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 Tue, 26 Jan 2021 21:58:03 -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 86de8ab17d13d458b34b52f929b78b64 Biden's Heartfelt Appeal for Unity Likely to Be Unavailing for 01/22/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/21/bidens-heartfelt-appeal-for-unity-likely-to-be-unavailing Fri, 22 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p></p><p>"We must end this uncivil war," Joe Biden proclaimed shortly after he became the 46th president on Wednesday. Hours earlier, in his last moments as the 45th president, Donald Trump extended "best wishes" to the "new administration." Graceful words, but accompanied by sharp and, in some cases, deserved attacks. Our presidents since George Washington have come to office through an inevitably adversary process, and while they may inspire "unity" on occasion, that's more the exception than the rule. <p>Updated: Fri Jan 22, 2021</p> 4cdec6a1644aec09774acf146918f04f From Impeaching Incitement to Canceling Conservatism for 01/15/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/21/from-impeaching-incitement-to-canceling-conservatism Fri, 15 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It wasn't just Donald Trump's detractors who felt a sudden sense of relief when they heard that Twitter was blocking his feed after the storming of the Capitol and the disruption of the reading of the Electoral College results on Jan. 6. While President Trump's exact words to the crowd on the Ellipse didn't constitute a criminal incitement, they were uttered with a reckless disregard for the possibility that they'd provoke violence, which any reasonable person could find impeachable.</p> <p>But a moment's reflection should have left any believer in free speech feeling queasy about a private firm censoring the president of the United States and preventing him from effectively communicating with citizens over a chosen medium of universal reach. And especially queasy, since a large body of opinion sees this suppression of free speech by Big Tech monopolies not as a one-time exception but as the new rule.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 15, 2021</p> 25aeaaa7bd9944ab2655b22e2819085c Will Democrats Ditch a Policy That's Produced More Equal Incomes? for 01/08/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/21/will-democrats-ditch-a-policy-thats-produced-more-equal-incomes Fri, 08 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The policies of defeated one-term presidents are not as easily reversed as their victorious successors, suffused with campaign rhetoric, sometimes suppose they will be. Even when, as now, the winning party has majorities in both houses of Congress. </p> <p>Those margins, after Democrats' wins in the U.S. Senate races in Georgia Tuesday, are tenuous, 51-50 in the Senate, 222-211 in the House. They're eerily similar to Republicans' margins when George W. Bush became president 20 years ago, 51-50 in the Senate, 221-212 in the House. <p>Updated: Fri Jan 08, 2021</p> 47d10e89c2ec38ed840b91f2fef05196 The Year America Went Crazy for 01/01/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/20/the-year-america-went-crazy Fri, 01 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Did America go crazy in 2020? I suspect observers years hence will think so because of the responses, of both elite officials and ordinary Americans, to the COVID-19 pandemic starting last February and to the shocking video from Minneapolis police officers released over Memorial Day weekend. </p> <p>The response to COVID was unprecedented and disproportionate to the threat. <p>Updated: Fri Jan 01, 2021</p> 99fd6a6d98bcd240eeea463bae00d037 Immigrant Voters Trended Toward Trump for 12/25/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/20/immigrant-voters-trended-toward-trump Fri, 25 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Like Sherlock Holmes' dog that didn't bark in the night, so goes in politics: Uncharacteristic behavior can turn out to be crucially significant &#8212; uncharacteristic behavior in politics being defined as one demographic group unexpectedly trending one way when most of the electorate trends the other.</p> <p>Such behavior was the subject of The New York Times' graphic team's report headlined "Immigrant Neighborhoods Shifted Red as the Country Chose Blue." <p>Updated: Fri Dec 25, 2020</p> 1f5df4c3e3b265b0a9c9f069aba487a2 Biden: Identity Politics and No Apologies for 12/18/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/20/biden-identity-politics-and-no-apologies Fri, 18 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Identity politics seems to be sticking around. Important election results seemed to refute the notion that Americans vote for their ethnic or racial identity. Hispanic voters trended significantly toward the supposedly anti-Hispanic Donald Trump, and Californians, while voting 63% for Joe Biden, rejected racial quotas and preferences in a referendum by an even larger margin than in the 1990s. </p> <p>But Joe Biden, even as the Supreme Court rejected the last pro-Trump lawsuit and the Electoral College confirmed his 306-232 majority, seemed to be playing identity politics with his major appointments. "Identity-based groups," The New York Times is reporting, "continue to lobby Mr. Biden to ensure racial and gender diversity at all levels of his administration."