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Analysis and perspective about what's happening in the political realm.

Obama’s Poignant, Feminist Advice to Dads

Men are taken more seriously than women at work. We’re given better feedback, we’re not penalized for asking for raises, and we aren’t criticized for the way our voices sound. We are rewarded for becoming parents, for being assertive, for having sexualities at all–areas where women face stigma. Even our experience of pain is taken more seriously by doctors.

But the privileges come with a cost: Gender stereotyping means that boys and men are expected to behave in pretty limited ways, all of which exalt a traditional, and arguably toxic, version of masculinity.

Using the word “pussy” as an insult, as Clint Eastwood, that purveyor of all-American manhood, just did this week is a great example. In Esquire, he described the acknowledgement of racism in today’s society as a “pussy generation” that is “walking on egg shells.” Presumably, he meant that being sensitive to suffering and the structures that uphold it are both “feminine” and (relatedly) not worthwhile.

Contrast that with a beautiful op-ed President Obama wrote for Glamour this month, which is a step-by-step guide from one of the most powerful men on earth about how to be a better man. It’s about...

Women Really Could Be Running the World If Hillary Clinton Becomes President

If Hillary Clinton, now officially the Democratic candidate, wins the election in November, she’ll make history, and not just as America’s first female president. It would mean that for the first time ever, three of the world’s most powerful democracies would be led by women: the US, the UK, and Germany.

What might that mean? Management experts studying leadership saywomen are more collaborative, more inclusive leaders. They build teams; in Clinton’s words, they understand it “takes a village” to run a country, and the world. They do not believe, as Donald Trump does (and not just him: many men do), that they “alone can fix it.”

The US, UK, and Germany all face the big challenges of the rich world today: immigration, terrorism at home and abroad, and a revolt against the one percent. It’s easy to imagine Clinton sitting down with Britain’s Theresa May and Germany’s Angela Merkel to hash out solutions to shared problems.

It’s also easy to see this troika of women developing a cohesive approach towards Russia, Iran, China, Syria, and other countries whose interests often run counter to those of the West. A Trump in that...

Is Trump Planning to Skip the Presidential Debates?

Several times during the Republican National Convention, I found myself in the midst of conversations—with journalists, delegates, and others—about whether or not Donald Trump would bother to participate in the presidential debates this fall.

Forecasting Trump’s decisions is impossible, but if the Republican nominee decides he wants to skip at least one debate, he started laying the groundwork this weekend. Late Friday night, he tweeted an accusation that Democrat Hillary Clinton was trying to rig the debate schedule:

He repeated that thrust during an interview on ABC’s This Week. “Well, I'll tell you what I don't like. It's against two NFL games, I got a letter from the NFL saying, this is ridiculous, why are the debates—because the NFL doesn't want to go against the debates,” he said.

Trump was lying on both counts. There’s no evidence of Clinton tampering with debate dates, and as CNN’s Brian Stelter pointed out to Trump spokesman Jason Miller, the...

The Battle Between Clinton and Trump is a Modern Morality Play

It’s a cliche of US elections that candidates appeal to more extreme flanks of their bases to win their parties’ primaries and then hastily sand down the edges of their positions to please the center’s undecided voters. Yet, like so much else in 2016, the received wisdom has been flung out the window.

Pundits were surprised by the progressive, populist-tinged vim of Hillary Clinton’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination on Thursday. Just as many—Quartz included—were astonished by Donald Trump’s refusal to moderate his authoritarian tone at the Republican convention address a week earlier. It was perhaps their single-biggest chance of the election to make their messages expansive enough to win over undecided moderates. Neither seemed to care.

Hunkered down in their ideological corners, Clinton and Trump could have been talking about two wholly different countries.

And in a way, they were. Their convention themes described visions of the American moral order that light up the brains of different types of voters, appealing to discrete layers of the US electorate. Both candidates went for intensity over breadth. However, of the two, Trump exhibited a much deeper and more strategic understanding of human nature, as he...

Hillary Clinton Has Taught Us That 'Likability' is a Terrible Way to Choose Presidents

“Likability” is a mishmash of recycled Victorian gender norms that keeps women out of power. In the realm of politics, it devastates. Just ask Hillary Clinton:

Is Hillary ‘Likable Enough’?

Hillary Clinton Has a Likability Problem

Is Hillary Clinton Likable Enough to Beat Donald Trump?

These eye-roll-inducing headlines account for just a smattering of the digital detritus that litters our daily news diet. Likability is an inherently subjective, often sexist metric for professional ability. And yet, Hillary’s “likability” has preoccupied not only the great minds of media but also the masterminds of the Democratic National Convention. Indeed, the goal of the 2016 DNC, according to a variety of media sources including the Wall Street Journal, was to “Make Hillary Likeable Again” [sic]. (Perhaps, in order to fully intimate the idiocy of Donald Trump, the misspelling is intentional?) Indeed, in a column for the Los Angeles Times, Doyle McManus writes that Hillary’s biggest challenge is “mak[ing] herself seem likable enough for Americans to want her in their living rooms.”

Yawn. How many ways can you peel a banana? Well, if the banana’s name is Hillary Clinton, an infinite number.

More importantly, given the history of the exclusion...

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