31 May 2018

How Baby Boomers Broke America

These distinctly American ideas became the often unintended instruments for splitting the country into two classes: the protected and the unprotected. The protected overmatched, overran and paralyzed the government. The unprotected were left even further behind. And in many cases, the work was done by a generation of smart, hungry strivers who benefited from one of the most American values of all: meritocracy.

Kim in Control

North Korea’s threat to abandon the Trump summit isn’t an about-face. It’s a demonstration of who’s in the driver’s seat.

Fred Kaplan

29 May 2018

The D.C. Metro Almost Had a Very Cool Abstract Map

A series of modernist transit design gems were discovered last week inside Massimo and Lella Vignelli’s archives.

Liberals, It’s Not About Being Nice

The hand-wringing about whether liberals should be more accommodating misses the point.

The fact that a story about Republicans in Raleigh imposing their will on localities that disagreed with them, and then losing an election as a consequence, fed a narrative about Democrats fatally overreaching on identity politics is, in fact, perfectly emblematic of the dynamics animating punditry about the attitudes and dispositions of liberals and the left.

Political commentators generally take very little interest in thinking through the implications and consequences of arrogance and condescension on the right. How often are Republicans told by centrist surveyors of the cultural scene that they might benefit politically from reaching out to enthusiastically pro-choice young women, that the fire-and-brimstone approach of calling supporters of Planned Parenthood pro-infanticide and symbols of the fall of man might be counterproductive? How much respect for ideological opponents is evinced whenever conservative pundits call the activists of Black Lives Matter thugs and black Democrats dupes?

American political journalists are still wired to view a nonrepresentative subset of white people somewhere out in the middle of the country as baseline Americans who cannot talk down and can only be talked down to.

Osita Nwanevu

28 May 2018

Trump vs. the “Deep State”

How the Administration’s loyalists are quietly reshaping American governance.

Evan Osnos

All politicians “game” the system. The question is how?

What ranked-choice voting in San Francisco tells us about electoral rules and political incentives.

Lee Drutman

25 May 2018

Cruelty is the defining characteristic of Donald Trump’s politics and policy

The NPR interviewer was wrong to suggest the policy is “heartless,” which implies indifference to the human suffering involved. The Trump administration’s policy toward Puerto Rico is heartless. The separation policy is anything but indifferent. It’s cruel.

The point is to find a route within the bounds of the various applicable legal constraints for security forces to inflict as much suffering as possible on people seeking entry to the United States. The harmfulness of the policy isn’t incidental — it’s the whole point, and it’s par for the course from an administration for whom cruelty is a watchword.

Matthew Yglesias

23 May 2018

How to be the next Trump

Most coverage of President Trump focuses on the negative aspects of his style: the making-it-up-as-he-goes, the lying, the management-by-chaos.

Yes, but: The Trump Way does offer future candidates and presidents some valuable lessons in navigating contemporary politics.

Jim VandeHei

22 May 2018

The False Promise of Term Limits

The intuition behind term limits—the reason they’re popular with most Americans—is correct: Washington is broken. But there’s no easy fix for the problem; no one trick that will improve the status quo. And absent radical change to our constitutional architecture, the only path forward is incremental. Thankfully, there are steps we can take to improve Congress, reduce outside influence, and make elections more competitive. They run the gamut from beefing up congressional staff and research services—lessening reliance on lobbyists— and building more robust public and small-dollar financing of campaigns, to opening up our elections with universal voter registration, vote by mail, and robust voting rights, including felon enfranchisement. Redistricting reform matters too: More competitive districts means more competitive elections means a weaker incumbency advantage, or at least one not bolstered by gerrymandering.

Jamelle Bouie

21 May 2018

16 May 2018

Trump Has Wrecked One of the Most Successful Arms-Control Deals in Modern History

Trump has wrecked one of the most successful arms-control deals in modern history, destroyed any possible leverage to negotiate a new one, further disrupted unity with our allies, further damaged U.S. credibility, strengthened hard-line factions in Iran, exacerbated instability in the Middle East, and possibly boosted the chance of war—which some of Trump's abettors desire. Quite the deal-maker.

Fred Kaplan

15 May 2018

Why Mueller Has to Expose Trump’s Crooked Business Empire

The secret sauce of Trump's real-estate business in its early stages was his ability to manipulate the media and willingness to borrow massive sums and not pay them back. When he exhausted his ability to stiff his creditors, the new secret sauce became a willingness to take money from shady overseas sources, especially (but not exclusively) Russian oligarchs looking either to park their cash overseas, or to gain some measure of influence. Whether Russia was investing in Trump for the purpose of gaining some hidden leverage over him is not incidental to the Mueller investigation but its very heart.

14 May 2018

The Case for Redistribution

If we’re serious about sexual fulfillment, we should worry more about economic inequality, not sex robots.

Tyler Zimmer

09 May 2018

What the Koch Brothers’ Money Buys

Internal emails from George Mason University show how cash turns into special favors.

It might seem beyond debate that when a person gives you a substantial chunk of cash, he’s going to expect something substantial in return. In recent years, however, a growing number of lawyers and judges have contested this basic fact of human nature and have enshrined into law their willful naivety about the corrupting influence of money. This week, two major players in the movement to deny this reality, Charles Koch and Leonard Leo, got caught up in scandals that reveal their efforts to buy influence over governmental matters. These embarrassing flaps neatly illustrate that the very same people who argue that money doesn’t buy special favors have secretly been using their money to buy special favors.

Mark Joseph Stern

08 May 2018

The Pain We Still Need to Feel

Lynching echoes in other ways. Our politics are in the grip of a backlash defined, in large part, by deep racial entitlement on the part of many white Americans. Indeed, racial violence—or the promise of such—remains a potent tool for defining the boundaries of white racial community. As a candidate for president, Donald Trump promised state action against Hispanic immigrants and Muslim refugees. Not as punishment but as defense—a way to keep America free of people that, in his view, cannot assimilate. How did he describe these groups? As "rapists," criminals, and drug dealers—dangerous gang members who defile and kill innocent American women. Far from repelling voters, this language primed and activated racial fear and resentment among many white voters, supercharging its electoral potency. Trump wasn't just defining an enemy, he was speaking a language of racial threat—of purity and morality—that has its roots in the lynching era.

03 May 2018

The Myth That Markets Get Prices Right Won’t Die

All that irrational human behavior gets in the way.

Noah Smith

A Lynching Memorial

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opening Thursday in Montgomery, Ala., is dedicated to victims of white supremacy.