Is Fire and Fury Fizzling?
The most disappointed people in America this past week must be those Trump execrators who opened their Amazon package only to find that the copy of Fire and Fury they had ordered was subtitled “The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942–1945.” It’...
Trying to Take Trump Seriously
It turned out that 2016 was a year in which it was wise to take Donald Trump as a political candidate seriously but not literally, in the inspired words of syndicated columnist Salena Zito. As 2017 is on the point of vanishing, ...
Picking the Lock in Alabama
Turnout would be the key to which of the wildly conflicting polls would best presage the result of Alabama’s special Senate election, wrote Republican consultant Patrick Ruffini earlier this week.
That proved correct. Statewide, turnout was down 37 percent from ...
The Republican Tax Bill Is a Serious Reform
‘The Republican tax bill hurtling through Congress is increasingly tilting the United States tax code to benefit wealthy Americans.” That’s the beginning of a 37-word first sentence in a stage-setting front-page story in the New York Times on the ...
Will Political Setbacks Unite the Republican Party?
The inexorable workings of the political marketplace seem to be enforcing some discipline over hitherto fissiparous Republican politicians. The question is whether this is happening too late to save the party’s declining prospects in the 2018 midterm elections.
You can ...
In the Time of Trump, Keep Calm and Carry On
Keep calm and carry on. Those words, though not appearing as extensively on posters in wartime Britain as often supposed, are good advice for Americans now appalled by the presidency of Donald Trump.
It is widely proclaimed that he is ...
Democrats Yelp as Trump Upholds Constitution
Donald Trump is criticized, often justly, for misstatements of facts and failure to understand the details of public policy. But in two of his most recent controversial actions, he has taken stands upholding the rule of law and undoing the ...
Both Parties Seem Determined to Lose the Next Elections
Almost no one disagrees that our two major political parties, the oldest and third-oldest in the world, have become increasingly extreme and estranged over the past decade. It’s a startling contrast with the state of political conflict in the ...
Trump’s Tension with Congressional Republicans Is Politics as Usual
For the first time in nearly 20 years, the president seems out of alignment, on policy and political goals, with his party in Congress. This strikes many as an anomalous, even alarming, situation. But if you look back at history, it’...
Can Trump and Congress Make a Deal on Immigration?
Can President Donald Trump and the Republican-majority Congress make a deal? That’s a question raised by the announcement that the Trump administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months. DACA, put in place by ...
What Identity Politics Hath Wrought
There’s a whiff of Weimar in the air. During the years of the Weimar Republic (1919–33), Germany was threatened by Communist revolutionaries and Nazi uprisings. Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau was assassinated, and violent street fighting was commonplace. Then Adolf Hitler ...
Ignoring the Lessons of Effective Presidents
Who have been the most successful presidents in the past 80 years? Most successful, that is, in framing issues and advancing their policies, achieving foreign-policy success, winning re-election, and maintaining high job approval.
My nominees are Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and ...
Anti-Trump Overreach Could Backfire
Overreach. Donald Trump seems to have an uncanny knack for prompting overreach by his opponents and critics. This often hurts him and the country, but it has the potential to hurt those doing the overreach as well.
Start with Trump’...
On Economic Issues, Both the GOP and the Democrats Lack Credibility
Liberal writers and political operatives, now that it’s finally dawning on them that no one is going to find evidence that Donald Trump conspired with Russia to steal the presidential election, are turning to giving advice to the Democratic ...
The Left’s Violent Tactics Must Stop
Violence is in the air these days. It was visible to the world in Manchester, Birmingham, and London in the days before the British general election June 8. It was visible on the baseball field in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday morning ...
It’s Time to Move On from the 2016 Election
If you keep up with the news, you might think that the unpleasant and unedifying 2016 presidential campaign is still going on.
President Donald Trump, up early, is sending out tweets coarsely attacking foreign leaders and American politicians — complete with misspelled ...
The Populist Politics of Theresa May — and Donald Trump
Durham, England — When I first visited England to cover a British election 20 years ago this month, there were striking similarities between British and American politics.
In Britain, Tony Blair’s Labour party was about to sweep to a landslide victory ...
