Politics

Zoellner and Chihara: You’re The Puppet: Trump, the Death of Truth, and the Silence of the Left – LA Review of Books

We failed to meet the higher calling of a vision of America that seemed within reach during the Obama years, which will seem like time out of mind before long. Our constitutional democracy has a legacy of bloody violence, but with

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Thomas Piketty: We must rethink globalization, or Trumpism will prevail – The Guardian

The main lesson for Europe and the world is clear: as a matter of urgency, globalization must be fundamentally re-oriented. The main challenges of our times are the rise in inequality and global warming. We must therefore implement international treaties

Posted in International Relations, Noted & Quoted, Politics

Harold Pollack: The Democrats’ biggest mistakes – The Reality-Based Community

Throughout 2016, our party triumphantly presented itself as the embodiment of America’s multi-cultural, multi-racial demographic future. Of course, our national convention was the peak expression of that triumphalism, featuring Mothers of the Movement, the electrifying speeches by Mr. Khan and

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“The Kremlin Didn’t Elect Trump – Obama Did”: Outline of Implications of Russian Information Operations in the 2016 Elections

Observers from center right to left, and including recognized security experts as well as pundits or political intellectuals, are now claiming that the Russian government under Vladimir Putin made war upon the United State of America; that the government and people of the United States, under the presidency of Barack Obama, failed to offer a serious defense; and that we in America as well as friends and allies have suffered an historic defeat.

Posted in International Relations, notes, Operation American Greatness, Politics, War Tagged with: , ,

Mark Lilla: The End of Identity Liberalism – NYTimes.com

We need a post-identity liberalism, and it should draw from the past successes of pre-identity liberalism. Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority

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Marianne Constable: When Words Cease to Matter – Amor Mundi – Medium

Deliberate disregard of language poses a worse danger to political discussion and to the public realm than do ignorance and lies. Ignorance can be met with education. Falsehood and deception can be called out as illusion; they can be challenged

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This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World – BuzzFeed News

Questioner: What do you think is the major threat today, to the Judeo-Christian Civilization? Secularism, or the Muslim world? In my humble opinion, they’re just trying to defend themselves from our cultural invasion. Thank you. [Question restated by Harnwell] Bannon:

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Ben Mathis-Lilley: Richard Rorty predicted election of Trump-like figure in 1998 – Slate

Here’s one of the very next lines in that book after the crazily prescient ones above: “After my imagined strongman takes charge, he will quickly make his peace with the international superrich.” Here’s a headline from Thursday in the Huffington

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Paula Dwyer: Why Obama should pardon Hillary Clinton – Chicago Tribune

[H]alf the country now worries, and the other half hopes, that Trump will make good on his threat. More likely, he’ll contract the job out to House Republicans salivating over the prospect of televised hearings, starting with Clinton raising her

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Mark Penn: The Hillary Clinton of 2000 would have beaten Donald Trump – TheHill

She defended rather than apologized for her vote in 2008, willing to pay a political price for standing by her principles and decisions. Partially as a result of that, she was universally seen as the leader who could answer the

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From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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