Why America Needs Identity Politics

The debate about what lessons American progressives need to take from the 2016 election is just beginning. One of the first shots in that war was fired this month in an editorial by Mark Lilla, "The End of Identity Liberalism", that implores us to stop thinking or talking about race and gender so much. It leaves a lot to criticize:In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism's message and … [Read more...]

The Moral Ruin of Evangelicalism

According to exit polls, 81% of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. It's safe to say that most of them are happy with the outcome. But there's one question they may not have considered: What price did they pay for this victory?An article by Robert P. Jones, head of the Public Religion Research Institute, gives us the answer. They won the election, and all it cost them was their convictions:In 2011 and again just ahead of the election, PRRI asked Americans … [Read more...]

You Get What You Vote For

With a Republican Congress and president set to be seated in 2017, it's a good bet that all the coverage gains of Obamacare will be rolled back. Paul Ryan has been open about his desire to dismantle every piece of safety-net legislation since the Great Society, and it's likely that he's going to get his wish. That's very bad news for the residents of depressed Clay County, Kentucky:For Freida Lockaby, an unemployed 56-year-old woman who lives with her dog in an aging mobile home in … [Read more...]

Fellow White People, We Need to Talk

There are going to be countless post-mortems written about the 2016 election and what lessons we need to learn from it. Here's my contribution.Ultimately, there was nothing magical about Trump the candidate. He didn't win over huge numbers of Obama voters to his cause, he didn't tap into a hitherto unknown faction of the electorate, he didn't excite or energize people who were formerly uninterested in politics. He got about the same number of votes that Republican candidates always get, from … [Read more...]

The America I Thought I Knew

[Note: I've still got a lot of raw emotions, and this post is written in the spirit of catharsis. If that's not what you need right now, feel free to skip it. You may also like this one: Dear America, Stop Gaslighting Me]Over the last few days, I've been cycling back and forth through all the stages of grief, trying to come to terms with what's happened. I've come to realize that the reason that last week's election results were such a devastating and unexpected blow - even besides the … [Read more...]

How Liberal is Catholicism, Really?

Last month, I wrote about a Catholic church's attempt to rebrand itself as a hip, welcoming institution. At the time, I noted that the clergy were striving to broadcast an aura of tolerance without changing any of their actual rules.More recently, I mentioned a conservative archbishop urging liberal and moderate members to quit the church. Much debate ensued, but there was at least one person who felt I was being too harsh:Catholic social doctrine is only "conservative" on a very … [Read more...]

Why Liberal Catholics Should Leave the Church

I knew that the Catholic church was having recruitment problems, but not like this. Charles Chaput, the ultraconservative archbishop of Philadelphia, gave a speech in which he encouraged liberal and moderate Catholics to leave the church:"[W]e should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness."Losing people who are members of the church in name only is an imaginary loss," he continued. … [Read more...]

The Trumpist Rejection of Democracy

As the election careens to a close, Donald Trump is clinging tightly to denial, surrounding himself with worshipful crowds and blasting out e-mails about how his victory is imminent. But in quieter moments, it seems even he's getting a glimmer of the truth that he's headed for a landslide loss.We can tell that he knows this, because to salve his ego, he's been making a preemptive excuse: the election is going to be stolen from him through mass voter fraud. On the campaign trail in recent … [Read more...]

Hillary Clinton’s Silent Majority

With the 2016 presidential election less than a month away, Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead in the polls and in most swing states. In fact, she's been consistently in the lead this entire campaign. Barring some almost unimaginable last-minute change in the race, she's set to become the next president.Especially since decision day is so near, you'd think the media would find it worthwhile to delve into her base of support. Who's voting for Clinton and and why? What are their hopes and … [Read more...]

Women Deserve Equal Rights, Not Chivalry

Donald Trump's boasting about his ability to "grab [women] by the pussy" has opened the floodgates.Since those remarks came to light, corroborating stories are popping up all over. In a 2005 interview with Howard Stern, Trump chortled about how, at beauty pageants he owned, he would barge into the contestants' dressing rooms in the hope of seeing them naked. Five women in the Miss Teen USA pageant have confirmed that he did this to them - yes, peeping on teenagers.Other women have also … [Read more...]