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Readings of articles, interviews with writers, and other content from the award-winning online magazine

Readings of articles, interviews with writers, and other content from the award-winning online magazine


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Readings of articles, interviews with writers, and other content from the award-winning online magazine






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The Democratic Primary Is About to Get a Center Lane

The early days of 2019—which is to say, the early days of the 2020 campaign—have been dominated by the Democratic Party’s left wing. Early big-name entrants Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand were all quick to plant their flags squarely on progressive soil.


Trump’s Followers Believe His Lies About the Wall

On Monday night, President Donald Trump held a rally in El Paso, Texas. He chose the location based on his claim, delivered in last week’s State of the Union address, that a border wall had rescued the city from rampant crime. By the time Trump arrived, fact-checkers had demolished this lie, pointing out that the wall had no effect. But Trump told his followers to dismiss the numbers and trust him instead.


The Lesson Democrats Should Take From the Ilhan Omar Controversy

The day that began with a media furor around Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent tweets did not end the way many on the left feared it would. While centrist Democrats and the party’s leadership predictably criticized the first-year congresswoman from Minnesota for her tweets about the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), most of the party’s progressive base rallied behind her.


Republicans Really Need to Sell Trump on This Border Deal

President Donald Trump is not a fan of the border deal that congressional negotiators struck Monday night, the one that he would need to sign by the end of the week to avoid the year’s second government shutdown. While he said at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that he would have to “study it,” he was “not happy about it. It’s not doing the trick.” But! He didn’t say he would veto it.


The Alarming Message in Trump’s State of the Union

Three years ago, when Donald Trump emerged as the Republican presidential front-runner, critics decried his ruthlessness. Since then, they’ve grown numb to it. They think his State of the Union address on Tuesday night was long, trite, and boring. In reality, the speech was laced with authoritarianism. Here’s what Trump said and why it’s dangerous. 1. I am the savior of the nation.


The Least Pro-Life President Ever

On Tuesday night, in his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump called for legislation to outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” said Trump. On Thursday, at the National Prayer Breakfast, the president renewed his plea. “Every life is sacred,” he declared. “We must build a culture that cherishes the dignity and sanctity of innocent human life.” Abortion is a serious matter.


The Ghosts of 2015

We’re still 368 days away from the Iowa Caucus (Feb. 3, 2020), 532 days from the end of the Democratic National Convention (July 16, 2020), and a whopping 642 from Election Day (Nov. 3, 2020). It is understandable if you prefer to check out from the permanent campaign for at least a few more months.


Democrats Should Not Think Twice About Canceling Racist, Sexist Politicians

In the days since a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook was published, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has resisted calls for resignation from all corners of his party. The Democratic caucuses of both branches of the Virginia state legislature have asked Northam to step down, as have Northam’s predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, and multiple Democrats who’ve announced 2020 presidential runs.


Ralph Northam Is Lying

Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, swears he’s telling the truth. On Friday, Northam confessed to appearing in a racist photo in a 1984 yearbook. On Saturday, after Democrats called on him to resign, he reversed himself and said it was a case of mistaken identity. “I will stand and live by my word,” Northam told reporters at an afternoon press conference.


Trump Keeps Bluffing About Americans Wanting a Wall

President Donald Trump says he has a mandate to build a border wall. “I was elected partially on this issue,” he declared at the White House on Thursday. Trump thinks that by claiming to have won the 2016 election based on his pledge to build a wall, he can bully Congress into accepting it. He’s bluffing. A close look at election results in 2016 and 2018 shows that Democrats who reject the wall—even those who represent states Trump won—are standing on firm ground.


It’s Both Difficult and Incredibly Important to Make the Case for Third-Trimester Abortions

Conservative politicians and right-wing activists have targeted a Virginia state legislator this week and in the process reignited a nationwide debate about third-trimester abortions. Delegate Kathy Tran’s bill, which was tabled by a House of Delegates subcommittee this week, would have loosened some restrictions on second- and third-trimester abortions, which are legal in the state under specific circumstances.


The Nonsense Trump Spewed During the Shutdown Wasn’t Oblivious. It Was Tactical.

It was most likely the airports that finally broke the dam. Friday afternoon, as news reports of disrupted flights poured in and the shutdown hit Day 36, Donald Trump finally announced that he would cave completely—if temporarily—on his demands for a border wall. The government will now reopen for three weeks, at the end of which time, he was careful to threaten, he may declare a national emergency if he doesn’t get his way.


The Last Shutdown?

How long must a government shutdown go on before Congress decides it can’t risk another one? We may soon find out if 35 days was long enough. The longest government shutdown in history just concluded with the instigator, President Trump, suffering the same fate as instigators past: humiliating himself for all to see, enraging elements of his base by caving, and failing to secure even a dime of the policy for which he had been holding out. Shutdowns are lousy leverage.


Republicans Are Ditching the Wall

President Donald Trump has yet to break ground on his great border wall, but already it’s proving to be a powerful deterrent. Republicans are running away from it. In TV interviews last weekend, Republican lawmakers bent over backward to avoid the word wall. “I happen to agree with the president on barriers,” said Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine pledged “to continue to build physical barriers.


Ed Case Shows How Not to Reach Out to Your Nonwhite Constituents

Hillary Clinton said that she kept hot sauce in her bag when she was interviewed on black talk radio in April 2016. Jeb Bush released a Spanish-language Cinco de Mayo ad to celebrate the holiday in 2015 and sold a $75 branded “guaca bowle” on his campaign website during the 2016 Republican presidential primary. The person standing next to me immediately said, “We need to primary this guy in 2020.


A Horrifying Ethical Dilemma

Last month, a 29-year-old woman who’s been in a persistent vegetative state since she was a toddler went into labor and gave birth. An employee of the Arizona health care facility where she’s resided for more than 26 years swears no one had any idea she was pregnant until she started exhibiting signs of physical distress during labor.


The MAGA Teen News Cycle and Our Toxic Era of “Event Politics”

I’d naively hoped that America would spend the anniversary of Roe v. Wade talking about what the future holds for the tired and embattled women of this country, some of whom have finally won a little political power. Instead (and as usual) the nation spent the day arguing over the inflammatory actions of a bunch of dudes. The inciting incident was a short video of an inconclusive confrontation. It was shot—absurdly, but maybe appropriately—in front of the Lincoln Memorial.


The Next Step in #MeToo Is for Men to Reckon With Their Male Fragility

These are devastating times for survivors of sexual assault. It is devastating to live through the constant barrage of new accusations, and it is devastating to have witnessed a credibly accused man like Brett Kavanaugh elevated to the Supreme Court. It is also devastating to have lived through the 2016 election, when credible accusations of sexual misconduct and assault from numerous women did not prevent Donald Trump from becoming president.


The Possibility of a Shutdown Agreement Plunged Toward Absolute Zero This Week

What does it look like for a legislative stalemate of four weeks, during which time zero progress has been made toward a conclusion, to actually begin getting worse? It looks much like the two central players in the stalemate trolling each other through the cancellation of the other’s plans.


Trump’s Rhetoric Is Raising the Risk of Right-Wing Terrorism

Politics quickly eclipsed horror after Robert Bowers allegedly gunned down 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October. The shooting, the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history, almost immediately became intertwined with Donald Trump’s divisive presidency.