The Economist: United States

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The mark of Cain

FEW THINGS about Donald Trump’s rise are harder to explain than the fact that some of the most religious Americans were behind it. In 2016, 81% of white evangelicals voted for him. It seems no one was more astonished by this than those who knew him best. “He has no principles. None!” marvelled his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, according to a forthcoming...

Reining in police unions’ power in America

“THE UNION forever defending our rights,” rhapsodises Billy Bragg, a British singer and activist, in his song “There is Power in a Union”. And that, indeed, is what unions do: they advance the interests of their members. That means pushing for better pay, benefits and working conditions. Unions representing police officers are no different: their efforts...

The challenges of reducing America’s jail population

IT MIGHT have been the most polite bank robbery in New York’s history. At half past five in the afternoon on January 10th a man in a Chicago Bulls baseball cap walked into a Chase Bank branch in Brooklyn and handed a note to the teller. “This is a robbery,” the message said, in handwritten red ink. “Big bills only.” He walked out with $1,000. The man...

As fewer Americans go to church, chaplains are finding work elsewhere

ONE OF THE toughest things about covid-19 for Pamela Lazor, as for workers in hospitals across the world, has been watching patients die without a loved one close by. As a chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, part of her job is making sure dying patients have the company of a relative or a chaplain if they have signalled a wish for...

Could Democrats pick up a Senate seat in Kansas?

STALIN RULED the Soviet Union. George V occupied the British throne. America’s public was awed by a young Kansan, Amelia Earhart, who had become the first woman pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. The year 1932 was memorable for many. But Democrats in Kansas recall it for a special reason: that was the last time their state elected a Democratic senator....

It’s messing with Texas

IN THE FIRST months of the coronavirus pandemic, Greg Abbott seemed happy to let Texas’s 254 county and 1,214 city authorities take the lead. The state’s vastness—with its widening contrast between rural reaches and exploding metropolises—argued for local decision-making. And the conservative governor had little to gain by organising an economic lockdown...

American conservatives are pushing for the repeal of the death penalty

PENTOBARBITAL IS due to be injected into Daniel Lee, a white supremacist convicted of a triple murder, on the morning of July 13th. The drug, administered at a federal prison in Indiana, is supposed first to make him unconscious, then stop his heart or prevent breathing. This week the Supreme Court declined to take up a case that might have stopped...

Justice John Roberts joins the Supreme Court’s liberal wing in some key rulings

FOR A THIRD time in as many weeks John Roberts, America’s conservative chief justice, has sided with his liberal colleagues in a big case. After his votes on LGBT rights and immigrant protections, on June 29th he was the linchpin in a 5-4 decision striking down a law that would have limited abortion access in Louisiana. This brought cheers from liberals...

Mississippi changes its colours

THE MAGNOLIA STATE this week became the last southern state to change its state flag, removing the Confederate battle flag which had formed part of the design. It will adopt a new flag, incorporating the words “In God We Trust” but excluding the so-called “stainless banner”. The 87-year-old widow of Medgar Evers, a murdered civil-rights icon, called...

Russia allegedly offered bounties for killing American soldiers

DONALD TRUMP’S blind spot for Russian aggression might seem like a stale fact of American political life by now—were it not that the aggression keeps getting worse. The latest example, according to an intelligence leak to the New York Times, which has since been widely corroborated, was a Russian scheme to pay bounties to Islamic militants in Afghanistan...

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