WASHINGTON -- When Donald Trump first strides into the Oval Office as president, his perfect day is likely to be ruined by a file marked “North Korea.” Trump’s (first? only?) term in office may include either a messy confrontation with an unpredictable, highly combustible regime, or a rogue nation gaining the power to destroy large ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As Donald Trump’s campaign promises have been dunked in reality’s strong solvent, many have been transformed in one way or another -- modified, moderated, qualified, abandoned or pushed off into the distant future. Not a wall across the whole southern border. Not every part of Obamacare repealed. Not all<...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Among the disappointments of the 2016 election, the close identification of many evangelicals with a right-wing populism has been the most personally difficult. On Election Day, it was disturbing to see so many of my tribe in Donald Trump’s war paint.
The most enthusiastic Trump evangelicals have taken the excesses of the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- While the challenges of the GOP -- its long-term demographic difficulties, its erratic leadership, the bitter struggle for its ideological soul -- are obscured by victory, the problems of the Democratic Party are on full display. Republicans suffer from heart disease; Democrats have an ugly, gushing head wound.
The losing ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Republican Party is everywhere triumphant -- House and Senate, executive and legislative, national and state -- and yet faces a series of crises.
There is a crisis of identity. Trump now leads a coalition including the Republican establishment -- and people who despise the Republican establishment. The insurgent ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "Now all the truth is out," said William Butler Yeats. "Be secret and take defeat." Which is not really an option for a columnist.
After so many harsh words for Donald Trump, I can't pretend that his victory is anything less than a disaster for the country. A hurricane has power. It clears away the sticks and bricks of an ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The first sentence of Charles de Gaulle's Memoir reads: "All my life I have thought of France in a certain way." This is a presidential election, more than any I can remember, that has invited Americans to view their country in a certain way -- actually, in one of two very different ways.
Donald Trump's vision is unremittingly ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Sixteen years ago I awaited the arrival of Election Day, anxious but hopeful. I was a part of a presidential campaign that had challenged the stereotype of Republicanism with a series of policy proposals on education, addiction treatment and other elements of social welfare. Suspend, for a moment, your views on the efficacy of No ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It is extraordinary how, in the last stage of this dismal campaign, both candidates are revealed as the most exaggerated and grotesque form of their stereotype. The cartoon versions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are, in fact, photorealism.
Who can now deny that the inhabitants of Clinton world are so accustomed to corruption...Read more
LONDON -- Donald Trump -- his fickle god of polling having generally turned against him -- now looks for inspiration across the pond. "I think we're gonna have a Brexit situation," he has said, claiming Britain's unexpected vote in June to leave the European Union as an example of poll-defying right-wing populist intensity.
Presented with this ...Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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