This summer, while a lot of Americans are going on vacation, many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have been hitting the trail harder than ever — marching in Fourth of July parades in New Hampshire, pressing the flesh at a minor-league ballpark in Iowa and even frying 4,000 pounds of fish in South Carolina.
The Midwest has been drenched by rain and beset by floods. California is bracing for wildfires after several years of record-breaking burns. Hurricane season is just getting into gear in the Atlantic Ocean, which has been hit by more storms than usual over the past three years, and those storms have been above-average in intensity. Heat waves have been increasing across the country for decades. Just last weekend, New Yorkers were being warned to use less air conditioning to prevent blackouts — and to charge their phones for when the blackouts would inevitably happen.
A man wearing a red flannel shirt and brown suspenders walks into a clearing. His beard is well kempt, the same off-white as the snowmelt behind him. “Good afternoon,” he says to the camera. “It’s Friday, Oct. 12.” Slowly, he extends his arms. Two birds swoop down from the trees, alighting on his hands. “You can see how much I love my whiskey jacks. I’m feeding them my home-baked bread,” he says. The whiskey jacks peck, then take off with their spoils. “Gotta love it,” the man says. “They’ve been my friends for years.” A small wave at the camera: “I hope you have a great day where you live.”
They’ve seen many years of false starts, but gold bugs probably can’t be surer than…
Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is famous for his plan to implement a universal basic income to help Americans who lose their jobs to robots. And that isn’t the only place tech innovation takes center stage in his platform. He also advocates that your online data be treated as personal property that you can choose (or not) to sell to companies like Facebook. In a Yang presidency, election results would be verified through blockchain (an encryption system best known for shoring up cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin), quantum computing research would be better funded, and a Legion of Builders and Destroyers would have the power to overrule local zoning and land-use decisions for the greater infrastructure good. He is definitely the only presidential candidate talking seriously about fighting climate change with giant space mirrors.
Shortly before killing 50 people at two New Zealand mosques, the man arrested for the Christchurch massacre posted an online manifesto that alluded to the “Great Replacement” — a racist demographic theory that stokes fears of white people becoming, effectively, extinct. Within hours of the shootings, this act of terrorism inspired by a conspiracy theory had already gone on to birth conspiracy theories about itself. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh speculated that the shooter was a secret leftist hoping to use the attack to smear the reputation of the political right.
Today, a black hole observed … tomorrow, a pothole avoided?
Faced with a solid majority of conservative justices on the Supreme Court for the first time in decades, a number of Democratic presidential candidates have said they’re open to increasing the number of seats on the court or establishing term limits for the justices, in an effort to dilute the conservatives’ power. Pete Buttigieg, for example, proposed a plan that would increase the number of Supreme Court justices to 15 in an attempt to balance the court ideologically. Other candidates, like Beto O’Rourke, have called for term limits.