America’s self-destructive whites


Why is Middle America killing itself? The fact itself is probably the most important social science finding in years. It is already reshaping American politics. The Post’s Jeff Guo notes that the people who make up this cohort are “largely responsible for Donald Trump’s lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president.” The key question is why, and exploring it provides answers that suggest that the rage dominating U.S. politics will only get worse.

For decades, people in rich countries have lived longer. But in a well-known paper, economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case found that over the past 15 years, one group — middle-age whites in the United States — constitutes an alarming trend. They are dying in increasing numbers. And things look much worse for those with just a high school diploma or less. There are concerns about the calculations, but even a leading critic of the paper has acknowledged that, however measured, “the change compared to other countries and groups is huge.”

trumpThe main causes of death are as striking as the fact itself: suicide, alcoholism, and overdoses of prescription and illegal drugs. “People seem to be killing themselves, slowly or quickly,” Deaton told me. These circumstances are usually caused by stress, depression and despair. The only comparable spike in deaths in an industrialized country took place among Russian males after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when rates of alcoholism skyrocketed.

Deaton speculated to me that perhaps Europe’s more generous welfare state might ease some of the fears associated with the rapid change. Certainly he believes that in the United States, doctors and drug companies are far too eager to deal with physical and psychological pain by prescribing drugs, including powerful and addictive opioids. The introduction of drugs such as Oxycontin, a heroin-like prescription painkiller, coincides with the rise in deaths.

But why don’t we see the trend among other American ethnic groups? While mortality rates for middle-age whites have stayed flat or risen, the rates for Hispanics and blacks have continued to decline significantly. These groups live in the same country and face greater economic pressures than whites. Why are they not in similar despair?

The answer might lie in expectations. Princeton anthropologist Carolyn Rouse suggested, in an email exchange, that other groups might not expect that their income, standard of living and social status are destined to steadily improve. They don’t have the same confidence that if they work hard, they will surely get ahead. In fact, Rouse said that after hundreds of years of slavery, segregation and racism, blacks have developed ways to cope with disappointment and the unfairness of life: through family, art, protest speech and, above all, religion.

“You have been the veterans of creative suffering,” Martin Luther King Jr. told African Americans in his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963: “Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.” Writing in 1960, King explained the issue in personal terms: “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways that I could respond to my situation: either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. . . . So like the Apostle Paul I can now humbly yet proudly say, ‘I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.’ ” The Hispanic and immigrant experiences in the United States are different, of course. But again, few in these groups have believed that their place in society is assured. Minorities, by definition, are on the margins. They do not assume that the system is set up for them. They try hard and hope to succeed, but they do not expect it as the norm.

The United States is going through a great power shift. Working-class whites don’t think of themselves as an elite group. But, in a sense, they have been, certainly compared with blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and most immigrants. They were central to America’s economy, its society, indeed its very identity. They are not anymore. Donald Trump has promised that he will change this and make them win again. But he can’t. No one can. And deep down, they know it.


To Donald Trump, the thrice-married hypocrite: Let’s look at your history and teach you what sexism really is


Donald Trump is just exposing himself by roping in Bill Clinton’s past infidelity into campaign

While you were playing with your new video game/Apple product/puppy this post-Christmas weekend, Donald Trump went off into a defensive spiral. Before Christmas, Hillary Clinton gave an interview to the Des Moines Register where she correctly noted that Trump has “a penchant for sexism,” for calling her “disgusting” for having to use the bathroom during the most recent debate, something he quite clearly feels the female half of the species should not sully itself with.

The phrase “penchant for sexism” clearly got under Trump’s skin, as he gnawed on it obsessively like a dog with a bone over the weekend.

It was a ridiculous display to witness, but there’s no reason to think it will do anything but endear him to his already robust base. However, the tantrum shows why Trump is going to have a lot of problems translating the enthusiasm that his bigotry-happy supporters have for him to the larger public, which tends to find this stuff distasteful.

