Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Why are so many long-shot Republicans running against Trump?

As of today, Trump seems well-positioned to win the Republican nomination.  The basic dynamic is familiar from 2016 – Trump has a strong base of committed supporters, the opposition will likely be divided, and many Republican primaries are winner-take-all or winner-take-most.  Couple this with the bump in support Trump got after his indictment in NY, […]

Trump, the road to serfdom, and the debt ceiling

During last night’s CNN “town hall” fiasco Trump had this to say about the debt ceiling: Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Republican lawmakers to let the United States default on its debt if Democrats don’t agree to spending cuts. “I say to the Republicans out there — congressmen, senators — if they don’t […]

How to end the debt ceiling stand-off democratically:  set fiscal policy through elections, not hostage taking

The Biden administration and congressional Democrats have so far refused to negotiate with House Republicans over spending cuts to resolve the looming debt ceiling crisis.  This tactic has successfully pressured Republicans into passing a bill with unpopular spending cuts that Democrats will quite rightly use to their advantage in the upcoming election.  But now that […]

Democrats, let’s turn the debt ceiling standoff into a referendum on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

President Biden has so far insisted he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling.  This makes sense on one level.  The Republicans are threatening to blow up the economy to get the Democrats to agree to – and share the blame for – unpopular budget cuts.  It is easy to see why Democrats want to […]

Trump and the debt ceiling

According to Politico, Trump is against cutting Social Security and Medicare: Former President Donald Trump issued a warning to Republican lawmakers on Friday: Don’t lay a finger on entitlement programs as part of the debt ceiling showdown with the White House. “Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or […]

Democratic politics and the multiple audience problem:  the case of Ukraine

One reason politics is so hard is that our words are often heard by different audiences, and a message that is well-calibrated for one type of listener may work poorly for listeners with different roles, values, or interests. To illustrate:  Phillips O’Brien has a piece in the Atlantic with the headline “Time is on Ukraine’s […]

Ukraine updates

Ukraine is getting much more advanced offensive weapons . . . This seems to mark a major shift, a commitment to helping Ukraine go on offense and win.  Open questions . . . How far will Ukraine’s partners go?  Infantry fighting vehicles today, maybe tanks, ATACMs, planes, etc. tomorrow?  How big a threat is the […]