If You Think the Coup is Over, You Don’t Know Trump

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It is clear that over the past month since the election, our democracy has undergone a bit of a stress-test. It’s sort of like a cardiac stress test, but with fewer treadmills and more Rudy Giuliani press conferences in parking lots. Despite losing decisively, Trump has defied all traditions and norms by not conceding. But this was only the Phase I of a continuously ratcheting-up assault on our democracy.

Phase II involved lots of (approaching 50 now) frivolous lawsuits. I happen to believe that in the context of lawsuits, the word “frivolous” is used frivolously. Very few lawsuits without a good-faith basis are actually ever filed. Mostly the word “frivolous” has evolved into meaning “lawsuits that I don’t like”, or “lawsuits in which I’m a defendant”. …


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I have a suggestion for President-Elect Biden. Actually, I have about 400 of them. But since I don’t want to be the first person “blocked” by the new president (in time…), I’ll start with one.

I believe that the incoming Biden administration would be well-served by creating a discrete Office of Cannabis Policy (“OCP”) to help them make intelligent choices in this complicated and consequential area of public policy.

For those who don’t know me (which I’m told is, shockingly, most of the world), I’ve been very involved in this issue for the past decade or so. I am the author of PA’s Medical Marijuana law (Act 16 of 2016) as well as the author of the only comprehensive Adult Use (recreational) Cannabis bill (SB 350) currently pending in the legislature. I’ve also spent much of the past several years traveling around the country (when that was still possible) attending and speaking at conferences on various aspects of cannabis policy. I’ve also been working with leaders in the industry as well as law enforcement, and those focused on social justice, to create a national set of “best practices in cannabis”.


Emily Murphy has blood on her hands.

That is very harsh and I don’t say it lightly. But a review of the facts reveals that assertion to be inescapable.

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Ms. Murphy is the administrator of the General Services Administration (“GSA”) and, by virtue of that position, the person tasked with formally “ascertaining” the winner of the presidential election. As most of America, the world and parts of Mars now knows, her signature on the documents of ascertainment is what triggers the start of the presidential transition. Emily Murphy’s “John Hancock” (or “Emily Murphy” depending how she spells it) allows President-Elect Biden to access funds for his transition. …


Why Trump’s Legal Strategy is Bananas

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We all like a good sequel. “Godfather 2” comes to mind. “Oceans 12” does not. But as much as we may enjoy getting the band back together and playing the hits one more time, Donald Trump’s post-election legal machinations are not not leading us to a redux of Bush vs. Gore.

What we know so far is largely based on the public emissions of President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, your crazy uncle who is not only off his meds, but took someone else’s meds which have made him even worse. …


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Election day is less than 48 hours away. I’m going to write under the assumption that Biden wins. Because the alternative is too stressful and awful to contemplate, like a year of cloudy days, or an Air Supply reunion tour. Specifically, I want to explore what we on the left should expect of a President Biden and how much leeway we should give him.

I am on the leftward side of the Democratic Party. But I am not a purist. Historically, I have found incremental progress to be preferable to self-righteousness in the face of total defeat. So, for example, if I were a dictator (working on it…) I would institute single payer health care. Nonetheless, I supported Obamacare and would be open to a public option under President Biden. King Me would also institute free college (and there would be a lot of beheadings involved). …


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The things in our lives that trigger feelings of nostalgia usually revolve around our old high school (the word I euphemistically use for Juvie!) or summer camp, or maybe our old prom song. For my part, just hearing the opening bars of “Come Sail Away” by Styx can cause me to weep like an infant, out of both wistfulness, and profound regret that I had ever bought a stereo. Most people are not frequently burdened with debilitating nostalgia about how the United States Supreme Court used to be. But they should be.

The Supreme Court always decided controversial and consequential legal questions, but for much of our nation’s history, it was seen as what it was designed to be, the branch of government that was beyond the partisan wrangling of the day. Members of the legislative and executive branches have to notice and react to the current popular opinions, trends and fixations. They are the branches designed to represent the “people”, meaning those who elected them just recently and would be voting on whether to reelect them very shortly. The justices, appointed for life, could sit back in big, puffy chairs, and not give a ferret’s haunch (I invited that phrase! I’m sure it will catch on!!) …


Why this Former Defender of the Filibuster Changed his Mind. It Has to Go.

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As a member of a legislative body that does not have a filibuster, (but does have a secret dining room we’re not supposed to tell anyone about!), I have historically defended the idea of the filibuster. While my policy preferences are largely on the very progressive side, I am an institutionalist. I grew up respecting and admiring our democracy and all of the various anomalies and idiosyncrasies that made it function over the past 240 years.

This institutional reverence is why I have traditionally opposed most of the “reforms” based on the idea that lawmakers all suck and the institution is worthless. I opposed shrinking the legislature, cutting our pay, making us part-time and eliminating our staff. I’ve always believed that Representatives and Senators make (at least theoretically) enormously consequential, often life-and-death decisions. We should have the resources to gather and evaluate the information necessary to make those decisions intelligently. I’ve never been a fan of, for example, popping by to vote on what health-care our constituents have access to on the way to our other job selling suits at Macy’s or taking a deposition in a car-accident case. …


Republicans are Playing Chess, Democrats aren’t Playing at all. This has to Stop!

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Someone I’ve known a long time is working for the Lincoln Project, an organization of disaffected Republicans dedicated to defeating Donald Trump. This person has been active on Democratic campaigns but says that Lincoln Project meetings are a whole different experience. “These are Republicans, and all they talk about is how to win!” As one of their founders, Rick Wilson said “Democrats play to win an argument, I play to win an election”.

I’ve written previously about how Democrats are given to navel-gazing, indecisiveness, self-purging, naivete, over-thinking, over-the-top political correctness and genuine shock when their opponents run circles around them. Plus, the food at Republican events is so much better. …


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Marijuana needs to get better. Not as a product (although the green stuff I bought behind the bowling alley in high school did have room for improvement). I am instead referring to the industry’s thus far insufficient efforts to win the political battles that will determine its future.

Every industry in America has an interest in the outcome of certain political contests waged at the federal, and/or local level. What level of taxes do they have to pay and what deductions are they entitled to take? What regulations govern their business? Where can they bank? Who can they sell to? …


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In 2005 I spent a month studying how to be a legislator at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Given my lack of diligence in high school, it was the only way Harvard would ever allow me on the campus. My favorite professor there was a man named Marty Linsky. One day he engaged us in a discussion of Robert Moses who accomplished a great deal for the city of New York using sometimes ruthless, dishonest, norm-busting tactics.

Professor Linsky asked one of my fellow-students, whose day job was to advocate for LGBT rights, whether he would engage in similar tactics to achieve his goals. “Absolutely not”, the student replied. “I could never look at myself in the mirror if I did that.” Linsky asked him what his top priority in his job was. The student said “fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation”. Linsky said “doesn’t sound like it”. The student looked confused.

About

Daylin Leach

Long-time state House and Senate member, author of PA’s Medical Marijuana law, also creator of “shit-gibbon!” Comedian, professor, father of 2 awesome children!

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