November 29, 2016

There are a lot of issues President-elect Donald Trump and his defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton disagree on. But flag burning might not be one of them.

Trump tweeted Tuesday that burning the American flag is an offense that ought to be punished by jail time or a "loss of citizenship." But as several journalists pointed out, when Clinton was a New York senator, she co-sponsored a bill titled the "Flag Protection Act of 2005" that would have made the destruction of the flag an offense punishable with a year-long prison sentence. The legislation did not ban flag burning entirely, but prohibited flag burning with "the primary purpose and intent to incite or produce imminent violence or a breach of peace."

Though the measure failed, The Washington Examiner pointed out that "more than half of Democrats in the Senate backed her effort." The New York Times panned Clinton in an editorial at the time, insisting that flag burning, unlike cross burning, which Clinton cited in her support for the bill, has "no history of being directed against any target but the government."

However, Mediate noted, Clinton's stance on the issue is "complicated to say the least." While Clinton co-sponsored the 2005 bill, she also voted in 2006 against a constitutional amendment that would have made burning the flag a criminal act.

The Supreme Court has defended flag burning as an act of free speech protected by the First Amendment. Becca Stanek

November 9, 2016

As Steven Dennis of Bloomberg reminds us, President-elect Donald Trump had a very different attitude about the Electoral College on election night in 2012, when he briefly believed that President Obama would win re-election while losing the national popular vote to Mitt Romney.

This was because Obama had been projected as the winner based in part on exit polls in the large Democratic stronghold of California, while hardly any actual votes there had yet to be counted. When the outstanding votes from California and other states were counted, Obama had indeed won the national popular vote.

And that wasn't all. Trump also posted a series of tweets — which he deleted soon afterwards, when it became clear Obama would win the national vote — calling for outright resistance, such as: "We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!"; and also, "More votes equals a loss…revolution!"

Political experts are projecting that Trump will have lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton in this year's election — while winning in the Electoral College thanks to his narrow victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Eric Kleefeld

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