Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Out of Luck?

I hadn't taken Obama's statement that a post-EU UK would have to go 'to the back of the line' for trade negotiations that seriously. I'd seen it as more a nudge to ward off any expectation that trade relations with the US would be instantly restored on some crash course negotiation. But the possibility of the break-up of the UK itself (which seems like a very real possibility to me over the 4 to 5 year time horizon) hadn't occurred to me as a drag on potential negotiations.

Overall, I liked your post about Brexit. I will have to say though that I'm doubtful the US will make a deal with the UK outside the EU a priority.

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The Big Picture on Trumpism and Brexit Isn't What You Think

We are told we are entering a period of economic nationalism and right wing populism. We see it in the UK with Brexit, in the USA with Trumpism and in other nations and regions with their own unique inflections. From others we hear this is simply a tantrum or irrationality, perhaps a generalized breakdown of trust in elites. These are each true to a degree. But I think they are each also quite misleading. I see a very different or much more specific pattern in the country whose politics I know best, the USA, and the demographics and the voting parallels seem evident enough in Britain as well.

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Feel the Foreboding

If you've read my editors' blog posts over the years, you likely know that I am at heart a small-c conservative and instinctive institutionalist. There are up and down sides to that way of approaching the world. But it's a posture that colors my reactions to most things. On that front, last night's events in the UK fill me with no little foreboding. Sure, the pound was in free fall over night. The British equities market is getting hammered. Those are likely transitory events - at least the instability, if not the absolute values. But look a bit further down the road.

Look at the map.

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So Mark Cuban & I Had a Chat About Trump

As you know, I've been piecing together what we know about Donald Trump's Potemkin $10 billion real estate, tie and steak empire. Mark Cuban is an actual billionaire and friend or frenemy of Trump's. And he's been increasingly public in his suspicions about Trump's wealth too. Cuban and I had an email exchange sharing notes and trying to figure out why Trump seems so hard up for cash. Here's the exchange.

My Thoughts on Brexit

Before the results are in, I just wanted to say a few words on Brexit, Britain's proposed exit from the EU. This is an issue for the British. But it is an issue that I think everyone has some right to chime in on since it will have a real effect on the whole global economy, and real effects in the US since Britain and the EU are among the United States' largest trading partners. In short, the idea strikes me as simply crazy.

Here's why.

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So Much More Than Just Prisons

Today we're publishing part two of our series on privatization. I think you will really like it. It's about the so-called "corrections industry". But what it shows is that the corrections industry is about way, way more than just prisons. To use the jargon of industry, the corrections industry has managed to scoop up business along the whole supply line, from the moment of arrest to the last check-in with the parole officer. Read this. You'll find it very eye-opening.

Will Corbyn's Unreserved Opposition to Brexit Doom the Labour Party?

I remain an agnostic on whether it would be better for the United Kingdom to be inside or outside the European Union. I find some of the economic arguments for “Remain” Chicken-Little-ish, but who am I to say whether a major decision like that could have dire economic consequences? I am also no expert on British politics, but I do have a sense from afar of what the vote could mean for the Labour Party. And it's not good.

I have watched interviews with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and read articles about his position favoring “Remain,” and what strikes me is that in being unwilling to acknowledge that supporters of “Leave” might have a genuine case, he is further distancing the Labour Party from its traditional working class base. In Britain, as in the United States, many of these voters are up in arms about immigration and about runaway shops; and in Britain, contrary to what Corbyn says, the EU is implicated in these issues.

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For Trump, Almost Normal

I don't know if you heard Donald Trump's anti-Hillary speech this morning. It was filled with a slew of demonstrable falsehoods about Hillary and this very overheated argument about Hillary being responsible for the deaths of thousands and using the State Department as her own "private hedge fund." A reader wrote in this afternoon to ask for help understanding what Trump was even trying to say with that remark. I didn't get a chance to respond to her yet. But the gist I think is that there's no there there to understand. The point is that Hillary's a crook, uses any position in government as a way to enrich herself and is just generally awful. Tossing in "hedge fund" is nothing more than Trump's permanent need to act out dominance politics via hyperbole, even when it's devoid of any actual meaning. And yet, once you got past the febrile Hillary bashing, the most notable thing about the speech was how relatively normal it was.

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