Let's step back, as we approach the first presidential debate of the 2016 campaign, and look back to try to understand how voting patterns have changed over a generation, by comparing the 2012 presidential results with those of 1988 -- keeping in mind possible shifts since 2012 suggested by 2016 polling.
My thesis is that changes in states' ...Read more
There's been lots of speculation about the fate of the Republican Party if (as most of the prognosticators expect and hope) Donald Trump loses. There's been less speculation, though recent polling suggests it may be in order, about the fate of the Democratic Party if Hillary Clinton loses.
Certainly there's reason to think -- or fear -- that ...Read more
The thought came to me as I watched the Cleveland police clear away protesters from the city's Public Square. Half a dozen on horseback, nearly a dozen or so on heavy-duty bikes, the cops deftly corralled the protesters without so much as touching anyone, much as a border collie channels a flock of uncomprehending sheep.
Then it struck me: What...Read more
When Air Force One landed in China last week for the G-20 Summit, Chinese authorities didn't wheel out the usual staircase for the president to disembark. Instead he had to exit through an opening in the back of the enormous aircraft. It was, you might say, a pivot to Asia.
That wasn't the last insult Barack Obama absorbed in Hangzhou. The ...Read more
Maybe Hillary Clinton isn't going to be elected president after all. That's a thought that's evoking glee in some, nausea in others, terror in some and relief at the removal of an increasingly tedious figure from public view in still more.
The thought is prompted by the CNN/ORC poll showing Clinton trailing Donald Trump in four-candidate ...Read more
Would he go hard or go soft? That was the mainstream media template for judging Donald Trump's speech on immigration in Phoenix last Wednesday. The verdict: hard. "How Trump got from Point A to Point A on immigration," was the headline in the
Washington Post's recap.
Similarly, the often-insightful Talking Points Memo blogger Josh Marshall ...Read more
Anyone contemplating this year's appalling presidential campaign may be tempted to explain what's happening by applying the third rule of bureaucratic organizations, enunciated by the late poet and definitive scholar of Soviet terrorism Robert Conquest.
"The behavior of any bureaucratic organization," Conquest explained, "can best be understood...Read more
"Borders are the worst invention ever made by politicians." Those were the words of Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Union's European Commission, at the Alpbach Media Academy last Monday.
Nonsense, most readers will surely think, in numbers going far beyond the legions of Americans dismayed with the choices they face in this year'...Read more
The Railroad ManJohn V. Pasquariello
Mike Vincente’s life hit rock bottom after being unjustly drummed out from the New Jersey State Police. Now a railroad cop, he thinks he’s nothing more than a boxcar babysitter. But while he’s on a routine call to roust yet another trespasser from the yard, Laura ...
Is the political map, so familiar that even non-pundits offhandedly refer to red, blue and purple states, changing before our eyes? Yes, at least to a limited extent -- and it's probably about time.
The political map has been pretty static for almost two decades, the longest since the 1880s. In the last four presidential elections 40 states and...Read more
Victims aren't always virtuous. That's a sad lesson that people learn from life. Human beings have a benign instinct to help those who are hurt through no cause of their own. But those they help don't always turn out to be very grateful.
And sometimes it's hard to be sure just who the victim is. The most heavily publicized and violence-...Read more
Donald Trump has just made changes, again, in his campaign's top leadership, shoving aside the seasoned Paul Manafort and installing Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon and veteran pollster Kellyanne Conway. He's obviously acting in response to his falling poll numbers nationally, in target states and even in some states that have been safely ...Read more
On Friday, Republican National Committee and Trump campaign staffers held what one described as an "emergency meeting" at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando. The obvious subject: what to do about Donald Trump's flagging campaign and how Republican down-ballot candidates can avoid the possible (likely?) downdraft.
Current polling shows Trump losing to ...Read more
Google "Donald Trump" and "nationalism" and you'll get 1,090,000 results, the large percentage of which are, to judge from the top hits, negative. "Nationalism" is deemed to be bad stuff, maybe even akin to Nazism.
But is nationalism always so bad? Not, it seems, for the millions of people around the world watching the Rio Olympics. They watch ...Read more
The scholar Francis Fukuyama has been widely ridiculed for the title of his 1992 book, "The End of History." Critics point out that we've had -- suffered -- a lot of history since then: the 9/11 attacks, prolonged wars in the Middle East, a worldwide financial crisis and deep recession.
But Fukuyama's point wasn't that all conflict would cease....Read more
Opportunity cost. That's an economist's term for what you lose out on when you divert your investments and attention to something less profitable. It's also a good term for the losses Donald Trump has incurred in the last six days -- more than 6 percent of the 94 days between the close of the Democratic National Convention and the election in ...Read more
What is the campaign strategy for the two political parties? Clues can be had from the responses to a question I asked about a dozen dignitaries of each party at their conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. What's your best guess, I asked, emphasizing guess, of your nominee's percentage of the popular vote in November 2016?
I understood the...Read more
It was a variant on a traditional convention for a party seeking a third straight term in the White House, attempting to overcome an apparent post-convention bounce for the opposition's candidate: shades of 1988 or 2000 or 2008. Usually it starts with a valedictory speech by the incumbent president, followed by celebration of the new nominee and...Read more
"Make America One Again." That was the stated theme of the last night of the Republican National Convention. In the welter of analysis of Donald Trump's acceptance speech, few have commented on it, but it's worth taking it seriously.
Liberal commentators have dwelled repeatedly on Trump's "dark" and "dystopian" view of America. Apparently, you'...Read more
Disruptive. That's a good word to describe Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, and to describe the sometimes-ramshackle Republican National Convention his campaign more or less superintended in Cleveland this past week.
Apple disrupted the music industry; Uber disrupted the taxi cartels; Amazon disrupted the mega-bookstores. Global ...Read more
Donald Trump postponed the announcement of his vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence, because of the terrorist attack in Nice, which was in line with the modus operandi of his campaign. He didn't want to preempt news media coverage of another radical Islamist terrorist attack.
Disarray and disorder work against the party in power, especially ...Read more