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Trump makes mouth noises; media treat this as meaningful

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Old habits, like democracies, die hard:

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would not sign a federal abortion ban if one reached his desk were he to be elected in November.

It’s Trump’s firmest response to date on a national abortion ban. He has simultaneously claimed credit for appointing the Supreme Court justices who helped overturn Roe v. Wade while distancing himself from some of the stricter efforts by Republicans across the country to limit the procedure, and on Monday, he called for the issue to be decided by the states.

“Would you sign a national abortion ban if Congress sent it to your desk?” Trump was asked by a reporter in Atlanta on Wednesday.

“No,” Trump said, shaking his head.

“You wouldn’t sign it?” the reporter asked.

“No,” Trump said again.

The notion of Trump having a “firm response,” in the sense that what he says on this issue should be treated as meaningful in some way, is an example of how the media simply can’t bring themselves to recognize that what Trump says simply has no informational value whatsoever in regard to his future behavior, and to think that it does is the most basic sort of category error. Trump will veto a national ban on abortion if and only if he considers it in his interest to do so at the time, and it’s difficult to impossible to imagine a situation in the future where this will be the case. So what he says now means, very literally, nothing at all.

Relatedly, I was nosing about in the Census data, and discovered that in 1860 the population of the area that is now the state of Arizona and a small part of Nevada was 6,482. I don’t know if this number counts Indians — I find it hard to believe it does — but it’s just another little fact highlighting the sheer bizarreness of the state’s supreme court ignoring a 2022 statute to revivify a zombie law passed by a territorial government of an area with the total population of a mid-sized concert venue, and where none of the people in that venue who were women could even vote.

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