WASHINGTON -- Regarding Donald Trump's insulting, diminishing assertion about Hillary Clinton that she is only succeeding by playing "the woman's card" and that if she "were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote": If Trump were a woman, he'd be lucky to do that well.
Clinton is on the verge of becoming the first female ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump claims the Republican presidential primary system is "corrupt" and "rigged" against him. If anything, the opposite is true: The party's rules have largely operated in Trump's favor. Witness the fact that, going into Tuesday's primaries, Trump had won just 38 percent of the popular vote but 47 percent of the delegates ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Into the overheated, under-informed bathroom wars comes a well-timed intrusion of sanity in the form of a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court's ruling in the case of Virginia high-school junior Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy, was correct -- and groundbreaking, with implications beyond the school setting. ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The 2016 presidential election is shaping up as an unpopularity contest of unprecedented proportions.
Assuming, as now appears most likely, that Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination and that either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz becomes the Republican nominee, the general-election ballot is set to feature a choice between ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Is the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders more like 2008 or 1980?
In other words, more like the contest between Clinton and Barack Obama, a long, sometimes acrimonious fight that ultimately ended in a unified party winning the presidency?
Or more like the battle between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy, an ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Politicians like to bet that reporters and their pesky questions will go away. Too often, they're right. Thus, the drumbeat of demands for Donald Trump's tax returns faded after he waved it all away with claims that a pending audit prevented the transparency he would otherwise be delighted to provide.
With Trump's demurral, so, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Perhaps the laws of political gravity are about to take hold in the case of Donald Trump. But the lesson of this appalling primary season cautions against discounting Trump's appeal -- which prompts another Trump column, this one on the utter incoherence of his policy views.
It's not simply that Trump is wrong on policy. Ted Cruz ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As a matter of politics, Donald Trump's comment that women who have abortions should suffer "some form of punishment" was a disaster. As a matter of intellectual and moral consistency, Trump's got a point -- one that exposes a fundamental tension in the Republican Party between its assertion that life begins at conception and the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- This may sound strange coming from someone who doesn't expect Hillary Clinton to be indicted and doesn't think she should be, but I've been worrying about what will happen if she isn't.
There is a school of people -- a big school, judging from my email -- for whom there are only two possibilities:
Either Clinton is charged with a...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "I think the retweet speaks for itself," said Donald Trump's senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, about the candidate's posting of an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz, juxtaposed against his own supermodel spouse.
"No need to 'spill the beans,'" the caption read. "The images are worth a thousand words."
Speaks for itself? What ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Oh, those hands. Donald Trump holds them out, regards them, waves them for everyone in the gleaming conference room to see. How surreal is this? We are talking NATO, the Senkaku Islands, nuclear proliferation ... and hands.
"My hands are fine," Trump says. "You know, my hands are normal. Slightly large, actually. In fact, I buy a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump, you might want to learn something about L.B. Sullivan and the Supreme Court case he inspired.
Sullivan was a city commissioner in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1960 when The New York Times published a full-page advertisement criticizing "Southern violators" for infringing on the civil rights of student protesters and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Maybe sometimes, even in this crazy town and in this crazy season, the best policy turns out to be the best politics. In the context of the Supreme Court vacancy, President Obama's choice of Merrick Garland may be the hardest for Republicans to reject -- or, as they would prefer to have it, ignore.
Not that Garland's confirmation ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It's always a good day in middle school when the seventh-graders make it out of the cafeteria without a lunchtime food fight. So we should, I suppose, pause to appreciate the restraint and substance of the latest GOP presidential debate.
The candidates, most notably mashed-potato-flinger-in-chief Donald Trump, managed to make it ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- For those of you salivating -- or trembling -- at the thought of Hillary Clinton being clapped in handcuffs as she prepares to deliver her acceptance speech this summer: deep, cleansing breath. Based on the available facts and the relevant precedents, criminal prosecution of Clinton for mishandling classified information in her ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Children, gather round and let me tell you about a time before candidates vouched for the size of their, um, endowments on national television.
Was it really so long ago -- OK, actually, it was -- that a sunglasses-wearing Bill Clinton was criticized for going on "The Arsenio Hall Show" to play his saxophone? Clinton coarsened the...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I write today to confess error.
A few months back, pondering the ghastly parlor game of choosing between President Donald Trump and President Ted Cruz, I opted -- reluctantly, disbelievingly -- for Trump, as the lesser of two dangers.
Yes, the real estate tycoon is a know-nothing, uninterested-in-learning-anything buffoon. Also: ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Transparency is not the natural instinct of the politician. The political mind tends to think: What voters don't know can't hurt you. What political opponents, and media, do with information can.
So the ordinary urge is to hold close, to dribble out, to yield the bare minimum, unless the politician perceives some comparative ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The judicial wars threaten to engulf us in ceaseless cycles of partisan warfare and recriminations. Herewith, two modest (read: unlikely) proposals to try to mitigate the damage, one involving the chief justice, the other the president.
To begin with, though, a stipulation and a sense of the stakes involved.
The stipulation is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In this depressingly unserious campaign season, it's time -- past time -- to take Donald Trump seriously. In particular, to take seriously what passes for Trump's domestic policy, aside from that wall.
Trump purports to care about the national debt. "We can't keep doing this," he said of the debt at MSNBC's town hall Wednesday. "...Read more