Joe Biden and Donald Trump Could Usher in the Impossible
‘One can’t believe impossible things,” Alice objected.
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” the Red Queen replied. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed ...
Donald Trump’s Half-Serious, Half-Fantasy Immigration Plan
Donald Trump’s six-page platform on immigration may not be, as Ann Coulter wrote, “the greatest political document since the Magna Carta.” But given the issue’s role in elevating the candidate to the lead in Republican polls, it merits ...
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Are Incapable of Embarrassment
August is traditionally a vacation month, and East Coast elites, following European tradition, are thick on the ground in the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard (the Obamas’ choice), and Nantucket.
But news — in some cases, shattering news — keeps breaking out all ...
A Crowd of Candidates Is New for Republicans
Why did Fox News decide to schedule two Republican presidential debates rather than one? Simple arithmetic: 90 minutes divided by 17 candidates equals five minutes and 29 seconds apiece. That’s scarcely enough time for the oral equivalent of a few tweets.
Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army
As the presidential campaign heats up, and we head into the first debate among the 16 declared Republican candidates, there is an asymmetry between the two political parties.
Republican voters have been seething with discontent toward their party’s officeholders and ...
Planned Parenthood and ‘Black Lives Matter’ Divide Democrats
America’s two major political parties have a difficult task: amassing a 51-percent coalition in a nation that has always been — not just now, but from the beginning — regionally, religiously, racially, and ethnically diverse.
George W. Bush’s Republicans in 2006 ...
Hillary Clinton’s Economic Policy Ideas Belong in 1947
Like it or not, Hillary Clinton is the single individual most likely to be elected the next president. So it’s worthwhile looking closely at and behind her words when she deigns to speak on public policy, as she did ...
What (Little) You See of Hillary Is What You’ll Get If She Wins
It says something about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign that it was big news that she submitted herself to an interview with a cable-news journalist. It also says something that the journalist selected for this honor, Brianna Keilar of CNN, ...
Weinstein and Wattenberg: Patriotism, Optimism and Good-Natured Debate
The Fourth of July is a time to remember Americans who have contributed much to their country, and this weekend is a good time to remember two such Americans who died in recent weeks — and whom I’d had the ...
Facing a Changing World Balance, Obama Is Making Odd Choices Abroad
Is the world back to where it was around the year 1800? One could come to that conclusion after reading British historian John Darwin’s recent book After Tamerlane, which assesses the rises and falls of empires after the death in 1405 ...
On Foreign Policy, Bush Is Vague, Clinton Is Vaguer
American presidents have greater leeway on foreign policy than on domestic issues. Just see how President Obama is forging ahead to an agreement with Iran opposed by large majorities in Congress and among voters.
#ad#A president’s personal predilections ...
Unexpected Victories for Democracy in Turkey and Mexico
Another election, another surprise. Actually, two elections, in two countries last weekend, with surprisingly pleasant surprises. And in two very large countries: Turkey (population 82 million) and Mexico (119 million), both very important to the United States.
In the run-up to the ...
After the Riots, More Crime
Are we seeing a reversal of the 20-year decline in violent crime in America? A new nationwide crime wave?
Heather Mac Donald fears we are, and as a premier advocate and analyst of the policing strategy pioneered by Rudy Giuliani ...
America’s Dysfunctional Universities Are Overdue for Significant Downsizing
American colleges and universities, long thought to be the glory of the nation, are in more than a little trouble. I’ve written before of their shameful practices — the racial quotas and preferences at selective schools (Harvard is being sued ...
Hillary Clinton Counts on Expanding the ‘Coalition of the Ascendant’
Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992 by running as a different kind of Democrat from previous nominees. Hillary Clinton, Anne Gearan of the Washington Post reports, is hoping to win the presidency in 2016 by running as the same kind of ...
Why Did the U.K.’s Election Polls Turn Out to Be So Inaccurate?
‘The world may have a polling problem.” That’s the headline on a blogpost by Nate Silver, the wunderkind founder of FiveThirtyEight. It was posted on 9:54 ET the night of May 7, as the counting in the British election was continuing ...
