The United Republics: A Peace Plan for America

Clare Trainor's proposal for high-speed rail connections between seven American megaregions
Clare Trainor’s proposal for high-speed rail connections between seven American megaregions

The 2016 election was a turning point in American history. Cultural, political and regional differences have become so vast that the American political system is becoming unsustainable. There are two fundamentally different visions of what this country should be and the current federal system does not allow these differences to be reconciled.

For these reasons, I am proposing a new political system that would transform the United States of America into the United Republics of America.

This new government would still allow nationwide coordination of domestic and foreign policy, but it would devolve power to newly created republics. Read more

Republicans Think Democrats Are Worse Than Russia

Radio and television host Sean Hannity speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Radio and television host Sean Hannity speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

How can Republicans still support Donald Trump now that there is proof of collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia?

Several users on Twitter have suggested that the right-wing media would have gone berserk if this story was about Hillary Clinton. They’re right. Instead of giving Donald Trump Jr. a softball interview, Sean Hannity would be screaming bloody murder.

We know, because that’s what he did during the phony Clinton email scandal.

And perhaps that helps answer our question: The American hard right has convinced itself that Democrats are such a threat to the country that it justifies collaboration with a foreign power. Read more

Trump Absurdly Claims Western Civilization Is at Stake

Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Andrzej Duda of Poland deliver a news conference in Warsaw, July 6
Presidents Donald Trump of the United States and Andrzej Duda of Poland deliver a news conference in Warsaw, July 6 (KPRP/Krzysztof Sitkowski)

Donald Trump has absurdly claimed Western civilization is at stake in the fight against Islamic terrorism, telling Poles, “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”

In a speech in Warsaw, the American president held up Poland as an example of a country that is ready to defend Western values:

As the Polish experience reminds us, the defence of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail.

Poland’s ruling nationalist party shares Trump’s alarmism about Islam, which is hard to distinguish from xenophobia.

But comparing the country’s historical resistance to Nazism and communism to the present-day War on Terror is misguided. Read more

Conservatives Have Neglected Their Responsibility to the Union

The flags of the United Kingdom and Scotland fly in Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands, July 3, 2014
The flags of the United Kingdom and Scotland fly in Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands, July 3, 2014 (Julien Carnot)

The full name of Britain’s ruling party is the Conservative and Unionist Party, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they have governed lately. Read more

Senate Obamacare Replacement Isn’t Better Than House Version

A woman makes a photo of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, January 18
A woman makes a photo of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, January 18 (Lorie Shaull)

After weeks of cloak and dagger, Senate Republicans have finally unveiled their plan to replace Obamacare and now we know why they worked on it in secret.

When Republicans in the House released their plan in March, I wrote here that they had managed to unite health-care commentators from the left and the right in consternation. Read more

Resist the Strongman’s Siren Call

Monument on Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington DC, November 12, 2012
Monument on Theodore Roosevelt Island in Washington DC, November 12, 2012 (Laurabl)

Larry Summers, a top economic advisor to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, tells Axios that today’s economic challenges — artificial intelligence, automation, globalization — require a leader on the scale of Germany’s Otto von Bismarck, England’s William Gladstone or America’s Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt:

I think it would be a gross misreading of history to think that a laissez-faire, preserve-what-is and don’t-add-anything-new in terms of public institutions and public programs will be sufficient to enable our societies to deal with these trends, which are very much under way.

But that assumes transformational leadership is a condition for transformational change, which is doubtful.

And Summers should be careful what he wishes for. Clamoring for a strongman can open the door to less benign figures. Just look at Donald “I-alone-can-fix-it” Trump. Read more

Does the British Election Mean Anything for America?

British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27
British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

As always, yes and no.

Yes, because the ideology of austerity-driven neoliberalism, that which is championed by Theresa May’s suddenly flailing government, is a major component of the ruling Republican Party in the United States. It’s what Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, believes in: cuts to public services to benefit the private market.

Yes, because Brexit, the alt-right-driven anti-immigrant, anti-globalization geopolitical self-harm project is propelled by the same forces that elected the current head of the Republican Party, Donald Trump.

But also no. Read more