Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Having a Partisan Thanksgiving

    I hope you've all had a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving. I was lucky to host this year, with both my wife's family and mine traveling here to scenic Ohio, and I was also the lucky cook. (I took over turkey and gravy a few years ago, but this was my first year doing the whole meal, and -- since people had traveled to see us -- also feeding the crew on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.) And I was lucky enough to avoid political arguments at the table, because no one in my family voted for Trump. But political arguments on Thanksgiving are not the end of the world.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    I'm Staying American. How About You?

    Because I love my country, Tuesday's election broke my heart. My fellow Americans -- less than half of us, but still too many -- turned their backs on what is best in our country to elect a man who has no love and no understanding of the things that make America great: freedom and equality.

    Somewhere between forty-seven and forty-eight percent of voters decided that they wanted a race-baiting authoritarian instead. Those voters turned out not to love the same country I do, not to love it for the reasons it is worth loving.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Vote for American Democracy. Vote Hillary.

    This Tuesday, I want to ask you to vote for something bigger than a person. I ask you to vote for the future of our country. I ask you to vote, as an American, for our democratic republic and for the constitutional political system that has preserved us from civil violence for the past hundred and fifty years. I ask you to keep faith with the American experiment. The best and only way to do that this year is to vote for Hillary Clinton.

    Vote for a country where we don't jail the loser of an election, or threaten to jail our political opponents.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Dylan's Nobel and the State of American Literature

    I was very pleased when Bob Dylan got the Nobel Prize today. But I understand a number of people were not. Almost immediately upon the announcement my social media stream was full of disgruntled poets complaining that Dylan should not be eligible for the prize. (The silver lining was that one of the talented poets I know was immediately pushing back on this.) And by mid-afternoon the websites of major periodicals were full of think pieces, ready for tomorrow's print editions, about why Dylan should not have won.

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    Hillary Clinton and the First Wives' Club

    So, Camp Trump has decided, again, that the smart thing to do is to go after Hillary Clinton because her husband was unfaithful to her. When you're facing an opponent who has had trouble being taken as human and sympathetic, what better way to go?

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Thinking: Not Just for "Elites"

    The pundits handicapping tonight's Trump-Clinton debate were slowly driving me insane, and now they've speeded up. The debate is not a fair fight, and should not be. A guy who doesn't know anything is supposed to lose a debate against a smart person who knows a lot. Anything that makes those people an "even" match is a fix. But the craven attempts to frame Trump v. Clinton as an even-money proposition has finally put my finger on something that's been bugging me for a long time: the insistence that being smart is elitist.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Why Art?

    Why study the arts? Some politicians ask the question as a joke, mocking this or that discipline as impractical. Those who defend the arts and humanities answer in economic terms, arguing for the rich and versatile skills one learns in the humanities classroom. I have made that economic case myself. As far as it goes, it is true. But it is not the only argument, and it does not go far enough.

    We need the humanities because we are human. We need the arts because we are mortal. We need art and poetry because everyone we love will some day die.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Balanced Coverage and Baseball

    So today, Paul Krugman told it like it is about the newspaper that employs him and its strange "balance via bias" coverage of the Clinton and Trump campaigns, in which the Grey Lady tries to give both candidates equivalent amounts of negative coverage.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Horse Race? Or Hindenburg?

    Donald Trump is clearly losing this election. What is the media going to do about it?

    Even Trump understands that he's way behind in the polls and that those polls are on the level. That's why he shook up his campaign staff this morning to make it more Trump-y. (New campaign motto: "Let Trump be Trump. We're out of other options.") He's doing much worse than Mitt Romney was four years ago, and Romney lost by a solid margin.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Outsourcing Political Violence: Trump and Daesh

    There are still three months to go and we've already gotten to the smirking-death-threats portion of our general election. I can't even say that I'm surprised Trump did it. I just never expected it so early, and I'm sickened by the thought of how much lower the man will sink by November 8. It will get even worse. I mean, of course it will. There's no doubt. But I'm not looking forward to it.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Watch Donald Crack

    I enjoyed that Democratic Convention a lot, and mostly for the right reasons. In fact, I'm still enjoying it, because I'm currently five time zones ahead of Philly time and so watch the major speeches the next day. [SPOILER ALERT: Don't tell me who they nominate in the finale!] The Democrats presented a positive vision about candidate, cause, and country: inspiring reminders about what they are about, what we are about, and what America is about. It's great, and also I'm walking around London with Stevie's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" stuck in my head. I am one happy Democrat.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Just a Thought (Democratic National Convention)

    It would really be great if DNC delegates would stop, you know, booing black people.

    End of post.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    RNC Cleveland: Local Grievance Edition

    Trump and his circus have left town, and so have I. But before I turn myself over entirely to watching the DNC on GMT, let me point out a few local Cleveland issues that bothered me about this convention. I've already blogged about the big stuff. Let me just get some Cleveland things off my chest.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    How Donald Is Screwing Up His Convention

    I've had enough of the Republican Convention. I'm getting out of Cleveland today and flying to London. So I won't see Trump's speech in real time. I'll just get the replays tomorrow, and spend the next two weeks reassuring frightened Brits that the end of the world is not approaching. (Someone, please, reassure me.)

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    What to Watch For

    So, they're finally here. After months of anxious preparation here in our city, the Republican National Convention has come to Cleveland. The city is as carefully groomed and as nervous as a teenager before the prom. The pedestrian walk on East 4th Street is filled with broadcast booths. High-end restaurants have turned into the temporary headquarters of Bloomberg or Twitter. The park in Public Square has been completely, and beautifully, renovated; we had to close it down for more than a year.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    She Was Never Getting Indicted. Really.

    So, Hillary Clinton is not getting indicted. The media presents this as a surprise. But it is pretty obvious that no major political actors are surprised. The press has talked for a year as if Clinton could possibly be indicted. The players (the national Democrats, the Republicans, the White House, the donors) have acted as if they knew she would not. Even politicians who publicly said that she was in danger of indictment acted as if she would not. The simplest answer here is that this story has not been covered honestly.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Losing the North: Republican Realignment

    People have been asking if we're seeing a realignment of American electoral politics, with Donald Trump  scrambling the campaign map. There are no real signs of that yet: polls show the presidential electoral map unchanged so far, with the Democrats and Republican leading in the same states they carried last time and the time before that. The real story is the realignment that has already happened, without fanfare, over the past quarter-century. This Fourth of July weekend I'd like to talk about Maine and Vermont.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Fairy Tale Promises: The Brexit, Conservatives, and Trump

    The shocking result of the "Brexit" referendum, with Britain leaving the European Union, has widely been taken as Good News for Donald Trump. He was happy to say so himself, and to attempt to take credit somehow for the referendum's success. And people have been panicking about the danger that Trump's campaign could beat the conventional wisdom just as the British "Leave" campaign did. That danger is probably overrated, as Jamelle Bouie points out: the UK is much whiter than the US, so the angry white vote doesn't carry as far here any more, and we should remember that the Brexit result wasn't really a surprise: "Leave" and "Remain" had been polling neck-and-neck down to the wire, so the 52-48 result wasn't unlikely. But Trump, who led the Republican primary polls wire to wire, is clearly behind in the general-election polls. On the other hand, it's easy to see Trump and the Brexiteers as part of a wider movement: angry nativist populists, hostile to policy experts and welcoming to xenophobes and racists.  That movement won't meet with the same success everywhere, but it's real.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Clinton: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

    Eight years ago, in what was really my first few months as a blogger, I opened a post like this:

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Trump and Consequences

    This seems to be the week that it began to sink in, even among the people who had bought into the conventional Beltway wisdom: Trump means what he says. And this is Trump, the only Trump there is. He's not going to "pivot toward the general election" like the wised-up insiders have been saying he would. He's not capable of change.

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