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Archive of Articles in the "Populism" Category

Friday Talking Points [500] -- Manafort Flips!

[ Posted Friday, September 14th, 2018 – 17:50 PDT ]

Convicted felon Paul Manafort pleaded guilty today to two additional serious federal felonies, one of which was conspiracy to defraud the United States government. He also had to pony up tens of millions of dollars' worth of real estate, because one of the frauds he perpetrated was avoiding paying $15 million in federal taxes by money laundering. The biggest news, however, wasn't Manafort pleading guilty to his ninth and tenth felonies, but the fact that to get a plea deal he had to agree to cooperate with Bob Mueller's investigation. This is what he's been fighting against doing all along, so it is big news.

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The Punditocracy Is Missing Democrats' Real Campaign Focus

[ Posted Thursday, September 13th, 2018 – 16:46 PDT ]

Pretty much all year long, there has been a popular parlor game played on the cocktail-party circuit inside the Beltway. It might be called: "Democrats Should Run On Bashing Trump And Impeachment." Both subjects were endlessly debated, and a consensus opinion emerged that this was obviously the best way for Democrats to campaign. Bashing Trump at every turn and using "the I-word" as often as possible would surely be the Democrats' best chance of success in the midterms. It became accepted as conventional inside-the-Beltway wisdom, meaning the punditocracy would ask actual Democrats about the subject whenever they got a chance. The fact that the answers didn't match with the perceived reality was barely even noted. Now, finally, some of them are beginning to take note that Democrats are actually running a very different campaign, out there beyond the Beltway.

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Primary Season's Last Lap

[ Posted Tuesday, September 11th, 2018 – 16:41 PDT ]

The 2018 primary election season draws to a close this week, with the final three states holding their primaries in back-to-back fashion. Today New Hampshire will vote, tomorrow Rhode Island will weigh in, and then on Thursday New Yorkers will get the final say. This seems fairly late in the year to still be holding primaries, considering that general election races have already been going on in other states for months, but I guess somebody's got to go last.

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Could Trump And Pelosi Actually Get Some Things Done?

[ Posted Monday, September 10th, 2018 – 16:37 PDT ]

So, assuming for the sake of argument that Nancy Pelosi does become speaker again and that Donald Trump is still president (there's another rather large assumption), the question that occurred to me was whether the two of them could actually work together to pass some decent new laws. Because that's not as unbelievable (or, if you will, downright laughable) a proposal as it might first sound.

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Friday Talking Points [499] -- The Constitutional Crisis Is Already Here

[ Posted Friday, September 7th, 2018 – 17:55 PDT ]

As we are occasionally wont to do, today's column will be nothing short of a rant. It just seemed like it was time for one, to us. There were two enormous stories in the world of politics this week: the Supreme Court confirmation hearings in the Senate, and the two bombshells about Trump revealed by Bob Woodward and an anonymous senior member of the Trump administration. All other political stories paled in significance.

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Democrats Need To Keep Fighting Even If Kavanaugh Is Confirmed

[ Posted Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 – 18:18 PDT ]

I'm writing this while watching the Senate confirmation hearing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As usual for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, it is fascinating to watch. However, also as usual, it is likely going to be absolutely meaningless, because Republicans are going to have the votes to confirm him in the end. The [...]

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From The Archives -- Labor's Agenda Should Become Democrats' Top Priorities

[ Posted Monday, September 3rd, 2018 – 16:39 PDT ]

I wrote the following column last year, and sadly it still mostly applies. The Democratic Party has made some progress on the following issues, but by and large it has been individual Democratic candidates who have been left to carry this banner forward -- some of whom have done so in remarkable ways. Many pro-Labor and Progressive candidates have now advanced to the general election as Democratic nominees, which is good news. And, it must be said, when you discount all the hand-wringing happening inside the Beltway over what Democrats should be campaigning on, out in the rest of the country, Democrats have been running pretty solid campaigns on precisely the issues voters want addressed in a positive manner: healthcare, education, and lots of pro-Labor pocketbook issues.

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Friday Talking Points [498] -- Remembering John McCain, Good And Bad

[ Posted Friday, August 31st, 2018 – 17:19 PDT ]

We have to begin today, sadly, by speaking ill of the dead. However, we do so respectfully (unlike some other folks have done this week). We fully realize it is a serious breach of etiquette, but in all the laudatory remarks given this week about the late Senator John McCain, there has been one glaring omission. Because, more than anyone else, John McCain is responsible for regularizing the concept that a know-nothing could be considered presidential. Some might push the blame back further, to George H. W. Bush, who selected Dan Quayle as his vice president, but McCain certainly shoulders the lion's share of this blame for deciding that Sarah Palin was qualified to be president. Anyone listening to her speak for more than two minutes could easily tell how misguided the idea of her running the country truly was, after all. And yet McCain went ahead and selected her anyway.

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The Final Propaganda Battle In The War On Weed

[ Posted Thursday, August 30th, 2018 – 17:23 PDT ]

The War On Weed's days are numbered. That should be pretty obvious, by now. State after state has jumped on the bandwagon against the War On Weed, liberalizing their harsh laws on cannabis through decriminalization, legalization of medicinal marijuana, or outright legalization for adult recreational use. In fact, it's getting harder and harder to find any states which haven't done so, in one form or another. Nationally, the public's attitude on the subject has gone through a sea change in the last two decades, and now polls regularly cite public support of complete legalization of marijuana at 60 percent or higher. The weed warriors, obviously, are losing the battle for hearts and minds, and they're losing almost all the battles at the ballot box. This long social warfare, stretching back almost a century, is finally almost over. In the end, sanity will prevail, and the nation's second Prohibition will finally be thrown on the ash heap of failed political and social policy.

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Four Progressive Candidates For Governor

[ Posted Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 – 17:46 PDT ]

Primary season is winding down, which means the slates have mostly been set for the midterm general election races across the country. Last night, two Progressives won Democratic nominations for governor, in Florida and Arizona. This means at least four such Progressives will be running in November, when you add in the races in Maryland and Georgia. Progressives haven't exactly swept the board in the primaries this year (many other Progressive candidates in various races have lost to Establishment Democrats), but this is still significant progress. But their chances of winning in November vary, so anyone looking for sweeping conclusions about the superiority (or inferiority) of a Progressive platform is almost sure to be disappointed. All of the candidates are people of color as well, which could also lead to erroneous conclusions by pundits looking to nationalize the story in some way. Different states and different candidates mean there likely won't be one single and obvious conclusion to draw, once the dust settles. You really have to take the races individually in order to accurately assess them on their own. So that's what we're going to do, in alphabetical order.

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