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election 2016


  • Originally published 05/24/2016

    Bernie Sanders's Political Ancestor, Wayne Lyman Morse

    Jeffrey Frank

    In some ways, Sanders’s career calls to mind the four-term Oregon Senator Wayne Lyman Morse, whose fierce opinions and commitment to something he called “constitutional liberalism” annoyed both major parties.

  • Originally published 05/23/2016

    The Main Problem with Donald Trump: He's a Fool

    Walter G. Moss

    As a nation, we can only hope that come November we will not be heading toward the disgrace that Donald Trump’s pride and arrogance would surely produce.

  • Originally published 05/20/2016

    Has Trump Bamboozled the Public?

    Rick Shenkman

    In an interview with HNN David Greenberg explains why he retains confidence in the public’s ability to see through spin.

  • Originally published 05/05/2016

    When Socialists Won Elections (and Where)

    James Gregory

    A new set of online maps and tools shows the historical geography of American socialism in ways that have never before been possible.

  • Originally published 05/05/2016

    Historian: How would Jefferson view Trump?

    Joseph J. Ellis

    The presidential candidacy of Trump defies national comprehension, though the Republican establishment, for good reason, is not laughing.

  • Originally published 05/03/2016

    Trumpology: A Master Class

    Susan Glasser and Michael Kruse

    There are five people who’ve gone deeper on The Donald than anyone else alive. We brought them together for the definitive conversation about who he really is.

  • Originally published 04/28/2016

    Trump's 'America First' has ugly echoes from U.S. history

    Susan Dunn

    Donald Trump chose to brand his foreign policy with the noxious slogan "America First," the name of the isolationist, defeatist, anti-Semitic national organization that urged the United States to appease Adolf Hitler.

  • Originally published 04/26/2016

    African-American Voters Have an Understandable Reason to Support Hillary Clinton

    Eric Foner

    “[F]or black Carolinians, the challenge today seems to be holding on to gains that are under assault rather than seeking further progress. It is not surprising that voters in this situation prefer a familiar candidate who seems to promise progress, even if incremental, rather than a lesser-known insurgent from a virtually all-white state with a sweeping but seemingly utopian agenda."

  • Originally published 04/18/2016

    Who Would Jesus Vote for?

    Ed Simon

    This is not the question we should be asking, but many people can’t seem to stop themselves.

  • Originally published 04/18/2016

    Avenging Angels

    Rick Perlstein

    The New York Values that Shaped Donald Trump

  • Originally published 04/17/2016

    The Strange History of Empowerment

    Steven M. Gillon

    The history of empowerment is that liberals and conservatives have transformed a potent concept of social change into a meaningless euphemism.

  • Originally published 04/14/2016

    The Sovereignty of Women

    Jill Lepore

    What can be expected in the way of attacks on the legitimacy of a female ruler?

  • Originally published 04/09/2016

    Before the Trumps, There Were the Wendels

    The most well-known developer in New York today may be a man with national aspirations and a propensity to talk off the top of his extravagantly coifed head, but a century ago, the headlines were commanded by a real estate family with an aversion to publicity and the trappings of wealth.

  • Originally published 04/09/2016

    Donald Trump’s Nuclear Uncle

    Amy Davidson

    He mentions his uncle so often, and in such extravagant terms—“brilliant,” “one of the top, top professors at M.I.T.”—that it seems worth asking what the professor and his arcane knowledge mean to him.

  • Originally published 03/31/2016

    The GOP's Resilience Is Time-Tested

    Nancy C. Unger

    Some Republicans hope that the nomination can be wrested from Trump at the convention, a ploy that failed for Roosevelt supporters in 1912.

  • Originally published 03/30/2016

    The Most Memorable Contested Conventions

    Since the Civil War, the Republican party has had eight candidates which took multiple ballots to decide while the Democratic party has had ten.

  • Originally published 03/28/2016

    Trump and the Problem of History

    Ian P. Beacock

    The past warns us that systems work until they don’t. Watching Trump prepare to seize the Republican nomination, it’s easy to surrender to a kind of civic paralysis that’s equal parts horror and glee.

