From the Left



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

Clinton's 'Short-Circuited' Apology

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- One of the most unintentionally revealing moments of Hillary Clinton's campaign so far came during her recent, unconvincing explanation of the email affair: "I may have short-circuited it and for that I ah you know, will try to clarify."

Most of the resulting ridicule has focused on the "short-circuited" portion of the statement, ...Read more

The GOP is Chugging Toward Derailment

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump began August 2, 2016, no doubt, determined to follow the advice of family and advisers to avoid fueling his own controversies and focus on Hillary Clinton's manifold failures.

By the end of that day, the Republican nominee had continued his fifth day of conflict with a Gold Star family. He had refused to support the ...Read more

It's Not Too Late to Repudiate

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Every nation has sacred places, where history has stopped and lingered, and visitors are hushed by memories of redemptive sacrifice. One is the balcony outside Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. On this spot a familiar voice was stilled, but also somehow magnified, becoming part of...Read more

A Choice Between the Uninspiring and the Unfit

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton's convention week featured two of the most effective communicators in the Democratic Party offering different images of the nominee. In Bill Clinton's version, she is a "change-maker" who has "never been satisfied with the status quo." In Barack Obama's telling, she has the "intelligence" and "judgment" to carry ...Read more

Republicans Have Ceded the Ground on Faith

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- With Thomas Hobbes now firmly in charge of Republican messaging -- the world is a dark, Darwinian bloodbath, unless we turn over power to a strong ruler who will protect us -- Hillary Clinton has a number of rhetorical and ideological gaps she could fill in Philadelphia.

She might, for example, use some self-effacing humor, in ...Read more

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


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