Archive of Articles for December, 2015

Debate Notes

[ Posted Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 – 23:33 UTC ]

Once again, welcome to a post-debate column. As always, these are my own snap reactions, uninfluenced by what others are thinking or saying. Also as always, any of the quotes below were hastily jotted down, and may not be word-for-word accurate. That's enough of an introduction, at this point, so let's just dive right in.

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Tuesday's Debate Could Be Last Chance To Knock Out Trump

[ Posted Monday, December 14th, 2015 – 17:54 UTC ]

The fifth Republican presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle will take place tomorrow night. With less than two months to go before the voters finally get their chance to weigh in, this may be the last chance any of the other Republican contenders have of knocking Donald Trump out of first place. For many of the candidates on stage, Tuesday may be their last chance at remaining even slightly relevant to the race. There will also be a fierce battle for second place between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. All of this adds up to a fairly important night, and with Donald Trump at center stage once again, also likely an entertaining one.

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Friday Talking Points [372] -- Not Funny Anymore

[ Posted Friday, December 11th, 2015 – 17:33 UTC ]

Hillary Clinton is right. Last night, on Seth Meyers's late-night show, Clinton had this to say about Donald Trump's candidacy: "I no longer think he is funny." Earlier in the week, the Huffington Post announced that it was un-banishing Trump from the "Entertainment" section and would now properly cover him under "Politics." Arianna and Hillary are correct -- what started out as a hilarious joke is no longer even the slightest bit funny anymore.

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Populism's Dark Side

[ Posted Thursday, December 10th, 2015 – 17:54 UTC ]

A few years back -- right around the time I started blogging, in fact -- I was also considering doing a writing project that never actually took shape. I wanted to write a book about how Populism was about due for a resurgence in American politics. This was after watching Ralph Nader and Howard Dean, but before John Edwards and (obviously) Bernie Sanders. The disconnect between how the politicians (of both parties) set their priorities and agenda and what the American people actually wanted from their government was growing into a chasm, which is why I began entertaining thoughts of writing about the historical parallels and the possibility of a Populist wave building in the near future.

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Democratic Race Stabilizes

[ Posted Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 – 18:29 UTC ]

On Monday, I took a look at the Republican nomination race, so I thought it'd be fair to check in today with the Democratic contest. One obvious reason why I (and others in the political commentary world) have been paying so much more attention to Republicans is the continuing volatility of the GOP campaign, which still has (as of this writing) 14 official candidates running. By comparison, the Democratic race is a lot more calm after half the field has already dropped out, which has left only three candidates still in the contest: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley.

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Republican End-Game Speculation

[ Posted Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 – 17:39 UTC ]

What is going to happen to the Republican Party in next year's general election campaign? We could be on the verge of a major shift in the American political system, which is always interesting to speculate about (whether it winds up happening or not). Donald Trump, love him or hate him, has certainly followed through on making this one of the most interesting presidential nomination races of all time. As the saying goes, we're all cursed to be living in interesting times -- at least for the next year or so.

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GOP Field Shrinks To Four As Jeb Fades

[ Posted Monday, December 7th, 2015 – 18:29 UTC ]

It's been a month since I last took a look at the Republican presidential horserace, and there have been a number of dramatic developments in the meantime. So it's time once again to cast an eye over the Republican field.

Before I begin, a few technical notes are in order. First, data comes from the Real Clear Politics Republican poll-tracking page. The last column I wrote used the data from November 8th, on the RCP graph (every time I say "since last time" below, this is what I'll be referring to). And my own categories, as before, are divided into four levels: those with no chance of winning the nomination, those with a slim or longshot chance, those with a decent shot at winning, and those with a great chance of becoming the nominee. These are fairly arbitrary divisions, but they're what the race has so far seemed to require.

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Program Notes

[ Posted Monday, December 7th, 2015 – 16:47 UTC ]

I have two important program notes to post today, before I get busy writing today's column (yes, there will be a real column today).
The first is that it's been so long that I basically forgot how the notifications for donations come in to my email from PayPal. What this means is that there were [...]

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Friday Talking Points [371] -- GOP Begins To Freak Out Over Trump

[ Posted Friday, December 4th, 2015 – 17:26 UTC ]

We took last week off for the holidays, so we've got a lot of ground to cover today. Sadly, this included two terrorist attacks in America, one in Colorado and one in Southern California. The truly sad part is that these mass shootings are becoming so common nowadays that within a few months most people will have forgotten them, as we all focus on fresher, more recent tragedies. Welcome to a very grim "new normal," in other words. Sorry to start off on such a heavy note, but such news is impossible to ignore.

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Obama Poll Watch -- November, 2015

[ Posted Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 – 18:15 UTC ]

President Barack Obama's job approval rating took a dip downwards in November, to hit a new low point for the entire calendar year. Most of this was due to the panicky reaction the political world had to the Paris terrorist attack. President Obama's reaction to the attacks was fairly muted, spread out over an overseas trip which was followed up by a terse statement (rather than, say, a prime-time Oval Office speech) to America on his strategy for fighting terrorism and the Islamic State.

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