<p>Updated: Fri Dec 18, 2020</p> 5f64fc55c9c794a9067ba844322ebd66 The Unbearable Lightness of White College Democrats for 12/11/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/20/the-unbearable-lightness-of-white-college-democrats Fri, 11 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Eighty-five percent of counties with a Whole Foods store voted for Joe Biden. That factoid, relayed by The Cook Political Report's David Wasserman, tells you something important about the election &#8212; and about today's Democratic Party. </p> <p>"The Democracy," as it was called in the 19th century, long thought of itself as the party of the people, the defender of the little guy, the side that stood up for the folks not able to stand up for themselves.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 11, 2020</p> f576bf03a237d3b0cd5a5a7c971a95b4 Democrats Reaping What They Sow for 12/04/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/20/democrats-reaping-what-they-sow Fri, 04 Dec 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"My sense is that if Trump wins, Hillary supporters will be sad," left-wing writer Sally Kohn tweeted the day of the 2016 election. "If Hillary wins, Trump supporters will be angry. Important difference." Kohn turned out to be wrong about her own side that year, which angrily set about delegitimizing Donald Trump's victory. She was wrong, too, in her apparent assumption &#8212; shared by shop owners who boarded up their windows &#8212; that Trump supporters would react as violently to his defeat as the Black Lives Matter movement reacted to a death in Minneapolis.</p> <p>Which is not to say that Trump and many of his supporters are responding gracefully to their candidate's failure to repeat his 2016 feat of winning the presidency by a margin of 77,736 votes in three crucial states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania). They are not consoled that Joe Biden's margin of victory in this year's three crucial states (Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin) was an even smaller 43,809 votes.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 04, 2020</p> efe7053575e629a814ff085e8e587668 Republicans Retain a Marginal Advantage in Redistricting for 11/27/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/20/republicans-retain-a-marginal-advantage-in-redistricting Fri, 27 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>One of the many big surprises in this month's surprising election was the Democrats' failure to overturn Republican majorities in state legislatures. Various Democratic committees budgeted $88 million to flip majorities in big states such as Texas, Florida and North Carolina. Total gains: zero.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">That's a bad return on lavish investments in money and psychic energy. </span>Liberals have been bemoaning partisan redistricting as a betrayal of democracy, as politicians removing choice from the people.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 27, 2020</p> cadf542e9794611fae80afa82cccaa1a Californians -- and Americans -- Reject Racial Quotas and Preferences for 11/20/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/20/californians-and-americans-reject-racial-quotas-and-preferences Fri, 20 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Among the most surprising of the multiple surprising results in this election was California's rejection of Proposition 16. The ballot measure was supported by the Democratic supermajorities in the state legislature; by long-established corporations and Silicon Valley tech firms; by leaders of mainline churches and nonprofit organizations. Some $20 million was spent on its behalf and only $1 million in opposition. </p> <p>Yet it lost by a solid margin of 57% to 43% in a state that voted 64% for Joe Biden.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 20, 2020</p> 978d1cae2b7412538f6e5da628b3244f A Country Where People Are Afraid to Tell Pollsters What They Think for 11/13/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/20/a-country-where-people-are-afraid-to-tell-pollsters-what-they-think Fri, 13 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"I like a good contrarian argument as much as the next guy," tweets mild-mannered RealClearPolitics senior elections analyst Sean Trende, "but there's really no getting around the fact that the 2020 polling was a pile of steaming garbage." </p> <p>"The national polls were even worse than they were four years ago," writes New York Times polling guru Nate Cohn. "<span class="column--highlighted-text">(W)hatever steps pollsters took to improve after 2016 were canceled out by a new set of problems."