From the Left



The Willy Loman presidency

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

WASHINGTON -- One of President Trump's favorite words is "strong." His obsession with strength leads him to a love for unilateral announcements, denunciations of staff members by way of showing who is in charge, and Twitter wars designed to prove that he will not back down from any fight.

Yet Trump is also a pleaser who likes to make those in ...Read more

Giving populism its due

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

WASHINGTON -- The shambles left by last weekend's Italian election, the chaotic dysfunction of American government under President Trump, and the attack on liberal democratic institutions in Hungary, Poland, Turkey and elsewhere -- all of these are being blamed on the haunting specter of "populism."

But is populism the villain here? Do we even...Read more

The cost of our war on public life

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

NEW YORK -- We didn't know how hard it was to be president until we had one with no idea of what it takes to do the job.

We didn't appreciate having a government that was relatively honest and free of venality until we had one riddled with corruption.

And we didn't know how wildly irresponsible Republican criticisms of Barack Obama and Hillary...Read more

Using the courts to destroy unions

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

WASHINGTON -- Many conservatives believe in the untrammeled rights of employers. Consequently, they despise unions. They also can't stand it that organized labor usually backs Democrats and they especially detest public employee unions which, by their very nature, advocate for government.

For decades, these same conservatives criticized the ...Read more

It's not conservatism. It's extremism.

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

WASHINGTON -- It is time to say last rites over the American conservative movement. After years of drifting steadily toward extreme positions, conservatism is dead, replaced by a far right that has the Republican Party under its thumb.

Conservatism is a complex creed, some of it less than appealing and some of it noble. The less attractive kind...Read more

Gun control is about saving lives, not waging culture wars

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

WASHINGTON -- You have perhaps heard the joke about the liberal who is so open-minded that he can't even take his own side in an argument.

What's less funny is that on gun control, liberals (and their many allies who are moderate, conservative and non-ideological) have been told for years that if they do take their own side in the argument, ...Read more

On gun violence, we are a failed state

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

WASHINGTON -- The surest sign a political regime is failing is its inability to do anything about a problem universally seen as urgent and that has some obvious remedies. And it's a mark of political corruption when unaccountable cliques block solutions that enjoy broad support and force their selfish interests to prevail over the common good.

...Read more

A quiet revolution for decency

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

WOOSTER, Ohio -- The split in American politics we may be missing is not left vs. right or pro-Trump vs. anti-Trump but normality vs. the Trump-inspired Washington circus.

If the doings in the nation's capital seem strange when you are there, they look positively lunatic at any distance from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

First, the entire White ...Read more

The agony of the moderate left

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

WASHINGTON -- It's not easy being on the moderate left these days. Politicians and activists committed to defending both liberal democracy and a practical, socially generous approach to government find themselves constantly torn between short-term imperatives and long-term hopes.

This was brought home last week by two very different political ...Read more

Why Trump's parade is unpatriotic

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

WASHINGTON -- Military parades, "treasonous" opponents -- do you sense a pattern here?

President Trump is such a master of the politics of distraction that everything he says and does is assumed to be a diversion from something more important, the Russia collusion issue above all.

It's certainly true that in Trump's exotic circus of scandal ...Read more

Nunes paves Trump's road to autocracy

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

WASHINGTON -- The autocratic leader lies and then falsely charges his opponents with lying. He politicizes institutions that are supposed to be free of politics by falsely accusing his foes of politicizing them. He victimizes others by falsely claiming they are victimizing him.

The autocrat also counts on spineless politicians to cave in to his...Read more

Instead of seeking 'common ground,' Trump gives a flabby, divisive speech

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

WASHINGTON -- President Trump leaned heavily on the stories of American heroes in his State of the Union address Tuesday night because he didn't have much else to say. From the Coast Guard, the fire departments, the shop floor and many other quarters they came, providing structural support for a flabby speech that was one of the least ...Read more

Hawaii and the politics of war jitters

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

HONOLULU -- Gov. David Ige, who speaks in the quietly measured way of his engineering profession, likes to tout everything Hawaii is doing to battle climate change.

He lights up about the state's Early College initiative that allows high school students to take enough college courses to earn associate degrees along with their secondary school ...Read more

Learning from the Catch-22 Shutdown

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

The lesson of the government shutdown is that it's really rotten to be the side with almost no power. If power corrupts, powerlessness leads to paralyzing recriminations.

Among Democrats, neither progressives nor moderates have fully come to terms with the box the party is in. If they continue to put their internal quarrels above finding a ...Read more


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