Michael Barone from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 12 Nov 2018 13:37:12 -0800 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Michael Barone from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/michael-barone-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone 17368e27965ebb255b19c834e491b7e0 Split Election Result Sends Polarized Politics Toward 2020 for 11/09/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/18/split-election-result-sends-polarized-politics-toward-2020 Fri, 09 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The Republican president, considered a lightweight and an ignoramus by many in Washington, suffered a setback in the offyear elections, losing several seats and effective control in the House, while maintaining and perhaps strengthening his party in the Senate. His leverage on domestic issues is reduced, but he retains the initiative on foreign policy and judgeships.</p> <p>That's a fair description of this week's offyear elections &#8212; and of those in 1982, the last time voters paired a Republican president with a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. It also resembles results in 1962, when a Democratic president's party gained four Senate seats and lost four in the House.</p> <p>We know what happened after 1982 and 1962. The economy boomed, and Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, won landslide victories two years later. Voters then remembered the Depression and World War II and rewarded incumbents in time of peace and prosperity.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 09, 2018</p> 2ba1099b1eac99646da3e5cc8be78f7f Voters Head to the Polls to Relitigate 2016 for 11/02/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/18/voters-head-to-the-polls-to-relitigate-2016 Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans will compete for the 42nd time in a nonpresidential-year contest &#8212; a rivalry that goes back to 1854. That's the oldest such partisan competition in the world.</p> <p>And despite the complaints of today's Democrats that the Constitution is biased against them, Democrats have won Senate majorities 16 times &#8212; versus 10 times for Republicans &#8212; since senators started being elected by popular vote in 1914.</p> <p>Similarly, in the 164 years of midterm Republican-Democratic House contests, Democrats have won control of the House 24 times, compared with 17 for Republicans. In other words, over the long run of history, both parties have adapted to changes in opinion and issue focus in multiple realignments.<p>Updated: Mon Nov 05, 2018</p> 9c734e13d4798346e04d690e05672e85 Will Burly Men Stop House Democrats' Blue Wave? for 10/26/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/18/will-burly-men-stop-house-democrats-blue-wave Fri, 26 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Do they live in two different worlds? White college graduate women favor Democrats over Republicans in House elections by a 62 to 35 percent margin. White non-college-graduate men favor Republicans over Democrats in House elections by a 58 to 38 percent margin. </p> <p>Those results are from a Washington Post-Schar School poll conducted in 69 seriously contested congressional districts, 63 of them currently held by Republicans. The numbers in other polls are only slightly different for these two groups. </p> <p>They all tell the same story. These Americans live in the same relatively small slices of America (average population about 750,000), not many miles away from one another if they're in major metropolitan areas or in similar communities in rural districts. But they take very different &#8212; often angrily different &#8212; views on where the nation is headed and on sensitive issues.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 26, 2018</p> 9361f1f9fd48906ab3516e04aa2e4bfc Can Anti-Trump Hatred Carry the House for Democrats? for 10/19/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/18/can-anti-trump-hatred-carry-the-house-for-democrats Fri, 19 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I have some thoughts on 'enthusiasm' and the election," tweeted Amy Walter, the Cook Political Report's ace analyst of House races. What I and, I suspect, others expected to follow was a discussion of how voters' enthusiasm, positive or negative, tends to determine who wins elections, especially in off-year elections, when turnout is more variable. </p> <p>Democrats had greater enthusiasm in 2006 and won both houses of Congress; Republicans had even more enthusiasm in 2010 and gained the largest number of House seats either party had since 1948. </p> <p>In this off-year election cycle, it's been obvious for months that Democrats have greater enthusiasm, almost entirely of the negative variety. They've been itching to inflict damage on President Trump and on the political party he chose to associate himself with three or four years ago in order to get elected president.