Repudiating minority rule must be our priority in the decade ahead

A poll worker collects mail-in ballots.
A poll worker collects mail-in ballots.
Photo illustration; source: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Apandemic rages, the climate is changing, our standing in the world is plummeting, millions are out of work, and oh yeah, it’s Election Day. Has there ever been a moment of greater uncertainty for America?

Yet despite everything going on right now, and the million unknowns that will determine the outcome of this election, with near-total certainty we know this: Joe Biden will receive more votes than Donald Trump.

If Trump wins reelection, he would become the first president in history to win a second term while losing the popular vote. But even if he loses, we’ve spent the last…


When it comes to injecting partisan politics into the judiciary, Amy Coney Barrett’s rushed confirmation is a whole new level of meddling

The first eight Chief Justices Of The United States Supreme Court. Photo: Encylopedia Britannica / Getty

Want to see the power of a Supreme Court Justice on full display? Just turn on your television, where several United States Senators — no slouches themselves in the power department — are willing to risk their health, and possibly their lives, in order to confirm one.

This week, Lindsay Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, refused to take a Covid-19 test despite exposure to the coronavirus, because a positive result would have delayed a confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, attended the hearing after just 10 days of quarantine following a positive…


By holding Republican speakers to a lower standard, we incentivize Democrats to engage in a race to the bottom

Kellyanne Conway pre-records her address to the Republican National Convention. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The GOP gets graded on a curve. That, more than any set of remarks or Hatch Act violations, is the most important dynamic at play so far during this year’s Republican National Convention.

As a speechwriter and as a Democrat, I’ve seen GOP grade inflation at play most clearly when it comes to the speeches. The problem is not that every set of remarks has been terrible. It’s that perfectly adequate sets of remarks have been lauded as revelatory. On Monday, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina delivered a 1,500-word address in which he recounted his life story, attacked his…


Here are three easy steps to turn fame into power

Still from ‘Between Two Ferns,’ 2014. Funny or Die

If the GOP has long been the party of concentrated wealth, the Democrats are increasingly the party of concentrated fame. There are exceptions. Trump has Scott Baio and Roseanne Barr. But in our polarized politics the overwhelming majority of entertainers — singers, actors, comedians, athletes, late-night hosts — can’t wait to see this president voted out of office. And they’re more eager than ever to use their platforms to bring change in November.

In theory, this should be a major political advantage for Team Blue. But in practice, it doesn’t always work out that way. In one 2019 poll, 65%…


Our Founding Father envisioned a Senate that was representative of the people. What we got was something else entirely.

The U.S. Capitol Rotunda on March 24, 2020. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

This weekend, Americans will gather for a Fourth of July display as highly anticipated as any fireworks show, but far more fitting for the social distancing era: Hamilton will be streaming on Disney+. My fellow Democrats, for whom Lin-Manuel Miranda’s soundtrack has become a kind of hymnal, will eagerly (and in my case tunelessly) sing their way through a founder’s revolutionary rise, political struggles, and untimely demise.

But as we celebrate America’s 244th birthday, it’s worth looking at a bit of the Founding Father’s biography that doesn’t get a musical mention. One of Alexander Hamilton’s guiding beliefs was that our…


And other voting traps to watch out for

Waiting in line outside the Clark County Election Department in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Seventy percent of Americans think high voter turnout is good for our democracy. But that 70% doesn’t include many Republican politicians. Unless you’re old enough to remember the civil rights movement, there are more barriers to voting today than at any point in your lifetime. Nonwhite, lower-income, and young voters in particular have found their voting rights in the crosshairs. And we have the party of Donald Trump — and more important, of Mitch McConnell — to thank.

That doesn’t mean voting doesn’t matter. Quite the opposite: If “Team Mitch” targets your right to vote, that’s precisely because they’re scared…


The unusual election procedure would ensure younger Democrats that their voices matter

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

To say the Democratic Party is currently home to a large generation gap is like saying Arizona is currently home to a large canyon. It’s not just Biden vs. Bernie or Medicare for All vs. a public option that’s dividing the party by age. Older and younger Democrats can’t even seem to agree on the most basic questions of how politics should be practiced or what our goals should be when we cast our votes.

To some extent, younger people have always tended to be more ambitious and older people more risk-averse. But the 21st century has created a new…


Tony Soprano is a bully with a deep distrust of the FBI — just like our current president

Photo: Anthony Neste/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

He’s a swaggering, narcissistic bully whose waistline balloons as the pressure builds. He’s racist, sexist, and chauvinist — but saves his harshest words for the FBI. He inherits his father’s sketchy business, but almost loses everything when his witless cronies bungle a clandestine meeting with the Russians.

I’m talking, of course, about Tony Soprano, the boss of North Jersey. And I am also talking, of course, about Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States. …


Last Friday, I was invited to speak at a Shabbat dinner in New Jersey. I introduced Andy Kim, who’s running for Congress in the area he grew up — the evening was full of grief for those we lost in Pittsburgh, but also hope that a better future is possible. The remarks I prepared are below:

Thank you, everyone. Shabbat Shalom.

I want to begin with a word of thanks for all the police officers from Mt. Laurel, Lakewood, Marlton, and all over New Jersey who will be protecting synagogues this Shabbat. According to a family legend I was told…


A lot of progressives fret that Democrats are bad at messaging, but the fretting usually focuses on catchphrases, or lack thereof. “Why don’t we have something that fits on a bumper sticker?” etc.

I wrote speeches for the president behind “Yes We Can,” so obviously I’m a fan of good slogans. But honestly? Slogans aren’t essential. What matters far more are the everyday words and phrases that frame our shared understanding of major events. “Gay marriage” versus “marriage equality” in 2004. “IPAB board” versus “death panel” in 2010. “Estate tax” versus “death tax” for decades now.

Because progressives value the…

David Litt

Former Obama speechwriter and winner of Top Chef fantasy league. NYT bestselling author. My new book is DEMOCRACY IN ONE BOOK OR LESS.

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