From the Left



Kris Kobach and the struggles of column-writing

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

WASHINGTON -- It is neither paranoid nor alarmist to begin asking if the Trump administration plans to rationalize blocking a large number of voters who oppose the president from casting ballots in 2018 and 2020. And it is imperative that the civic-minded of all parties demand the disbanding of a government commission whose very existence is ...Read more

Trump and the road not taken

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

WASHINGTON -- Be wary of anyone who purports to understand the deep meaning of President Trump's decision to side with the Democrats on short-term budget issues. Nobody knows what he's up to, and this probably includes Trump himself.

Nonetheless, his recent foray into bipartisanship provides the occasion to explore the path he chose not to take...Read more

On the Dreamers, Trump believes nothing

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

WASHINGTON -- One of the most cynical quotations in history is also one of the most widely attributed. Let's ponder the version associated with Groucho Marx: "Sincerity is the key to success. Once you can fake that, you've got it made."

From the moment Donald Trump opened his quest for the presidency, this idea has defined him and served as an ...Read more

American workers will see through Trump's con

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

BOSTON -- On a holiday weekend set aside to honor the American working class, it is hard to escape the sense that American workers find themselves exploited by our politics -- and particularly by our president.

If wage earners could turn all the warm words they have heard into dollars, they would be rich. But they never receive the rights or ...Read more

Why we can't think straight about government

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

WASHINGTON -- One of the barriers to sensible politics is the opportunism that so often infects our debates about what government is there for, where we want it to be energetic, and how we can keep it from violating the basic rights of citizens.

The muddled nature of our discussions of these matters has been brought home by two unfortunate ...Read more

Bannon and the fall of 'populism'

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

EDITORS -- E.J. Dionne Jr. is taking a one-week vacation. His next column will move Wednesday, Aug. 30, for release Thursday, Aug. 31. Note that he filed three columns this past week. If you did not run the column that moved last Friday on liberal democracy, you may wish to publish it this coming week. Until Dionne's return, you are also welcome...Read more

Will there ever be a breaking point for Trump?

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

WASHINGTON -- We are past the time when mournful comments about President Trump's disgraceful behavior are sufficient. It is no longer defensible for his lieutenants or Republicans in Congress to tell themselves that they're staying close to Trump to contain the damage he could cause our country.

If their actual goal was to prevent damage, they...Read more

Standing up for liberal democracy

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

What is the single most important issue before us?

To ask the question is either to invite scoffing (how can any one issue be described in this way?) or to call forth a cacophony of replies. For starters: the North Korean confrontation, globalization, climate change, rising inequality, terrorism or the ongoing troubles in the Middle East.

But ...Read more

After Charlottesville: End the denial about Trump

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

It should not have taken the death and injury of innocents to move our nation toward moral clarity. It should not have taken President Trump's disgraceful refusal to condemn white supremacy, bigotry and Nazism to make clear to all who he is and which dark impulses he is willing to exploit to maintain his hold on power.

Those of us who are white...Read more

Must Trump always divide us?

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

If ever there was a foreign policy issue around which our nation should be united, it's the nuclear threat from North Korea.

Many regimes deserve to be called "criminal," but few more so than Kim Jong Un's. Human Rights Watch calls North Korea "one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world." It seeks "fearful obedience by using ...Read more

Missing out on the kindness of strangers

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

WASHINGTON -- There are happier stories about those who travel the nation trying to find buyers for their wares than Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman." Just ask Marc J. Dunkelman.

In an essay in the summer issue of The Hedgehog Review, Dunkelman recalls a conversation two decades ago with his grandfather, a retired salesman, about how ...Read more

The lethal contradictions of Trumpian politics

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

WASHINGTON -- John Kelly, President Trump's new chief of staff, is focused on ending chaos in the White House. Given that his boss is the self-disrupter in chief, good luck with that.

And Trump world's vicious backstabbing is not, in any event, the administration's most important problem. A devotion to lying is a far graver danger to this ...Read more

When religion is prophetic

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

The votes from Republican Senators Susan Collins, John McCain and Lisa Murkowski to stop their party's repeal-Obamacare juggernaut were demonstrations of genuine courage.

The appearance of this virtue in a dark time is not necessarily miraculous, but I couldn't help noticing the striking intervention in this debate by 7,150 American nuns who ...Read more

The twin threats to our republic's health

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

The news is being reported on split screen as if the one big story in Washington is disconnected from the other. But President Trump's lawless threats against Attorney General Jeff Sessions have a lot in common with the Senate's reckless approach to the health coverage of tens of millions of Americans.

On both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, we ...Read more

Trump's election commission lacks integrity

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

WASHINGTON -- President Trump had some remarkable things to say at the inaugural meeting of his Commission to Promote Voter Suppression and Justify Trump's False Claims, which is formally known as the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. He also asked a question that deserves an answer.

Lest anyone believe Vice President ...Read more

Why Obamacare won and Trump lost

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

WASHINGTON -- The collapse of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a monumental political defeat wrought by a party and a president that never took health care policy or the need to bring coverage to millions of Americans seriously. But their bungling also demonstrates that the intense attention to Obamacare over the last ...Read more

On health care, history is watching

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

WASHINGTON -- Over the last century, there has been a characteristic American cycle of response to far-reaching social reforms.

When the breakthroughs are first proposed, conservatives fight them with a devout passion, warning that the measures on offer would move the nation toward socialism and perdition. Then, over time, the disastrous ...Read more

Will Republicans ever break free of Trump?

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

WASHINGTON -- "Will he tell the president 'no'?"

This question was at the heart of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's opening statement at Wednesday's confirmation hearing for Christopher Wray, President Trump's nominee as FBI director. Wray was there because the man who appointed him had fired James Comey for failing, as Feinstein put it, to "pledge his ...Read more

What Trump teaches left and right

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

WASHINGTON -- President Trump has performed a service of sorts to our debate over how the United States views itself and its role in the world. He has reminded the democratic left and the democratic right -- note the small "d" -- that they share more common ground than they often realize about the importance of democracy, the gifts of modernity,...Read more

Trump and the degeneration of politics

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

WASHINGTON -- The most corrosive aspect of Donald Trump's presidency is its rousing success in making our politics ridiculous.

The political class (yes, including columnists) is obsessed with his most unnerving statements, especially on Twitter. These are analyzed as if they were tablets from heaven or the learned pronouncements of a wise elder...Read more


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