How We Talk About Our Opponents Matters

President George W. Bush speaks at a memorial ceremony, September 11, 2008
President George W. Bush speaks at a memorial ceremony, September 11, 2008 (US Navy)

Remember when George W. Bush was a fascist? When he signed the PATRIOT Act and launched the Iraq War, reasonable left-wing Americans voiced reasonable objections. The far left reached for Hitler.

Republicans dismissed this as over-the-top, because it was. (And it made it easier for them to dismiss reasonable objections as well.) So when the real thing came along, and this time not only the far left but commentators on the center-right warned that Donald Trump had a lot in common with the worst leaders in European history, many Republican voters once again shrugged.

If anything, it made them support Trump more. As one voter told The Atlantic in 2016:

Give people the impression that you will hate them the same or nearly so for voting Jeb Bush as compared to voting for Trump and where is the motivation to be socially acceptable with Jeb?

The left continues to make this mistake — and so does the right. Read more

Conservatives Put Party Before Country. They’ve Harmed Both

Former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, former British prime minister David Cameron, former London mayor Boris Johnson and American president Donald Trump
Former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, former British prime minister David Cameron, former London mayor Boris Johnson and American president Donald Trump (La Moncloa/The Prime Minister’s Office/Georgina Coupe/Shutterstock/Nazar Gonchar/Michael Vadon)

Center-right leaders in Britain, Spain and the United States have put the interests of their parties ahead of the good of their countries. Both their parties and their countries have suffered as a result. Read more

Republicans Now Have More in Common with the European Far Right

The skyline of Washington DC at dawn
The skyline of Washington DC at dawn (Shutterstock/Orhan Cam)

Expect plenty of coverage between now and the 2020 election about how Democrats in the United States have moved to the left.

This isn’t wrong. On everything from health care to transgender rights, Democrats have become more left-wing.

But they’re still more centrist than most center-left parties in Europe while Republicans have moved so far to the right that they now have more in common with Austria’s Freedom Party and the Alternative for Germany than they do with Britain’s Conservative Party and Germany’s Christian Democrats. Read more

Trump Supporters Don’t Care

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump joked he could shoot somebody on New York’s Fifth Avenue and not lose voters.

His racism, his ignorance of policy, his shambolic business career and two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct (which he denied in public but admitted to in what he thought was a private conversation) didn’t move voters.

Three years later, the transgressions have only become more serious, but most Republicans still don’t care. Read more

Republicans in the Senate Can’t Be Bothered to Legislate

View of Washington DC with the United States Capitol in the distance, September 28, 2017
View of Washington DC with the United States Capitol in the distance, September 28, 2017 (Ted Eytan)

Jonathan Bernstein of Bloomberg View argues that Republicans in the United States Senate have given up on legislating.

In the last two months, the upper chamber, which Republicans still control, has taken fifty votes, but all but one were on nominations, or the nomination process, of judges and executive-branch staff.

It’s not that Republicans don’t believe there are laws that need to be passed, according to Bernstein.

As far as I know, all of them think disaster relief, for example, is needed, but they aren’t reaching a deal on it because Donald Trump doesn’t want Puerto Rico to get any money and Republican senators don’t know how to get around Trump’s rhetoric. Plenty of Republicans have campaigned on other laws they wanted passed. None of it is happening now. Read more

America’s Two-Party System Is Out of Date

The United States Capitol in Washington DC
The United States Capitol in Washington DC (Shutterstock/Orhan Cam)

Frank J. DiStefano argues in The American Interest that America’s two-party system is going through a period of transformation.

American politics have been dominated by two parties from the start, but those parties, and their coalitions, have changed over time.

The current Democratic-Republican duopoly emerged from the Great Depression and the New Deal, when Democrats formed a coalition bewteen ethnic and working voters in the North and white voters in the South and Republicans split into moderate and conservative wings. Read more

Republicans Join Call to End American Support for Saudi War

View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15, 2017
View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15, 2017 (DoD/William Lockwood)

Fourteen members of President Donald Trump’s Republican Party have joined the Democratic opposition in the Senate in a call to end American support for the Saudi war in Yemen.

A similar motion failed in March.

The measure has yet to go a final vote, giving Trump time to change Republican minds. If he can’t, and the final vote goes against him, the president could veto. But critics of his policy are now only three votes short of the two-thirds majority it takes to override a presidential veto. Read more