20 November 2018

The Right-Wingers Behind the Mueller Smear Campaign Are Guilty of Everything They Accuse Democrats of Doing

The right-wing canard that Democratic operatives pay women to invent allegations of sexual assault also looks particularly rich this week, in light of allegations by two women that men who identified themselves as Burkman and an unnamed Surefire employee offered them money to talk about nonexistent encounters with Mueller. 

Christina Cauterucci

19 November 2018

The Waldensians

What one small town’s celebration of immigration tells us about how white Americans think about history.

Molly Edmonds

15 November 2018

The hack gap: how and why conservative nonsense dominates American politics

Insulting rank-and-file Republicans (even if it was only about half of them) was treated as a huge national scandal. Republican Party politicians and conservative pundits harped on the line, providing a point of party unity at a time when many party and movement stalwarts were reluctant to actually praise Trump. The mainstream press covered the controversy intensively, and left-of-center pundits weighed in with a range of takes, including one from yours truly, which concluded that Clinton really had messed up by violating “the norm against attacking the other party’s constituents” rather than its politicians.

This past Friday, meanwhile, President Trump said that 100 percent of people planning to vote Democratic in the upcoming midterms — a majority of the electorate, in other words — are “crazy.” Nobody cared and almost nobody even noticed.

Matthew Yglesias

14 November 2018

A White House report points out that Mao and I both like low health care costs. True, but…

Health care systems where the government sets prices are more efficient than those where prices vary dramatically from one health plan to another, and this lowers costs across the board for patients. As Mao, Lenin, and I all agree (as do leaders of every other wealthy planet in the world): That’s a good thing.

Sarah Kliff

12 November 2018

The looming danger of non-banks

The most likely cause of a future financial crisis isn't the banks, it's the non-banks. They're enormous, they're much less regulated than banks are, and they tend to have much greater leverage.

Felix Salmon

09 November 2018

4 ways to fix "fake news"

If your Facebook feed is filled with garbage, it means you were reading garbage in the first place. The algorithm simply gives you more of what you crave.

Jim VandeHei

08 November 2018

Donald Trump’s Perverse Advantage

But the media focus on her misjudgment, her character and whether she had the right stuff for the White House underscores the absurdity of our current politics, in terms of the advantage it confers on the president. We expect much of anyone stepping forward to challenge him. We expect absolutely nothing of him.

Frank Bruni

05 November 2018

Even janitors have noncompetes now. Nobody is safe.

One of the central contradictions of capitalism is that what makes it work — competition — is also what capitalists want to get rid of the most.

Matt O'Brien

02 November 2018

The Man Who Broke Politics

There’s something about Newt Gingrich that seems to capture the spirit of America circa 2018. With his immense head and white mop of hair; his cold, boyish grin; and his high, raspy voice, he has the air of a late-empire Roman senator—a walking bundle of appetites and excesses and hubris and wit. In conversation, he toggles unnervingly between grandiose pronouncements about “Western civilization” and partisan cheap shots that seem tailored for cable news. It’s a combination of self-righteousness and smallness, of pomposity and pettiness, that personifies the decadence of this era.

But few figures in modern history have done more than Gingrich to lay the groundwork for Trump’s rise. During his two decades in Congress, he pioneered a style of partisan combat—replete with name-calling, conspiracy theories, and strategic obstructionism—that poisoned America’s political culture and plunged Washington into permanent dysfunction. Gingrich’s career can perhaps be best understood as a grand exercise in devolution—an effort to strip American politics of the civilizing traits it had developed over time and return it to its most primal essence.

These days, Gingrich seems to be revising his legacy in real time—shifting the story away from the ideological sea change that his populist disruption was supposed to enable, and toward the act of populist disruption itself. He places his own rise to power and Trump’s in the same grand American narrative. There have been four great political “waves” in the past half century, he tells me: “Goldwater, Reagan, Gingrich, then Trump.” But when I press him to explain what connects those four “waves” philosophically, the best he can do is say they were all “anti-liberal.”

01 November 2018

Trump Says The Federal Reserve Is the “Biggest Threat” to His Presidency. So Why Hasn’t He Done Anything About It?

Ultimately, Trump’s goal in criticizing the central bank seems to be distancing himself from any damage they inadvertently inflict on the economy. But the president has had the opportunity to pick a Fed board that would better reflect his own intuitions about interest rates. If his failure to do so backfires on the economy, he’ll deserve all the blame that inevitably comes his way.

Jordan Weissmann