Cultural Appropriation: A Modest Proposal
‘Cultural appropriation” has become the latest evil denounced by soi-disant social-justice warriors, on campus and off. Examples:
“I was taught that white people shouldn’t listen to rap music because it’s cultural appropriation and could be offensive to my ...
Do Close Special Elections Mean Republicans Are in Trouble?
What to make of the results of the first two of this spring’s special House elections? Start off by putting them in perspective. They pose a challenge to both political parties, but especially to Republicans, who have been used ...
Mistrust of Trump Threatens Political Corrosion of the Rule of Law
Donald Trump’s unorthodox campaign and unexpected victory have produced a culture of mistrust permeating our politics and threatening to undermine the rule of law. That’s not healthy, whatever you think of Trump or his political opponents.
The partisan ...
The Base’s Rage Ill Serves the Democratic Party
In a week chock-full of news, the party that on the night of November 8 found itself, much to its surprise, very much out of power has been having difficulty finding a way to return.
Democratic senators, urged on by the ...
America’s High-Risk Complacent Class
‘Most Americans don’t like change very much,” writes economist and Marginal Revolution blogger Tyler Cowen, “unless it is on terms that they manage and control.” That’s just one of many provocative sentences you can mine from the riches ...
Trump Has a Grating Style but Significant Substance
Substance and style — it’s easy to get them confused, or mistake one for the other. And they’re never entirely unconnected, though exactly how much so is a matter of debate.
That’s especially true when it comes to ...
Free Trade’s Effect on ‘Earned Success’
Amid all the hurly-burly of President Donald Trump’s first weeks in office, let’s try to put the changes he’s making and the feathers he’s ruffling in a longer, 20-year perspective. Start off with his trademark issue — ...
‘America First’ Is Not a Threat — It’s a Promise
‘From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first,” Donald Trump proclaimed in his inaugural address. As has been his habit, he added to the prepared text the word “only” and employed the rhetorical device ...
Is the Intelligence Community Trying to Undermine Trump?
On Wednesday, in his first news conference as president-elect, Donald Trump came out swinging — against some of the media (while praising others), against the policies and performance of the Obama administration, and against the intelligence community.
He had some legitimate ...
Americans Are No Longer on the Move
Americans see themselves as people on the move. When the going gets tough or when opportunity beckons, we get up and go. We move around a lot.
Actually, we don’t — or don’t nearly so much as we used ...
Stop Partisan Cheerleading, and More Christmastime Advice
Now that the 538 electors have voted — and, with only the most minor of exceptions, for the expected candidates — we can marvel at how such a huge difference in public policies can be made by just a few votes, the 77,744 votes ...
Is Trump Pursuing a ‘Kissinger-Inspired Strategy’?
What is President-elect Donald Trump up to on foreign policy? It’s a question with no clear answer. Some will dismiss his appointments and tweets as expressing no more than the impulses of an ignorant and undisciplined temperament — no more ...
After Its Ascendency Was Proclaimed, the Political Left Is Collapsing
It’s been a tough decade for the political Left. Eight years ago, a Time magazine cover portrayed Barack Obama as Franklin Roosevelt, complete with a cigarette and holder and a cover line proclaiming, “The New New Deal.” A Newsweek ...
Would Another Republican Have Defeated Hillary Clinton?
Would any Republican besides Donald Trump have beaten Hillary Clinton and been elected the 45th president? It’s an interesting question, not susceptible to a definitive answer but with consequences for politics going forward.
Last fall, I shared the widespread ...
The Arc of History Doesn’t Always Bend toward Justice
History is on our side. That’s a claim Barack Obama has made frequently, in his two successful campaigns for president and during his nearly eight years in office. It’s a claim that looks a little shakier this Thanksgiving ...
Clinton’s Dishonesty Cost Her the Midwest—and the Election
Hillary Clinton lost the election in the Midwest. Donald Trump won 50 midwestern electoral votes that went to Barack Obama in 2012 — Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio — plus 20 more in Pennsylvania, where the two-thirds of voters beyond metro Philadelphia are midwestern in ...
