about this journal

don't vote third-party

It’s a matter of squandering democracy, not votes

The purpose of voting is not to tell the state your innermost wishes, which the state has no business asking. The purpose is to make collective decisions. If a candidate definitely can’t win, our collective decision as to that candidate has been made: that’s what “no chance of winning” means. If there are two still-viable candidates, use your vote to pick between them.

Voting is not like getting ice cream, where if you don’t like the flavors, you can leave. As a citizen, you’re not just a customer — you’re a co-owner. The “shop” is no less yours if your ideas for it have not caught on. The shop is on fire; will you pace around with a placard, or get a bucket?

sabotaging rallies is wrong

Sabotaging Trump rallies does nobody any good, and could help him

Much as I want to see President Trump defeated in November, I’m appalled by efforts to sabotage his rallies. Rally attendance is core political expression. Stopping others’ expression, whether by physically blocking rally entrances or by hoarding tickets to keep them from would-be attendees, strikes at our core values of free expression and personal autonomy.

We’re free to try to persuade others not to back Trump. If they choose not to heed us, and choose to proclaim their choice, by what right should we stop them?

Reports of Trump opponents sabotaging one rally in Tulsa, Okla., help the president write off as sabotage any campaign failures: flopped rallies, weak polls, even an election loss. Not knowing Trump’s true support can confound his rivals, as happened in 2016. But the main reason not to adopt sleazy tactics is that doing so entrenches Trumpism. If we oust Trump while normalizing his brand of pursuing power at all costs, what will we have won?

impeachment safeguards elections

‘Corrupt Motives’ Charge Will Haunt Politics

When debating whether to make presidents impeachable, the founders noted: “If he be not impeachable whilst in office, he will spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected” (Constitutional Convention, Madison Debates, July 20, 1787). Clearly, at least some “efforts or means” were considered beyond the pale. If wielding state power against challengers was not, what was?

Jews' self-determination

Trump parrots anti-Semitic tropes while purporting to protect Jewish Americans

The new definition of anti-Semitism includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.” Telling Jews by executive order what their “national origin” is constitutes exactly such a denial.

It also reinforces the anti-Semitic trope that Jews’ loyalty is to Israel and not to the country where they are nationals.

impeachment and voters

Impeachment Inquiry Becomes Reality TV

To respond to your editorial statement that this should “all be left to the judgment of American voters in 2020”: Voters don’t have subpoena powers or the power to compel true testimony on pain of perjury. Only Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry has the tools to expose wrongdoing.

While the public record so far may not establish a definite case for impeachment, neither did the public record at the start of the Richard Nixon impeachment inquiry. Had Nixon faced another election, could voters have properly judged him without the “smoking gun tape” the inquiry unearthed?

tax returns and ballot access

California’s anti-Trump tax law is Putin-level election meddling

As a Democrat, I am distressed that my party has joined Republicans in erecting barriers to voting. (“California’s bill requiring candidates to show their tax returns is partisan and counterproductive,” editorial, July 30)

If people want to vote for a candidate despite a flaw -- be it financial opaqueness or any other -- by what right should the state stop them?

In 2016, the new California election law requiring any candidate to release five years of tax returns in order to appear on the primary ballot would have erased more than 1.6 million votes cast for Donald Trump. Had Russian hackers erased this many votes, would we consider the election legitimate?

trump tells critics to "go back to the country they came from"

Trump’s Slur Against Four Congresswomen

I can’t go back to the country I came from, the U.S.S.R., which no longer exists. But some aspects of President Trump’s tenure — campaigns against “enemies of the people,” cultivation of the leader’s personality cult, calculated ostracism of ethnic minorities — are bringing my old country right back to me.