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 Thu, 18 Apr 2019 05:14:51 -0700 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 07a0ae61da608f7dc372ddf9f197a018 What Does History Tell Us About 2020? Not Very Much for 04/12/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/04/19/what-does-history-tell-us-about-2020-not-very-much Fri, 12 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>What does history tell us about the 2020 presidential election? Not as much as we'd like to know. We're an old republic and our two political parties are the oldest and third oldest in the world. But we've only had a limited number of presidential elections. </p> <p>Three were uncontested (1789, 1792, 1820), and six more were conducted under rules significantly different from our current system (legislatures selecting presidential electors, for example). That leaves just 49 elections, and when I was in the polling business, we wouldn't show any results for subgroups of less than 50 because of the huge statistical margin of error. <p>Updated: Fri Apr 12, 2019</p> e42e43802f7d90867d9fc1d563dbf328 Will Black Voters Keep Democrats From Going Too Far to the Left? for 04/05/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/04/19/will-black-voters-keep-democrats-from-going-too-far-to-the-left Fri, 05 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Which of the two dozen or so Democratic presidential candidates is going to carry black voters next year? The answer to that question is likely to be identical to the answer to the question "Which candidate is going to be the Democratic nominee, and maybe the president?"</p> <p>For years, black Americans have cast about 1 out of 4 votes in Democratic primaries. In 2016, they cast 71% of Democratic primary votes in Mississippi, 61% in South Carolina, 54% in Alabama, 51% in Georgia, 46% in Maryland, 32% in North Carolina and Tennessee, and 20 to 28% in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Virginia, New York, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. <p>Updated: Fri Apr 05, 2019</p> 7f50d714fb4b48d9742cac60a9f67580 R.I.P. Collusiongate for 03/29/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/19/rip-collusiongate Fri, 29 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Collusiongate is now history. The late-Friday afternoon announcement that special counsel Robert Mueller had completed his investigation and Attorney General William Barr's four-page letter released Sunday made it clear. "The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities," Barr wrote.</p> <p>This is not what you expected if you've been watching CNN or MSNBC or reading The New York Times or the Washington Post these past few years. Their viewers and readers have been savoring the prospect of Donald Trump being frog-marched out of the White House on his way to prison, the smirk off his face. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 29, 2019</p> 344f0a9ced0c0956361a59b29b66d6f2 Old Rules of Thumb Yield to Even Older Ones for 03/22/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/19/old-rules-of-thumb-yield-to-even-older-ones Fri, 22 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Success in politics &#8212; and in political predictions &#8212; depends on the ability to distinguish between old rules of thumb that don't apply any more and old rules of thumb that do. </p> <p>Take the old rule that an officeholder's chances of re-election depend on what James Carville in 1992 took to calling "the economy, stupid."<p>Updated: Fri Mar 22, 2019</p> 9f7672bb4ec757bdcc2d939b2fe9645b Chicago's Clues for the 2020 Democrats for 03/15/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/19/chicagos-clues-for-the-2020-democrats Fri, 15 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There was a record-sized field of candidates containing as many women as men. Their surnames ranged from the long familiar to the novel and exotic; they had multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds, and at least one gay candidate was in the running. This sounds like the ever-expanding list of candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but it's also a description of the field in last month's primary election for mayor of Chicago. </p> <p>It was a new experience for Chicago, two-thirds of whose elections over the last 65 years have produced mayors named Richard Daley. The 1980s saw high-turnout contests between black candidates and whites based in the "bungalow wards." Retiring Mayor Rahm Emanuel's base was high-education whites the in Lakefront wards, in combination with Hispanics against a black runoff opponent, and blacks against a Hispanic. