The Score: Chicago 1968, Internet Taxes, NAFTA Revisited, Online PrivacySeptember 2, 2018
This week on The Score – We remember the wild Democratic National Convention of 1968. We discuss a Supreme Court ruling on Internet sales taxes. We hear about NAFTA and trade policy. And we look at on line privacy and government snooping.
Fifty years ago this week, the streets of Chicago went up in smoke as thousands of protesters demonstrated against the Vietnam War outside the Democratic National Convention, which nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey as the party’s candidate for President. Humphrey went on to lose to Richard Nixon in November. The protesters acknowledged their presence on television by chanting: “The whole world is watching,” a phrase that has been repeated in similar circumstances in the five decades since then.
Another memorable quotation from that convention came from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, one of the last of the old-time urban political bosses. Confronted about police brutality outside the convention hall, Daley defended his officers by saying “The police are not here to create disorder, they’re here to preserve disorder,” a malapropism that revealed more than its speaker intended.
I went to the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia to speak to two historians about the significance of the last week of August in 1968. Marc Selverstone and Guian McKee answered my questions, beginning with this: What was the atmosphere like? What were Americans thinking? What were Democrats and Republicans thinking? Guian McKee answers first.
Selverstone is chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center and author of Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945–1950 (2009) and editor of A Companion to John F. Kennedy (2014). McKee works on the Presidential Recordings Program and is co-editor (with Kent B. Germany, David C. Carter, and Timothy Naftali) of The Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson: Mississippi Burning and the Passage of the Civil Rights Act: June 1, 1964-July 4, 1964 (2011) as well as author of The Problem of Jobs: Liberalism, Race, and Deindustrialization in Philadelphia (2008). He can be found on Twitter as @guian_mckee.
Taxing Online Purchases
Coming back to the present, the U.S. Supreme Court, in one of its final decisions of its 2017-2018 term, ruled that the state of South Dakota could collect taxes on sales made over the Internet. The case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, overturned a precedent from the pre-Internet era. The opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, his last one before retirement. The vote was unusual in how the justices lined up together: Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch formed the majority; Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a dissenting…