“Nancy Pelosi and Fake Tears Chuck Schumer held a rally at the steps of The Supreme Court,” President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, “and mic did not work (a mess)-just like Dem party.” The jibe was a follow-up to remarks the president made to reporters earlier in the day after a White House meeting with small-business owners.
A very abnormal campaign is normalizing in a scary way.
Donald Trump’s unexpected transformation from reality television star to Republican Party presidential nominee has been analyzed endlessly over the past few months. Most of that analysis, mostly appropriately, has focused on the deep structural factors that powered his popularity. But Trump polled well in the GOP field a year ago when almost nobody thought he would win.
Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee. The only way he won't is if something unthinkable happens. He could be struck by lightning. He could pull off his Trump mask and reveal that he's actually been Impossible Mission Force agent Ethan Hunt this whole time. Short of that, I dunno. You never want to say never in American politics, but this is the exception.
In its early months, Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign suffered from the impression that it was a protest candidacy more about discussing issues than about electing a president. More recently, it has looked more like a genuine effort to deny Hillary Clinton the nomination — an effort that seems likely to fail. But judged by that earlier standard, Sanders has been highly successful. I'll use myself as an example: Thanks to Sanders — and specifically thanks to his campaign — I've come around to the idea that the correct tuition for qualified students at public colleges and universities is $0.
Over the past couple of weeks, a surprisingly large number of mainstream Republicans have started doing nice things for Donald Trump, especially in Iowa, where he is locked in a battle with Ted Cruz. This is especially puzzling for those of us who once confidently predicted that despite congressional Republicans' personal dislike of Cruz, they would ultimately find him more ideologically congenial than Trump. But over the weekend, one political operative floated to me a theory that began to rapidly gain credence on Monday. Establishment Republicans aren't choosing Trump over Cruz because they prefer Trump to Cruz. They are bac
Like most journalists, I've been covering Bernie Sanders's 2016 primary campaign as fundamentally more about making a point than about electing a president. He's out there to talk about his issues, to shift the terms of the debate, and to force Hillary Clinton to commit herself to progressive causes.
The US Senate today passed a bill by Elizabeth Warren that will force federal regulators to fully disclose the terms of any settlement or deferred prosecution agreement that they reach in a major case. Her concern is that regulators — in particular the ones responsible for monitoring Wall Street — often announce a tough settlement with an eye-popping dollar figure to grab good headlines, while quietly burying the news that the real penalty is significantly less impressive. Most people don't know, for example, that these settlement fees are usually tax deductible, so a profitable company can slice a third of the price of the fine right off the top. Settlement agreements also at times "credit" companies being penalized for continuing to do things that they are already doing.
As of this month, the unemployment rate is now lower than it was at any point during Ronald Reagan's administration:
President Obama's decision to return the former Mount McKinley to its original name, Denali, has the McKinley administration of 1897 to 1901 back in the news for the first time in more than a century. William McKinley, according to House Speaker John Boehner, "led this nation to prosperity and victory in the Spanish-American War as the 25th President of the United States," a record that allegedly amounts to a "great" legacy. The truth, however, is that pilfering Spanish colonies aside, McKinley was much more a lucky president than a great one — a case study in the heavy role of contingency in shaping political events.
Quinnipiac is out with a new poll that confirms something the national media is loathe to admit and essentially never surfaces in their coverage of one of the most-covered people in the world today: Hillary Clinton is the most popular politician in America. It would be genuinely silly to think that her early leads in general election polling tell us anything interesting about what will happen in November 2016. But they tell us a lot about how people feel in May 2015, and the way they feel is pretty good about Hillary Clinton.
For months, if not years now, various activists and journalists have been dreaming of an Elizabeth Warren presidential campaign. Ideological media bias is greatly overstated by partisans, but bias in favor of interesting stories and against dull outcomes is massive and quite real. Barack Obama's 2007-2008 upset of Hillary Clinton was one of the best political stories of my lifetime, while Clinton's utter domination of the 2014-2015 invisible primary is one of the least fascinating. What's more, as Vox's Ezra Klein has argued, a Clinton-Warren race would give Democrats an interesting clash of ideas around the role of finance in the 21st century economy.
Americans are feeling a lot more permissive about things in 2015 than they did in 2001. A recent Gallup poll shows Americans are more likely to say that gay sex is morally acceptable, that divorce is acceptable, that extramarital affairs are acceptable, that physician-assisted suicide is acceptable, and even that cloning animals or human beings is acceptable:
Staffers at Gawker Media are looking to organize a union under the auspices of the Writer's Guild of America. This prompted a very bold member of the Vox team to observe to me that perhaps Vox should write an explainer on how one goes about forming a union. "Don't ask management how to form a union" is usually one good step. The specific procedure actually differs depending on where you work. Government workers' unionization rights are governed by 50 different sets of state law. Airline workers are governed by a somewhat different process originally created for railroads. But for a basic private-sector worker who has nothing to do with airplanes, there is, in theory, a pretty clear process.
In a speech delivered April 14 in New Hampshire, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed a large across-the-board cut in Social Security benefits that would primarily target poor Americans. In a remarkable bit of political salesmanship, he also managed to get this covered in the press as primarily a proposal to reduce benefits for wealthy retirees. The proposal is part of an effort by Christie, whose 2016 chances have dimmed considerably in recent years, to position himself as the Republican brave enough to take on the politically difficult fights the rest of his party won't. In recent years, congressional Republicans have decided to back off any cuts to Social Security — Rep. Paul Ryan's budget, for instance, simply punts on the issue altogether.
America's constitutional democracy is going to collapse. Some day — not tomorrow, not next year, but probably sometime before runaway climate change forces us to seek a new life in outer-space colonies — there is going to be a collapse of the legal and political order and its replacement by something else. If we're lucky, it won't be violent. If we're very lucky, it will lead us to tackle the underlying problems and result in a better, more robust, political system. If we're less lucky, well, then, something worse will happen. Very few people agree with me about this, of course. When I say it, people generally think that I'm kidding. America is the richest, most successful country on earth.