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 19, 2018</p> dc46f88c985080e6300c5caa224d7552 Don't Look for Civility Unless Democrats Win in November for 10/12/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/18/dont-look-for-civility-unless-democrats-win-in-november Fri, 12 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about," Hillary Clinton told CNN last Tuesday. Her words cannot be taken literally, for you can be civil if you want to; they're a statement that she doesn't want to. </p> <p>That's the bad news; the good news is that she laid out the terms and conditions under which civility will be appropriate again. "(I)f we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate," she went on, "that's when civility can start again." <p>Updated: Fri Oct 12, 2018</p> d3f374fc3a38c9f8a3fed983ce3bb459 Democrats' Foul Tactics on Kavanaugh May Come Back to Bite Them for 10/08/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/18/democrats-foul-tactics-on-kavanaugh-may-come-back-to-bite-them Mon, 08 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"I can't think of a more embarrassing scandal for the United States Senate since the McCarthy hearings," said Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn as then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the afternoon of Sept. 27, "and the question was asked, 'Have you no sense of decency?'"</p> <p>Cornyn was quoting Joseph Welch, the Boston lawyer who represented Sen. Joe McCarthy's targets in the June 1954 hearing, responding to McCarthy's charge that a young lawyer of Welch's was a communist. Six months later, the Senate censured McCarthy by a vote of 67-22, and his name became a synonym for manipulating parliamentary procedure and making spectacular and unsubstantiated charges for political gain.<p>Updated: Mon Oct 08, 2018</p> 94d22bb4e6244d1f1f393bcb556377d9 How Abortion Polarized America for 09/28/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/18/how-abortion-polarized-america Fri, 28 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"Here's my question," tweets legal scholar Jeffrey A. Sachs, obviously in response to the controversy over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. "what is the alternative reality where Roe was never decided, levels of partisan polarization are identical to our own, and the SCOTUS appointments process is markedly better?" </p> <p>Here's the problem with the question: If Roe v. Wade had never been decided, if the Supreme Court had just declined to hear cases challenging the constitutionality of abortion bans, levels of partisan polarization would not be anything like what we see around us. </p> <p>That's my conclusion, and the conclusion of New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. "You'd still have some of the same breakdowns and derangements," he tweeted in response to Sachs, "but America's distinctive kind of ideological sorting-out was not by any means predictable from the vantage point of 1970 or 1975."<p>Updated: Fri Sep 28, 2018</p> 7dc12548dcde178f17515aadd358d449 The Air Has Seeped out of the Russia-Collusion Balloon for 09/21/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/18/the-air-has-seeped-out-of-the-russia-collusion-balloon Fri, 21 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"I did not, and of course I looked for it, looked for it hard." That was Bob Woodward, promoting his book on the Trump White House, "Fear," replying to talk radio host and columnist Hugh Hewitt's question "Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research, in your interviews, that sounded like espionage or collusion?"</p> <p>"You've seen no collusion?" Hewitt followed up. "I have not," Woodward replied.</p> <p>Can we take this as definitive evidence that there's nothing to the theory, widely bruited these past two years by top intelligence and FBI officials, and by numerous Democrats, that President Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians? <p>Updated: Fri Sep 21, 2018</p> 92ce1c46d2c17f8930944d19270ae11a A Cold Wind off Lake Michigan -- for Chicago and America for 09/14/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/18/a-cold-wind-off-lake-michigan-for-chicago-and-america Fri, 14 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"It's the Lord of the Flies on LaSalle Street," wrote columnist John Kass in the Chicago Tribune. In case the references are unclear, whether because high schools haven't been assigning the William Golding novel in the last few decades or because out-of-towners unaccountably don't realize that Chicago's City Hall front is on LaSalle Street, the curmudgeonly Kass was writing about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's announcement that he won't run for a third term as mayor next February.</p> <p>Should readers from outside Chicagoland care? Yes, because Emanuel's surprise exit is a sign of the unworkability of policies that will go national if Resistance Democrats oust Donald Trump, and indeed of some policies embraced by Trump as well.