Elections

Is Bernie Sanders Too Radical for America?

Although pegged as a fringe candidate, Sanders' views are surprisingly mainstream. 

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin In this photo taken May 20, 2015, Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders poses for a portrait before an interview with The Associated Press in Washington. N ow that Bernie Sanders is rapidly climbing in the polls and attracting huge audiences to his campaign events, his opponents are starting to attack him for being too radical. After all, Sanders describes himself as a democratic socialist. Of course, few Americans know what “socialist” means. Some mistakenly associate it with Communism. In fact, Sanders has often said that he favors the kinds of policies favored by the Scandinavian democracies. Asked about this last month by George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC News’ This Week , Sanders said : In countries in Scandinavia like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, they are very democratic countries. Voter turnout is a lot higher than it is in the United States. In those countries, health care is the right of all people; college education and graduate...

Anthony Kennedy's California Roots Shine Through

In recent cases on redistricting and gay marriage, he reveals himself as a vanishing breed of West Coast moderate Republican. 

AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File
AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File In this October 3, 2013, file photo, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks to faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania law school in Philadelphia. I n his characteristically bumptious manner, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lamented the lack of geographic diversity among his colleagues last week in his opinion dissenting from the Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. There are no justices from the South or West, he harrumphed—a judgment he then qualified, in deference to the fact that the author of the majority opinion, Anthony Kennedy, is Californian, with a verbal wave of the hand. “California does not count,” he wrote, as a real Western state. Actually, as the region that’s home not just to California but also to Washington, Oregon and Hawaii, the American West is probably more in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage than any region but the Northeast. Still, a case can be made that Kennedy’s jurisprudence has often been shaped by his...

How the Presidential Primary Is a Proxy War Between the Kochs and the Republican Establishment

Is Reince Priebus democracy’s last best hope?

 

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Adam Gabbatt of The Guardian holds images of Republican candidates as he interviews Howard "Cowboy" Woodward during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 26, 2015. T here’s a battle brewing in the Republican Party, one that could be acted out in a most unseemly way in the nomination contest for the GOP standard-bearer. The wrangling between the Republican establishment and the Koch wing of the party promises some great entertainment for liberals who follow the presidential primaries; unfortunately, it also promises to be bad for our democracy. At this early stage in the presidential campaign, Scott Walker, the Koch-made Wisconsin governor , leads the pack in Iowa, polling at 18 percent, according to a June survey by Morning Consult . The likely establishment choice, a candidate formerly known as Jeb Bush (now just “ Jeb! ”), is tied for second with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, the...

What Would a Sanders Administration Do on K-12 Education?

The most progressive candidate in 2016 has more work to do in terms of articulating his k-12 ideas on the campaign trail.

Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP Images
Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP Images Senator Bernie Sanders attends a news conference on May 19, 2015, with members of the National Nurses Association at the Senate swamp on legislation "to eliminate undergraduate tuition at public colleges and universities and to expand work-study programs. P residential candidate Bernie Sanders has excited his base with some bold ideas surrounding higher education. He’s said college should be a right , that public universities should have free tuition , and that public universities should employ tenured or tenure-track faculty for at least 75 percent of instruction , as a way to reduce the growing dependence on cheap adjunct labor. But Sanders’ stances on K-12 issues—arguably more contentious topics for politicians to engage with compared to higher ed and universal pre-K —have garnered far less attention. Here’s what we know so far: 1. He wants to roll back standardized testing, but still supports Common Core. Sanders opposes the expansion...

2016 Marks a New Era for Dark Money

Candidates like Hillary Clinton say they want to undo Citizens United. But their campaign spending says differently. 

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to supporters Saturday, June 13, 2015, on Roosevelt Island in New York, in a speech promoted as her formal presidential campaign debut. This article originally appeared at Common Dreams . W hile Democratic candidates are lining up to denounce the huge influence that dark money is having on politics in the U.S., a new report says that 2016 presidential candidates are relying on such secret contributions "like never before." In a speech before thousands, likely watched by millions more, Hillary Clinton formally launched her presidential bid on Saturday. During the address given on New York's Roosevelt Island, the Democratic frontrunner railed against the "endless flow of secret, endless money" in politics, saying that she would support a Constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United "if necessary." These strong words, directed at the...

