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Political Notebook

Flags to be lowered to honor Rosalynn Carter

President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, waved to the crowd during the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square in New York in 1980.-/CONSOLIDATED NEWS PICTURES/AFP via Getty Images

PLAINS, Ga. — President Biden has ordered that US flags on federal government buildings and property be lowered to half staff for five days in recognition of former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who died Sunday at the age of 96.

Biden’s order calls for flags to fly half-staff from Saturday through sunset on Wednesday, Nov. 29, the day Carter will be buried in Plains, Ga., the hometown she shared with former president Jimmy Carter.

The order applies to flags at the White House, all other federal buildings and grounds, and all military and naval posts, including navy vessels, in the United States and its territories, along with all US diplomatic, military, and naval outposts abroad.

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Such orders are common when major federal government figures die, including first ladies. Presidential spouses, though, do not receive state funerals.

Rosalynn Carter will be honored with public events beginning Monday in Sumter County, Georgia, where she and the former president were born, wed, and lived most of their lives. Jimmy Carter, who is 99, remains at home under hospice care.

A service for Rosalynn Carter will be held in Atlanta on Tuesday, followed by a final funeral Wednesday at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, where the Carters were members for more than 40 years after leaving Washington in 1981. She will be buried on land near the home where she and the former president have lived since 1961, with the exception of four years in the Georgia Governor’s Mansion and four years in the White House.

It is not clear whether Biden will attend Rosalynn Carter’s Atlanta service. Former presidents and first ladies often attend the funerals of former first ladies.

Biden has said he plans to deliver the eulogy for former President Carter when the time comes.

Associated Press

Trump celebrates election of Milei in Argentina

NEW YORK — Donald Trump has long praised a particular type of foreign leader — men he describes as “tough” and “strong,” even if they have chipped away at their countries’ democratic norms.

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The former president and GOP front-runner is now celebrating the newly elected leader of Argentina, Javier Milei, a wild-haired, chainsaw-wielding, self-described “anarcho-capitalist” dubbed “the madman” by his admirers.

“A very special congratulations to Javier Milei on a great race for president of Argentina,” Trump exulted in a video posted Tuesday on his social media site that echoed an earlier statement. “I am very proud of you. You will turn your country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again!”

Milei’s resounding win gives Trump a new potential ally if he wins the White House again — and underscores his enduring influence on global politics in the near-decade since he launched his first bid for the presidency. It’s also the latest example of the potency of right-wing populism that flirts with authoritarianism, and an anti-incumbency fever that has spread across much of the world.

“It’s just so much easier to be a populist than it used to be,” said Steven Levitsky, a Harvard University political scientist and coauthor of “How Democracies Die.”

Levitsky cited several global trends that have reshaped both Argentine and US politics. Among them: the repeat economic shocks the world has suffered since 2008, the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, and the reach of social media.

Rising populism and anger at the perceived establishment could shape not just next year’s US presidential election, but votes across the world. The United Kingdom, Mexico, India, Pakistan, and Taiwan are all expected to vote on new leaders in 2024.

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Associated Press

DeSantis gets support of powerful evangelical leader

Influential Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats endorsed Governor. Ron DeSantis of Florida for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday, the second major endorsement DeSantis has picked up this month in the state.

Kim Reynolds, Iowa’s popular Republican governor, announced her support two weeks ago, giving DeSantis a key surrogate in a state that will hold the first vote of the Republican primary season with its caucuses Jan. 15.

“We need to find somebody who can win in 2024,” Vander Plaats said Tuesday on Fox News. “What we saw in 2022, the supposedly red wave, really only happened in Florida and in Iowa. Governor DeSantis took a reliable tossup state in Florida and made it complete red.”

Vander Plaats has endorsed the last three Republicans who won contested Iowa caucuses — Mike Huckabee in 2008, Rick Santorumin 2012, and Ted Cruz in 2016 — although none of them went on to win the nomination. But it is far from clear that his support will be enough to bolster DeSantis, who is trailing former president Donald Trump by huge margins in polls in Iowa as well as nationally.

As of Tuesday, DeSantis was more than 25 points behind Trump in the FiveThirtyEight average of Iowa surveys — an enormous gap to make up in less than two months’ time. And he is barely holding on to second place over Nikki Haley.

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Vander Plaats is well known for his influence among evangelicals, who are a powerful voting bloc in Iowa and have lifted socially conservative candidates there before. He is also a divisive figure.

New York Times

Charleston, S.C., elects first GOP mayor since 1800s

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The historic South Carolina city of Charleston has elected its first Republican mayor since the Reconstruction Era.

William Cogswell, formerly a Republican state lawmaker, defeated incumbent Democratic Mayor John Tecklenburg by about 2 percentage points in Tuesday’s runoff, according to the South Carolina Election Commission. Results posted online by the commission showed a 569-vote margin separating the the two candidates.

Cogswell, 48, had secured the most votes in the Nov. 7 general election but not a majority, meaning that he and Tecklenburg headed to Tuesday’s runoff.

Charleston’s municipal elections are technically nonpartisan. But Tecklenburg is a well-known figure in the state’s Democratic politics, endorsing Joe Biden in South Carolina’s pivotal 2020 presidential primary.

Cogswell, who served three terms as a Republican in the state House and describes himself as a moderate, earned endorsements from others within South Carolina’s GOP political circles, including Senator Tim Scott.

Charleston last elected a Republican mayor in the 1870s, according to historical records from the city and other municipal areas. Republicans including state GOP Chairman Drew McKissick and US Representative Russell Fry, who served in the state House with Cogswell, celebrated the GOP win in social media posts and statements.

“We can confidently say that I’m going to be the next mayor,” Cogswell said Tuesday night, as final results came in. “The people have spoken, and we’re ready for a new direction ... a new direction that puts labels aside, so that we can find pragmatic solutions to our problems.”

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In a concession speech Tuesday night, Teckleburg called his eight years as mayor “the honor of my life” and asked his supporters to rally around the new mayor.

“I’d like to congratulate our new Mayor-Elect William Cogswell ... and I’d like to ask each and every Charlestonian, everybody out there, to give him your support,” Tecklenburg said. “When Mayor Cogswell succeeds, Charleston succeeds, and that’s something we’re all in favor of.”

The City of Charleston has become the second reliably blue area in South Carolina — where Republicans dominate congressional and statewide politics — to choose a Republican mayor in recent years. In 2021, Daniel Rickenmann, a longtime city council member backed by Republicans, was chosen as the mayor of South Carolina’s capital city of Columbia.

Associated Press