Donald Trump’s Astounding Victory: How and Why
Astounding. That’s the best word to describe the tumultuous election night and the (to most people) surprise victory of Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton hoped to win with votes of Northeasterners, including those who have moved south along Interstate 95 to ...
As Polls Tighten, There’s Panic in the Clinton Camp
In my November 1 column, I looked at the presidential election through the lens of the old children’s radio show Let’s Pretend — examining how things would look if it turned out that Donald Trump ends up winning.
That would ...
So Far, Trump Is Not Sinking Down-Ballot Republicans
Could a flailing Donald Trump campaign hurt down-ballot Republicans and cost the party majorities in the Senate and House? That seems possible, if he loses to Hillary Clinton by a margin similar to those in most current polls and if ...
Despite Trump, Demotic Protest Politics Doesn’t Always Fail
This has been a big year for protest politics — not just in the United States, what with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump getting over 40 percent of primary votes, but also all over Europe and Latin America, where voters have been ...
Donald Trump’s Imaginary Shackles
‘It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to,” Donald Trump tweeted at the reasonable hour of 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
There were no ...
Robin Hood Economics Falls Flat in Debates
Robin Hood is dead. Or at least seriously ailing. The politics of taking from the rich and giving to the poor — the politics that philosophers from Aristotle to James Madison dreaded — just doesn’t seem to be working as it ...
Domestic Migration (Mostly) Explains a Generation of Partisan Changes
Let’s step back, as we approach the first presidential debate of the 2016 campaign, and look back to try to understand how voting patterns have changed over a generation, by comparing the 2012 presidential results with those of 1988 — keeping in mind ...
Will Democratic Success Breed Clinton’s Failure?
Success breeds failure. That’s one of the melancholy lessons you learn in life. The success of policymakers in stamping out inflation in the 1980s and minimizing recessions for two decades also produced policies that contributed to the collapse of ...
How’s That Fundamental Transformation Going?
When Air Force One landed in China last week for the G-20 Summit, Chinese authorities didn’t wheel out the usual staircase for the president to disembark. Instead he had to exit through an opening in the back of the ...
Trump Calls for More High-Skill Immigration
Would he go hard or go soft? That was the mainstream-media template for judging Donald Trump’s speech on immigration in Phoenix last Wednesday. The verdict: hard. “How Trump got from Point A to Point A on immigration,” was the ...
Maybe Borders Aren't the Worst Invention Ever
‘Borders are the worst invention ever made by politicians.” Those were the words of Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Union’s European Commission, at the Alpbach Media Academy last Monday.
Nonsense, most readers will surely think, in numbers going ...
Sympathy for Victims Can Be Misdirected — and Backfire
Victims aren’t always virtuous. That’s a sad lesson that people learn from life. Human beings have a benign instinct to help those who are hurt through no cause of their own. But those they help don’t always ...
Will Trump Take Down Congressional Republicans?
On Friday, Republican National Committee and Trump campaign staffers held what one described as an “emergency meeting” at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando. The obvious subject: what to do about Donald Trump’s flagging campaign and how Republican down-ballot candidates ...
The End of History Not Turning Out as Hoped
The scholar Francis Fukuyama has been widely ridiculed for the title of his 1992 book, The End of History. Critics point out that we’ve had — suffered — a lot of history since then: the 9/11 attacks, prolonged wars in the Middle East, ...
Does Either Party Have a Winning Strategy?
What is the campaign strategy for the two political parties? Clues can be had from the responses to a question I asked about a dozen dignitaries of each party at their conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. What’s your best ...
What's 'Making America One Again' About?
’Make America One Again.” That was the stated theme of the last night of the Republican National Convention. In the welter of analysis of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, few have commented on it, but it’s worth taking it ...
Will Trump’s ‘Other People’s Money’ Campaign Prevail Over Clinton’s Standard Tactics?
Donald Trump postponed the announcement of his vice-presidential candidate, Mike Pence, because of the terrorist attack in Nice, which was in line with the modus operandi of his campaign. He didn’t want to preempt news-media coverage of another radical-Islamist ...
