An occasional blog about populist politics and popular music, not necessarily at the same time.
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Monday, October 26, 2020
Once again, this week's news overwhelmed my ability to round it up by Sunday night. Music Week will also be pushed back a day.
Table of contents:
Noticed in the Wichita Eagle today an obituary for Michael Hannon. I knew him when we were students at Hamilton Intermediate School in Wichita, KS. He was part of a gaggle or clique of students that I associated with in 8th and 9th grades -- most were old friends from Gardiner, but we walked south together after school until they turned east, and I jogged west and south. His father and uncle were big shots in the Wichita Police Dept., and I remember him as being fervently pro-Goldwater in 1964 (for a brief moment he steered me that way). I went to Wichita High School South for 10th grade, while everyone else I knew went to East. That left me with no friends, and after hassles from the administration, I dropped out midway that year, only to get locked up for my truancy. I returned to South for 11th grade, turned 16, and quit again. The only bright spot in that miserable years was when Michael transferred to South, and was dropped into my remedial English class. So for a couple of months, he was my only friend. Not enough to survive my exit, but I've always remembered him fondly. Looks like he graduated from South, went to college, got a master's degree, got married, had a couple of kids, worked as a "residential health director," moving to Colorado then back to Wichita. He was a week or so younger than me. Obituary says "he believed that if everyone was kind to each other the world would be a better place." He was kind to me.
I was playing Leonard Cohen's extraordinary Live in London album recently. I've heard this song many times since it originally appeared in 1992, usually finding it it quaintly ironic, but ten days before the election, I finally heard it as prophetic, with nearly every line taking on new found significance (e.g., "the cradle of the best and the worst").
Covid in the US: Latest map and case count shows, as of October 25: 8.7 million+ cases (14-day change +32%), deaths 225,357 (14-day change +12%). The third wave now appears to be above the second wave peak back in July.
This is just a sampling. I could find hundreds more, hammering away at many of the same points. Needless to say, I endorse Biden-Harris, and have already voted for them.
The Atlantic: The case against Donald Trump: "The president of the United States poses a threat to our collective existence. The choice voters face is spectacularly obvious." Reminds readers of their 2016 endorsement, then goes on:
National Nurses United: Nurses endorse Joe Biden for President!
New Hampshire Union Leader: Our choice is Joe Biden: Evidently, the first time the legendarily conservative newspaper has endorsed a Democrat (well, at least, in over 100 years).
The New York Times: Elect Joe Biden, America.
The New York Times also published: R.I.P., G.O.P.: "The Party of Lincoln had a good run. Then came Mr. Trump." Actually, the whole enterprise went rotten long before Trump, who is unique only in not bothering to pretend that Republican rule seeks only to profit from graft and is actively hostile to anyone not in their select following. Trump may even have done us a favor in exhibiting his malign public policy as sociopathic personality. Most Republicans are careful to disguise their intentions and rationalize their effects. Even Trump lies incessantly about them, but so transparently only the most foolishly gullible believe him.
The New Yorker: The New Yorker endorses a Biden presidency: "It would be a relief simply to have a President who doesn't abuse the office as a colossal grift. But a new President must also address the failures that have been festering in American life for decades."
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Pennsylvania needs Joe Biden.
Rolling Stone: Joe Biden for President.
Scientific American: Endorses Joe Biden: "We've never backed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history -- until now."
The Washington Post: Trump's America in 2024:
Oma Seddiq: Only 4 major US newspapers have endorsed Trump for reelection: The Las Vegas Review-Journal, New York Post, Colorado Springs Gazette, and the Spokesman Review. I suppose you could also count this squirrelly piece by Ross Douthat: The last temptation of NeverTrump. Pro-Trump arguments inevitably depend on massive misrepresentations of Trump's actual record, usually accompanied by outrageous, hysterical lies about Biden and the Democrats. Presumably the latter justify the former.
