From the Left



Our institutional crisis is upon us

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

WASHINGTON -- Our democratic republic is in far more danger than it was even a few weeks ago.

Until this point, there was an underlying faith in much of the political world that if Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian collusion in the election of Donald Trump turned up damning material about the president, Republicans in Congress would ...Read more

Roy Moore and the conscience of conservatives

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

WASHINGTON -- Just how disordered have our politics become? And how off-the-rails is the Republican Party?

The good people of Alabama will help answer these questions in next Tuesday's special election for the U. S. Senate. The whole world will be watching them decide whether party and ideology trump decency and moderation; whether there is ...Read more

How Trump lost his cover

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

WASHINGTON -- Dec. 1, 2017, will be remembered as the day when the vast majority of Americans fully grasped the consequences of the 2016 elections. They installed a man in the White House "likely to be under investigation for criminality for a very, very long time to come." And they gave power to a Republican Party whose only purpose is to ...Read more

Government by the reckless, for the few

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

WASHINGTON -- Students often leave term papers to the last minute. Repair folks frequently arrive at the far end of the time they promised. And some basketball players don't turn it on until the fourth quarter.

But the stakes in all these close shaves are relatively low. Not so with Republicans in Congress. They are reordering large parts of ...Read more

Who will challenge Trump's enablers?

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

WASHINGTON -- Great nations and proud democracies fall when their systems become so corrupted that the decay is not even noticed -- or the rot is written off as a normal part of politics.

President Trump has created exactly such a crisis. He has not done it alone. The corrosion of norms and values began long before he propelled the nation past ...Read more

Will John McCain leap into the breach?

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

Does our country face a big problem with deficits? Is it a mistake to add to them?

House Speaker Paul Ryan certainly thinks so. Or he used to. In 2010, he told Fortune magazine that the nation was "sleep-walking toward a debt crisis," and he foresaw calamity on a grand scale. "Within a few years, a sale of government bonds will fail," he said. ...Read more

Giving thanks for, yes, journalism

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

WASHINGTON -- Thanksgiving is a splendid holiday, but also a useful one. It reminds us that gratitude is a virtue. We owe the most satisfying parts of our lives to others and fool ourselves if we imagine otherwise.

We usually begin, rightly, by thanking our families since they are (if we are lucky) both the original and ongoing sources of love ...Read more

A fight more pressing than Democratic squabbling

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

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Sometimes, the Democratic Party amazes me. And not in a good way.

Here is a party fresh off a series of big election triumphs all over the country. The nation faces an unprecedented challenge brought on by President Trump's breathtaking irresponsibility. Republicans are pushing through the most reactionary tax bill since the...Read more

Who will stand up to unforgivable recklessness?

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

WASHINGTON -- The GOP bill that should be called the Cut Taxes on President Trump and Other Very Rich People Act of 2017 always had a secondary purpose: to jack up the deficit so Republicans could later cry out in horror, "Look at that awful debt!" They'd then use the pools of red ink they created to justify deep cuts in social programs.

But ...Read more

Trump's real constituency: The Super Rich

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

WASHINGTON -- The focus on President Trump's political strength among white working-class voters distracts from a truth that may be more important: His rise depended on support from rich conservatives, and his program serves the interests of those who have accumulated enormous wealth.

This explains why so few Congressional Republicans denounce ...Read more

Voters yearn for an end to the Trump era

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

WASHINGTON -- Tuesday's Democratic sweep obliterated a series of outdated story lines in American politics and opened a new era.

Forget those repetitious tales about some piece of President Trump's base still sticking with him. It's now clear, from Virginia and New Jersey to Washington state, Georgia, New York, Connecticut and Maine, that the ...Read more

Virginia will be speaking for the nation

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

ARLINGTON, Va. -- On Tuesday, Virginia's voters confront what will almost certainly be the most consequential election for governor of their lifetimes.

The contest between Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie matters for the state, of course, but its implications will be even larger for the nation.

A Northam victory ...Read more

Trump, the GOP, and the autocrat's playbook

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

WASHINGTON -- Democracies sometimes collapse suddenly. More typically, they waste away.

One major cause of institutional decline involves politicians putting their own immediate interests ahead of their obligations to democratic norms. We wake up one day and discover that a long series of individual choices has rotted out the constraints on ...Read more

The tax cut debate is an utter waste

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

WASHINGTON -- It is a victory for Republicans that the political conversation -- when it's not being hijacked by President Trump's assorted outbursts and outrages -- is focused on tax cuts. No matter how critical the coverage gets, the sheer amount of attention risks sending a message that taxes are the most important issue confronting the ...Read more

Republicans aren't ready to quit Trump

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

WASHINGTON -- Yes, it's a very big deal that Republicans Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, John McCain and George W. Bush are now ready to take on what Flake rightly calls President Trump's "reckless, outrageous and undignified" behavior. Their voices are the sound of the protective political wall around the White House cracking.

But the other side to ...Read more

Why patriots can't serve Trump

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

WASHINGTON -- The United States is in the middle of a very unfortunate experiment in how disoriented a great nation can become before it loses its moorings entirely.

At times, politics seems fairly conventional with Republicans and Democrats arguing about health care and tax cuts, as they long have done. But former Presidents George W. Bush and...Read more

The enablers of a debased politics

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

WASHINGTON -- Permit me to confess: I am one of the very last people in the United States who does not consider the word "politician" to be an insult. On the contrary, the work politicians do is important because politics is a good and essential thing in a free society. It's the degradation of politics in the Trump era we need to worry about, ...Read more

Reformers: Be ready when your time comes

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

WASHINGTON -- Reformers are by nature impatient. But historically their victories have come from long, sustained efforts that began in periods when conservatives were dominant.

Many aspects of Franklin Roosevelt's program were first advanced during the administrations of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. They reached fruition when the ...Read more

How Trump's tweets hide bad policy

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

WASHINGTON -- This week, courtesy of Twitter, we were offered a glimpse of why more Americans chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump as the appropriate person to be president of the United States.

On Monday night, Clinton (whose margin, by the way, was 2.9 million votes) tweeted up a storm. "This hasn't gotten enough attn," she wrote in her ...Read more

The mainstreaming of right-wing extremism

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

WASHINGTON -- "Some people say I'm extreme," an Indiana tea party leader told The New York Times at the height of the movement's rebellion in 2010, "but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too."

Uh-huh. The society, which still exists, enjoyed its heyday in the early 1960s and saw Communists everywhere. Robert Welch, its founder, even...Read more


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