31 July 2018

The “do what you want” theory of politics

Why embracing “Abolish ICE” and Medicare-for-all won’t doom the Democrats.

Outside of truly extreme proposals, there’s basically no plausible position a politician or political party can endorse or enact that will have a meaningful impact on their likelihood of retaking political power. The US has for decades had a stable system where liberal and conservative policy coalitions (which have sorted out under the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively) semi-regularly alternate in power, with long periods of divided rule and gridlock in the middle. Dramatic shifts in the ideological makeup of both parties during that same period did not upset that alternation of power. It continued apace. 

Dylan Matthews

30 July 2018

A simple analogy for understanding Trump’s Putin meeting

Think about what it means to be a vaccine skeptic. There’s no real evidence that vaccines “cause” autism, and there’s an overwhelming scientific consensus that they are vital to preventing the spread of serious diseases. Trump’s argument that vaccines are dangerous is founded in basic ignorance about how effective they’ve been in eradicating diseases, and a misplaced confidence in his own mastery of vaccine science.

Political scientist Matt Glassman sees Trump’s skepticism about NATO in a similar light. There is a huge amount of evidence that the Western alliance has played an important role in deterring conflict on the European continent, much in the same way that vaccines have helped eradicate diseases: War in Western Europe today seems about as unthinkable as a polio outbreak in Manhattan. 

Zack Beauchamp

27 July 2018

It’s Resignation Time

Trump’s performance in Helsinki was a disgrace. Any member of his national security team who sticks with him now is doing a disservice to America.

Fred Kaplan

26 July 2018

What Robert Mueller Knows—and 9 Areas He'll Pursue Next

The special counsel has collected a mountain of evidence in the Trump-Russia investigation, but so far only a tiny amount of it has been revealed in official indictments. Here are nine areas where we should expect answers as the inquiry unfolds.

23 July 2018

Trump’s administration is full of kooks and crooks because it’s led by Donald Trump

It’s party time for grifters in today’s GOP.It’s party time for grifters in today’s GOP.It’s party time for grifters in today’s GOP.It’s party time for grifters in today’s GOP.It’s party time for grifters in today’s GOP.

Matthew Yglesias

20 July 2018

What Jonathan Chait Gets Right About Trump and Russia

Thirty years of contacts with Russia are hard to dismiss as a series of disconnected events.

Tom Nichols

19 July 2018

The Liberal Case for Kavanaugh Is Complete Crap

This tradition may have once made some sense when there was still some fragile agreement about handling Supreme Court nominations in a bipartisan manner. But in the post Merrick Garland era, in which nominations are clearly about pure power politics and little else, a piece like Amar's at worst reeks of the amoral Ivy League clubbiness that still defines the upper reaches of the legal world and at best is simply naive.

Jordan Weissmann

18 July 2018

“Law and order” politics often undermines the rule of law

“Law and order politics” regularly entails government officials breaking the law. Examples abound: from unconstitutional racial profiling under Joe Arpaio in his time as an Arizona sheriff; to extrajudicial executions of suspected drug abusers under President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines; to assassination of pro-democracy activists following dictator Augusto Pinochet’s coup in Chile. When individual rights protections stand in the way of policy goals, advocates of “law and order” politics are often more than willing to ignore laws, constitutions, and even the democratic order.

So what is “law and order” politics really about, then? “Law and order politics” is not about the law. Instead, it is all about order.

Amy Erica Smith

16 July 2018

Hey Democrats, Fighting Fair Is for Suckers

Court-packing! Puerto Rican statehood! Votes for felons! Why—and how—the next Democratic majority should play dirty.

Democrats should plan to treat political norms, when and if they’re in charge of a unified government, the way Trump and the Republicans do. They should be readying a program of systematic norm-breaking for partisan advantage—but only if they are willing and able to follow it through to its conclusion.

Rob Goodman

13 July 2018

Why capitalism won’t survive without socialism

“We think of capitalism as being locked in an ideological battle with socialism, but we never really saw that capitalism might be defeated by its own child — technology.”

Eric Weinstein with Sean Illing

Roe Block

Why Republicans don’t actually want to repeal Roe v. Wade.

William Saletan

09 July 2018

How to fix the Supreme Court

The way we choose Supreme Court nominees is broken. Here’s how to fix it.

Ezra Klein

The Case for Incivility

Confronting officials isn’t new. But it’s necessary.

Osita Nwanevu

06 July 2018

“Mad Dog” in the Doghouse

James Mattis is being pushed out of Trump’s inner circle. That should worry all of us.

Fred Kaplan

Cowards and Traders

Trade wars don't directly kill people. But like real wars, they're often unnecessary, expensive, and stupid. When an unnecessary war goes bad, and the costs pile up, the smart thing to do is pull out. The cynical thing to do is play the patriotism card, telling your citizens that their pain is heroic and that if they don't stand with you, they're traitors. The most cynical thing of all is to prosecute your stupid war, and play the patriotism card, while mocking your predecessor for doing the same. 

05 July 2018

White People Are Cowards

Inequality and racism exist not because of evil but because the unaffected majority put their interests above all others, and their inaction allows inequality to flourish. That is why I believe that silence in the presence of injustice is as bad as injustice itself. White people who are quiet about racism might not plant the seed, but their silence is sunlight.

After a ridiculous days-long bad-faith debate on civility, can the press manage to learn self-respect?

Everyone knows Trump supporters don’t care about decorum.

Matthew Yglesias