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election 2016

  • Originally published 03/28/2018

    How We Got Trump

    Donne Levy

    The change in our political structure that led directly to Trump’s election.

  • Originally published 07/26/2017

    Half of Trump voters say Trump won popular vote

    A Politico/Morning Consult poll out early Wednesday found 49 percent of Trump voters think he won the popular vote, compared to just 40 percent who think Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won it.

  • Originally published 05/09/2017

    Why did Trump win?

    More whites — and fewer blacks — actually voted.

  • Originally published 02/02/2017

    The Jacksonian Revolt

    Walter Russell Mead

    Many Jacksonians came to believe that the American establishment was no longer reliably patriotic, with “patriotism” defined as an instinctive loyalty to the well-being and values of Jacksonian America.

  • Originally published 01/30/2017

    Huddled Masses–Keep Out!

    Bob Buzzanco

    Not since I had to remember and recite “The New Colossus” in elementary school have I seen so many references to Emma Lazarus’s poem on the Statue of Liberty as in the past week.

  • Originally published 01/27/2017

    2017 isn’t ‘1984’ – it’s stranger than Orwell imagined

    John Broich

    In Orwell’s Oceania, there is no freedom to speak facts except those that are official. In 2017 America, at least among many of the powerful minority who selected its president, the more official the fact, the more dubious.

  • Originally published 01/25/2017

    Remember John Tower

    Samuel J. Abrams

    Presidents don’t always get their way.

  • Originally published 01/23/2017

    Can Trump make real change as president?

    Sharece Thrower

    Despite his distinct individuality, Trump faces the same institutional constraints as any other president. In the end, he may be a more predictable president than many would believe.

  • Originally published 01/23/2017

    Lest We Forget

    Bill Moyers and four historians on the big lie behind the rise of Trump.

  • Originally published 01/20/2017

    Trump’s Washington Wedding

    Jill Lepore

    An American Inauguration is like a wedding: the President is the groom, the people his bride. Donald Trump is about to pledge his troth. It didn’t always work this way, and, really, it shouldn’t. Washington isn’t Vegas.

  • Originally published 01/19/2017

    Emotional Politics Won the 2016 Election

    Jeremy C. Young

    It’s easy for Democrats to criticize Trump as a demagogue or his voters as unreasoning dupes. In truth, however, American democracy has never operated primarily on the basis of reasoned debate.

  • Originally published 01/16/2017

    Trump’s Ohio win truly was historic

    In 22 counties — exactly a quarter of Ohio’s total — Trump rolled up the largest percentage of any Republican ever. Yes, that’s since 1856.

  • Originally published 01/13/2017

    What If a President Loses Control?

    Jeffrey Frank

    There’s no need to dwell on the particular character of Trump, but it is worth examining what remedies exist if any President is too careless, inattentive, or impulsive to deal sensibly with questions affecting the nation’s survival.

  • Originally published 01/09/2017

    When George Wallace Came to Town

    Joe Allen

    Donald Trump’s appeal to some suffering white workers shouldn’t surprise us. George Wallace did the same thing four decades ago.

  • Originally published 01/09/2017

    Martin Luther King Day With Trump

    Jelani Cobb

    The holiday will be presided over by a President who scarcely seems to comprehend King’s principles.

  • Originally published 01/05/2017

    From Willie Horton to Donald Trump

    Doug Rossinow

    Of all recent Republican standard-bearers, the one whose presidential campaign stands out as the most shockingly exploitative and hateful is the one who figures least of all in liberal narratives of Republican moral decline. That is the first President George Bush.

  • Originally published 01/05/2017

    No! The Electoral College Was Not about Slavery!

    Gary L. Gregg II

    The opponents of the Electoral College, in attempting to undermine support for the institution, have painted it with an unfair half-truth that distorts the historical record as well as the constitutional principles undergirding the system itself.

  • Originally published 01/02/2017

    Trump is more paranoid and dangerous than Nixon

    Rick Perlstein

    There are two key differences that set Trump apart from his predecessor in paranoia. First, his soul is sicker by miles than Nixon’s. And second, the surveillance apparatus he is about to inherit is far scarier than the one available to Nixon.