Trump’s response to Clinton has been, in line with the levels of maturity he has demonstrated throughout this campaign, to implement the “I know you are, but what am I?” strategy. On Fox News on Sunday, Trump whined that Clinton is playing the “woman card” when she defends herself against men, like Trump, who imply that her gender disqualifies her from the White House.

This is a common right-wing rhetorical trick, to argue that the foul is not in disparaging someone for her gender, but in mentioning gender at all. That allows them to draw a false equivalence between saying “women are equal” and “women are inferior,” but one should not be fooled. Mentioning gender is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. The bad thing is in what Trump does, which is deriding women for having bodily functions and implying that the only value they have on earth is aesthetic.

Trump spent most of the holiday obsessing over the phrase “penchant for sexism” on Twitter.


He then tried to rope Bill Clinton into this:


He elaborated on what he meant by this on “Fox News Sunday,” by arguing that Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky counts as sexism, an argument that he doubled down on, by equating it with “abuse” on Twitter.


The assumption here is that “sexism” or “abuse” is defined as “stuff women don’t like,” such as their husbands cheating on them. It’s a rhetorical strategy that equates an extramarital affair with hitting women or raping women, an equation that non-coincidentally functions to minimize the seriousness of violence against women. Abusing your wife is a crime, but cheating is not, all for a very good reason.

To Trump and his right-wing followers that tend to perceive feminism as nothing more than women yapping too much when they probably have something they need to be cleaning instead, this definition of sexism probably feels about right. Most people, however, grasp that one can have an affair, even a highly inappropriate affair with a much-younger woman, while still maintaining the belief that women are equal to men and capable of doing things like holding higher office.

Bill Clinton is living proof of this. This is, after all, the same man who recently joked, “I am tired of the stranglehold that women have had on the job of presidential spouse.” Whatever personal flaws he may have — which are many — it’s also inarguable that he has openly espoused a belief in female equality his whole career and backed that belief up with his policies and his enthusiastic support of his feminist wife’s career.

It’s easy to see why Trump, whose current wife is only three years older than Monica Lewinsky, might struggle to see the distinction between an unfortunate dalliance and a lifelong pattern of deriding women for aging, having bodily functions, or for going in public for any other reason than to audition to be Mrs. Trump No. 4. And, as has been amply demonstrated, Trump supporters tend to think every dumb thought that comes spilling out of his head is gold.

But the public does understand these distinctions, which is why obsessing over Clinton’s affair has generally backfired on those who indulge. When Republicans impeached Clinton over his affair in the ’90s, the result was that Clinton’s approval ratings soared to 73%a level that is nearly impossible for presidents to achieve, particularly during that era, where the cynicism we currently have about politics was really beginning to harden into place. The public tends to perceive the fascination with Clinton’s affair as little more than panty-sniffing puritanism, which is, of course, exactly what it is.

It’s doubly stupid of Trump to go there, because there’s the added issue of hypocrisy. Trump’s own affair with Marla Maples, a woman 17 years his junior who became his second wife, was second only to Clinton’s affair in terms of being the sex scandal of the 1990s. If Trump wants to set aside policy ideas, public behavior, and advocacy work in favor of judging a man’s respect towards women strictly by his failures as a husband, well, he still loses that battle. Clinton had affairs that his marriage survived. Trump blew up his first marriage to marry his much-younger mistress.

What is amazing about all this is that Trump has to know he’s playing with fire here. Right now, both Republicans and Democrats have kept his personal life out of the campaign, because they know that voters tend to think that’s playing dirty. But if he himself opens the door, then it becomes fair game. While his supporters will no doubt get defensive and rally around him harder, reminding the general public that Donald Trump set the template for the rich man who regularly trades in his wives for younger models is not to his benefit in a general election. It will hurt him especially against a female candidate whose very existence shows that women have more to offer the world besides youth and beauty.

But that’s the defining feature of Trump’s campaign. Whether it’s personal short-sightedness or because he’s got some impossible-to-understand long game going on here, Trump will choose endearing himself to his bigot base over expanding his appeal every single time.






Michelle Obama:

Ridiculed for her fashion, looks, skin color, and fitness

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis:

Embraced for her fashion and charm

The late Kennedy’s education was not listed as a result of lack of space. (Kennedy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature at George Washington University and went on to work for the Washington Times-Herald as an Inquiring Photographer.)

