Dazed and Confused

He yells at you from the podium. His ideas are crazy. He’s too old. He’s not even a member of the party he wants to lead. He’s unelectable.  Yet, as much as they tried, establishment Republicans were unable to stop him. Their legacy frontrunner, Jeb Bush, couldn’t resonate with an electorate that sixteen years earlier had rallied enthusiastically to his … Read More

Money Can’t Buy You Love

Can Elizabeth Warren be the “centrist” alternative to Bernie Sanders? As the political world reacts to the fallout from Wednesday’s explosive Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, Warren may emerge as the only remaining candidate with the potential to build a coalition broad enough to contest the deep, unwavering support that has propelled Bernie to frontrunner status and allowed him … Read More

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After New Hampshire, A Work In Progress

Rightly or wrongly, Iowa and New Hampshire have traditionally winnowed the field of candidates and given structure to presidential contests. Not this year. In this most unconventional of cycles, when Democratic voters are desperate to find a candidate who can defeat Donald Trump and no one has yet emerged as the clear choice to do it, the Democratic presidential race … Read More

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Re-Mystifying Iowa

Well that was . . . interesting. One week ago I tried to demystify the opaque Iowa caucus process in a post about what to expect and how to interpret the results. Of all the possibilities I considered, I somehow overlooked the one where an untested app used by precinct captains to report their results to the state party would … Read More

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Remember, They Felt This Was Their Best Option

Let’s work backwards from the necessary outcome of an impeachment trial that was always about political survival and never a search for the truth. To avoid their undoing, Senate Republicans had to find a way to make impeachment disappear without admitting Trump did anything wrong, preferably in time for him to take a victory lap at Tuesday’s State of the … Read More

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Demystifying Iowa

The longest pre-season in America will end one week from tonight when votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses, closing a year of campaigning that has seen 17 candidates drop out before the balloting began. I’m asked a lot of questions about Iowa — usually about how the caucus works and why it matters so much — because the process … Read More

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Extraction

In my year-end post, I raised the possibility that a large portion of the country is poised to reject the outcome of this year’s election, regardless of what that outcome might be. That’s because the 2020 election will be about whether to bring the Trump Reaction to an end or ratify it. Barring an unlikely turn of events leading to … Read More

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Transitions

We are in a period of dramatic transition, but we can’t see our destination and that makes the journey unsettling. For decades we have taken for granted the terms of political and social engagement. We could anticipate how political figures would behave, and we had a shared sense of political and policy boundaries. Not so today, when we don’t know … Read More

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Make Them Admit It’s A Fish

Last Sunday, NBC devoted its final 2019 broadcast of Meet the Press to the question of how responsible media can handle fake news when the Republican Party and Trump administration are invested in disinformation as a political strategy. It was refreshing to see a prominent news program call out what Republicans are doing in unambiguous terms, but more than a … Read More

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The 20s Come Next

We are on the verge of a new decade, making this a good time to draw artificial distinctions between past and future. It’s natural to think in terms of eras, and decades make for easy packaging, even though events do not always neatly correspond to the calendar. What we think of as “the 60s” didn’t start until several years into … Read More

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