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National Columnists

If Trump loses, it’s on Trump

Joe Biden is a terrible candidate. He is 77 years old; he is incoherent; he has called a “lid” every other day of his campaign to avoid serious questioning. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is so unpopular that she dropped out of the Democratic primaries before they even reached her ...

Conservative answers for poverty

The Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett provide a fitting warmup act to the presidential election that will follow in a few weeks. The rancor pouring forth from this confirmation flows from the very deep divide in the nation — conservative versus liberal — ...

Fear and loathing in the Democratic Party

For the past four years, the national story about the Republican Party has been that President Donald Trump has damaged it, if not destroyed it; that it is in utter disarray and rife with internal dissension; that its voters are fleeing; and that the party must distance itself from Trump if it ...

Breaking news: Not everything is terrible

We devote a lot of mental energy to things that are going wrong or could go wrong. It’s human nature. As the sociobiologists teach us, our ancestors were not the ones who heard a rustling in the grass and figured, “Eh, it’s probably nothing.” We are descended from the ones who said: ...

Racial deception

During slavery, many black women, often in a forcible union with a white man, bore mixed-race children. Based on their percentage of white blood, they were deemed “mulattos,” “quadroons,” “octoroons” or even “hexadecaroons.” Depending on skin color, they could pass as white and ...

Social media censorship — fact-checking your news source

There are no laws to shield people from misinformation. So, as the nation chugs toward the final stretch of the presidential campaign season, Americans need to take a good look at where they gathered the information that forms their political opinions. If your news flows primarily from ...

Is war with China becoming inevitable?

"The Indians are seeing 60,000 Chinese soldiers on their northern border,” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo ominously warned on Friday. He spelled out what he meant to commentator Larry O’Connor: “The Chinese have now begun to amass huge forces against India in the north. ... They ...

Amy Coney Barrett hasn’t been nominated for health care czar

Amy Coney Barrett has accomplished many things in her career. Becoming an authority or a policy maker on health care isn’t one of them. At Notre Dame, she was a professor at the law school, not at the Eck Institute for Global Health. She’s written for the Cornell Law Review, not The ...

Painfully public and publicly painful

When I was a younger man — shortly after the cooling of the Earth — I worked in and managed political campaigns. In addition to Ohio Gov. John Gilligan and Boston Mayor Kevin H. White, I worked on the presidential campaigns of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York, Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, ...

Trump’s order discourages discussion of race and gender

"I didn’t know.” Those were the first words my friend, a white guy named Dave, spoke to me the day after the first episode of “Roots,” which depicted the capture and enslavement of an African boy named Kunta Kinte. This was 43 years ago. So you can perhaps imagine my frustration ...

Fake fact-checking

Recently, I released a video that called California's fires "government fueled." A few days later, Facebook inserted a warning on my video: "Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead." Some of my viewers now feel betrayed. One wrote: "Shameful, John... ...

Pelosi’s devilish demands

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump called off negotiations over a stimulus bill until after Election Day. Blame House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's outlandish demands for the delay. Pelosi has been urging Republicans to pass her $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill to "crush the virus so that we ...

Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis gives him one last chance to reset his campaign

President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis is a blessing in disguise, because it has given him one last chance to win over millions of reluctant voters who approve of his policies but not of him. His illness has created a moment of sympathy, and with it an unexpected opportunity for a reset. ...

Innovation’s secret sauce: freedom

Matt Ridley, the British writer, calls himself a "rational optimist," which today probably strikes many people — their health and finances threatened, their equanimity destroyed by the horrors of close confinement with family members — as an irrational coupling of adjective and noun. ...

Tracking COVID-19 at the expense of personal privacy

It is another one of those existential dilemmas. We understand the deadly nature of the COVID-19 virus, but as the nation tries to control the pandemic, how much of our individual freedom are we willing to give up? Mandatory masks or no masks? If another stay-at-home mandate is issued, do you ...

Is Trump’s treatment an example of VIP syndrome?

A few years before he died, my friend Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist turned Pulitzer-winning political commentator, told me that the quality of health care you receive tends to rise in tandem with your income -- up to a point. For some people, the two lines separate when they get so rich ...

The ultimate October surprise

President Trump's infection with COVID-19 adds to a year no fiction writer could have contrived. The image of Trump last Friday walking out of the White House wearing a mask and traveling by helicopter to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center was an optic we have not seen with this ...

Before I vote for you, I first want to like you

t the difficult art of winning highly competitive elections, former U.S. Sen. William Cohen, R-Maine -- who never lost one -- was very good indeed. Elected at 29 to his hometown Bangor City Council in 1969, Cohen would become that city's mayor in 1971 before being elected in 1972 to the first ...

This may really humble Trump

Stop all the clocks, mute all the smartphones. The game has been momentarily halted. With President Donald Trump's announcement that he and his wife have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the presidential campaign is temporarily paused, and questions of what comes next have kicked ...

Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis brings empathy for world’s least empathetic man

For about a minute today I found myself feeling sorry for Donald Trump. The poor man is now "battling" COVID-19 (the pugilistic verb is showing up all over the news). He was hospitalized. He's out of shape. He's 74 years old. His chief of staff called his symptoms "very concerning." Joe Biden ...