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The First American to Vote From Space

David Wolf won’t mind waiting in a long line to cast his ballot today.

In 1997, the retired NASA astronaut voted in a local Texas election while he was more than 200 miles above Earth, on the Russian space station Mir. At the time, humans were still trying to figure out how to stay alive in low-Earth orbit; earlier that year, a fire had erupted inside the Mir during a routine procedure, and a cargo probe collided with station when it tried to dock, causing significant damage. Communications from mission control could sometimes take hours to reach the station. There was little time for anything but work.

Wolf doesn’t recall what was on the ballot that year, but he remembers how moved he felt.

“I voted alone up in space, very alone, the only English speaker up there, and it was nice to have an English ballot, something from America,” Wolf told me recently. “It made me feel closer to the Earth and like the people of earth actually cared about me up there.”

Wolf became the first American to vote from space, thanks to legislation in Texas, where most astronauts live, that was signed into law in...

What Theresa May Could Teach America’s Next President About Leading a Divided Country

For several months leading up to today’s ballot, Donald Trump has taken to calling himself “Mr. Brexit,” predicting that his brand of grassroots populism ultimately will win out over an out-of-touch political class. Now that election day is upon us, it is certainly possible that Trump will pull off such an upset, even if most experts expect that Hillary Clinton – the “establishment” candidate – will squeak by to become America’s 45th president.

But whether Trump wins or loses his bid for the White House, Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union will still hold lessons for the U.S. Indeed, the real lessons of “Brexit” will become apparent not on election day but starting the day after, when the person elected to be the next president of the United States turns to the unenviable but critical task of putting the country back together.

A bad hangover

Just as Americans will on Nov. 9, Britons woke up on June 24 as a nation divided. Following a bitterly fought and at times ugly referendum campaign – one marred by accusations of racism, lies, fear-mongering and even the fatal shooting of a pro-European MP – the country narrowly voted to leave the...

How Donald Trump Could Change the World

Last week, Thomas Wright, an expert on U.S. foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, made a bold claim on Twitter about the presidential race in the United States. “Pretty clear this is the most important election anywhere in the world since the two German elections of 1932,” he wrote, in reference to the parliamentary elections that ultimately resulted in Adolf Hitler coming to power. “No other election has had the capacity to completely overturn the international order—the global economy, geopolitics, etc.” 

Throughout this campaign, as others have dismissed Donald Trump’s foreign-policy views as incoherent and ill-informed, Wright has taken those views seriously and sought to place them in an ideological and historical context. He’s carefully separated Trump’s bluster (“Obama founded ISIS”) from what appear to be Trump’s core beliefs. Sifting through Trump’s public statements about international affairs since the 1980s, Wright has concluded that the Republican candidate actually has a consistent worldview unlike anything expressed by a major-party U.S. presidential nominee since America became a superpower.

Trump’s isolationist ideology has three components, according to Wright: 1) opposition to U.S. alliances; 2) opposition to free trade; and 3) support for authoritarianism...

Restoring Transparency to the FBI Investigation of Clinton Emails

The New York Times and other national media sources are reporting that late Sunday night, the FBI obtained a search warrant to examine email messages belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The messages were stored on a laptop belonging to her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner. The laptop was seized by the agency in connection with an investigation into Weiner’s alleged sexting with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl.

The emails are clearly Abedin’s property, even if they were backed up on her husband’s computer. (If they jointly owned the computer, her ownership would be even clearer.) Under the federal rules of criminal procedure, the owner of property seized under a search warrant must be given a copy of the warrant and an inventory of what was taken. Has she received a copy or an inventory?

According to a statement issued Oct. 31 by Abedin’s lawyer, “the FBI has not contacted us.” Though her lawyer said Abedin “will continue to be, as she always has been, forthcoming and cooperative,” she has been kept completely in the dark over the past month while the FBI has been prowling around in Weiner’s laptop.

Giving Abedin the warrant puts...

Everything That Could Go Wrong on Election Day

In this unpredictable campaign season, it’s hard to foresee what Election Day 2016 itself will look like. But many signs are worrying. The Republican nominee has essentially called for voter intimidation, and his supporters are taking up arms. Violence at the voting booth is a real possibility. Thousands of voters are likely to be misinformed about where and how to vote. In some areas they may find out their right to cast a ballot challenged. And if that wasn’t enough, multiple hacks throughout the campaign season indicate that foreign actors may add to the chaos.

Of course, these concerns are not new. Political players have always strived to keep those whom they did not want voting at home, and these efforts have always been thinly veiled. But the extent of voter intimidation tactics discussed by a number of fringe groups and the formal efforts to suppress the minority vote are reminiscent of an entirely different time in American history.

Voter intimidation

Trump’s favorite refrain during the last months of the campaign season has been that the election is “rigged” against him. In his particularly coded language he has called on his supporters to monitor polling locations in...

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