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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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

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The Airing of Grievances

About a month ago, I predicted that House Republicans would try to upend the impeachment process rather than engage Democrats on the facts. I thought they would continue to push debunked narratives about Hunter Biden and alleged Ukrainian election interference, complain about the majority’s unwillingness to let them call witnesses who would advance those debunked narratives, and generally turn what … Read More

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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

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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

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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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Gravity

If (like me) you’re old enough to remember Richard Nixon, you should be able to recall how the country felt in 1974. There was a sense of moment, a deep and abiding feeling that something somber and monumental was happening, shared by Americans regardless of where they stood on the question of Nixon’s guilt. Sober and shrewd, Richard Nixon was … Read More

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