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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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