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 Fri, 15 Dec 2017 13:07:30 -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 e144001e98dddebfe82b42b11b235cf7 Picking the Lock in Alabama for 12/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/17/picking-the-lock-in-alabama Fri, 15 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Turnout would be the key to which of the wildly conflicting polls would best presage the result of Alabama's special Senate election, wrote Republican consultant Patrick Ruffini earlier this week.</p> <p>That proved correct. Statewide, turnout was down 37 percent from November 2016. It was down less, 31 percent, in the five metropolitan counties around Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile, with their black communities and most of the state's highly educated whites.</p> <p>Turnout was down by even less, 28 percent, in the 10 rural counties where the majority of voters are black. But it plunged 42 percent in the remaining 52 small counties. As the returns came in, you could see Republican Roy Moore reaching his target percentages &#8212; but not the raw votes he needed. Donald Trump carried those counties by 568,000 votes. Moore did so by only 149,000.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 15, 2017</p> fdc63a4181fbe709b48a2620fdd3ca5a Real Target of Republican Tax Bills: Feds, Eds and Meds Bloat for 12/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/12/17/real-target-of-republican-tax-bills-feds-eds-and-meds-bloat Fri, 08 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Are the current Republican tax bills, passed by the House and Senate and being reconciled in conference committee, an attack on "feds, eds and meds"? That's a reference to the government, health care and education jobs that local Democrats in Dayton, Ohio, told Sen. Sherrod Brown have been fueling the area's comeback.</p> <p>The Dayton area's reliance on government is in tension with its history as an incubator of private-sector inventiveness, which more than a century ago produced the first cash register, the first airplane and the first automotive electronic ignition.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 08, 2017</p> f92fd520408b55c03f9b1d0b01ece7d9 'Hurtling' Republican Tax Bill Actually Serious for 12/01/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/hurtling-republican-tax-bill-actually-serious Fri, 01 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"The Republican tax bill hurtling through Congress is increasingly tilting the United States tax code to benefit wealthy Americans." That's the beginning of a 37-word first sentence in a stage-setting front-page story in The New York Times on the tax bill under consideration in the Senate this week.</p> <p>It's a nice illustration of creatively phrased advocacy journalism. "Hurtling" suggests irrational, uncontrolled, threatening movement; "tilting" suggests abandoning upstanding fairness; spelling out "the United States tax code" suggests an ominous attack on a respected national institution. And all this "to benefit wealthy Americans."<p>Updated: Fri Dec 01, 2017</p> eb5b607e627c143c3c85ba4de85741be Merkel -- and Davos -- Rebuked in Germany for 11/24/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/merkel-and-davos-rebuked-in-germany Fri, 24 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>It's been a tough era for Davos Man, the personification of the great and the good who meet in the World Economic Forum in that Swiss ski resort every January. The rebukes just keep coming. The European debt crisis. Brexit. Donald Trump. And now, and once again unexpectedly, Angela Merkel's failure to form a German government.</p> <p>For a dozen years, European elites who have recoiled from George W. Bush and swooned over Barack Obama have regarded Merkel as a rock-solid firmament of good sense. Her considerable internal political skills, her seeming unflappability and her upholding of conventional wisdoms, both well- and ill-founded, have made her a favorite at Davos.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 24, 2017</p> 0f20cfeaa0d9d011a58b721890b37690 Will Political Setbacks Unite the Republican Party? for 11/17/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/will-political-setbacks-unite-the-republican-party Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The inexorable workings of the political marketplace seem to be enforcing some discipline over hitherto fissiparous Republican politicians. The question is whether this is happening too late to save the party's declining prospects in the 2018 midterm elections.</p> <p>You can see this in Republicans' reactions to the tax bills Congress is currently considering. Last spring, when the party's congressional leadership teed up its health care bills, purportedly repealing and replacing Obamacare, they faced rebellions from practically every corner of their party's caucuses.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 17, 2017</p> 5e05c51b64c95327c7fe5f587712a469 2016 Is Looking Like the New Normal for 11/10/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/2016-is-looking-like-the-new-normal Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>If you wanted to predict the results of Tuesday's gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, you would have been wise to ignore the flurry of polls and campaign events. You would have paid no heed to the conventional wisdom that Republican Ed Gillespie had a solid chance to beat Ralph Northam in Virginia.</p> <p>In fact, Northam's 9-point victory margin in Virginia was not much different from Phil Murphy's 13-point margin over Republican Kim Guadagno in New Jersey. And both almost precisely mirrored the 2016 presidential results. Hillary Clinton carried New Jersey by a 55-41 percent margin last year; Murphy won it by a 56-43 percent margin this week. Clinton carried Virginia by a 50-44 percent margin; Northam won it 54-45 percent. The two Democrats, lacking Clinton's reputation for dishonesty, gained a few points she lost to third-party candidates; the two Republicans got almost exactly the same percentages as Donald Trump did in 2016.