Why Republican Candidates are Wrong About the Media

Mainstream outlets are frequently biased, but mostly toward sensationalism. 

AP Photo/John Locher
AP Photo/John Locher Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. pauses while speaking during a technology roundtable at the Switch Innovation Center, Friday, May 29, 2015, in Las Vegas. L ike only the most courageous columnists have the mettle to do, I will offer a bold prediction for the presidential campaign: Republican presidential candidates will complain about the coverage they get from the mainstream media. Come to think of it, Democratic candidates may also complain, but the real cries of outrage will come from the GOP side. OK, maybe that's not so bold and courageous, because it happens in most elections. You usually see it when the candidate is behind, since claiming that the media are against you is a way of blaming someone else for your poor performance. Not that every candidate gets treated fairly, mind you. But the claim is almost inevitably trotted out when a Republican is headed for defeat; those of you who have been around a while might remember George...

Scott Walker's Shady Deals Win Him Campaign Cash From Billionaires

The dark money web behind Walker's ascendance. 

AP Photo/Morry Gash, File
AP Photo/Morry Gash, File Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker giving a thumbs up as he speaks at his campaign party, in West Allis, near Milwaukee, on November 4, 2014. I f the Koch brothers have their way, the next president will be a guy they all but created—and one whose propensity for alliances and questionable deals with robber barons and at least one dirty political player mark a quality only an oligarch could love. When Walker, after winning Wisconsin’s 2010 gubernatorial election, burst on the national scene in 2011 with his jihad against the state’s public-sector unions, he seemed to come out of nowhere. But he had been groomed for years by powerful anti-labor forces, rising from the state assembly under the tutelage of Michael Grebe, president of the Bradley Foundation, a major backer of right-wing, anti-labor politicians and policies. Grebe also served as Walker’s campaign chairman. In Sunday’s New York Times , reporters Patrick Healy and Monica Davey detail the role of the...

The Path to the White House Is Narrow For Democrats and Republicans Alike

A 50-state strategy wouldn't work in the '90s and it wouldn't work now. 

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
AP Photo/Pat Sullivan Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, Thursday, June 4, 2015. I t's an inevitability in every presidential campaign season: The Democratic candidate will come under criticism from the press, old Washington centrists, and even some in his or her own party for running a narrow campaign that turns its back on large portions of America, seeking only to pile up votes where Democratic partisans are plentiful. The first installment of this critique came on Sunday in a front-page article in The New York Times , which began this way: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to be dispensing with the nationwide electoral strategy that won her husband two terms in the White House and brought white working-class voters and great stretches of what is now red-state America back to Democrats. Instead, she is poised to retrace Barack Obama’s far narrower path to the presidency: a campaign focused more on...

Does the Iowa Caucus Still Matter?

Why the Ames Straw Poll is not the bellwether it once was. 

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak A voter who voted for Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, shows his finger marked with indelible ink as he picks up a free shirt at the Republican Party's Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. C ould 2016 be the year that Iowa's iron grip on the attention of our nation's political class begins to slacken? It's an odd thing to contemplate as the hundreds of Republicans running for president continue to make pilgrimages to Cedar Rapids and Dubuque and Council Bluffs, but there are signs that all kinds of interested parties are asking themselves whether the Iowa caucuses—a mere eight months away!—are really worth getting too worked up about. People have been griping about the hallowed place of Iowa in the presidential election process ever since 1976, when an obscure former Georgia governor practically moved to the state and parlayed his win there into the Democratic nomination and then the presidency. But there are signs of a...

Scott Walker's Long Crusade

Walker's road to the White House has been years in the making. 

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks to the American Federation For Children in New Orleans, Monday, May 18, 2015. This article originally appeared at The Washington Spectator . W hen Scott Walker met 91-year-old Nancy Reagan in 2012, he told her he had a personal connection with her late husband: Walker’s recall election had fallen on the anniversary of President Reagan’s death. Back home in Wisconsin, Walker would try to impress intimate gatherings of Republicans by telling them Nancy Reagan had arranged for Walker to be the first to touch the Reagan inauguration Bible since Reagan’s death. Writing in The Progressive , I debunked the story : it turned out Nancy Reagan never made any special arrangement for Walker, and the Bible in fact has been touched by a number of people since Reagan’s death. While it is not uncommon for Republicans to have a cult-like infatuation with Reagan, Walker has been obsessed with him since starting the Jesus USA Club in...

