Magazine November 2, 2020, Issue

On Accepting Defeat

Detail of a print of John Adams (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
A crucial political virtue, from John Adams to the present 

There are a pair of wonderful, mildly fictionalized scenes in HBO’s John Adams and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton that capture the aftermath of the hotly disputed election of 1800, when Thomas Jefferson and his running mate, Aaron Burr, each won 73 electoral votes, to Adams’s 65. In John Adams, based on David McCullough’s biography, we see the ousted second president climb unaccompanied into a crowded carriage outside the White House, leaving the capital at dawn before Thomas Jeffer­son’s inauguration. Adams snaps irritably at the other passengers, “Stop gawking! Plain John Adams, just an ordinary citizen, same as yourselves!”

In Hamilton, based

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At an event in Miami, Biden asserted that if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, “she may very well move to overrule Roe.”

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