Some recent news stories verge on the bizarre -- the House Democrats' futile fuss over impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's acceptance of President Donald Trump's U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade treaty. But they're not as bizarre, or possibly as consequential, as unanticipated developments in the Democrats' presidential nomination contest.
Consider the...Read more
Sometimes the latest new thing is something antique. That's especially true in American politics, which has had seriously contested presidential elections every four years (with one exception) since 1800 and competitions between the same two durable parties since 1856. We're even on our (lucky?) 13th presidential race since the nominating rules ...Read more
It's Thanksgiving week in a country whose warring political tribes are not much inclined to giving thanks. But any American with a reasonable historic perspective can easily find reasons to do so.
For one thing, it's clear that we are a much fairer nation than we were in the past. Women, black Americans, immigrants and minorities of any ...Read more
"The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America" is the title of a 1960s book by historian and librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin. Pseudo-events, he wrote, are staged solely to generate news media coverage. Real events involve independent actors and have unpredictable outcomes. Pseudo-events are shows.
It's not difficult to say which ...Read more
Michael Bloomberg has delivered his latest delicious hint about running for president. Former Attorney General Eric Holder is fresh from taking credit for the new Democratic legislative majorities in Virginia, making it known he might be interested. And former Gov. Deval Patrick joined the presidential race after reportedly discerning a demand ...Read more
Have you noticed that the two parties' fields of presidential candidates have, in the past two election cycles, grown enormously larger than (if not necessarily superior to) those in past years? Where parties used to have two to five serious candidates to choose from, Republicans had 17 in 2016, and, by my count, Democrats this cycle have had 27...Read more
It has been 1,225 days since an all-time-high turnout of British voters chose, by a 52 to 48% margin, to Leave rather than Remain in the European Union. Now with a general election set for Dec. 12, it looks like Britain is finally about to escape the EU's "ever closer union."
The issue is unfamiliar to most Americans, yet the cleavages it has ...Read more
Political parties, and their travails, have been much on my mind recently as I've been speaking to radio and television interviewers about my new book, "How America's Political Parties Change (And How They Don't)."
The book thesis is that our two parties, founded in 1832 and 1854, have often changed positions on issues but have retained their ...Read more
The world's oldest political party set an all-time record Tuesday night, with 12 presidential candidates on a single stage in Westerville, Ohio. That's a suburb of Columbus, the fastest-growing big metro area in the Midwest, in Franklin County, which voted Republican in every presidential election but one for a half century (1944-92) but has ...Read more
Is Elizabeth Warren the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination? You can make a strong argument that the answer is yes. You can also argue that she is, at most, a default front-runner and a problematic general election nominee.
And you might reasonably conclude that both arguments taken together tell you some interesting things ...Read more
Underneath the clash and clang of controversy over presidential impeachment, public policy and personal initiative can slowly and seemingly imperceptibly improve life in America. That was the case two decades ago, amid the swirling arguments over the mostly party line impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton and the Senate's mostly party line ...Read more
Precedents abound in a country whose first presidential election took place 230 years ago, that has seen 41 presidential contests between two political parties founded 187 and 165 years ago. Three of our 44 presidents have faced impeachment proceedings -- Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton -- and now it seems Donald Trump will be the...Read more
Congress needs to learn to do a better job of writing laws. That's my conclusion after reviewing the legal debate over whether the Supreme Court should renounce the Chevron doctrine it unanimously promulgated (with three justices not participating) back in 1984.
What is the Chevron doctrine, and why does it matter? It arose out of a Clean Air ...Read more