Past, Present, and Future: The Democratic Party from 2016 to 2018

The modern Democratic Party is at a crossroads. The pressures from the outside (the alt-right, Trump, and increasingly uncompromising Republicans) and from the inside (the ideological split between progressives and Clinton-esque establishment liberals) are reaching a critical mass. In order to once again become a successful party at all levels- federal, state, and local- the Democrats must examine their immediate past, their pressing present, and the direct future. The lessons of 2016 and 2017, as well as historic patterns of politics, need to feed directly into 2018. For Democrats, 2016…

The Francis Effect and the Fight Over Catholic Identity

  It’s a familiar scene: a “radical” speaker is invited to a college campus, until the skittish university decides to rescind the offer to avoid controversy. The twist? The radical figure here is a Jesuit priest, Father James Martin, and the university was Catholic University. Father Martin was scheduled to speak at Catholic University’s seminary Theological College, on September 15, when the seminary decided to cancel his appearance.  In an official statement the following day, Catholic University expressed disappointment that Father Martin had been uninvited. Nonetheless, the offer was rescinded,…

Where Are All the Moderates? Conservative Republicans and Moving Goalposts

In recent months, a certain narrative has taken hold in the media about Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan, it seems, was poised to counter Trump. The rumblings began near the Republican National Convention, with some Republicans hoping for a coup that would replace presumptive nominee Trump with the “moderate” Ryan. Once Trump won the election, the strength of this narrative grew. As Speaker, he was held up to be a balance, a centrist opponent who could challenge or even curb Trump’s more right-wing ideas. Paul Ryan was the moderate savior of…

The Fourth Estate Under Siege

It is no great secret that the Trump administration has focused significant attention on attacking the news media. Repeatedly and publicly, Trump and his surrogates have critiqued news outlets, kept respected sources out of the White House, refused to appear on networks, and proclaimed with growing intensity the existence of “fake news”. If the intent is to create distrust of the media, then Trump seems to be succeeding. A recent Pew Research poll found that 64% of Americans say fake news causes “a great deal of confusion.” Indeed, some of…

In Jon Stewart’s Absence, All Politics Became Satire

There was a time when Jon Stewart was among the most trusted people in news. As comical as that statement sounds, it’s exactly what a 2007 Pew Research Center poll found. Stewart, who hosted “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central and never purported to be a journalist or news anchor, was nonetheless viewed as the one of the most reliable by a majority of respondents. Naturally, this said a lot about the political climate. Network news established itself in firm partisan camps. Depending upon which network one watched, there would…