A presidential term of office bereft of any lasting meaning, importance, or permanence, except a legacy of mismanagement and criminality

(Saul Loeb/Getty)

If the polls are borne out, the Republican Party is going to lose control of the White House and the Senate and widen its deficit in the House. It will probably also lose hundreds more state legislative losses on top of the 300 it already lost in 2018. That means, in the coming weeks, we will see scores of think pieces about the future of the Republican Party, conservatism, and populist nationalism in the wake of their likely catastrophic defeat, like this one from The New Yorker.

Ignore these pieces.

The major takeaway from the Trump era is far simpler…


Postliberals, nationalists, and Trumpists all reserve a contempt for America’s central document. The right didn’t always think this way.

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Somewhere around 1851–52, Frederick Douglass broke with William Lloyd Garrison. The two were the most famous abolitionists in the country. Douglass, who had escaped from slavery over a dozen years earlier, had been discovered by Garrison on the abolitionist lecture circuit the previous decade. Garrison, the fierce and uncompromising publisher of The Liberator, was one of the most outspoken and extreme anti-slavery advocates in America. They forged a strong bond in their mutual hatred of slavery and their fervent belief in an America without it.

But the two broke fellowship and went separate ways. Why? Among other issues, they came…


Conservative Protestants see themselves in a battle for America’s soul

“First Crusade: Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, July 15 1099" by Emile Signol (Getty)

In 1992, Pat Buchanan told the Republican Party Convention in Houston, Texas, that voters in that year’s presidential election were not merely selecting a president — they were taking sides in a conflict over American identity. The election “is about who we are. It is about what we believe, and what we stand for as Americans.” The conflict was, in fact, a war. “There is a religious war going on in this country,” he said. “It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as was the Cold War itself, for this war is…


On June 19, we will celebrate the best of American history. Make it a national holiday. Now.

That Juneteenth should be a national holiday is beyond debate. The end of the Civil War, the defeat of the Confederacy, and the emancipation of the last enslaved people in the South obviously deserves recognition and national celebration. Juneteenth is, in fact, the quintessential American holiday, the purest celebration of what the American experiment means.

But we should do more than name a day, which now seems trivial, cheapened by how many commemorative days and months we have. …


Earlier this month, we commemorated the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, the official end of WWII in Europe. The celebration did not include the Soviet Union.

Winston Churchill waves to a crowd, gathered on May 8, 1945, to celebrate victory in Europe. (Bettmann/Getty)

Russian propaganda gluts itself on World War II. The Russian government hosts a massive celebration and fireworks display in Moscow to mark V-E Day, the formal end to WWII in Europe. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its embassies remind the governments of the world of Russia’s heroic, sacrificial, and bloody campaign on the Eastern Front. Russian state media echo the same and complain about the West’s neglect of the Russian contribution. The Soviet Union’s role in the Allied victory over Nazi Germany is, to use a biblical metaphor, the jar of oil that never runs out.

As with all…


Our coronavirus response, at every level of government, has been disastrous. America must not allow its leaders to avoid real accountability.

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The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing global economic collapse is a catastrophe of historic proportions. But it would be a mistake to treat it as an unavoidable tragedy akin to a natural disaster. The pandemic is partly man-made through errors of deceit, maladministration, and sheer incompetence.

That is why Americans should demand that Congress create a blue-ribbon bipartisan investigatory commission — the COVID Commission — to hold leaders and policymakers accountable. Such a measure is essential to prevent a similar catastrophe in the future — and, just as importantly, to prevent demagogues from exploiting the issue for their benefit.

The pandemic…


Star Wars is the great epic of our age. How this saga ends is painfully important.

Credit: Disney

This is a spoiler-free discussion of how the author hopes the new Star Wars movie concludes, not a review of the movie.


Two trends ensured it would happen: the cult of celebrity surrounding the presidency, and the depth of our cultural and political polarization

Credit: Dan Kitwood (Getty)

“On current trends, Trump will be impeached in 2019 after the GOP loses the House in the midterm massacre.”

That is a sentence I tweeted on November 27, 2016, just 19 days after Donald J. Trump won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States. Three years later, the House of Representatives is poised to prove me right.

The second prediction — about the Democrats regaining a majority in the House of Representatives — was an easy call. The president’s party always loses seats in midterm elections, and the Republicans did not have…


I do not think it means what you think it means

If you want to insult someone in the foreign policy establishment, call them a neoconservative.

As an example, consider the case of John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security advisor. When Bolton’s appointment was announced in April 2018, he was described as a “neocon favorite ” in Forbes and a “neoconservative warmonger” in The New American. Joe Scarborough said on MSNBC, “John Bolton is a bigger neocon than Dick Cheney.” Others were content to insult him merely by association or by comparison. One writer in The American Conservative admitted, “Bolton has always been thick with the neocons. … I don’t…


The key is to change the game

Indulge in a thought experiment with me: let’s look at American politics through the lens of game theory. Specifically, let’s view the current two-party system as a form of the prisoner’s dilemma. We all benefit when both parties abide by the norms of democratic civility, but each party individually has strong incentives to undermine them.

The prisoner’s dilemma is a classic and simple problem: two prisoners are arrested and interrogated separately in different rooms. If they both keep silent, they both get off with a mild penalty. If one betrays the other and talks, he gets immunity and walks away…

Paul D. Miller

Professor, Georgetown University. Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council. Research Fellow, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

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