**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Brexit bungles point to the genius of American system - I’ll Tell You What: Don’t be a Jamoke - Dems try to outbid each other in climate cavalcade - The Judge’s Ruling: The temptation of tyranny - That ain’t right
BREXIT BUNGLES POINT TO THE GENIUS OF AMERICAN SYSTEM
Americans, quite understandably, tend to see ourselves at the center of world events and trends.
This is very often true for the nation that is both the planet’s economic and military powerhouse and its driving force for innovation. But it is not always so, as is the case with the populist revolts that have upended the political order from Budapest to Brasilia and New Delhi to London.
Like most changes to the global order, there are substantial advantages to being the richest and most powerful. And Americans have been doubly insulated because the root cause of that wealth and power is a system that was specifically designed to constrain democratic passions.
Every nation is being forced to grapple with the consequences of the digital age and globalization. The rise of authoritarians in nations not rooted in the rights of the individual – like Hungary or Brazil – is not surprising, nor is the ethno-religious scapegoating we see in places like India and China, where pluralism is not a long (or maybe even ever) held virtue.
America has shown signs of wear and tear in the struggle to adapt to a rapidly changing economic and cultural model at the exact moment those new norms are unlocking unprecedented ways for people to organize politically.
Probably not in 400 years have Westerners seen such dramatic changes in the way we live and work, and just as it was then, some places are better suited to survive and thrive in periods of momentous change. Sometimes you’re England (trumpet fanfare), sometimes you’re the Hapsburgs (womp, womp).
And if you were making bets on who will come through what may be decades of upheaval, America certainly looks like a good choice.
Yes, we have seen an alarming trend toward demagoguery in our politics, as well as the intensification of a contest to see which politician can make the most absurd promises to secure the support of their ardent pluralities. And yes, we have certainly seen a decline in our ability to act rationally and in concert on even basic matters like repairing roads or setting budgets.
But our system was designed with moments like these very much in mind. America was founded after two centuries of often bloody conflicts over how power should be amassed and administered. The rise and fall of the god-kings of continental Europe was going to give way to something, but what?
America had the golden ticket. Blessed by distance, abundant resources and a cultural inheritance that included the rule of law, our Founders fashioned the ultimate app for governance: A government that would draw its power from the consent of the people, but administer its functions independent of their momentary, specific demands.
This achieved not just by representative government, in which people delegate their authority to elected leaders for terms of two, four or six years, but also in setting strict limits on what government can do, no matter how popular it might be with the electorate.
Changing those limits – say, to expressly forbid slavery or decrease the voting age to 18 or allow for the direct election of senators – requires not just a majority vote or for a bill to pass Congress and be signed by the president, but supermajorities in Congress and then among the voters in the states. We can change the parameters of our government’s charter, but we have to be committed in huge numbers over extended periods of time to make it stick.
We may elect some demagogues, but our Constitution and the judges who guard it set hard boundaries between their frothy campaign promises and the realities of what constitutional governance will allow. The rights of man supersede the will of men.
Which brings us to Brexit. Americans rightly puzzle over the process since it would be utterly impossible our system. We could never have joined an organization like the European Union nor do we have any mechanism for dissolving our existing union (just ask Jefferson Davis).
In Britain, their constitution is ultimately whatever the members of their Parliament say it is at any given time. Parliament a generation ago ruled that it had the authority to outsource some of its authority to a government in Brussels. Then in 2016, Parliament ruled that it could hold a referendum on whether to withdraw that authority while still retaining the power to administer the rescission.
Californians, though, may understand the predicament. California has permissive policies on getting referenda on a statewide ballot. If you want to ban same-sex marriage or cap property taxes or mandate green energy rules, you too can have a “proposition” under which a simple popular majority can set government policy.
If you’re really crafty, you can get the “prop” on the ballot during a low-turnout election when your ardent minority within the population as a whole can still be a majority of the vote. Then lawmakers in Sacramento will be forced to implement the often vague, sometimes contradictory demands of the people in the last referendum. If the state didn’t have such fine weather, this kind of crackpot governance would have already rendered the Golden State a complete basket case.
As it is, California is already seeing the slowest population growth in its history and will soon lose a seat in its Congressional delegation.
Britain doesn’t have California’s weather and neither does it have America’s tangible, enforceable Constitution. That is so far proving to be a bad bet when it comes to thriving in an era of populist revolts.
THE RULEBOOK: PICK YOUR POISON
“The want of a guaranty, though it might in its consequences endanger the Union, does not so immediately attack its existence as the want of a constitutional sanction to its laws.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21
TIME OUT: ‘THE ROAD IS LIFE’
History: “On September 5, 1957, New York Times writer Gilbert Millstein gives a rave review to ‘On the Road,’ the second novel (hardly anyone had read the first) by a 35-year-old Columbia dropout named Jack Kerouac. … ‘On the Road’ is an autobiographical novel about a series of cross-country automobile trips that Kerouac made between 1947 and 1950, both by himself and with his friend Neal Cassady. … ‘Just as, more than any other novel of the twenties, ‘The Sun Also Rises’ came to be regarded as the testament of the ‘Lost Generation,’’ Millstein wrote in his Times review, ‘so it seems certain that ‘On the Road’ will come to be known as that of the ‘Beat Generation.’’ Millstein’s prediction came true: Kerouac’s became one of the leading voices of that Cold War–era cohort of young people known as the Beats, who were disillusioned by the militarism, materialism, conformity, and emptiness they saw all around them.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with
your tips, comments or questions.
