"I would prefer not to." That was the invariable reply of the title character of Herman Melville's 1853 story "Bartleby, the Scrivener," when asked by his employer to perform a task.
It's also a phrase you might use to describe the opinion of the Supreme Court in its latest redistricting -- or gerrymandering -- case, Gill v. Whitford. This was ...Read more
It has been a week full of wins for President Donald Trump -- at least for those who share Trump's view of the way the world works, and perhaps even for some who don't.
Exhibit A is Trump's summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore. In their self-congratulatory joint statement, they said that North Korea committed to "...Read more
The nation is just past halftime in the 2018 primary election cycle. Twenty states -- containing the majority, 228 of 435, of House districts -- have held their primaries, and all but the three with runoffs have chosen their nominees.
The latest results, taken together with the generic vote -- polls asking which party's House candidate you'll ...Read more
"Across Europe and North America, centrists are the least supportive of democracy, the least committed to its institutions and the most supportive of authoritarianism." So wrote political researcher David Adler in The New York Times after analyzing responses to two multi-country surveys on values.
Adler found that centrists are less likely to ...Read more
"F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims," read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. "The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016," read a story in the May 21 edition of The Wall Street...Read more
Isaac Newton's third law of motion states that for every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It can operate in politics, too. For example, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith recently wrote, "It is part of Trump's evil genius that he elevates himself by inducing his critics to behave like him."
Call it Trump derangement ...Read more
Seventy-three years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt, on his trip back from the Yalta conference with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin, held his last meeting with foreign leaders, aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal's Great Bitter Lake. One was with the desert warrior king, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, who sailed in with seven live sheep and a tent to ...Read more
As the likelihood that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia seems headed toward zero, the likelihood of proof of a different form of collusion seems headed upward toward certainty.
The Russia collusion charge had some initial credibility because of businessman Donald Trump's dealings in Russia and candidate Trump's off-putting praise of ...Read more
One hundred nineteen years ago, Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed announced that he was, after 22 years of service, resigning from Congress. Reed had been one of the most effective speakers ever. Barbara Tuchman's account, in "The Proud Tower," of how he neutered the minority party has entranced readers for decades now. When Democrats tried to...Read more
"I am worried," writes Harvard geneticist David Reich in The New York Times, "that well-meaning people who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences among human populations are digging themselves into an indefensible position, one that will not survive the onslaught of science."
Reich was responding to anticipated resistance to...Read more
Some days, the Republican Party seems on the verge of splitting up. Its congressional majorities couldn't produce a health care bill and passed an omnibus spending bill its president regretted signing. Prominent never-Trumpers call for the creation of a new political party. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who carried seven counties outside his home state...Read more