What We’ve Learned from the Election So Far

When the unexpected arrives, observers are usually left scrambling to make sense of what’s happening. Often, we end up both over- and under-reacting. At times like this, the old political wisdom becomes irrelevant, and the new political wisdom tends to be little more than glorified soothsaying. The landscape is ripe for myth-making, so let’s take a moment and clear some things up. Continue reading

Bernie Sanders and the Grassfire that Wouldn’t Spark

There is no denying that Bernie Sanders’ platform is radical. His ideas are radical, the speed of change he seeks is radical, and the way he’s willing to achieve change is radical. Voters should pay attention. Continue reading

A Look at Our Electoral System, Part I – When Voters Speak

Somewhere in my graduate education I came across the following observation: the role of a selection process isn’t to find the right choice, but to certify one choice over others as the right one. A boxing match that goes the … Continue reading

Looking for Hope in the Age of Trump

It has come to this: supposedly serious people have tried to find solace in the naked absurdity of what Mr. Trump is saying, reasoning that at the very least he couldn’t possibly sincerely mean it. Thus, in a contest for the most powerful office in the world, the thought that what the winner might do is a total mystery has become the optimistic telling. Continue reading

Trump Gives the Voters What They Want, GOP Should Be Worried

Donald Trump is running (and winning) on a platform that bypasses GOP establishment orthodoxy. Establishment Republicans are trying to argue that that places Mr. Trump in conflict with the party’s beliefs, but they’re exactly wrong: Donald Trump isn’t less of what the Republican party has been over the last several decades, he is more of it. Continue reading

Scalia’s Death Sparks Mental Gymnastics from Both Parties

The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the middle of a Presidential race has brought the mental gymnastics of politicians and voters into sharp relief. On the most basic details, everyone seems to share a blessedly common … Continue reading

N.H. Embraces Extremes, Throws Kasich a Lifeline

This week in New Hampshire, a cocktail of fear mongering and fantasy peddling propelled Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders to victories. But New Hampshire also struck a counter-note: John Kasich won a strong second place in the Republican primary. Continue reading

Despite Solid Reviews, Democratic Debate Exposes Weak Points

With 15.3 million viewers, Tuesday’s CNN/Facebook Democratic debate had the highest rating of any Democratic primary debate in US history. That means that about one in twenty Americans watched the five candidates vie for the opportunity to lead the party’s … Continue reading

Death of an Autopsy – What Donald Trump Is Doing to the GOP

Donald Trump won’t win the GOP nomination, but he has already left his mark. Every day he spends in the race makes it harder for serious candidates to make their arguments – and the more his antics are greeted with the approval of the recalcitrant Republican base, the shyer the moderates will get. Continue reading

Bullshit on the Stump: The Highs and Lows of US Politics

Normally, I shy away from adult language; but from time to time it helps to dispense with formalities and, for the sake of clarity, call a spade a spade. Following the example of philosopher Harry Frankfurt, today’s post will focus on the high art of American political bullshit. Continue reading