A Futile Leadership Challenge from Brexiteers in Denial

British prime minister Theresa May speaks with the American defense secretary James Mattis at Lancaster House in London, England, May 11, 2017
British prime minister Theresa May speaks with the American defense secretary James Mattis at Lancaster House in London, England, May 11, 2017 (DoD/Jette Carr)

With Brexit only four months away, its biggest supporters are still in denial about what it must mean.

They have called a confidence vote in Theresa May, believing that a different prime minister could negotiate a better deal from the EU.

They’re wrong. Read more

Shameless Trump Gives Up America’s Power to Shame

American president Donald Trump signs the guestbook at the presidential palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16
American president Donald Trump signs the guestbook at the presidential palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 (Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Matti Porre)

I have little to add to the opprobrium that has rightly been heaped on President Donald Trump from the left and the right — including a blistering editorial in the otherwise Trump-friendly Wall Street Journal — for condoning the Saudi killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Except this: It used to be that when the American president shamed other countries, the world listened. Trump has no shame and does not understand soft power. His is a simplistic realpolitik that gives authoritarians license to kill for fear of upsetting their feelings. Read more

Give Superdelegates More, Not Less, Power

Delegates listen to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016
Delegates listen to a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016 (DNCC/Chris Frommann)

California, Illinois, New York and Texas have 30 percent of the American population between them. Yet because they are late in the primary calendar, they have almost no say in the selection of presidential candidates.

Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have only 3 percent of the population, yet because they are first in line to vote they have disproportionate power in the process. If a candidate fails to win at least one of the first three primary states, he or she usually drops out.

How is that democratic? Read more

May’s Is the Only Alternative to a No-Deal Brexit

British prime minister Theresa May attends the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017
British prime minister Theresa May attends the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

After Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016, I argued here that the only alternative to a “hard” Brexit was a Norway-style deal under which Britain would stay in the EU customs union and single market.

I got it half-right. The draft agreement that is due to be published later today would — according to British media — see the United Kingdom exit the single market but remain in the customs union until a better solution can be found to prevent the return of a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Britain would also respect the rights of the roughly three million EU nationals in the country. The one million Britons who live and work on the continent would be treated similarly. Read more

Four Alternatives for America

Flags of the United States in Washington DC, February 17, 2015
Flags of the United States in Washington DC, February 17, 2015 (Matt Popovich)

Political violence is rising in America. A man has been arrested for mailing over a dozen pipe bombs to prominent liberal figures and CNN. Hate crimes are up since 2016. The country is sharply divided between Democrats and Republicans. With the midterm elections likely to produce divided government, tension could continue to mount.

It is starting to look like the political system that has existed in America since 1789 is no longer tenable. American political culture has become too divided, Americans’ priorities are too conflicted, and the system is unable to satisfy anyone or get things done.

What are the alternatives? Read more

The Spanish Right’s Gibraltar Hypocrisy

View of the Rock of Gibraltar from the territory's airport, September 29, 2015
View of the Rock of Gibraltar from the territory’s airport, September 29, 2015 (Shutterstock/Nigel Jarvis)

When Spain’s conservative People’s Party was in power, it promised not to exploit Britain’s exit from the EU to renegotiate the status of Gibraltar.

Now that the party is out of power, it blames the ruling Socialists for failing to do just that. Read more

Boehner Did More for Fiscal Conservatism Than Ryan

House speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama attend the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon in Washington DC, March 17, 2011
House speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama attend the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon in Washington DC, March 17, 2011 (Speaker of the House)

What a disappointment Paul Ryan has turned out to be.

The Republican congressman from Wisconsin, who leaves the speakership of the House of Representatives — and politics — early next year, was hailed as the last best hope of fiscal conservatism in the United States, but in fact his much-reviled predecessor, John Boehner, did more to shrink the deficit. Read more