</p> <p>Emanuel will be leaving office as a frustrated and unsuccessful mayor, even though he is one of the great political talents of his generation. Former Clinton fundraiser and White House staffer, Chicago congressman and chairman of House Democrats' campaign committee when they overturned a Republican majority in 2006: He's done it all.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 14, 2018</p> 0b4c73f86966abc1a3f39d4532cd98c4 Democrats' Visions of Hand Signals From White Supremacists for 09/07/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/18/democrats-visions-of-hand-signals-from-white-supremacists Fri, 07 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The highlight, at least for some television watchers, of the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, came when the young woman seated directly behind the nominee rested her right hand on her opposite elbow and pressed her index fingertip against her thumb, forming a kind of circle or OK sign.</p> <p>The meaning of this gesture was not lost on certain alert viewers. "Who is she? What's up with the white power sign?" tweeted one Keith R. Dumas, quoted by the Daily Caller.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 07, 2018</p> 31601f242ccbf3ae5e81329457384183 John McCain: Warm Remembrances of Roads Not Taken, or Taken and Now Abandoned for 08/31/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/18/john-mccain-warm-remembrances-of-roads-not-taken-or-taken-and-now-abandoned Fri, 31 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Warm remembrances of Sen. John McCain have been filling the political air since his death last weekend. They'll continue through his the memorial service in Phoenix, his funeral Saturday at Washington National Cathedral and his interment at the Naval Academy cemetery in Annapolis on Sunday. </p> <p>Praise has been voiced by longtime political foes, admiration from recent detractors and recollections of his (self- and other-) deprecating wit from those long close to him. <p>Updated: Fri Aug 31, 2018</p> f57e6804d8ba913cec8f05a911bde099 Democrats Better off Playing by the Rules Than Denouncing the Rules for 08/24/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/18/democrats-better-off-playing-by-the-rules-than-denouncing-the-rules Fri, 24 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>When you lose a game, particularly a game you had good reason to expect you'd win, do you try to figure out how to play better? Or is your first reaction to demand changes in the rules?</p> <p>In the case of the Democratic Party, it's the latter. Perhaps that comes naturally to a party that takes some pride in having advocated changes in rules that everyone today sees as unfair (even those they enacted themselves, like racial segregation laws). But <span class="column--highlighted-text">sometimes it's wiser to change the way you play than to denounce long-established rules</span>.</p> <p>The Democrats argue that they've been winning more votes but don't control the federal government. They've won a plurality of the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections but elected presidents in only four of them. That darn Electoral College &#8212; "land," as one liberal commentator puts it &#8212; gave the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 24, 2018</p> 35a4f73da4e9fe670016d51f00d522a0 Has Trump Delivered on His Economic Promises? for 08/17/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/18/has-trump-delivered-on-his-economic-promises Fri, 17 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Is President Trump fulfilling candidate Trump's promises? </p> <p>You can make a case that he is, based on some surprising and widely unexpected economic developments. Vice President Mike Pence, writing in The Des Moines Register, put it succinctly: "The evidence is clear: America is back." He adds, "It's no accident."<p>Updated: Fri Aug 17, 2018</p> 96d9b7270b5149e04e57306610283585 Clues on Which Party Will Lose the House for 08/10/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/18/clues-on-which-party-will-lose-the-house Fri, 10 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>We're heading into the home stretch in America's unusually lengthy (six months and nine days) primary election season. Some three-quarters of Americans have had a chance to vote for Democratic and Republican candidates for Congress, and state and local offices.</p> <p>Their choices tell us something about the results in November. But not everything, including which party will win the apparently close battle for a majority in the House of Representatives.