Matt Kerbel

Liberation Day

  This is a dark moment. This is a time of celebration.  Our country suffers under the acute weight of a deadly plague made unnecessarily lethal and divisive by profound ineptitude, laziness and vengefulness. Tomorrow we will replace incompetence and sloth with energy and skill. We bear the burden of an economy torn apart by a coldhearted ignorance and malice toward those in need. Tomorrow we will elevate the value of expertise and rediscover empathy. We face an existential climate crisis ignored for greed and exacerbated by magical thinking. Tomorrow we will reclaim the importance of science and reason. For four years we have been ground down by a bully’s wrath. Tomorrow we will restore compassion. We have been steeped in lies so total that they have led to violence in the name of keeping a fake promise to honor a false god. Our capitol has been defiled. Tomorrow begins the hard work of repair and reclamation. We are divided by what we believe is real and have been immobilized by a corrupt leader willing to imprison a nation so that he can remain free. Tomorrow he will be extracted from power and lose his legal shield. He will leave.

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Compassion

Donald Trump’s ticket to staying in power requires dividing the country into cultural, ethnic, racial, gender and religious groups and inciting conflict among them. The fate of the resistance movement requires bringing these groups together in common cause against someone whose values are antithetical to fundamental elements of American political culture. To succeed, the resistance needs to do more than position itself against Trump. It needs to advocate for the values it embodies in order to create the foundation for a more just society that will need to be built on the ashes of Trumpism. This requires reaching across the

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Fault Lines

Donald Trump held a press conference on Thursday in which his familiar brand of narcissism clashed dramatically with the familiar setting of the East Room. In a rambling diatribe against reporters that lasted well over an hour, Trump displayed the same talent for channeling grievance that propelled him to the Republican nomination. He claimed credit for unspecified accomplishments, denied his White House is in chaos, and continued to obsess over the terms of his election victory. The reaction from opinion leaders was brutal. Legacy media outlets were quick to call his performance dishonest, self-indulgent and unhinged. CNN characterized it as a stunning display of anger.  The New Yorker referred to it as

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The Core Political Problem

Pretend for a moment you’re a Republican member of congress representing a district drawn to maximize the influence of base Republican voters. You don’t worry much about losing to a Democrat in the next general election, because your district was carefully gerrymandered to protect you from a general election challenge. But that same gerrymander boosted the influence of Republican primary voters on your re-nomination, so ever since the district lines were drawn after the 2010 census you have been looking over your right shoulder at potential primary challengers who could attack you for being too moderate. You’re a reasonable sort.

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Back Soon

So I’ve heard some things have happened since the last time I posted . . . The process of revising two books—the longer being a 450,000 word government textbook—has taken more time than I anticipated, but both projects are coming to a close and I will be back shortly with some thoughts on the chaos around us and where we may be going as the Trump era makes its inauspicious debut. Specifically, in the coming weeks I plan to write about: The core political problem that’s helping to prop up the Trump administration despite evidence of massive incompetence and disregard for

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Happy New Year

As the unexpected turns of 2016 give way to the unpredictability of 2017, I’d like to take a moment and send my wishes for a healthy and fulfilling year ahead. I haven’t posted much in the last month and most likely won’t write much in the next few weeks as I face January deadlines for two manuscripts. The sixth edition of my American Government textbook is due next week, followed later in the month by the second edition of a book on American political parties co-authored by my friend and colleague John White. Much about American politics and political parties remains as

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The Electoral College Should Do Its Job

More people have asked me to explain the Electoral College over the past two weeks than at any time since I last taught the subject in my American Government course. And at no time in memory has the Electoral College been more relevant to a presidential election. For as long as anyone can remember, electors have done little more than ratify the popular vote through an obscure procedure of interest only to C-SPAN junkies. But in a year when stopping Donald Trump has been an ongoing subplot in the reality television show we call American politics, the Electoral College has

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