From the Left



It's time we had a "we" president, not a "me" president

From the Left / Mark Shields /

New York Times/Siena College has Democrat Joe Biden at 50% and Republican President Donald Trump at 36%; CNN has Biden at 54% and Trump 36%; Fox News has Biden at 50% and Trump at 38%. These recent national polls have left Democrats almost giddy with anticipation. But before Democrats put the champagne on ice, they would be wise to remember the ...Read more

This is a campaign year of less wisdom and less wit

From the Left / Mark Shields /

In the nine presidential elections between the 1952 victory of Dwight D. Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush's 1988 win, just two Republicans won the White House: Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. One man was indispensable to the winning campaigns of these two very different Republicans. His name was John P. Sears, and as a young 25 year-old lawyer, ...Read more

Are Democrats smart enough to take yes for an answer?

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Here's the fail-safe test for whether a political party is growing and strengthening or shrinking in size and prospects: Is that party spending its time, energy and effort seeking, recruiting and welcoming converts to its ranks, or is that party instead hunting down heretics within its ranks and, in the name of political purity, banishing them ...Read more

What leadership means

From the Left / Mark Shields /

History can be cruel. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., who was unquestionably America's most prominent prophet and practitioner of nonviolence, was followed by riots, arson and looting in 168 American cities and towns. The numbers are staggering: 2,600 fires were set; 21,700 people were injured; 2,600 were arrested; 39 were killed. ...Read more

Choosing the wrong opponent

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It is a common, if not especially honorable, practice in American politics for a candidate and her campaign to prefer to run not against their actual opponent on the ballot but rather against the most unpopular caricature of the opponent's party. That explains why Democrats, for close to three decades after the election of 1932, when Franklin ...Read more

Many Republicans DO have a sense of humor

From the Left / Mark Shields /

An American politician can help herself politically by being able to believably use self-deprecating humor, which sends a clear message: "I am not pompously self-important or thin-skinned; I do not take myself completely seriously."

No one was better at self-deprecation than former President Ronald Reagan, whose robust sense of self-confidence ...Read more

Preview of coming distractions

From the Left / Mark Shields /

As you probably already knew, the next six months of 2020 presidential campaigning are going to be ugly. I do not say this happily, but I do so based upon a lifetime of watching candidates run for election and reelection. Almost invariably, politicians return to what worked successfully in previous campaigns.

Consider the most recent ...Read more

Frank advice from a close friend

From the Left / Mark Shields /

There was, I can testify, a lot more drinking in Washington, D.C., before May 15, 1978. That was the date, through the grace of God, that I had my last drink of beer or booze or wine.

Previously, I had given up drinking at different times, for Lent or to lose weight (a waist is a terrible thing to mind), always to return for another round. But ...Read more

Words for the class of 2020

From the Left / Mark Shields /

There will be no graduation festivities this spring at dozens of American colleges and universities, including Ohio State, Brigham Young, Howard, Swarthmore, Notre Dame, Duke, UCLA and Yale. That means this year's graduates and their closest relatives and friends will not have the benefit of sitting on hard chairs and listening to the ...Read more

This president knows television!

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Somebody close to President Donald Trump could, in a burst of candor, tell him that he does not know everything to be known about the history of the filibuster in the United States Senate -- or even the origin of the infield fly rule in Major League Baseball.

But nobody, absolutely nobody, should ever dare to suggest that this president has not...Read more


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