Income Inequality Is Real, but Most Americans Still Oppose Redistributing Wealth
Skeptics about democracy in the 18th and 19th centuries argued that the enfranchised masses would use their votes to seize the property of the relatively few rich. What could be more natural?
But it hasn’t happened, in this country ...
In the U.K., the Two-Party System Has Become a Thing of the Past
Next week, Britain votes in its first general election in five years. Some aspects of its politics will be familiar to Americans. Polls show voters are dissatisfied with politicians of both parties, cynical about whether they will keep their promises, ...
Why Rand Paul’s Approach to the Media Is Dangerous for Democrats
It was sort of inevitable that on his first day of campaigning as an announced candidate for president earlier this month, Rand Paul would be asked whether he supported a ban on abortions in cases of rape or incest.
Hillary Appears Stuck in the Nineties
Presidents are inevitably shaped by the circumstances in which they campaign for — and come into — office. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt called for “bold, persistent experimentation” and followed through once in office. Had Roosevelt run in another year, or had there been ...
Obama’s Iran Deal Is in Serious Trouble
Is the tide turning against President Obama’s purported nuclear-weapons deal with Iran? One sign that the answer is yes is the devastating opinion article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal by former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George ...
Indiana’s Law Is Part of America’s Tradition of Tolerance
There has been a great ruckus about Indiana’s recently passed religious-freedom law. Some, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, see it as endorsing anti-gay bigotry. Democratic Connecticut governor Dan Malloy has banned state employees from traveling to Indiana, even though ...
Can America’s Family-Breakdown Problem Be Reversed?
Our kids, at least many of them, are not doing very well. The reason, writes Harvard professor Robert Putnam in his just-published Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, is the “two-tier pattern of family structure” that emerged in the 1970...
Will the American Dream Hold True for Hispanics?
‘Firing up America” is the cover line on the March 20 issue of The Economist, heralding a 16-page special report on America’s Latinos. Its tone is resolutely upbeat — perhaps a bit too much so.
“America is lucky to have millions ...
The controversy over Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and her unconvincing press conference at the United Nations have gotten many Democrats and others thinking the unthinkable: Clinton may not be the Democrats’ 2016 nominee for president. And it has many asking the ...
If anyone had any doubts that most members of Congress oppose the Obama administration’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran, they can put them aside after viewing the response to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress Tuesday.
China’s Long Road to Dominance
In reflecting on relations between the United States and China, Henry Kissinger in his 2011 book, On China, notes that since he and Richard Nixon ventured to Beijing more than 40 years ago, “Eight American presidents and four generations of Chinese leaders ...
Why Let the Law Get in the Way?
Reckless disregard. It’s a phrase in legal writing that means “gross negligence without concern for danger to others.” And it’s a phrase that characterizes much of the attitude toward law of an administration headed by a man sometimes ...
There’s No ‘Grand Bargain’ to Be Made with Iran
‘We will extend a hand if you are unwilling to unclench your fist,” President Obama proclaimed in his inaugural address in January 2009. He characterized those to whom this was addressed in negative terms, but the implication was that this president, ...
Scott Walker’s Dynamite Speech
Can a single speech at an Iowa political event change the course of a presidential nomination race? Maybe.
It actually has happened. Barack Obama’s November 2007 speech at a Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Des Moines is generally credited with giving ...
My Mistaken Predictions about the 2016 Race
Some columnists write New Year’s columns chronicling the mistakes over the last year. I don’t, but as this January has rolled on, it’s become clear I’ve made many about the 2016 presidential race.
One is that I ...
A Substance-free State of the Union
It’s not in the printed text, but the most revealing words in President Obama’s seventh State of the Union address came near the end. After the scripted line, “I have no more campaigns to run,” elicited Republican applause, ...
For the Free World, an Old Challenge Returns
How far should a tolerant society tolerate intolerance? It’s a difficult issue, one without any entirely satisfactory answer. And it’s a current issue in the days after 40 world leaders and the U.S. ambassador to France marched together ...
Urban Statists’ Great Foe
Lou Cannon has a nice remembrance on Real Clear Politics of Martin Anderson, the economist and adviser to Ronald Reagan who died last week at 78. He touches on all of Anderson’s accomplishments, from his successful advocacy in the Nixon ...
The Most Republican House in 70 Years
Before Christmas, Arizona finished its 2nd congressional-district recount, showing Republican Martha McSally beating incumbent Democrat Ron Barber by 167 votes. This means there will be 247 Republicans in the House in the 114th Congress — one more than was elected to the House ...
The total discrediting of Rolling Stone’s story on rape at the University of Virginia has shined a light on one of the least palatable features of American life: the so-called epidemic of rape on campus.
Authorities from Barack Obama ...
America’s Stale Culture Wars
In an earlier column, I looked at the role the abortion issue would play in the 2016 election — not very much, I concluded — and promised another column on other cultural issues. Here goes.
On anyone’s list of cultural issues that ...
The Political Perils of Abortion Absolutism
Americans are divided politically along cultural, not economic, lines. Partisan preference is highly correlated with views on non-economic issues and only loosely related to economic status.
This is the norm rather than the exception in American political history. Party preference ...
Will Democrats Take Back the Senate in 2016?
Even as Republicans are about to regain a majority in the Senate after eight years in the minority, the conventional wisdom around Washington is that Democrats are likely to win back that majority again in 2016. That’s certainly possible, but ...
Why No Talk of Piketty Taxes?
Last spring, you may remember, the French economist Thomas Piketty was all the rage in certain enlightened circles. His book Capital in the 21st Century shot up to the No. 1 spot on bestseller lists, and many economists praised his statistics ...
Where the Polls Went Wrong
Were the polls wrong? It’s a question asked after every election. Sometimes, as in 1948, the answer seems as obvious as the answer to the question, “Why did Custer lose at Little Bighorn?” Sometimes the answer is less obvious, as ...
The Hidden Factors in the 2014 Campaign
Looking back on the 2014 election cycle, I see two largely unnoticed turning points that worked against Democrats and in Republicans’ favor.
The first came in response to the October 2013 government shutdown. This was blamed, as shutdowns usually are, on Republicans, ...
Obama Will Leave the Democrats in Shambles
Before the election results are in, and keeping in mind that there may be some unpleasant surprises for one party or the other — or both — it’s possible to assess how the Democratic party has fared under the leadership of ...
A Most Consequential Campaign Speech
On October 27, 1964, 50 years ago Monday, a movie actor and television host delivered a 30-minute speech on primetime national television in support of the presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater.
There were no visual diversions, and the production values by today’s ...
Is Political Decay Inevitable?
Francis Fukuyama picked an auspicious publication date for his latest book, Political Order and Political Decay. The news is full of stories of political decay: the Centers for Disease Control and Ebola; the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ health service; the ...
Rise of the 2014 Independents
One question I’m asked in every electoral cycle is, “What are the surprise races in this election?” My answer in recent years has been, “There are no surprises, because any unexpected development becomes universally known in seconds.”
There have ...
The President’s Security: A Bipartisan Issue
‘Even opposition lawmakers who have spent the last six years fighting his every initiative have expressed deep worry for his security.”
So wrote the New York Times’s Peter Baker in the lead paragraph of a story on the congressional ...
Obama’s ISIS Policy in Historical Context
President Obama’s speech at the United Nations last week was “an important turning point in American foreign policy — and in his presidency.” That’s the verdict of Brookings Institution scholar and former Clinton White House aide William Galston, a ...
A Path Forward on Immigration
What should we do about immigration policy? It’s a question many are asking, and some useful perspective comes from an article in Foreign Affairs by British-born, California-based historian Gregory Clark, unhelpfully titled, “The American Dream Is an Illusion.”
Iraq, immigration, inversion. On all three of the issues referred to, President Obama finds himself forced by events to do something he dislikes — and he’s in trouble with much of his Democratic-party base for doing so.
Obama seemed ill ...
Hillary's ‘Black Lives Matter’ Meeting Spotlights the Movement’s Weaknesses
Reporters and voters have so far gotten few glimpses of Hillary Clinton speaking candidly. One of the few examples available is in the videotape and transcript of her meeting with Black Lives Matter protesters in New Hampshire last week.