Melania Trump:

Admired for having access to money and her body

Why Politicians Want You to Panic


Crime is down, jobs are growing, America is pre-eminent. And yet Republican candidates are still fanning the flames of fear.

At the beginning of this year, after a Republican sweep in the midterms, new Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell had a message for the incoming class as the party geared up for the 2016 presidential contest: Don’t be “scary.”

“I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome,” he said. “I want the American people to be comfortable with the fact that the Republican House and Senate is a responsible, right-of-center, governing majority.”

Around the same time, we began hearing more talk of the rise of the “reformocon,” a calmer, more practical, policy-minded and less viscerally anti-government stripe of Republican. One who maybe even might be able to resist the temptation to actively antagonize Latinos, the nation’s fastest-growing electoral bloc. For a moment, it looked like the fever that had burned since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008 had broken.

But then came the Mexican rapists, and Benghazi, and the plot to “Islamize” America, and Planned Parenthood acting as an agent of holocaust. We heard endless dark warnings about Obama the NaziObama the ISIS apologist. We learned that the Affordable Care Act is tantamount to slavery and the Holocaust could have been averted if the Jews had just had guns, and that the Iran deal will trigger the second Holocaust (so many holocausts!).

Once the Paris attacks happened, the panic tightened its grip, with two leading Republican presidential candidates suddenly possessed by dueling hallucinations of celebratory Muslims in Jersey on 9/11. Then came San Bernardino. Donald Trump, who had previously contented himself with talk of an authoritarian state in which Muslims were made to register and neighbor spied upon neighbor, doubled down, calling for a ban of all Muslims trying to come to the United States. The rest of the field, while not quite scaling such rhetorical heights, hardly distinguished itself with steely Churchillian reserve, opting instead for a flurry of Muppet arms. When Obama gave a speech emphasizing calm and fortitude, Marco Rubio responded by saying that, on the contrary, Americans are “really scared,” John Kasich said “our way of life is at stake,” Chris Christie proclaimed that World War III had begun, and Jeb Bush said ISIS is “organizing to destroy Western Civilization.”

McConnell may have tried—however lamely—to get the scary horse back into the barn, but time passes and news breaks and the beast does not abide. What is driving all this panic? It’s easy to blame it on individual demagogues and pin it all on the symptoms of Obama Derangement Syndrome. This was the view on display in a November column by the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who attributed the abundance of panic in the GOP to the fact that “many bullies are also cowards” and “the apocalyptic mind-set that has developed among Republicans during the Obama years.” There is something to that, but it’s hardly the whole story.

The fact is, the variety of political panic we are presently enjoying is woven into the fabric of our society, an unfortunate side effect of living in a continually morphing nation of immigrants. This panic has historically afflicted the right more than the left (though the left is not immune to panics of its own), and though it usually simmers just beneath the surface of our politics, it has, at this particular moment in time, not just reemerged but, seemingly, gone mainstream.

For the most part, the current field of Republicans is riding the wave, ginning up panic whenever possible, in a campaign season that often seems less like an application to the White House and more like one for the ding farm. But will it work? Can this trembling, red-eyed, dark-minded impulse at the core of our national experience be marshaled to win a national election? And, perhaps more importantly, can it be stopped?


For all our talk of steady hands and rugged individualism, there’s a long and hallowed tradition of sheer barking panic in American politics. “There’s no country in the world that can get more hysterical!” Sinclair Lewis wrote in It Can’t Happen Herehis 1935 novel about a folksy American politician who leads a panicky nation into fascism. And indeed, we’ve done our part to prove him right. Over the decades, Americans, minds afire with doomsday visions of wild plots and schemes, have lost it over the illuminati, the Masons, the pope of Rome and his marauding Jesuits, the League of Nations, the U.N., communist infiltrators, welfare queens, Willie Horton, Jeremiah Wright, birtherism, gay plots, “death panels,” Jade Helmno-go zones, the aforementioned Mexican rapists/ethnic cleansers/Ebola-infected ISIS supporters, and so on.