Campaigns and Elections
There was a second debate between Trump and Biden last week. Reports generally agree that Trump embarrassed himself less this time, that he continues to support very unpopular policies, barely camouflaged with an armada of lies.
Vox [Zack Beauchamp, German Lopez, Dylan Scott, Emily Stewart, Jane Coaston, Jen Kirby, Dylan Matthews]: 4 winners and 5 losers from the last Biden-Trump debate. Winners: Joe Biden; Kristen Welker; the mute button; New York. Losers: Donald Trump; Medicare-for-all; Senate Republicans; Social justice; China.
538: What went down during the final presidential debate of 2020. Typical take: "Biden was blah, Trump wasn't as bad as before." Fair and balanced?
Sasha Abramsky: Trump sinks to new depths of deceit and depravity: "His mendacity level was through the roof, and his lack of empathy was even more on display."
Tim Alberta: The unspectacular excellence of Joe Biden's slow and steady campaign.
Shawn Boburg: Trump campaign flouted agreement to follow health guidelines at rally, documents show.
David Corn: Yes, Trump was calmer in debate no. 2. He's still a narcissist with no sense of empathy.
Mark Danner: The con he rode in on: "Why do people hardly even talk about all the car plants Donald Trump has brought to Michigan?" Huh? Danner produced a quote from a Trump book written in 1987:
Jonathan Easley: GOP pollster Luntz blasts Trump campaign as worst he's ever seen.
Matt Ford: Trump is giving America a grisly preview of a second term: "If reelected, he would likely take his exuberant penchant for corruption and vindictiveness to pornographic heights." This might be a good place to add a note. More often than not, presidents have been less effective in second terms than in first. Eisenhower and Reagan were much less vital in their second terms, partly due to health issues, partly because 6-year elections went very bad for them. GW Bush barely eked out a second term win, and was all thumbs after that, losing to Katrina and Iraq in his 5th year, losing Congress his 6th year, then blowing a hole in the economy, and winding up even more unpopular than Trump is now (or Wilson was by the end of his second term). Clinton and Obama lost Congress in their first mid-term elections, recovered enough to eek out a second term but stuck with a hostile Congress. Trump might be the exception here. For one thing, he set the bar pretty low in his first term, especially since he lost the House after 2 years. But also, he's learning how to use executive power to unilaterally implement his agenda, and as the courts are increasingly packed with Federalist Society flunkees, he's even more likely to get away with his plots and schemes. Congress will complain, and the House will probably impeach him again, but his vetoes will be sustained, and Democrats are unlikely to sabotage the economy just to spite him (as Republicans did to Obama). We'll wind up in a situation where the Constitution's vaunted "checks and balances" will have broken down, where vast executive powers that had been unwisely granted over the years will be construed to give Trump dictatorial powers, and where the courts will rubber-stamp his every wish. Given how malign Trump's agenda is, and how petty and vindictive he is himself, the results will be disastrous, and he will become even more unpopular than he already is. So while Ford paints a "grisly" future, if anything he underrates the potential for ruin.
Susan B Glasser: Trump at the debate was like America in 2020: Not winning.
Gabrielle Gurley: Florida's voter suppression obsession.
Maggie Haberman/Michael Crowley: Trump calls on Barr to 'act' against Biden before election: "The president is increasingly fixated on seeing criminal action against his political opponents."
Benjamin Hart/Olivia Nuzzi: The debate guardrails were a gift for Trump.
Ben Jacobs: 'Grand slam': GOP insiders texted me their honest feelings about the final debate.
Dhruv Khullar: How Trump became the pro-infection candidate.
Jen Kirby/Rani Molla: Early voting in 2020 has already exceeded all of 2016's early votes: "More than 51 million people have already voted early in 2020, surpassing 2016's overall early vote total."
Ezra Klein: The fight is for democracy: "The stakes of this election are so high because the system itself is at stake." Starts by quoting Melissa Schwartzberg:
Eric Lach: "Before the plague came, I had it made": Trump strikes a doubtful note in Pennsylvania.