  • Originally published 01/02/2017

    Many in U.S. Skeptical Trump Can Handle Presidential Duties

    As Donald Trump prepares to take the presidential oath on Jan. 20, less than half of Americans are confident in his ability to handle an international crisis, to use military force wisely, or to prevent major scandals in his administration.

  • Originally published 12/29/2016

    How Trump's win becomes another 'Lost Cause'

    After President-elect Donald Trump's recent victory, some of his supporters celebrated by flying Confederate battle flags from pickup trucks and waving them at rallies. But Trump's victory may mark the resurgence of the Old South in another more sinister way: The return of "racial amnesia."

  • Originally published 12/28/2016

    Pink-Collar Pain and Our New President

    Katherine Turk

    American women should spotlight shared concerns and demand that Trump do much more for laborers than search for the blue collar jobs that were more likely automated than exported.

  • Originally published 12/26/2016

    More states consider circumventing the Electoral College

    In states including Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Mexico, legislators have said they plan to introduce legislation that would require their state’s Electoral College voters cast ballots for the presidential candidate who earns the most votes nationwide, regardless of the statewide results.

  • Originally published 12/20/2016

    The Danger of Making an Oil Man Secretary of State

    Chad H. Parker

    With a career pursuing goals independent of the very department he will head, history tells us that we should have little confidence that Rex Tillerson will serve the public.

  • Originally published 12/19/2016

    How Germany’s electoral college was set up to prevent another Hitler

    German post-war politicians were horrified by the possibility of another fascist populist gaining widespread support among the public. So they decided to make the election of the German president a decision of a Federal Assembly, which meets only for that purpose.

  • Originally published 12/13/2016

    An Intellectual History of Trumpism

    David Greenberg

    Trump’s ideology has deep roots in U.S. history. But this is the first time it’s made it to the White House.

  • Originally published 12/12/2016

    Can Cultural History Explain the Trump Phenomenon?

    David A. Horowitz

    The Second Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s arguably represents the combination of white cultural nationalism, traditional morality, and populist self-identity we are seeing today.

  • Originally published 12/12/2016

    Another Kind of “Identity Politics”

    John Fea

    Is Mark Lilla right that liberals need to get beyond identity politics?  And just what do we mean by identity politics anyway?

  • Originally published 12/12/2016

    The electoral college is a medieval relic. Only the U.S. still has one.

    For several centuries, many political communities in Europe and the Americas used electors chosen from different territorial and political units to select a main magistrate. The United States is the only country in the world to still use the system to elect a president.

  • Originally published 12/09/2016

    Trump’s Got No Mandate

    Ronald L. Feinman

    He not only badly lost the popular vote, he did this in an election where there was no major third party candidate to blame for his receiving a low total. This is unprecedented.

  • Originally published 12/05/2016

    The Rush To Normalize Trump

    Rick Perlstein

    The mainstream media is woefully unprepared to grapple with the hatred and trauma of this election.

  • Originally published 12/05/2016

    Is Democracy Doomed? We've Been Here Before.

    Bill Scher

    The value of democracy was widely questioned in the mid-1930s, as the Great Depression was yet to be tamed during the early stages of Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency.

  • Originally published 12/05/2016

    Sinclair Lewis Predicted Trump—And Us

    In his 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here, the Nobel prize winning author created a demagogue remarkably similar to Trump. He also nailed America’s love affair with demagogues.

  • Originally published 12/05/2016

    Harvesting Government History, One Web Page at a Time

    With the arrival of any new president, vast troves of information on government websites are at risk of vanishing within days. The fragility of digital federal records, reports and research is astounding.

  • Originally published 11/29/2016


    Andrew J. Bacevich

    Trump loves winning, but American generals have forgotten how.

  • Originally published 11/29/2016

    War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Trump Won In A Landslide.

    Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has been touting her boss’s margin of victory in the Electoral College. But in a historical context, Trump’s Electoral College performance is decidedly below-average.

  • Originally published 11/28/2016

    After the Know-Nothings

    Johann N. Neem

    Like today, many political leaders in the 1850s were surprised by the Know-Nothings’ success.

  • Originally published 11/28/2016

    What is an emolument and why do we care?

    President-elect Donald J. Trump might have some unique decisions to make about how his business assets are managed as he serves in the White House, thanks to an obscure constitutional clause.