And throughout, most of those eruptions have come from a certain spot on the American political spectrum. Writing in 1954, historian Richard Hofstadter, borrowing a term from the social theorist Theodore Adorno, dubbed these people “pseudo-conservatives.” In his essay “The Pseudo-Conservative Revolt,” which Hofstadter wrote in response to the rise of far-right demagogues like Joe McCarthy and groups like the John Birch Society, he defined the type:

“Although they believe themselves to be conservatives and usually employ the rhetoric of conservatives, [pseudo-conservatives] show signs of a serious and restless dissatisfaction with American life, its institutions and traditions.” They may call themselves conservatives, Hofstadter noted, but they do so mainly for the veneer of political legitimacy the term confers. In reality, they are more a mix of ultraconservative, isolationist and, occasionally, radical. “They have little in common with the temperate and compromising spirit of true conservatism in the classical sense of the word.”

The pseudo-conservative, Hofstadter continued, “is likely to be antagonistic to most of the operations of our federal government except congressional investigations.” He is preoccupied with his loyalty and the perceived disloyalty of others and prone to constant patriotic “self-advertisement.” He “sees his own country as being so weak that it is constantly about to fall victim to subversion; and yet he feels it is so all-powerful that any failure it may experience in getting its way in the world … cannot possibly be due to its own limitations but must be attributed to its having been betrayed.” He believes that “those who place greater stress on negotiation and accommodation are engaged in treasonable conspiracy or are guilty of well-nigh criminal failings in moral and intellectual fiber.”

All these years later, Hofstadter’s essay reads like the whiteboard from a breakout session at CPAC. While the author blamed the confluence of uncertain times and the advent of mass media—which keeps people “in an almost constant state of political mobilization”—he also argued that the animating spirit of pseudo-conservatism was tied to the “rootlessness and heterogeneity” at the center of the American experiment:

“Because we no longer have the relative ethnic homogeneity we had up to about eighty years ago,” he wrote, “our sense of belonging has long had about it a high degree of uncertainty. We boast of ‘the melting pot,’ but we are not quite sure what it is that will remain when we are melted down.”


CONSERVATIVE VALUES: Does Melania Trump (Trump’s wife) have what it takes to be the first lady?

Does Melania Trump (Trump’s wife) have what it takes to be the first lady? We should ask Republicans with strong conservative Christian values. They might think Melania Trump is “super smart, conservative, classy, and the perfect role model for our young children, more specifically our young females”.

Imagine what Republican’s reaction would be if this was FLOTUS OBAMA? Seriously, can you IMAGINE if Mrs. Obama dressed like this? I personally do not care how Mrs. Trump dresses, but the HYPOCRISY of the Republicans is beyond comprehension.

Soft porn sells.



trumpWhile demonstrators plan “Dump Trump” protests outside of NBC Studios, George Lopez and Funny or Die are teaming up to expose the absurdity of Donald Trumphosting “Saturday Night Live” this weekend through comedy.

MORE: WATCH: Protestors Demand NBC “Dump Trump” at Rally Near ‘SNL’ Studio

The funny man returns as Donaldo Trumpez, a Mexican version of Trump, though this time appearing on “Noche De Sabado En Vivo,” which translates to “Saturday Night Live.”

The clip begins with Trumpez dressed in a “Humpty Trumpty” costume, as a Mariachi band sings, “Humpty Trumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.” Of course, Trumpez hilariously adds in, “In the polls!”

Trumpez then delivers a speech that couldn’t be more spot-on.

“There was a time when I could call leaders stupid, and let people know I could fix any problem without any explanation, and no one would question me,” Trumpez, taking a jab at the real Republican hopeful’s lack of proposals, said. “A time when all I had to do was call a foreigner a rapist or refer to a female candidate as ugly and the whole world would cheer.”

For the more than 520 thousand petitioners who have called on the variety show to disinvite Trump, this is exactly what producers are doing: applauding Trump’s racist and sexist speech by giving him a platform to spew it.