Nancy LeTourneau: Fox News may be heading towards an epic election-night showdown. Starts: "Donald Trump has made it clear that he plans to declare victory on election night. He'll do it when the returns are primarily based on in-person voting from that day." So it will be interesting to see whether early media coverage gives him any encouragement, especially Fox. My impression is that while Fox hosts and guests will say anything, Fox's polling operation is fairly honest. News organizations don't project state winners until they have data to back up their modeled expectations, and if the data doesn't confirm, or they're missing significant data, they hold back. The big one this year is how much advance voting there is, how quickly it's reported (some states count mail-in ballots that arrive several days after election day), and whether it skews differently from in-person voting. Nobody knows the answer to that now, and won't until late. Trump's big hope for an early lead comes from Indiana and Kentucky, where polls close early and counting is very fast. In 2016, I expected IN/KY to go to Trump, but was disturbed early in the evening by his margins there. Still, if his early returns there don't top 2016, he won't have much ground to claim a win on. (According to 538, Trump is +10.6 in IN, +19.2 in KY, and that's based on nationwide polling that shows Trump -9.1; if Trump can win the electoral college while finishing -4 in the popular vote, which is pretty close to the built-in bias, he'd need to win IN +16 and KY +24. The median state right now is Pennsylvania, which is Biden +5.5, suggesting that Trump actually needs to shift more voters. BTW, 538 has a video explaining some of this: Will we know the winner on election night? Pay attention to these states. This indicates that they at least have some idea of how quickly various states will report results, but their tool is fairly crude, and not equipped to, for instance, handicap the election based on actual vs. expected results in arbitrary states, like IN/KY.)
Harold Meyerson: How many self-deceptions can our President sustain? "Lincoln's successor? The environment's pal? Are there any swing voters who believe this stuff?"
German Lopez: Trump on Covid-19: "I take full responsibility. It's not my fault." With Trump, the buck never stops.
Erin Mansfield/Josh Salman/Dinah Voyles Pulver: Trump's campaign made stops nationwide. Coronavirus cases surged in his wake in at least five places.
Joel Mathis: The Trump administration has surrendered to the pandemic.
Nicole Narea: Trump showed no regret over family separations during the presidential debate.
Tina Nguyen: The MAGAverse tries to summon another Clinton-FBI moment: "The ingredients are the same: a seized laptop, leaked emails. But this time MAGA adherents are sourcing the ingredients and hoping the FBI takes it up."
Ella Nilsen: CNN's debate fact-check laid out a "bombardment of dishonesty" from Trump.
Timothy Noah: Lesley Stahl blew her chance to eviscerate Trump: "The 60 Minutes interview may have outraged the president, but in truth he got off easy."
Martin Pengelly: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump threaten to sue Lincoln Project: "Anti-Trump Republicans' Times Square billboards accuse advisers of showing 'indifference' to Americans suffering amid pandemic."
Lili Pike: Swing-state Pennsylvanians are divided on fracking. Here's why.
Ed Pilkington/Martin Pengelly: As election day nears, what final dirty tricks could Trump turn to?
Frank Rich: Biden makes the strongest case yet for his presidency.
Corey Robin: The gonzo constitutionalism of the American right. Robin reduced his piece to three points in Crooked Timber:
Michael Scherer/Josh Dawsey: Trump bets on a 2016 replay, but faces a changed landscape.
Dylan Scott: Trump on Supreme Court opportunity to overturn Obamacare: "I hope they end it".
Walter Shapiro: The righteous anger of Joe Biden: "Next to a babbling, often incomprehensible president, Biden did what he needed to do in the final debate."
Alex Shephard: In memoriam: The Trump pivot: "The president may win some points for shouting less than he did in the first debate. But don't act like he's changed."
Katie Shepherd: A Colorado landlord allegedly threatened to double rents if Biden is elected: 'If Trump wins, we all win'. Translation: Republicans are bastards and bullies, and if you don't do as you're told, they're going to punish you. Reality: if this jerk could get away with doubling rents, he'd have done it already; then threaten you again.