As the Left Veers Further to the Left, Conservatives Succeed
In 1935 George Dangerfield published The Strange Death of Liberal England, 1910–1914, a vivid account of how Britain’s center-left Liberal Party, dominant for a century, collapsed amid conflicts it could not resolve.
The Liberal party had appeared impregnable. Its cabinet in 1910 ...
A Tough Day for the President and His Party
Thursday was the biggest night of the political year so far, for what happened on the stage at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena and for what happened offstage as well.
The stage was the scene of the first two Republican ...
Contra the President’s Hope, the Iran Deal Won’t Lead to Regime Change
‘Faute de mieux.” That means “for want of something better” in Secretary of State John Kerry’s second language. It’s also the best case made by its journalistic defenders for approval of the nuclear-weapons deal Kerry negotiated with Iran. ...
Is America Entering a New Victorian Era?
Forty-seven years ago, the musical “Hair” opened on Broadway. Elderly mavens — the core theater audience then, unlike the throngs of tourists flocking to cheap movie adaptations today — were instructed that America was entering an “Age of Aquarius.” The old moral ...
HUD’s ‘Disparate Impact’ War on Suburban America
Disparate impact — it’s a legal doctrine that may be coming soon to your suburb (if you’re part of the national majority living in suburbs).
Bringing it there will be the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ...
Why a Trump Third-Party Run Should Worry Democrats
‘My sole focus is to run as a Republican,” Donald Trump told my Washington Examiner colleague Byron York last week, “because of the fact that I believe that this is the best way we can defeat the Democrats.” He went ...
The Supreme Court Sweats a Small-Stakes Case on Redistricting
‘Words mean what they say,” I wrote in my Washington Examiner column one week ago. But, as I added, not necessarily to a majority of justices of the Supreme Court. The targets of my column were the majority opinions in ...
SCOTUS Lets the Obama Administration Say Words Don’t Mean What They Say
For most people, words mean what they say. But not necessarily for a majority of Supreme Court justices in two important decisions handed down Thursday.
In the most prominent, King v. Burwell, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a 6-3 ...
Clinton’s Weakness in Important States
Hillary Clinton has relaunched her campaign on Roosevelt Island with a 4,687-word speech. But it’s not clear whether she and her husband, Bill Clinton, can win four presidential elections as Franklin D. Roosevelt did.
Negative news for Clinton’s ...
The Trade Bill’s Failure in Congress Showcases Obama’s Ineptness as a Legislative Strategist
Lyndon Johnson used to say that some of his colleagues were so politically inept they couldn’t find their posteriors — actually, he used a coarser word — with both hands. Last week Barack Obama showed that, as a legislative strategist, he ...
Have Hillary’s Scandals Finally Started Damaging Her Poll Numbers?
‘Despite everything,” the often interesting analyst Jamelle Bouie writes in Slate — “everything” includes “the email controversy, foreign donors and the Clinton Foundation” — “Hillary is in good shape.” Good enough to leave her party “still positioned for victory.”
#ad#Bouie is ...
Only Madisonian Civil Disobedience Can Turn Back the Tide of Intrusive Government
Is there any way to reverse the trend toward ever more intrusive, bossy government? Things have gotten to such a pass, argues Charles Murray, that only civil disobedience might — might — work. But the chances are good enough, he says, that ...
How Warfare Has Evolved over the Past Century
Over the past year, I’ve been reading books inspired by the centenary of World War I, a war with horrific casualties painful to contemplate. What helps in comprehending the scale of the slaughter is a book by one of ...
On the Campaign Trail, Hillary’s Press Silence Speaks Volumes
This spring it seems as if there have been two-point-something Republican presidential-candidacy announcements per week. And, since she made her own announcement April 12, Hillary Clinton has answered an average of about two-point-something questions from the press each week.
How to Explain the U.K.’s Conservative Wave?
Big surprises in Thursday’s British election. For weeks, the pre-election polls showed a statistical tie in popular votes between Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party and the Labour opposition led by Ed Miliband. It was universally agreed that ...