  • Originally published 03/25/2016

    Weimar America?

    Eric D. Weitz

    Forget Trump. It's the people who paved the way for him who seem uncomfortably familiar to an expert on pre-Nazi Germany.

  • Originally published 03/24/2016

    Daniel Pipes says he backs Ted Cruz

    Daniel Pipes

    In an interview he says that we need to be sure to distinguish between radical and moderate Islam, but not ignore the religious component of Islamist terrorism.

  • Originally published 03/21/2016

    No, Trump Won’t Be Another Hitler

    Adam Mala

    For one thing, it is hard to envision how a man of almost 70 who spent his entire life working in the private sector could be a Hitler due to his age. History shows that becoming a despot is a young(ish) man’s game.  

  • Originally published 03/15/2016

    US Presidential race: the feminist generation gap

    Ruth Rosen

    Why is there strong support for Bernie Sanders from young feminists and a tepid response to Hillary Rodham Clinton, a lifelong feminist? Why has a feminist generational gap emerged in 2016?

  • Originally published 03/14/2016

    Another brokered convention?

    Amy Davidson

    The last contested Republican and Democratic Conventions were in 1948 and 1952, respectively, and both nominated a candidate on the third ballot.

  • Originally published 03/10/2016

    Republicans and the Three Stages of Grief

    Steven M. Gillon

    Republicans will need to move through the three stages of political grief before it can once again be competitive on the presidential level. They are, in fact, the same stages that the Democratic Party worked through following Hubert Humphrey's loss to Richard Nixon in 1968.

  • Originally published 03/09/2016

    Why Black Voters Don’t Feel the Bern

    Gil Troy

    Sanders’ debate stumble on race issues and Hillary’s sure-footed answer help explain why she’s getting most of the African-American vote.

  • Originally published 03/08/2016

    Is Donald Trump a Fascist?

    Jeffrey Herf

    The short answer is “no,” but there’s plenty of room for discomfort.

  • Originally published 03/08/2016

    Crying Trump

    Jill Lepore

    To be fair, it’s not hard to understand why it took the G.O.P. and much of the press so long, too long, to take Donald Trump’s candidacy seriously. Many times before, he flirted with running, and, each time, he quit. His bids were stunts.

  • Originally published 03/07/2016

    Is this the end of the West as we know it?

    Anne Applebaum

    We are faced with the real possibility of Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump, which means we have to take seriously the possibility of a President Trump.

  • Originally published 03/04/2016

    Republican Turmoil Has Historians Straining for Parallels

    Al Smith, who in 1928 was the governor of New York and the Democratic presidential nominee, later turned on Franklin D. Roosevelt during the New Deal and warned, much as Mr. Romney did on Thursday, that Roosevelt’s liberal policies would lead toward totalitarianism.

  • Originally published 02/29/2016

    Dirty tricks are nothing new

    Jonathan Zimmerman

    Surreptitious slander is a bipartisan tactic, though it’s become a mainstay for the GOP.

  • Originally published 02/24/2016

    Might Makes Right: An American Tradition

    William Astore

    To hear Republican candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz talk, almost any act of violence is justifiable to defeat the enemy.

  • Originally published 02/24/2016

    Donald Trump’s Honesty Problem

    Max Boot

    A significant share of the GOP electorate, amounting to roughly a third of early state voters, has been supporting him in no small part because they think he is telling it “like it is.” No, he isn’t. What he is saying bears no relation to basic truth or common decency.

  • Originally published 02/22/2016

    Hillary Clinton and the Perils of Authenticity

    Jonathan Zimmerman

    Clinton’s own generation made personal honesty and authenticity into a sine qua non for politics itself. And now it’s coming around to haunt Clinton, especially among voters in the generations after hers.

  • Originally published 02/11/2016

    Bernie Sanders: The 2016 Peace Candidate

    Lawrence S. Wittner

    Peace Action—the largest peace organization in the United States—has announced its endorsement of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination for President.

