S.J.Res. 42, which would have blocked munitions sales to Saudi Arabia, fails by a 47-53 margin. The bad news? Five Democrats -- four of them up for re-election in states Mr. Trump won in 2016, three of whom are absolute toast at this writing anyway so why did they bother? -- voted against the resolution, basically finishing it off. But even the most cynical person -- the one who'd say the four Republicans who supported the resolution only did so because they knew it would go down -- would have to recognize, I think, that this close, dramatic vote is 20 votes better than what we got from a similar resolution last year. And we should watch this Todd Young, Republican Senator from Indiana; he did a lot of legwork to get this effort as far as it did, so he might actually mean it.
Don't get too riled up over the news that Russian hackers hit more voter databases than we previously thought -- because apparently those hackers didn't actually do any vote manipulation, possibly because state and local databases are all different, which is as good an argument as any for keeping some matters out of our federal government's hands. Seriously, one federal database, likely based on one national ID system, would be far more vulnerable to manipulation. States need to do more to secure their voting data, of course, but the same objections I've always had to obsessing over Russia -- that obsession distracts you from worse things, Republican vote suppression swayed the results far more, Democrats wouldn't have this problem if they'd stop nominating colorless centrists already -- still apply.
We tend to think of the era of mass incarceration in terms of what it's done to urban populations, but Issie Lapowsky informs us that more rural folks are going to jail, too. Pretrial incarceration, which really is unconstitutional and really should be against the law, has afflicted the rural population even more over the last 40 years than it's afflicted the urban -- pretrail jail rates have gone up over 400% among rural folks, versus around 300% in the cities -- and that's stunning. The reasons (high among them the lack of resources to get people to trial quickly enough) are, sadly, not stunning.
Bush Mobber Ed Gillespie beats Trump supporter in Virginia Republican gubernatorial primary by a single point. Now I'm old enough to remember when Mr. Gillespie told Republicans to characterize all criticism of George W. Bush as "political hate speech," so I don't Mr. Gillespie's narrowly-won advancement to the general election as some great victory for civilized society. And I rather expect Mr. Gillespie will court those Trump voters with considerable vigor. After all, it's not exactly like he has an uphill battle against Ralph Northam, in a state with a notoriously oppressive Voter ID law and a Clintonoid centrist in charge of executing it.
Finally, Newt Gingrich blames Kathy Griffin and that NYC production of Julius Caesar for "setting the tone" of a "biased" special investigation of President Trump's Russian ties. You didn't know Robert Mueller could be so easily swayed by a) a photo that virtually the whole of liberaldom condemned and b) a play about how badly an assassination of a state leader wound up going? Well, Newt Gingrich didn't know, either -- he'd praised Mr. Mueller's selection as special prosecutor as recently as last month. Why do we talk to Newt Gingrich about anything again?