A Memo to the Next President

Thirteen years ago, in summer 2007, I wrote a memo for the future president of the United States. The one who would take office in 2020. At the time, I had no idea who would win the 2008 elections, much less an election in the distant future. In summer 2007, Hillary Clinton was the Democratic frontrunner, ahead of second-place Barack Obama by as much as double digits. Rudy Giuliani was on top of...
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COVID-19 and the End of Autocrats

The outbreak of COVID-19 initially looked like a gift to autocrats around the world. What better pretext for a state of emergency than a pandemic? It was a golden opportunity to close borders, suppress civil society, and issue decrees left and right (mostly right). Donald Trump in the United States, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and others took advantage of the...
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Pandemic Reveals Europe More United Than United States

During the Trump era, America increasingly seems like a motley collection of states brought together for reasons of territorial contiguity and little else. The conservative South is ravaged by a pandemic. The liberal Northeast waits patiently for elections in November to oust a tyrant. A rebellious Pacific Northwest faces off against federal troops sent to “restore order.” The Farm Belt, the...
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Feds Attack!

Federal agents poured into Portland, Oregon this month to crack down on anti-racism protests. They beat up peaceful protesters and fired impact munitions at demonstrators, seriously injuring one of them. They drove around the city in unmarked vans pulling people off the street. Oregon officials at every level — the city, the state, and congressional representatives — have demanded that these...
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