From the Left



Challenging Trump's Christian apologists

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

WASHINGTON -- Maybe it takes a royal wedding to offer lessons in what a good sermon sounds like.

Maybe it takes one of the world's most elitist institutions -- a monarchy, for goodness' sake -- to provide a view of Christianity rooted not in conservative cultural warfare (or unrelenting support for Donald Trump) but in an egalitarian love that ...Read more

Trump's dehumanization project

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

WASHINGTON -- It's never right to call other human beings "animals." It's not something we should even have to debate. No matter how debased the behavior of a given individual or group, no matter how much legitimate anger genuinely evil actions might inspire, dehumanizing others always leads us down a dangerous path.

This is why we need to ...Read more

Politicians aren't as dumb as we think

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

WASHINGTON -- Let's posit three rules of political analysis. First, data are better than presuppositions. Second, actual votes cast can tell us more than the polls. Third, even when we carefully examine the facts, we're all vulnerable to seeking confirmation of what we believed in the first place.

On the basis of these rules, some widely ...Read more

Thinking about America after Trump

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

PITTSBURGH -- In the imaginations of his hopeful defenders, Donald Trump was supposed to transcend left and right. He'd break the Republican Party from the shibboleths of the Reagan Era and create a new ideology mindful of the interests of the party's working-class supporters.

Trump signaled this regularly. He touted a big infrastructure ...Read more

Trump's flawed version of disruption

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

WASHINGTON -- On the same day that President Trump recklessly pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran, the lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels fired the informational equivalent of a heat-seeking missile at the Trump presidency.

Taken together, these events clarify the nature of what Trump has inflicted on our country. ...Read more

Jesuitgate, Trumpian hypocrisy and the flight from religion

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

WASHINGTON -- Do you wonder why the proportion of Americans declaring themselves unaffiliated with organized religion has skyrocketed in recent decades?

This trend is especially pronounced among adults under 30, roughly 40 percent of whom claim no connection to a religious congregation or tradition and have joined the ranks of those the ...Read more

Trump's anti-life, anti-work initiative

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

WASHINGTON -- How can we reduce the number of abortions in the United States? One way is to make sure that women are confident they'll have medical coverage throughout their pregnancies and after.

And how can we encourage people to work? By making work pay, which is why Republicans and Democrats have supported the Earned Income Tax Credit, ...Read more

The steep price of the Trumpian circus

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

WASHINGTON -- One of the many costs of the Trump era is the dumbing down of our political discourse. The incoherent spoken and tweeted outpourings from President Trump and the daily outrages of his administration leave little time for serious debate about policy or meaningful dialogue about our larger purposes.

In a normal environment, the ...Read more

Macron on Trumpism: Non!

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

WASHINGTON -- The early story line about President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron focused on their "bromance" and Trump's puerile claim to dominance when he brushed what he said was dandruff off Macron's suit.

But on the last day of his state visit on Wednesday, Macron showed he will not be trifled with. He used a speech to a joint ...Read more

Where are the conservatives we need?

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

WASHINGTON -- Political opponents cannot be expected to lavish boundless affection on those they battle day after day.

But in a well-ordered democratic system, those who fight on behalf of competing parties, interests and ideas can usually find some room for mutual esteem and even occasionally try to profit intellectually from each other. It's ...Read more

Nikki Haley's SOS to the nation

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

WASHINGTON -- "With all due respect, I don't get confused."

These eight words from Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will go down as among the most powerful indictments of the rancid governing culture President Trump has fostered. They may also shed light on one of the great mysteries of the moment: Why is it that Trump ...Read more

Profane president, penitent pontiff

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

WASHINGTON -- A news interlude dominated by speculation about "golden showers" and a graceless president who described his latest detractor as an "untruthful slime ball" invites us to search for higher moral ground.

So it might be Providential that Pope Francis chose to make news last week in two ways. First, he did something that comes very ...Read more

Paul Ryan's curdled idealism

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

WASHINGTON -- Paul Ryan started his political life hoping to be the champion of a sunny, forward-looking conservatism. He will step down from the House speakership as the personification of conservatism's decline.

One is tempted to call Ryan's journey tragic, the tale of a young, idealistic family man transformed into an enabler for the most ...Read more

The futility of Trump's politics of outrage

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

WASHINGTON -- President Trump doubled down last week on his repulsive charge that immigrants from south of our border are "rapists." It was another sign of what an appalling man he is, but also an indication of how much political trouble he faces.

Trump is a demagogue who relies on the angry energy of his supporters. But he finds himself in an ...Read more

What striking teachers teach us

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

WASHINGTON -- To "reading, writing and arithmetic," we can now add "solidarity."

The new teacher activism -- born in West Virginia and spreading to Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona -- is not a flash in the pan. And it's about more than the demand for higher wages and benefits. It is a revolt against decades of policies that gutted public ...Read more

The virtue of original sin liberalism

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

WASHINGTON -- The searing political and social divides in our country encourage a search for the magic key. We want a Big Idea that will explain why we disagree so passionately -- on gun control, abortion, taxes and lots of other things -- and also why we seem to loathe those whose beliefs diverge from our own.

A few weeks ago, Robert Leonard, ...Read more

Our big political cheating scandals

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

WASHINGTON -- Cheating isn't winning. We try to teach this to our children, but politics provides the opposite lesson.

Political cheating allows those who engage in it to amass far more power than they have a right to in a constitutional democracy. Its most sophisticated form isn't ballot-box stuffing but the use of indirect means by those in ...Read more

The hope-mongers' march trumps cynicism

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

WASHINGTON -- For several hours on Saturday, cynicism was banned from the streets of what on many days seems to be the most cynical city in the world.

Throngs estimated to number up to 800,000, and perhaps more, gathered because a group of determined, organized, eloquent and extremely shrewd high school students asked them to come, and because ...Read more

Are social media companies anti-social?

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

WASHINGTON -- In 1964, the novelist Eugene Burdick published "The 480." The best-selling book described, as Burdick wrote in his preface, "people who work with slide rules and calculating machines and computers which can retain an almost infinite number of bits of information as well as sort, categorize and reproduce this information at the ...Read more

The principle behind anti-Trump pragmatism

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

WASHINGTON -- Former Rep. Barney Frank and the writer William F. Buckley Jr. could hardly have been more at odds in their political views.

The Massachusetts Democrat remains a staunch liberal while Buckley was the intellectual founder of modern conservatism. But they had something important in common: Each wanted his side to win elections and ...Read more


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