Didn’t we just have an election? Yes, yes we did. In fact, the outcome of some 2022 midterm contests is still unknown. Nonetheless, former President Donald Trump has announced his next presidential run, thus kicking off the 2024 election season already. <bangs head against wall repeatedly>

Why did Trump choose to announce so early? Especially given how poorly Trumpism performed in the midterms? Trump-backed, election-denying candidates lost a lot of key races, and those that didn’t (like J.D. Vance in Ohio) significantly underperformed expectations.

Perhaps Trump planned the announcement to come on the heels of big midterm wins and simply couldn’t be bothered to change course now. Perhaps he’s just impatient for a bigger spotlight—and to change the chatter away from how dismally Trumpist candidates just fared. Or maybe he thinks that announcing now will force Republicans to rally behind him and prevent them from getting too serious about Ron DeSantis or some other 2024 presidential hopeful. (In the wake of last week’s election, a lot of eulogies were already being written for Trump’s candidacy.) My bet is on all of the above.

Some think that Trump’s timing is designed to stave off criminal investigations and prosecutions. Of course, running for president doesn’t mean that you’re above the law. But it could bolster Trump’s claims that any legal actions against him are illegitimate and simply designed to thwart his political ambitions.

The only thing we know for certain is that this means the 2024 election season has already begun—less than two weeks after the last election took place. It’s absurd.

U.S. campaign seasons are now much, much longer than campaign seasons in other countries. To the extent that this takes some folks in government away from actually governing, libertarians might celebrate this as a good thing. But it also contributes to the feeling that American lives are now eternally beholden to tribal politics. There is no respite. We’re forever bombarded with horse-race pronouncements and new poll results. We’re forever being asked to pick a team. We’re forever being told that we’re in the middle of THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIMES.

It seems designed to put people in an eternally heightened state of political paranoia, in which the stakes are always furiously and dangerously high (so donate now!).

Meanwhile, media, activists, and elected officials seem to shove everything into the framework of “how will this affect the upcoming election?” instead of “will this be good for the American people?” Politicians have more incentive to pander and less to make moves that might be even a smidge unpopular. And lawmakers, governors, and others have incentive to lavish praise on their party’s presumptive nominee—either out of self-preservation or because it may be bad for the party’s election chances to do otherwise—even when they might disagree.

There’s simply no time for Republicans or Democrats to take a clear-eyed look at their own sides, or for anyone to put politics aside to accomplish common goals.

It sucks. But here we are.

“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for President of the United States,” Trump said yesterday.

His announcement speech was long—so long that even Fox News cut away for a bit—and lower energy than many a Trump speech. It was mostly packed with the same self-aggrandizing platitudes, fear-mongering, and cruelty we’ve come to expect. Trump praised China for executing drug dealers and pledged to do the same. He called for the U.S. to eliminate electronic voting machines and said America is being “poisoned” by immigrants.

(“However, Trump’s speech, in a tone subdued compared to his traditional campaign rallies, avoided intra-party sniping and denials of the President Biden’s 2020 election victory,” notes Fox News.)

The big question now with regard to Trump’s candidacy is now how much of his party will fall in line behind him despite indications that he may be more toxic now than in the last election he lost. This time around, the Supreme Court has already overturned Roe v. Wade, and a lot of ordinary people seem turned off by Trump’s persistent denial of the 2020 election results. “The pundits apparently assumed that Trump’s once-strong standing was permanent, but while true-believer Maga folks keep buying what Trump is selling, a lot of other people who tried out what was on offer have moved on, including Rupert Murdoch,” writes Rebecca Solnit.

A lot of Republicans praised Trump’s announcement speech. “His speech tonight, contrasting his policies and results against the Biden Administration, charts a winning path for him in the primaries and general election,” tweeted South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. “He has my complete and total endorsement!” tweeted failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

But not all Republicans have been so publicly enthusiastic. For instance, Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted: “Trump is correct on Biden’s failures, but his self-indulging message promoting anger has not changed. It didn’t work in 2022 and won’t work in 2024. There are better choices.”

