Is it Donald Trump's Republican Party? You can make the case it is, as partisan Democrats do, from the victories of various candidates endorsed by the former president in Republican primaries. But it's not an airtight case, and Trump's batting average is inflated by the dozens of endorsements he has made of incumbents with no significant primary opposition.
Commentary by Michael Barone
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They may or may not have been playing the song "The World Turned Upside Down" when Lord Charles Cornwallis's troops surrendered to Gen. George Washington at Yorktown in 1781, but there's good reason to sing it now.
The congressional redistricting wars are mostly over. Much of the hoopla surrounding it is proving overheated.
In recent weeks, I've noted how, as COVID-19 mask mandates fall by the wayside, the nation has been moving away from what now seems excessive risk aversion. And I've described the National Bureau of Economic Research paper assessing how the costs of the lockdowns have exceeded the benefits.
People talk about culture war politics as if it were a recent development -- a novelty, an exception to a historic rule that American politics is mostly about economics (who gets how much) and only occasionally gets sidetracked into culture (what people should or shouldn't be allowed to do).
What were the benefits and costs of the COVID-19 restrictions implemented over the last two years? It's a good time to ask that question, especially now that the masks are coming off and the lockdowns are canceled.
It feels like we're turning a corner.
"The language people speak in the corridors of power is not economics or politics. It is history." So says former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, quoted in a column on Ukraine by historian Niall Ferguson.
"Who rules the Heartland rules the World Island. Who rules the World Island commands the world." So wrote the geography professor and occasional member of Parliament Halford Mackinder in his 1919 book "Democratic Ideals and Reality."
It turns out that we live in a nationalist world. That's one of the lessons people are learning from the surprise early results of the Russo-Ukrainian war.
It's been a week since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Kyiv, and even Kharkiv, 20 miles from the Russian border, remain under Ukrainian control. Contrary to many predictions, Russian President Vladimir Putin's forces have fallen short of their goals so far, but there can be no certainty about the outcome in Ukraine -- or Russia.
For those trying to keep up with the fast-moving events in Ukraine, it may be helpful to consider some lessons of history. Mistakes made in the past week, added onto developments covering the last two or three centuries, have left the United States and its European allies -- in particular the largest of them, Germany -- unable to prevent President Vladimir Putin's Russia from absorbing an as yet undetermined part of a theoretically independent Ukraine.
Itinerant policy journalist Ezra Klein, now with the New York Times, has highlighted something interesting about the Biden Democrats' now-defunct Build Back Better package -- something beyond its huge cost (trillions) and its failure to get majority support in the Democratic Congress, just like the single-payer health care bill that recently failed to pass in California's Democratic supermajority legislature.
Masks were necessary, especially in schools, to prevent mass deaths. Or so we were told, at great and tedious length -- until suddenly, in the last 10 days, they weren't.
Are we returning to normalcy?
Voters Oppose 'Transformative' Policies, Want Reform of Dysfunctional Bureaucracies By Michael Barone
Do Americans really want transformative change? The evidence accumulates that they don't.
"California should abolish parenthood, in the name of equity." That's the headline of a Ventura County Star column by Zocalo Public Square's Joe Mathews. "Want true equity?" the San Francisco Chronicle headlined the same column three days later. "California should force parents to give away their children."
How do you explain why an ultra-experienced politician makes a major speech on the behalf of a legislative goal that is both doomed to fail and unpopular with voters? Especially when his speech is boycotted by the bill's chief backers and consists of one big lie after another?
One way to anticipate what may be ahead in politics is to gauge the balance of power in the nation's two political parties. The Republican Party has always been centered on people regarded by themselves and others as "typical" Americans but who do not by themselves comprise a majority. The Democratic Party has always been a coalition of out-groups, powerful when united but often at risk of division.
I want to add a few notes to my Christmas weekend column on the Census Bureau's July 2021 state population estimates and what stories they tell about growth and decline in the first 15 months of the coronavirus pandemic.