Regarding Trump’s new pro-life stance: Catholics recognize a con man when they see one

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By now, I think we all know that Donald Trump would hock his kids’ kidneys to win this election. I’m probably being over fastidious, then, to note that I find his most recent attempt to exploit the painfully wrenching issue of abortion particularly offensive. I use the adjective wrenching, I suppose, because I’m a Catholic who personally opposes most therapeutic pregnancy terminations, but still supports the woman’s right to choose. I do so, in part, because the question of abortion’s morality hinges on a question to which we currently have no convincing scientific answer: At what point does life begin? Given our ...

Jimmy Kimmel and Donald Trump on the Same Constitutional Page

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Emmys host Jimmy Kimmel had a lot of fun Sunday night ridiculing Donald Trump in front of an overwhelmingly Democratic Hollywood crowd. The truth is, though, that the talk show personality and the Republicans’ Mad Hatter of a presidential nominee are united in their contempt for one of the Constitution’s most important safeguards of our individual liberty. That protection is the Bill of Rights’ Sixth Amendment, which guarantees every American accused of a crime the services of a defense lawyer: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of ...

Surveys Show the Trump Campaign’s Real Fuel is Old-Fashioned Racial Resentment

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If you’re someone who thinks and writes about politics, as I have for more than four decades, this election cycle has been—by turns—perplexing, humbling and terrifying. More than once over the past months, I’ve found myself watching the primary returns and wondering whether I really know this country or its people anymore? Virtually no serious analyst foresaw the sequence of improbable events and subterranean eddies of popular sentiment that now have put Donald Trump within reach of the White House. It sometimes seems nowadays that the this vulgar bully may be just one more Hillary Clinton scandal from the Oval Office—and God ...

Like a dead snake, a defeated Trump could still be a poisonous presence

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More than once when I was analyzing events for my city’s newspapers, I pointed out that the essential paradox of Los Angeles’ politics was that its leaders are elected by one city to govern another. The city that elects office-holders—older, whiter and far more affluent than LA as a whole—has interests; that city that’s governed—younger, poorer, more Latino, African American and Asian—has needs. The friction between those needs and interests, I’ve always argued, is what gives LA’s civic life the wary, edge-of-the-razor quality that has erupted in violence twice in my lifetime. Now, I’ve begun to wonder whether Donald Trump’s bizarre insurgent ...

Trump hasn’t just trashed the GOP, but presidential campaigning itself

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It now is a commonplace to observe that Clinton and Trump are the two most disliked candidates ever to contest the Oval Office. While her favorable poll ratings are slightly higher than his, both are viewed unfavorably by more than half of those surveyed. Still, barring some unforeseen campaign calamity or tragedy, one of them will be the next president of the United States. That noted, it also is true that their campaigns could not be more different. That difference is more than her optimistic view of the American future versus his dystopian fulminations concerning a country in decay, more than ...

Trump’s Reckless Response to Russia’s DNC Hacking Demonstrates How Dangerous He Is

As his recklessly ignorant response to Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails demonstrates anew, Donald Trump is the most dangerous man ever to be this close to America’s presidential power. The fact that the Republican Party offered its nomination to this preening narcissist, this loose-lipped vulgar bully, this ill-informed wannabe caudillo, this cheap card room hustler in an undertaker’s suit is an affront to the memories of Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower and an indelible stain on the historic reputations of this generation’s GOP leaders. Every one of them who has endorsed Trump—however reluctantly—stands indicted for putting party and ...

After Dallas: We Must Find a Clear Perspective on Race, Policing and Guns

As President Barack Obama eloquently reminded us Tuesday, it is vital that we recall exactly what actually occurred in Dallas Thursday night, before these tragic events slide into the meat grinder of electoral politics where the blades of heedless partisanship will render them into unintelligible rhetorical sausage. Hundreds of people, mostly African American, had peaceably assembled and were exercising their democratic right to march in protest, the city’s police force was guarding their route and ensuring their constitutional right to petition for redress of grievance. A troubled and isolated young man—who was dishonorably discharged from the Army reserve and  intermittently employed—apparently ...

Nationalism and Nativism Not Populism Fuel the Trump and Brexit Insurgencies

What does Brexit have in common with Donald Trump’s instantaneous denunciation of the FBI’s announcement that it found nothing criminal in Hillary Clinton’s handling of State Department emails? Two things: Both are rooted in the notion that, as the presumptive Republican nominee put it, “the system is rigged;” In both instances, that perception is part of a fundamental political realignment in which the old divisions between right and left are blurring into illegibility. We are only beginning to discern some of the implications of such a shift—and none so far are heartening. The continuing chaos that has followed Britain’s vote to bolt the ...