USA

The mail-in voting mess and other commentary

Libertarian: The Mail-In Voting Mess

Because of the pandemic, mail-in voting will become “much more normal” this November — yet, Reason’s Eric Boehm warns, “we’re not ready” for it. Yes, President Trump’s charges against the practice — that it favors Democrats and is fraud-prone — are overwrought. Even so, the country lacks “time to build out the infrastructure necessary for a full-scale vote-by-mail operation,” forcing states to “ease restrictions on absentee balloting” on their own. Without a nationwide operation, though, officials may need days or even weeks to count absentee ballots. Even though the practice is “already widespread, safe and accurate,” then, it’s far from a “guarantee of a controversy-free election.”

Conservative: The Unsurprising Floyd ‘Surprise’

Despite some commentators’ claims, nothing in The Daily Mail’s “previously unreleased body-camera footage of George Floyd’s arrest” is “unexpected” — or, National Review’s Robert VerBruggen observes, changes the fact that Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for “about eight minutes.” The video, which shows “the extent to which Floyd resisted arrest,” would only surprise someone who “dismissed or didn’t read” the police reports. The “real issue” — “what the cops did after they got Floyd under control” — is “still the same”: Chauvin “knelt on a subdued suspect until the suspect apparently lost his pulse, and then kept kneeling for a little while longer.” Whatever happens in the cops’ trial, the case hinges on “the eight minutes we already knew about, not the eight additional minutes The Daily Mail uncovered.”

2020 desk: The Candidate Who Wasn’t There

“At first glance, Joe Biden’s strategy of avoiding the spotlight is paying off” as he maintains a consistent polling lead over President Trump — but, The Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti advises, “look again at the polls.” Biden’s lead has dropped to “a 6-point margin,” a lead similar to Hillary Clinton’s in 2016, and a July CNBC poll “found a much closer race in the battlegrounds.” In truth, the ex-veep’s strategy has left him “offstage during a multifaceted national emergency,” and soon enough he “won’t be able to hide in his basement”: He’ll “be center stage” during his running-mate announcement speech, at the Democratic convention and in the presidential debates. “Yes, the race is his to lose” — but “others have lost similar races before.”

Russiagate watch: The Flynn Takedown

Steven Schrage may have “inadvertently helped jump-start” Russiagate, he reveals at Matt Taibbi’s blog, and Schrage wants answers: The case’s “remaining mysteries” are “too important to be turned into a game of political football or buried until after the election.” Schrage was a Cambridge doctoral student under anti-Trump FBI informant Stefan Halper, who “carries himself with grandiose airs, evoking fictional anti-heroes like Ignatius O’Reilly of ‘Confederacy of Dunces’ or Shakespeare’s Falstaff.” Five days after the Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting at which President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and others discussed Michael Flynn, the incoming national-security adviser, Halper told Schrage, “I don’t think Flynn’s going to be around long,” something “he had no independent reason to know.” Those “under government investigation for abuses of power” have “avoided hard questions,” but Americans “deserve to know as soon as possible before the election” if anyone “grossly abused national-security powers to upend democracy.”

Iconoclast: Does Biden’s Veep Matter?

Speculation about Joe Biden’s choice of running mate has turned into a Swamp “sport,” The Week’s Matthew Walther sneers. The supposed contenders are all “plausible,” but the question “is whether it really matters” to the outcome in November. Fact is, “in every election cycle, we tend to overstate the importance of the number-two spot on the ticket. The truth is that it rarely matters; most voters have made up their minds long before such announcements are made, and even seemingly commonsensical gambits like choosing senators or governors from crucial swing states rarely has a discernible impact on the outcome of elections.” The most divisive president in history, the incumbent, has led the vast majority of voters to make up their minds, and “no one who was prepared to vote for Biden will re-evaluate” based on his veep pick.

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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