What the 2017 Census Data Tell Us about Obama’s Policies
One of my favorite Christmastime presents is the Census Bureau’s release of its annual population estimates for all of the states. Comparison of the April 1, 2010, Census Bureau enumerations and the June 30, 2017, estimates for the states shows how each state ...
Will Republicans Fix 1970s Budget Rules Next?
The Republicans have passed their tax bill, without a single Democratic vote, despite low to dismal poll ratings. It’s reminiscent of the passage by Democrats, without a single Republican vote, of Obamacare in March 2010.
Democrats lost 63 seats and their ...
Republican Tax Bill Slows Inflation of the ‘Feds, Eds, and Meds’
Are the current Republican tax bills, passed by the House and Senate and being reconciled in conference committee, an attack on “feds, eds, and meds”? That’s a reference to the government, health care, and education jobs that local Democrats ...
Merkel — and Davos — Rebuked in Germany
It’s been a tough era for Davos Man, the personification of the great and the good who meet in the World Economic Forum at that Swiss ski resort every January. The rebukes just keep coming. The European debt crisis. ...
2016 Is Looking Like the New Normal
If you wanted to predict the results of Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, you would have been wise to ignore the flurry of polls and campaign events. You would have paid no heed to the conventional ...
Both Parties Try Harder and Harder to Defeat Themselves
Three weeks ago, I wrote a column about how both parties seem determined to lose the next elections. Since then, the pace has accelerated.
The clamor is more visible — and more assiduously reported by mainstream media — among the Republicans.
Modern America Faces Turn-of-the-Century Problems
Is America in a new Gilded Age? That’s the contention of Republican political consultant Bruce Mehlman, and in a series of 35 slides, he makes a strong case.
In many ways, problems facing America today resemble those facing what we ...
An End to Gerrymandering? There's No Need
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Gill v. Whitford, a case challenging Wisconsin’s legislative district lines as an unconstitutional Republican gerrymander. It’s attracted attention because many high-minded commentators have blamed partisan gerrymandering for today’...
House Republicans' Frustrations May Doom Their Majority
The Founding Fathers didn’t expect that serving in Congress would be a lifetime career. And for a century, it mostly wasn’t. The first election in which more than half the incumbent members of the House of Representatives were ...
Time to Drop Colleges' Racial Quotas and Preferences
When a policy has been vigorously followed by venerable institutions for more than a generation without getting any closer to producing the desired results, perhaps there is some problem with the goal.
That thought was prompted by a New York ...
Google's 'Tolerance' Requires Repression
Would a fair society have exactly the same percentage of men and women, of whites and blacks and Latinos and Asians, in every line of work and occupational category? If your answer is yes, and that any divergence from these ...
The Detroit Riot, 50 Years Later
Fifty years ago this weekend, a deadly urban riot began in Detroit. It started around 3:30 a.m., when police arrested 85 patrons of a “blind pig” — an illegal after-hours bar — in the midst of an all-black neighborhood that had been all-white 15 ...
Based on History, Republican Chances of Keeping the House Are Slim
Curious fact, and one disquieting for Republicans looking ahead to 2018: In the past 65 years, starting with 1952, the president’s party has managed to win a majority of seats in an off-year election only four times. In the other twelve off-year ...
After Another Special-Election Loss, Chances for a Democratic Comeback Look Grim
The victory of Republican Karen Handel in the special election in Georgia’s sixth congressional district on Tuesday has discouraged Democrats and encouraged Republicans. Democrat Jon Ossoff won 48.1 percent in the special election’s first round April 18, and Democrats had ...
Higher-Education Enrollment Is On the Decline
‘Too many people are going to college,” writes my American Enterprise Institute colleague Charles Murray. That’s not a response to the mob of students who attacked him and the liberal professor who had invited him to speak back in ...
Trump Acts Like a Competent, Conventional President Abroad
What a difference a week makes. On May 19, President Donald Trump took off in Air Force One for the Middle East and Europe. He left behind a Washington and a nation buzzing about his firing of FBI director James Comey, ...
James Comey Is the Latest Victim of the Clintons
Why did President Donald Trump fire FBI director James Comey now? The answer, as my Washington Examiner colleague Byron York has argued, is that he waited until after his impeccably apolitical deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, was in place as ...
