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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Withdrawal from Paris Accords May Spur New Era of Autonomy in Business

If the tidal wave of anger which broke against President Trump’s announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate accords could be harnessed, the nation would have a surfeit of energy for some time to come. Despite pressure from members of the global community and prominent figures in his own administration, including daughter Ivanka and secretary of state Rex Tillerson, Trump shrugged off concern with the vision of apocalypse many proponents seem…

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What Orwell Got Wrong About the Rewriting of History

George Orwell was wrong. A statist government using threat of force is not necessary to rewrite the recent past. Society is perfectly willing to censor itself of its own volition where partisan politics is concerned. In the fictional world of 1984, the ruthless efficiency of an omniscient state working to blot out all references to its past fallibility was necessary to convince the populace their own memories were wrong. In 2016 America, this kind of…

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Can Truth Be Defamatory? 2016 Will Decide

The 2016 election is a referendum, but not on any single issue. It encompasses something far larger; it is nothing less than a modern day relitigation of the Zenger trial. Can facts be defamatory? That was the question colonial New York when newspaperman John Peter Zenger printed an editorial critical of the royal governor. Though the allegations in it were true, they were also considered libelous by laws of the time, and therefore treasonous, for…

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Politicians attempting to vote shame are authoritarians

The 2016 election has engendered upheaval of the traditional methods of politicking and obliterated normal partisan identities. It is unsurprising that the dominant hegemons should push back, shamelessly advancing the trite and obviously fallacious bromide of binary party choice. In the wake of the first debate, which only underscored how pathetic the results of long-entrenched didactic thinking are, the powers-that-be doubled down. In a testament to how serious the devolvement of the establishment is, President…

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