Commentary

There is a hopeful lesson from O’Reilly’s comeuppance: the right mix of political and legal action, investigative journalism, and business scorn can deliver even the most powerful tyrant a stinging rebuke. O’Reilly and the former Fox C.E.O. Roger Ailes might be out the door because of the harassment charges levelled against them, but that leaves their angry network intact, still as comfortable as ever to crap on the environment, women, immigrants, black people, transgender people, scientific research, and anything smacking of progress.

|
This past Saturday, in cities across our nation, Americans rose up around the issue that brought our founding fathers to their feet and began a revolution: taxes.

Ever since Donald Trump barnstormed across the country, beating out over a dozen other Republicans for the presidential nomination, political pundits and journalists have described his campaign and ultimate win as a “populist insurgency.” There is no doubt his rhetoric often seemed populist.

Elections are decided by who votes — and increasingly, in America, by who cannot. Barriers to voting participation skew policy outcomes and elections to the right in the United States. One of the most racially discriminatory of these barriers is felon disenfranchisement.

California has a funny habit of anticipating national political trends. Celebrity chief executives with no previous political experience who ride name recognition and controversy to victory? Seen it once or twice before. A spate of deregulatory policy leading to exploitation and corruption, culminating in a crisis? California knows something about that.Immigration and shifting demographics that inspire a “whitelash,” and put anti-immigrant populists in power?

But one cannot help but compare the zany satiric bite of “Get Out” with the resonant intelligence of Baldwin in “I Am Not Your Negro.” Both of these films, in their different ways, mock and cheer the death of white racial innocence. [...]

The power of “Get Out” and “I Am Not Your Negro” resides partly in the films’ ominous whispers and parallel reveals. We’ve hit a turning point; so much trauma has gone down in the last eighteen months that even the most delusional white person can no longer credibly strike a pose of white racial innocence. 

|

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) confronted Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch about the vicious cycle facing our democracy: of severe concentration of economic power yielding severe concentration of political power.

The remarkable advance of same-day registration was not an accident. National organizations, including Demos and Common Cause, and numerous state organizations led the fights in legislatures around the country. Demos’s work began in 2002 with a report, “Election Day Registration,” by professors Michael Alvarez and Stephen Ansolabehere, which made the case for the reform. [...]

 [...] In short, our analysis indicates that Donald Trump successfully leveraged existing resentment towards African Americans in combination with emerging fears of increased racial diversity in America to reshape the presidential electorate, strongly attracting nativists towards Trump and pushing some more affluent and highly educated people with more cosmopolitan views to support Hillary Clinton. Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics. [...]

Congressional hearings for President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court are less than a week away, and voters want to know what confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch could mean for their voices in our democracy. More than 90 percent of voters (including 91 percent of Trump voters) say that it is important for Trump to nominate a Supreme Court justice open to limiting big money in politics.

| |