How inevitable is a third consecutive nomination of Donald Trump? Partisan commentators, when it suits their purposes, tend to assume it is so.
Commentary by Michael Barone
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Could America's Founding Fathers see far, some 234 years, into the future? In declaring independence and fashioning a constitution, they were certainly trying to do so. And, in some cases, they succeeded. Consider this 78-word sentence written by James Madison and published as part of "Federalist 63" on March 1, 1788:
What's going on with Joe Biden? Why is a president who ran and was elected as a centrist Democrat supporting one left-wing proposal after another? What has prompted the politician whose sensitivity to public opinion was finely honed for four decades to take one unpopular stand after another?
DEI -- "diversity, equity and inclusion." University administrators, corporate human resources facilitators and politicians of a liberal stripe all assure us that America is now, suddenly, for the first time in history, a nation of diversity, equity and inclusion .
Give the New York Times's Ezra Klein credit for identifying a problem with big government institutions. "Our mechanisms of governance have become so risk averse that they are now running tremendous risks because of the problems they cannot, or will not, solve," he tweeted. The subject was San Francisco's attempt to make permanent the parklets, or parking spaces used as outdoor restaurant space, through 60 pages of regulations.
This month, I've come across two outstanding articles by writers I had not previously known on important trends on the political right and political left.
Whether you're contemplating San Francisco voters' recall of left-wing District Attorney Chesa Boudin or the plight of Democrats nationally as they face voters' dismay at out-of-control inflation, immigration and crime, the question is liable to come to mind: What were they thinking?
Politics has increasingly become, for many Americans, the leisure of the theory class. That's a phrase from the early 20th century sociologist Thorstein Veblen, which I turned on its head in a recent column. He was condemning the showy consumerism of the contemporary rich for having no economically practical purpose. I, on the other hand, was describing the political preoccupations of contemporary people, mainly high-education liberals but also low-education populists, as having no practically achievable goals.
Primary Results: Trump Repudiated, Republicans Enthused, Democrats Focused On Theoretical Issues by Michael Barone
Complete and utter repudiation. That's what a record number of Republican primary voters in Georgia administered to former President Donald Trump this Tuesday. The man he blamed for not contesting his narrow 2020 loss in the state, Gov. Brian Kemp, won renomination with 74% of the vote.
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.
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.