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Democratic Opportunity

The Democrats have a great chance to win back many of the working class Midwesterners who were pivotal in last year’s election even if some Trump voters are deplorable racists who cannot be reached through rational argument. A study by professors from the University of Minnesota and Boston University concludes that Hillary Clinton’s narrow loss may be attributed to her relative hawkishness. For example, Trump came out in opposition to the Iraq War far earlier than Clinton grudgingly admitted it was a mistake. Likewise, analyses from such disparate and credible sources as Scientific American, CNN, and Fortune Magazine see Trump’s opposition to free trade as an important factor in his victory.

MD has a lot to lose if Obamacare is repealed

Maryland, particularly Montgomery County, has become a bright spot in the national health-care picture. From 2012 to 2015, subsidies to health insurance purchasers and the expansion of Maryland’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act caused the percentage of uninsured Marylanders to fall from 10.1 percent to 6.7 percent. The national average is 9.4 percent. . .

Read the rest of my Washington Post op-ed here.

Responding to Racism

Two nooses in the District of Columbia and one in suburban Maryland have been found over the past three weeks. Thursday, a noose was found hanging from a tree in an integrated Montgomery Village, MD, neighborhood. On May 31, one was left in the Segregation Gallery at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Less than a week earlier, a noose had been discovered on the grounds of the Hirshhorn Museum.

For me, a white man living in Kensington, these are deeply disturbing reminders of an angry and divided world. A world in which racism remains a strong presence, even in the cosmopolitan DMV, and overtly hostile acts seem only to have grown in frequency since the beginning of the last year’s election cycle.

Winter of Progressive Discontent

Democrats should be disappointed by Republican Greg Gianforte’s win over Rob Quist in the recently-concluded Montana special election. The concept of moral victories in winner-take-all political races is unpersuasive and particularly so in this case. Yes, Quist got a much higher percentage of the vote than Hillary Clinton did in November. But part of that improvement likely came courtesy of Gianforte's assault on a reporter on the eve of the election. Simply put, one cannot discern a Democratic wave on the horizon in the wake of an over 6 point loss to a ruffian in a state with a Democratic governor and senator.

For progressive activists, Quist's loss is particularly troubling. Quist followed the script that we on the left edge of the Democratic Party have been writing. He held rallies with Bernie Sanders. He supports Medicare-for-all.

Bill Maher's much worse than Kathy Griffin

White Bill Maher used the n-word on a live HBO Show Friday night in what smacks of a ugly effort to bond with Republican Senator Ben Sasse  of Nebraska. Because Maher’s proffered apology came after a day of dithering, it reeks of insincerity. At this point, I'm vacillating between calling for his head for expressing an overtly racist sentiment in the worst possible way and thinking a long suspension might be sufficient.

Last week CNN fired Kathy Griffin for staging a photograph showing her holding Trump’s bloody severed head. Given that Griffin’s primary CNN gig is co-host with Anderson Cooper of the apolitical New Year’s Eve Live, her dismissal for being crude, gruesome, and offensive to much of the nation is understandable. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the arty, albeit gory, photograph has real value. Griffin was depicting a fantasy that millions share - a brutal end to America’s destructive bully-in-chief.

Why Bernie Matters

Opponents of Bernie Sanders have been having a field day. Over the past couple of weeks, the Vermont Senator has taken a number of shots. A writer at Slate rather absurdly knocks him for 1) hosting a popular podcast allegedly characterized by shoddy production values and softball questions.

A Path to the Maryland Governor's Mansion for Ben Jealous

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous has indicated that he will compete for Maryland's Democratic gubernatorial nomination and the right to square off against Larry Hogan in next year's general election. Mr. Jealous faces a daunting task. In order to take on the "deeply popular" Republican, he'll have to beat a slate of other Democrats while likely facing staunch opposition from Maryland's Democratic Party. 

Read the rest of my op-ed here. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-governor-jealous-201...

Fusing Group Identity and Class-Based Politics

In respective post-election “taking stock” articles, Columbia History Professor Mark Lilla for the New York Times and Alex Seitz-Wald at NBC suggest how the Democratic Party can return to prominence. Lilla contends that Trump’s victory should mark the End of Identity Liberalism. Identity liberalism, as practiced by Democrats like Hillary Clinton, consists of appeals to discrete groups identified by race, ethnicity, gender, and sexually orientation. This is a losing strategy, Lilla argues, and must be rejected in favor of one that seeks to attract voters based on shared economic interests and overarching national goals.

Selfish Loser Dems

Establishment favorite neo-liberal Hillary Clinton faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.  Ultimately, Clinton lost disastrously in November to historically unpopular billionaire Donald Trump who posed as an economic populist. Sanders is now probably the most well-liked politician in America. Under these circumstances, you could be forgiven for expecting a chastened shrunken Democratic Senate minority to unite behind an unabashedly progressive economic agenda, but you’d be wrong.

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