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COMMENTARY BY MICHAEL BARONE

  • Another Impossible Thing May Happen: Change in Partisan Alignments By Michael Barone

    In my last column, I looked at the possibility of two impossible things -- impossible things in the sense used by Alice and the Red Queen -- happening in the already turbulent 2016 presidential cycle. Here I'll look at another: the possibility that the partisan division lines that have endured with little change for two decades might suddenly shift and change.

    This has happened before. History teaches two lessons pointing in opposite directions: Partisan divisions can stay the same for a long time. And they can change suddenly and without much warning.

  • Two Impossible Things That Could Happen in 2016 by Michael Barone

    One can't believe impossible things, Alice objected.

  • Hillary Clinton and 'Black Lives Matter': An Unproductive Confrontation By Michael Barone

    Reporters and voters have so far gotten few glimpses of Hillary Clinton speaking candidly. One of the few examples available is in the videotape and transcript of her meeting with Black Lives Matter protesters in New Hampshire last week.    

  • Donald Trump's Half-Serious, Half-Fantasy Immigration Plan By Michael Barone

    Donald Trump's six-page platform on immigration may not be, as Ann Coulter wrote, "the greatest political document since the Magna Carta." But given the issue's role in elevating the candidate to leading Republican polls, it merits serious attention.

    And at least some of the platform's planks are serious. Trump calls for nationwide use, presumably mandatory, of E-Verify, the government system that is supposed to enable prospective employers to verify a job applicant's immigration status.

  • The Strange Death of the Center-Left by Michael Barone

    In 1935 George Dangerfield published "The Strange Death of Liberal England, 1910-1914," a vivid account of how Britain's center-left Liberal Party, dominant for a century, collapsed amid conflicts it could not resolve.

  • Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: Incapable of Embarrassment by Michael Barone

    August is traditionally a vacation month, and East Coast elites, following European tradition, are thick on the ground in the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard (the Obamas' choice) and Nantucket.

  • A Tough Day for the President and His Party By Michael Barone

    Thursday was the biggest night of the political year so far, for what happened on the stage at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena and for what happened offstage as well.

    The stage was the scene of the first two Republican presidential debates, hosted by Fox News, which together lasted some 200 minutes between 5 and 11 p.m. EDT. What happened there did not go unnoticed. According to overnight Nielsen ratings, the two-hour prime-time debate got a rating as high as the national basketball finals -- almost triple the highest rating of a Republican debate in the 2012 cycle and more than half that of the first Obama-Romney debate that fall. It was apparently the most watched primary debate in history.

  • Too Many Candidates to Fit on a Stage: Democrats Then, Republicans Now By Michael Barone

    Why did Fox News decide to schedule two Republican presidential debates rather than one? Simple arithmetic: 90 minutes divided by 17 candidates equals 5 minutes and 29 seconds apiece. That's scarcely enough time for the oral equivalent of a few tweets.   

  • Obama Bets Nuclear Deal Will Change Iran's Regime; Few Agree by Michael Barone

    Faute de mieux. That means "for want of something better" in Secretary of State John Kerry's second language. It's also the best case made by its journalistic defenders for approval of the nuclear weapons deal Kerry negotiated with Iran. Or to be more exact, for rallying 34 votes in the Senate or 146 votes in the House to uphold a presidential veto of a congressional vote to disapprove.

  • Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army By Michael Barone

    As the presidential campaign heats up, and we head into the first debate among the 16 declared Republican candidates, there is an asymmetry between the two political parties.

    Republican voters have been seething with discontent toward their party's officeholders and have not become enchanted with any one of 15 more or less conventional politicians who are running. Democratic voters support their officeholders with lockstep loyalty and seem untroubled by the serious flaws of their party's clear frontrunner.