At This Point, Voters May Be Fed Up with All the Clintons’ Scandals
Some of Hillary Clinton’s defenders have taken to saying that voters shouldn’t pay attention to the latest Clinton scandals — the gushing of often undisclosed millions to the Clintons and their organizations by characters seeking official favors — because the ...
Has Spring Become the Season of Congressional Bipartisanship?
Like spring, bipartisanship is busting out all over. Even more so maybe: Washington in a time of alleged global warming is suffering through a chilly, wet springtime, but bipartisanship is sprouting up like gangbusters.
#ad#Exhibit A is the Corker-Cardin ...
Has the Globalization Trend Already Peaked?
‘I would bet on globalization slowly being in abeyance,” tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel said in a video interview with George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen. “I think with the benefit of hindsight, we will realize that 2007 was not just the ...
This Republican-Primary Season, Anything Can Happen
Two weeks ago, Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president at Liberty University, and last week, Rand Paul announced at the Galt House hotel in Louisville, Ky. Marco Rubio is expected to announce this week at the Freedom Tower in ...
Most U.S Population Growth This Century Happened in Just 27 Metro Areas
It’s springtime, and the Census Bureau has released its population estimates for counties and metropolitan areas as of July 1, 2014. Initial analysis has focused on year-to-year movements or changes since the 2010 Census — subjects worthy of attention.
#ad#But it’s ...
The Mistake That Will Haunt Obama’s Legacy Abroad
There are still nearly two years left in Barack Obama’s presidency, but historians looking back on his record in foreign policy will surely identify one costly error: his refusal to follow through on the implied threat in stating that ...
Rahm Emanuel Has the Yuppification of Chicago to Thank for His Success
Rahm Emanuel heads into a runoff April 7 in his bid for a second term as mayor of Chicago. He’s the favorite going in, having won 46 percent in the February 24 first round against longtime local officeholder Chuy Garcia’s 34 percent ...
Cotton’s Letter Shouldn’t Be Controversial
In her brief press conference at the United Nations, Hillary Clinton led off with a denunciation of the letter to Iranian leaders signed by 47 of the 54 Republican senators. This was in line with Democratic talking points — a sign that the ...
King v. Burwell’s Mere Existence Is Politically Remarkable
On Wednesday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the case challenging the IRS’s decision to pay subsidies to lower-income health-insurance buyers in states with federal insurance exchanges — even though the Obamacare legislation authorizes subsidies only ...
If America Is Mars and Europe, Venus — How Is Europe Doing?
‘Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus,” wrote Robert Kagan in Of Paradise and Power, published in 2003, just as the United States went into Iraq. Americans, he wrote, see themselves in “an anarchic Hobbesian world,” where security and ...
Like it or not, the 2016 presidential race is now well under way. Republican candidates are flocking to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, while Hillary Clinton, in-between $200,000 speeches at universities, is reported to be in seclusion developing her economic policies.
Breaking Democrats’ ‘Blue Wall’
Do Republicans have a realistic chance of winning the next presidential election? Some analysts suggest that the answer is no. They argue that there is a 240-electoral-vote “blue wall” of 18 states and D.C. that have gone Democratic in the ...
The Democratic Majority that Wasn’t
John Judis, co-author of the book The Emerging Democratic Majority, now says in an article in National Journal that that majority has disappeared. His title: “The Emerging Republican Advantage.”
The original book, published in the Republican year of 2002, forecast accurately ...
Obama’s Taxed Himself into a Corner
Word comes that Barack Obama’s budget will call for ending the sequester spending limits now in effect. That’s not surprising. White House aides proposed the sequester, but Obama thought it wouldn’t go into effect because Republicans couldn’...
Public policymakers and political pundits tend to focus on problems — understandably, because if things are going right they aren’t thought to need attention. Yet positive developments can teach us things as well, when, for reasons not necessarily clear, great ...
Could the Financial Crisis Repeat Itself?
What caused the financial crisis? How can we prevent another one from happening again? The answers you most often hear to those questions are (1) greed and deregulation and (2) the Dodd-Frank law.
But they’re patently inadequate. Greed — or the desire ...