  • Originally published 11/28/2016

    Some Thoughts on the Electoral College

    Kevin Gannon

    It’s hard to deny–impossible if you actually read the historical record–that the Electoral College was an attempt to avoid the democratic implications involved in creating an elected executive.

  • Originally published 11/28/2016

    FDR’s Bumpy Road to the Oval Office

    Kathryn Smith

    FDR’s journey was a roller coaster ride, including an assassination attempt, a P.R. disaster, the failure of thousands of banks and the untimely death of a key cabinet appointment.

  • Originally published 11/28/2016

    Historian finds German decree banishing Trump's grandfather

    Friedrich Trump, a German, was issued with the document in February 1905, and ordered to leave the kingdom of Bavaria within eight weeks as punishment for having failed to do mandatory military service and failing to give authorities notice of his departure to the US when he first emigrated in 1885.

  • Originally published 11/15/2016

    SNL’s Shakespearean Moment

    Samuel Joeckel

    Kate McKinnon’s unexpectedly profound interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

  • Originally published 11/14/2016

    What Whiteness Means in the Trump Era

    Nell Irvin Painter

    Nell Irvin Painter is a professor emeritus of history at Princeton University and the author of “The History of White People.”

  • Originally published 11/14/2016

    Thanks Trump!

    Kevin Baker

    What he got right about American democracy.

  • Originally published 11/11/2016

    Don’t Blame Hillary Clinton

    Allan J. Lichtman

    The historian who predicted Trump’s victory says Democrats need to revamp their party by adopting Bernie Sanders’s approach (but not on trade).

  • Originally published 11/11/2016

    Use Electoral College as Founders Intended

    Robert S. McElvaine

    The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College for precisely the purpose of preventing someone like Donald Trump from becoming president.

  • Originally published 11/10/2016

    The Day After Failing to Make History

    Alex Penler

    One day there will be a little girl who will grow up to be President of the United States and one day she'll be the one in the Smithsonian's presidency exhibit.

  • Originally published 11/08/2016

    The Republicans' Andrew Johnson Moment

    Timothy S. Huebner

    The Republican Party of the 1860s faced a stark choice. It could either commit itself to its founding principles of expanding freedom, opportunity, and rights, or it could follow Johnson toward a narrow conception of what it meant to be a part of the American community.

  • Originally published 11/08/2016

    Hillary Clinton’s Journey—and Ours

    Eleanor Clift

    They’ve talked about a woman president for 60 years. She was supposed to be perfect. Hillary isn’t that. But she’s the one who made it—she must have something.

  • Originally published 11/07/2016

    Donald Trump and the Death of American Exceptionalism

    Jelani Cobb

    The problem of Trump is not simply that his opinions far exceed his knowledge; it’s that what he does know is so hostile to democracy, not only in the Republican Party or the United States but in the world.

  • Originally published 11/07/2016

    Disciples of Distrust

    Garry Wills

    Even comparing Trump to American demagogues is unfair—unfair to the past demagogues.

  • Originally published 11/04/2016

    Who Will Win?

    Ronald L. Feinman

    It will be Hillary with a rock solid Electoral College majority (352 to 186). Here are the states she’ll win.

  • Originally published 11/02/2016

    Clinton camp questions FBI release of Marc Rich pardon files

    The Clinton campaign, which is already at odds with FBI Director James Comey over his disclosure of new evidence in the Clinton email probe, immediately questioned why Clinton-related records were being released just a week before the election.

  • Originally published 11/02/2016

    The FBI Is at it Again

    Martin Halpern

    While we don’t know what James Comey’s motives are, his actions hark back to a dark period in the FBI’s history.

  • Originally published 11/01/2016

    The Case Against Democracy

    Caleb Crain

    If most voters are uninformed, who should make decisions about the public’s welfare?

  • Originally published 10/31/2016

    How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

    Matt Stoller

    In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.

  • Originally published 10/18/2016

    Rise of the Reactionary

    Sam Tanenhaus

    How a handful of Weimar émigrés came to have an outsized influence on the ideology of the American right.

  • Originally published 10/12/2016

    Why Trump’s tape could destroy the GOP

    Heather Cox Richardson

    The release of the tape may force regular Republican voters to face the reality that the movement conservatives’ demonization of minorities, organized workers, and women who demanded equality was never really about protecting hardworking American families. 

