Author Archives: Mike Lofgren

Must they have so little dignity?

Reince Priebus’ fall is a sad metaphor for Trump’s America.

Arthur Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon” is considered one of the great political novels of the last century, but it is also very puzzling. Why does Rubashov, the loyal old Bolshevik, confess to capital crimes he did not commit? He is not tortured; he knows (as do his interrogators) that the charges are absurd. Continue reading

Maybe this is how democracy ends

The frightening rise of authoritarian populism in the West is a very real, clear and present danger.

The election of Donald Trump has triggered as much wonderment abroad as it has in the United States. David Runciman, a professor of politics at the University of Cambridge, has written in the London Review of Books a provocative reflection on the nature of democracy in the age of Trump: “Is this how democracy ends?” There is much to praise in his essay, including his heavy qualification that we really don’t know for sure if what we are seeing is the end phase of mature Western democracies since we do not have the appropriate historical precedents to be certain. Continue reading

Elites vs. too much democracy: Andrew Sullivan’s afraid of popular self-government

The trouble with Trump isn't because of too much democracy; it's decades of political malfeasance that have made Americans furious.

British expatriate writer Andrew Sullivan recently returned to the public eye with a piece that has aroused considerable comment, some of it reasonably on point, and some bloviatingly incoherent. Continue reading

Anatomy of the Deep State

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. Continue reading