How should the United States respond to Islamic State attacks in Paris? The response from the Republican presidential candidates has been to whip up hysteria over Syrian refugees and hostility toward all Muslims — with rhetoric so repulsive that it shames the country. Ben Carson likened refugees to “rabid dogs,” while Donald Trump said he would “absolutely” create a database to track Muslims inside the country.
A persistent pattern in modern American politics is that presidential elections rarely turn out the way they look a year in advance. Such year-ahead poll leaders as Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush and Hillary Clinton can attest to that.
Recently released national scores reveal that high-stakes testing is not helping public education. Scores from the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the “nation’s report card,” show declines in student test scores in reading and mathematics for the first time since 1990. SAT scores have also gone down.
Joe Biden has it, and so does Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump and Ben Carson have it too — at least, they seem to. But Hillary Rodham Clinton strains to achieve it. And Jeb Bush? He doesn’t seem to want to try.
Here’s a scenario that seemed highly unlikely only a few weeks ago, but has a 50 percent chance of happening in light of the political earthquakes that are rocking Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, and could mark the end of a 15-year-old leftist populist cycle in South America.
Pundits are notoriously bad at forecasting the future, but perhaps we should have seen this coming. For the split between outsider and establishment Republican candidates actually resembles an exaggerated version of the division in the party’s 2012 race.
Less than a year ago, after Republicans rolled up big majorities in the 2014 congressional elections, their leaders set out to show the nation that conservatives were up to the challenge of governing.
Bernie Sanders, the insurgent candidate for president, says he plans to give “a major speech” soon explaining what he means when he calls himself a democratic socialist. “I think there are a lot of people who, when they hear the word ‘socialist,’ get very, very nervous,” Sanders told reporters in Iowa this week. He’s right; a recent Gallup Poll found that 50 percent of voters aren’t willing to vote for a socialist.
In the 28 months since the U.S. Supreme Court decided a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was no longer necessary, several states have confirmed critics’ warnings that the decision would prompt new efforts to curb voting, especially by minorities the law sought to protect.
Nothing illustrates the sickness of American politics more clearly than the latest round of Benghazi hearings — at which Hillary Clinton will testify this week. It was clear from the start that Republicans created the House Select Committee on Benghazi as a political weapon that could be used against Clinton. In case anyone doubts this, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted as much a couple of weeks ago.