Category Archives: Columns

Newspaper columns, Bangor Daily News

Is it time to ditch Maine’s presidential caucuses?

Last weekend Maine saw yuuuge turnout in the Republican and Democratic presidential caucuses — a yuuuge turnout for caucuses, that is. Sen. Ted Cruz scored a surprise win, as he beat Gov. Paul LePage’s preferred candidate, Donald Trump. With his very strong showing, Sen. Bernie Sanders added to his wins in mostly white states. This […]

‘The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.’ Welcome to the 2016 election.

No two times or elections are identical. But American pasts loom large as the 2016 presidential election takes shape. On the Democratic side, the contrast between Progressives and Populists is on full display. The Republican side is combining the flavor of Dixiecrats and George Wallace with opposition to the policies of the most accomplished Democratic […]

How a British philosopher explained Clinton vs. Sanders in 1953

Forget the polls and pundits for awhile. If you’re following the Democratic nomination, you’re better off getting insight from a 20th-century British philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, who wrote that you can classify thinkers into two groups. One knows lots of little things and another knows one big thing. Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ voting records are […]

LePage’s racist remarks make it harder to solve Maine’s most pressing problem

When Gov. Paul LePage made comments last week that caused a national uproar, he was sincerely addressing Maine’s grave problems with heroin addiction and deaths. But sincerity is not enough. When combined with defensiveness, it’s counterproductive. The governor has a tendency to portray himself as the only one who cares and has the right answers. […]

There are no magic wands in American politics

As those who celebrate Christmas take down their decorations, some wonder how much longer the children in their lives will believe in Santa Claus. While we all eventually put aside childhood’s mythological figures, a political version may persist for how government works — the magic wand theory of American politics, the idea that some politicians […]

Why the Republican establishment is freaking out

After four months of Donald Trump leading Republican primary polls, 20 Republican leaders gathered over dinner last week to talk about an astonishing option for their national convention. According to The Washington Post, “several longtime Republican power brokers argued that if the controversial billionaire storms through the primaries, the party’s establishment must lay the groundwork […]