Bernard

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Why is public support for the death penalty declining?

Fifty-five percent of US adults support the death penalty, according to a Pew Research Center analysis released Friday – down from a peak of 78 …

Americans, weary of war on drugs, prefer rehab to jail, poll says

In a significant shift, a new poll finds that two-thirds of Americans favor drug policies that emphasize treatment, not prison sentences, for those …

Black Pathology and the Closing of the Progressive Mind

How Jonathan Chait and other Obama-era liberals misunderstand the role of white supremacy in America's history and present<p>Among opinion writers, Jonathan Chait is outranked in my esteem only by Hendrik Hertzberg. This lovely takedown of Robert Johnson is a classic of the genre, one I studied …

What If Republicans Capture the Senate?

A winning midterm would encourage the GOP's worst impulses toward obstruction, hearten the 2016 presidential field, and bottle up Obama nominees.<p>Nate Silver is back, and back in the news. Silver’s appearance on ABC’s <i>This Week on Sunday</i>, where he said that if the election were held today, the …

Other People's Pathologies

Black culture and the culture of poverty are not the same thing.<p>Over the past week or so, Jonathan Chait and I have enjoyed an ongoing debate over the rhetoric the president employs when addressing African Americans. Here is my initial installment, Chait's initial rebuttal, my subsequent reply, and …

Cynicism-in-Public-Life Contest, John Roberts Edition

Life tenure in any public post is bad public policy, and other implications of the latest Supreme Court rulings<p>[<b>Update</b>: please see this follow-up item too.] If <i>People</i> magazine were based in D.C., instead of their Sexiest Man Alive specials they might run Most Cynical Person Alive contests. Obviously …

Race, Culture, and Poverty: The Path Forward

The point of writing isn't just to son or be sonned—it's to know more.<p>One thing that happens in the kind of debates we've just seen between myself and Jonathan Chait is that people count up points to see who's sonned who. I shall be honest here: I prefer to son than be sonned. But if the …

On Anger, Cynicism, and Public Discussion

A calmer version of a point about Chief Justice John Roberts<p>I have a several-day stretch ahead of being away from the Internet, but before I go I wanted to follow up on one point.<p>Some people liked, and some people very much did not like, an item I did late last night on Chief Justice John Roberts. …

Black Pathology Crowdsourced

Why we need historians in debates about today's cultures<p>I think it might help this discussion to offer some sense of how I came to my views on culture and white supremacy. I want to go back to the original piece I wrote, "A Culture of Poverty," and highlight an exchange I had in comments. Then I …

Obama Is Pulling a 'Reverse Reagan'

The Gipper managed to remain popular even as voters disliked many of his policies. With the Affordable Care Act on the rebound, the current president faces the opposite problem.<p>The president couldn't resist spiking the football over the Affordable Care Act. "Many of the tall tales that have been …

Now He Tells Us: John Paul Stevens Wants to Abolish the Death Penalty

The retired Supreme Court justice would like to add five words to the Eight Amendment and do away with capital punishment in America. It's a shame he didn't vote that way during his 35 years on the Supreme Court.<p>In his latest book, <i>Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution</i>, …

How to Secede From the Union, One Judicial Vacancy at a Time

By refusing to help fill the nation's empty trial benches, some senators are intentionally creating a vacuum of federal legal authority.<p>Secession can come in many forms—just ask anyone in Texas who cares to discuss the issue with you. One particularly effective strain currently wending its way …

Black Culture and Progressivism

What started as a discussion of Paul Ryan's comments has turned into a revealing debate on the nature of liberal politics in the United States.<p>Some pieces of news precipitate a kind of journalistic pile-on. This can be unfortunate, a reason to rue the deluge of opinion (see: drawn-out analysis of …

Campaign Finance and the Nihilist Politics of Resignation

Most Americans want to take money out of government but don't think it's possible. Here's a plan for overcoming our defeatism.<p>In the wake of the Supreme Court’s latest outrage, <i>McCutcheon v. FEC</i>, striking down aggregate limits on campaign contributions, reformers are asking an urgent question: Can …

Obama on Voter Suppression: The Right Speech in the Wrong Place

The president is right to speak out, but he needs to preach to someone other than the converted.<p>There was great truth in the stern message President Obama delivered Friday about Republican voter-suppression efforts around the country. These measures <i>are</i> pernicious and partisan. They <i>do</i> further …

This Is Us: Portrait of a Changing America

A nation in time, in seven charts.<p>Change is complex, particularly at the scale of a nation 300 million strong.<p>It doesn't proceed smoothly or at the same rate among all age, racial, or ethnic groups. And yet: some of the movements—like the increase in support of gay marriage or interracial …

I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway

A retired Major League Baseball player explains how he's trying to turn an upsetting encounter with the police into an opportunity for dialogue.<p>It was an otherwise ordinary snow day in Hartford, Connecticut, and I was laughing as I headed outside to shovel my driveway. I’d spent the morning …