From the Left



Don't make it easy for Trump to hide his failure

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's regular threats to close down parts of the government to vindicate an applause line make you almost nostalgic for the shutdowns of the past.

When Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pushed the government to a 16-day halt in 2013 in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, at least he was fighting over something that ...Read more

Why Trump's war on socialism will fail

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

NEW YORK -- "We socialists are trying to save capitalism, and the damned capitalists won't let us."

Political scientist Mason Williams cited this cheeky but accurate comment by New Deal lawyer Jerome Frank to make a point easily lost in the new war on socialism President Trump has launched: Socialism goes back a long way in the United States, ...Read more

Donald Trump invokes the spirit of Eddie Haskell

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

One of the memorable characters from the old days of television was Eddie Haskell of "Leave it to Beaver." President Trump no doubt remembers him. Haskell was sycophantically respectful toward parents to their faces, but always plotted and schemed when their backs were turned. To a generation, Haskell symbolized hypocrisy of the most annoying ...Read more

The State of the Union: Petrified

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- One should never feel sorry for anyone working in President Trump's White House. They volunteered for this dreadful and chaotic administration. But it's hard to envy those tasked with writing drafts of his State of the Union address.

Trump is an incumbent who behaves as if he is in the opposition. He relishes bemoaning the ...Read more

Howard Schultz and the Frappuccino Syndrome

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Holy Chestnut Praline Latte! There was Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO, making a case Wednesday for why Americans would flock to him if he decides to run for president as an independent. "They're not going to vote for a left-wing Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris candidate," he explained.

The crashing you heard just then ...Read more

The intellectual shutdown on the right

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The contest for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination seemed to have little relationship to the madness that engulfed the nation's capital over the government shutdown. But there is a much closer relationship between the Washington meltdown and the campaign than you might think.

You also hear a lot about Democrats veering ...Read more

There's nothing 'moderate' about caving in to Trump

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- This must be the last shutdown, ever. No politicians should be able to wreck government and inflict suffering on its employees as a form of brute force to get their way.

Any deal to end this nonsense must therefore include a measure akin to the no-more-shutdowns proposal from Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., disarming those who so ...Read more

The Shutdown Trap: Hating government won't improve it

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'''

Ronald Reagan's 1986 statement still invokes chuckles on the right and some nostalgia for the general good nature of his gibes.

But the sentiment behind it remains one of the most destructive forces in our politics.

If you bemoan ...Read more

Bill Barr and the art of the smokescreen

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Warning lights should have been flashing early on during William Barr's confirmation hearings on Tuesday. But our nation's political class is so eager to think that an establishment figure would never capitulate to President Trump that the moment went by with barely a nod.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the...Read more

The media's bias should be toward democracy

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The belief that constitutional democracy is superior to other forms of government rests in part on its capacity to encourage open debate and thus social learning.

Social learning is underrated. Citizens can and do learn together and from each other. They pick up tidbits and cues from the public debate and then argue over back ...Read more

After Trump's dud, it's up to the Senate GOP

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's "big, beautiful wall" was never a serious policy proposal. It was a symbol to reassure his supporters that he would keep the sorts of people they don't like out of the country. It was also a memory device designed by his advisers to remind Trump to talk about immigration in every 2016 campaign speech.

But since ...Read more

The next two years are about democracy itself

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- "This is what democracy looks like."

It's the chant heard again and again at the women's marches the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated and echoed later in mobilizations on behalf of gun sanity and the Affordable Care Act, in defense of immigrants and refugees, and in support of democracy itself.

Those determined gatherings ...Read more

Tough love from Nancy Pelosi

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Incoming speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to be clear about what the new Democratic House majority will not be: They will not, she insists, act like the Republicans.

"We believe that we will not become them," she said in a New Year's Day phone interview during a visit to her native Baltimore. "We're not going to do to them what ...Read more

The roots of the new nationalism

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- In affluent neighborhoods around Washington, New York and Los Angeles -- and, for that matter, Paris, London and Berlin -- it's common to denounce nationalism, to disdain supposedly mindless, angry populists, and to praise those with an open-minded, cosmopolitan outlook. Note that those involved are praising themselves.

Lord knows...Read more

Getting identity politics right

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Progressives have some intellectual and moral work to do. What are cast as political challenges to liberals and the left are also philosophical problems. Resolving them is essential to sorting out the tensions among the movement's goals and establishing its priorities.

It comes down to this: Whom do progressives think they're ...Read more

Merry Christmas to the Chreasters, Christians who attend services only on Christmas and Easter

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Christmas remains wondrous, but it arrives at a difficult moment for Christianity in the United States.

We still see Christmas trees strapped to the tops of cars, neighbors lighting up their homes and kids getting as excited as ever. And the churches will be unusually full. This last point is revealing: A relative decline of ...Read more

The Trump that might have been

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The week before Christmas may go down as the strangest and most revealing of Donald Trump's presidency.

Over just a few days, his sheer thuggishness, venality and corruption were laid bare. But it was also a time for Trumpian good deeds that allowed us a glimpse at how he might have governed if he had been shrewder -- and had a ...Read more

Recent events have led to the beginning of the end for the gun lobby

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Sometimes, dramatic shifts in American politics go unnoticed. They are buried under other news or dismissed because they represent such a sharp break from long-standing assumptions and expectations.

So please open your mind to this: Taken together, the events of 2016 and the results of the 2018 election will be remembered as the ...Read more

Don't just laugh at Trump's fecklessness

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- The democratic world is burning, and we have a president obsessed with a purely symbolic, trivial, and politically manipulative fight over a wall -- a giant piece of concrete that he laughably promised would be paid for by Mexico.

You can surely be entertained by President Trump's encounter Tuesday with Democratic leaders Nancy ...Read more

Are Republicans abandoning democracy?

From the Left / E.J. Dionne Jr. /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's critics have good reason to focus on the threats he poses to democracy and the rule of law. But the president is not alone in his party.

In case after case, Republicans have demonstrated an eagerness to undercut democracy and tilt the rules of the game if doing so serves their ideological interests. The quiet coup ...Read more


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