</span> <p>Updated: Fri Nov 13, 2020</p> d6ac9d591e25b1baa263450aac6ef26e Some Observations on an Extended Election Night for 11/06/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/20/some-observations-on-an-extended-election-night Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>1. This was not a good night for conventional polling. My review in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal of a book on the history of "polling failures" took perhaps too positive a view of contemporary polling. I find it remarkable that polling has been as accurate as it has been in a country where the completion rate for pollsters' contacts is below 10% &#8212; but it got worse this week. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls showed Joe Biden with more than 51% of the popular vote and Donald Trump with 44%. As this is written, Biden has 50% of the tabulated national popular vote, which will probably rise as California's data comes dribbling in, but Donald Trump has 48%. So, the current 1.9% Biden plurality is far lower than the polls' 7.2% Biden plurality.</p> <p>The results in target states seem to have been off as well. The polls had Biden up 0.9% in Florida, far different from Trump's 3.4% victory margin there. I have been dubious about the polling techniques of firms like Robert Cahaly's Trafalgar, which produced numbers apparently closer to the election results so far than other pollsters in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. But in an opinion climate where mass media and corporate political correctness has many Americans unwilling to state their opinions, there may be something to say for Cahaly's unorthodox methods &#8212; and something to say against the more standard polling technique. There is, as my Washington Examiner colleague Byron York has argued, a hidden Trump vote. Most pollsters have not learned how to find it. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 06, 2020</p> 7ce12a921b9939df640525befc79385c The Perils of Political Trifectas for 10/30/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/20/the-perils-of-political-trifectas Fri, 30 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If the final election returns, when they finally come in, match the current polls, Joe Biden's Democrats will win a trifecta: the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress. </p> <p>Biden currently leads Donald Trump 51% to 44% in the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls and leads by a smaller margin of 49% to 46% in six target states. Current polling shows Democrats leading in races that would give them a 51-49 majority in the Senate, and they seem well positioned to hold their majority in the House. <p>Updated: Fri Oct 30, 2020</p> 6c68a6bb5d9604828ecb56ea4a220817 Both Candidates' Risky Strategies for 10/23/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/20/both-candidates-risky-strategies Fri, 23 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Are both presidential candidates trying to lose? Or at least pursuing campaign strategies which put them at grave risk of defeat?</p> <p>In nearly four years, Donald Trump has made little effort to win over the 50%-plus of voters who didn't support him in 2016. Having proved that he could win the presidency without a plurality of the popular vote, he has ignored the possibility that he could govern more effectively if he were reelected with an absolute majority.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 23, 2020</p> a78ea7fe6c6a713f8c123546b8bc0091 Court Packing Is No Hypothetical for 10/16/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/20/court-packing-is-no-hypothetical Fri, 16 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On Monday, Joe Biden finally broke his monthslong silence on court packing. Previously, he refused to take a stand &#8212; "whatever position I take in that, that'll become the issue," he said in the Sept. 29 debate, said voters didn't "deserve to know" his position or would know it "when the election is over," </p> <p>His media cheerleaders like CNN's Don Lemon said questions about court packing were just "hypothetical" &#8212; a tautology, since any question about what a candidate would do is hypothetical, since it depends on who wins the election. </p> <p>But on Monday, Oct. 9, Biden changed his tune. In an interview with WKRC Cincinnati, he said: "I'm not a fan of court packing. But I don't want to get off on that whole issue." Presumably, he noticed that packing the Supreme Court doesn't poll well: a Washington Examiner/YouGov poll showed 47% of voters opposed to expanding the number of Supreme Court justices and only 35% in favor. <p>Updated: Fri Oct 16, 2020</p> f9b13a0e98026282d3b2c350a038d552 Lockdown Enthusiasts' Risk Aversion Is Producing a More Unequal Society for 10/09/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/20/lockdown-enthusiasts-risk-aversion-is-producing-a-more-unequal-society Fri, 09 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Now