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Monday, September 25, 2017
Rick Perlstein

How The Republicans Stole The States

In September 2015, two months after Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, I asked in these pages if he could accurately be described as a fascist. I decided against the designation. The true fascist states, I concluded—Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile—“suffered weakness in their institutions that are just about unimaginable in the United States. For instance, it is hard to imagine a President Trump turning America into a one-party state.”

September 9, 2017
Sessions

The Sessions Chronicles

So if you’re trying to figure out what makes Jeff Sessions tick, it is worth digging deep. It is Sessions who’ll likely be the one left standing once Bannon, Spicer, Kushner, and all the rest of this Friends and Family administration are gone—probably even after Trump himself oozes into irrelevance.

July 6, 2017

Guns, Extremism, And Threats Of Escalation

Four days after Donald Trump’s inauguration, a community member on a moderate firearms law site, PAGunBlog, a civil redoubt welcoming “active participation by both firearms enthusiasts and people who hate them,” described his shock from that morning’s web-surf when “a long-time commenter who I recognized as right-leaning but mostly moderate commented that ‘The Jews own and control everything in America…’

April 14, 2017
Spicer, Press

New Press Corps At Sean Spicer’s White House Circus

After the White House blocked the New York Times, CNN, and Politico from a press gaggle in Sean Spicer’s office, but allowed in Breitbart News, she publicly posted everything Spicer had said in the closed-door briefing.

April 3, 2017
Bannon

Trump’s Minister Of Propaganda And His ‘Occupy’ Film

Our media gatekeepers act like they’re unaware that our president has chosen as his chief strategist a fellow who’s made disinformation his political vocation. Donald Trump is Lord, and Steve Bannon is his prophet—with the U.S. Treasury at his disposal to tell fairy tales like this about anyone who dares cross him.

February 7, 2017
The press/Donald Trump

Meet The Press: The Hustlers, Hucksters, And Hacks Who Helped Elect Trump

Why do great civilizations fall? Is it political corruption, overextended militaries, or even public health crises? For future historians’, the most convincing explanation for America’s fall, should Donald Trump end up her author and finisher: bad journalism.

December 7, 2016
Donald Trump, Democracy, and Indecency

From Nixon To Trump: Democracy and Indecency

Trump made scores of promises he could not possibly fulfill. The biggest was the same one fascist strongmen always offer: transcendent national renewal, built upon the cleansing of dangerous untermenschen from the body politic.

December 2, 2016
Carter and Regan Debate

The Unmaking Of The Presidential Debate

How did an institution meant to elevate presidential campaigns end up making them even stupider than before?

October 14, 2016

Kingmakers Beware: Phyllis Schlafly’s Never-Ending Campaign Outlives Her

“Highly placed New York kingmakers,” she wrote, “work toward ‘convergence’ between the Republican and Democratic parties so as to preserve their America Last foreign policy.” Yes, Phyllis Schlafly knew how these things worked. She was, therefore, well prepared when, in 1967, the kingmakers went after her.

September 22, 2016

Hillary’s Reckless Off-Ramp Strategy

On August 25, Clinton’s strategy came to the fore. In a speech in Nevada, she officially anointed Ryan as the exemplar of the Republican Party’s sensible, “normal” wing, sidelining Trump as the dangerous (“alt-right”) exception. All this, of course, was intended to expedite the defection of Republicans offended by their party’s nominee.

September 13, 2016

Diverse And Perverse: The Coalition That Trump Built

“You begin to take all kinds of ways of changing people’s perception: who the Other is. And as soon as you can lower the Other—which, you know, Trump has done wonderfully. He’s used the word rapist. That’s a horrible word. Murderer . . . One group has been lowered; a different group has been raised. And the difference is that the one group can tell the other group to leave. Put on buses and taken away.”

September 10, 2016

Don’t Save The Speaker—Let Him Go Down With The Trump Ship

It would take more pages than there are minutes in the day, of course, to document fully the ways Paul Ryan Republicanism—“regular” Republicanism—should not in any way, shape, or form be considered “normal.”

August 22, 2016
donald trump chris christie transition team

Trump’s Chump: The Self-Soiling Of Christopher Christie

Ah, those craven fiends atop the Republican Party, whoring before power and calling it “unity.” Consider Chris Christie: We haven’t seen political hypocrisy this flagrant since Richard Nixon savaged Harry Truman in 1960 for uttering the word “damn.”

July 9, 2016
Victor Cristobal chants during a demonstration outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in San Jose

What Democrats Need To Know About Violence At Trump Rallies

This spring, Donald Trump added a new phrase to the stock of improvised riffs he throws out at his rallies: “I love my protesters.” And if my Twitter mentions are any indication, there are a lot of people who think they know why: disruptions inside or outside Trump’s events just might help elect him president. But the people using my historical work to make this particular argument need to read it less selectively and more attentively.

June 16, 2016
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

California Dreamin’ With Donald Trump And Alex Jones

The theory that California’s water shortage is all the fault of the Environmental Protection Agency is, like most conspiracy theories, grounded in an actual fact. The EPA has, in fact, caused 800,000 acre-feet of water annually to be flushed into San Francisco Bay to maintain its marine ecosystem.

June 5, 2016
Trump, masked

Trump Unmasked

Our wise founders were radical impersonalists. When they wrote arguments for publication in newspapers, they preferred to do so anonymously, using pseudonyms like “Publius”—lest the attachment of a distinguished name distract the reader from the content and quality of the argument. Trump’s personalism, on the other hand, is how he pushes away the protection of constitutional principle with every fiber of his being.

April 28, 2016
New York, 1977

Avenging Angels

The New York values that shaped Donald Trump.

April 18, 2016
Businessman and real estate developer Donald Trump greets U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Romney after endorsing his candidacy for president at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas. Trump could lose more states than Romney this November.

Mitt Vs. The Modern Prometheus

Romney’s flaccid speech, too little, too late, too lame, won’t amount to anything, except as a useful historical document.

March 4, 2016

The Secret To Trump’s Ratings

How to explain Donald Trump? It has nothing to do with polls, political rhetoric, tactics, strategy, or history. It has everything to do with reality TV — which the chattering classes don’t know jack about. Some of us might even be proud of that. Yuuuuge problem.

November 30, 2015

Gimme Shelter: Hatred Of Refugees Is An American Tradition

Republican governors and presidential candidates are tripping over each other to pronounce their horror at the prospect of accepting Syrian refugees, lest some terrorist slips through. Which is, of course, insane. Meanwhile, people are beginning to draw useful historical parallels with other chapters in America’s past.

November 19, 2015

Trumping One Too Many Bankruptcies

You really are going to have to pay attention in these Republican debates. Zone out, and you’ll spend the rest of the night worrying that you missed something good.

August 7, 2015

The New Holy Grail Of Republican Primaries

The penumbras and emanations of Citizens United are changing the Republican campaign game.

July 30, 2015