The New/Old Politics of Capital vs. Countryside
Capital vs. countryside — that’s the new political divide, visible in multiple surprise election results over the past eleven months. It cuts across old partisan lines and replaces traditional divisions — labor vs. management, north vs. south, Catholic vs. Protestant — among ...
Our Three Presidents Born in 1946
With the inauguration of Donald Trump this year, we have now had, for the first time in our history, three American presidents who were born in the same year. There have been three pairs of presidents born in the same ...
Doesn't Anybody Know How to Play This Game?
‘Dare I suggest,” writes the economist and blogger Tyler Cowen, “that the quality of governance in this country has taken a downward turn of late?” Or as Casey Stengel, while managing the New York Mets on their way to a 40–120 ...
Perceptions Are That Trump’s Policies Are Working
Perceptions matter. People make decisions, even life-altering decisions, based on what they perceive as likely to happen. To the extent that public policy affects such decisions, the perception of likely policy change can affect behavior even before the change happens — ...
Facts on the Ground Moving Immigration in Trump’s Direction
The afternoon before President Donald Trump’s Tuesday-night speech to Congress, Twitter watchers were treated to a flurry of tweets, inspired by comments at the traditional lunch with network anchors, that the president was going to endorse something very much ...
Partisan Lines Stay Fixed amid Trump Turmoil
Amid the turmoil of the first month of the Trump administration, with courts blocking his temporary travel ban and his national-security adviser resigning after 24 days, the solid partisan divisions in the electorate — modestly changed in 2016 from what they’d been ...
Donald Trump’s second week as president has been full of surprises and Sturm und Drang.
His Friday afternoon executive order barring for 90 days immigration from seven countries designated by the Obama administration as “countries of concern” was obviously ill-vetted ...
Trump’s Inauguration Is Not without Precedent
The United States has just had three consecutive eight-year presidencies, and it’s only the second time in history that that’s happened. The only other such moment came on March 4, 1825, 192 years ago.
That’s a bit surprising, given the ...
Government by Faculty Lounge Subject to Repeal
President Barack Obama went up to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to counsel congressional Democrats on how to save Obamacare. Or at least that’s how his visit was billed.
But to judge from the responses of some of the Democrats, ...
Trump Puts Global-Warming Action and Entitlement Reform on Ice
It’s been a tough year for political elites, here and around the world, what with the passage of Brexit in June in Britain, the repudiation of Colombia’s Nobel Peace Prize recipient in the October FARC referendum, and the ...
How the Political Rules Changed in 2016
Over the 40-some years that I have been working or closely observing the political-campaign business, the rules of the game haven’t changed much. Technology has changed the business somewhat, but the people who ran campaigns in the 1970s could ...
Democrats Should End the Blame Game and Turn to the Heartland
Herewith some unsolicited free advice for the Democratic party. Whether it’s worth more than the price I leave up to Democrats to decide.
The first thing to remember is that the Democratic party is the oldest political party in ...
The Electoral College Prevents California from Imposing Imperial Rule on the Country
They’re still counting the votes, going on four weeks after the election, in California. In Brazil, a nation with much more challenging geography, they manage to do it in five hours.
The seemingly endless dillydallying of California’s (presumably ...
Will Donald Trump Do for U.S. Infrastructure What He Did for New York's Wollman Rink?
In May 1986, a 39-year-old Manhattan real-estate developer named Donald Trump promised to get Wollman Rink in Central Park up and running — something the city government, despite spending $13 million, had failed to do for six years. Trump delivered, ahead of time ...
The Not-Yet-Emerging Democratic Majority
What is to become of the Democratic party? The world’s oldest political party, which traces its roots to 1792, is in as dire straits as it has ever been.
It has lost a presidential election most of its followers expected ...
The New Key to Immigration Reform: More High-Skilled Immigrants
One of the issues President-elect Donald Trump says he wants Congress to act on is immigration. That’s not entirely surprising, given that he spotlighted just that issue, in incendiary terms, after gliding down that escalator in the Trump Tower ...
