Today's Liberal News

David A. Graham

Only Congress Could Give Us a Matt Gaetz

Last week, Representative Matt Gaetz tweeted that if he were ever engulfed in scandal, he wanted it to be called “Gaetzgate.” (The Floridian was replying to a groaner of an Elon Musk pun that he seemed to have missed; that lack of perceptiveness was an omen.)Gaetz got his wish quickly, and then some. First, there’s reportedly a federal criminal investigation into whether the 38-year-old Gaetz paid women for sex and whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

Why Ships Keep Crashing

When a big jet airplane crashes, it almost always makes headlines around the world, and for good reason: Fatal passenger accidents are extremely rare. Right now, though, the eyes of the world are on the Ever Given, the massive container ship still stubbornly lodged between the banks of the Suez Canal.

What Biden’s First Press Conference Revealed

Joe Biden has a reputation as a softie—grandfatherly if you’re inclined toward him, somewhat windy and elderly if you aren’t. But when he reached for a phrase to define his approach to office during his first press conference, held today, he didn’t pick an Irish poet or an American statesman. Instead, he quoted the hardheaded Teutonic conservative known as the “Iron Chancellor”: “Politics is the art of the possible,” Biden said.

The Republican Party’s Irrational War on Voting Rights

In February, Arizona state senators tried to have the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors thrown in jail.The legislators had demanded that the county officials hand over documents relating to the 2020 presidential election in the state, which Democrat Joe Biden won by fewer than 11,000 votes. Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, had already audited its results and found no evidence of fraud. The board argued that it was not legally allowed to hand over the ballots themselves.

The Republican Party Isn’t Going Anywhere

After the 2002 midterm elections, in which Republicans defied history and added to their House majority, excited GOP figures began speaking of a “permanent majority,” or at least one that would last a generation. George W. Bush’s reelection victory two years later affirmed that Democrats were in disarray: The era of big government was over, Bill Clinton had left a vacuum behind, and Republicans were ascendant.

What’s the Justice Department Actually For?

This time around, Judge Merrick Garland is getting his hearing.Not only is President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general receiving a Senate audience, but his confirmation seems very likely, a second difference from his 2016 nomination to the Supreme Court, which was stymied by then–Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.But there’s still an important question at stake in Garland’s nomination, and if confirmed, in his work as attorney general.

Why Jamie Raskin’s Speech Resonated

The emotional high point of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial probably came in its first hours.Closing out the opening presentation from the Democratic House managers, Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland offered a powerful speech in which he choked back tears as he recalled the attempted coup of January 6.

They Should Have Taken Them at Their Word

They never saw it coming.Ben Goldey resigned as Representative Lauren Boebert’s communications director after the January 6 attempted coup. Lauren Blair Bianchi quit the same job in Senator Ted Cruz’s office. George Erwin Jr. had rallied local law-enforcement backers for Representative Madison Cawthorn and was preparing to take a job working for him, but has now disavowed him.

This Impeachment Is Different

Maybe the second time’s the charm.This afternoon, Donald Trump, the third president in American history to be impeached, became the first to be impeached twice. The House of Representatives voted 232–197 to impeach Trump for inciting the attempted coup on January 6 and for trying to overturn Joe Biden’s election as president. The matter now goes to the Senate, where a trial is unlikely before Biden’s January 20 inauguration.

Why Are Republicans Being So Divisive?

This is a moment for healing and unity. The nation has been through a lot over the past few weeks and days, and it can scarcely afford more fractiousness. This is not a moment for partisan posturing, trying to gain a political advantage, or exploiting divisions.Just ask most GOP members of the House of Representatives.

Is Trump Actually Still in Control?

Who is steering the American ship of state?This isn’t a philosophical question; we’ve spent four years wondering about the roots and motivations of Trumpism. It’s a specific question: Who is in charge right now when the White House has to make a decision?On paper, the answer is simple: Until noon on January 20, Donald Trump is the president. Then Joe Biden will be sworn in and become president. In practice, matters are less clear.

The Insurrectionists Would Like You to Know That They’re the Real Victims

History is rewritten by the self-styled victims.Even after more than four years of rationalizing and excusing every violation by the president, Donald Trump’s enablers have their work cut out for them this week, after a mob incited by Trump sacked the U.S. Capitol, disrupted constitutional order, and killed a police officer. But, undeterred, they are still energetically devoted to the task.

Don’t Let Them Pretend This Didn’t Happen

Remember what yesterday’s attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol was like. Very soon, someone might try to convince you that it was different. Maybe someone already has.This has been a leitmotif of the Trump administration: Donald Trump does something outrageous and inappropriate, maybe even illegal. Immediately, there are horrified reactions from across the political spectrum, but pretty quickly, the anger fades.

Trump’s Erratic Election-Eve Rally

During an election-eve rally in Dalton, Georgia, Monday night, President Donald Trump offered a wide range of lies, conspiracy theories, and hogwash, but he also said one thing that was unimpeachably true.“I don’t do rallies for other people,” he said. “I do rallies for me.”Ostensibly, Trump was in Georgia to campaign for Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the two Republicans running to keep their seats in a runoff on Tuesday.

