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Scott Walker’s rapid ascendance in the Republican Party begins here — with his 2010 election to the governorship of Wisconsin, and his subsequent gutting of the state’s public unions. The fallout threw Madison into a tangle of parliamentary gamesmanship and protests from labor unions, documented in More Than They Bargained For: Scott Walker, Unions, and the Fight for Wisconsinbut it also cast a national spotlight on Walker. Two elections later, his star is still rising, and he is now a frontrunner for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination.

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Judge Alexis G. Krot

Judge Alexis G. Krot shouted at Burhan Chowdhury, a 72 year old cancer patient whom local police cited for not maintaining his yard. “If I could give you jail time on this I would,” the Michigan jurist warned Chowdhury.

A cancer diagnosis doesn’t buy much more leniency in other courtrooms. In 2020, a judge in Pennsylvania sentenced Ashley Menser, a 36 year old in need of a hysterectomy for ovarian and cervical cancer, to a 10 month term.

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Donald Trump, left, and Joe Biden

Photo by Andrea Widburg

America's political media — and especially our "punditocracy" — suffer from myriad defects. They love simple answers and often seem hostile to complexity. They tend to obsess slavishly over the latest polling data. And they suffer from a chronic amnesia that erases not only historical context but even very recent events from their narrow minds.

Marking the end of President Joe Biden's first year in office, the media consensus followed a predictable and familiar framing. After 12 months, with the coronavirus pandemic continuing, his legislative agenda incomplete and his approval ratings in steep decline, Biden was all but declared a failure — with no clear way forward.

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