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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

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

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

Scenarios

Disclaimer: It’s silly to try to predict the outcome of the Democratic primary race so long before the actual voting begins (and — yes — it’s a long time until February). Still, one of the two questions I’m asked most often is who I think the Democrats are going to nominate (the other is what I think will happen with the … Read More

Enemy of the Good

Note to Democrats: As you begin the holiday shopping phase of the primary campaign, searching for someone who can eject Donald Trump from the White House, please keep in mind that there is no perfect candidate. Not this year, not ever. Whoever is sitting in the last remaining seat when the music finally stops will be an imperfect vessel for … Read More

Go Big or Go Back

Deval Patrick is running for president. Michael Bloomberg is sort of running for president. Because what the Democratic field needs is more candidates. We’re less than three months away from actual voting, and the structure of the Democratic primary looks nothing like the conventional wisdom of last summer, when I suggested that the Joe Biden-as-sure-thing narrative was a Beltway concoction … Read More

Suburban Realignment and Other Thoughts About Tuesday’s Election

Statewide and local elections held in odd-numbered years are generally not predictive of the big national elections held the year following, but they can offer meaningful insights about the electorate. Tuesday’s off-year contest provided Republicans with glaring warning signs about their 2020 prospects, although it’s unclear they will be able to do anything to address them. Going into Tuesday, I … Read More

What You Wish For

Jimmy Carter wanted to run against Ronald Reagan. Having lost the support of the public over a miserable economy and the never-ending Iranian Hostage Crisis, he understood that his path to re-election depended on having an unacceptable opponent. In Reagan, it was as if Carter’s ideal foil had been sent by Central Casting. A movement conservative who had fronted for … Read More

It’s Not Your Imagination–This IS Different

This is what an inflection point looks like. We’re four days into a concerted impeachment investigation by the House of Representatives and some of the core political dynamics that were propping up the administration are starting to buckle.  To review, one week ago we were living in a polarized world where a small, defiant Republican base drove political outcomes while … Read More

Inflection Point

We have reached an inflection point in the struggle between confrontation and accountability. Last Saturday, I suggested that the Ukraine story would break the logjam on impeachment if the substance of the scandal overpowered a set of political dynamics which for the better part of this year have led congressional Democratic leadership to hold the line against intense and repeated … Read More

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