TPM Cafe: Opinion

Like it or not, the 2016 presidential cycle has begun. It’s theoretically an open process for both parties. But what characterizes it so far is a remarkable contrast between a Democratic Party that seems almost settled (though not universally happy about it) on a single candidate, Hillary Clinton, and a Republican Party with a potentially gigantic field and no true front-runner.

There are perils and advantages associated with both conditions. But the Republicans elites that have successfully sought to make their party’s nominating calendar more compact are clearly worried that a protracted competition among a large field could be destructive. And after the experience of 2008 and 2012, Republicans have good reason to fear that even their most “electable” candidates could be pulled to the right in a nomination struggle dominated by conservative activists and rank-and-file Tea Parties in early states.

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The Supreme Court may soon be pushed, however reluctantly, to address the question of whether there’s a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. So far, it has punted on the issue. But last week, gay and lesbian couples filed petitions asking the court to rule on the matter now that federal appeals courts have issued contradictory decisions. They hope the court will hear the case before their current session ends in June.

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Imagine that you were pregnant, but couldn’t continue the pregnancy. Now imagine that to safely terminate, you had to travel … to another country.

That’s the reality for female members of the U.S. military stationed overseas. Since 1988, United States military clinics and hospitals around the world, even those located in countries where abortion is legal, have been prohibited by the Department of Defense (DOD) from providing abortion care. There are two exceptions to this ban: the facility could perform an abortion if the pregnancy endangered the woman’s life, or if she was pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

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The news from Beijing this week that the U.S. and China are committing to ambitious goals on climate change is, we think, monumental. No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the largest carbon emitter over the past two centuries, the U.S., and the largest current emitter, China. While many observers are focusing on the ramifications of the announcement for upcoming international negotiations, we believe that the announcement also has potentially profound domestic effects for both countries.

For the U.S., the announcement could have significant implications, both legal and political, for the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate policy, proposed rules for electric power plants. For China, the announcement is a signal that economic transformation remains the long-term goal. Both countries will need to overcome significant domestic resistance to achieve their stated goals but in our view the joint announcement strengthens the hands of both the U.S. and Chinese Presidents.

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JUGGLING THE EUROPEAN CRISIS, battling with Congress to arm the Allies, and conducting his “softly, softly” campaign for a third term took a tremendous toll on the fifty-eight-year-old Franklin D. Roosevelt’s health. In February 1940, his devoted assistant Missy LeHand and William Bullitt believed he suffered a minor heart attack over dinner in the White House, which he shrugged off as indigestion. Instead of slowing down, he quickened his pace.

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When patients are harmed by medical care, the traditional response of health systems is to “deny and defend.”

Hospitals deny they are responsible for the harm, and when pressed, they defend their providers’ conduct throughout a protracted and arduous legal process. According to a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, hospital administrators say that this approach minimizes their liability.

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What do Airbus Group, the American Health Care Association (a lobby group for hospitals and nursing homes), Amgen, Eli Lilly, and GalaxoSmithKline (drug companies), the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, Caesars Entertainment (a gambling casino outfit), the Canadian National Railway, Caterpillar (the farm equipment manufacturer), Chevron (the oil giant and America’s third largest corporation), Consumer Electronics Association (an industry lobby), JetBlue Airways, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (a union), PhRMA (the drug industry lobby), Raytheon (the giant defense contractor), the Republic of India, the State of Kazakhstan, Toyota, the University of Mississippi, the University of Florida, Xerox Corporation, the cities of Waukesha, Wisconsin, Johnsburg, Illinois, and Winter Park, Florida, and DuPage County, Illinois, have in common?

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On Election Day, the pro-choice Democratic women’s fundraising group Emily’s List went on twitter, proclaiming #womendecide. But women did not decide 2014. While women comprise 53 percent of registered voters, vast numbers of women — particularly poor women, young women, and women of color — stayed home. These no shows happened despite the Democrats’ vaunted 50 million dollar Bannock Street Project to turnout voters.

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The progressive philosopher and pedagogue John Dewey famously saw schools as key conduits for driving social change. That is, he thought that “social reorganization” depended upon “educational reconstruction.” For Dewey — like Plato, Rousseau, and countless others — education was a key factor in pursuing broad social, cultural, and political ends. It’s a relatively simple claim: control the schoolhouse and you control the future. To some degree, education determines our politics. Hence the hullabaloo about what we teach in schools: whether we promote religious theories of creation in science classes, and so forth.

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