Every week of a presidential election year, dozens of story lines zoom through our ears — and timelines — without making much of an impression. It’s just too hard to keep up with everything. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some gems that don’t deserve a closer look, or an opportunity to be decanted and savored. Let us take a closer look at a few of the stranger things we didn’t get a chance to cover last week, before we collectively forgot they ever happened.
Donald Trump Loves All Babies — Except for People He Calls Babies
Donald Trump usually responds to the uproar his existence inspires by doubling down on or denying that he said the thing that made everyone angry. After he kicked a crying baby out of a rally, he deployed the latter strategy. “Such a lie. And they know it’s a lie,” he told a crowd in Des Moines. “I don’t throw babies out, believe me. I love babies.” That latter point may be impossible for Politifact to fact-check, but it is true that Trump loves calling people babies, judging from the list below of adult individuals he has deemed unable to do anything useful without the help of grown-ups like himself. It remains to be seen if he loves all of these babies.
— Ted Cruz
— Americans when their jobs are shipped overseas
— The officials who resigned from the University of Missouri after protests
— Those who don’t torture suspected terrorists
It is also true that, although he has probably never touched a diaper in his life and hated having babies at the office, Trump has kissed babies, a campaign tradition so entrenched that it even has its own Wikipedia page. However, this does not matter. No one should care if a presidential candidate kisses babies. The only good story ever written about politicians kissing babies was written by a very skeptical reporter from the U.K. tasked with observing an American campaign in 1961, and it was titled, “Is Baby Kissing Really Necessary?” The answer is no.
An Assortment of Things 7 Percent of People Believed Last Week
Seven percent of registered voters think it makes no difference at all if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump is elected, according to a recent McClatchy-Marist poll. Seven percent of probably voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate if Russia interfered to help their campaign, per Public Policy Polling. Seven percent of Americans think morality is the most important problem facing the country today, according to a Reuters/IPSOS poll. The Pew Research Center reports that 7 percent of registered voters would rather that people didn’t know who they were going to vote for. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 7 percent of Republicans think Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy. And perhaps more importantly, the latest averages on Huffington Post Pollster show that 7 to 8 percent of Americans remain undecided about whom to vote for — which means that the fate of the presidency may come down to what 7 percent of the country thinks.
Trump Trolling 101: The Lifespan of a Non-Endorsement
When the Washington Post asked Donald Trump if he was going to endorse Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for reelection in this Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, Trump said, “I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.” Three months ago, when asked if he would endorse Trump, Ryan said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.” Many people were not impressed with Trump’s advanced trolling techniques. Some Republican leaders were especially angry about his withholding, since the party had given him the resources to run his campaign and plenty of endorsements (or, in cases where that was too much, quiet apathy instead of condemnation). Trump’s Republican colleagues planned an intervention. Ryan’s campaign said it never asked for an endorsement anyway, so there. Trump continued to say nice things about Ryan’s opponent. The Onion article from May, “Donald Trump Rift Not What Paul Ryan Needed in Middle of 14-Day Cleanse” suddenly seemed eternally prescient.
Meanwhile, vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence went ahead and endorsed Ryan. Trump told a crowd in Maine that Pence had to get a permission slip to do so. And Trump finally did endorse Ryan — but on the same night as the Olympics opening ceremony. Ryan has not spoken to Trump since that moment. None of this matters, however, because Ryan is way ahead in the polls in his race. Trump, on the other hand, is far behind in his.
I Read It for the Articles
The pocket Constitution has been having quite a moment ever since Khizr Khan pulled one out during his searing speech against Trump at the Democratic National Convention. A version available on Amazon for a buck was competing for bestseller status with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for a while last week. However, as the Los Angeles Times notes, that edition, offered by the conservative and “conspiracy-prone” National Center for Constitutional Studies, is usually wielded by those who agree more with Trump than Clinton, as its “underlying message is that the U.S. is a Christian nation not intended to be ruled by a single government.” Amazon users have started to warn those who may want to jump in on the improbable pocket Constitution trend with reviews featuring titles like, “THIS IS NOT THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES DESPITE ITS TITLE” and “Very dishonest edition, believe me. Sad!”
There are other pocket Constitutions available on the site, of course. There is the one that lists “The Founding Fathers” as the author and contains easy-to-read large type. Another has an American flag cover and features free “fascinating facts“ about the Constitution. A slightly more expensive edition provides style advice on the cover for all who want to know how to wear your pocket Constitution if you want to be a normcore fashion god. You can buy an illustrated version, a trendy one with Alexander Hamilton on the cover, one that makes up for not being able to fit in your pocket by being a coloring book, or one that has Founding Fathers trivia. If you don’t want to buy a pocket constitution but love Pinterest, there is a website that teaches you how to make your own pocket Constitution. If you went to a Ted Cruz rally this year, you may already have one with the Texas senator’s face on it.
If you do obtain a pocket Constitution, however, be aware that it will not be content to sit in your jeans. No, it is meant to be brandished. You can pull it out and yell “Make way for liberty!” whenever you are feeling patriotic or are stuck behind slow people. You can give them to babies or carry them at your wedding. Some people carry them in the hope that Rand Paul might one day sign it, or that Bernie Sanders might one day be president. Or, you can follow Khan’s advice and wave them at Trump, like protesters in Maine did last week, or keep a stack at home to use as “party favors.”
Basically, once you have a pocket Constitution, the possibilities are limitless.
This Week in Weird Races that Aren’t the Presidential One
After last Tuesday’s Missouri primary, the state’s gubernatorial candidates are set. The Republican candidate, Eric Greitens, used to be a Democrat. The Democratic candidate, state Attorney General Chris Koster, used to be a Republican. The person who came in second place in the Republican primary sent out this tweet last week:
Following the example of many a 2014 Senate candidate, Navy SEAL Greitens highlighted his conservatism and can-do spirit by blowing something up with a machine gun.
Koster offered his own analysis of this ad at a rally last week: “They chose a professional motivational speaker with a machine gun who pledges to blow this government up.” An insane amount of money has already been spent in this race, leading one political analyst to tell local news station KSHB, “Expect a very colorful, very dramatic, pretty brutal campaign throughout the fall.”
Feel free to reuse this quote for all upcoming elections across the country.