  • Originally published 02/09/2016

    Trump’s 19th Century Foreign Policy

    Thomas Wright

    His views aren’t as confused as they seem. In fact, they’re remarkably consistent—and they have a long history.

  • Originally published 02/02/2016

    Foreign Policy Winners and Losers in Iowa

    Juan Cole

    The Iowa Caucus voters likely voted mainly on domestic policy issues, but it is worth considering the foreign policy implications of the winners of the primary.

  • Originally published 01/21/2016

    Reagan Historian Craig Shirley Thinks Trump, or Cruz Could Beat Hillary

    Shirley said that he thinks Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) could likely reassemble the old so-called Reagan coalition to beat Hillary, while adding that Trump’s “developing” conservatism, which he termed “Trumpism” could likely also beat her and perhaps even more handily.

  • Originally published 01/20/2016

    Clinton Library set to release Donald Trump records

    The library is set to make public nearly 500 pages of records pertaining to Trump, detailing the Clinton White House's interactions with Trump and his Trump Organization, as well as how Clinton aides prepared to field questions about Trump's entry into the 2000 presidential race.

  • Originally published 01/19/2016

    Natural-Born Presidents

    Jill Lepore

    To cling to the narrowest possible meaning of “natural born citizen” is to cling to the narrowest possible understanding of citizenship.

  • Originally published 01/15/2016

    Trump follows in the footsteps of man he claims to despise

    Bruce J. Schulman

    A Washington outsider, anathema to his party’s establishment, rides a wave of discontent with politics-as-usual to an early lead in the presidential nominating contest. Donald Trump in 2016? No, Jimmy Carter in 1976.

  • Originally published 01/12/2016

    Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president

    Mary Brigid McManamon

    When discussing the meaning of a constitutional term, it is important to go beyond secondary sources and look to the law itself. And on this issue, the law is clear: The framers of the Constitution required the president of the United States to be born in the United States.

  • Originally published 01/12/2016

    More ‘Progressive’ Than Thou

    Beverly Gage

    When Washington reformers became ‘liberals,’ ‘progressives’ in turn became more radical.

  • Originally published 01/08/2016

    What Donald Trump Owes George Wallace

    Dan T. Carter

    The real estate mogul won’t be the president, just as the former Alabama governor wasn’t. But losers as well as winners shape the future.

  • Originally published 12/21/2015

    Political Party Meltdown

    Kevin Baker

    The strategists who wanted greater ideological purity may have gotten more than they bargained for.

  • Originally published 12/15/2015

    Who’s Really ‘Radical’?

    Emily Bazelon

    Politicians and movements have long used the term to reference opposition or significant change. But these days, it’s most often used to describe terrorists.

  • Originally published 12/15/2015

    Trumping History

    Michael Kazin

    The Trump phenomenon is better understood as an amalgam of three different, largely pathological strains in American history and culture.

  • Originally published 12/15/2015

    GOP: A Neo-Fascist White-Identity Party?

    Michael Tomasky

    It started 20 years ago, with pandering to racist and xenophobic movements. But today, in Trump’s GOP, it’s not so fringe anymore.

  • Originally published 12/10/2015

    Trump: A Modern Day Joe McCarthy

    Max Boot

    Most reporters abhor Trump and everything he stands for. Yet they remain the instrument by which he is able to elevate himself to the top of the Republican race and to the center of the national conversation.

  • Originally published 12/08/2015

    Is Donald Trump a fascist?

    "My first reaction is that he is not principled enough to be a Fascist." -- Historian

  • Originally published 12/03/2015

    Know Nothings – The Sequel

    John Dickson

    The shameful ignorance on display in this presidential election – by the people running for high office.

  • Originally published 12/02/2015

    The History Behind Ted Cruz’s ‘Condom Police’ Joke

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz may have amused his supporters Monday when he joked about the “condom police” during a presidential campaign stop in Iowa — but bans involving birth control were no laughing matter in the past.