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 28 points
Warren: 18.2 points
Sanders: 14.8 points
Harris: 6.4 points
Buttigieg: 5 points
[Averages include: IBD, Quinnipiac University, USA Today/Suffolk University, Monmouth University and CNN.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 41.4 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -13 percent
Change from one week ago: no change
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 38% approve - 56% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 44% approve - 54% disapprove; Monmouth University: 41% approve - 53% disapprove; CNN: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; NBC News/WSJ: 43% approve - 55% disapprove.]
WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT?
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: DON’T BE A JAMOKE
This week, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the anticipation building for the upcoming battle between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Dana gives her thoughts on the new Netflix documentary from Barack and Michelle Obama and Chris takes on trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE
DEMS TRY TO OUTBID EACH OTHER IN CLIMATE CAVALCADE
NYT: “Over a marathon seven hours on Wednesday, 10 of the Democratic presidential candidates participated in back-to-back CNN town hall events on climate change… The debate over the best ways to fight climate change has clear parameters. If you are a Democratic candidate for president, you believe climate change is an existential threat not only to the United States but to human civilization. … And there are certain policies you can’t avoid if you want to get there. … One thing is certain: All of the candidates want to spend money, and lots of it — money for clean energy research, money to develop carbon-capture technologies, money to expand public transportation, and money to help communities withstand the effects of climate change already underway. … There were several areas where the candidates differed in how far or fast they wanted to act. But nuclear energy was a major issue where they were fundamentally divided.”
Biden faces scrutiny for fundraiser with natural gas investor - AP: “Joe Biden is defending himself against criticism that the co-founder of a liquefied natural gas firm is hosting a fundraiser for him despite his pledge not to accept fossil fuel money for his 2020 presidential bid. The former vice president said Wednesday during a CNN climate town hall series that he’s not violating his pledge because Andrew Goldman ‘is not a fossil fuel executive’ according to certain corporate filings. ‘He’s not listed as one of those executives. That’s what we look at,’ Biden said after being asked about the fundraiser by a supporter of rival Bernie Sanders. … Some environmental leaders, including several who pushed Democratic candidates to refuse fossil fuel money, say Goldman’s involvement in Thursday’s fundraiser still violates the spirit of Biden’s commitment.”
Biden’s eye appears to fill with blood during climate change town hall - Fox News: “Former Vice President Joe Biden's eye appeared to fill with blood during the CNN-hosted climate change town hall event Wednesday night. The images quickly spread on social media and raised new questions about his health -- though a doctor who reviewed the footage said Thursday it could be indicative of a harmless condition tied to broken blood vessels. … The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.”
Trump way under water in Wisconsin - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Wednesday's numbers [from the Marquette University Law School Poll] provide a baseline for what will undoubtedly be a frenetic campaign, which will reach a high point of drama in Milwaukee with the Democratic National Convention next July. Biden, the former vice president, led Trump by 51% to 42%, while Sanders, the Vermont senator, led Trump by 48% to 44%, close to the survey's margin of error. [Elizabeth] Warren, the Massachusetts senator, and Trump were tied at 45% each. [Kamala] Harris, the California senator, and Trump were tied at 44% each. There's a battle brewing for Wisconsin's April Democratic presidential primary, with Biden the first choice of 28% of those surveyed, Sanders at 20%, Warren at 17%, South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 6% and Harris at 3% All other candidates registered 2% or less.”
De Blahs - NYT: “Mayor Bill de Blasio’s long-shot run for president may have a defined end date: Oct. 1. Speaking at an unrelated news conference on Wednesday, Mr. de Blasio said it would be ‘tough to conceive’ continuing his campaign if he does not qualify for the Democratic debate in October. ‘I think the logical thing to say is I’m going to go and try and make the October debates and if I can, that’s a good reason to keep going forward,’ the mayor said. … Even before Mr. de Blasio officially entered the race in May, he had met ample skepticism about the validity of his campaign, with his popularity in question even in New York City, where he was first elected mayor in 2013. That skepticism has grown the longer Mr. de Blasio has stayed in the race…”
U.S. officials meet with tech leaders to talk 2020 - WaPo: “Federal law enforcement officials huddled with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter on Wednesday to discuss election security ahead of the 2020 presidential race, according to several U.S. and industry sources, amid heightened concerns that social-media sites are still vulnerable to the spread of disinformation online. The meeting at Facebook’s headquarters in Silicon Valley included security officials from each of the four tech companies as well as representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI, the sources said, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the meeting on record. … The gathering marked the first such meeting involving industry and government of its size this year to address 2020 election security, according to one of the sources familiar with the proceedings. There ‘was a high degree of interest’ to do similar meetings in the future … the person said.”
