Your Morning Cup of Links

“Strangely, this is the best you can really say of Trump: Thank goodness he’s a compulsive liar, because otherwise he’d just be nuts.”

Is it “immoral” for a Republican not to vote for Trump?

Is it immoral to vote for someone who not only says but boasts that he’ll issue illegal orders to the military and that they’ll obey? Is it immoral to make a guy who might not be able to pass a fourth-grade civics class leader of the free world? We can play this game all day. Of all the arguments that can be made for turning out for a louche authoritarian who, when asked for his favorite Bible verse, says “an eye for an eye,” an appeal to morality has to be the lamest.

Trumpism corrupts, and absolute Trumpism corrupts absolutely…Is there any line a Republican candidate could cross that would justify a Republican voter withholding his or her vote? If you want to say “a Republican should never vote Democratic,” okay. But there must be circumstances where a Republican voter would be morally justified in protesting by staying home. Where’s that line? There’s always going to be a counterargument in presidential elections that the Supreme Court is too important to risk letting a leftist fill vacancies. If Trump or some nominee of the future were to start preaching ethnic cleansing, say, would it be immoral not to vote for him for fear of liberal justices? I’m giving a deliberately extreme example (although not so extreme that some of Trump’s alt-right fans wouldn’t approve of it) to make the point that everyone has some moral line. Where is it? If David Duke finishes in the top two of Louisiana’s jungle primary along with a Democrat, where’s the moral line on that race?

How much responsibility does Trump bear for his current electoral problems? The blame game we’re playing between Trump fans and #NeverTrumpers is fun but it conveniently obscures the question of how much blame the man himself should be charged with. Even Hannity scolded him recently for attacking Republicans on the stump instead of focusing on Clinton, and most Trumpers, I’m sure, would stipulate as an abstract matter that there are things he could be doing better. But that’s a boilerplate admission. Every candidate can always be doing things better. What I’m interested in is why the tone from fans like Hannity is so much sharper when criticizing anti-Trumpers than it is when criticizing the man himself. Trump is, after all, in the process of blowing a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a populist “outsider” to swoop in and win the presidency. He’s facing a wildly unpopular nominee who’s stuck trying to win a third straight term for her party, one of the heaviest lifts in American politics. He has an economic message tailor-made to win over working-class voters frustrated by years of sluggish wages and, until lately, a difficult job market. He came into the election with universal name recognition and has created an insatiable media appetite for him. And he has, allegedly, billions of dollars of wealth he could have used to build the best ground game and the best data analytics money can buy. He had every advantage. And he cannot, stop, stepping. on. his. own. d*ck. He’s getting blown out by a corrupt, charmless dynast widely perceived as a pathological liar, mainly because he can’t resist being a bomb-throwing blowhard even when he and his fans have everything to gain by him doing so. Where’s the outrage about that? Instead of attacking Trump, all Hannity wants to talk about is how people like Ted Cruz has “sabotaged” this loser because he wouldn’t endorse a guy who casually accused Cruz’s wife of being ugly and his father of maybe having helped murder Kennedy. I’m willing to listen to how immoral #NeverTrumpers are for not backing Trump if it’s one part of a 50-part argument where the other 49 parts are complaints about Trump having squandered his many, many chances. When do we reach that part of this debate?

We’d be talking a lot more about stuff like this if the GOP hadn’t nominated an insane conspiracy theorist, but oh well.

Meet Niku, the weird object beyond Neptune that nobody can figure out

“It was the softest of landings for the spirited Simone Biles. She has much to teach about the blessing of adoption, the meaning of love, and the irreplaceable institution of the family.

The race to save a dying language

Review: ‘William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master’ at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. through September 11

Showtime at the Musée d’Orsay: Watching Varnish Dry

News you can use: How to claim land on the moon

These Olympians’ motherhood adds to their awesomeness

Antlers Hunter S Thompson stole from Hemingway’s home returned to family

Zoo gives free access to gingers for World Orangutan Day

Trump’s most WTF moments happen when he tries to speak conservative because he’s not a conservative. He is a stranger in a strange land. 

I. Love. America.

“She’s a mystery,” says Dave Marsh, coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s team. “I’ve experienced the passion and depth with which Katie trains and races. I’ve gone back and tried to figure out what causes it, because she doesn’t fit the model. She has a wonderful family, has everything, really, that she wants; she’s a beautiful person with seemingly no dark sides. But she has this energy stirring in her, not just at meets but at practice. “What is she pursuing? Her personal best, but she’s doing it with fury. Where’s the fury coming from? We don’t know, but the stove is running hot.”

The fuel? Ledecky grins and shrugs, but those who know her point to energies she’s only now coming to understand. To a World War II doctor practicing in a Pacific hell. To a cold-war dynamic that, in 1948, sent a Czech statesman hurtling to his death and compelled a father to implore his 20-year-old son to stay in America. To a Jewish cemetery in Prague, and to a Montana lake where, six decades ago, a four-year-old girl nearly drowned. To Michael Jordan’s hands, and to the promise of hot cocoa after a rainstorm.

Kenny Baker, the man behind R2-D2 in the Star Wars films, has died after a long illness.

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