2016: The Demise of Small-r Republican Politics
Among the many complaints I have seen about this squalid presidential election — the most dismal choice of major-party nominees since 1856 — there’s one that I find missing: that it shows how our politics have become less republican.
That’s republican ...
Imagining How Donald Trump Would Win
When I was a child, there was a Saturday morning radio program called Let’s Pretend. It used words and sounds to encourage young children to paint pictures in their heads of make-believe worlds.
So in that spirit, let’s ...
The Politics Two Unpopular Nominees Hath Wrought
In last week’s third and (thank goodness) final presidential debate, each candidate did an excellent job of presenting convincing arguments for why people shouldn’t vote for the other.
Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a felon, and Clinton called ...
Which Party Will Hold the Senate and House?
Which party is going to control the House and hold a majority in the Senate in January 2017? Even if you regard the presidential contest as over — a proposition for which there is powerful evidence, including Donald Trump’s current campaign ...
Will Trump Make a Race of It in the Debates?
In the midst of the most debate-heavy week of the fall campaign season, with the vice-presidential debate last Tuesday and the second presidential debate Sunday, let’s look at what remains uncertain about this year’s bizarre contest.
For those ...
Elites Want a Borderless World, but Voters Don’t
‘The president believes the world will be a better place if all borders are eliminated — from a trade perspective, from the viewpoint of economic development, and in welcoming people from other cultures and countries.”
That’s a paraphrase of a ...
What Happens to the Democratic Party if Clinton Loses?
There’s been lots of speculation about the fate of the Republican party if (as most of the prognosticators expect and hope) Donald Trump loses. There’s been less speculation, though recent polling suggests it may be in order, about ...
The Year of Political Re-enactors
The thought came to me as I watched the Cleveland police clear away protesters from the city’s Public Square. Half a dozen on horseback, nearly a dozen or so on heavy-duty bikes, the cops deftly corralled the protesters without ...
Why the Polls Are Tightening Up
Maybe Hillary Clinton isn’t going to be elected president after all. That’s a thought that’s evoking glee in some, nausea or terror in others, and relief at the removal of an increasingly tedious figure from public view ...
2016: The Battle of the Secret Cabals
Anyone contemplating this year’s appalling presidential campaign may be tempted to explain what’s happening by applying the third rule of bureaucratic organizations, enunciated by the late poet and definitive scholar of Soviet terrorism Robert Conquest.
“The behavior of ...
Is 2016 Redrawing the Political Map?
Is the political map, so familiar that even non-pundits offhandedly refer to red, blue, and purple states, changing before our eyes? Yes, at least to a limited extent — and it’s probably about time.
The political map has been pretty ...
Today’s Candidates Don’t Measure Up to Roosevelt or Reagan
Donald Trump has just made changes, again, in his campaign’s top leadership, shoving aside the seasoned Paul Manafort and installing Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon and veteran pollster Kellyanne Conway. He’s obviously acting in response to his falling ...
Nationalism Is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing
Google “Donald Trump” and “nationalism” and you’ll get 1,090,000 results, the large percentage of which are, to judge from the top hits, negative. “Nationalism” is deemed to be bad stuff, maybe even akin to Nazism.
But is nationalism always so ...
The Cost of Trump's Letting Hillary Get Away with Repeated Mistakes
Opportunity cost. That’s an economist’s term for what you lose out on when you divert your investments and attention to something less profitable. It’s also a good term for the losses Donald Trump has incurred in the ...
The Democratic Convention: Mission Partly Accomplished
It was a variant on a traditional convention for a party seeking a third straight term in the White House, attempting to overcome an apparent post-convention bounce for the opposition’s candidate: shades of 1988 or 2000 or 2008. Usually it starts with ...
Is America Ready for a Disruptive President?
Disruptive. That’s a good word to describe Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, and to describe the sometimes-ramshackle Republican National Convention his campaign more or less superintended in Cleveland this past week.
Apple disrupted the music industry; Uber disrupted the ...
Events Roil the 2016 Campaign
‘Events, dear boy, events,” the late British prime minister Harold Macmillan supposedly replied when asked what he most feared. And events can certainly make a difference, as was apparent this week: Prime Minister David Cameron moved out of No. 10 Downing ...