  • Originally published 11/30/2015

    It Can’t Happen Here?

    Ron Briley

    The sad, depressing American history of xenophobia and repression during times of crisis. 

  • Originally published 11/19/2015

    Party Like It Is 1932

    Andrew Meyer

    Donald Trump's recent assent to the idea that Muslim Americans be given special identifications is so grotesquely reminiscent of the yellow "Star of David" badges issued by the Nazi regime as to boggle the mind. The situation might be tragically laughable if Trump himself were not still gaining in the polls.

  • Originally published 11/19/2015

    Two Clintons. 41 Years. $3 Billion.

    A Washington Post investigation reveals how Bill and Hillary Clinton have methodically cultivated donors over 40 years, from Little Rock to Washington and then across the globe. Their fundraising methods have created a new blueprint for politicians and their donors.

  • Originally published 11/17/2015

    The Front-Runner Fallacy

    David Greenberg

    Early U.S. presidential polls have tended to be wildly off-target. There’s no reason to think this time is different.

  • Originally published 11/16/2015

    A third-term Democrat? Hillary Clinton battles history

    Hillary Clinton likes to tell voters what she’s not doing: running for President Obama’s third term. That’s to downplay what she is doing: asking voters to pick a Democrat to occupy the Oval Office for 12 consecutive years.

  • Originally published 11/13/2015

    The real secret to Bernie Sanders’ success

    Alexander Heffner

    In choosing to run as a Democrat, Sanders has clearly learned a lesson from Henry Wallace’s unsuccessful 1948 third-party presidential campaign.

  • Originally published 11/06/2015

    Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship

    Carson's campaign on Friday conceded that a central point in his inspirational personal story did not occur as he previously described. West Point has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.

  • Originally published 11/04/2015

    For Trump, it’s the branding strategy, stupid

    Brian Balogh

    Political pundits should stop asking what Trump plans to do as president. Instead, they should examine the impact that his campaign has had on the value of his brand’s bottom line.

  • Originally published 11/03/2015

    Can Government Function Without Privacy?

    Lawrence Cappello

    The release of Hillary Clinton’s emails signals a sharp break from the confidentiality traditionally afforded to top officials.

  • Originally published 10/26/2015

    The Republican click-bait primary

    Julian Zelizer

    Snappy one-liners have been commonplace for a while, especially in the era of television campaigns. But in 2015, invective is on the verge of becoming the norm.

  • Originally published 10/20/2015

    The ancestral immigrant history of anti-immigrant crusader Donald Trump

    Gwenda Blair

    Trump's anti-immigrant rant and follow-up pledge to deport all undocumented immigrants and their families have proved a shrewd campaign tactic. But despite Trump's repeated claim to "tell it like it is," he has often failed to do so with regard to his own family's immigrant past.

  • Originally published 10/14/2015

    The real reason Hillary Clinton won the debate: optimism

    Jonathan Zimmerman

    Where Bernie Sanders was sour and dour, Clinton projected a sense of confidence in America's future. And when it comes to electing people for the White House, American prefer sunnier dispositions to darker ones.

  • Originally published 10/01/2015

    Ben Carson: 'Hitler' could happen here

    At a campaign event in New Hampshire, Carson noted that many people believe a situation like what took place in Germany in the 1930's and 1940's could never happen in America.

  • Originally published 09/24/2015

    The Real Presidential-Age Question

    Jeffrey Frank

    In the fifties, Dwight D. Eisenhower worried about cultivating a new generation of Republican candidates. Democrats face similar concerns today.

  • Originally published 09/22/2015

    Bernie, Donald, and the Promise of Populism

    William Greider

    Both candidates have been mislabeled as populists. The movement of that name was a genuine people’s rebellion that reinvigorated democracy. We can do it again.

  • Originally published 09/18/2015

    How the Republican Party became a haven of resentment and rage

    Randall Stephens

    The latest Republican presidential primary debate had it all: denunciations of President Obama, angry rants about America’s future, and all manner of bile. It seems like a new low – but in reality, Republican candidates have been singing this tune for years.

