I often complain about foreigners who write about American politics without knowing the first thing about our history. I know something, but not a lot, about British politics, so don’t take as gospel my observations about the Labour Party and its convention this last week in Brighton, which I attended as research for a book on the left in the U.S. and Europe. I may have gotten things wrong, but as an outsider, I may have seen a few things not so obvious to a native partisan. Read More
I found the first two series of Democratic presidential debates painful to watch, and I don’t think it was simply the result of the format or of the questions asked. It was because in their preoccupations, I don’t think the Democratic candidates have developed the message and the language that can win the White House for the party.
I keep seeing comparisons between Trump’s racial appeals and George Wallace’s 1968 campaign. Here’s the AP’s Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller: “Not since George Wallace’s campaign in 1968 has a presidential candidate — and certainly not an incumbent president — put racial polarization at the center of his call to voters.” Someone here can correct me if my memory is failing me, but in 1968, Wallace did not make explicit racial appeals.
To me, the most surprising developments in the Democratic presidential race have been the rise of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and the failure of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign to catch hold. According to betting sites, Buttigieg is a six to one favorite to win the nomination, and Warren a distant 25 to one. There is a long way until the caucuses and primaries, but here are some guesses why Buttigieg has caught fire and a few thoughts why Warren’s flame has flickered. Read More
I’ve always resisted comparisons between Adolph Hitler and Donald Trump and between Trump’s election and the onset of fascism. Trump is not plotting genocide. The geopolitics are entirely different. But as I was recently reading Volker Ullrich’s terrific biography of Hitler (Hitler: The Ascent, 1889-1939), I was reminded of a certain similarity between the men, and it’s relevant to the current battle over the border wall. Read More
There are issues that divide Republicans and Democrats that sometimes benefit the GOP and at another time the Democrats. Universal healthcare and abortion are issues like this. And so might be the issue of the border wall. If so, the Democrats should be very careful. What follows is a comment on politics, not policy.
I didn’t want to write about The Weekly Standard’s closing until it was official. I was hoping that an angel would descend from the heavens, but it seems that the magazine’s owner, who was eager for the subscriber list for a magazine version of the Washington Examiner, did not want to sell. You ask: Why should I – whose disagreements with the Standard’s editorial stances would fill a short book – care? It has to do with the valuable role that opinion magazines like The Weekly Standard have played in American politics.
George H.W. Bush’s death, like that of John McCain, has brought forth glowing tributes that are veiled critiques of our current president. In response, some commentators on the left have pointed to Bush’s flaws and failures – from his rejection of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to the Willie Horton ad in the 1988 campaign and from the Iran-Contra scandal (of which he was an unnamed conspirator) to his tacit acceptance of the Tiananmen Square massacre. I want to sidestep this debate to say something 80 percent positive about one aspect of Bush’s foreign policy that most clearly came to the fore in his dealings with Europe, the Soviet Union and the Middle East.
I am on a book tour for The Nationalist Revival: Trade and Immigration and the Revolt against Globalization, and I invariably get asked whom the Democrats should run in 2020, and I thought on a quiet weekend when the President is (thank God) out of the country, and I am sitting around a hotel room in Berlin waiting to give a talk, I might run through my answer.
In the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and confirmation as a Supreme Court justice, several liberals have argued that if the Democrats win a majority again in the White House and Congress, they should consider packing the court and even limiting the tenure of court justices. I agree with these proposals by Paul Starr in The American Prospect and Barry Friedman in The New York Times. But the court’s role as a reactionary institution – one that desparately needs reform – began before Kavanaugh’s nomination.