How Big Money Lost in Philly’s Mayoral Race

Support from unions and public-education advocates won Jim Kenney the primary election, despite $7 million in outside spending for his opponent.

(Photo: AP/Matt Slocum)
(Photo: AP/Matt Slocum) Democratic mayoral candidate Jim Kenney, center, celebrates after winning Tuesday's primary election in Philadelphia. Broad union and progressive support gave the former city councilman more than half the votes in the six-candidate race. O n Tuesday, Philadelphia city council veteran Jim Kenney won the Democratic mayoral primary with 56 percent of the vote—a commanding victory in a crowded campaign of six candidates. Kenney’s win is not only a step in the right direction for the progressives who supported his candidacy; it’s also a refreshing reminder that heavy outside spending doesn’t always guarantee electoral success. Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, the runner-up with 26 percent, was backed by a trio of suburban Philadelphia hedge fund financiers with a strong interest in market-driven education reform. As Paul Blumenthal noted in The Huffington Post , the PAC’s $7 million support (as of the latest filing date) of Williams’s candidacy was...

Women as the Loyal Opposition

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Senator Elizabeth Warren, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Senator John Kerry's nomination to be secretary of state on January 24, 2014. A version of this article first appeared at The Huffington Post . L ong ago, when I began writing newspaper columns, a wise editor advised me that a column is about one thing. I am about to violate that rule. This piece is about three different things (which are connected if you look hard). One is a 25th anniversary; the second is some Mother's Day musings; the third is the latest in a string of losses for the left, namely the trouncing of the British Labour Party in Thursday's election. Let me explain. In 1990, Robert Reich, Paul Starr and I founded a new progressive magazine, The American Prospect , to try to breathe some intellectual spirit and political backbone into American liberalism. At the time, liberals were getting whacked both by...

Should We Relitigate the Iraq War in the 2016 Campaign? You Bet We Should

(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images News)
View image | gettyimages.com I f all goes well, in the 2016 campaign we'll be rehashing the arguments we had about the Iraq war in 2002 and 2003. You may be thinking, "Jeez, do we really have to go through that again?" But we do—in fact, we must. If we're going to make sense of where the next president is going to take the United States on foreign policy, there are few more important discussions to have. On Sunday, Fox News posted an excerpt of an interview Megyn Kelly did with Jeb Bush in which she asked him whether he too would have invaded Iraq, and here's how that went : Kelly : Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion? Bush : I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got. Kelly : You don't think it was a mistake? Bush : In retrospect, the intelligence that everybody saw, that the world saw, not just the United States, was faulty. And in...

Some More Radical Ideas for Hillary Clinton

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the sixth annual Women in the World Summit, Thursday, April 23, 2015, in New York. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post . I am going to periodically suggest ideas that Hillary Clinton might consider—both to establish that she is a real-deal progressive and to rally political support from voters whom the economy is leaving behind. Clinton might even outflank some leading progressives by going beyond what is considered politically safe in the current environment. Another name for that is leadership. So if Hillary wants to show that she's a fighter, let her pick some good fights. Control Drug Costs. On Thursday, Medicare released a detailed breakdown of the staggering costs paid for drugs prescribed under Medicare Part D. That's the privatized prescription drug insurance program sponsored by the Bush administration in 2003 as a gift to the drug and insurance industries, taking advantage of Medicare's good...

Drafting the Script of Campaigns: Reporters Define Candidates' Flaws, Real or Imagined

(Rex Features via AP Images)
W hich of Hillary Clinton's character flaws do you find most troubling? If you're a Republican, you may not have quite decided yet, since there are any number of things about her you can't stand. But if you're hoping to defeat her, you'd do well to home in on whatever journalists think might be her primary character flaw, because that's what will shape of much of their coverage between now and next November. The determination of that central flaw for each of the presidential candidate will soon become one of reporters' key tasks as they construct the frames that are going to guide their coverage of the race. And the idea that Clinton can't be trusted is an early contender for her central defect, the one journalists will contemplate, discuss, explore, and most importantly, use to decide what is important and irrelevant when reporting on her. Take a look at the lead of this article by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post , titled " For Hillary Clinton, a trust deficit to dismount ":

Pages