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Weird Election Footnotes: Facial Expression Pundit Edition

Now back to you, perplexed baby staring at a guy in an Uncle Sam hat

Another week, another list of weird Donald Trump–inspired rabbit holes to fall through. Let us once again take a closer look at a few of the stranger things we didn’t get a chance to cover last week, before we collectively forget they ever happened.

Early Contender for Race Most Likely to Confuse Voters

Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan got all the attention in last week’s spate of primaries, but there’s another race, way down the ballot in nearby Minnesota, that deserves our attention. The Republican incumbent in District 56A for the state house is 23-year-old Drew Christensen. His opponent is 24-year-old Democrat Jared Christiansen. Christiansen and Christensen now join a long and vibrant lineage of candidates condemned to confuse voters just because they have the lousy luck of running against someone with nearly the same name, including Duggan and Dugeon, Schwarzenegger and Schwartzman, Jose Rivera and Jose L. Rivera, and Bob Baker and Bob Baker. Also, it’s a race between two twentysomethings!

Although Chief Wana Dubie probably would have been a unique presence on the Missouri ballot, he surprisingly did not win the Democratic Senate primary in his state.

Voters’ Facial Expressions Are Our Only Good Pundits

Last week, many things of varying importance happened in the 2016 campaign. Let’s check in with our panel of silent facial expressions to find out what they all mean.

Trump told supporters at a rally in North Carolina that “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick — if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” First thoughts, man in the red polo?

Very profound, thank you. Now let’s turn to the guy who sat behind Trump when he said that Obama was the founder of ISIS for more analysis.

To end this segment, we’re going to ask a baby what he thought of the Trump rally he attended in Florida last Thursday. Try to keep it quick though, because we don’t have much time.

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Oh wow, that was deep. Thank you all for your time.

Figuring Out What to Do With the Death Penalty

The issue of capital punishment evaporated from the presidential race as soon as Bernie Sanders left; both Clinton and Trump have defended it. That doesn’t mean the death penalty is absent from the election writ large, though, and a few states are putting the debate to voters. Two initiatives on capital punishment will appear on California ballots this year. One would abolish the death penalty, while the other would merely speed up the appeals process, making it easier to execute inmates. There are currently 743 people on death row in California. In 2012, a ballot initiative to get rid of the death penalty in the state failed.

A referendum in Nebraska asking voters whether the state should overturn the overturning of the death penalty passed in the state legislature last year. The fight over the measure could get intense; the governor — who attempted to veto the bill abolishing the death penalty and was overruled by legislators — and his family are helping to fund a group supporting the referendum.

Oklahoma’s ballot measure, on the other hand, is planning ahead: Voters will decide in November if the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. (In 2014, a man executed in the state writhed in pain for 43 minutes until he died of a heart attack. Nearly a year later, the state legislature approved a backup method featuring nitrogen gas, which has never been used in an execution before.) Meanwhile, in Delaware, the death penalty was struck down this month; now, Republican lawmakers are trying to figure out how to rewrite the law so the practice can be brought back next year.

The debate over the death penalty is somewhat academic at this point, as fewer and fewer states have been able to procure the drugs necessary for lethal injections. Companies around the world have decided that they want nothing to do with the practice. But it still happens: Texas, which leads the country in executions, is scheduled to administer the death penalty to a man who didn’t kill anyone at some point this month.

It’s That Time of the Year Again

School’s about to start, temperatures will hopefully start cooling down soon, and the election has gone on so long that we’re starting to worry about how constant exposure to campaign coverage might affect our social life and emotional well-being. The New York Times wrote about a woman who threatened to divorce her husband if he voted for Trump, and one business is wondering if election fatigue is causing people to eat fewer burgers. Luckily, the fact that fall is almost here means it’s time for one of the best genres of local news campaign segments to begin airing: Advice for how to keep the election from filling you with despair.

Fox 17 in Michigan just talked to a “local expert” about election anxiety. The most comforting thing he had to say was that “worrying over politics alone doesn’t lead to a mental disorder.”

Next will be the letters to the editor about how campaign ads are driving you crazy — although that might take longer than usual. While the Clinton campaign has spent $61 million on ads so far, Trump has spent … $0.

Here Are Some Words That Have Been Used to Describe Trump’s State Offices

— “Now-vacant

— “Barely operating

— “Closed

— “Just opening

— “Announced

— “Outnumbered

— “Underwater

— “Nonexistent

— “Largely invisible

— "Severely underdeveloped"

— “Locked ... covered in paper

Trump’s campaign has said that setting up campaign offices doesn’t matter because, “Bricks and mortar do not win an election. People win an election ... I don’t believe our candidate requires 100 offices.” His campaign has also said, “Usually campaigns don’t even start until September.” On Friday, Trump told Pennsylvania supporters that if he lost there, it was because of cheating. He just opened up his first 3 offices there last week. Clinton has more than 36 offices open in the state.

Trump’s poll numbers are also largely invisible and underwater. He is currently down about 8 percentage points.