As time passes, the extent to which the Vietnam War split the American public recedes from memory. We generally recognize the war's futility at this point, after years of sending young men against their will into Southeast Asia to die fighting a mostly symbolic effort to curtail the spread of global communism. But the visceral effects of the damage it did have faded. About 41,000 American troops were killed in action, with more than 58,000 dying in the conflict overall -- a fraction of those killed overall, an unknowable figure that includes combatants from North and South Vietnam and uncountable hundreds of thousands of civilians in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
If you turned off Thursday night's Democratic debate at the halfway point, you might be forgiven for thinking Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton agreed on just about everything. The string of agreements began with Clinton's opening statement, in which she said she agreed with Sanders's positions on campaign finance reform and banking regulations.
The situation in Flint is bad. Very, very bad. It is hard-to-believe-this-is-happening-in-America bad, even for people who might not have huge faith in their country's government.
If you doubt that or remain fuzzy on the essential, non-political toll of Flint's water crisis , you really should take a moment and listen to this NPR story about a Flint woman -- wife and mother of two -- who must contemplate the number of bottles of water necessary to cook her family different meals and has noticed what she suspects are developmental differences between her older son and younger one. She filled her younger son's bottles with Flint's lead-laden tap water during the time that public officials insisted that it was safe.
This post has been corrected.
In one of his many references to the country's financial schism during Thursday night's Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders argued for splitting up "too big to fail" banks because, since almost failing, they'd only gotten bigger.
"When you have three out of the four largest financial institutions in this country bigger today than they were when we bailed them out because they were too big to fail," Sanders said, "when you have six financial institutions having assets equivalent to 58 percent of the GDP of America, while issuing two-thirds of the credit cards and a third of the mortgages -- look, I think if Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, that great trust-buster would have said 'break them up.'"
With the Iowa and New Hampshire contests in the books, political junkies can finally satisfy our appetite for “hard data” on who actual voters support for their party’s presidential nominations — and what is motivating their decisions.
So what questions, if any, have the first contests answered about the Democratic race for nomination so far and how the rest of it will play out?
Thousands packed into Baton Rouge arena to see Donald Trump and more still coming in. pic.twitter.com/3CMP4z367g
Donald Trump is best understood this way: He's not so much a political candidate as he is a cultural phenomenon. His celebrity, his brashness and his over-the-top rhetoric have turned his campaign appearances into happenings — events to which thousands and thousands flock to catch a glimpse of the man himself.
With Bernie Sanders's drubbing of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire in the rearview mirror, the Democratic race for president heads west -- to Nevada, which holds caucuses on Feb. 20. As in most post-New Hampshire states, polling suggests Clinton has a big lead in the state that she won narrowly over then-Sen. Obama in 2008. But most sharp political observers see the race as closer than the polls show. The sharpest of those observers in Jon Ralston, the undisputed king of political journalism in Nevada. I reached out to him to talk about the state of the race and whether Sanders has a chance to pull (another) upset. Our conversation, conducted via email and edited only for grammar, is below.
Jeb Bush was supposed to be doing better than this. He had name recognition, funding, experience and the respect of the Republican establishment. But his numbers have been in the basement for months, while Donald Trump has steadily remained the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.
Despite the large gap between their polling numbers, the Bush-Trump dynamic has become one of the most fiery relationships among the remaining Republican contenders (the brief pre-Iowa Trump-Cruz feud aside).
For all of Bernie Sanders’s success this campaign so far, there’s been one issue on which he still can’t seem to please his critics: Race relations.
Specifically, Sanders has struggled in his ability to talk — in detail — about what he’d do in response to the prevailing sense in America that race relations are getting worse, not better. For Sanders, the answer has often been simple. It lies in his core philosophy that if you tip the scales of income inequality away from billionaires and back toward the people, things will get better.
If you’re Hillary Clinton, the answer to the above question is: Very.
In Democrats’ sixth debate Thursday, she pointedly accused Sanders of getting personal in criticizing their party’s leader in the White House.
“The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president, I expect from Republicans,” Clinton said in the debate’s waning minutes. “I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama.”