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Did We All Fiddle With Our Phones While the Republic Burned?

August 15, 2017, 8:16 am

You and I have both read a lot of post-mortems about the 2016 presidential election, a lot of thinkpieces about the unthinking and unthinkable Donald Trump. But here’s a question I haven’t seen anyone take seriously: did we Americans assume that digital culture would gradually lead to a more enlightened population, only to wake up on November 9th and realize that it has only enhanced our more regressive elements? Did we look up for a minute from our smartphones, see
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Trump and Evangelicals: What About Culture? What About Forgiveness?

August 7, 2017, 1:36 pm

Everyone has a theory about why overwhelming numbers of evangelicals and other long-time right-wing Christians supported, and continue to support, the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Trump received 80% of their vote in November, a higher share than George W. Bush – who is, unlike Trump, an avowed evangelical. And they have stuck with him in similar numbers for the first 200 days of his presidency. Everyone has an explanation that accounts for this — but no one has my
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In 2100, an American History Book Explains the First Fifth of the 21st Century in Five Paragraphs

August 1, 2017, 8:06 am

Today’s babies are likely to live until the 22nd century. When they do, how will they think of the first fifth of the 21st century? I don’t mean the history buffs; I mean the average, non-historically-thinking citizens, assuming that there are average citizens in the year 2100. What will they think of the first 20 years of the century that just finished? I believe the TL;DR version can be summarized with two slashified numbers and three “I”s: 9/11, internet, inequality,
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Bye Bye Bipartisanship

June 26, 2017, 5:37 pm

Political parties aren’t written into the Constitution. They came about almost organically as members of President Washington’s Cabinet jockeyed for power. After the first election in which parties truly threatened to bifurcate the Republic, the new President said, “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.” Ever since Thomas Jefferson spoke those words in his inaugural address, the following 41 Presidents have duly followed his example, for their own selfish reasons as much as any other. Men gestured toward working
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1 in 1000

June 19, 2017, 1:18 am

Let’s talk about 1000 people. Everyone is their own snowflake, sure, but there are things 1 will do that the other 999 never will. There are things that the 999 will do that a certain kind of 1 never will. Indulge me on this for a minute. You know 1000 people. For example, your facebook friends + people you know who aren’t on facebook. There are at least another 1000 people that you’ve heard of, but don’t know personally. Let’s
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2018 Midterm Democratic Party Ad, First Draft

May 16, 2017, 11:06 am

On fivethirtyeight, they’re asking what kind of message the Democrats need to win in 2018. The consensus is that in the midterms, the Dems don’t need to be particularly positive, but only need to attack Trump. I agree and I don’t. Dems should absolutely focus on Trump’s shortcomings. But I think it’s smartest to package that in pseudo-positive language. I’ll go further and present, for the first time anywhere, the Official First Draft of the Dems’ Midterm Ads. As I’ve been
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“Why could that one not have been worked out?” Glad You Asked, Mr. President

May 1, 2017, 5:41 pm

What-if scenarios regarding history can be appealing. Change one butterfly fluttering its wings, and you can’t be sure how the rest of the world will react. This becomes particularly poignant on the level of presidential politics, which is one reason Alternate History has become something of its own sub-genre in recent years, attracting such luminaries as Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, and Stephen King. Personally, I’m still waiting on the great novel where Sandra Day O’Connor bumps her head on Thanksgiving
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100 Reasons Why: A #100daysofshame Post That Will Annoy Liberals AND Conservatives

April 24, 2017, 5:18 pm

This post has serious beef with both America’s left-wingers and America’s right-wingers. As we approach President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, the hashtag #100daysofshame is trending harder than Kendrick Lamar. But there’s a big problem: conservatives use the hashtag to laugh at liberal crybabies, and liberals use it to express their frustration with all of Trump’s follies and foibles. I’ve written this post because I don’t agree with either approach. When liberals lump in every one of Trump’s decisions
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Trumpism /= Conservatism. Trumpism = Short-Term-Ism

February 13, 2017, 11:28 am

And ye shall know them by their words and deeds. Ye shall not know them by their empty, forgotten promises. And that means that we need to dispense with the illusion that Trumpism has anything to do with conservatism. There’s a much better term for it, or at least there ought to be: short-term-ism. The word “conservatism” implies, well, conserving. It implies preservation or at least rehabilitation of old ways, traditions, institutions. In our country, conservatism generally at least genuflects
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Obama Bombed, But You Don’t Have To

February 6, 2017, 2:52 pm

I’m going to leave this right here. Ever since the #Muslimban Executive Order, Trump supporters repeat a refrain on social media and news site comment threads that goes something like this: “To all these liberals outraged at Trump banning refugees: Where were you when Obama was dropping bombs on their homelands?” The comment/tweet is meant to confuse and demoralize well-meaning liberals, to paint them as hypocrites, to stop their support of Muslim refugees in its tracks, and to make them question their
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