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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

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

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

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

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

Conflict and Accountability

I have long viewed the Trump administration as a reactionary three-act play. I described Act I as an “orgy of norm destruction enabled by congressional Republicans boxed in politically by their embrace of an outlaw administration,” and felt Act II would be characterized by discovery, where Democrats — newly armed with their congressional majority — would offer the country “a … 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

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