Tom Baxter has written about politics and the South for more than four decades. He was national editor and chief political correspondent at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and later edited The Southern Political Report, an online publication, for four years. Tom was the consultant for the 2008 election night coverage sponsored jointly by Current TV, Digg and Twitter, and a 2011 fellow at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. He has written about the impact of Georgia’s and Alabama's immigration laws in reports for the Center for American Progress. Tom and his wife, Lili, have three adult children and seven grandchildren.
When you think how much lip service has been paid to education issues over the years, it’s striking how many of the interested parties have been caught flat-footed this year, when our schools really became big news.
The legislative year hasn’t ended yet in a lot of states, and the evidence isn’t overwhelming. But based at least on the reduction in material they’ve provided late-night monologues, lawmakers around the country seem to be going about their business with significantly less posturing this election year.
The political persona Zell Miller shaped through years of trial and error emphasized the parts that he shared with the broadest swath of what he thought of as his people. But he was more complicated than that.
We’re Terminus. We’re a town which has defined itself as a relay point, vital to the business of getting people and stuff from one place to another. So it’s fitting that the future of transportation is arriving here, not in the next decade or next year, but this week.
By far the weirdest story in the world this year — it makes “The Shape of Water” sound plausible — begins with a little critter which lives only on the tributaries of the Satilla River in Georgia and Florida.
Chances are you’ve read at least a little about the President’s father, Fred Trump. But the story of his grandfather, Freidrich, sheds a more interesting light on one of the main preoccupations of the Trump presidency.
Out of all the schools that have been shot up in this country, what was it about this one that has caused the reaction to differ from those in the past? The answer has to do with location, bandwith, and South Florida attitude.
Could the #MeToo Movement, the daily White House shenanigans over spousal abuse and all the other gender-related stories that preoccupy us be part of something much, much, much bigger? Steve Bannon thinks so.
You don’t often hear of politicians worrying there may not be enough reporters to cover them, but Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam did so last week in a speech. Could the nation’s richest governor be thinking about some kind of media startup when he leaves office?
Gerrymandering was once a kind of artisanal branch of politics. The late U.S. Rep. Phil Burton was said to have single-handedly redrawn the 1970 congressional map of California armed with nothing more than a stack of telephone books and his encyclopedic knowledge of the political landscape of his state. But computerization has turned it into a cold science. This year, the U.S. Supreme Court will try again to decide when gerrymandering goes too far.
This federal shutdown had a ratings problem, which is probably the reason it didn’t last long. We should be talking about this week’s government impasse as if it were a TV show, because at the most fundamental level that’s what it was.
Stuck in a middle-row seat on a flight from Johannesburg to London last year, I watched my first Nollywood movie, “30 Days in Atlanta.” It came to mind last week in the uproar over President Trump’s scatological remarks about the countries we were flying over.
Nollywood is the nickname for Nigeria’s boisterous film scene, which thrives on low-budget, madcap romantic comedies like “30 Days in Atlanta.” The movie’s about an unpolished bumpkin named Akpos and his more urbane cousin, an IT specialist, who win a 30-day trip to Atlanta at a party for the opening of a fancy new real estate development in Lagos. Ayo Makun, who plays Akpos, also produced the film, which was a box office smash across much of Africa.
For a few crystalline moments in Atlanta Monday night, opposite poles of our tightly stretched American culture, the tweeter Donald Trump and the rapper Kendrick Lamar, came into rare convergence, for a game that under other circumstances you figure neither would have understood or cared about. The verbal stabs of rapping and tweeting, Trump style, have a lot in common, but they speak to opposite sides of the divide which has absorbed so much political energy over the past few decades.
Underneath the numbers in the Republican tax bill there has always been a fundamental political calculation that simple is good: that no matter whether they get much of a tax cut, Americans will like taxes that are easier to do. That proposition is about to be tested.
The shock and outrage expressed by outside observers over the Alabama Senate race is only the latest of many cases in which the state has played this role. But as Herman Melville observed 160 years ago, Alabamians are stoutly resistant to moral condemnation.
In that great gettin’-up evening, when the Republican Party’s biggest check writers at last got what they thought they’d already paid for, there were a lot of scenes you’re likely to see revisited in political battles across the country next year.
Here’s a startling and largely unreported development which tells us a lot, indirectly, about what’s going down this week in Washington on tax reform. This year, investors have put more money into the initial offerings for crypto currencies than they have into all the initial public offerings for U.S. companies that came onto the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.
Repeatedly over the past few weeks, commentators have remarked that we’re going through a moment. However you define what a moment is, it has a lot to do with the way news gets made in the 21st Century.