Despite cries from politicianscelebrities and thought leaders, the petition and a rally, Trump is still scheduled to host SNL Saturday, Nov. 7.

PLUS: Adrienne Bailon Sounds Off on Donald Trump’s ‘Saturday Night Live’ Gig

Watch the short “Noche De Sabado En Vivo” episode above.



Donald Trump: Relying on, trying to control free coverage


Nobody understands the power of the media on public perception quite like Donald Trump. The former reality television star and tabloid king, who has relied on free news coverage and social media to power his presidential campaign, is uniquely obsessed with how the news media portray his events.

Trump routinely orders news camera operators to pan the crowds at his rallies to show how large the gatherings are — and then chastises them, with disgust, when they fail to obey. His team has experimented with event setups, often placing groups of supporters on risers behind the candidate so that cameras can’t miss the carefully curated faces.

He’s fumed over television reporters doing live shots from empty auditoriums once his supporters have left. And on Twitter, Trump is one of the most prolific media critics, offering his live commentary of cable news reporters and analysts, lashing out at news outlets he feels have treated him unfairly.

The approach is yet another aspect of Trump’s unorthodox campaign. As other candidates and their affiliated super PACs have spent millions of dollars on expensive television ads, Trump’s campaign has reported spending just $300,000 on a sprinkling of radio ads. Instead, Trump has logged a whopping 22 hours and 46 minutes of free airtime from May 1 to December 15 on Fox News alone, according to a tally by Media Matters for America, a liberal nonprofit group. That’s more than twice as much as any other candidate and more than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio combined.

While other candidates spend their time at small-scale retail events interacting one-on-one with voters, Trump’s campaign centerpiece is the large-scale rally, where he is greeted like a rock star by thousands of adoring — and increasingly boisterous — fans. The events are often held in arenas and convention centers, with crowd sizes that dwarf his rivals — a fact he is never shy to point out.

“Nobody gets audiences like I get,” Trump said at a rally in Michigan on Monday. “We broke the record. And I don’t have a guitar, no guitar. Elton John said, ‘You get the biggest crowds in the world for a guy without a guitar.'”

Despite Trump’s off-the-cuff, tangent-filled speeches, the events are meticulously staged. Reporters receive laminated press credentials that include the date and city. At one rally earlier this month, held in a private airplane hangar, Trump staged a dramatic entrance, pulling up to the open venue in his custom 757 as the theme music from the movie “Air Force One” blared on loudspeakers. Entertainment has included live bands and DJs. Kids are sometimes offered free helicopter rides.

The spectacle has created a legion of Trump fans who attend one event after the next to hear the candidate speak.

“This is better than a concert in the ’70s,” said Trump supporter Bill Kullander, ahead of a recent rally in Des Moines, Iowa — the fourth the 62-year-old had attended so far this year.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Monday, staunch supporters mixed with curious onlookers eager to see the Trump show in action.

“I just want to hear what he has to say,” said Jim Rhodes of Belmont, Michigan. “Am I going to vote for him? Probably not. I like to refer to this as the second comedy show I’ve been to in my lifetime. The first one was Tim Allen. “

Trump loathes the suggestion that his crowd sizes have anything to do with his celebrity status.

“Look, everywhere I go, I have crowds like this. Everywhere. Everywhere. We have the biggest crowds by far. Because there’s a movement going on, folks,” he said at a post-debate rally in Mesa, Arizona, earlier this month. “This isn’t just like let’s go and have a good time.”

“We have a message, we have a message and the message is we don’t want to let other people take advantage of us,” Trump said.

Trump’s events have also become popular venues for protesters, who have grown increasing adept at causing maximum disruption. Their strategies have vexed Trump, who frequently complains about the attention they receive in news reports.

“Do you ever notice how few it is?” he complained last week. “We’ve got 9,000 or 10,000 people in here. They’ll talk about one guy or two guys. Headline: Trump had pickets. They had like three people, there was nobody outside.”

The charged atmosphere has also led to frequent violent clashes, with Trump supporters physically assaulting protesters at multiple events. At a recent rally just outside Las Vegas, Ender Austin III said he was assaulted. Trump supporters, he said, called for him to be set on fire. Another shouted, “Heil Trump.”

