Author Archives: politicaloptic

Trump-Nixon Parallels: Is History Repeating Itself?

In the unfolding inquiry into the Trump campaign’s Russian connections, one can’t help but see Trump-Nixon parallels. Trump’s firing of James Comey in the middle of an ongoing investigation bears obvious similarities with Nixon’s firing of Watergate investigator Archibald Cox. Not only do we … Continue reading

Posted in political strategy, populism, Trump administration, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Asymmetric Warfare: How Is It Working for Trump?

As two recent commentators have observed, Trump is a master of asymmetric warfare. Asymmetric warfare is a term used to describe tactics adopted by a weaker force against a stronger one, normally in a military setting. The typical example is of a guerrilla … Continue reading

Posted in political strategy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Will Trump Exploit a Terrorist Attack for His Own Ends?

Because Trump’s tweets are spontaneous, they provide a useful indicator–a kind of Rohrschack Test–of his fundamental instincts. One recent tweet, reacting to the Federal Court’s  blockade of his immigration executive order, was nothing less than a wake-up call for concerned Americans. Trump tweeted: “Just … Continue reading

Posted in media, political rhetoric, politics of extremism, Trump administration | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hillbilly Elegy: J. D. Vance’s Personal Take on White Working-Class America

J.D. Vance’s recent book, Hillbilly Elegy, puts a spotlight on the crisis of white working-class America. It is a memoir of a young man who grew up in a culture of poverty and dysfunction but who, with a little help and some grit, eventually … Continue reading

Posted in book review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Questions for Betsy DeVos

Everyone has a right to their own opinions. This statement applies to billionaire Republican Betsy DeVos as much as any American. Nonetheless, Mrs. DeVos’s record as an aggressive lobbyist of tax-subsidized private education and her open hostility to public schools raises obvious questions about her qualifications to … Continue reading

Posted in education, privatization, Trump administration | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Team of Wreckers

Donald Trump campaigned as the man who would shake up Washington. He was the anti-candidate, the enemy of political correctness, the scourge of the establishment, the “only one” who could turn things around. With hyperbole and swagger, Trump presented himself as the agent of … Continue reading

Posted in alt-right, politics of extremism, Trump administration | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Approaching the Coming Trump Administration

It’s been a rough few weeks for democrats and progressives in the wake of a shocking electoral loss. It has not been easy to absorb. Part of the reason is that we on the left have been a bit too smug … Continue reading

Posted in political strategy, privatization | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Massachusetts Question 2 on Charter School Expansion: Not Just About Education But Democracy

Trump v. Clinton may be the big story of of 2016, but let us not forget some of the critical issues down the ballot this year. A prominent example is Massachusetts’ Question 2 on charter school expansion. The initiative potentially affects not just the … Continue reading

Posted in education, privatization | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump Would Likely Do to America What Berlusconi Did to Italy

While many of Donald Trump’s supporters concede that he is crude and dangerous, they justify voting for him because they believe he could “shake up” Washington. Trump, they claim, would not act like a typical corrupt politician because he is too rich to … Continue reading

Posted in corruption | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Populism and Donald Trump

Historically, the term populism described a movement of farmers and workers formed in the 1890s to counter America’s corporate monopolies. Its purpose was to put a leash on unbridled economic power. Spurred on by the anger of common people, the movement spelled out a clear … Continue reading

Posted in populism | Tagged | Leave a comment