  • Originally published 10/12/2016

    Donald Trump, the Great Embarrassment

    Jill Lepore

    The history of American politics is littered with carnage, but little compares to what’s currently roiling the Republican Party.

  • Originally published 10/10/2016

    Know-Nothing Bigot Who Won Big

    Gil Troy

    He trashed immigrants, targeted one religious group, and brought political discourse to a new low.

  • Originally published 10/10/2016

    Does Trump’s Rise Mean Liberalism’s End?

    Yuval Noah Harari

    The story that has ruled our world in the past few decades is what we might call the Liberal Story. It was a simple and attractive tale, but it is now collapsing.

  • Originally published 09/29/2016

    Frontline does Trump & Clinton

    FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to investigate what has shaped Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — where they came from, how they lead and why they want one of the most difficult jobs imaginable.

  • Originally published 09/26/2016

    The Man Who Went Full Trump for FDR

    Gil Troy

    He made up stories to smear the opposition and barely backpedaled when called out—Charlie Michelson perfected the nasty art of political mud-slinging.

  • Originally published 09/23/2016

    The Myth of a Democratic Electoral Lock

    Jeff Greenfield

    It wasn’t so long ago that Republicans though they had much of the country stitched up. Then a Clinton came along and that changed, fast.

  • Originally published 09/20/2016

    There’s No Debate

    Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

    The candidates and the media have thoroughly corrupted the presidential debates. Our democracy deserves better. There's still time for a change.

  • Originally published 09/20/2016

    How Much Latent Sexism Is Out There?

    Ellen Fitzpatrick

    For much of the twentieth century, that opposition remained robust, with some 40 percent of Americans polled affirming as late as 1969 that they would not vote for a woman President.

  • Originally published 09/19/2016

    Are we in for an October Surprise?

    Julian Zelizer

    On the rare occasions when October Surprises have happened, they have not really impacted the outcome of the election.

  • Originally published 09/19/2016

    The Impact of Debates? It's Debatable

    A review of data since 1960 suggests that past debates have almost never directly and measurably changed the candidates' relative standings.

  • Originally published 09/19/2016

    Will This Be a Four-Party Election?

    Ted Widmer

    Sometimes third parties invigorate the major parties with new ideas. Sometimes they bring them crashing down.

  • Originally published 09/16/2016

    When Donald Meets Hillary

    James Fallows

    Who will win the debates? Trump’s approach was an important part of his strength in the primaries. But will it work when he faces Clinton onstage?

  • Originally published 09/13/2016

    The Great, Sad, Impractical, Wall of Trump

    Fred Zilian

    History shows great resources have to be spent on the building and maintenance of walls and even then human beings find ways around them.

  • Originally published 09/08/2016

    The Virtue of an Educated Voter

    Alan Taylor

    The Founders believed that a well-informed electorate preserves our fragile democracy and benefits American society as a whole. We are dangerously far from their vision today. 

  • Originally published 09/07/2016

    Trump Touts Pledge of Allegiance with Socialist Roots

    Peter Dreier

    Donald Trump’s vision of America clashes sharply with the original intent behind the Pledge of Allegiance, penned during the Gilded Age to promote equity, tolerance, and progressive ideals.

  • Originally published 09/06/2016

    What The Donald Shares With The Ronald

    Frank Rich

    They may be stylistically different, but Trump and Reagan marketed the same brand of outrage to the same angry segments of the electorate.

  • Originally published 09/06/2016

    Donald Trump’s history at church

    For all that has been written about Mr. Trump, relatively little attention has been paid to the time he spent at Marble Collegiate Church and his relationship with the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale.

  • Originally published 09/05/2016

    Trumpism is a new phenomenon

    George H. Nash

    Trumpist populism is defiantly challenging the fundamental tenets and perspectives of every component of the post–1945 conservative coalition.

  • Originally published 09/02/2016

    Will Democrats Finally Align With Racial Justice?

    Peniel Joseph

    From Johnson’s “War on Drugs” to Clinton’s “Third Way,” the criminalization of black bodies in the postwar era has been, until recently, a decidedly bipartisan affair.

