We’ve all heard of the Butterfly Effect: the idea that if you traveled back in time and killed a butterfly the present would be unrecognizable. I think it would take something more significant to alter the course of history, but the theory gets its point across and makes you think. The what-if game usually escalates, as it did when I played the other day and began imagining a world in which we elected a different president.

I wasn’t thinking about 2000 or 2016 or even 2020. I thought about 2012 and all the ways a Mitt Romney presidency would have…

When Gov. Brian Kemp and his Republican allies in Georgia recently passed an egregious voter- suppression law, targeted at African Americans, I wondered how they could be so shameless. Not only was their intent obvious, but the law was predicated on a lie, as their Republican Sec. of State confirmed what every state and federal probe found: that the 2020 election was safe and secure, with zero evidence of widespread voter fraud.

I wondered how they could sleep at night. Then I remembered a comment by Sen. Lindsey Graham back in October.

Speaking at a campaign event, Graham said, “I…

Background: I wrote this in response to an op-ed by a college sophomore, titled “Can we just cancel the ‘cancel culture?’, which ran in my hometown paper and which echoed the rightwing narrative that frames this ill-defined phenomenon as a leftwing threat. But as I write, in a way that mirrors her prose to highlight the contrast, the right’s idea of ‘cancel culture’ is a myth. And in fact the only dangerous examples of cancel culture – those that are actually conducted by powerful lawmakers – exist almost exclusively within the Republican Party.

Seven of the 10 House Republicans who…

In her newsletter on Aug. 27, sent after the RNC, historian Heather Cox Richardson captured the ethos of Donald Trump’s base, how it’s fueled by resentment and fear of a changing society. She described the crowd in front of the president, cheering through 70 minutes of his lies and dark rhetoric as he delivered his speech illegally on the South Lawn.

“I looked at the hundreds of people at Trump’s rally tonight, unmasked and older, and almost all so very white, and saw a group of people so afraid of the future they are willing to say yes, willing to…

I often struggle to zero in on specific outrages in the Trump era. There’s just too much. Every day brings new destruction, new threats to democracy, and we’re almost inured to every bombshell report or embarrassing interview that would end any other presidency.

But focusing on a particular aspect within a narrow time frame — whether it’s voter suppression and intimidation tactics, the failure of the Republican-led Senate to govern, or right-wing propaganda — can bring a certain level of clarity. Finding an angle helps create a framework to organize thoughts.

Here, I chose to focus on disinformation on social…

With less than 90 days until the election, I find that my greatest fear is a depressed turnout for Joe Biden. This site hasn’t relieved that anxiety. At all. Which is why I felt compelled to write this piece.

I want to push back against certain views that I see as misguided and cynical, often rooted in false equivalence. If this attitude persists in far-left corners, then democracy is in danger — not to mention every other issue that liberal holdouts claim to champion.

This is not a moment for progressives to despair. They’ve helped shape the new status quo…

Matt Taibbi’s latest piece, The Left is Now the Right, misses the point in our political divide. In arguing that the Left and Right have “traded villainous cultural pathologies,” he conflates citizens and social unrest with lawmakers and policy. This is common malpractice in political punditry that serves to obscure the real crisis of our time: Right-wing radicalization at the highest levels of government.

“Things we once despised about the right have been amplified a thousand-fold on the flip,” he writes, noting that it’s not “Podunk school boards under assault by junk science and crackpot theologies, but Princeton University, the…

If John Kasich’s endorsement would backfire on Joe Biden’s candidacy, as some have suggested, then I hope the former Republican governor doesn’t speak at the Democratic National Convention. There’s no reason to upset the most ardent Bernie Sanders holdouts. But I can’t say that I wouldn’t be disappointed in those who forced this reversal. They’re missing the point.

This move is about saving democracy, not policy, and Kasich’s presence could help drive that point home. There shouldn’t be a litmus test to join the fight to remove a dangerously unfit liar from the highest office. As Kasich and Never-Trump Republicans…

zach shapiro

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