During the recent vice presidential debate, I pointed out on Twitter that our form of government in the United States is not a democracy, but a republic. The confused and vehement media criticism that ensued persuaded me that this point might be better served in an essay rather than a 140-character Tweet.

Insofar as “democracy” means “a political system in which government derives its powers from the consent of the governed,” then of course that accurately describes our system. But the word conjures far more than that. It is often used to describe rule by majority, the view that it is the prerogative of government to reflexively carry out the will of the majority of its citizens.
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Never before has a vice presidential debate been so important.

If elected, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would be the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president. And his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., already seems to be measuring the drapes. Just last month she referred to “a Harris administration” before correcting herself by adding “Biden-Harris administration.”
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“That’s their job,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg responded when asked in 2016 if the Senate had an obligation to act on President Barack Obama’s nomination of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

“There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year,” Ginsburg added.

Justice Ginsburg was right in 2016, and as we grieve her passing last week, we must acknowledge that she is still right today.
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Among the many clear signs of the deterioration of American community and family life, one in particular stands out: Nearly half of all children will spend some time outside of an intact family by their late teens. As detailed in a recent report from the Joint Economic Committee’s Social Capital Project, The Demise of the Happy Two-Parent Home, family stability has steadily deteriorated over the past 50 years. The trends this report documents are especially troubling because it is often America’s most vulnerable who experience the greatest family instability today.
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The Fourth Amendment is clear: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.” While the Founders could not have imagined the technology of today, the amendment should leave no doubt that our “effects” include our private emails, texts, images and calls, which often contain the most personal details of our lives.
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The biggest mistake policymakers can make as we begin to dig out from the covid-19 shutdown is assuming that we’ll be able to intuit all the answers.

In the initial emergency, as workers were ordered home and businesses closed, our first reaction was to give money to businesses and workers to make up for lost incomes. But this was always a short-term solution. The urgent task was getting money out the door. And we have. Both Congress and the Federal Reserve have made trillions of dollars available to American businesses and families to help get through the shutdown phase of the crisis.
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It has been just over one month since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Since that day our lives have been turned upside down. Schools have been closed, stay-at-home orders issued, businesses shuttered and lives lost.

This has been a trying time for our country.
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Amid all the disruptions and frightening statistics, there is good news: We are going to defeat COVID-19. And the most important part of that sentence is the word “we.”

The time is going to come for political debates — important and contentious debates — about the United States’ response to this coronavirus outbreak.
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The FBI improperly spied on the Trump campaign in 2016. We must ensure the bureau can’t do it in 2020 or ever again. Because if the FBI can unfairly target a presidential campaign, imagine what it can do to regular Americans.

Here’s how we know what happened. In December, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a 478-page report detailing over a dozen “serious performance failures” in the FBI's use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to intercept the communications of President Trump’s campaign supporters. Horowitz identified “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in the applications to spy on Trump campaign official, Carter Page.
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The second best news out of Washington this week is that the Trump administration is crafting an executive order to rewrite the General Services Administration’s architectural and design guidelines for federal buildings. The proposed rule, “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” would finally drain the Swamp of its embarrassing fetish for eyesores.
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