The Curious Case of Donald Bolduc

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Everyone who votes—really, everyone who so much as watches an occasional late-night monologue—is familiar with the political flip-flop. A politician takes a position that turns out to be less advantageous than he had anticipated, and so he starts saying that, in fact, he supports the opposite position, hoping no one notices. Back in 1890, a New York District Attorney candidate, John W. Goff, accused his rival of denouncing Tammany Hall before joining it—“I would like to hear Mr. [De Lancey] Nicoll explain his great flip-flop”—but the term really came into everyday use with the rise of cable news, which put everyone on the record. “Read my lips. No new taxes,” George H. W. Bush said, at the 1988 Republican National Convention, then raised taxes two years later anyway. When conservative activists denounced Bush for breaking his pledge and flip-flopping, as they did for…

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