</p> <p>That makes the 2016 numbers look like the new normal. The past quarter-century, except for 2006-08, has been an era of polarized partisan parity, with one election result resembling another and more straight party ticket voting than any time since the 1950s. That's produced divided government, as Democrats have won 4 of 7 presidential elections since 1992 while Republicans have won a House majority in 10 of 12 congressional elections since 1994.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 10, 2017</p> 69f9cd93a2a63f5eb210ff5a03c37672 Keep Calm and Carry On for 11/03/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/11/17/keep-calm-and-carry-on-97389 Fri, 03 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Keep calm and carry on. Those words, though not appearing as extensively on posters in wartime Britain as often supposed, are good advice for Americans now appalled by the presidency of Donald Trump.</p> <p>It is widely proclaimed that he is a president unlike any other, a threat to the institutions of republican government and democratic processes, an ignoramus whose impulsiveness may lead to nuclear war.<p>Updated: Fri Nov 03, 2017</p> 1b7730f28496f01fd610d3ecfb1c585e Both Parties Trying Even Harder to Defeat Themselves for 10/27/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/17/both-parties-trying-even-harder-to-defeat-themselves Fri, 27 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Three weeks ago, I wrote a column about how both parties seem determined to lose the next elections. Since then, the pace has accelerated.</p> <p>The clamor is more visible &#8212; and more assiduously reported by mainstream media &#8212; among the Republicans.</p> <p>George W. Bush and John McCain, who have been on or the son of someone on the presidential ticket in seven of the past 10 elections, gave speeches lamenting the political culture and, by inescapable inference, the style and substance of Donald Trump.<p>Updated: Mon Oct 30, 2017</p> ec2476e7a4e878ce8a816042a0d34c15 Democrats Yelp as Trump Upholds Constitution for 10/20/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/17/democrats-yelp-as-trump-upholds-constitution Fri, 20 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Donald Trump is criticized, often justly, for misstatements of facts and failure to understand the details of public policy. But in two of his most recent controversial actions, he has taken stands upholding the rule of law and undoing the lawless behavior of his most recent predecessor.</p> <p>The question now is whether the author of "The Art of the Deal" &#8212; and congressional Republicans and Democrats &#8212; can maneuver and compromise on these issues in ways that produce sensible public policy.</p> <p>The first action in question was Trump's Sept. 5 announcement that he would withdraw Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave immigrants brought to the United States illegally when they were children protection from deportation.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 20, 2017</p> d991dfb5c87b7885fa5ef3a38dc9e3bf Today's Turn-of-the-Century Problems for 10/13/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/17/todays-turn-of-the-century-problems Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Is America in a new Gilded Age?</span> That's the contention of Republican political consultant Bruce Mehlman, and in a series of 35 slides, he makes a strong case.</p> <p>In many ways, problems facing America today resemble those facing what we still call "turn-of-the-century" America, the 1890s to the 1910s. Just as employment shifted from farms to factories a century ago, it has been moving from manufacturing to services recently.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 13, 2017</p> 194f1ad32c003367bba5cfce00194df8 Both Parties' Extremists Seem Determined to Lose the Next Elections for 10/06/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/10/17/both-parties-extremists-seem-determined-to-lose-the-next-elections Fri, 06 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Almost no one disagrees that our two major political parties, the oldest and third-oldest in the world, have become increasingly extreme and estranged over the past decade. It's a startling contrast with the state of political conflict in the dozen or so years after the fall of the Soviet empire.</p> <p>In 1992, Bill Clinton ran on a moderate Democratic Leadership Council platform and, after the implosion of Hillary Clinton's health care plan and the election of Republican congressional majorities in 1994, mostly governed accordingly.<p>Updated: Fri Oct 06, 2017</p> 20f485341fede0d2b91c567adbebf1f7 To Limit Gerrymandering, Supreme Court Needs Just to Reaffirm Equal Population Requirement for 09/29/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/17/to-limit-gerrymandering-supreme-court-needs-just-to-reaffirm-equal-population-requirement Fri, 29 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Gill v. Whitford, a case challenging Wisconsin's legislative district lines as an unconstitutional Republican gerrymander. It's attracted attention because many high-minded commentators have blamed partisan gerrymandering for today's highly polarized politics &#8212; and for the fact that Republicans have won majorities in 67 of the 98 houses of state legislatures and in 10 of the past 12 elections in the U.S. House of Representatives.</p> <p>But as I and others have argued, <span class="column--highlighted-text">gerrymandering has contributed only marginally to Republican success. More important is demographic clustering.</span> Democratic voters are heavily clustered in central cities, sympathetic suburbs and university towns, while Republican voters are more evenly spread around.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 29, 2017</p> 9505533157609dee817f8c2b114e6045 Tension Between President and Congress Is Politics as Usual for 09/22/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/17/tension-between-president-and-congress-is-politics-as-usual Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For the first time in nearly 20 years, the president seems out of alignment, on policy and political goals, with his party in Congress. This strikes many as an anomalous, even alarming, situation. But if you look back at history, it's more like the norm &#8212; even if Donald Trump isn't.