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Politics

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

Republicans tax churches to help pay for big corporate giveaway (Updated)

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

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a headline from The Onion or the fantasy of some left-wing website. But it's exactly what happened in the big corporate tax cut the GOP passed last year.

Now -- under pressure from churches, synagogues, and other nonprofits -- embarrassed leaders of a party that casts itself as religious liberty's...Read more

The GOP's taxing churches to pay for corporate giveaway

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

Republicans tax churches to help pay for big corporate giveaway.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a headline from The Onion or the fantasy of some left-wing website. But it's exactly what happened in the big corporate tax cut the GOP passed last year.

Now -- under pressure from churches, synagogues, and other nonprofits -...Read more

The virtues of a public-spirited patrician

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

EDITORS: The E.J. Dionne column sent Friday on the GOP's tax on nonprofits can now be published on Thursday, Dec. 6, or another time of your choosing.

George H.W. Bush was legendary for his thank-you notes. He wrote thousands of them, expressing appreciation for kindnesses large and small. When it came to his gratitude, no one was left behind. ...Read more

The complicated but necessary anti-Trump coalition

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

Politically, our country is divided into four camps, not two.

Only one of these, largely rooted in rural America and bolstered by ideological conservatives, supports President Trump. Two of them, urban progressives and suburban moderates, strongly oppose him. The last consists of white, blue-collar voters in the industrial states who swung ...Read more

Speaking autocrat to autocrat: Trump and his Prince

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

WASHINGTON -- Critics of President Trump are regularly accused of exaggerating his corruption, his predilection toward autocratic rule, and his affection for dictators.

They are told that their apprehension about the threat he poses to our constitutional democracy is not a form of vigilance but a disease, "Trump Derangement Syndrome. "All they ...Read more

On Thanksgiving we must delight in each other

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

WASHINGTON -- Giving thanks implies renouncing claims that our blessings and achievements are entirely our own doing. The act of gratitude is a declaration that we owe a great deal to others -- to our families and friends, to our communities and our country, and, for believers, to the Almighty above all.

Thanksgiving is thus, at once, the most ...Read more

The supreme test of Nancy Pelosi's wizardry will be to act as a bridge

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

WASHINGTON -- Without Nancy Pelosi's toughness, focus and legislative skill, there would probably be no Affordable Care Act. Her speakership during the Obama presidency left a legacy of achievement in other areas as well, including a far-reaching reform of Wall Street regulation and a massive economic stimulus that helped save a collapsing ...Read more

Will the GOP keep dancing with autocracy?

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

WASHINGTON -- When a national leader urges that votes be ignored or that an election result he doesn't like might best be set aside, we label him an autocrat or an authoritarian.

When it's President Trump, we shrug. Worse, many in his party go right along with baseless charges of fraud.

We are in for a difficult two years. Surviving them will ...Read more

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