From the Left



Trump Vs. Cruz: Armageddon, Iowa-Style

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

KEOSAUQUA, Iowa -- "Awaken the body of Christ that we might pull back from this abyss."

When Sen. Ted Cruz closed his prayerful plea to a crowd of about 150 people here late Tuesday night, the "abyss" he had in mind was something larger than the prospect of a Donald Trump victory in Monday's caucuses. But the final days of the battle for Iowa ...Read more

The Challenge Of Being Hillary

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- It has never been easy to be Hillary Clinton.

Evidence for that proposition is already in the minds of many who are reading this: What do you mean Hillary hasn't had it easy? Would she even be in this race if she hadn't been married to Bill Clinton? Would she have been elected to the Senate from New York? Would she have received ...Read more

Subduing the Media Furies

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The most venomous part of the Republican Party has seized control of the national dialogue. This forced President Obama to use his final State of the Union message on Tuesday to battle against intolerance, anger, pessimism and despair.

Even more tellingly, the Republican designated to reply to him, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley,...Read more

Rubio's Strategically Gloomy Detour

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

BEDFORD, N.H. -- This year's Republican presidential campaign is where hope and optimism go to die. Don't pretend that Donald Trump is an exotic outlier. His spirit haunts a party that can't get enough of gloom and fear.

Among the GOP candidates, no one started out more optimistic about the United States than Marco Rubio. The Florida senator's ...Read more

Ending The Gun Lobby's Con Game

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The apologists for the weapons industry -- they pass themselves off as the gun rights movement -- demonstrate their intellectual bankruptcy by regularly contradicting themselves with a straight face.

On the one hand, President Obama's modest initiatives to keep guns out of the wrong hands are denounced as an outlandish abuse of ...Read more

Bernie Sanders' Lessons For Capitalists

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- There is an irony to the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders: The senator from Vermont is often cast as exotic because he calls himself a "democratic socialist." Yet the most important issue in politics throughout the Western democracies is whether the economic and social world that social democrats built can survive the ...Read more

Tell It On The Mountain

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The narrative of Jesus' birth in Luke's Gospel has retained its power beyond the realm of believers because it renders one of the most peaceful moments in all of scripture: a gathering of angels and shepherds celebrating the "good news" and "great joy" of the birth of a baby "wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

...Read more

Playing TV Tough Guys

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- It was billed as a foreign policy debate, but Tuesday's encounter among Republican presidential candidates was in large part an acting competition over who could convey the impression of being the baddest, meanest foe of the terrorists -- and of Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

Before his re-election as governor of very blue ...Read more

Trump And The Moderate Majority

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Among the many maddening aspects of Donald Trump's domination of American political discourse are the twin challenges he poses to clear thinking. You can overstate his significance and the power of the forces he is unleashing. You can understate them, too.

We have heard the words "Trump leads in the polls" for so long you'd think ...Read more

Merkel's 'Yes We Can' Blues

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

BERLIN -- As German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a storm of opposition over her brave decision to welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and elsewhere, she needs help from people like Martin Patzelt.

A backbencher in the Bundestag, the German Parliament, Patzelt believes so strongly that "human rights are universal" that he took...Read more

The United States Of Contradictions

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- With election year a month away, American politics is caught up in tensions, ironies, and a certain amount of sheer madness.

On the one hand: The U.S. economy is a marvel, driven forward by technological innovation, the promises of Big Data and Advanced Manufacturing, a relative independence in energy supply, and a population ...Read more

Fear As A Trump Card

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Politics is not only about competing views on issues. It is also, and often most importantly, about which problems come to the forefront in the public conversation and in the minds of citizens and voters.

The battle over what matters most could determine the outcome of the 2016 election. One set of concerns, related to race, ...Read more

A Paris Moment For American Politics?

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The 2016 presidential campaign has been peculiarly disconnected from the real world of problems, crises and governing. It took the catastrophe in Paris to narrow the gap -- and even a monstrous terrorist attack may not shake the trajectory of a contest that operates within a logic of its own.

The inevitable distance between ...Read more

The Hidden And Deadly Bias Of Class

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- White working-class voters have been a key building block of the Republican coalition since the rise of the Reagan Democrats 35 years ago. You would think that the party's presidential candidates would want to respond to the heartbreaking crisis these Americans are facing.

Two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton and Anne Case, ...Read more

Tuesday's Election And The Two Americas

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- To understand the disappointment of Democrats with Tuesday's off-off-year election results, consider what they might have said had two key states, Kentucky and Virginia, voted differently.

Kentucky, a deeply red state in presidential years, has a habit of electing Democratic governors, including Steve Beshear, the popular ...Read more

The Real GOP Divide

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Maybe our definition of the Republican presidential contest is a little off.

It's often cast, accurately enough, as a choice between "outsiders" and "insiders." But another party division may be more profound -- between Republicans who still view the country's future hopefully, and those deeply gloomy about its prospects.

...Read more

The Challenge Of Being Paul Ryan

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Paul Ryan had excellent reasons for not wanting to be speaker of the House. He's a smart guy and knows that the Republican caucus he is about to lead is nearly ungovernable. He's been anointed as a savior, and saviors often meet a bad end.

Moreover, Ryan is still very much a work in progress. He was happy to stay away from the ...Read more

The Republican Establishment's Weak Tea

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The narrative about the 2016 presidential campaign focuses on angry discontent in the American electorate. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have a plausible explanation for what lies behind this unhappiness. The only Republican acting as if he has a working theory of his own is Donald Trump.

As their policy-heavy ...Read more

Clinton Wins, Sanders Scores

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- At some point during Tuesday night's Democratic debate, many people in living rooms across the country undoubtedly turned to each other with the same basic thought about Hillary Clinton: Oh, so that's why she's the front-runner.

They also experienced something historic: For the first time in the modern political era, ...Read more

Let's Focus On The Gun Makers

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- It's not just Congress that fails to respond after another massacre briefly focuses attention on the irrationality and permissiveness of our country's firearms statutes. Those of us seeking change also regularly fall down on the job. We express outrage and move on, leaving the debate exactly where we found it.

Opponents of the big...Read more


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