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Commentary by Michael Barone

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November 15, 2019

A Late-Starting Presidential Campaign May Not Be Hopeless By Michael Barone

Michael Bloomberg has delivered his latest delicious hint about running for president. Former Attorney General Eric Holder is fresh from taking credit for the new Democratic legislative majorities in Virginia, making it known he might be interested. And former Gov. Deval Patrick joined the presidential race after reportedly discerning a demand for another presidential candidate from Massachusetts. At this point, it might be helpful to note some patterns in former Democratic presidential nomination contests that might help late entrants.

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November 8, 2019

The 2 Parties' Very Different Fields of Candidates By Michael Barone

Have you noticed that the two parties' fields of presidential candidates have, in the past two election cycles, grown enormously larger than (if not necessarily superior to) those in past years? Where parties used to have two to five serious candidates to choose from, Republicans had 17 in 2016, and, by my count, Democrats this cycle have had 27.

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November 1, 2019

Boris Johnson Headed to Big Brexit Victory? By Michael Barone

It has been 1,225 days since an all-time-high turnout of British voters chose, by a 52 to 48% margin, to Leave rather than Remain in the European Union. Now with a general election set for Dec. 12, it looks like Britain is finally about to escape the EU's "ever closer union."

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October 25, 2019

The Perils of Downscale Political Parties By Michael Barone

Political parties, and their travails, have been much on my mind recently as I've been speaking to radio and television interviewers about my new book, "How America's Political Parties Change (And How They Don't)."

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October 18, 2019

Westerville Debate Leaves Democratic Race Wider Open By Michael Barone

The world's oldest political party set an all-time record Tuesday night, with 12 presidential candidates on a single stage in Westerville, Ohio. That's a suburb of Columbus, the fastest-growing big metro area in the Midwest, in Franklin County, which voted Republican in every presidential election but one for a half century (1944-92) but has voted Democratic in the six elections since.

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October 11, 2019

The Democrats' Faute de Mieux Front-Runner By Michael Barone

Is Elizabeth Warren the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination? You can make a strong argument that the answer is yes. You can also argue that she is, at most, a default front-runner and a problematic general election nominee.

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October 4, 2019

Life Can Improve, Even During Impeachments By Michael Barone

Underneath the clash and clang of controversy over presidential impeachment, public policy and personal initiative can slowly and seemingly imperceptibly improve life in America. That was the case two decades ago, amid the swirling arguments over the mostly party line impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton and the Senate's mostly party line refusal to remove him from office.

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September 27, 2019

Democrats' Risky Bet on Impeachment By Michael Barone

Precedents abound in a country whose first presidential election took place 230 years ago, that has seen 41 presidential contests between two political parties founded 187 and 165 years ago. Three of our 44 presidents have faced impeachment proceedings -- Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton -- and now it seems Donald Trump will be the fourth.

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September 20, 2019

Will Congress Have to Learn to Write Laws Again? By Michael Barone

Congress needs to learn to do a better job of writing laws. That's my conclusion after reviewing the legal debate over whether the Supreme Court should renounce the Chevron doctrine it unanimously promulgated (with three justices not participating) back in 1984.

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September 13, 2019

Trump Era Not as Extraordinary as Never-Trumpers Think By Michael Barone

Around Washington, in sundry upscale locales, in large quadrants of the internet, you still encounter lamentations about Donald Trump's takeover of the Republican Party and prophecies of the party's approaching doom. Never-Trumpers are less thick on the ground than among ordinary voters, but they have an echo in affluent southern and southwest suburbs that have switched from Republicans to anti-Trump Democrats. And they're eager to tell you that nothing like this has ever happened before.

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September 6, 2019

Elites Abandon Norms and Show Contempt for Voters on Both Sides of the Atlantic By Michael Barone

Wars by the elites on the people are flaring in English-speaking nations on both sides of the Atlantic. It's being waged fiercely in the Palace of Westminster House of Commons and in the House of Lords. And in the newsrooms and greenrooms of American journalism.

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August 30, 2019

Why Democratic Candidates Risk Martin O'Malley's Fate By Michael Barone

Anyone heard anything about Martin O'Malley lately? Four years ago, he was busy out in Iowa running for president. After two successful terms as mayor of Baltimore (homicides fell during his years) and as governor of Maryland, he seemed like a plausible candidate. Strumming his guitar and singing Irish songs, he seemed more likable than either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

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August 23, 2019

The End of America's 30-Year Engagement With China? By Michel Barone

Will the demonstrations in Hong Kong come to be seen as the end of a 30-year period, beginning with the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, of the American-Chinese economic engagement and entanglement christened "Chimerica" by historian Niall Ferguson?

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August 16, 2019

Will Fact-Checkers Foil Democrats' Attempts to Play the Race Card? By Michael Barone

Fact-checking journalists lean left, as Mark Hemingway documented in a canonical Washington Examiner analysis that is just as valid today as when it was published in 2011. But as John F. Kennedy once said, when asked why he wasn't supported by an odoriferous Massachusetts Democrat, "sometimes party loyalty asks too much."

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August 9, 2019

Analyzing the Pieces of the Democratic Puzzle By Michael Barone

"No candidate received a polling bump as a result of the Detroit debates," writes Morning Consult analyst Anthony Patterson this week. That's a big disappointment for the dozen or more candidates struggling to make the Democrats' 2 percent cutoffs for further debate appearances, as well as for the pundits weary after six or so hours of debates and post-debate interviews.

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August 2, 2019

Nationalism, Rightly Understood, Is a Necessary Ingredient of Political Success By Michael Barone

Nationalism has a bad name. For many Americans, mention of the word summons up visions of Hitler and Nazism. Some condemn nationalism as thoughtless bragging that your nation is better than others, which should be discouraged just as second graders are told not to brag, lest they hurt classmates' feelings.

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July 26, 2019

A Big Wednesday for 'Populists' on Both Sides of the Atlantic By Michael Barone

Power shifted Wednesday, on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Washington, the dim performance of Robert Mueller, in the hearings House Democrats insisted on, took the last air out of the Collusiongate balloon. The notion that Donald Trump would be hounded out of office has been revealed as the fantasy it always was.

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July 19, 2019

Both Parties Are Misbehaving in Line With Their Historic Character By Michael Barone

The air is thick with lamentations that our two political parties are tearing themselves -- and the nation -- to pieces. The Republican president has picked a Twitter fight with four Democratic freshman congresswomen, and the Democratic speaker has chosen to violate House rules to pick a fight with the president.

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July 12, 2019

Democrats: Prisoners of the Past on the Economy By Michael Barone

We are all, to some extent, prisoners of the past. Things that have already happened -- or that we remember as having happened -- constitute the world that we know. Anything else is a product of imagination.

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July 5, 2019

Chief Justice Wisely Gets Courts out of Redistricting Politics By Michael Barone

"Partisan gerrymandering is nothing new," writes Chief Justice John Roberts near the beginning of his opinion in Rucho v. Common Cause. "Nor is frustration with it." The question is what, if anything, federal courts ought to do about it. The answer the chief justice and the four other Republican-appointed justices have endorsed, journalists have been reporting, is nothing.