From the Left



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

Why the majority doesn't rule on guns

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

WASHINGTON -- Why does our political system make it impossible even to consider solutions to gun violence? After the massacre in Las Vegas that has so far taken 58 lives and left more than 500 injured, the first reaction of the many politicians who carry water for the gun lobby was to declare it "premature" to discuss measures to keep guns out ...Read more

Trump's tax on social justice

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

WASHINGTON -- Add this to the growing file folder that can be labeled "Depressing but not Surprising": The only thing today's Republican Party knows how to do is cut taxes for the very rich.

It's depressing because the GOP has abandoned roles it once played in our public life: pioneering programs aimed at assisting Americans of modest means in ...Read more

Alabama's rebel yell from the right

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

WASHINGTON -- In Alabama's Republican Senate primary on Tuesday, Steve Bannon defeated Donald Trump. The state's GOP voters showed how sharply divided their party is. And right-wing insurgents were given a license to challenge Republican incumbents all over the country in 2018.

Judge Roy Moore's victory over Senator Luther Strange was a sign of...Read more

Can we avoid a health care horror?

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

WASHINGTON -- It is difficult to decide which is the worst aspect of the Republicans' latest try at repealing Obamacare: the irresponsibility, the cruelty or the lies.

There is only one reason the Senate is even considering a vote this week on the catastrophically flawed proposal from Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy. The GOP base wants ...Read more

How Trump is helping to save our democracy

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

The election of Donald Trump could be one of the best things that ever happened to American democracy.

We say this even though we believe that Trump poses a genuine danger to our republican institutions and has done enormous damage to our country. He has violated political norms, weakened our standing in the world and deepened the divisions of ...Read more

Trump's tough talk makes us weaker

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

NEW YORK -- The worst aspect of President Trump's speech at the United Nations on Tuesday was not his immature taunting of a dangerous foreign leader when the stakes far outweigh those of a schoolyard fight.

Calling North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man" may make Trump happy by reminding him of the glory days of "Little Marco," "Lyin' ...Read more

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

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