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 15, 2019</p> 286d797b8500144399d5a429a1d07ccf Impeachment Quest Lets AOC Types Set Democrats' Agenda for 03/08/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/03/19/impeachment-quest-lets-aoc-types-set-democrats-agenda Fri, 08 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Has the Democratic Party reduced its chances of denying President Trump a second term by continuing to concentrate on throwing him out before the end of his first? You can make a good case that it has.</p> <p>Democrats have been itching to oust Trump since the days before he took the oath of office. Obama administration law enforcement and intelligence agencies launched investigations into candidate Trump's campaign, contrary to the general rule that such agencies should avoid interfering with electoral politics. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 08, 2019</p> 345f602932dd4bb34260bf2da89f010a Democrats Are Getting out on a Dangerously Left-Wing Limb for 03/01/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/02/19/democrats-are-getting-out-on-a-dangerously-left-wing-limb Fri, 01 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>There's an old political saying that presidential candidates appeal to their parties' wings &#8212; left for Democrats, right for Republicans &#8212; in the race for the nomination and then appeal to the center in the general election campaign. It was put in canonical form by Richard Nixon, one of only two Americans our major parties nominated for national office five times (the other was Franklin Roosevelt).</p> <p>The dozen or so already announced Democratic candidates seem to be following Nixon's rule, and with more reckless abandon than Nixon ever did. Maybe they figure that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will inevitably beat Donald Trump. After all, no one they ever talk to would vote for him.</p> <p>But a skewed sample can produce misleading results. If President Trump's job approval hasn't risen above 44 percent level since March 2017, it has not fallen below 40 percent either this year or last. That's about where opinion was when he got elected. And remember that his national rating is depressed by 2-1 disapproval in California, which casts 10 percent of the nation's votes. He'll never win its 55 electoral votes, but in 2016 he carried the other 49 states and Washington, D.C., by 1.4 million votes. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 01, 2019</p> 8e6a27e8f046822c71b2cd247756f3a3 Despite Short-Term Ruckus, Long-Term Progress on Border for 02/22/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/02/19/despite-short-term-ruckus-long-term-progress-on-border Fri, 22 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Compromise reached. Donald Trump is going to build &#8212; his administration is said to be building already, with appropriated funds &#8212; the wall, er, barrier. Congressional Democrats have reportedly inserted provisions that make it easier for purported asylum seekers arriving with children to disappear and augment the illegal population. </p> <p>Compromise unreached. Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program haven't received the legalization both sides say they should. Central Americans are still advised to drag their children on a dangerous journey through Mexico to the border. Border apprehensions in January were up sharply from those in 2018, indicating increased inflow but far below levels from 1992 to 2007. </p> <p>But let's take a longer look at this unsatisfactory compromise, the result of President Trump's failure to get legislation from Republican congressional majorities, which is exacerbated by Democrats' determination to humiliate him.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 22, 2019</p> 4d87f7ff9a16062b9dd5bd738f48b159 Why Are Leading Democratic Presidential Candidates Endorsing 'the Green Dream, or Whatever They Call It'? for 02/15/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/02/19/why-are-leading-democratic-presidential-candidates-endorsing-the-green-dream-or-whatever-they-call-it Fri, 15 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There's an old joke about an egotistical politician whose disgruntled speechwriter, just before quitting, prepares a draft that promises the moon, and specifics for how to pay for it, on the first two pages, and leaves the third page blank except for the words "You're on your own now." </p> <p>That's the position that freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal package, co-introduced by Sen. Edward Markey, has left the several Democratic presidential candidates who rushed to endorse it. AOC (as she's often called) herself has tried to repudiate some of it, as an early draft or a Republican prank. New York Times and Washington Post reporters have indulged her alibis. <p>Updated: Fri Feb 15, 2019</p> a6c1cec73de1f498e82e2ad3c810b2f3 Trump's Surprisingly Reflective and Disciplined State of the Union for 02/08/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/02/19/trumps-surprisingly-reflective-and-disciplined-state-of-the-union Fri, 08 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"This year," President Trump stated in his widely viewed and positively rated State of the Union address, "America will recognize two important anniversaries that show us the majesty of America's mission and the power of American pride." </p> <p>"On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 15,000 young American men jumped from the sky, and 60,000 more stormed in from the sea," he said. And in July 1969, "brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon."<p>Updated: Fri Feb 08, 2019</p> fa60e5fba4acc59f269b455b05112beb Time for Humility for Davos Elite for 02/01/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/19/time-for-humility-for-davos-elite Fri, 01 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Turnout at Davos was lousy this year. President Trump, preoccupied by the government shutdown, was a no-show at last week's World Economic Forum there. So were British Prime Minister Theresa May (Brexit) and French President Emanuel Macron ("gilets jaunes"). Chinese President Xi Jinping, Davos' 2018 star, and Russian President Vladimir Putin weren't there either. Neither were some of the usual financial and media big names.</p> <p>From all of this, you might get the impression that the world's political, financial and media elites have lost much of their prestige these days, which, of course, they have. <p>Updated: Fri Feb 01, 2019</p> e79d5d68410a0e21dde9d861bd09d9c1 Does the Media Deserve to Be Respected and Believed? for 01/25/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/19/does-the-media-deserve-to-be-respected-and-believed Fri, 25 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Is it true that Donald Trump's bad habits are contagious? Is it true that his Democratic opponents and, even more, his critics in the press are increasingly given to terminological inexactitudes, if not downright lies?</p> <p>Sure looks like it. Last week, large parts of the press &#8212; we're looking at you, CNN and MSNBC &#8212; were gleefully reporting and commenting on the BuzzFeed story about President Trump having allegedly ordered his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to members of special prosecutor Robert Mueller's staff.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 25, 2019</p> 9a580f5c7e2819b3363fe33998a7b356 Will Elites Ever Respect Voters' Decisions on Brexit and Trump? for 01/18/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/19/will-elites-ever-respect-voters-decisions-on-brexit-and-trump Fri, 18 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It was no coincidence that Donald Trump scheduled a trip to Britain to promote one of his golf courses in Scotland, on June 23, 2016. That was the day of the Brexit referendum in which 52 percent of the electorate &#8212;17.4 million voters, more than any party has ever won in a general election &#8212; voted for the UK to leave the European Union.</p> <p>Candidate Trump's earlier endorsement of Brexit was criticized by elevated opinion as an unfriendly interference in another nation's internal affairs, although few, if any, had similarly criticized then-President Barack Obama for having urged Britons to vote "remain" and threatened that if they were to vote "leave," they would go to "the back of the queue" in seeking a free trade deal with the United States.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 18, 2019</p> 39ab65c5e4e5a5ae7f528254f7847857 A Stalemate as Trump Goes Factual, Democrats Illogical for 01/11/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/19/a-stalemate-as-trump-goes-factual-democrats-illogical Fri, 11 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The televised presidential address from the Oval Office, a staple of communication between the chief executive and the people in the second half of 20th century, has recently been in desuetude. Former President Barack Obama delivered only three such addresses in his eight years in office. President Donald Trump this week delivered his first one, just days short of completing half his term.</p> <p>It was a sober address, short but touching some emotive chords, carefully based on facts and proposals &#8212; contrary to the Democrats' meme that it would be based on fears, not facts. <p>Updated: Fri Jan 11, 2019</p> eb2c8cbea40638efa30d4ed0998dccc4 Think Things Are Bad Now? They Were Lots Worse in 1919 for 01/04/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/01/19/think-things-are-bad-now-they-were-lots-worse-in-1919 Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The hundredth anniversary of the Armistice that ended the fighting of World War I in Europe came and went with surprisingly little notice last Nov. 11. Commemoration was muted for a conflict that took the lives of some 15 to 19 million soldiers and civilians &#8212; estimates vary widely &#8212; including, in just 19 months, more than 116,000 Americans.