In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton considers the problem of impeachment. The process, the Constitution framer writes, is meant for offenses “denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” Political offenses are, by nature, politicized. They “agitate the passions of the whole community” and “divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused.” The danger, Hamilton says, is that the impeachment process will be decided “more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” If that proves either the perception or the reality of impeachment, the process loses its legitimacy, and America loses critical protection against tyrants and criminals.
The United States government cannot be trusted so long as Donald Trump runs it. That is the simple, chilling takeaway of James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. It is separate from the legal question of whether Trump obstructed justice, or the political question of whether congressional Republicans care even if he did.
“I can’t wait for the 100-day shit to be over,” an exhausted senior administration official told Politico. Well, it’s over now, and nothing is on fire — that’s worth some celebration, at least. Donald Trump’s madcap milestone week proved to be his presidency in miniature: packed with controversy and aggravation and effort and fear, but ultimately amounting to little.
It’s worth taking a step back to realize just how broken the process for selecting Supreme Court justices now is. In 2016, Senate Republicans responded to Antonin Scalia’s death by inventing and establishing the absurd faux principle that open seats on the Supreme Court cannot be filled in an election year. Given that America hosts national elections one out of every two years, that means, in theory, that Supreme Court seats should remain unfilled fully 50 percent of the time.
A few weeks back, I wrote a piece about Donald Trump titled “How to stop an autocracy.” The essay began with the premise that Trump has a will to power and a contempt for the basic norms and institutions of American democracy, and then explored how to limit the damage. The answer, basically, was that Congress needs to do its damn job.
Donald Trump has a path to become the next president of the United States on Tuesday. Donald Trump is not a man who should be president. This is not an ideological judgment. This is not something I would say about Mitt Romney or Marco Rubio. This is not a disagreement over Trump’s tax plan or his climate policies. This is about Trump’s character, his temperament, his impulsiveness, his basic decency.
Tonight, Donald J. Trump will accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president of the United States. And I am, for the first time since I began covering American politics, genuinely afraid. Donald Trump is not a man who should be president. This is not an ideological judgment. This is not something I would say about Mitt Romney or Marco Rubio. This is not a disagreement over Donald Trump’s tax plan or his climate policies. This is about Trump’s character, his temperament, his impulsiveness, his basic decency.
This is not a profile of Hillary Clinton. It is not a review of her career or an assessment of her campaign. You won’t find any shocking revelations on her emails, on Benghazi, on Whitewater, or even on her health care plan. This is an effort to answer a question I’ve been struggling with since at least 2008: Why is the Hillary Clinton described to me by her staff, her colleagues, and even her foes so different from the one I see on the campaign trail?
Could the Republican Party have stopped Donald Trump? The theory goes like this: The Republican Party had the chance to off Trump early, but it didn't act quickly enough — and now it may be too late. If only officials had coalesced around Marco Rubio earlier, if only the Super PACs concentrated their fire on Donald Trump faster, if only Jeb Bush had dropped out before South Carolina, if only...
One of the nagging questions of the Republican primary has been why the GOP establishment hasn't united behind Marco Rubio. The move seemed obvious — they feared Donald Trump, they loathed Ted Cruz, and Rubio seemed like a more serious threat to Hillary Clinton than Jeb Bush or Chris Christie.
"This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America," President Obama said. "We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction." The occasion for Obama's speech was a mass shooting. But which mass shooting? The shooting on June 18, 2015, that killed nine in Charleston, South Carolina? The shooting on May 23, 2014, that killed six in Isla Vista, California? The shooting on July 20, 2012, that left 12 dead in Aurora, Colorado? Was it Wednesday's shooting in San Bernardino, California?
ISIS can't win. But we can lose. Amidst a week of fear over what the Islamic State can do, it's worth stopping to be clear about what it can't do. It can't invade Paris. It can't launch an air war against the United States. It can't even hold its ground — ISIS expert Will McCants estimates the group has lost between 20 and 25 percent of its territory in recent months.
When I first heard them, CNBC’s actual questions struck me as substantive and skeptical, though the framing often seemed ungenerous and even derisive. But debate questions, for reasons I’ve never quite understood, are often framed in ungenerous and even derisive terms — the formulation tends to be [perfectly reasonable question] + [weirdly ungenerous kicker] — so CNBC’s didn’t strike me as particularly unusual. But Republicans felt CNBC’s questions were uniquely hostile — hostile compared with the questions the Democratic candidates received in their debate, and hostile compared with the questions Republicans received in their other debates.
Politics isn't about who you love. It's about who you fear. That's the upshot of a paper by political scientists Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster that attempts to untangle a mystery about modern American politics: how can there be record levels of party loyalty and straight-ticket voting at the same time that fewer Americans than ever before are identifying as Republicans and Democrats?
Last weekend, Politico's Jake Sherman interviewed John Boehner. Boehner was, at that moment, facing a possible coup from House conservatives and a possible government shutdown over Planned Parenthood, and he was doing it all while on a relentless fundraising trip through the Pacific Northwest. Boehner's job was a nightmare. And one of Boehner's particular charms was that he always seemed to know it. He didn't even pretend he was having fun. Asked about the rigors of his role, Boehner's response to Sherman was typically piquant. "Garbage men get used to the smell of bad garbage," he replied.
On Sunday, the New York Times published a massive exposé of Amazon's "punishing" work culture. The company, the Times alleged, "is conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable." The anecdotes from the article are searing. "Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk," said Bo Olson, who worked in Amazon's book marketing department. A woman who gave birth to a stillborn child recalled being told that "to make sure my focus stayed on my job." Other employees report emails that land after midnight and are followed by texts if a reply doesn't materialize quickly enough. The article details an internal system that allows Amazon's employees to anonymously report on each other's work habits.
Over the last week, the conservative movement emptied its clip at Donald Trump. Fox News designed a debate to embarrass him in front of a national audience — the questions were crafted to prove that Trump is an opportunistic misogynist who cares nothing for the Republican Party, has routinely betrayed conservative principles and supported Democratic candidates, and is inventing slurs about immigrants as he goes along. As soon as the debate ended, they cut to a live focus group showing the audience loathed him.
On Friday, Donald Trump said that Fox News's Megyn Kelly had it out for him during the first Republican presidential debate. And he had a theory as to why. "She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions," Trump told CNN. "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her... wherever."
One argument for dismissing Donald Trump's rise is that we've seen this movie — or at least this trashy reality show — before. The GOP base had a series of embarrassing flings in the 2008 primary, falling in and out of love with a list of unlikely candidates. There's no real reason to believe the flirtation with Trump will be any more lasting. As evidence, the Washington Post's Philip Bump tweeted this chart, which places Trump's rise in context of the temporary leads Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry secured in 2012:
When Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign, few treated it as a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton. Sanders, after all, isn’t even a Democrat: He’s a "democratic socialist." But his campaign struck a chord. He’s raised more than $15 million, primarily from small donors, and he’s turning out the largest crowds of the presidential race. But amidst all the media attention given to Sanders’s rapid political rise, there’s not been that much exploration of what he actually believes.