This Is the Cost of a Failed Impeachment

If your memory can reach back to the time before COVID-19—no shame if it can’t—you may recall the last big story before the pandemic struck: the impeachment of President Donald Trump.In December 2019, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, all stemming from a ploy in which he attempted to extort the Ukrainian government into assisting his reelection campaign.

Trump Failed to Protect America

As he accepted the Republican nomination for president in summer 2016, Donald Trump promised, “We will make America safe again.”“The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its citizens,” he said. “Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.

Trump’s Last Stand Is a Lost Cause

In the next few days, President Donald Trump will have to make a decision about what to do with the National Defense Authorization Act. It’s a clunky name for a straightforward bill—it dictates how the military budget is spent—and it used to be what was known as “must-pass” legislation, because no Congress would dare fail to fund the troops, and no president would dare veto it.

Bill Barr’s Departure Reveals the Hollowness of Trumpism

In most ways, it would be hard to find two men much more different than Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr: One is a slow-drawling anti-immigration fanatic from Alabama; the other is a dry, intellectually engaged bagpiper from New York. One spent his career on the fringes of conservatism before a sudden late-career elevation to the Cabinet; the other is a consummate establishment figure who led the Justice Department twice, three decades apart.

The GOP Abandons Democracy

When Donald Trump was granted a coat of arms for his Scottish golf courses in 2012 (after a lengthy court battle, of course), he chose as its motto “Numquam concedere”: Never concede. He has not, even as it has become clear that he lost the presidential election by a wide margin.In the first few weeks after the election, anonymous Republicans and White House officials insisted that Trump’s lack of a concession was no reason for alarm.

Trump Is Rapidly Becoming Irrelevant

“When can we stop thinking about Trump every minute?” the New York Times columnists Gail Collins and Bret Stephens asked yesterday. As usual with such queries, the correct answer is “What do you mean ‘we’?” To a remarkable degree, people have already stopped paying attention to the 45th president.

Why a 41-Year-Old Record About Fascism Matters Now

By 1979, Elvis Costello had established himself as an acerbic songwriter with a penchant for pungent turns of phrase, a sort of New Wave Bob Dylan. Critics adored his wordplay, and audiences made his first two records big hits. But when Costello delivered his third album, in January of that year, it was a reproach to anyone who thought they had figured out his shtick. Armed Forces represented a leap for the English singer and his band, the Attractions—a harmonic and sonic transformation.

Trump Is Getting More Desperate—And More Dangerous

The good news is that President Donald Trump’s attempts to defy the results of the election and remain in office keep falling flat. In court after court, judges have ruled against the Trump campaign and tossed out its lawsuits. Today, Georgia certified Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the state’s presidential electors, after a federal judge yesterday rejected a prominent conservative lawyer’s suit seeking to block certification.

The Deafening Silence of Republican Leaders

The waiting is over. Now comes … the waiting.The first stage of the presidential interregnum, from Tuesday night through Saturday, was the slow but inexorable march toward Joe Biden being declared the winner of the presidential race. No one knew quite when that would happen, but there was an objective end point: whenever enough votes were counted for the outcome to be clear.The second stage is stranger and more open-ended.

Trump Is the Loser

Donald Trump leaves the White House briefing room on November 5. (Carlos Barria / The Atlantic)“We’re going to win so much that you’re going to be sick and tired,” Donald Trump promised in 2016. Over the next four years, the American people did get sick (nearly 10 million of them so far from COVID-19), and they did get tired, and in the end they decided they’d had enough.

The Nightmare Is Real

Updated at 2:36 a.m. ET on November 4, 2020.The 2020 election has been the most anticipated in generations—and for now the result of the contest between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will have to go on being anticipated a little longer.With most polls closed around the nation, it is clear that Democratic dreams of a quick and decisive Biden victory were just as much an illusion as the president’s hope for a clear-cut win.

Trump’s Second Term Will Be Nothing Like His First

When a president is running for a second term, elections tend to look like a contest between change (a new candidate) and more of the same (the incumbent).But 2020 doesn’t fit the mold. As aberrant as Donald Trump’s first term in office has been, a second term might be a more radical departure from the past four years than even a comparative return to normalcy under Joe Biden would be. In other words, this is a change election either way—the question is what kind of change.

Anonymous Failed

When a “senior official” in the Trump administration published an op-ed in The New York Times in September 2018, detailing how he and others had worked to sabotage President Donald Trump, it seemed like an important moment for the emerging “resistance” movement.No longer was it only angry liberals, disaffected moms, and disillusioned old-school Republicans. Suddenly we had evidence of the resistance inside the very halls of power.

It’s All About the Investigation

Donald Trump is trying to run his favorite play one more time: spreading unverified but salacious accusations, demanding that they be investigated, and then using the fact of the investigation to convince the public that something must be wrong. The biggest unanswered question of this election, with just 11 days to go, is whether he can pull it off one more time.

Biden Seizes Trump’s Populist Mantle

“What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people,” President Donald Trump said during his inaugural address. “January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”But in the final debate of his first term, Trump forgot them.

Trump Takes Off the Mask

What is more shocking: the words or the images?The words are astonishing, to be sure.“I learned so much about coronavirus. One thing that’s for certain, don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment.