Election 2024: Solstice

Today marks the earliest summer solstice since 1796, a presidential election brought back to public attention more recently by Hamilton’s “One Last Time”. If only one, or preferably both, of 2024’s presidential candidates had followed Washington’s advice…

Not a lot going on of interest right now, but that is likely to change shortly.

First, we are now only 7 days away from the first announced presidential debate, and all indications are that the debate will happen as planned – Biden vs. Trump (with no RFK Jr), on CNN, with no studio audience, and with an ability for moderators to turn off one candidate’s mike when it’s the other’s turn to speak.

Second, we are also running out of time in the SCOTUS fiscal year for the Court to release its opinion in Trump v. U.S. It seems quite possible that the opinion could get released the morning of, or the morning after, the debate; oh, joy. As SCOTUS works through its caseload, it did today uphold the constitutionality of one particular and fairly obscure part of the Trump-era tax act. An adverse decision in that case would have implied that the types of “wealth taxes” occasionally proposed by progressives were unconstitutional, but the favorable outcome here for the government does not imply that a wealth tax would be constitutional.

Some political news of interest this week out of Virginia’s congressional primary elections, on both sides of the aisle.

For the Democrats: Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman won the primary for the Virginia 7th, which is the Cantor/Brat/Spanberger seat (with Spanberger having retired to run for Governor in 2025); he and his better-known twin brother Alexander were key figures in the events leading to Trump’s first impeachment trial. While Spanberger won re-election in 2022, 52-48, this is probably one of the most marginal seats currently held by the Democrats, having gone only 50-49 for Biden in 2020. With Vindman having not previously held any elected office, this places the Democrats’ ability to retain an important seat in the hands of a political neophyte, albeit one with significant experience serving in government.

For the Republicans: the MAGA-on-MAGA primary for the Virginia 5th (a seat that went 54-45 for Trump in 2020) remains unresolved after election night, as they wait for mail-in ballots and provisional ballots to be counted. The incumbent, Bob Good, is chair of the House Freedom Caucus and one of the 8 Republicans who helped force Speaker McCarthy out. However, he committed the sin of having endorsed DeSantis in the primaries, and as such both McCarthy and Trump had endorsed Good’s equally MAGAite challenger, state senator John McGuire (who had been a losing candidate in the 2020 Republican primary in the 7th to face Spanberger). Both sides dumped in significant amounts of money, leading to an unusually high $14.5 million in ad spending for a primary. The election night result is McGuire by 321 votes, 50.3-49.7.