</p> <p>The current presidential/congressional alignment began in January 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke into the news. For several years before that, President Bill Clinton had engaged in what was called triangulation, positioning himself on issues between his party's liberal congressional leaders and the conservatism of House Speaker Newt Gingrich.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 22, 2017</p> 1296cb9e224c9248e6e57850d964ddc0 House Republicans' Frustrations May Doom Their Majority for 09/15/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/17/house-republicans-frustrations-may-doom-their-majority Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The Founding Fathers didn't expect that serving in Congress would be a lifetime career. And for a century, it mostly wasn't. The first election in which more than half the incumbent members of the House of Representatives were re-elected was in 1898. Since then, the majority of House members have been returned in every election except the one in 1932.</p> <p>That's the context in which to weigh the fact that three incumbent Republican representatives who have been comfortably re-elected have announced they are retiring &#8212; and the rumors that more will do so. Incumbents tend to know &#8212; and be known in &#8212; their districts. They usually win, whereas open-seat contests often result in changes of party control.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 15, 2017</p> 333cf35251d32359f6492ad2a843e642 Can Trump and Democrats Make a Deal on Immigration? for 09/08/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/09/17/can-trump-and-democrats-make-a-deal-on-immigration Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Can President Donald Trump and the Republican-majority Congress make a deal? That's a question raised by the announcement that the Trump administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months. DACA, put in place by the Obama administration, provided protection from deportation to immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children and who didn't have serious criminal records and were working or in school or the military.</p> <p>Trump is on strong legal ground. Barack Obama established DACA in 2012, even though, as he had earlier explained, the Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the authority to set policy on immigration and naturalization.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 08, 2017</p> 2dbf800d402f7161d41e87c04ddb7472 Time to Drop Colleges' Racial Quotas and Preferences for 09/01/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/17/time-to-drop-colleges-racial-quotas-and-preferences Fri, 01 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span class="column--highlighted-text">When a policy has been vigorously followed by venerable institutions for more than a generation without getting any closer to producing the desired results, perhaps there is some problem with the goal.</span></p> <p>That thought was prompted by a New York Times story headlined "Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago." It presented enrollment data from 100 selective colleges and universities &#8212; the eight Ivy League schools, nine University of California campuses, 20 "top" liberal arts colleges, 14 "other top universities" and 50 "flagship" state universities. (They total 100 because UC Berkeley appears in two categories.)<p>Updated: Fri Sep 01, 2017</p> 223f56525882f5c4cbd03e9b4f2266f1 Trump's Palmerstonian Policy for 08/25/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/17/trumps-palmerstonian-policy Fri, 25 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>President Donald Trump's Afghanistan speech Monday night was disciplined, measured and sometimes verging on eloquence. It was presidential. Evidently, his vision wasn't impaired when he looked at the eclipse without the proper eyewear earlier in the day.</p> <p>Like Barack Obama, Trump came to office determined to get out of Afghanistan. "My original instinct was to pull out," he said Monday. But "decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office."<p>Updated: Fri Aug 25, 2017</p> 097477ce1e0fb2180844992b3e874e43 What Identity Politics Hath Wrought for 08/18/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/17/what-identity-politics-hath-wrought Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There's a whiff of Weimar in the air. During the years of the Weimar Republic (1919-33), Germany was threatened by Communist revolutionaries and Nazi uprisings. Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau was assassinated, and violent street fighting was commonplace. Then Adolf Hitler took power in 1933.</p> <p>America is nowhere near that point. But many surely agree with The American Interest's Jason Willick, who wrote Sunday that "this latest round of deadly political violence has" him "more afraid for" the United States than he has "ever been before."<p>Updated: Fri Aug 18, 2017</p> b9907926fb68f427b23d6295ee5d3dbe Google's 'Tolerance' Requires Repression for 08/11/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/17/googles-tolerance-requires-repression Fri, 11 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p><p>Updated: Fri Aug 11, 2017</p> a85d7cdf1ff55e11e8c10796c353a24f Ignoring the Lessons of Effective Presidents for 08/04/2017 https://www.creators.com/read/michael-barone/08/17/ignoring-the-lessons-of-effective-presidents Fri, 04 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Who have been the most successful presidents in the past 80 years? Most successful, that is, in framing issues and advancing their policies, achieving foreign policy success, winning re-election and maintaining high job approval.</p> <p>My nominees are Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. They had in common many things: winning smiles, confident optimism, a seeming sympathy with ordinary Americans. Together they won eight presidential nominations and eight general elections.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 04, 2017</p>