“First, the United States has never gone through a prolonged period of minority democratic rule — that is, when a minority of enfranchised citizens held power over a majority for years on end. We’re not there yet. But as Klein notes, we have started down that path.
Second, the party now empowered by a minority of voters — the Republicans — is not merely playing by the rules. It is trying to change those rules to maintain power. It is preventing some citizens (usually those with dark skin) from voting, and it is changing campaign-finance laws.
That second point leads directly into a third: The rules governing our country have frequently changed over the last 230 or so years. The number of states has more than tripled. Women, African-Americans and 18-year-olds, among others, have gained the right to vote. In all, the constitution has been amended 27 times.
There is nothing extreme about responding to the Republican Party’s current efforts to restrict democracy with an ambitious effort to revitalize democracy. That effort could include: a federal law protecting voting rights; states laws that go even further to encourage voting; other laws to stop ludicrous gerrymandering; statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.; and much more. And I’d hope that many parts of the agenda would win support from voters of all stripes — Democratic, Republican and independent.
In the past, I’ve argued that the country’s two biggest challenges are climate change and the stagnation of living standards for most people. I now think that democracy protection and revitalization belong on that list.”
“There are two ways to fight the long stagnation in living standards for most Americans. The first is probably the more obvious and the one I spend more time writing about: through government policy.The government can raise the minimum wage. It can increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is effectively a wage subsidy. It can cut taxes on the middle class. It can spend more money on education, child care and health care. All of these are good ideas.But they’re not the only way to lift living standards. For much of the past century, another approach has been even more important: As the economy grew, American companies paid workers their fair share of the growth.”
“The latest reason to be suspicious is Trump’s attacks on a formerly obscure Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. Trump has repeatedly criticized Ohr and called for him to be fired. Ohr’s sin is that he appears to have been marginally involved in inquiries into Trump’s Russian links. But Ohr fits a larger pattern. In his highly respected three-decade career in law enforcement, he has specialized in going after Russian organized crime.
It just so happens that most of the once-obscure bureaucrats whom Trump has tried to discredit also are experts in some combination of Russia, organized crime and money laundering.
It’s true of Andrew McCabe (the former deputy F.B.I. director whose firing Trump successfully lobbied for), Andrew Weissmann (the only official working for Robert Mueller whom Trump singles out publicly) and others. They are all Trump bogeymen — and all among “the Kremlin’s biggest adversaries in the U.S. government,” as Natasha Bertrand wrote in The Atlantic. Trump, she explained, seems to be trying to rid the government of experts in Russian organized crime.”
“Last week, my colleague Bret Stephens imagined a news article on the morning after President Trump’s re-election. Today, I imagine a different outcome.In the end, it was a lot simpler than it often seemed.Donald J. Trump, who spent much of the past four years as a historically unpopular president, lost his bid for re-election Tuesday. His approval rating hasn’t approached 50 percent since he took office, and neither did his share of the vote this year.
In an era of deep national anxiety — with stagnant wages, rickety health insurance and aggressive challenges from China and Russia — voters punished an incumbent president who failed on his central promise: “I alone can fix it.” ”
Bravo David Leonhardt. Well written. You have even opened my mind a few inches towards considering Elizabeth Warren. I have been thinking, we must have a Joe Biden or a younger version of him, to win those pesky swing states. But, on the other hand, the never another woman in our lifetime crowd, which I was in, should all read David Brooks magnificent piece recently on the need for the Democrats to tell a good story. Trump has a good story, and focusing on identity politics isn’t the same thing as a moving narrative. Not only is Elizabeth Warren extremely qualified, she also has her life passion for consumer protection. I still prefer we run a male, but we have to find one that swears that Elizabeth Warren will get to run the Consumer Protection Agency that she helped create.
That said, let me remind my fellow commentators and readers that Leonhardt did not choose Elizabeth Warren yet, he used her because Bret Stephens did. Pay attention to who Leonhardt does support, because I will bet you a penny he has sophisticated polling data to back up his choice if he makes one.
“Twelve years later, Nigel Palmer still remembers the embarrassment of his first days as a fourth grader in Monroe, La. He was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee from New Orleans, living with his family in a La Quinta Inn, 250 miles from home. As soon as the school year began, he could tell that the kids in his new school seemed different from him.
They could divide numbers. He really couldn’t. They knew the 50 states. He didn’t. “I wasn’t up to par,” he quietly told me. It’s a miserable feeling.
Until the storm, Palmer had been attending New Orleans public schools, which were among the country’s worst. The high-school graduation rate was 54 percent, and some students who did graduate had shockingly weak academic skills.”
David Lindsay Jr:
How complicated. David Leonhardt, your piece was exciting, but in the comments, you appear to have run into a buzz saw of questions and doubts. Well Houdini, do you have the data to back up your enthusiasm, and isolated stories? While your at work, please explain why the 37th percentile is better than the 22nd, and why some commenters say your an idiot to think 37th is OK.
David Lindsay Jr. is a huge fan of David Leonhardt. Lindsay is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com
“More inequality? Yes, please. Federal tax policy in the 21st century has been like a tug of war. Thanks to President Trump, the rich are winning it once again.
The top-earning 1 percent of households — those earning more than $607,000 a year — will pay a combined $111 billion less this year in federal taxes than they would have if the laws had remained unchanged since 2000. That’s an enormous windfall. It’s more, in total dollars, than the tax cut received over the same period by the entire bottom 60 percent of earners, according to an analysis being published today.”
Stacey Abrams and Conor Lamb are supposed to represent opposite poles of the Trump-era Democratic Party. She is the new progressive heroine — the first black woman to win a major-party nomination for governor, who will need a surge of liberal turnout to win Georgia. He is the new centrist hero — the white former Marine who flipped a Western Pennsylvania congressional district with support from gun-loving, abortion-opposing Trump voters.But when you spend a little time listening to both Abrams and Lamb, you notice something that doesn’t fit the storyline: They sound a lot alike.They emphasize the same issues, and talk about them in similar ways. They don’t come across as avatars of some Bernie-vs.-Hillary battle for the party’s soul. They come across as ideological soul mates, both upbeat populists who focus on health care, education, upward mobility and the dignity of work.