From the Left



Mike Pence Pushes an Imaginary and Corrupt Narrative

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

EDITORS -- This column is longer than normal, but worth it. We urge you to publish it in full, especially if you put it online.

WASHINGTON -- On a national convention stage that includes the kettledrum personalities of Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is more in the snare or bongo category. His speech to the convention ...Read more

Compliant in Cleveland

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

CLEVELAND -- With precious little attention, the Republican Party's attitude toward international trade has officially shifted. Gone is the 2012 platform's strong endorsement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and trade in general. Instead, the new platform reflects Donald Trump's more skeptical attitude toward trade deals (Trump has ...Read more

In Our Moment of Division, Who Will Lead?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- On April 4, 1968 -- the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by a sniper -- Robert Kennedy gave (arguably) one of the greatest American speeches not given by a president. Speaking in a tough section of Indianapolis, Kennedy informed the shocked crowd that King was dead, quoted Aeschylus on the wisdom that comes "drop by ...Read more

The Triumph of Cynicism

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- "The most amazing thing about the 2016 elections," Roger Porter of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government told me, "is that we are likely to elect someone who close to two-thirds of the country does not trust."

The choice offered to Americans this November is the largest failure of the two-party system since (at least) the ...Read more

America's Indispensable Paradox

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In this odd political season -- so shallow in rhetoric, so fundamental in consequence -- Americans are not only celebrating their nation's independence, they are considering its meaning. Of a sudden, the most basic questions in our democracy are on the table: What is a real or good American? How do we define what is unique and ...Read more

A Cuban Doctor Who Moves History

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- When awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2007, Dr. Oscar Biscet had a scheduling conflict, being in a Cuban prison. At the White House ceremony, Bush called him a "dangerous man ... in the same way that Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi were dangerous." It was not until three years later in a dark cell ...Read more

For the GOP, a Time for Resistance

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In his resignation speech following Great Britain's vote to divorce from the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron claimed several achievements by his government: reforming welfare and education; increasing development assistance to "the poorest people in the world"; and "enabling those who love each other to get married, ...Read more

The Christian Right Surrenders Faith for Politics

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Oh God -- and I mean the entreaty seriously -- the Trump/evangelical summit in New York was just as bad some of us feared.

More than 900 conservative Christian leaders, put in a susceptible mood by a "prayer guide" ("Acknowledge any personal feelings that would keep you from honoring Mr. Trump for his participation") witnessed ...Read more

It's Time for the GOP Establishment to Disown Trump

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to the chaotic, flailing, floundering Trump campaign, many senior Republicans are in a state of panic. Will this become a state of revolt?

"If the next few weeks are anything like the last two," a senior GOP official told me, "anything could happen at the convention." Donald Trump's response to the Orlando attack -- ...Read more

The GOP Needs to Learn That Character Matters

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Since Thomas Jefferson's concubine, Warren Harding's love nest and Bill Clinton's innovative intern program, Americans have debated the role of character in leadership. But the concept of character has often been defined too narrowly. Sexual ethics -- involving a range of behaviors from doomed longing to cruel exploitation -- is a ...Read more

Divided We Mourn

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- One of the manifold tragedies of the Orlando mass murder is how difficult it is for us to experience it and mourn it together.

This killing lies at the intersection of so many deep emotions and personal equities: The war against terrorism. Resentment against Islam. Gay rights and pride. Gun control. Many Americans immediately ...Read more

The Party of Lincoln, RIP?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Why such vehemence among Republican leaders in their condemnations of Donald Trump for questioning the objectivity of a federal judge based on his "Mexican heritage"?

This is, in House Speaker Paul Ryan's words, "the textbook definition of a racist comment." But it is not materially more bigoted than the central premise of Trump's...Read more

A Different Sort of Academic

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- If there is any unifying theme in our degraded political discourse, it is the belief that the other ideological side is mainly responsible for degrading the discourse. Both hard right and hard left argue that the other guys started it and act with greater ruthlessness, and that the time has come, by gum, to take off the gloves, ...Read more

The Time for Principled Dissent

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- On June 21, Donald Trump will meet with nearly 500 prominent evangelicals who are trying to get more comfortable with the idea of supporting a decidedly secular candidate. The organizers are leading lights of the Christian right, including the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, radio host James Dobson and the current president...Read more

By Endorsing Trump Republicans Show Their True Colors

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- For those of us with a certain political bent and background, this is the most depressing moment of all. The best of the GOP -- Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, the intellectually serious reformicons who have called attention to issues of poverty and the need for Republican outreach -- are bending their knee to the worst nominee in their...Read more

The Trump Train is Fueled by Conspiracy

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Watching the excellent documentary "Ebola in America: Epidemic of Fear" is to relive the confusion and controversies of the summer of 2014: the initial public health mistakes, the divided and unclear responsibilities, the hysterical coverage on cable TV. But it is the political role played by Republicans and conservatives that ...Read more

Conservatives' Deal With the Devil

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In the category of credit where credit is due, Donald Trump has been exactly right in one important respect. He attacked the Republican establishment as low-energy, cowering weaklings. Now Republican leaders are lining up to surrender to him -- like low-energy, cowering weaklings. The capitulation has justified the accusation.

It ...Read more

The Cycle of Dehumanization

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

"A significant part of the Roma are unfit for coexistence. These Roma are animals, and they behave like animals. ... Inarticulate sounds pour out of their bestial skulls. ... These animals shouldn't be allowed to exist. In no way. That needs to be solved -- immediately and regardless of the method."

WASHINGTON -- these words were ...Read more

GOP Lunacy in High Places

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The great Republican crackup has begun.

There is a growing group of Donald Trump partisans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Then there are Republican officials who publicly support Trump and privately hope he will lose in November -- a group that could only be counted...Read more

The Dalai Lama's Path to Peace

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

DHARAMSALA, India -- When posed a policy question, the Dalai Lama is surprisingly (for a religious leader) un-prone to moralism. What, I asked him, does he think of the European backlash against migration? "In the name of sympathy, for the few who are desperate, [resettlement] is worthwhile." But Europeans, he continued, "have a right to be ...Read more


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