Mick Mulvaney, the former acting White House chief of staff for Trump, pointed to the midterm results:

Trump midterms: “232 wins and 22 losses.”

The losses included Senate races in PA, AZ, NV, and NH. And governors in AZ, PA, and MI.

Wins included dog catcher in Pahrump, AZ.

Not the same thing. And people know it.

— Mick Mulvaney (@MickMulvaney) November 16, 2022

Since 2016, Republicans have done nothing but lose, and Republican voters are paying the price for it. Doubling down on losing isn’t just foolish. It’s a gift to the Democrats,” tweeted Maryland Republican Gov Larry Hogan. And here’s Jeb Bush:

WOW! What a low energy speech by the Donald.

Time for new leaders! #WEAK #SleepyDonnie

— Jeb Bush, Jr. (@JebBushJr) November 16, 2022

Before Trump’s announcement, Mitt Romney called him an “aging pitcher” and said “it’s time to get off the mound.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden—who has not ruled out running again himself in 2024—is already pushing back.

Donald Trump failed America. pic.twitter.com/fylyocYcse

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 16, 2022

And so it begins…

FREE MINDS

Investigation finds medical mistreatment—but not excessive hysterectomies—in immigrant detention center. A Congressional investigation into mistreatment of women in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Georgia found female detainees were “subjected to excessive, invasive, and often unnecessary gynecological procedures.” Experts commissioned by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found women were sent to an off-site gynecologist and obstetrician, Mahendra Amin, who subjected them to “aggressive and unethical gynecological care.” 

The committee “did not substantiate the allegation that ICDC detainees underwent ‘high rates’ of unauthorized hysterectomies”—a claim widely reported in 2020Dr. Amin performed two hysterectomies on ICDC detainees between 2017 and 2019. According to ICE, patient records indicated that both procedures were medically necessary,” states the committee’s report.

You can read the full report here.

FREE MARKETS

Naloxone, a drug used to combat opioid overdose deaths, could safely be sold over-the-counter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says. The FDA is urging pharmaceutical companies to apply to sell naloxone—a drug that can prevent people who have overdosed on opioids from dying—as a non-prescription medicine.

In a new Federal Register notice—Safety and Effectiveness of Certain Naloxone Hydrochloride Drug Products for Nonprescription Use—the FDA says its preliminary assessment found that “naloxone nasal spray up to 4 milligrams (mg), and naloxone autoinjector for intramuscular (IM) or subcutaneous (SC) use up to 2 mg, have the potential to be safe and effective for use as directed in nonprescription drug labeling without the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.”

“We believe the prescription requirement for these naloxone products might not be necessary for the protection of the public health,” it continues.

Of course, the way America’s massive drug bureaucracy is set up, the FDA can’t simply say that naloxone can now be sold over-the-counter. The agency needs a specific drugmaker to apply for over-the-counter status, along with “additional data such as product-specific data on the nonprescription user interface design, including packaging and labeling, to make a conclusive determination in this respect.”

QUICK HITS

As flu, RSV and covid collide, a record 100,000 Americans missed work last month because of child-care problems, @abhabhattarai reports.

That’s bigger than the height of the pandemic! https://t.co/FPAh8ZJ4g1 pic.twitter.com/byWGwMvDLb

— Fenit Nirappil (@FenitN) November 15, 2022

• A state judge says Georgia’s six-week abortion ban is unconstitutional.

• “A Kansas City Police Department detective and three other people are facing life in prison after a federal grand jury indicted them on charges of conspiring to hold young women in a condition of involuntary sexual servitude, among other crimes,” reports CBS News.

• The FBI had eight agents embedded in the Proud Boys in the months leading up to the January 6 riot.

The post Is Anybody But Trump Excited About the 2024 Election Beginning? appeared first on Reason.com.

​ Plus: “unnecessary gynecological procedures” at ICE detention center, over-the-counter Naloxone, and more… 

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