“I’ve never felt so much rage,” he said of the crowd.

Trump has grappled with how to handle the disruption.

“I’m trying to be really neutral. To one guy, I said, ‘Get him out of here now! …. And they said the next day: It was horrible, horrible the way Trump talked to him.”

At another event, he said, he’d tried to be nice, urging his fans not to hurt the protesters. “So the next day,” he claimed the news media had reported, “Trump was off his game, he was very, very weak.”

“So you can’t win with these people,” he complained.

This week, Trump tried a different approach, trying to shame his protesters with insults.

“Look at these people. Boy, what a bunch of losers,” he said. “You are a loser, you really are a loser … Get ’em out.”


SCUM Donald Trump launches vulgar attack against Hillary Clinton



Trump also made crude references to Clinton’s bathroom break during Saturday’s Democratic debate, describing it as “disgusting.” “What happened to her?” Trump wondered. “I’m watching the debate, and she disappeared.” He then solved his own riddle: “I know where she went. It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it. No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting. We want to be very straight up, OK?”

Trump also made crude references to Clinton’s bathroom break during Saturday’s Democratic debate, describing it as “disgusting.”

“What happened to her?” Trump wondered. “I’m watching the debate, and she disappeared.” He then solved his own riddle: “I know where she went. It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it. No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting. We want to be very straight up, OK?”

It wasn’t the first time Trump used the term “schlonged.” In 2011, while discussing the race for New York’s 26th District, Trump characterized the loss suffered by Republican Jane Corwin as “not only” a loss but an instance of getting “schlonged by a Democrat.”

Trump also launched vitriolic attacks on his Republican competitors. He described Jeb Bush’s candidacy as “sad,” telling the Michigan audience that Bush’s family is “ashamed” of his standing and candidacy — not the first time he’s made that claim.

Lindsey Graham’s decision to leave the race was also met with indifference from Trump. The two sparred frequently, Graham often punching up at Trump as his campaign struggled to gain traction in a field whose message is often controlled by Trump’s controversial statements.

Related: Lindsey Graham Ends Republican Presidential Bid

“Sad,” Trump said of the news with a faux-frown on his face before reminding the crowd how “nasty” Graham had been to Trump over the past few months.

And while Trump lobbed punches at his opponents, he also dodged over a dozen interruptions from protesters assembled throughout the crowd.

The protesters have become a somewhat expected presence at Trump’s rallies, with causes ranging from Black Lives Matter to immigration to protests about his racist rhetoric. Monday’s rally, however, marked the most interruptions from protesters so far — beating out the previous record holding rally in Raleigh, N.C., which boasted 10 interruptions.

Trump’s reaction to the protest ranged from urging calm, to joking that he liked them because it forced the cameras to show the crowd, to finally calling the protesters “a bunch of losers” before commanding security to “get them out.”

Seeming to presume that the protesters were all Democrats, Trump then posited that Republicans should’ve been protesting for the last seven or eight years of Obama. “Why didn’t we do it? OK. Say what you want about them. But we should’ve been doing it, we don’t do that.”

Of course, Obama has been interrupted by protesters in several venues, including a State of the Union address.

Days after pushing back on allegations that Russian President Vladmir Putin has killed journalists, Donald Trump assured a rally here that despite his hatred of the press, he would “never kill them.”

Trump assured that he “would never kill” journalists. He then sarcastically added: “Uhh, let’s see,” pausing as if to think if there would be circumstances under which his unequivocal “never” would change.

As the crowd laughed and turned their eyes to the media, Trump became serious once more: “No I wouldn’t. I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people, it’s true.”

Related: There’s No Proof Putin Killed Journalists, Trump Says

Moments later Trump referenced a group of photographers who were taking pictures of him as having “just come out of the cage,” a reference to the media area designated for press at his events.

Many in the audience cheered in support, laughing along with Trump’s wink and nod on the subject while turning to face the press pen in the center of the arena.