  • Originally published 09/16/2015

    Donald Trump Is Reagan’s Heir

    Matthew Pressman

    The real-estate mogul is deploying similar tactics, but can he convince America to take a chance on him like the nation once did with Reagan?

  • Originally published 09/16/2015

    Can Bernie Keep Socialism Alive?

    David Greenberg

    Sanders’ best hope today is to do precisely what Eugene Debs did a century ago: to win by losing.

  • Originally published 09/15/2015

    If Goldwater can win the GOP nomination, why not Trump?

    Christopher Parker

    After Republican nominee Richard Nixon lost a close election in 1960, the more conservative faction of the GOP sought a “real” conservative standard-bearer in 1964, and found one in Goldwater. He would go on to win the Republican nomination.

  • Originally published 09/07/2015

    The Forebears of Trumpism

    Leo P. Ribuffo

    Where does Donald Trump fit into the bricolage of countersubversives, bigots, and opportunists?

  • Originally published 09/04/2015

    Ronald Reagan, Heretic

    Timothy Egan

    There’s a gaping disconnect among Republicans in 2015 between their worship of the 40th president and the reality of his long public career.

  • Originally published 09/02/2015

    Could a Supreme Court justice be president?

    Lewis L. Gould

    Bill Kristol has another bright idea to free the Republican Party from the looming prospect of a Donald Trump presidential candidacy. Why not, he inquires, Justice Samuel Alito from the Supreme Court?

  • Originally published 08/31/2015

    Trump reminds me of _____.

    Politico Magazine asked a handful of historians to weigh in on the historical figures to which Trump has been compared.

  • Originally published 08/13/2015

    Why the Left Should Fear Donald Trump

    T. Evan Faulkenbury

    As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. warned 65 years ago, candidates like Trump can unleash forces that undermine democracy.

  • Originally published 08/12/2015

    What History Teaches Us About Trump's Lead in Polls

    For now, Donald Trump continues to be the "Teflon Don" of the 2016 presidential race, with very early indicators showing his frontrunner status is still intact after the first GOP debate. But just how much does it matter?

  • Originally published 06/15/2015

    Scott Walker and the Fate of the Union

    Dan Kaufman

    In Wisconsin, where the labor movement took root a century ago, a campaign by the governor has broken its power. His political allies hope he can take a similar campaign nationwide.

  • Originally published 06/02/2015

    Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?

    Lawrence S. Wittner

    Even if Hillary Clinton emerges as the Democratic nominee, as seems likely, a good showing by Sanders could strengthen the democratic socialist current in American life.

  • Originally published 01/25/2013

    Historic re-election pattern doesn’t favor Democrats in 2016

    It’s not too soon to start talking about the next presidential inauguration in 2017, and why the historical re-election trends favor the Republicans.Andrew Jackson.Maybe Hillary Clinton, the current very-early front-runner for the Democratic nomination, can break the struggles that Democrats have had trying to win a presidential election after its candidate (or his legal successor) won two prior elections.That’s only happened twice since 1828 for the Democrats, when the modern two-party era started in earnest. In 1836, the Democratic Vice President Martin Van Buren succeeded Andrew Jackson by defeating four Whig candidates, while President Franklin D. Roosevelt succeeded himself in 1940 by running for an unprecedented third term....

  • Originally published 04/02/2016

    Your Brain on Politics (Video)

    Stone Age Brain

    What we need to know about the brain to protect ourselves from manipulative politicians. By Rick Shenkman

  • Originally published 01/22/2016

    Trump’s Genius

    Stone Age Brain

    He understands this one important truth about politics.  The election is not about him, it's about us and our feelings. -- Rick Shenkman

  • Originally published 06/18/2015

    Bernie Sanders for President?

    Steve Hochstadt

    It’s too early to say who will win the Democratic nomination. But it’s never too early to think about how we can win back our country from the billionaires and their political buddies.