  • Originally published 09/02/2016

    The not-so glamorous origins of American celebrity politics

    David Haven Blake

    “In America,” the filmmaker Francois Truffaut once wrote, “politics always overlaps show business, as show business overlaps advertising.” The truth of Truffaut’s statement was on full display last month during the Republican and Democratic nominating conventions.

  • Originally published 08/30/2016

    Are Trump and Putin in Cahoots?

    Bruce W. Dearstyne

    This lesson from history suggests the charge came early enough for Trump to defuse it, but he might not be so lucky if another bombshell comes late in the race.

  • Originally published 08/28/2016

    Living in LBJ’s America

    Kevin Baker

    How two of his least celebrated accomplishments shaped the battle between Clinton and Trump.

  • Originally published 08/27/2016

    CIA reveals its secret briefings to Presidents Nixon and Ford

    Tim Naftali

    For years the CIA shielded from public view every single one of the briefings that it produces daily for the president's eyes only, arguing that even letting go one 50-year old briefing could harm national security.

  • Originally published 08/16/2016

    Fact Check: Trump gets his Mideast history wrong

    Donald Trump on Monday painted the Middle East as an oasis of stability before Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, arguing that she and President Barack Obama "launched" the Islamic State group onto the world.

  • Originally published 08/15/2016

    Postscript to “Is Donald Trump a Fascist?”

    Jeffrey Herf

    Trump understands what the classic demagogues of the 20th century understood: namely, that in a democracy it is possible to gain millions of votes by appealing to the worst in people.

  • Originally published 08/11/2016

    The Urban-Rural Divide: Deep Roots In American History

    Daniel Blake Smith

    Anyone observing America’s ongoing culture wars, especially as they surface in the current presidential election cycle, is forcefully reminded that we are not a country divided by red and blue states; it’s an urban-rural divide that represents the political and cultural fault lines in the nation.

  • Originally published 08/11/2016

    Trump: A True Story

    The mogul, in a 2007 deposition, had to face up to a series of falsehoods and exaggerations. And he did. Sort of.

  • Originally published 08/02/2016

    A Tale of Two Conventions

    Jill Lepore

    The spectacles in Cleveland and Philadelphia both came down to a question as old as the Republic: who are the people and who speaks for them?

  • Originally published 07/30/2016

    The Last Election of the Sixties

    Leonard Steinhorn

    The Trump constituency wants its America back, and this may be the last election in which the backlash that began in the Sixties will have an opportunity to win.

  • Originally published 07/29/2016

    Taking the Nostalgia of Trump Supporters Seriously

    Stephanie Coontz

    Nostalgia often arises out of a real experience of loss. It needs to be addressed and redirected, not ridiculed or denounced. And that applies to the nostalgia that motivates a considerable number of Trump supporters.

  • Originally published 07/28/2016

    Obama’s Rebuke to the GOP

    Ed Simon

    What the president highlighted is that the party of Lincoln has increasingly become the party of Lincoln Rockwell.

  • Originally published 07/27/2016

    Russia not the first to mess with our politics

    Tim Naftali

    In modern U.S. political history, how unprecedented are such serious efforts by foreign governments to mess with our domestic politics? Not at all unprecedented, as it turns out.

  • Originally published 07/27/2016

    Paranoid Republidents for Trump

    Niall Ferguson

    Trump's movement rests on what Richard Hofstadter called the "paranoid style of American politics."

  • Originally published 07/18/2016

    Over 600 historians sign "Historians Against Trump" open letter in first week

    Signatories include American Historical Association Past President and National Humanities Medal recipient Professor Vicki Ruiz, Professors Ellen Carol DuBois, Geoff Eley, Glenda E. Gilmore, Maurice Isserman, Valerie Ann Johnson, Kevin Mattson, Thomas McAffee, Deborah Dash Moore, Claire Potter, and historical researcher Michael Hill.

  • Originally published 07/12/2016

    The Year the Veepstakes Really Mattered

    Jeff Greenfield

    If you’re seeking the single most consequential VP choice in modern times—one that justifies our “veepstakes” obsession—look to 1944.

  • Originally published 06/30/2016

    The Sound of Bigotry

    Rockwell Stensrud

    Bigotry has long had a voice in American politics. It has an East Coast edge, a Midwest flatness, a Southern drawl, a West Coast slackness.

