Ahead of Midterms, Trump Pardons Two More Conservative Heroes

Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via ZUMA

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This isn’t especially important, but just for the record:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned a pair of ranchers convicted of arson on federal lands where they had grazing rights for their cattle, a case that aggravated long-simmering tensions over land use in the Western U.S.

I don’t know or care whether Dwight and Steven Hammond were unfairly sentenced. What I do know is that their case eventually led to the Bundy brothers taking over the Malheur wildlife refuge headquarters in Oregon, becoming a cause célèbre among the “sovereign citizens” and other assorted militia nutballs out here in the West. These folks were all being oppressed by The Man—and the Hammonds in particular were oppressed by Barack Obama—so pardoning them is a politically useful stunt.

Trump appears to be on the lookout for people he can pardon as a way of firing up his base. Who’s next? I’ll put my money on some white cop who was convicted of shooting a black guy. That’s assuming any exist, of course.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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