Matt Shuham: Trump's last hurrah was saturated with racist appeals.
David Sirota: At the debate last night, Biden finally distanced himself from the GOP's austerity talking points.
Isaac Stanley-Becker/Tony Romm: Fearful calls flood election offices as Trump attacks mail-in voting, threatening participation in GOP strongholds.
Daniel Strauss: The final Trump-Biden presidential debate: five key takeaways.
Benjamin Wallace-Wells: A deftly moderated debate bottles Trump.
Alex Ward: How the last Trump-Biden debate played on Fox News.
Tom Zoellner: Trumpism ate Martha McSally's brain: "Why Arizona may be sending two Democrats to the Senate for the first time in 70 years." Ooh, I know that answer: Henry Ashurst and Carl Hayden.
Still More on Donald Trump
Kate Aronoff: ExxonMobil's real quid pro quo with the government: "Trump suggested he could extort oil executives for campaign donations. The truth is more troubling."
Adam Cancryn/Dan Diamond: An angry Azar floats plans to oust FDA's Hahn: "Fights over vaccine standards have created an unbridgeable divide within HHS, officials said, but the White House is unlikely to approve any changes until after the election."
TJ Coles: How Trump killed 220,000 Americans: the first three months of covid. Section heds:
Josh Dawsey/Rosaline S Helderman/David A Farenthold: How Trump abandoned his pledge to 'drain the swamp'. Subheds:
Matt Ford: Trump's scorched-earth war against federal employees.
Martin Longman: The curse of the Trump moneymen.
Dylan Matthews: Is Trump a fascist? 8 experts weigh in. "Call him a kleptocrat, an oligarch, a xenophobe, a racist, even an authoritarian. But he doesn't quite fit the definition of a fascist." Author surveyed Robert Paxton, Matthew Feldman, Stanley Payne, Roger Griffin, Sheri Berman, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Jason Brownlee, and Jason Stanley. FWIW, I've read relevant books by Paxton and Stanley, and I'm in the middle of one by Berman. Historians tend to get very particular about fascism, so it's hard to get them to apply the label to situations that vary in significant ways. On the other hand, anyone who grew up with deeper left-wing political roots will be highly attuned to motifs, airs, and mores redolent of fascism, because those are the warnings signs of your most dangerous enemies. To my nose, Trump reeks of fascism. I have no doubt that if you could transport Trump and/or his followers to Germany or Italy in the 1920s and 1930s they'd be totally at home with Hitler and Mussolini. Still, in America today they have to adjust their course to the very different political and historical terrain. It is, for instance, not nearly as easy to promote racism and military expansion now than it was during the heyday of European imperialism. I used to think that one difference between classic fascists and Trump was how the former's war trauma made them crave violence, but increasing numbers of Trump's followers have done just that. I don't know whether it helps anyone who isn't familiar with the history of fascism to call Trump a fascist -- a epithet that ignorant right-wingers like Jonah Goldberg and Dinesh D'Souza have stripped of all meaning -- especially when, as all eight writers show here, there are many more damning labels that easily apply to Trump.
Ed Pilkington: Parents of 545 children still not found three years after Trump separation policy.
Eyal Press: Trump's Labor Secretary is a wrecking ball aimed at workers: On Eugene Scalia, "a cunning lawyer committed to dismantling regulation, is weakening one employee protection after another."
Sean Rameswaram/Lauren Katz: A guide to the Trump administration's biggest scandals, accomplishments, and policies: A series of five podcasts looking back on the eon since Trump's inauguration.
Lisa Rein/Josh Dawsey/Toluse Olorunnipa: Trump's historic assault on the civil service was four years in the making.
David Roberts: A second Trump term would mean severe and irreversible changes in the climate. Didn't the first term already do that? Don't you mean a second term would be even worse than the first one?
Jamil Smith: How Donald rump talks about black people: "The president's patronizing, white-savior talk will likely stop if he loses, and that should motivate us all.
