The rise in white supremacist shootings could change the politics of gun control

The weekend’s deadly massacres in El Paso and Dayton served as a grim reminder of past inaction on gun policy. Even posting the famous Onion headline “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens” on social media has become a kind of ritualistic cliché.

In the…


Trump is sowing the seeds for democratic erosion, but he’s doing so through smaller, more insidious actions

Does Donald Trump present a threat to American democracy, or is the system restraining him? As last week’s debate over the census citizenship question illustrates, the answer is often both. That’s why it’s so difficult to reach a consensus about the nature and magnitude of the danger he poses.

A…


Tune out the pundits. Polls showing Trump in trouble mean almost nothing this far from Election Day.

Do the polls really show Donald Trump is headed for big trouble in his reelection campaign? That’s what you might think from watching coverage of early polls of the 2020 general election. In reality, though, it’s just too early to learn much from surveys testing how Trump would fare against…


In order to stop politicians from becoming lobbyists, we need to pay them more

Late Monday night, the Democratic leadership in the House decided to delay a vote on a spending measure that would reinstate a cost-of-living adjustment for members for Congress. Their reasoning was simple: bad optics.

Though congressional salaries have been frozen since 2009, even this modest pay increase was immediately demagogued…


The president seems to be following a familiar playbook with his threat to impose sweeping tariffs on Mexico to gain leverage on the immigration issue

One of Donald Trump’s signature moves as president is to act as both arsonist and firefighter, taking credit for resolving pseudo-crises that he in fact initiated. The latest example came Friday, when Trump declared another immigration crisis at the country’s southern border with Mexico, and threatened to impose tariffs on…


We need our national leaders to defend the integrity of our elections

The greatest danger of Donald Trump’s presidency is that seemingly abnormal things become seen as normal. After more than 10,000 false or misleading claims, even the president’s outrageous assertions that Democrats support the murder of live infants barely seem newsworthy.

What’s even worse, however, is that other political actors have…


History shows that skeptics seize on redacted information to fuel their theories

As the political world anxiously awaits the release of Robert Mueller’s report Thursday morning, much of the focus has been on what we won’t see. It’s quite likely the version that’s released to the public will be heavily redacted. Though legitimate reasons exist for the government to excise sensitive information…


Trump’s win taught us that weaker parties can allow demagogues into office

For anyone concerned about democratic norms and the rule of law, the 2016 election offered a clear lesson: Parties need to exercise more control over candidate selection. In this era of high partisanship, the official party nomination puts any candidate within striking distance of the presidency. This great power thus…


Social media is creating real problems for the world, but moral panics still far outweigh reality. That’s a recipe for policy disaster.

Even now, more than two years after the 2016 election, the debate over the influence of social media on our political system still relies largely on scary anecdotes (Twitter’s 50,000-plus impostor accounts are sowing chaos!) and speculation (YouTube is turning our younger generations into conspiracy theorists!). As a result, governments…


Trump’s failures in office shouldn’t obscure the threat he poses

Just as physicists spend decades seeking to resolve the seeming paradox that a photon is both a wave and a particle, observers of U.S. politics continue to struggle with the reality that Donald Trump is both an exceptionally weak president and an authoritarian threat. Since 2017, many commentators have treated…

Brendan Nyhan

Professor of Public Policy, University of Michigan

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