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Commentary by Michael Barone

Most Recent Releases

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.

January 26, 2024

DeSantis Withdrawal Paved the Way for Likely Trump-Biden Rematch By Michael Barone

What went wrong with Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign? You can list many arguable mistakes, as you can with any campaign, and you can add, as some reporters have, that the candidate was not likable or good at retail campaigning -- which mostly reflected reporters' personal dislike of DeSantis or resentment at his refusal to schmooze what he considered unfriendly press.

January 19, 2024

No Gary Hart Bounce for DeSantis or Haley By Michael Barone

Forty years ago, when Walter Mondale won 49% in Iowa's Democratic caucuses, far ahead of Gary Hart's 16%, the media spotlight nonetheless immediately focused.

With the help of a brilliant spot by consultant Ray Strother showing him tossing a hatchet into a tree, Hart went on to win the New Hampshire primary eight days later, 37% to 28%, and he suddenly became the favorite.

January 12, 2024

Democracy Not at Risk, but Not Operating Optimally By Michael Barone

Is democracy at risk this election year?

January 5, 2024

Our Inevitably Negative Politics By Michael Barone

To explain the latest young generation's pessimism, Washington Post opinion writer Taylor Lorenz took to what was then called Twitter last February to lament "the fact that we're living in a late stage capitalist hellscape during an ongoing deadly

pandemic w record wealth inequality, 0 social safety net/job security, as climate change cooks the world."

December 29, 2023

Startling Surprises in Latest Census Numbers By Michael Barone

How's America doing? Government statisticians provide mounds of data that provide useful clues, and none more so than the Census Bureau's estimates of population, announced in the holiday weeks at the end of each calendar year.

The latest numbers measure the estimated population of each state as of last July 1 as compared to the constitutionally required decennial census dated April 1, 2020.

December 22, 2023

The Politics of Incumbent Rejection By Michael Barone

        At a time when voters have rejected the party of the incumbent president in the last two elections, and in which current polling has the incumbent trailing,

both parties seem bent on nominating two men who have served as president and about whom substantial majorities of voters have negative feelings. What gives?

December 15, 2023

The Intellectual Elite's Institutional Rot By Michael Barone

Institutional rot. That's the verdict recorded in recent days on the performance of leading institutions by observers not known for pessimistic temperaments or alarmist analysis.

December 8, 2023

For True Evil, Look Not to Israel or America but to Communism By Michael Barone

For those dismayed at how many college and university students and faculty, even, or especially, at selective and prestigious institutions, have been cheering Hamas' Oct. 7 atrocities and calling, in only slightly veiled language, for the destruction of

Israel and genocide of Jews, the question is how this vicious line of thought gained hold in American secondary and higher education.

December 1, 2023

Orwell and Monroe Got It Right By Michael Barone

George Orwell, call your office. That's my initial and slightly out-of-date response to news stories about the Biden administration's efforts to stamp out "misinformation." It's an interesting irony that covert censorship should be

undertaken enthusiastically by those who call themselves "liberal" or "progressive" and who claim the opposition would threaten the survival of liberal democracy.

November 17, 2023

Memo to Hamas: Settler Societies Aren't Evil By Michael Barone

In the nauseating demonstrations celebrating Hamas' slaughter of Israelis, one hears repeated, again and again, the refrain that Israelis are "settlers" and "colonists" -- and therefore, in the catechism inculcated in universities in recent decades,

oppressors not deserving of mercy or sympathy when tortured and murdered by those who deemed themselves the oppressed.

November 10, 2023

Young Voters Spring (Contradictory) Political Surprises By Michael Barone

What's with young voters? It's a question prompted by two surprising and perhaps contradictory developments that are out of line with conventional wisdom and prevailing expectations among political observers.

November 3, 2023

Is a Trump Renomination Really Inevitable? By Michael Barone

Is it inevitable that Donald Trump will be the second person in history -- Richard Nixon was the first -- to win the Republican Party's nomination for president three times? Many thoughtful observers, and others as well, think so.

October 27, 2023

Can a New Speaker Reinstate an Old Norm? By Michael Barone

After a little more than three weeks, House Republicans have finally elected a speaker. He's Mike Johnson, first elected to the House in 2016 from a district in northwest Louisiana. He's almost unknown to the public, has a right-wing voting record, and has been a supporter of Donald Trump. He grills witnesses effectively but calmly, with no visible anger.

October 20, 2023

Time to Stop Appeasing Terrorist Iran By Michael Barone

 The 2020s are starting to look like the 1930s, as I wrote last week in the wake of Hamas' unprecedentedly vicious attack on Israel.

October 13, 2023

The Gathering Storm By Michael Barone

Russia has been attacking Ukraine for 20 months now. Iran, through its terrorism partner Hamas, attacked Israel this weekend. China has been threatening to attack Taiwan.

October 6, 2023

New Deal Politics Turned Upside Down By Michael Barone

"The World Turned Upside Down." That's the song, or so longstanding legend would have it, that the British army band played after surrendering to American and French forces at Yorktown, 242 years ago. You can understand, even while not sympathizing, with the choice of ditty.