WISCONSIN’S JIM SENSENBRENNER WON'T SEEK RE-ELECTION
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Wisconsin Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, the second longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives, will not run for a 22nd term, he said Wednesday. Sensenbrenner made his first public announcement Wednesday on The Mark Belling Show on WISN-AM (1130). In a separate interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he said, ‘I think the time has come to basically turn over the page in the 5th District.’ The 76-year-old congressman has long represented the GOP’s geographic base in Wisconsin — the suburban, exurban and rural communities north and west of Milwaukee County that historically turn out in droves for Republican candidates and provide a large share of the party’s activists and political leaders. Sensenbrenner’s departure after 2020 is likely to draw huge interest from within a district packed with aspiring GOP politicians.”
Kanas GOP in for primary fight in 2nd District - KSHB: “After a push from former Kansas Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer, State Treasurer Jake LaTurner said Wednesday that he will suspend his Senate bid and challenge Rep. Steve Watkins in the Republican primary. ‘I think that it's imperative that we have a congressman in the 2nd District that the voters can count on,’ LaTurner told 41 Action News. ‘I will deliver this district. I will make sure that it stays in Republican hands and we have a Trump ally representing us in Washington.’ Last month, Colyer publicly urged LaTurner to run against Watkins, saying that the state treasurer had a better chance to win the election and keep the district from flipping a red congressional seat to blue.”
Republicans will face gun-right issues ahead of 2020 - WSJ: “Red flag measures have been buoyed by scattered Republican support, but some Democrats have dismissed them as insufficient on their own, and conservatives remain skeptical of them. That leaves some Republicans—including Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, who faces a tough election in 2020 and has said she is open to reviewing such measures—hemmed in between core gun-rights supporters and a growing suburban population backing gun control. With a Republican challenger in the race, Ms. McSally will likely have to address the issue during the primary season, even as her campaign plans to stay away from it in the general election.”
THE JUDGE’S RULING: THE TEMPTATION OF TYRANNY
This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains if the president of the United States has too much power: “This question of presidential power is not an academic one. Nor is it a question unique to the Trump presidency, as it has risen numerous times before Trump entered office. But the audacious manner of Trump's employment of presidential powers has brought it to public scrutiny. … After years of faithless Congresses legally but unconstitutionally ceding power to the presidency, we have arrived where we are today -- a president who spends unappropriated funds, raises taxes, defies courts and changes immigration laws on his own. I have written before that the Republicans who rejoice in this will weep over it when a Democrat is in the White House. No president should have unconstitutional powers.” More here.
Senate Appropriations Committee ready 2020 spending bills for next week - Roll Call
Not so Sharpie? White House appears to have altered hurricane map - WaPo
US, China agree to new round of trade talks next month - Fox Business
“The reason I came on the Jimmy Kimmel show is…” – Former Vice President Joe Biden to Stephen Colbert when Colbert asked him about his recent gaffes.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I enjoyed [“I’ll Tell You What”] on my walk this morning and loved the story about your father taking ice cream daily to your grandmother. That is as it should be. When I was a young Family Medicine resident, 40 years or so ago, I had a patient who was up in his 90s and living in a nursing home. I made rounds early one morning and he was sitting in his wheelchair in the parlor, sobbing. He wouldn’t even talk to me. I asked one of his buddies what was going on, and this kind fellow said, ‘It’s not a bacon day. He’s always cries when it’s not a bacon day.’ Turns out that the dietician, Miss Ratchett (in my mind), had him on one strip of bacon per week and he lived for that bacon. This was the only time in my long medical career that I have stormed the kitchen with a chart in hand. I wrote, in large block letters on his order page, ‘Give this man as much bacon as he wants every single day.’ Problem solved. I like to think I was way ahead of the curve on dietary sanity. Keep those podcasts coming, please. They’re like my daily bacon.” – Mary Carol Miller, Greenwood, Miss.
[Ed. note: Doc, you just earned your spot in the John Newman Stirewalt Hall of Fame! He would have happily fried up a strip or two to celebrate with you.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at
HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
THAT AIN’T RIGHT
AP: “It looks like something from a science fiction movie. A newborn two-headed timber rattlesnake has been found in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. Herpetological Associates of Burlington County CEO Bob Zappalorti says the snake has two brains and each head acts independently of the other. Two employees at the organization spotted the reptile in a nest where a timber rattlesnake was giving birth late last month. Zappalorti tells NJ Advance Media it’s the only two-headed timber rattlesnake ever found in New Jersey. He says it likely wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild because its heads could get snagged on something. Herpetological Associates will care for the snake.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Remember that when the people or the legislature or the media approve something with unanimity, they're probably wrong.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) speaking at the McGill University Convocation in Montreal on June 14, 1993.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.