas of psychological well being, cultural diversity and resilience, education, health, time use, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience and economic living standards”—an array of factors that might all together quantify… Read More

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