There are likely to be many surprises in a race for the Republican presidential nomination that has something like 20 plausible potential candidates. The first of those surprises came in the last hours before New Year’s when Jeb Bush announced ...
Can Family Fragmentation Be Fixed?
How big a problem is family fragmentation? “Immense,” says Mitch Pearlstein, head of the Minnesota think tank Center of the American Experiment. “The biggest domestic problem facing this country.”
So big he went out and interviewed 40 experts of varying ideology ...
Washington’s Power Is Flowing Away
Too much power being grabbed by Washington — in health-care law, environmental regulations, education standards. That has been a constant complaint of conservatives not only during Barack Obama’s presidency but during George W. Bush’s as well.
But power is ...
Earlier this week, Jeb Bush announced he was setting up a political committee to explore a presidential candidacy. Hillary Clinton has been exploring a presidential candidacy for months and perhaps years. Polls show Clinton with a wide lead for the ...
What the Midterms Mean for 2016
The defeat of Democratic senator Mary Landrieu by Republican representative Bill Cassidy in last weekend’s Louisiana runoff ends an election year that has been very successful for Republicans — and has implications for 2016. Some observations:
(1) Democrats relied heavily on legacy ...
The Collapse of the Clinton Brand
A year ago, Hillary Clinton seemed likely to become the next president. Presumably she and her husband had not yet started to call themselves, Bush style, 42 and 45. But she had an overwhelming lead in the polls for the Democratic nomination ...
The Diminished Minority Leader
No one in Washington much cares what House Democrats do these days. House rules tend to ensure that the main job of members of the minority is to show up, vote “no,” and lose. And in the next Congress, Democrats ...
Second Thoughts on Immigration Reform
‘When the facts change, I change my mind,” economist John Maynard Keynes said when charged with inconsistency. “What do you do, sir?”
As President Obama threatens to stretch his power to faithfully execute the law to a breaking point by ...
The Political Map of the Future
If you’re a political junkie — or at least if you’re a conservative political junkie — you’ve probably seen the map. It’s a map of the United States showing the congressional districts won by Republicans in red and ...
The Shrinkage of the Obama Majority
Some observations on the election:
1) This was a wave, folks. It will be a benchmark for judging waves, for either party, for years.
2) In seriously contested races, Republican candidates were generally younger, more vigorous, more sunny and optimistic than Democrats. ...
Democratic Dogs That Aren’t Barking
Sherlock Holmes famously solved a mystery by noticing the dog that didn’t bark in the night. Dogs that are not barking at night — nor in prime time — provide some useful clues to understanding the significance of this year’s ...
The GOP Will Retain the House
You probably haven’t read much commentary about this year’s elections to the House of Representatives. There’s a good reason for that: The majority in the Senate is up for grabs, but it’s clear to everyone who ...
Are Hispanics Turning on Democrats?
It’s looking like a tough off-year election for Democrats, with their Senate majority at serious risk and their chances of gaining House seats down toward zero.
Every party has a bad off-year sometimes; Republicans did in 2006. Sooner or later ...
Democrats on the Defensive
Things are spinning out of control. Out of control, at least, by government, and by the United States government in particular. You don’t have to spend much time reading the news — or monitoring your Twitter feed — to get that ...
Republicans seem to be pulling away in the race to win a majority in the U.S. Senate. At least this week.
In mid-September, several polls seemed to be going the other way. The well-informed Washington Post analyst Chris Cillizza ...
Scotland and the Secessionist Impulse
Last week, the voters of Scotland, in a heavy turnout and from age 16 up, decided not to disunite what has been arguably one of the most successful and beneficial nations over the last 307 years, the necessarily clunkily named United Kingdom ...
Which Is the Weaker Party?
Which of our two great political parties is the stronger? Maybe it makes more sense to ask which of the two is weaker.
The case that the Republicans are weaker is easy to state. Democrats have won four of the ...
Big Government Outlives Its Use
‘Twentieth-century technology,” writes economic historian Joel Mokyr in the Manhattan Institute’s excellent City Journal, “was primarily about ‘large’ things.”
Large in physical size, that is. Mokyr’s examples include the diesel engine and the gas turbine, shipping containers, communications ...