Linda and Tim Dykstra were among them, telling NBC News after the event “that was just a complete joke. He loves the media, you guys.” Linda added: “Just a little verbal lash. He’s not coming for ya.”




Democrats embrace modern America as Republicans reject it



Which political party loves America? Not the United States that once existed, but the flesh-and-blood nation that we live in now.

The debates we have witnessed — too few and far between for the Democrats, frequent enough for the Republicans to constitute a new reality TV show — have provided an incontestable answer to that question.

The Democrats embrace the United States of Now in all of its raucous diversity.

Democrats are not free of nostalgia. They long for the more economically equal America of decades ago and celebrate liberalism’s heydays during the New Deal and civil rights years.

But Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Martin O’Malley all stand up for the rights of a younger America — today’s country — that is less white, more Latino and more Asian (and, yes, more Muslim) than was the U.S. of the past. The cultural changes that have reshaped us are welcomed as part of our historical trajectory toward justice and inclusion.

The Republicans, particularly Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), don’t like our country right now. They yearn for the United States of Then. The current version is cast as a fallen nation.

True, the party shut out of the White House always assails the incumbent. But a deeper unease and even rage characterize the response of many in the GOP ranks to what the country has become. This can cross into a loathing that Trump exploits by promising to deport 11 million undocumented immigrantsand block Muslims from entering the country while dismissing dissent from his program of demographic reconstruction as nothing more than “political correctness.”

I am certain that in their hearts, every candidate in both parties still likes to see us as a “shining city upon a hill” and “the last best hope of Earth.” Within the GOP, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Jeb Bush have been especially careful not to abandon the virtue of hope and any confidence in the present. But this makes them stronger as general-election candidates than within their own party.

The stark cross-party contrast complicates any assessment of Saturday’s Democratic debate. As Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley all made clear, each believes their own disputes are minor in light of the chasm that has opened between themselves and the Republicans.

“On our worst day, I think we have a lot more to offer the American people than the right-wing extremists,” Sanders declared at the debate’s end. O’Malley concluded similarly: “When you listened to the Republican debate the other night, you heard a lot of anger and a lot of fear. Well, they can have their anger and they can have their fear, but anger and fear never built America.”

Democratic solidarity was Clinton’s friend. She emerged stronger simply because neither of her foes made a clear case for upending the campaign’s existing order. Her own solid performance will reinforce those who already support her.

But two big quarrels between Clinton and Sanders are important to the Democrats’ future. By pledging to avoid any hike in taxes on those earning less than $250,000 a year, Clinton strengthened herself for her likely fall encounter with the other side. But Sanders deserves credit for speaking a truth progressives will need to face up to (and that social democrats in other countries have already confronted): that the programs liberals support are, in the long run, likely to require more broadly based tax increases.

On foreign policy, Clinton continued to be the more openly interventionist candidate. Here again, Clinton likely positioned herself well for the long run. But Sanders may yet capitalize on his comparative dovishness with the generally peace-minded Democratic caucus electorate in Iowa.

Each also offered revealing one-liners as to whether “corporate America” would love them. Clinton nicely deflected the question by saying, “Everybody should.” But Sanders was unequivocal. “No, they won’t,” he replied with starchy conviction.

Above all, this debate should embarrass the Democratic National Committee for scheduling so few of them, and for shoving some into absurdly inconvenient time slots that confined their audiences to political hobbyists.

Debates are a form of propaganda in the neutral sense of the word: They are occasions for parties to make their respective arguments. Given that the divide between the parties this year is so fundamental, it’s shameful that Democrats did not try to make their case to as many Americans as possible.

If you have faith in your response to anger and fear, you should be ready to bear witness before the largest congregation you can assemble.



After Donald Trump demanded an apology from Hillary Clinton





After Donald Trump demanded an apology from Hillary Clinton, who recently accused him of helping ISIS recruit members due to his anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Democratic front runner responded, and it wasn’t what the billionaire real estate mogul wanted to hear.


Let’s be honest, Trump should first apologize to blacks, Latinos, Muslims, refugees, women, and the poor for his hate-filled rhetoric, which has been used as an excuse to harm individuals at his rallies, and offending millions.