Peter Wade: Trump official planned to give Santa Claus performers early access to Covid-19 vaccine.
Mary L Trump: Psychiatrists know what's wrong with my uncle. Let them tell voters. Trump's niece, author of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, is a PhD psychologist. Page led me to a Sept. 22, 2017 link by Carlos Lozada: Is Trump mentally ill? Or is America? Psychiatrists weigh in. It's a review of three books: Brandy X Lee, ed: The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, Allen Frances: Twilight of American Sanity, and Kurt Andersen: Fantasyland. Lozada has a recent book, What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era, which no doubt has a chapter expanding on this book review. I've read Frances' book, where he argues that it's America that's insane. One famous definition of insanity is repeating some act in the expectation that it will turn out differently. Electing Trump to a second term would prove that case damn conclusively.
Carl Zimmer: The Trump administration shut a vaccine safety office last year. What's the plan now?
Supreme Court Hearings and Other Injustices
Amy Coney Barrett is now one step away from becoming a Supreme Court justice, as the Senate voted to end debate, with a vote on Monday, which looks like a foregone conclusion. Democracy may be coming to the USA, but the Federalist Society is well-positioned to stop it.
Ronald Brownstein: What the Rush to confirm Amy Coney Barrett is really about: "The Republican Party wants to shield itself from the growing Democratic coalition."
Masha Gessen: The ultimate "bullshit job": "It is difficult to find a better word than 'bullshit' to describe Lindsey Graham's closing statement on the third day of Amy Coney Barrett's Senate hearings." Essay expands to cover much more, citing Hannah Arendt (who "defined ideology as a single premise taken to its logical extreme and then used to explain the past and determine the future") and Ronald Reagan's "joke" about the horror of government help, before landing on the late David Graeber's rant about "bullshit jobs." Key paragraph:
Gessen eventually returned to the hearings:
Linda Greenhouse: The Supreme Court we need.
Angus King Jr/Heather Cox Richardson: Amy Coney Barrett's judicial philosophy doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
Stephanie Mencimer: Amy Coney Barrett is the least experienced Supreme Court nominee in 30 years.
Alex Shephard: Joe Biden and the return of the dreaded bipartisan commission: "The Democrat's proposed commission on court reform is an elaborate way of dodging the court-packing question. It also bodes ill for his presidency." The last big "bipartisan commission" was Simpson-Bowles, under Obama, where even the Democrat was a deficit hawk, agreeing to austerity moves that hobbled Obama's response to the recession he inherited. And sure, Obama did make significant progress at reducing the deficit, only to have Trump blow it wide open again with his tax cut. Certainly it would be nice to get a bipartisan consensus on critical issues, but the only case where effectively there is one is on America's military posture around the world, and that consensus has been bad for Americans, and has helped cripple the Democratic Party (perhaps the reason Republicans are so gung ho). One can imagine that there may be some minor reforms that both parties could agree to, like term limits for Justices, but current Republican majorities make even that unlikely (even though term limits has been a talking point for Republicans since Newt Gingrich put them in his "contract on America." But the real problem isn't something Republicans have any reason to compromise on. "Court packing" is fact, something Republicans have been working diligently at since 1970, when Nixon started nominating racists to the Supreme Court to overturn the New Deal and Brown v Board of Education. Especially since 2000, Mitch McConnell has played the Senate rules game to keep Obama nominees from being confirmed, while stocking up on Bush and Trump picks. Big wins in November could help Democrats start to roll back the damage, but with normal attrition it will take 20-30 years to restore the balance in favor of constitutional rights that some of us grew up expecting. Republicans will fight this rebalancing tooth and nail, as can already be seen with their hysterical reaction to Democratic revival of the idea of expanding the Supreme Court -- something last proposed by FDR in the 1930s, and derided then as "court-packing." I don't see anything happening on this front until Democrats win more seats, and it becomes even more obvious how out of step the Courts are with the wishes of the voters. Many of us can clearly see this coming, but since Trump won in 2016 the Courts have often stopped his most outrageous acts. Not often enough, and the trendline isn't good, but I'd venture that most people aren't aware of the problem yet. And while it's possible that the Courts will follow public opinion -- as they started to do in the late-1930s -- in which case the problem may not be as grave as we fear. I doubt it, but we need to let it play out a bit more. As in the 1930s, the threat of restructuring might help (remember "the switch in time that saved nine"?). I could even imagine putting a couple of token Republicans on a commission that winds up defending justice in America. But one that is half-controlled by the Federalist Society won't help at all.
