Trump vs. Lewis: A Question of Character
The difference between being a character — and having it

When we think of Rep. John Lewis on a bus, it is as a teenage “Freedom Rider,” putting his own life at risk in order to form a more perfect union. When we think of Donald Trump on a bus, it is as a boorish billionaire, musing about sexually assaulting women.

When we think of Lewis and racial politics, it is in the context of waking America’s conscience to the civil, voting and housing rights denied to citizens because of the color of their skin. When we think of Trump and racial politics, it is in the context of denying housing to citizens based on the color of their skin, fomenting white nationalism and seeking ways to discriminate against Muslims without running afoul of the First Amendment.

Sessions Will Follow the Law, But He Won’t Lead on It
Job requires someone who is aware of oppression and discrimination

It sounds so good that Jeff Sessions said it over and over again when Democratic senators pressed him on how he would approach the job of attorney general: I will follow the law.

It’s what he said when Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin asked what he would do with “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Ditto when Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked him about gay rights and abortion rights. 

Nancy Pelosi’s Path Back to House Speaker
Republicans remain vulnerable on the ‘ethics’ thing

Nancy Pelosi just might be speaker again someday if she turns “ethics” into the watchword of the Democratic minority and forces a lot of House floor votes.

She has a new opening to do it, thanks to a House Republican majority so tone-deaf and self-absorbed that it tried to open the Trump era by gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Opinion: The Romney Agonistes
 

Poor, gullible Mitt Romney. He thought maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump wouldn’t focus his transition on settling petty scores. He fooled himself into believing the Donald might consider him a diplomat rather than a comic prop. He got so wrapped up in the possibilities of the moment that he let photographers snap shots of him at a dinner with Trump, not realizing that, without doubt, he was the main course.

Mitch McConnell Could Be the Superhero to Stop Trump
Majority Leader’s secret weapon: procedural arcana

If we’re all lucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stashed a blue bodysuit and a matching Republican-red cape-and-boots set in one of the old-school phone booths in the GOP cloakroom.

Over the next two years, at least, the Kentucky Republican will be the most important force for “truth, justice and the American Way” in Washington. He’s the guy with the power to protect the Senate, the Congress and the country from a new president who is both awash in power and hungry for more of it.

Pelosi Proves She's Still an Unequaled Vote-Counter
But the formidable leader should put the goals of her party above her own ambition

Nancy Pelosi’s still got it. Never lost it. But she should step aside anyway.

As Republicans and Democrats around the country scratch their heads and wonder why this septuagenarian San Franciscan was elected to a sixth term as House minority leader on Wednesday, it’s certainly not that she’s a visionary, that she looks like the future of the party or that she’s the perfect national spokeswoman for Democratic values and policies.

Judge Trump With an Open Mind
Critics should hope he succeeds, then put up a better candidate in 2020

If Donald Trump is willing and able to turn the page on the ugliness of his campaign for president, so, too, should the 65 million Americans who voted against him.

Trump’s critics should stop worrying about “normalizing” him and start assessing him by the actions he takes during the transition and as president. The question isn’t whether Trump is normal — for better and worse he is not — but whether the policies he pursues adhere to the fervor and fury of his candidacy or the sobriety that tends to wash over presidents as they take office.

Jeff Sessions Is Unfit for the Cabinet
A partially reconstructed baiter of minorities is beyond the ideological fringe

During his last set of confirmation hearings, before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions lost out on an appointment to the federal bench.

Witnesses testified that the Alabama Republican had called major civil rights organizations “un-American,” used racially insensitive language with associates and even said pot-smoking was the only reason he no longer thought the KKK was OK. His nomination was withdrawn after two fellow Republicans crossed the partisan divide on the panel to disapprove of his confirmation.

Trump's Opportunity and Why He Should Take It
He has a cult-like hold on his followers and can convince them to follow on just about anything

The nation is in crisis, and Donald Trump has an opportunity to fix that.

The new president-elect is more responsible than anyone else for dividing us along racial, ethnic, religious, gender and, importantly, economic lines. He has trashed large segments of the population, and the racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism of some of his supporters — not to mention their lust for intimidation — is rightly terrifying to many Americans.

What We’ll Learn About Ourselves on Election Day
Are we striving for a more perfect union or a new national construct?

Throughout this presidential campaign, more than any other in memory, the concept of America has been the subject of our political debate.

Is our system so paralyzed that it needs radical transformation? Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump offered that in ways that should remind us our politics are well within the boundaries of the global political spectrum.

