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Is the Belarusian Dictatorship Doomed?
Plus: 13 Ways of Looking at Kamala Harris
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ERIC EDELMAN, VLAD KOBETS, AND DAVID J. KRAMER: Is the Belarusian Dictatorship Doomed?
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is the only European leader to have help power longer than Vladimir Putin—but perhaps not for much longer. His return to the public spotlight on Monday has not quieted suspicion that he is gravely ill.
Lukashenko, age 68, was reportedly hospitalized last week after appearing weak during Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on May 9. Reuters reported that he looked “tired and a little unsteady on his feet, and a bandage was visible on his right hand. . . though he otherwise showed no obvious signs of being unwell.” Footage of him on Belarusian state media Monday, likely intended to dispel speculation that he was incapacitated, instead reignited talk that he’s on his way out.
The possibility that Lukashenko’s days are numbered offers hope and opportunity, as well as concern and risk. The United States and its European allies should be prepared for the day when Lukashenko leaves power, however and whenever that may come.
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JILL D. LAWRENCE: 13 Ways of Looking at Kamala Harris.
KAMALA HARRIS WAS AMONG FRIENDS at the annual fundraiser gala for EMILY’s List this week. Her smile dazzled as she talked of the “many joys” of being vice president, and her tone was by turns disbelieving and resolute as she described “book bans in this year of our Lord 2023” and “extremists” planning to go national with attacks on legal abortion, voting rights, gay rights, black history lessons, and more. Addressing a hall packed with cheering, applauding women, Harris said she and Joe Biden have been fighting to uphold and protect “hard-won rights and freedoms” for two years, “and now we need to finish the job.”
Is this focused, confident Kamala Harris the one we’ll see for the rest of the 2024 campaign? There are so many possible answers to that question.
Happy Thursday! A little housekeeping. To all of you attending tonight’s NYC event… Have fun! Sorry to miss you. Because of tonight’s event, there won’t be a TNB. We will be recording tonight’s show and releasing it later as a podcast. It was great to see some listeners at the ATMA live event on Tuesday.
Iger wasn’t bluffing… Disney cancels a $1B investment in Orlando.
J.D. Vance goes Bulworth… This is a real quote: “There is no meaningful distinction between the public and the private sector in the United States of America.” Come on, now, let me hear that dirty word, Senator… Here’s the fuller context, which came in a discussion about “NatCon” Patrick Deneen’s new book.
An investigation into… Bud Light? Ted Cruz doesn’t want to be a Senator anymore, unserious as he is.
Fox News pushing inaccuracies? The Cincinnati, Ohio public schools say so, and are pushing back.
Conservatives love him! The strange new respect for RFK Jr. from… conservatives? Reason’s Joe Lancaster breaks down the weird, dishonest puff piece at National Review. As Tim Miller reminds, it’s just a MAGA ratfuck. There was a time NR published items highlighting why RFK Jr. is a menace.
Meanwhile, in GOP Presidential politics…
He’s running? Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin released a teaser video previewing a bid for President. If you’ve ever watched the HBO hit Silicon Valley, it’s about as compelling as Peter Gregory running for President. His exploratory group is called “Spirit of Virginia” and there’s a whoopsie. The firm that made it used an Italian fighter jet and not an American one when alluding to the military.
A running mate for a guy who isn’t yet running? They’re saying DeSantis is going to announce next week, and there are rumors swirling that he’s already considering Vice Presidential candidates and Gov. Sarah Sanders is the frontrunner. I don’t know if this is a good idea. It worked out well for President Rafael “Ted” Cruz!
DeSantis keeps beating the culture war drum… Signing a new anti-trans bathroom bill into law.
Who? Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota is testing a bid. Because this cycle needed another Jim Gilmore.
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