The state owns neither its citizens nor the liberties its charged with protecting

President Trump is not a dictator, but he has the rhetoric of one. In a recent press conference, the president expressed admiration for the strength of Kim Jong Un’s leadership and stated “He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” Of course, the strength of the Kim regime rests on the threat of force. Doubtlessly one sits up and cheers enthusiastically when failure to do so…

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Tariffs Are Incompatible With the Pluralism of Free Trade

The silver lining to the president’s protectionist trade agenda is the desperation with which he and his officials attempt to sell it under the guise of free trade. One would be hard pressed to come to this realization, given all the nationalist rhetoric the president and his allies are employing to sell tariffs, but it seems free trade is still very much en vogue. Even as President Trump pursues an economic agenda that asserts the…

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Defining “National Security”: A Trip Down the Linguistic Rabbit Hole

Given the centrality of national security to the rationale advanced by the Trump administration in justifying the recently levied tariffs against steel and aluminum, you might think this term might be defined somewhere, either in the relevant legislation or sections of the U.S. Code from which the president is drawing his authority to act. And you would be wrong. The same administration officials—namely Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross, both of whom are trade-nativists, labeling concerns…

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Trump’s Tariffs Are Economically and Politically Disastrous

In an apparent bid to make mercantilism great again, the Trump administration has amped-up its pursuit of protectionist trade measures in recent months, even as others within the president’s own party descry the adverse effects these policies will likely have on the domestic economy. For his part, the president—always a fan of a good superlative—has touted tariffs on the grounds that they facilitate not simply free trade but a more refined type of trade, one…

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The Politics of Doom: Rhetorical Bluster or Electorally Transformative?

Contemporary politics is less a formal party system, organized around substantively different sets of beliefs, and more an emergent schism between doomsday prophets who can agree that America is in decline and freedom is fast slipping away, but lay the blame for impending cataclysm at the feet of their rivals. Political identity is subsumed by end-time beliefs; the operative variable is whether one believes the president or his detractors are the agents responsible. The prophets…

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Undercutting the Separation of Powers Will Not Fix GOP’s Healthcare Nightmare

The astounding impotency of Republicans, who cannot even garner the votes necessary for a clean repeal of the Affordable Care Act, goes far beyond poor leadership. Opposition to ObamaCare, once pejoratively branded “socialized medicine”, is conceivably the core of the party’s identity. Not only have Republicans made repealing former president Obama’s signature legislation an issue in almost every campaign for the past eight years, it is very prominently featured in the party platform, updated most…

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America’s Torquemada Complex

For Trump loyalists, the fallout surrounding CNN’s publication of an inaccurate report documenting supposed ties between Russia and Trump associates was vindication of the White House’s assertions that the administration is dogged by unfair media criticism. For Trump detractors, CNN’s acknowledgment of wrongdoing, was evidence that the network does hold itself to some sort of ethical standard, thus undermining charges that it is nothing but “fake news”.  To be a member of either group and…

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