On my daily walk down a side street, I saw the restaurant with a diagonal cross made of adhesive tape on its sign. Gone was the notice that it would open for takeout; it looked to be closed for good.
Commentary by Michael Barone
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There's no greater contrast between how countries have treated COVID-19 than that between nations on both sides of what might be called the Asian Iron Curtain. It's a contrast that tells us much about how to handle the virus -- and how events now in the distant past can determine the fates of hundreds of millions of people today.
It's unnerving, and perhaps instructive, that the arrangements elites have been prescribing for dealing with what they call our most dangerous environmental threat -- climate change, formerly known as global warming -- are almost precisely the opposite of the arrangements deployed to deal with the more immediate threat of COVID-19, aka the novel coronavirus.
Precedent doesn't provide much guidance. There's a deadly coronavirus threatening to circulate through the population. The resulting government orders and social sanctions of self-distancing and self-isolating behavior are unprecedented in living memory.
What just happened? The Democratic presidential nomination race, which gave signs of lasting months, is now basically over.
Super Tuesday has finally served its intended purpose for the first time since it was invented for the 1988 presidential cycle, 32 years ago.
Bernie Sanders' victories in the inaccurately counted Iowa caucuses, the crisply conducted New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucuses have made two things clear.
The 2020 presidential race has got the Democratic Party, the oldest political party in the world, twisted in knots. Its basic character and enduring values -- its political DNA -- which have enabled it to rebound from multiple political disasters, may be producing another disaster this year.
It's a familiar plotline. An interloper runs for a party's presidential nomination and, with an anti-insider pitch, scores wins and near-wins in the first contests with vote pluralities.
Are we watching a great political party commit suicide?
The old becomes the new. It's less than a week from of the Iowa caucuses, and Bernie Sanders, born in September 1941, three months before Pearl Harbor, leads the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls by 4 points in Iowa, 10 points in New Hampshire and 5 points in the biggest delegate prize, the Super Tuesday-voting California.
We live in history-making times. Not so much because of the impeachment trial going on in the Senate, which will make history only if it routinizes impeachments of impolite presidents when their opposition party gets control of the House, but because of what looks like an ongoing battle for control of the central narrative of American history.
Elections are a form of communication. Voting tells politicians, and the press if they're capable of getting the message, what citizens will tolerate and what they won't. The Democrats haven't voted yet, but they've been campaigning for more than a year and have just had their last debate before the Iowa caucuses two weeks from Monday.
In all the reportage and commentary on the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, I haven't seen much mention of an interesting parallel between the Iranian mullah regime's attacks on America this past week and its attacks when it first came to power 40 years ago.
From the first years of the one-fifth of this century already completed, we've been told that a new, ascendant America -- more nonwhite, more culturally liberal, more feminist -- was going to dominate our politics for years to come.
The best of times, the worst of times. Your instinct on which one we're living through is affected by your basic temperament, but it also depends on how well you're observing -- and quantifying -- things in the world around you.
Last week the world's second-oldest political party showed, and not for the first time, its capacity to regenerate itself and win an impressive majority in difficult circumstances.
Some recent news stories verge on the bizarre -- the House Democrats' futile fuss over impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's acceptance of President Donald Trump's U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade treaty. But they're not as bizarre, or possibly as consequential, as unanticipated developments in the Democrats' presidential nomination contest.
Sometimes the latest new thing is something antique. That's especially true in American politics, which has had seriously contested presidential elections every four years (with one exception) since 1800 and competitions between the same two durable parties since 1856. We're even on our (lucky?) 13th presidential race since the nominating rules were changed, back in the 1970s, to favor primaries rather than caucuses.
It's Thanksgiving week in a country whose warring political tribes are not much inclined to giving thanks. But any American with a reasonable historic perspective can easily find reasons to do so.