The Atlantic »

It’s Foreign Policy That Distinguishes Bernie This Time

February 21, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The conventional wisdom is that Bernie Sanders is a victim of his own success. His “populist agenda has helped push the party to the left,” declared The New York Times in its story about his presidential announcement. But in 2020, he may lose “ground to newer faces who have adopted many of his ideas.”

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The Atlantic »

What Will Trump Do If He Realizes He’s Lost the Shutdown Fight?

February 14, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Donald Trump has again folded in his negotiations with congressional Democrats—accepting a second budget deal that includes nothing close to the $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall that he demanded. This outcome was entirely predictable. The sequence of events that led here has occurred again and again when Trump negotiates. Think of it as a play in four acts.

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The Forward »

The Sick Double Standard In The Ilhan Omar Controversy

February 12, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The following two things are true. First, Representative Ilhan Omar was wrong to tweet that the American government’s support of Israel is “all about the Benjamins.” Secondly, she’s being judged by a grotesque double standard. Her fiercest critics in Congress are guiltier of bigotry than she is.

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The Atlantic »

Cory Booker Is Damned If He Does, Damned If He Doesn’t

February 7, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

There are important differences—and even more important similarities—between Barack Obama’s announcement for president in 2007 and Cory Booker’s announcement last week. The similarities could sink Booker’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination.

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The Atlantic »

Trump Shows Why He Can’t Be Counted Out

February 6, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

If a successful State of the Union address inspires your side to clap enthusiastically while making it difficult for your opponents not to join in, Trump’s was a success. It contained many lies, of course. And it falsely and viciously equated undocumented immigration with murder, as usual. But it offered a preview of how Trump, despite his unpopularity, could campaign effectively in 2020.

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The Atlantic »

The Threat of Threat Assessments

January 31, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

On Tuesday, the intelligence community published its “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” which concluded—in sober, measured tones—that President Donald Trump is lying: North Korea is not abandoning its nuclear weapons, Iran has not violated the nuclear deal it signed under President Barack Obama, and America’s southern border does not pose a national-security crisis. Trump responded by ranting, “They are wrong! … Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” And America’s top newspapers covered the melee as yet another round in the battle between Trump and Washington’s grown-ups.

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The Atlantic »

Democrats Are Blowing a Golden Opportunity

January 24, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Not long ago, the Democrats’ strategy during the government shutdown seemed clear. It consisted of two principles: No negotiations over border funding until the government reopens. And no wall, ever. In his rebuttal to Donald Trump’s nationally televised speech on January 8, Chuck Schumer demanded that Trump “separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security.” Then he declared, “The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall.”

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The Forward »

Bernie Sanders Has To Run – To Make Democrats More Critical Of Israel

January 17, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

There are plenty of reasons for Bernie Sanders not to run for president. He’s an old white guy who may have trouble generating enthusiasm from people of color and women, especially after the recent revelations of sexism in his 2016 campaign. Of all the potential Democratic nominees, he’s the one most likely to prompt a centrist third party bid that could split the anti-Trump vote. And in Elizabeth Warren, Democrats already have a candidate who can authentically articulate the anti-corporate message that Sanders voiced last time around.

Still, I hope Sanders runs, if only for one reason: To change the debate inside the Democratic Party about Israel.

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The Atlantic »

Nancy Pelosi Is Winning

January 16, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Democrats sometimes portray themselves as high-minded and naive—unwilling to play as rough as the GOP. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is, once again, proving that self-image wrong. She’s not only refusing Donald Trump’s demand for a border wall. She’s trying to cripple his presidency. And she may well succeed.

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The Atlantic »

Why Trump Is Trying to Create a Crisis

January 9, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Donald Trump devoted remarkably little of his Tuesday-night Oval Office address to persuading Americans to support a border wall. He discussed his beloved barrier for only a few sentences and didn’t rebut any of the criticisms commonly leveled at it. He never explained how the federal government would take possession of the land needed to build the wall, why migrants wouldn’t be able to climb over or dig under it, or even how much of the border it would actually cover.

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