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Politics

Trump’s Foreboding Address and Ominous ‘Hour of Action’

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- After every major Trump speech or event, the person I was before it seems desperately naive. I have been a consistent Trump critic, but my expectations are never quite low enough.

Some of us approach Inauguration Day with a kind of democratic reverence. Its customs encourage the love of country. The best inaugural addresses offer ...Read more

Attacking Lewis Showed Trump’s Disregard for the American Story

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Who is John Lewis that Donald Trump should be mindful of him?

Lewis, by one definition, is a 76-year-old, liberal politician with a disturbing habit of hyperbole. He questioned the validity of George W. Bush’s presidential win. He once compared John McCain to George Wallace. Now he questions the legitimacy of Trump’s ...Read more

Where Campaign Pedges Meet Fiscal Reality

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- On the first day of his presidency, Donald Trump will face a serious governing challenge of his own creation.

He has promised a tax cut that will, by one estimate, reduce federal revenues by $7 trillion over 10 years. He has promised an infrastructure initiative that may cost another trillion. He has promised to rebuild the ...Read more

Can Trump Inaugurate a Time of Healing?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Were Donald Trump to read all the previous inaugural addresses in preparation for his big day, it would be pretty tough going from James Madison to James Buchanan. Then there was that Lincoln guy, who was really first rate in the big speech department.

But Trump would sense a kindred spirit in Ulysses S. Grant’s second inaugural...Read more

The Hypocrisy Behind Julian Assange’s Hero Turn

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- One of the most confusing shifts of the Trump ascendancy is, on reflection, one of the most clarifying.

Donald Trump’s, Sarah Palin’s and Sean Hannity’s embrace of Julian Assange -- who has made a career of illegally obtaining and releasing documents damaging to American interests -- is not just a puzzling policy shift. It ...Read more

To Live as if We Are Loved

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Many of us have a traumatic childhood memory of losing our mother’s hand in a grocery or department store and feeling, for a panicky moment, that we may never be found again. For Saroo Brierley, the separation was real and lasting -- a story so extraordinary and harrowing that it carries an excellent movie called “Lion.”

No ...Read more

Where is God?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON --- It is one of the common questions of eighth-grade theology (which is generally more insightful and useful than post-doctoral theology): If God really exists, why doesn’t he just show himself in some dramatic, undeniable way?

In response, the author and minister Frederick Buechner proposes a thought experiment. What if God were ...Read more

A Politics That Honors Human Dignity

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

EDITORS -- Michael Gerson’s next column will be delivered Friday, Dec. 23, for publication on Christmas Day. It will be a Christmas-themed column. After that, Gerson will take two columns off, returning with a column that will be sent Friday, Dec. 30, for release Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

WASHINGTON -- It is one of fate’s cruel jokes that ...Read more

Keep An Open Mind About Rex Tillerson

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- There is always the danger of allowing low expectations to become irrational exuberance when those expectations are marginally exceeded. So any office in the Trump administration not filled by a kook or a crank feels like a victory for the republic.

Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is not a kook or a ...Read more

Trump’s Dangerous Dissing of the Intelligence Community

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump has a problem that comes not from the cast of “Hamilton,” but from Hamilton himself.

In Federalist 68, Alexander Hamilton deals with that odd, anti-democratic feature of our constitutional order, the Electoral College, which has dictated a different outcome from the popular vote in two of the last five ...Read more

The Emerging Outlines of a Jekyll and Hyde Presidency

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- What are we seeing in Donald Trump’s presidential transition so far? The emerging outlines of a bipolar presidency.

I’m not attempting a clinical diagnosis here. Maybe a better description is a Jekyll and Hyde administration. The president-elect is alternately making good choices (such as Gen. James Mattis as defense ...Read more

Three American Texts for Donald Trump to Read Before Inauguration Day

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Whatever his other considerable achievements, our president-elect is not known for his broad reading in American history. But Donald Trump is about to enter that history. And in the spirit of new beginnings, he might view this as an opportunity to accumulate some inspiration, both for his inaugural address and his manner of ...Read more

Is Trump Ready for North Korea?

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- When Donald Trump first strides into the Oval Office as president, his perfect day is likely to be ruined by a file marked “North Korea.” Trump’s (first? only?) term in office may include either a messy confrontation with an unpredictable, highly combustible regime, or a rogue nation gaining the power to destroy large ...Read more

Trump’s Hypocrisy is Good for America

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- As Donald Trump’s campaign promises have been dunked in reality’s strong solvent, many have been transformed in one way or another -- modified, moderated, qualified, abandoned or pushed off into the distant future. Not a wall across the whole southern border. Not every part of Obamacare repealed. Not all<...Read more

For Evangelicals, a Tunnel at the End of the Light

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Among the disappointments of the 2016 election, the close identification of many evangelicals with a right-wing populism has been the most personally difficult. On Election Day, it was disturbing to see so many of my tribe in Donald Trump’s war paint.

The most enthusiastic Trump evangelicals have taken the excesses of the ...Read more

Democrats Suddenly Find Themselves at a Crossroads

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- While the challenges of the GOP -- its long-term demographic difficulties, its erratic leadership, the bitter struggle for its ideological soul -- are obscured by victory, the problems of the Democratic Party are on full display. Republicans suffer from heart disease; Democrats have an ugly, gushing head wound.

The losing ...Read more

A triumphant GOP, mired in crisis

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The Republican Party is everywhere triumphant -- House and Senate, executive and legislative, national and state -- and yet faces a series of crises.

There is a crisis of identity. Trump now leads a coalition including the Republican establishment -- and people who despise the Republican establishment. The insurgent ...Read more

Let's hope Trump discovers a commitment to the common good

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- "Now all the truth is out," said William Butler Yeats. "Be secret and take defeat." Which is not really an option for a columnist.

After so many harsh words for Donald Trump, I can't pretend that his victory is anything less than a disaster for the country. A hurricane has power. It clears away the sticks and bricks of an ...Read more

We Need to Redefine the Spirit of Liberty

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- The first sentence of Charles de Gaulle's Memoir reads: "All my life I have thought of France in a certain way." This is a presidential election, more than any I can remember, that has invited Americans to view their country in a certain way -- actually, in one of two very different ways.

Donald Trump's vision is unremittingly ...Read more

A Final Appeal

From the Left / Michael Gerson /

WASHINGTON -- Sixteen years ago I awaited the arrival of Election Day, anxious but hopeful. I was a part of a presidential campaign that had challenged the stereotype of Republicanism with a series of policy proposals on education, addiction treatment and other elements of social welfare. Suspend, for a moment, your views on the efficacy of No ...Read more

 
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