From the Left



Where the New Right has Failed

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Though Republican prospects are not quite dead, the autopsy has already begun. Which is probably not a good idea, even in metaphor.

But the best of the anticipatory autopsies so far comes from Matthew Continetti writing in National Review. In "Crisis of the Conservative Intellectual," Continetti traces a several-decade struggle ...Read more

Trump Reveals Fragility at the Heart of American Democracy

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- It is the nature of extreme partisanship to turn honest disagreements into alternative realities. The representatives of our own ideological team must always be good and beautiful, strong and surging. Admission of facts inconsistent with this premise is taken as disloyalty.

The third presidential debate was a perfect test of this ...Read more

Trump Descends Into Ideological Psychosis

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Given even the lowest expectations, Donald Trump still has the capacity to surprise.

In recent days, Trump has sneered at the looks of a woman who accuses him of sexual assault, denigrated the appearance of Hillary Clinton, proposed to drug test his opponent, used his campaign to promote what appears to be a Russian covert ...Read more

As Their House Gets Demolished, GOP Leaders Choose to Stay Inside

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In the interest of fairness, I wish to raise an issue on which Donald Trump has been consistently and resoundingly right: The Republican Party is utterly pathetic.

During a decade of commentary, and in a career of government service before that, I have often argued that the GOP is better than its liberal stereotypes. It is a ...Read more

A Politician -- and a Party -- Deserving of Contempt

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- A man comes out of a church after a fire-and-brimstone sermon on the Ten Commandments, pauses a moment, and then tells his wife, "At least I haven't made any graven images!"

This is the type of praise Republicans could muster for Donald Trump's second debate performance. He did not have a mental breakdown on stage or try to kiss ...Read more

Drawing Hope From the Heart of Suffering

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Having sat down to produce a column about the vice presidential debate, I found that any topic, even death from cancer, was preferable. So I finished reading a remarkable book on the subject called "When Breath Becomes Air," written by Dr. Paul Kalanithi and completed by his wife, Lucy.

Along with Tom Brokaw's recent, graceful ...Read more

Trump's Campaign of White Grievance

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- What do most of the chief advisers and surrogates of the Trump campaign have in common? I'm thinking of: Chris Christie, Roger Ailes, Stephen Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich.

What could possibly unite this diverse group? They are white, middle-aged (and older) males -- not that there is anything wrong with that. They are ...Read more

How the Bard Might View the 2016 Election

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Having quoted Freddie Blassie of professional wrestling fame in a recent column critiquing Donald Trump's debate performance, and having still been accused of elitism, I consider all bets off. So let's consider William Shakespeare's view of the 2016 election.

It is not quite (though almost) as absurd as it sounds. "A plague...Read more

Out of His Depth, Donald Trump Clings to Deception

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- There is a story from the history of professional wrestling in which a manager named Freddie Blassie comes to the edge of the ring and, while the referee is distracted, breaks a cane over the head of the opposing wrestler. After the match an interviewer asked Blassie, "Where's that cane of yours?" He replied, "What cane? I didn't ...Read more

Preening Bluster Does Not Make Up for Trump's Willful Ignorance

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Of all the absurdities in Donald Trump's rapid political rise, none is more puzzling than his reputation for toughness in the war against terrorism.

Trump is a real estate developer who takes any domestic terrorist attack -- whatever the actual circumstances -- as confirmation of his views on a lax immigration system, as evidence ...Read more

Trump Benefits From the Ills of Obamacare

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In the event of a victory by Donald Trump in November, political analysis will take on a forensic cast. How did establishment politics -- first in the GOP primaries, then in a national electorate -- come to die?

Privately, Democrats would regret their selection of one of the most joyless, least visionary presidential candidates of...Read more

Trump's Morally Unacceptable Tolerance of Prejudice

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Once upon a time, I thought the repudiation of white supremacists was the easiest layup shot in American politics. Not for the Trump campaign.

Asked recently whether he considered former KKK leader David Duke deplorable, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said he was "not in the name-calling business." Earlier this year Donald ...Read more

A Conservative 'Cri de Coeur'

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Elements of the American right are seized with a fashionable despair, employed as a get-out-the-vote operation. "I think this will be the last election if I don't win," Donald Trump recently said. This is "our last shot" to save civilization, claims Gary Bauer. At stake are "national health and even survival" according to Publius ...Read more

The Meaning of 9/11

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Fifteen years after one of the most vivid and violent days in American history, there is still a debate over what the events of Sept. 11, 2001, actually mean.

For some individuals, it is clear enough. They experience horrible, continuing and unrecoverable loss -- the immense absence of friends and family chosen for death at random...Read more

This Show Can't Go On

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Of the 2016 election's lightning storm of shocks, few will have more lasting political consequence than the discrediting of the main media organs of movement conservatism.

Fox News -- the fair and balanced alternative to the liberal media, the voice of traditional values, the never-ceasing hum in the background of American ...Read more

Does Trump Know What it Means to Preach Law and Order?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- So far, Donald Trump's outreach to African-Americans has consisted of stereotyping them as impoverished, as attending failed schools and as unemployed, and then asking what the hell they have to lose by supporting him.

If this sounds like a typically biased media summary of Trump's views, here he is: "You live in your poverty, ...Read more

Trump's Repellant Inner Circle

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump is undergoing his own "extreme vetting." And we are learning a great deal about the quality of his public pledges.

In no particular order, Trump has shifted his position on raising the federal minimum wage (against it, for it, get rid of it, leave it to the states, put it at $10 an hour); on fighting Islamic State (...Read more

Cheap Populism Helps No One

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- With defeat now the likely outcome for the Republican presidential nominee, the blame shifting has begun early and in earnest.

To some partisans such as Sean Hannity, the responsibility for the expected loss -- as well as for Hillary Clinton's Supreme Court picks and "whatever illegal immigrants do" -- lies with Never Trump ...Read more

Why Young Voters Find Trump a Turn-Off

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- People always remember their first presidential vote -- their first participation in the largest decision of American democracy.

In high school, I was a rather awkward, nerdish history buff (my wife would dispute the verb tense). I was also something of a lefty, particularly compared to my conservative religious upbringing. I ...Read more

Trump's Applause-Line Economic Plan

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Many Republicans are being driven mad by hope. In the moments between Donald Trump's attacks on grieving parents and his joke about assassination, GOP loyalists are grasping at any straw of competence or sanity to justify their continued support of a Hindenburg-inspired presidential campaign.

So Trump's recent speech at the ...Read more

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