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

SPOTLIGHT – Prison Rape is Corporal Punishment

It is no surprise that bad things happen when criminals are held together in an overcrowded and poorly controlled environment. Prison life is rampant with drug abuse, gang activity, and violence. The widespread disorder, including sexual assault, raises serious questions for a system administered under full government control. Continue reading

Who’s Afraid of Radical Islam?

Given a choice, most politicians prefer a symbolic fight to a substantive one. To see how, consider the fight over the term ‘radical Islam’. Even by the low standards typically set by American politicians, the argument stands out for its inanity. It’s worth asking: what are Americans so afraid of? Continue reading

In the Wake of the Paris Attacks, the Power of Stories

Stories are how humans make sense of the world. It is perhaps our most distinctive trait. The terrorist attacks that shook Paris last Friday gave the world a stark reminder of the power of narrative. Continue reading

The Road Not Taken – Obama’s Syrian Mistake

Obama came into office promising not to repeat the errors of the George W. Bush presidency, and by and large, he hasn’t. But he’s been so zealous in implementing the lessons of the Iraq War – “don’t do stupid stuff” – that he’s built his own trap by ignoring the fact that when you’re President of the United States, you don’t have the privilege of inaction. 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