Politics, Moderate



The Irrelevance of Presidential Debates

The first debate is typically the most dramatic occasion of every general election presidential campaign. Two (or three) rivals who have been contending with each other from a distance finally have to confront each other face to face, with the nation watching raptly and the election hanging in the balance.

It's great theater, particularly ...Read more

How to overcome a conservative Supreme Court

Among Americans who are not politically conservative, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her pending replacement evoke anger and despair. A court with an impregnable 6-3 conservative majority is likely to roll back all sorts of rights and protections, leaving many people at risk.

The most obvious likely casualty is the ...Read more

Can the United States survive the 2020 election?

At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a little-known state senator from Illinois electrified the crowd with a speech proclaiming our fundamental unity. "There's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America," Barack Obama declared.

Four years later, he campaigned for president promising that we ...Read more

Americans like free trade. Trump and Biden don't.

President John F. Kennedy once noted, "There's an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan." But in the case of free trade, the opposite is true. It's been a great success as a policy, but one neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden is willing to claim ownership.

Trump is an outspoken protectionist, regarding imports as ...Read more

Pence debases the vice presidency

Loyalty to Donald Trump demands more than many people can muster. One Cabinet officer and high-level aide after another has repeatedly endured ill treatment only to finally leave rather than accept further indignities. But no subservience is too much for Mike Pence.

His Wednesday night speech to the Republican National Convention confirmed that...Read more

Trump doesn't know how to bring back prosperity

Whenever the oil business hits one of its periodic slumps, the joke heard in petroleum-rich areas is: "Please, God, grant me one more boom, and this time I promise not to screw it up." It makes a good bumper sticker, but Donald Trump is using it as a campaign theme.

The middle of a horrendous recession is an odd time to boast about your ...Read more

Biden's rise confirms that in American politics, nothing is ever final

Donald Trump may have won the most unlikely presidential election victory in U.S. history. But no one has ever taken a longer, more treacherous road to the White House than Joe Biden. If he should win, he will confirm that in American politics, nothing is ever final.

He arrived in the U.S. Senate barely old enough to meet the constitutional age...Read more

Can Kamala Harris get Joe Biden to push for legalizing pot?

A vice president has to defer to the president's decisions on policy, but vice presidents can also help shape it. Dick Cheney pushed George W. Bush to invade Iraq, and Joe Biden gave Barack Obama a nudge to endorse same-sex marriage. Maybe Kamala Harris will convince Biden to push for legalizing marijuana.

There are reasons to think so. One was...Read more

The truth about Chicago crime is complicated

Chicago, which was already in the midst of a spike in murderous conduct, has also seen violent demonstrations that included clashes between police and protesters. If those weren't enough, it suffered looting sprees that culminated in mass destruction and larceny downtown early Monday morning. And anytime there are outbreaks of violence, glib ...Read more

National political conventions are worth keeping

Joe Biden won't be showing up in Milwaukee for the Democratic Convention. Donald Trump may give his acceptance speech from the White House instead of before cheering delegates in Charlotte, North Carolina. Without the customary galas, this presidential campaign will be the equivalent of a birthday celebration without a cake.

Not that it really ...Read more

Trump remains a clueless captive of his own wishful thinking

In 2016, the libertarian magazine Reason polled a few dozen staff, contributors and allies on who would get their votes for president. Almost all planned to cast a ballot for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson. I was alone in stating a firm intention to vote for Hillary Clinton, for three simple reasons: "She's sane, informed and competent."...Read more

Biden's modest health care plans vs. Trump's imaginary ones

Health care policy has been a major issue for a long time. It played a big role in Barack Obama's 2008 election victory, his entire presidency and the 2010 GOP takeover of the House of Representatives. Repealing Obamacare was a Republican priority before and after Donald Trump became president. The debate on "Medicare for All" dominated the 2020...Read more

Would Joe Biden destroy the suburbs?

A majority of Americans live in suburban areas, but not for long. No, they won't be moving. But the places where they live will cease to be suburbs. At least that's what a certain fear-mongering president would have them believe.

Donald Trump has said that Joe Biden's housing plans would "totally destroy the beautiful suburbs." On Thursday, the...Read more

Trump Should Let Cities Police Themselves

Not long ago, President Donald Trump was talking about sending active-duty military troops to suppress riots in American cities. That threat brought not only criticism from retired generals but resistance from his defense secretary, Mark Esper. But Trump has found another way to bring the hammer down.

Last week, federal law enforcement agents...Read more

The shortsighted rush to reopen schools

Let me get a show of hands: How many of you do not want schools back in session for in-person classes as soon as it's safe? How many of you think exclusive remote learning is by far the best way to educate kids? How many of you would rather keep teachers and students home for a long time to come?

Hmm. I'm not seeing any hands. That's odd...Read more

Trump's false optimism won't stop the pandemic or fix the economy

I have some bad news for anyone concerned about the economy. Very bad news. Donald Trump tweeted Monday, "The Economy is coming back fast!" Tuesday, he proclaimed: "Things are coming back, and they're coming back very rapidly. A lot sooner than people thought."

This is an unmistakable signal that the economy is not coming back rapidly and may ...Read more

Call off college football

If you are not a regular watcher of the Tennis Channel, it may surprise you to learn that the sport is back. Reruns of prehistoric Grand Slam finals have given way to live coverage of top professionals in exhibition tournaments that none of the players seem to treat as mere exhibitions.

Did I say top professionals? A June team event in ...Read more

How police and prisons blocked black progress

Thirty years ago, African Americans were on a trajectory toward equality with whites. Civil rights laws had broken down barriers that had impeded Black people. Their educational attainments were on the rise. The racial wage gap had shrunk. It was reasonable to expect that by 2020, something close to economic and social parity would be achieved. ...Read more

No, Susan Rice did not support the Iraq War

If Joe Biden takes my advice and chooses Susan Rice to be his running mate, then there will be criticism from people who opposed the Iraq War. That's because if you Google "Susan Rice" and "Iraq War," you will find several sources, including Wikipedia, that say she supported it. Let me try to save critics and journalists from that error by ...Read more



Steve Benson Steve Breen Jeff Danziger Gary McCoy Kevin Siers Phil Hands