From the Left



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

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


Social Connections


Gary Markstein Signe Wilkinson Chris Britt Darrin Bell Gary Varvel Jeff Danziger