that Donald Trump exited from Walter Reed Hospital and the vice presidential debate aired, let's turn to an apolitical analyst to understand what's happening. Vaclav Smil, 76, native of communist Czechoslovakia and former University of Manitoba professor for four decades, has written 39 books on energy, technology and demography. "Nobody," says Bill Gates, who has read every book, "sees the big picture with as wide an aperture as Vaclav Smil." </p> <p>What Smil sees now, he writes in a characteristically terse IEEE Spectrum essay, he finds puzzling. The COVID-19 death rate per million is about one-fifth that of the 1957-58 Asian flu and one-third that of the 1968-70 Hong Kong flu. Yet these earlier pandemics had only "evanescent economic consequences" and did not "leave any deep, traumatic traces in memories" of the 350 million people who, like Smil (and me), were 10 or older during both. "Countries did not resort to any mass-scale economic lockdowns, enforce any long-lasting school closures, ban sports events, or cut flight schedules deeply," Smil writes.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 09, 2020</p> f8557eab33112cee820af03498227a0e Worst Presidential Debate Ever for 10/02/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/20/worst-presidential-debate-ever Fri, 02 Oct 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"Chaos." "Painful." "Dispiriting." "The worst presidential debate in American history." "The lowest point in American political culture in my lifetime." </p> <p>You get the idea. These are responses, from Donald Trump supporters and Donald Trump opponents, to the first 2020 presidential debate Tuesday night. I detect a note of shell shock and sickened recoil from the partisans of both candidates, greater than I've ever noticed before. </p> <p>Some of us can remember when debates were decorous, when candidates spoke respectfully of each other and sometimes granted each other's good faith. A more contentious tone and dismissive attitude toward opponents appeared in the first baby boomer debate, between then-Vice President Dan Quayle and his successor former Vice President Al Gore in 1992 (both younger men than Donald Trump or Joe Biden). <p>Updated: Fri Oct 02, 2020</p> 3119de49362907774856134d6980375a Who's Violating Norms These Days? for 09/25/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/20/whos-violating-norms-these-days Fri, 25 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Norms, we are told, matter. Violating norms, recklessly disregarding norms &#8212; these are charges on which President Donald Trump is often arraigned in the court of public opinion. </p> <p>The indictment starts with his annoying habit of inventing insulting nicknames for his opponents and critics. You can add to the list as you will and perhaps come up with enough names for a 700-plus-word newspaper column.</p> <p>But Trump hasn't been the only one disregarding norms of late. Consider the question of whether and when the president and Senate should fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 25, 2020</p> e91b9c8ba3cc5a937cbf94403aa48d2e Statehood for Territories May Boomerang on Democrats for 09/18/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/20/statehood-for-territories-may-boomerang-on-democrats Fri, 18 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What happens if, as seems much more likely now than it did a year or six months ago, Democrats overturn the Republican majority in the Senate? </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">No clear answer yet, but NBC News reports Democratic senators have set up a "war room" to enable them to abolish the filibuster and quickly pass a Biden-Harris agenda. </span>Other Democrats have urged that a Democratic Congress admit new states to the Union &#8212; each with two senators, up to a dozen &#8212; to have a view to blocking a Republican majority forever. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 18, 2020</p> d75e82b9a216888e21ac8feefbb13ab0 The Campaign Is at Knife's Edge for 09/11/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/20/the-campaign-is-at-knifes-edge Fri, 11 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The presidential campaign is at knife's edge. Both parties' campaigns assume that patterns of support will closely resemble those in 2016. And both are making surprisingly little effort, considering how close that contest turned out to be, with the 46 crucial electoral votes decided by just 77,744 votes, to increase their levels of support.</p> <p>The past three years and 10 months have seen little outreach by President Donald Trump to most of those who didn't vote for him in 2016, particularly to the college-graduate suburbanites who tipped the House to Democrats in 2018. He seems unwilling or unable to squelch the undisciplined tweets and ad libs that repel such voters, and he seems nonplussed by the prospect of losing the national popular vote again. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 11, 2020</p>