</p> <p>Those were shocking numbers for a nation whose territory was untouched by enemies and whose population had just topped 100 million. The toll in blood helps explain why Western European leaders appeased Hitler in the 1930s and why overwhelming majorities of Americans were, until Pearl Harbor, opposed to entering a war &#8212; in the World War I phrase &#8212; "over there."</p> <p>That's a standard view, but it glosses over a lot of history &#8212; messy history that helps explain the responses to this war and puts some of our present tergiversations into useful perspective.<p>Updated: Mon Jan 07, 2019</p> c47b6f9c55ac3cbec0ffc675c3dea035 As in Kipling's Day, Military Deployments Needed to Prevent Unknowable Threats for 12/28/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/18/as-in-kiplings-day-military-deployments-needed-to-prevent-unknowable-threats Fri, 28 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The numbers are small, the terrain unfamiliar, the cast of characters chaotic and the clash of interest hard to decipher. </p> <p>Nevertheless, President Donald Trump's sudden, perhaps impulsive decision to withdraw 2,000 American military personnel from northeastern Syria, as well as the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis in response, has raised a question of continuing pertinence in American policymaking. <p>Updated: Fri Dec 28, 2018</p> 51d2b9c878f8f33dfb9bd1c4d620ff15 American Fertility Headed to All-time Low for 12/21/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/18/american-fertility-headed-to-all-time-low Fri, 21 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In 1957, 4.3 million babies were born in the United States. In 2017, 60 years later, the number was 3,853,472. That's an 11 percent decline, in a nation whose population has nearly doubled over those six decades. And though there are a few days left in 2018, the number for this year is sure to be lower. </p> <p>That's the dominant finding from the thorough &#8212; and alarming &#8212; report "Declining Fertility in America" by Lyman Stone of the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies. </p> <p>In recent years, demographic journalists have focused on slivers of the population &#8212; the increasing percentages of Hispanics and Asians, the decline in births to teenage mothers, low birth rates in high-cost coastal metropolitan areas. Stone looks at the larger picture, that of total population, and finds that "the specter of low fertility, and ultimately of declining population, has come to America."<p>Updated: Fri Dec 21, 2018</p> f8e439f454ac2fe592006c84c099728a Parties Need to Up Their Game for 12/14/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/18/parties-need-to-up-their-game Fri, 14 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Two weeks ago in this column, I asked what is to blame for the weakness of the heads of government here and in Western Europe, institutional failure, voter fecklessness, leaders' personal weaknesses or some combination of all three?</p> <p>This week, let's look at one of those institutions: political parties. How have they contributed to current woes? How can they perform better?<p>Updated: Fri Dec 14, 2018</p> f619baa94693c4a6b1d8d0d7e712b1c3 The Most Successful One-Term President for 12/07/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/18/the-most-successful-one-term-president Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>George H.W. Bush "gave the nation its most successful one-term presidency." He "was the best one-term president the country has ever had, and one of the most underrated presidents of all time."</p> <p>So said two not impartial sources &#8212; the late president's vice president, Dan Quayle, and his Houston friend and secretary of state, who was with him at the end, James Baker. But their assessments are entirely defensible.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 07, 2018</p> 59d58c64eb41be811a70068913cfdc17 Who's to Blame? Weak Leaders, Weak Institutions, Weak Voters? for 11/30/2018 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/18/whos-to-blame-weak-leaders-weak-institutions-weak-voters Fri, 30 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>In the wake of the off-year elections, conservative analyst Yuval Levin saw no winners. "It is the weakness of all sides, and the strength of none, that shapes this moment."</p> <p>You can see what he means. Donald Trump hasn't gotten everything he wanted &#8212; not even the wall! &#8212; from the Republican House of Representatives. And on one issue or another, he'll probably get something from Rep. Nancy Pelosi's Democrats he couldn't get from outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan's Republicans.</p> <p>Now maybe House Democrats will overplay their hand and help Trump win re-election in 2020. And maybe Democrats, faced with a crowded field of presidential candidates, will choose an unelectable nominee.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 30, 2018</p>