The debate that didn’t go there

We’ve now had the first debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates for president on the serious issues facing our country. So first, let’s talk about Gennifer Flowers.
She matters, because throughout his campaign for president, Donald Trump has in various ways tantalized audiences with the expectation that when he finally got on a debate stage with the woman some of his younger supporters have hated all their lives, he would “go there.” He didn’t.

Are we better off? It’s complicated

As Donald Trump observed a dozen years ago, “It just seems the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans.” There was fresh evidence last week, that this was not the Republican presidential nominee’s most outlandish statement on record.

When dynasties collide on the presidential stage

The Mercers are important people, but most Americans hadn’t heard of them before Rebekah Mercer pulled off what amounts to a fire-sale takeover of the Trump presidential campaign. The Mercers highlight one of the dominant features of this campaign: the rise importance of non-traditional family dynasties.

Campaign tampering: Much more serious than a spy thriller

When Richard Condon published “The Manchurian Candidate” in 1959, brainwashing was a popular but poorly understood subject of fascination and Communist China was more closed to the West than North Korea is today. The plot he spun, of devious foreign powers plotting to hijack a U.S. presidential election by programming a war hero to assassinate a candidate, seemed both chilling and distant in its plausibility. But now we’re in a different place.

Thursday night update: A clear, and liberal, speech

For the historic moment in which she became the first woman to accept the nomination of a major party, Hillary Clinton opted for elegant simplicity, and history will probably approve her choice. Clinton must have been the first nominee of her party to give her acceptance speech clad entirely in white. Her speech was clear, direct, and never on the defensive.

Wednesday night update: “The things that last”

This was the night designed by the Democrats to make the case that Donald Trump is just a little too screwy to trust with the keys to the nation’s nuclear arsenal, and what better setup could there have been than Trump suggesting Russian intelligence might help bring Hillary Clinton’s missing emails to the surface?


Tuesday night update: This time, Bill was no Michelle Obama

The former president’s speech Tuesday night, capping off an evening marked by the nomination of his wife as the first woman presidential candidate of a major American political party, was long — long — on details about his wife’s accomplishments, but never seemed to reach the high notes the First Lady hit so effortlessly on the convention’s first night.

COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR crash the Democrats’ party

What a movie this campaign will make, if they are still able to make movies by the time it’s over.

COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR are a pair of Russian hacker groups, well known in intelligence circles but not to the general public until the recent hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer system. They are widely thought to be the source of the 20,000 emails which Wikileaks released last Friday, just ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Thursday night update: A message aimed at an impatient America

Have I got a deal for you, the nominee said, in so many words. What was remarkable about Donald Trump’s much-awaited nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night wasn’t how many promises he made — most nomination speeches are chock full of those. Instead it was the blinding speed with which he promised to carry them out.