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Commentary by Michael Barone

Most Recent Releases

June 14, 2024

European 'Far Right' Issues a Stinging Rebuke to Elites By Michael Barone

"The far right made big gains in European elections," reads the Associated Press headline on last week's European Parliament elections. Lest you wonder why you should dread gains by the "far right," the lead sentence of the article notes that the EU has "roots in the defeat of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy."

June 7, 2024

Using a 'Sham Case' to Undermine Democracy By Michael Barone

"A sham case, and everyone knows it." So writes the iconoclastic Matt Taibbi, once counted as a left-wing writer, and he's not the only one from outside MAGA precincts who has been appalled by the Manhattan district attorney's case that produced a guilty verdict against former President Donald Trump.

May 31, 2024

Why Doesn't the Biden White House Ditch Its Unpopular Border Policy? By Michael Barone

For three and a half years, the Biden White House has seemed remarkably leakproof. Even amid popular backlash to administration policies -- the spending splurge in 2021 that was followed by sharp inflation in 2022 and 2023, the changes in enforcement of immigration laws that have produced numbers of incoming illegal immigrants unmatched even in border boom periods in the 1980s and '90s, and the endorsement of policies allowing biological men to compete in women's sports -- top officials have stuck to talking points and avoided finger-pointing.

May 24, 2024

Biden Not Fooling Voters on Economy By Michael Barone

If you want to explain to a puzzled, left-leaning writer like The Atlantic's Annie Lowrey why most voters this year rate the economy during former President Donald Trump's term more favorably than the economy during President Joe Biden's, you might start with a pair of simple charts.

May 17, 2024

The World's -- and the Pacific Rim's -- Disastrous Population Implosion By Michael Barone

Will the world be better off with fewer people? For years that has been a hypothetical question posed to suggest an affirmative answer. Fewer people, it was claimed, would mean less depredation of natural resources, less urban overcrowding, more room for other species to stretch their (actual or metaphorical) legs. Mankind was a parasite, a blight, and overpopulation a disease. Fewer people would mean a better Earth.

May 10, 2024

Moving Away From the Template of 'Oppressor vs. Oppressed' By Michael Barone

The violent campus takeover by protesters -- some of them students, many not -- has had the unintended effect of discrediting the premise underlying the protest. That premise is that the world is divided between oppressors and the oppressed, and that the oppressors are always evil and their victims already virtuous.

May 3, 2024

Campus Riots and a Chicago Convention: Deja Vu All Over Again? By Michael Barone

As the philosopher and baseball player Yogi Berra once (supposedly) said, it's deja vu all over again. Student protesters are occupying campuses of famed universities across the country. In New York, Columbia University protesters occupied administrative offices in Hamilton Hall and were cleared out by police, exactly 56 years to the day after student protesters occupied and were thrown out of that building in 1968.

April 26, 2024

A Turning Point for American Foreign Policy? By Michael Barone

        Was the passage by the House last Saturday and the Senate on Tuesday of the foreign aid package with money for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan a turning point in American foreign policy?

April 19, 2024

Maybe Larger Families Will Produce Better Leaders, as in the Early US By Michael Barone

   Why was America in the Revolutionary War era, with 3 million people, able to generate leaders of the quality of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, while today's America, with 333 million people, generates the likes of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump?

April 12, 2024

A Fail-Safe Society Is Sure to Fail By Michael Barone

   When are we going to trust our fellow Americans again? When are we going to allow qualified individuals with responsibility to make decisions without consulting detailed rulebooks and formal procedures?

April 5, 2024

Disorder on the Border Remains a Problem for Biden Democrats By Michael Barone

What were they thinking? Did President Joe Biden and the folks who put together his immigration policy imagine the voting public would celebrate policies that resulted in a record-high number of migration encounters -- more than three-quarters of a million -- in the usually low-immigration months of October, November and December 2023?

March 29, 2024

Today's Leaders Are Not Living Up to Constitutional Norms By Michael Barone

   How are America's leaders measuring up against the standards set by the Constitution and the examples of the Founding Fathers? It's a question I've been asking as I seek refuge from contemporary politics in reading and occasionally writing, in my 2023 book "Mental Maps of the Founders," about the early years of the republic.

March 22, 2024

The Electric Car Fiasco By Michael Barone

   Donald Trump's anodyne if overexcited comment that the U.S. auto industry would face a "bloodbath" if he's not elected and doesn't impose 50% or 100% tariffs on cars produced predictable results.

March 15, 2024

Democrats Losing Their Hold on California and California Losing Its Hold on America By Michael Barone

Last week's Super Tuesday results ensured the renominations of former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, barring some unanticipated adverse health events. So, who's going to win in November?

March 8, 2024

Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder? By Michael Barone

The headlines coming out of the Super Tuesday primaries have got it right. Barring cataclysmic changes, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be the Republican and Democratic nominees for president in 2024.

March 1, 2024

Some Idiosyncratic Observations of the Elections So Far By Michael Barone

Herewith some idiosyncratic, perhaps eccentric, observations on the electoral contests so far in this presidential cycle.

1. Turnout is down. In the first five contests -- the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan primaries -- Republican turnout was down from 2016, the most recent cycle with serious contests. That's based on precincts currently reporting and the ace New York Times number crunchers' estimates of as-yet-uncounted votes.

February 23, 2024

Biden Open-Door Policy: Some Facts and Historical Context By Michael Barone

What's been missing these past couple of months from the coverage of and debate over the failed immigration bill? Some important basic facts and lots of historical context.

February 16, 2024

America's Dysfunctional Overclass By Michael Barone

   What does America's overclass think of the rest of us? The short answer is "not much." They think ordinary people's splurging on natural resources is destroying the planet and needs to be cut back forcefully. And that the government needs to stamp down on ordinary people enjoying luxuries that, in their view, should be reserved for the top elites.

February 9, 2024

Toward a Demotic Republican Party By Michael Barone

   What happens when a political party becomes demotic? Before answering the question, note that the word in question is not demonic, from the Greek word daimon, meaning a deity (remember that the Greek gods were notoriously jealous and greedy), but demotic, from the Greek word demos, meaning the people -- the same root as democratic.

February 2, 2024

Systemic Lying Corrodes Once-great Institutions By Michael Barone

The last six or seven months have been a couple of tough seasons for public policies based on lies. Two examples come to mind.