Li Zhou: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Amy Coney Barrett's nomination -- with no Democrats present: "The committee vote on Barrett's nomination underscored Republicans' disregard for the rules."
Around the World
Kate Aronoff: The socialist win in Bolivia and the new era of lithium extraction: "An apparent victory for Evol Morales's Movement Toward Socialism shows that tomorrow's green energy won't look much like the old oil empires."
Michael Arria: Trump administration set to label human rights groups 'antisemitic' for criticizing Isarel. Specifically Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam. Refers to Nahal Toosi: US weighs labeling leading human rights groups 'anti-Semitic'.
Jakob Reimann: Arms, oil and Iran -- Israel's role in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Alex Ward: The US just brokered another peace deal for Israel, this time with Sudan: "At its core, it looks like the deal is really a trade where the US gives Sudan financial help in exchange for recognizing Israel."
Mark Weisbrot: Bolivians reclaim their democracy: "The overwhelming MAS election victory is a repudiation of the racist coup regime as well as of the Trump administration and the OAS, which helped install it."
Philip Weiss: Oren warns US Jews to 'be aware' Biden will defy Israel on Palestine and Iran issues. Israel's former ambassador to the US tries to influence America's presidential election. "Israeli Jews support Trump overwhelmingly; but Oren's warning is likely falling on deaf ears in the US."
Sam Adler-Bell: How police unions bully politicians.
Elisabeth Egan: Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race and wrote a best seller: The book is called Trust, which is a key concept, especially given how Trump has destroyed trust in American political institutions -- for that matter, his deregulation of industries will likely do immense harm to the perception that we can trust companies to act responsibly.
Shirin Ghaffary/Rani Molla: Why the US government is suing Google: "The Department of Justice says the company's anti-competitive business practices harm Americans."
Jenny Gross: Far-right groups are behind most US terrorist attacks, report finds. You mean the groups with racists and guns?
David Harvey: Socialists must be the champions of freedom. Extract from Harvey's new book, The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles.
Sean Illing: Trump exploited a broken press. Here's how to fix it. Interview with Jay Rosen, who says:
Umair Irfan: Colorado is fighting its largest wildfire in history. Other massive blazes are close behind. "three of the four largest fires in Colorado history have ignited since July."
Roge Karma: The police shooting of Marcellis Stinnette and Tafara Williams, an unarmed black couple, explained.
Christopher Ketcham: Has the Forest Service been making wildfires worse? "The logging industry has long promoted science suggesting logging suppresses fire. A lot of recent research disagrees."
