• Jeet Heer in The New Republic:
“If Sanders-style democratic socialism is to become the core of the Democratic Party, its adherents will have to win over those who supported Clinton-style progressivism. There are surely few worse ways of accomplishing this than demanding that they “bend the knee,” which is more likely to breed resistance than assent. Convincing Democrats to adopt a more radical politics is challenging enough without trying to insult and humiliate them into submission.”
Mr. Heer peers into the political realignment occurring on the left, with a particular focus on what he brands the “dirtbag left.” He looks at how Breitbart, Mike Cernovich and others on the far right were able to recalibrate the Republican Party, but Mr. Heer does not think the same dynamic would work on the other end of the political spectrum. Read more »
From the Right
• David French in National Review:
“It’s a gigantic law-enforcement scam (in 2014 the government took more money from citizens than burglars stole from crime victims), and it’s a constitutional atrocity. It’s a constitutional atrocity that Donald Trump’s Department of Justice just expanded.”
The “it” that Mr. French refers to is “civil asset forfeiture,” a practice where law enforcement can seize property suspected of having been used in a crime. This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to expand the practice. Using data, examples of wrongly seized property and a hypothetical about his own Toyota pickup truck, Mr. French makes the case for rolling back the practice. Read more »
• Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal:
“After this week’s epic failure on health care reform, the G.O.P. looks like James Cagney in ‘White Heat,’ yelling ‘Made it, ma. Top of the world!’ — just before the oil refinery explodes around him.”
Mr. Rove sees trouble among the rank and file as well as the leadership of the governing caucus and concludes that the “main reason the G.O.P. failed is that party unity and discipline mean nothing to too many Republicans in Congress.” This week’s lurches in political strategy lead him to caution that “enthusiasm among party activists and donors” will wane if there is no resolution to the health care debate. Read more »
• Kristin Tate in The Hill:
“Will Trump’s commission have a ‘chilling effect’ on the number of votes cast? Likely not. If past history is any indication, there will be a combination of effects. First, the number of illegal immigrants casting ballots will fall substantially. Secondly, more voters will turn out for a system they feel isn’t rigged against them; remember, candidate Trump turned out so-called ‘low propensity’ voters just waiting for a person on the ballot that spoke to them, not over them.”
President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has asked all 50 states to provide voter roll information. The request has met with resistance from some secretaries of state and other election officials who voice concerns about privacy and voter suppression. Ms. Tate points out that the federal request is for publicly available data and chides states that “politically posture” for not participating. Read more »
And Finally, From the Center:
• The Washington Post Editorial Board:
“There is a danger that Americans become so inured to President Trump’s indifference to rule of law that they forget how a president who respected public service and the Constitution — and had nothing to hide — would speak and behave. In the interest of jogging memories, we have matched a few of Mr. Trump’s Wednesday comments to The New York Times with imagined quotations of what an ethical president might say.”
The Washington Post editorial board takes a look at Mr. Trump’s comments in a recent interview with Times reporters. The board offers some suggestions of language they think would be helpful for the president to utter. For example, they suggest that when asked about the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, the president might reply: “I’ve got nothing to hide. Whatever he wants to look at, he is welcome to look at, and the sooner the better, because the sooner it will prove that I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Read more »
• Tyler Cowen in Bloomberg
“The U.S. has some of the most expensive medicine in the world, with health-care spending now almost 18 percent of gross domestic product. But why? And might we hope to get this spending down? Unfortunately, expensive health care is embedded in the American way of life — more specifically, the American desire to live it up with high consumption.”
Most of the recent national conversation around health care has been framed around ideology. Mr. Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, looks at the financial costs and what they might explain about the philosophy and practice of medicine in the United States. He finds that “Americans spend a lot on health care because we spend a lot period.” And ultimately, he concludes that this reflects “a kind of American national weakness” that strains health care resources with the burden of overtreatment.
Read more »
• Denise Balkissoon in The Globe and Mail:
“Government-mandated needles would definitely be drastic, as would keeping students out of school because of their parents’ stubbornness. In this age of redebating basic science, it’s a less medieval choice than watching a child die of whooping cough.”
Ms. Balkissoon identifies the problem like this: “With vaccinations down in rich countries, the issue has become what to do with those who refuse their responsibilities.” She finds an answer in France, where the government recently announced it would increase the number of mandatory vaccinations for public-school students as of 2018. Ms. Balkissoon would like to see the same in her native Canada, and a recent op-ed in The Houston Chronicle makes the same case for Texas.
Read more »
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