Finding a Sane Middle Ground on Abortion, Guns

In the strange dichotomy of US political zealotry since the 1970s, observed historian Jill Lepore in These Truths, either abortion means murder and guns mean freedom or guns mean murder and abortion mean freedom. This occurred because of social movements that have grown since the 1970s and have become primarily knee-jerk reactionaries opposed to common... Continue Reading →

Forget Left vs Right. Elections Are Now Choice Between Reform Agenda and Cynical Self-dealing, Corruption

Americans have historically chosen pragmatism over ideology, the political center over the far right or far left. After descending into cynicism about politics and politicians in 2016, they can now embrace policies to clean up the mess -- the corrosive influence of money in politics, encouraging candidates to rely on small donations, addressing the lack... Continue Reading →

How Seriously To Take US Political Divisions?

I've been surprised that some of my most vociferous "conservative" sparring partners online now admit that they reluctantly voted for Donald Trump or didn't vote for him at all in 2016. Rather, they voted against Hillary Clinton, desperate to "turn the page" from the too long-running Clinton soap-opera. Some would have voted for Joe Biden... Continue Reading →

John Adams Put Principles Above Politics

John Adams, as portrayed in the David McCullough biography and seven-part HBO miniseries, was often a blunt-spoken man who placed principle above political expediency. His loyalty was to "a government of laws and not of men," to facts not the wishful thinking of a partisan mob. "Facts are stubborn things," Adams said in 1774 after... Continue Reading →

‘Trumpism’ May Be Temporary Setback

Ruy Teixeira is optimistic about a progressive triumph against Trump and the Republicans. "Liberals Will Beat Trump in the End," he wrote in Washington Post: "The dominant ideology in the United States is one that combines 'symbolic conservatism' (honoring tradition, distrusting novelty, embracing the conservative label) with “operational liberalism” (wanting government to take more action in... Continue Reading →

Freedoms Depend On Public Opinion

“The point is that the relative freedom which we enjoy depends on public opinion,” George Orwell wrote in “Freedom of the Park.” “The law is no protection. Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are... Continue Reading →

Are Trump Voters Rational?

Robert Kurzban and Jason Weeden say "yes" in regard to Trump voters. On issues like abortion, immigration, trade, and white male privilege, certain voters are acting in their perceived best interests, they write. Kurban and Weeden are authors of “The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind: How Self-Interest Shapes Our Opinions and Why We Won’t Admit... Continue Reading →

A Miracle That A Demagogue Wasn’t Elected President Before 2016 Given that nearly 73 percent of Americans in 2016 do not have college degrees, it is amazing that a Trump-like demagogue has not won the presidency before, and that our democracy has not degraded long before now. Most voters in the past never took a college-level course in history, politics, persuasion, argumentation, sociology, economics,... Continue Reading →

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