Commentary

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. 

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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.

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The throngs of protesters who attended the Women’s March on Washington, and who continue to demonstrate at airports, town halls, and on city streets around the country, have made clear that opposition to Donald Trump’s radical Republican agenda will be sustained and powerful. But to earn the trust of the majority of Americans who reject Trumpism, Democrats will have to go beyond simple resistance. They’ll have to show that if voters restore them to power, they’ll actually improve the lives of working families. [...]

[...] How can Democrats maximize their chances? First, they need to get the basics right. They should target widely because it’s impossible to know where the floor is for Trump. They don’t want to be in a situation where new terrain opens up and they’re unprepared. They need to start winning back state-level and county-level positions that feed into higher office. They’ll need money and an aggressive recruitment strategy to get good candidates to run. But, ultimately, the 2018 election, like all others, will be determined by who shows up.

With the court split 4-4 on this and other issues, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Mr. Gorsuch’s record suggests he’s not the person to shift the tide toward building a democracy in which the size of our wallets doesn’t determine the strength of our voices. Senators must press for clear answers.

What is going through that man’s head, I wonder, as he strides onto the dais? Is he thinking, like many, about his pivot from egocentric mode to serving others? He knows he’s up to the performance of the role, but is he feeling up to the work of the job, the decision-making and the substance of governing?

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