Archive of Articles for November, 2016

Dealing With Loss

[ Posted Monday, November 14th, 2016 – 17:07 UTC ]

In the past week, Democrats lost the presidential election while America suffered the ultimate loss of two unique public voices: Leonard Cohen and Gwen Ifill. Ifill was co-anchor of the nightly news show PBS NewsHour (which some still refer to by its original name, the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, showing how influential this show's anchors have been in the past). Ifill will be greatly missed, as she was not only a voice of reason with great intelligence behind it, but also a voice for people not normally heard from in broadcast news. Ifill once remarked that she made more money in a week than her father made in a year, and she never forgot her humble beginnings in her reporting, as she consistently pressured politicians on what their policy positions actually meant for people on the lower economic rungs of the ladder. She was, in a word, authentic -- something even rarer in national journalism than it is in the world of politics. I join millions of Americans now mourning the loss of one of the most relatable journalists on the national scene. Ifill will be greatly missed, that much is certain.

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Friday Talking Points [415] -- Donald Trump And Andrew Jackson

[ Posted Friday, November 11th, 2016 – 17:34 UTC ]

Last week, we pre-empted our usual Talking Points format for a pre-election column. This week, we're going to do the same for a post-election column. The shock has not worn off, and it just feels too soon to return to analyzing Democratic politics. Democrats are in disarray right now, which is probably a good thing in the long run, at least if it leads to some major course corrections. But the wounds are still too raw for us to rub any further salt in them, so instead today we'd like to take a detour into history instead. If history bores you in general, we'd suggest you skip the rest of this column. For everyone else, let's take a look back today.

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A Populist Inauguration Free-For-All

[ Posted Thursday, November 10th, 2016 – 17:43 UTC ]

Program Note: At the bottom of this excerpt is the original program note I ran earlier today, just for continuity. The following excerpt had to be typed out manually, which took me a while to complete (I thought I had done so a long time ago, when taking historical notes, but it turns out I was mistaken). I am posting it in full here for regular readers as a preview of tomorrow's column. I would be willing to bet that now that Donald Trump has won the presidency, a whole lot of people are going to start noticing parallels between him and Andrew Jackson, the first truly populist president ever elected. I'm too tired tonight to provide any context or any of my own personal commentary, which I will add to the following to create tomorrow's column. But, as I said, I thought regular readers would appreciate the core story in advance.

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Angry White Men Triumphant

[ Posted Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 – 16:47 UTC ]

For the past eight years, America has had an African-American president. Faced with the prospect of a white woman succeeding him, America instead just elected an angry white man as president. Call it the triumph of angry white men everywhere. Millions of Americans are about to find out what it's like to be led by the equivalent of the drunk uncle at the Thanksgiving table who refuses to follow the rules of politeness and political correctness. Was it a backlash against our first black president? Or rampant misogyny towards Hillary Clinton? Or just free-floating rage against a changing culture that is becoming more tolerant and multicultural by the year? It's impossible to accurately say, really. The only thing that can be said for certain is that angry white men are now dominant.

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Get Out And Vote!

[ Posted Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 – 14:06 UTC ]

Program Note: What follows is a repeat column from eight years ago, and the only time I've ever sat down and typed out a transcript because I was shocked that it didn't already exist on the web somewhere. This was the first time I ever laid eyes on Craig Ferguson's late-night comedy talk show, and I have to admit I was hooked from this point on. Oddly, he almost never mentioned politics again (except for the occasional sex scandal jokes) -- this was a completely out-of-character rant for him.

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Final Electoral Math -- My 2016 Picks

[ Posted Monday, November 7th, 2016 – 17:38 UTC ]

Welcome to the final Electoral Math column of the 2016 election season. After a very quick rundown of the past week's polling activity, I'm going to dispense with my usual hedging and just go ahead and call every state for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

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Friday Talking Points [414] -- Special Election Edition

[ Posted Friday, November 4th, 2016 – 17:06 UTC ]

However, regular readers of this column are going to have to wait yet another week for a standard Friday Talking Points offering. This week we are throwing out our format entirely, and instead providing an explanation of who we're voting for, followed by a call for reform in an effort to inject a possible silver lining to what promises to be a very contentious Election Day (no matter who wins). Yes, there will be optimism at the end of this column, specifically provided for people who are tired of the apocalyptic tone of the final pre-election week. So there's that to look forward to.

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Obama Poll Watch -- October, 2016

[ Posted Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 – 17:23 UTC ]

President Obama is having the best year of his entire presidency, in terms of job approval improvement. In the ten months of 2016 so far, Obama's monthly job approval average has risen eight times, and only decreased twice. His job approval number has improved so much that he's now at the second-highest point of his entire second term. The only month he was at a better point was January of 2013, when he was sworn in a second time. On top of this, his daily job approval average hit the highest point of his entire second term last month. All in all, it's looking like Obama will finish his time in office in a pretty comfortable place. After falling back a bit in September, Obama roared back in October. Let's take a look at his new chart for this month.

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The Normalization Of Legalization

[ Posted Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 – 17:29 UTC ]

America is in the midst of a dramatic shift in public opinion, one which began at least a decade ago and shows no signs of reversing any time soon. The concept of fully legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use must now actually be considered the mainstream opinion in America. The latest nationwide poll (that I have seen) put national support for legalization at a whopping 60 percent -- higher than it has ever previously been. Next Tuesday, five more states will vote on the issue on their ballots. Two of those states are on the East Coast. One of the five is the most populous state in the country, with over 39 million people living in it -- fully one-eighth of the total US population. Polling is sketchy on the issue (it always is), but it certainly looks possible that recreational marijuana legalization has a good shot of winning, in all five states.

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The Perfect Metaphor For The 2016 Election

[ Posted Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 – 15:38 UTC ]

I don't have any profound thoughts to share today, I should admit right up front. With one week to go before the election, I'm going to take the low road instead.

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