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 10, 2018</p> 53ee48dc92c2165cdee91bee0ab28638 Liberals Against Freedom of Conscience for 08/03/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/18/liberals-against-freedom-of-conscience Fri, 03 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Why is it considered "liberal" to compel others to say or fund things they don't believe? That's a question raised by three Supreme Court decisions this year. And it's a puzzling development for those of us old enough to remember when liberals championed free speech &#8212; even advocacy of sedition or sodomy &#8212; and conservatives wanted government to restrain or limit it. </p> <p>The three cases dealt with quite different issues. <p>Updated: Fri Aug 03, 2018</p> 77ad33bf238247fa7e73ba1390fc55a2 Will the Trend of Low Birth Rates Be Reversed? for 07/27/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/18/will-the-trend-of-low-birth-rates-be-reversed Fri, 27 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Sometimes a society's values change sharply with almost no one noticing, much less anticipating the consequences. In 1968, according to a Gallup survey, 70 percent of American adults said that a family of three or more children was "ideal" &#8212; about the same number as Gallup surveys starting in 1938. That number helps explain the explosive baby boom after Americans were no longer constrained by depression and world war. </p> <p>Those values and numbers didn't last. By 1978, Gallup reported that only 39 percent considered three or more children "ideal." The numbers have hovered around there ever since, spiking to just 41 percent in the late-1990s tech boom.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 27, 2018</p> 9152ee64caf7f0b071c7107618c20623 Time to Junk Racial Quotas in Higher Education for 07/20/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/18/time-to-junk-racial-quotas-in-higher-education Fri, 20 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"It's time for enlightened America to hit reset on affirmative action once and for all," writes Columbia University linguistics professor John McWhorter in The American Interest. By affirmative action, of course, he means the racial quotas and preferences that most selective college and university admissions departments employ.</p> <p>"The reason America can never truly come together in understanding racial preferences is not benighted racism rearing its head as always," he goes on. "It's because the rationales simply no longer make any damned sense." Forty years ago, they were arguably needed to reverse anti-black discrimination. Today, beneficiaries tend to come from upscale households or immigrant families never subject to discrimination here. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 20, 2018</p> 6d9d06e2287df9bca4f5a2eb897d8ab4 The Kavanaugh Confirmation Kabuki for 07/13/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/18/the-kavanaugh-confirmation-kabuki Fri, 13 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Theater, much like Japan's Kabuki &#8212; that's all the Supreme Court confirmation process is. Donald Trump's presentations of his two nominees, Judge Neil Gorsuch last year and Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Monday, were uncharacteristically graceful &#8212; a worthy theatrical innovation, in the view of even some Trump critics.</p> <p>Now we get to watch clips of Kavanaugh's visits to senators' offices &#8212; where he'll most likely never return to after the playacting is over &#8212; with cordial words from Republicans certain to vote for him and maybe even from Democrats certain to vote against.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 13, 2018</p> 56af57258ac9c595c57ca77b0d938fc2 Will the Odd Couple -- AMLO and Trump -- Narrow the U.S.-Mexico Gap? for 07/06/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/07/18/will-the-odd-couple-amlo-and-trump-narrow-the-us-mexico-gap Fri, 06 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Will NAFTA survive? Last week, Mexico elected as president longtime NAFTA critic Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (always called "AMLO") by a wide margin. He promptly had a cordial telephone conversation with longtime NAFTA critic President Donald Trump, who remains U.S. president for the next 30 months and, if re-elected, for all of AMLO's six-year term. </p> <p>The cordiality may have just been a ritual. Not since the 1920s have the two neighboring countries had presidents as critical of the other's country as they will have on AMLO's inauguration Dec. 1. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 06, 2018</p> 429a3f5a78a5b10c9cc901c92202621f Justice Kennedy's First Priority: The First Amendment for 06/29/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/06/18/justice-kennedys-first-priority-the-first-amendment Fri, 29 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It became official just after lunchtime on Wednesday, just after the Supreme Court announced its final decisions of the term and went into recess. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the 104th person to serve on the court, is retiring, effective just after his 82nd birthday next month, after 30 years of service. </p> <p>Justice Kennedy's decision, announced in a two-paragraph letter to President Donald Trump, has been predicted &#8212; and eagerly anticipated and dreaded &#8212; for years now. He has been the swing vote in several noteworthy &#8212; for some, notorious &#8212; cases going back to the early 1990s, as well as the author of the opinion of the court in many.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 29, 2018</p>