Nancy Kurshan: I was in the room where it happened: One woman's perspective on The Trial of the Chicago 7. More on the movie:
Nicholas Lemann: The Republican identity crisis after Trump. Long article, may be worth thinking about later rather than sooner, but for now not a topic I care much about. As far as I'm concerned, Republicans can shrivel up from shame and crawl into a dark hole never to be seen again, but as long as they don't, at least they'll be available as an enemy that can warm your hearts to even the most lacklustre Democrat. I think it's clear now that Democrats made a huge mistake in the 1980s when they decided that the way back to power was by appealing to business as the party of efficiency and growth. Sure, that pitch got Clinton and Obama elected president, but did little for the rest of the party. And sure, business prospered under Democrats -- much more, in fact, than it had during Republican terms -- but the Democrats failed to win over the cold hearts of the rich. After all, while Democrats helped the rich get richer, they also believed that others would also benefit. On the other hand, Republicans didn't care if their policies hurt the working poor. Since 2016, Democrats have had to rethink their assumptions, and many of the have decided that the way forward is to focus not on raising money but on inspiring votes. The better they do that, the better they deliver their promises, the more they'll control their future. Meanwhile, Republicans have given up on appealing to the majority, focusing instead on scamming the system. Maybe if they lose bad enough, they'll start to reconsider policies that people might actually vote for. But even if Trump loses, which seems very likely, don't expect Republicans to learn much soon. They'll feel cheated first, because they feel so entitled to their own cheating, and they can't even fathom the absurdity of their conceits. The bigger question is what happens to the Democrats after the election. If Biden loses, the establishment wing of the Democratic party will be discredited, and the Party will lurch hard left. If he wins, I expect Biden will restore the Clinton-Obama establishment, but with an eye to delivering enough progress leftward to keep the left from breaking into open revolt. If he can navigate the middle ground, he can be very successful, and the left will revert to being something we aspire to, rather than the core of resistance against the right. Biden can compromise with corporate interests, but one thing he cannot afford to do is to let the Trump Republicans off the hook for the many injuries and crimes they have committed. The unity and coherence of the Democratic Party is based not on shared beliefs -- other than a deep-seated belief in liberal democracy -- but on a common enemy. As Republicans are unlikely to change quickly following defeat, Biden needs to exploit memory of Trump to maintain a common front.
Steven Levitsky/Daniel Ziblatt: End minority rule: "Either we become a truly multiracial democracy or we cease to be a democracy at all."
Peter Maass: When we talk about Fox News, we need to talk about the Murdoch family too: "The Murdochs own Fox News but rarely get the scrutiny they deserve for bankrolling racism and hatred."
James A Morone: Nothing new: How US politics turned tribal, from George Washington to Donald Trump.
Alex Pareene: Liberals are losing the journalism wars: "As major media outlets erect paywalls, conservative publishers are flooding the country with free right-wing propaganda paid for by Republicans."
Kim Phillips-Fein: The metamorphosis: The making of the unequal city. Review of Lizabeth Cohen: Savings America's Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age.
John Quiggin: Too cheap to meter: "Ultra-low interest rates have fundamentally changed the arithmetic of renewable energy."
Ingrid Robeyns: Why publish books open access? Something to consider. OBP's catalog is here.
Alexander Sammon: The collapse of long-term care insurance: "Attempts to have the private market manage support and services for the elderly or people with disabilities have utterly failed."
Gene Seymour: Baseball's race problem: I soured on baseball in the 1990s, and can't even tell you who won he World Series this year (if, indeed, it has been decided), so I don't share Seymour's concerns for the future of the sport/business. But baseball did mean a lot to me from 1957 at least through the 1964 pennant, and from 1976 into the 1990s. Following a cousin, I was a NY Yankees fan, and I moved to New York in 1976 as my team regained its winning ways. But as early as I can remember, I was hugely impressed with black baseball stars (even when the only black on my favorite team was 1962 MVP Elston Howard). Three stars from the 1964 World Series died in the last few weeks: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, and Whitey Ford. The St. Louis Cardinals were the last team in the National League to integrate, but black stars led them back to a pennant they hadn't competed for since 1946: the picture shows Gibson, Brock, and Curt Flood (but not Bill White). For fans of my age, the best thing that ever happened to baseball was integration.
Libby Watson: There are no good Republicans for a Biden White House: "If the best prospects he can dig up are reclamation projects like John Kasich and Meg Whitman, then just recruit Democrats."
Laura Weiss: Confronting the deep roots of violence in El Salvador: "Robert Lovato's Unforgetting explores the traumatic history of a country torn apart by wars and gangs -- and the dangers of not facing the past."
Lizzie Widdicombe: What can you do if Trump stages a coup? I doubt this will be a problem, but Trump has invited us to prepare for the worst.
Li Zhou: Why a Senate vote on stimulus has failed, again.