Archive

December 4th

Can the Democratic Party rise again? Yes - and here's the first big thing to watch.

    If you care about whether the Democratic Party can rebuild itself anytime soon out of the smoking wreckage left behind by the disastrous 2016 elections, something very important is happening a lot sooner than you think.

    There are more than three dozen gubernatorial races taking place in the next two years. And they could do a tremendous amount to set the party on the path out of the wilderness in the Age of Donald Trump -- with potentially significant national ramifications that could stretch well into the next decade, for instance by having a substantial influence over the redistricting of House seats, which could help determine control of the Lower Chamber in the 2020s.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Breitbart isn't 'just a publication.' It's a pestilence.

    To President-elect Donald Trump, Breitbart -- the racist, sexist and all-around offensive website once overseen by his campaign chairman and designated White House chief strategist Steve Bannon -- is "just a publication."

    Breitbart's editors and writers, Trump told The New York Times, "cover stories like you cover stories." Granted, Trump said, "they are certainly a much more conservative paper, to put it mildly, than The New York Times. But Breitbart really is a news organization that's become quite successful, and it's got readers and it does cover subjects that are on the right, but it covers subjects on the left also. I mean it's a pretty big, it's a pretty big thing. And he [Bannon] helped build it into a pretty successful news organization."

    Referring to Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Trump observed, "I mean, I could say that Arthur is alt-right because they covered an alt-right story."

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

December 3rd

Before Donald Trump, there was Menachem Begin

    So shocking was the electoral upset that Israeli television created a word for it: mahapakh. Derived from the root that means "revolution" or "turning upside down," the word was fashioned because Menachem Begin's 1977 election as prime minister was such a game-changer in Israeli politics that no existing word seemed to suffice. From independence in 1948 until 1977, Israel's political left had ruled with an iron fist. Begin, a leader of the right widely seen as a "terrorist" because of his decisive role in the Jewish underground that ultimately forced the British to leave, had languished in the opposition -- often in the political desert -- for 29 years. Having lost eight consecutive times, Begin was expected to lose again and, at age 63, to exit the political stage.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Anniversary of 1st strike finds Fight for $15 growing stronger

    The Fight for $15 has been incredibly successful since 100 fast-food workers first went on strike on Nov. 29, 2012, in New York City. The movement they helped create went 5-for-5 during the most recent election, winning ballot initiatives in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington, while defeating a subminimum wage law for teenagers in South Dakota. And with the anniversary of its original strike approaching, that movement is only gaining steam.

    As Bryce Covert of the news site ThinkProgress recently reported, workers in more than 340 cities will go on strike again on Tuesday, while "fast food employees, airport workers, childcare and home care providers, and university graduate students" will engage in "civil disobedience at McDonald's and 20 of the nation's largest airports." The workers have also upped the ante: In addition to their calls for minimum wage increases, they're "demanding no deportations of undocumented immigrants, an end to police violence against black people, and the protection of health care coverage."

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

America needs both nationalism and globalism

    Attaching labels to people is all the rage in the U.S. Current favorites include "nationalist" and "globalist." Those designations aren't much use -- and not just because people don't like being labeled. The bigger problem is that the categories aren't mutually exclusive. Moderate nationalist sentiment and outward-looking liberalism can overlap. In America, especially, to be partly nationalist and partly globalist comes naturally. It's what you'd expect of a nation of immigrants.

    Isaiah Berlin called nationalism a pathological expression of national consciousness. Aggressive nationalism caused terrible harm in the 20th century -- but Berlin's point was that national consciousness (or some functional equivalent) is not just less harmful than the pathological form, it's also valuable in its own right. It might even be essential in building a just, compassionate and well-ordered society.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

5 myths about the alt-right

    The phrase "alt-right" was conceived as a catchall for various unsavory subcommunities of the anti-establishment conservative right by Richard Spencer. The baby-faced white nationalist founded AlternativeRight.com in 2010 and now serves as president of the National Policy Institute, a Virginia-based think tank that cloaks extremist ideas in airy, academic language. For several years, the movement festered on the periphery of mainstream political discourse on message boards such as 4chan and 8chan, where its acerbic spirit and menacingly goofy aesthetic developed, partially through memes. Now, with the election of its "God Emperor," Donald Trump, as president, the alt-right has become a subject of fascination -- and revulsion -- nationwide. Still, confusion about what exactly this group is and how it differs from other types of conservatism abounds. Here are the five most commonly repeated myths.

 

Myth No. 1:

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The selling of the White House

    Everybody knew that, sooner or later, this would be a problem. There's no way that Donald Trump, with his name emblazoned on dozens of business properties around the world, could escape conflicts of interest if ever elected president.

    What we didn't know is that it would happen so soon. Less than two weeks after he was elected, Donald Trump is already pimping the presidency, treating it like any other Trump product or property -- up for sale to the highest bidder -- and doing so unabashedly.

    Last week, while he was supposed to be putting together his new administration, Trump took time out to meet with three developers of Trump Towers Pune, twin high rises in Pune, India -- a meeting which Trump's office dismissed as purely social, but which Indian newspapers reported as a serious business meeting. Later, Sagar Chordia, one of the partners, confirmed to The New York Times that the developers discussed undertaking even more real estate projects together with Trump and members of his family.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The Populism Perplex

    Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2 million, and she would probably be president-elect if the director of the FBI hadn’t laid such a heavy thumb on the scales, just days before the election. But it shouldn’t even have been close; what put Donald Trump in striking distance was overwhelming support from whites without college degrees. So what can Democrats do to win back at least some of those voters?

    Recently Bernie Sanders offered an answer: Democrats should “go beyond identity politics.” What’s needed, he said, are candidates who understand that working-class incomes are down, who will “stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industry.”

    But is there any reason to believe this would work? Let me offer some reasons for doubt.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The left's white working-class problem

    Democrats from President Barack Obama on down are blaming their 2016 debacle in part on too much "identity politics" - messaging aimed not at voters broadly, but at Latinos, women, African-Americans and the LGBT community as groups.

    The one group Democrats did not target were their old mainstays, non-college- educated whites (especially the males of that species), who responded by giving Donald Trump a margin of 39 points over Hillary Clinton, while voters of color failed to vote for her in the expected numbers.

    According to much newly minted conventional wisdom, Democrats can and should win back downscale whites by cranking up economic populism, without losing minorities, women and other key components of their coalition.

    "We need to speak to their economic interests, that we get it, that we understand, that we talk about those things and we try to fight hard for those things," said Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), who is challenging Rep. Nancy Pelosi of ultra-diverse San Francisco for leadership of House Democrats.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Farewell to the Comic in Chief

    I miss him already. Miss his steady rationality, his I-got-this mien, the eight years without a hint of personal scandal. And not to be overlooked, I miss the wit of Barack Obama. No president has had a better comic sensibility.

    Let’s face it: We’re going to need to laugh to get through the presidency of Donald Trump and the Monster’s Ball of his administration. Trump can’t tell a joke, nor can he take one. He was graceless and unfunny at the Al Smith dinner last month, getting booed for his boorishness. And he was petulant and petty with his tweet after a “Saturday Night Live” skit had him asking Siri about the Islamic State.

    Thankfully, jokes at the expense of the highest office in the land are fully protected by the Constitution. But jokes coming from the occupant of that office are rare, and rarely funny. Obama is the exception.

    Anyone can write a joke. Few can deliver one. Obama has great timing, and a sense of self-deprecation honed over years of making fun of his name and his ears.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!