From the Left



He walks where he chooses to walk

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Years ago, when the great American socialist Norman Thomas was speaking at the University of Virginia, he was cross-examined by a self-satisfied undergraduate who charged that Thomas' call for universal health insurance, federal civil rights laws and federal aid to education were all backed by the U.S. Communist Party. Thomas, a man of great ...Read more

No new edition of 'Profiles in Courage'

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Then-Sen. John F Kennedy wrote admiringly in his 1955 book, "Profiles in Courage," about Republican U.S. Sen. Edmund G. Ross of Kansas. In 1868, in a decision Ross knew would end his political career, he broke with his party to vote against the impeachment of then-President Andrew Johnson, the Tennessee Democrat who had succeeded the martyred ...Read more

Politics as It Should Be Practiced

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Back when Richard Nixon was president, a Washington saloon five minutes' walk from the White House named the Class Reunion was the go-to watering hole where press, politicians and real people could rub and bend elbows. To be candid, I was a regular at "the CR," as it was called, but frankly went there more for the uniquely bipartisan ...Read more

Could the 2020 Election Be Another 1980?

From the Left / Mark Shields /

The final results of the 1980 presidential election between the Democratic President Jimmy Carter and his Republican challenger, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan are rightly recorded as a landslide Republican victory. Carter carried just six states: his native Georgia; his running mate's home state of Minnesota; Rhode Island; Maryland; ...Read more

Making Debates Really Matter

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Presidential debates -- even those featuring 10 or more candidates well over a year before Election Day -- can tell us much about those self-confident enough to offer themselves as the nation's next commander in chief.

For example, eight years ago, the candidates of the out party, running to challenge then-White House incumbent Democrat ...Read more

Thank you Arizona for your unique gift

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It approaches a year since Sen. John McCain departed these earthly precincts. He is rightly missed for his principled leadership, for his maverick ways and for his -- now increasingly rare -- ability to reach out and collaborate effectively with senators across the partisan divide. I miss all those qualities, but I miss John McCain, too, for his...Read more

What presidential debates teach us

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Listening to debates among presidential primary candidates invariably reminds me of the 1974 Democratic primary for New York governor. To set the scene: In November of 1973, Republican Nelson Rockefeller, four times elected chief executive of the Empire State who would later be chosen by President Gerald R. Ford to become the nation's 41st vice ...Read more

Can Democrats ever get to the fourth stage?

From the Left / Mark Shields /

It is time to remind ourselves of the Four Stages of Political Defeat and whether the losing side -- in this case, the Democrats who suffered an unexpected and stinging rebuke in 2016 -- will be able to recover and compete.

Because political parties are composed of human beings, when a party loses a big election, there is an understandable ...Read more

Stop looking for a democratic Donald Trump

From the Left / Mark Shields /

Our vote for president is the most "personal" vote we Americans get to cast. We're far more likely to base our choice for the U.S. House or the Senate on issues -- such as health care costs, immigration or the environment -- than we are our presidential choice. In a presidential campaign, we voters are beneficiaries or victims of an information ...Read more

Ross Perot, truly one of a kind

From the Left / Mark Shields /

As someone who was lucky enough to cover the 1992 presidential campaign --involving Republican incumbent President George W. Bush, Democratic challenger Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and the independent maverick, Texas billionaire businessman Ross Perot -- from start to finish, allow me to make one semi-important point: Perot was not at all like ...Read more

Unintended consequence of summer of '19

From the Left / Mark Shields /

At least three score years ago, my savvy precinct committeewoman impressed upon me an immutable political truth: Every election is not about the candidate(s); no, every election is about the voters ... and about the future. I'm relieved that my precinct committeewoman was not around to hear the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates ...Read more


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