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Politics

Republicans are playing with fire in the states

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

WASHINGTON -- The backlash to President Trump and the steady rightward journey of the Republican Party could sharply shift the distribution of political power in state capitols across the nation in this fall's elections. And because reapportionment is coming, this could change the contours of American politics for more than a decade.

...Read more

Don't let politics dumb you down

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

WASHINGTON -- In the era of President Trump, politics is reduced to a fatuous, debilitating spectacle. We screech, we weep, we laugh bitterly. We don't seem to think much.

Yet there is an underground. I speak not of some political resistance movement but of quiet, intellectually serious debates taking place around the country that relate ...Read more

Listening to history's echoes

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

WASHINGTON -- How do democratic countries get to the point where they give up on self-rule? Under what circumstances do demagogues capture large audiences through irrational, emotional appeals unmoored from fact, logic or morality? When do politicians responsible for maintaining a democratic system surrender to dictators?

These questions are ...Read more

Will reform be the silver lining in a cloud of scandal?

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

WASHINGTON -- Politics is regularly described in terms of "left" vs. "right." But other binaries can be more relevant. "Forward" vs. "backward" often define a choice facing an electorate better than the standard ideological categories. And the most powerful face-off of all may be "reform" vs. "corruption."

Much commentary on the 2018 midterm ...Read more

Why Trump isn't fighting the bots

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

WASHINGTON -- Here is the issue raised by Facebook's revelations this week about disinformation that we need to face squarely: The political interests of the president of the United States coincide with the purposes of foreign forces using social media to divide us along the lines of race and culture.

President Trump's refusal to make combating...Read more

Putin, Trump and the reactionary international

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

WASHINGTON -- The links among Vladimir Putin, President Trump, and segments of both the Republican Party and the American conservative movement seem bizarre. How can this be, given the Russian president's KGB pedigree and a Cold War history during which antipathy toward the Soviet Union held the right together?

In truth, there is nothing ...Read more

Burying old lies with new ones

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

WASHINGTON -- "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening."

When the history of the Trump era is written, this quotation from our president will play a prominent role in explaining the distemper of our moment and the dysfunction of his administration. Trump was talking about media coverage of his trade war, but he was ...Read more

We knew who Trump was

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

WASHINGTON -- The most frustrating aspect of the backlash against President Trump's servility to Russian President Vladimir Putin is that nothing that happened last week in Helsinki should have surprised us.

What's changed is that so many who insisted in 2016 that Trump was not as bad as he looked, that he was a pragmatist at heart, and that we...Read more

Two cheers for democratic socialists

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

WASHINGTON -- "Socialism has known increments of success, basic failure and massive betrayal. Yet it is more relevant to the humane construction of the twenty-first century than any other idea."

With those words, the late Michael Harrington began his book "Socialism," published in 1972. In his day, Harrington was often called "America's leading...Read more

Will the blue wave start in Jersey?

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

BORDENTOWN, N.J. -- "Do you feel like there is a steady hand at the wheel? Do you feel like you're in good hands right now?"

Andy Kim, a Democrat challenging Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur for a congressional seat in south-central New Jersey, sees these questions as pivotal to November's election. They are singularly appropriate after a week of ...Read more

Hypocrites for Kavanaugh

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

WASHINGTON -- Be prepared for a festival of hypocrisy, evasion and misdirection from supporters of the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Begin with the idea that because Kavanaugh is qualified, well-educated, intelligent and likable, senators should fall in line behind him.

Sorry, but Senate Republicans have already ...Read more

'Bad' jobs don't have to be that way

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

WASHINGTON -- So many policy proposals aimed at reducing economic inequality emphasize moving disadvantaged people into higher-paying, higher-skilled jobs, typically with more access to education and training.

We do need to invest far more in expanding opportunity for fellow citizens who have lost all hope for advancement, but there is a flaw ...Read more

Pious wishes won't change politics

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

WASHINGTON -- We human beings cling to dogmas long after they're disproven. We tend to believe things that make us feel better or remind of us of a past that we miss. This is certainly true of our assumptions about electoral politics.

Among the myths that can steer us off course in the Trump era, three are particularly popular.

First, that ...Read more

The only way to win the Supreme Court fight

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

BOSTON -- When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., quickly tweeted: "This is the fight of our lives."

She's right. But how will the fight be defined and how it can be won?

With Republicans in control of the Senate, the odds favor anyone President Trump picks to fill Kennedy's seat. ...Read more

Preventing a partisan court from getting worse

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

WASHINGTON -- Our constitutional system of "checks and balances" only works if those in a position to operate the levers of checking and balancing do their job. It is clear that a Republican Congress and Republican appointees to the Supreme Court have no taste for such work. For the moment, President Trump is mostly unchecked and unbalanced.

It...Read more

The cruelty extends beyond immigrant kids

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

WASHINGTON -- President Trump has a special animus toward immigrants, but the children of those crossing our borders are not the only vulnerable people in his sights. His administration is waging a less visible war on our nation's poorest citizens, with the complicity of its Republican allies in Congress.

We can welcome the fact that the ...Read more

The lessons of Trump's retreat

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

WASHINGTON -- The sweeping outrage over President Trump's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents is a welcome sign of our nation's moral and civic health. Ripping apart the family bond was too much even for some of Trump's most fervent apologists to take.

In the end, Trump had to back off, a remarkable retreat on an issue ...Read more

GOP moderates fold to Trumpism

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

WASHINGTON -- "Moderate Republicans are the people who are there when you don't need them."

It was one of former Rep. Barney Frank's many devastating zingers, and it certainly applies to the fiasco unfolding in the House of Representatives on immigration.

A headline last week on Roll Call's website might have been channeling Frank, the acerbic...Read more

Trump's North Korean fantasyland

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

WASHINGTON -- One of the costs of the Trump Era is that all opinions become suspect because, even more than usual, everything is seen through the prism of whether you are for or against the president. Consequently, criticism of Trump is regularly assumed by his supporters to be rooted in bad faith.

The retort to any judgments against his ...Read more

The refuge of sports

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

WASHINGTON -- I suspect I share this with many others: Over the last 500 or so days, I often wanted to ditch politics entirely. Sports became my shelter from the storm, a field of competition in which performance can be judged with a degree of objectivity and blustery hot takes on Twitter do not threaten the republic.

True, it says something ...Read more

 

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