Kuttner on TAP

Some Good News, From Munich of All Places

Bavaria has been one of the hotbeds of neo-fascist resurgence in Germany, mainly as a backlash against the Merkel government’s relatively tolerant policy toward refugees. Merkel’s coalition partner, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), has moved sharply to the right in the hope of heading off gains by the far-right AfD. So who do you think was the biggest gainer in Sunday’s Bavarian election? The pro-immigrant Green Party, that’s who. And in Hitler's former stomping grounds, Bavaria's capital of [...]

By | 2018-10-15T14:08:10+00:00 October 15th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Depart, I Say, and Let Us Have Done with You

That’s what Oliver Cromwell said to the Long Parliament in 1653. In May 1940, the British Conservative M.P. Leo Amery flung the same words at Neville Chamberlain, demanding that Hitler’s appeaser step down as British prime minister. The words came back to me as I read about the paid speaking tour just announced by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The 13-city tour, billed as "An Evening with the Clintons," begins two weeks after the midterm elections. And billed is right. [...]

By | 2018-10-12T19:01:29+00:00 October 12th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Why Dems Should Push Antitrust

The Trump Justice Department has just approved a $69 billion merger between the CVS drug chain and the insurance giant Aetna. The advertised benefit of this and other mergers in the health, hospital, and insurance sectors is that it will cut costs and increase efficiencies. Keep your hand on your wallet, gentle consumer. No business pursues a merger to control costs. Behemoth corporations merge in order to increase market power. Insurance companies have merged to increase pricing power. Likewise [...]

By | 2018-10-10T23:35:37+00:00 October 10th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Trade Deal: A Mixed Bag. Will It Help Him Politically?

You probably haven’t paid close attention to the details of the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, and who can blame you? It is blindingly technical and complex. (And if you are reading this post, you are far more of a policy junkie than most voters.) That’s Trump’s gamble. He wins on the headlines—he was tough with both the Mexicans and the Canadians, and few people pay attention to the fine print. What’s in the fine print? Some good stuff [...]

By | 2018-10-09T18:26:44+00:00 October 9th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Which Party Will Kavanaugh Help in November?

The first thing to keep in mind is that turnout invariably drops between a presidential election and the next midterms. So 2018 is mainly a battle over two questions: Which party will do a better job of mobilizing its 2016 voter base? And what will happen in swing districts? On a net basis, the Kavanaugh affair could bring out hardcore Trump voters outraged that the judge is being accused of a sexual episode dating back to high school. Or [...]

By | 2018-10-05T22:37:10+00:00 October 5th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Civility Won’t Save Us

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, a reliable tribune of the conventional wisdom, bemoans the rise of Republican tribalist obstruction in a column titled "The American Civil War, Part II." "What stops it?" Friedman asks. "When a majority of Americans, who are still center-left or center-right, come together and vote only for lawmakers who have the courage to demand to stop it." This is not only naïve, but wildly implausible. In theory, one could imagine, say, a Jeff Flake [...]

By | 2018-10-03T22:08:30+00:00 October 3rd, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

How the Trolls Stole the 2016 Election

Russian meddling did in fact throw the 2016 election to Donald Trump. That’s the finding of an exhaustive study by the respected scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson. This mostly occurred, neither by rigging ballots nor by leaking damaging material, but by creating fake groups and fake news. Just one item, among dozens of carefully researched examples, should persuade you. At one point, a fake online group, “Blacktivist,” created by Russian intelligence specifically to drive black support away from Hillary Clinton, [...]

By | 2018-10-01T17:51:50+00:00 October 1st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Kavanaugh: Trump with Better Hair

Did Brett Kavanaugh’s performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee remind you of anyone? The alpha-male bullying? The successful efforts to intimidate? The outright lies? This was not just the Clarence Thomas playbook. It was the Trump playbook. And, like Trump’s performances in the 2016 debates with other Republican candidates, it worked all too well. Most of Kavanaugh’s Democratic interrogators were cowed into inept submissiveness, while Kavanaugh's performance reinforced Republican tribalism. Autocratic swagger—Trump, McConnell, Kavanaugh—is now the governing style in [...]

By | 2018-09-28T17:29:48+00:00 September 28th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

A Close-Run Thing

The Duke of Wellington, speaking to a colleague about his victory at Waterloo in 1815, which ended the Napoleonic Wars, described it as a "the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life." Historians have simplified the remark as "a close-run thing." Watching what may or may not be a turning point in the Trump presidency this week, it occurs to me how often history is a close-run thing. Brett Kavanaugh may or may not go down, because of [...]

By | 2018-09-26T10:53:39+00:00 September 26th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Spreading Regional Wealth Around

Last spring, the Prospect published an important piece by Jordan Ecker, which pointed to the hyper-geographic concentration of new economic growth and the fact that too much of America was left behind (feeding Trumpism), and asked what policies might spread the growth around. Last week, our friend, the sociologist Arlie Hochschild, pointed the way to one answer. In a superb piece for The New York Times titled "Silicon Holler," Hochschild wrote about fledgling efforts to get tech companies to [...]

By | 2018-09-24T22:13:27+00:00 September 24th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments