One way of looking at the speed with which Congress and President Trump overwhelmingly approved the $2 trillion stimulus package to address the corona-virus crisis is that the times demanded bipartisanship, and Congress proved itself up to the challenge. The Senate voted 96 to 0 and the House voted by voice acclamation to approve the … Continue reading Covid-19 Ushers in New Era, So Far Characterized By Bipartisan Cooperation
For all the incivility and demonization in contemporary American politics. there was a period when it was much more savage. Back in the 1830s through the 1850s, congressional battles over slavery descended into violence — duels, caning, pistol-whipping and threatening to slash an opponent with a knife. Of course, this was just prior to the … Continue reading Incivility and Polarization in American Politics Have Been Much Worse
With impeachment in the news, visitors are crowding to the east Tennessee home and museum of President Andrew Johnson, NPR reports. He was temperamentally erratic, vain, vulgar, vindictive, defiant, the first president to be impeached, served as president after Abraham Lincoln's assassination in April 1865 until March 1869 (never winning a popular election). He was … Continue reading In Era of Trump, Renewed Interest in President Andrew Johnson and His 1868 Impeachment
In assessing the impeachment and Senate trial of President Trump, many observers mainly remember the impeachment of President Clinton, which backfired politically against Republicans in the short-term. They lost congressional seats in the 1998 midterms. But impeaching Clinton helped them win the extremely close presidential election of 2000, George W. Bush against Clinton's vice president, … Continue reading Does Impeachment History Provide Guide for Future? Yes and No
Should politicians be able to choose their voters using computer programs that analyze voting patterns of Democrats and Republicans down to the neighborhood and street level? The Supreme Court ruled narrowly, by 5 to 4, in 2019 that outlawing such a practice is "beyond the scope" of the high court and would greatly expand the … Continue reading Should Gerrymandering Be Legal?
"Today’s Congress might find a way out of the weeds by taking a few lessons from the First Congress, which met first in New York and later in Philadelphia, from 1789 to 1791 in an atmosphere hardly less conflicted than the present-day, and was charged with the daunting task of turning the parchment plan of … Continue reading What the First Congress Can Teach Us
Senator William Fulbright, privately a liberal on civil rights, explained his opposition to civil rights to the press. "Boys, do you LIKE being reporters? Well, I LIKE being a Senator!" Of COURSE you may lose the next election if you have the guts to vote for what is right rather than chuckling under to the … Continue reading Does A Representative Owe You His Conscience Or Simply to Represent You?
It is so easy to forget that there was a time when Lyndon Johnson, for all his flaws; the Kennedys, for all their flaws; Congress, for all its institutional inertia and perceived corruption, and Republican leaders, for all their flaws, put short-term self-interest aside and acted heroically in the nation's interests, under pressure from heroic … Continue reading When LBJ, the Kennedys, Civil Rights Leaders, Congress and Republicans Joined Together and Acted Heroically
President Lyndon Johnson's definitive biographer Robert Caro, in his memoir Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing reveals not only the methods of a premier historian but that Lyndon Johnson stole the senatorial election of 1948 in Texas that ultimately led him to the presidency. Wading through 32 million papers in the LBJ Library in Austin, Caro followed … Continue reading If Lyndon Johnson Did Not Steal the Senatorial Election of 1948…
A Lansing, MI eighth grade social studies teacher has created role-playing exercises in which students hold a model constitutional convention; a bare-knuckle debate in Congress over slavery; and debates over whether the US has lived up to "core democratic values" such as equality, liberty, and diversity. Spotlighted in the NYT as part of an examination … Continue reading Debating Contemporary Issues in Social Studies and Civics Classes Adds Drama and Relevance