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Politics

The State of Disunion

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The 2016 presidential race already counts an extraordinary accomplishment: It has made the 2000 election seem like the good old days.

Before Bush v. Gore became a Supreme Court controversy, the contest seemed to demonstrate that American politics was modernizing in a hopeful direction. Clintonism (including Al Gore's slightly ...Read more

GOP Hoosiers Pick Between Bad and Worse

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In a world where bullying is interpreted as strength, Donald Trump and Bobby Knight would be kings. One of them is testing the proposition.

Not Knight, though some in Indiana might prefer him. It is the hidden vice of polite, congenial Hoosiers -- like the vicar with a fetish -- that they regard the profane, chair-throwing, player...Read more

The Trump Pivot

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Word on the street is that Donald Trump wants to hire a serious campaign team and give some serious policy speeches -- 10 months after his presidential announcement and just as he has nearly secured the Republican nomination.

A consistent plurality of GOP primary voters has found such establishment credentials -- a campaign with ...Read more

The Cultural Factors at Play in Africa's HIV Crisis

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

LUSAKA, Zambia -- Mary, who is 24 but looks barely 18, has already experienced more than enough betrayal for any lifetime. Shyly but deliberately, she told of feeling sick at 16 and being diagnosed with HIV. After her mother -- her only provider -- was sent to prison, an aunt took Mary in, but forced her to sleep in an open-walled shed behind ...Read more

The Role of Every Parent

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The presidential race recently turned to talk of favorite Bible verses. Mine (for what it is worth) is found in the parable of the prodigal son. After his fit of dissipation in a far country, the boy returns, expecting humiliation. "But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on ...Read more

Let Trump Play the Victim

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Welcome to Donald Trump's banana republic. "We're going to have protests, demonstrations," says Trump surrogate and confidante Roger Stone. "We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal. If you're from Pennsylvania, we'll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to ...Read more

The GOP Has Two Fevers That Need to Break

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Some Trump-obsessed, hysterical nitwits have overstated the case that the Republican Party may be on the verge of self-annihilation. "If Trump were the nominee," said one, "the GOP would cease to be."

That quote would be mine. The mood of the moment (not to mention the rhythm of the sentence) was irresistible. But the Republican ...Read more

Hillary Clinton's Antiseptic Campaign

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- "What we are seeing is post-purchase cognitive dissonance," a well-connected former Democratic official told me. Hillary Clinton has effectively secured her party's nomination, in part through an embrace by superdelegates who demonstrate that the Democratic establishment is far more privileged than its toothless, gouty Republican ...Read more

The 2016 Election's Nasty Spirit

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In a campaign that has involved talk of revisiting the Geneva Conventions, rewriting the 14th Amendment and rounding up and expelling 11 million people, failures of politeness, violations of manners, would seem a secondary concern. But in this political cycle, insults, invective and coarseness have been charged with a political ...Read more

Trump: The Liberal Stereotype of Republicans

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- This campaign season has offered an unexpected form of reality television entertainment: Watching the light of discovery and calculation in Donald Trump's eyes when he is presented with difficult policy issues, apparently for the very first time.

Abortion is the current case in point. In the late 1990s, Trump supported the ...Read more

Trump Benefits from Limbaugh's Blessing

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- If Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee, one of the main reasons will be that many in the conservative movement found him acceptable. And one of the main reasons that many conservatives are finding Trump acceptable is that the most influential political talk radio host in history, Rush Limbaugh, has provided his blessing.

...Read more

Anti-Muslim Rhetoric Profits the Enemy

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- After the Brussels murders, and the Paris murders, and the San Bernardino murders and dozens of previous, tragic iterations of innocent blood on the sidewalk, the two leading Republican candidates for president propose to finally get tough on terrorism.

In Ted Cruz's view, America is "voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show ...Read more

The Empty Promises of Trump and Sanders

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- In a time of brushfire populism, the problem is not the populace, it is the populists who seek to lead it. The two candidates who call themselves revolutionaries -- Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump -- are, in fact, backward looking, intellectually timid and unresponsive to the real needs of the working and middle classes.

This ...Read more

The Stain of Accommodating Trump

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Whatever you think of Donald Trump, his political achievement is enormous, and he deserves the credit.

With no background in elected office, Trump has led the Republican presidential field for eight months. His strong plurality has proven to be demographically and geographically diverse. He has soundly beaten a series of talented,...Read more

The Demagogue That America's Founders Feared

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

"The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations." -- Edmund Burke

WASHINGTON -- As the unthinkable becomes likely, the question arises: Who is really to blame for Donald Trump?

The proximate answer is a durable plurality in the ...Read more

Could Condoleezza Rice Save the Day?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The GOP is not facing a debate over policy, but rather a hostile takeover by a pernicious force. Traditional Republicans are now presented with a series of deeply flawed options. And serving the party's ideals may eventually require leaving it, at least for a season.

Donald Trump is winning the Republican nomination but not ...Read more

Trump is Seeking a Mandate for His Menace

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- It is the great, democratic virtue of presidential campaigns that they subject candidates to every kind of stress, eventually revealing their core, their character. For Donald Trump, the test has been political success. After leading the Republican field for six months, and in some quarters receiving adulation nearly equal to his ...Read more

Trump's Destructive Nationalism

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The main focus of Donald Trump's media coverage has been his populist disdain for elites. But his main focus has often been a strident version of American nationalism.

Trump has offered this explanation of his own ambitions: "The reason I'm thinking about [running for office]," he told the Conservative Political Action Conference ...Read more

The Moral Insight of 'Mockingbird'

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- At a time when politics has veered toward division and exclusion, it is somehow fitting that Harper Lee, the apostle of empathy, made her exit.

After the success of her first novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird," Lee chose to live a quiet life in a quiet South Alabama town, involved in the local Methodist Church, doing laundry at the XL...Read more

The Politics of the Middle Finger

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- At first, in the summer of 2015, it seemed like a joke. Then a novelty. Then a bubble that must surely burst. Then a spectacle, overshadowing all the earnestness and experience of the Republican presidential field.

Now Donald Trump seems on the verge of primary victories concentrated in the South that would establish him as a ...Read more

 

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