  • Originally published 06/30/2016

    A Hater for All Seasons

    Garry Wills

    There was something almost mystical about the past year of Donald Trump. How can one man can be such a shape shifter?

  • Originally published 06/23/2016

    The Woman Card

    Jill Lepore

    How feminism and antifeminism created Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

  • Originally published 06/21/2016

    Trump, His Virus and the Dark Age of Unreason

    Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

    He's the latest in a long line of American demagogues but has come closest to the White House. That makes him the most dangerous of them all.

  • Originally published 06/21/2016

    Poor White Politics

    Nancy Isenberg

    Class prejudice has a history at least as old as the Jamestown settlement.

  • Originally published 06/20/2016

    The GOP Deserves Trump

    Robert Brent Toplin

    After selecting candidates like Quayle, Palin and Bush II, they set a low bar for high office.

  • Originally published 06/20/2016

    Donald Trump’s Place

    Kevin Baker

    A year into his campaign, it’s still not clear exactly where he’s coming from or where he’s going.

  • Originally published 06/15/2016

    Henry Ford’s Campaign to Make America Great Again

    In the 1924 presidential election, the most hyped candidate was an egotistical and fabulously wealthy businessman who many politicians did not believe would really run. That man was legendary carmaker Henry Ford.

  • Originally published 06/13/2016

    Why Trump Now? It’s the Empire, Stupid

    Greg Grandin

    Empire allowed the United States to avoid a true reckoning with the social problems, such as poverty, inequality, racism, crime and punishment, and domestic violence, caused by America’s brand of largely unfettered capitalism.

  • Originally published 06/12/2016

    The GOP Needs to Be Fixed

    Ray Smock

    The crisis of our national politics right now is not the failure of both parties as much as it is the failure of the Republican Party.

  • Originally published 06/10/2016

    The Rise and Fall of the White Working Class

    Stephen W. Campbell

    How wealthier whites through the centuries successfully employed a “divide and conquer” strategy that brought together whites of all social classes under a common racial identity with a common enemy. Which brings us to Donald Trump.

  • Originally published 06/09/2016

    Gender and the Presidency: A Look Through Polling History

    According to Gallup's polling of the issue, in 1975, 73 percent of voters said they would support a female nominee of their own party, compared to almost a quarter - 23 percent - who said they would not. In 1969, it was 53 percent to 40 percent.

  • Originally published 06/07/2016

    The clash of generations

    Niall Ferguson

    Sanders is supported mainly by the young.  Is the great struggle of our time between the generations? Nope.

  • Originally published 05/30/2016

    The GOP Is Dying

    Ronald L. Feinman

    Trump’s triumph marks the end of a once great (but flawed) American party.

  • Originally published 05/29/2016

    The United States of Trumpistan?

    Manisha Sinha

    To understand the Trump phenomenon, political commentators have pointed to the rise of Hitler and the recent growing political strength of the far right in the continent. In fact, they should be looking closer to home.

  • Originally published 05/27/2016

    Did Blacks Really Endorse the 1994 Crime Bill?

    Elizabeth Hinton, Julilly Kohler-Hausmann and Vesla M. Weaver

    There’s no question that by the early 1990s, blacks wanted an immediate response to the crime, violence and drug markets in their communities. But even at the time, many were asking for something different from the crime bill.

  • 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 05/05/2016

    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 10/30/2013

    You Don’t Need a Weatherman

    Jon Wiener

    Jon Wiener on Bill Ayers' new autobiography, "Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident."

  • 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 05/01/2018

    People Keep Asking “Why Trump?”

    Steve Hochstadt

    Mutz supports this explanation for Trump’s victory, one that also has been much discussed since the election: groups of Americans with traditionally high status felt threatened and voted for the candidate who seemed to support their continued dominance. White Christian men who were concerned about social changes in recent decades gravitated to Trump, whose rhetoric and behavior consistently prioritized whiteness, maleness, and Christian belief.

  • Originally published 09/22/2016

    How to Watch the Debates

    Stone Age Brain

    An almost sure-fire method of determining how the candidates are trying to manipulate you. 

  • Originally published 08/18/2016

    Trumped-up Reaganomics

    Iwan Morgan

    Reagan indeed cut taxes -- but he also raised them. Here's what else Trump needs to understand about the Reagan economy. 

  • 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.