Tag American politics

Does Donald Trump Believe in American Civil Religion?

Walter McDougall— Americans are saying good riddance to the ugly 2016 campaign. Many believe that Donald Trump, having won, will cease the shock-jock talk and govern as the pragmatic businessman he purports to be. Most experts predict that Trump, like every president before him, he will be constrained by the Congress,

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A Post-Election Reading List

The 2016 presidential campaign was one fraught with anger and mistrust across the political spectrum. In the days and weeks following the election, many may seek to open a dialogue in the spirit of continuing the conversation on the tough issues facing both the United States and the international community.

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The Flawed Foundations of the Electoral College

George C. Edwards III— Political equality lies at the core of democratic theory. It is difficult to imagine a definition of democracy that does not include equality in voting as a central standard. Who would support an election rule in which we add up all the votes and declare the

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Why the Trump Brand Worked

Steven B. Smith— In Woody Allen’s film Hannah and her Sisters, a dyspeptic artist played by Max von Sydow remembers watching a boring television show about Auschwitz with “puzzled intellectuals,” all of whom were asking how could the Holocaust could have happened. That’s the wrong question, the artist says. “Given

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Theories of Liberation

Michael Walzer— National liberation is an ambitious and also, from the beginning, an ambiguous project. The nation has to be liberated not only from external oppressors—in a way, that’s the easy part—but also from the internal effects of external oppression. Albert Memmi, the Tunisian Jew who wrote perceptively about the

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Debunking the Myth of the American Enlightenment

Caroline Winterer— In the dark years of World War II and the Cold War, Americans invented a national mythology that we hold dear to this day: the myth of the “American Enlightenment.” Like a bomb shelter made of ideas rather than concrete, the American Enlightenment (capital A, capital E) spun

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Political Revelations and Investigations

Benjamin Ginsberg— Over the past year, America’s political waters have been roiled by a host of investigations and revelations aimed at influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Republicans fired the opening shots by launching a congressional investigation of Hillary Clinton’s role in the deaths of U.S. embassy officials

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11 Little-Known Facts about the U.S. Presidency

Benjamin Ginsberg— 1. Presidential succession is governed by the Twentieth and Twenty-Fifth Amendments of the Constitution and by the Presidential Succession Act. Neither the amendments nor the act covers the possibility that the general election winner might die or become incapacitated before the Electoral College votes or that the apparent

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How the Republicans Lost in 2012

Thomas F. Schaller— The 2012 election results were tough medicine for Republicans to swallow. Many conservatives and Republicans believed that Barack Obama was a left-wing radical and a failed president. He headed into the campaign with a national unemployment rate above 7.5 percent, and no incumbent president had won reelection

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Misunderstanding Lincoln: The Art of Wishful Thinking about Great Leaders

James West Davidson— We expect too much of our presidents. Especially at this season, when we honor the two chiefs universally acknowledged as our finest. That Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays should fall within days of each other suggests the mysterious workings of divine providence. Or at least, if the Almighty

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