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

How Labor’s Decline Opened Door to Billionaire Trump as ‘Savior’ of American Workers

Out of the economic maelstrom of the last decade, Donald Trump has emerged as the improbable, and self-proclaimed, champion of American workers.

And that’s despite the fact that Trump has failed to articulate substantive policy positions regarding labor issues, other than generic railing against foreign competition and bad trade deals. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, for one, has attacked him by tweeting a number of examples in which Trump’s past behavior shows that he is no friend to working people.

The important question is how has Trump – a wealthy real estate mogul and reality TV star – managed to attract substantial support among white men without college degrees, a demographic that makes up the base of industrial unionism?

The answer is an interlocking set of changing economic and cultural conditions in the U.S. that has undermined middle-class incomes and values. And it starts with the steady erosion of the American labor movement.

In my recent book on labor decline, I explored the historical evolution of the...

Mike Pence Wants to Create 'Safe Havens' Where Refugees Could be Vetted

On Monday, U.S. vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence gave an interview with Charlie Sykes, a conservative Wisconsin radio host. Pressed on the specifics of the Trump campaign’s proposed immigration ban on countries and territories that have been “compromised by terrorism”—and specifically what that would mean for persecuted Christians and Jews in those areas—Pence punted, choosing to restate the party line rather than answer the question directly.

On Wednesday evening, Marc Lotter, a spokesperson for Pence, confirmed in a telephone interview that Christians and Jews in these “compromised” areas would be banned from emigrating to the United States, at least temporarily. Instead, he said, they would be sent to “safe havens” while they could be vetted.

“There would be safe havens established to provide safety, security, and a safe location for people seeking to leave areas that have been overrun with violence and persecution,” Lotter said, “while the vetting process is taking place for immigration to the United States.” He did not specify where those proposed “safe havens” would be, referring questions about the specific location to the Trump campaign. “I think you would work with your international partners, as it relates to specific situations,” he said. He...

Will Donald Trump Debate Hillary Clinton?

If Donald Trump doesn’t want to debate Hillary Clinton, why doesn’t he just say so?

Last week, Donald Trump alleged that the presidential debates are rigged and lied about receiving a letter from the NFL complaining about the schedules. This week, he has a new angle.

“I will absolutely do three debates,” Trump told Time, then promptly suggested he might not: “I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions.” 

The Republican nominee said he hasn’t seen the rules and conditions and wants to know who the moderators are. Ever determined to boost his reputation as a dealmaker, Trump added, “I renegotiated the debates in the primaries, remember? They were making a fortune on them and they had us in for three and a half hours and I said that’s ridiculous.”

Trump’s approach to the debates so far suggests that he either does not understand the difference between the structures of primary and general-election debates, or he believes he can bend the general debates to his will just as he did the primaries.

There are some reasons to think it won’t work that way. First, the primary debates were run...

Why Is Hillary Clinton Courting Republican Foreign-Policy Heavyweights?

Of all the arguments Hillary Clinton has made against Donald Trump, the charge that he cannot be trusted with America’s nuclear codes may prove most memorable. Invoking the threat of nuclear warfare frames the race in the starkest possible terms. But as the Clinton campaign courts Republicans as it makes its national-security case, will it alienate progressive Democrats along the way?

On Monday, Politico noted that Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, James Baker, and George Shultz—former secretaries of state who served under Republican administrations—have not yet “come out for or against Trump.” According to the report, “a person close to Clinton said her team has sent out feelers to the GOP elders,” though “Clinton campaign aides did not respond when asked if they had solicited endorsements or tried to persuade the elders to speak out against Trump.” 

Meanwhile, prominent members of the Republican foreign policy establishment are speaking out against Trump in droves. The New York Times published a letter on Monday signed by a long list of senior Republican national-security officials, including former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden. The letter warns that Trump “would be a dangerous President,” and...

Hillary Clinton's Millennial Challenge

The Millennial Generation is poised to exert more influence in the 2016 election than ever before. And yet paradoxically, the generation today stands as one of the knottiest challenges facing Hillary Clinton in her race against Donald Trump, a candidate who, polls show, most of them disdain. 

Though the Democratic convention has lifted Clinton’s overall poll standing, her hold on Millennials has consistently looked less secure than her position with college-educated whites (especially women) and minorities, the two other pillars in President Obama’s winning coalition. Even amid all the disarray now enveloping Trump, Clinton’s long-standing struggles with young voters remain a dark cloud in her brightening prospects. “It’s a challenge that needs to be taken very seriously,” said Ben Tulchin, the pollster for Bernie Sanders, who captured over seven-in-10 Millennial voters against Clinton during their primary contest.

As recently as 2008, the Millennial Generation, generally defined as those born between 1981 and 2000, represented just 18 percent of all Americans eligible to vote; that was only half as much as baby boomers. This year, for the first time, Millennials (at 30.5 percent) will virtually equal baby boomers (30.7 percent) among eligible voters, the non-partisan...

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