The Case for a Clinton Presidency
An insider who knows how to work the levers of the federal government

Much has been written about Hillary Clinton’s flaws — a good bit of it by me. But less examined are the reasons that Clinton is uniquely suited for the job to which Americans seem likely to elect her on Tuesday.

I wouldn’t think to tell someone else for whom they should vote, or endorse a candidate or even reveal publicly for whom I plan to vote. But I think it’s important, at this moment, to take stock of the strengths of the woman who would make history by becoming the nation’s first female president and, more important, is as well positioned to lead the country as any person in generations.

Make the IRS and FBI Disclose Candidates’ Records to the Public
The cost of a spot in a presidential election may be too low

There’s an old myth that the bar to elective office is so high that no one truly worthy would ever run.

The idea is that the financial and tax disclosures, rigors of raising money, potential embarrassment and limited rewards of the job are so daunting that a successful person would have to be crazy to trade their privacy and sense of decency for it.

Clinton's Natural Inclinations Fit the Nation's Mood
Consistency reinforces the notion that she's the stable one

When debate moderator Chris Wallace bored in on Hillary Clinton’s biggest flip-flop of the campaign — her shift against the Trans-Pacific Partnership — it was an isolated incident.

The politician most likely to be portrayed as cold, calculated and willing to take any position at any moment has given rival Donald Trump precious little fodder to make that sale this year.

‘Lock Her Up’ Mentality Infects Capitol Hill
Facts come second to damaging Hillary Clinton

Shoot first, ask questions later.

That’s a great motto for a lawless lawman in an old Western movie.

How Hillary Clinton's Optics Problem Could Hurt Her and Her Party
Appearances of conflicts of interest don't seem to faze Democratic nominee

Hillary Clinton doesn’t give a damn about political optics — and that could hurt her and her party if she wins the presidency.

It’s a recurring theme in her public life that is thoroughly reinforced by one chain, in particular, among the thousands of emails pilfered from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s account and released to the public by WikiLeaks.

Trump Was Better but Remains a Terrible Standard-Bearer for GOP
Billionaire showed he's wildly uninformed about foreign and domestic policy

Donald Trump cleared the lowest bar in the history of presidential debates Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis, and Hillary Clinton was a little off her game.

It turns out the sedate and focused version of Trump is better than the unhinged one voters saw a couple of weeks ago in his first matchup with Clinton. And he was better prepared to go after Clinton on her e-mail scandal, her speeches to Wall Street banks, and her long tenure as a Washington insider.

It’s Over: Republican Officials Reach Tipping Point on Trump
And GOP lawmakers better be quick about jumping ship

Donald Trump is in the midst of political death by a thousand cuts.

Already today, two of the Republican Party’s top Senate candidates, Kelly Ayotte and Joe Heck, have reversed course and said they won’t vote for Trump. It will get much worse for him in the coming hours — and with good reason. Mormon lawmakers, including Sens. Mike Lee and Mike Crapo and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, are condemning a candidate whom they can’t possibly defend to their constituents.

Pence Beat Kaine — and Trump
He showed what a credible GOP candidate looks like and Trump ain't it

Score one for competence — and for Gov. Mike Pence — but the Republican running mate’s performance in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate also underscored how ill-suited Donald Trump is for the presidency.

First, Pence was in command of his substance, his message, his delivery and his temper. He politely pointed out when Democratic candidate Tim Kaine was being rude — which was often — and counterpunched with the self-control that Hillary Clinton showed in last week’s presidential debate. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into the trenches of fights over Trump’s outlandish behavior. In that way, too, he debated in a manner that — if more dry — was reminiscent of Clinton.

Pence and the Path to Power for the GOP
Indiana governor has an opportunity to help unify the party

It would be surprising if Mike Pence didn’t acquit himself well in Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate.

The Indiana governor and former leader of House conservatives is a model of rhetorical discipline who is genuinely well-versed in public policy issues and tends to go high when others go low. He is, in so many ways, everything that Donald Trump is not — including conservative at his core and kind to and about other people.

Trump's ISIS Gaffe Showed a Candidate in Over His Head
Clinton easily got under billionaire's skin

It’s hard to pick the worst moment for Donald Trump on a night during which he flailed trying to find balance. But an early gaffe largely lost in the cross-talk indicated that he was more easily baited, and thirstier for blood, than he was prepared for a presidential debate.

And it smacked of a mistake that helped cost Gerald Ford a return engagement as president in 1976.