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2016 Election

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In case you hadn’t noticed, someone recently loosed a satirist in American politics. Let me give you an example. You remember FBI Director James Comey, who gained a certain notoriety by stepping into the limelight 11 days before the recent presidential election via a very publicly dispatched letter to the Congressional leadership. It focused on... Read More
The Election That Changed Everything and Could Prove History’s Deal-Breaker
For decades, Washington had a habit of using the Central Intelligence Agency to deep-six governments of the people, by the people, and for the people that weren’t to its taste and replacing them with governments of the [take your choice: military junta, shah, autocrat, dictator] across the planet. There was the infamous 1953 CIA- and... Read More
At 72, I experienced election night with a 103-degree temperature, so it was literally a fever-dream for me. And in a certain sense, it’s remained so ever since. Now that a white supremacist has just been made the next president’s closest White House adviser, and the president-elect has called conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars... Read More
It wasn’t to be, but had it been, Hillary Clinton would have become not only the first woman president, but the first president to enter the Oval Office as a lame duck. For Republicans in (and out) of a Congress they totally controlled, it would have been scorched-earth tactics all the way. Not a law,... Read More
With President Trump, Is the American Experiment Over?
The one thing you could say about empires is that, at or near their height, they have always represented a principle of order as well as domination. So here’s the confounding thing about the American version of empire in the years when this country was often referred to as “the sole superpower,” when it was... Read More
I was born on July 20, 1944, the day of the failed officers’ plot against Adolf Hitler. That means I preceded the official dawning of the nuclear age by exactly 369 days, which makes me part of the last generation to do so. I’m speaking not of the obliteration of two Japanese cities by America’s... Read More
Recently, the New York Times produced a veritable thesaurus of Trumpian twittery -- every insulting tweet of The Donald’s that their researchers could find since he declared his candidacy. It’s quite a collection in which he goes after 282 people, places, and things in his uniquely abusive fashion. (Don’t even get me started on his... Read More
Donald Trump has long campaigned on the promise of running the country the way he's run his businesses. On that basis, we essentially already know what it would mean if he entered the Oval Office and applied his personal business acumen to this nation (and the rest of the world). There's a surprisingly full record... Read More
Consider it justice (of a sort): he who lives by the media dies by the media. I’m talking -- as if you had a scintilla of doubt -- about Donald Trump. If the Washington Post’s release of avideo of his lewd conversation with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush (that family again!) on his way to the... Read More
And Truly, This Is Not About Donald Trump...
This is not about Donald Trump. And I mean it. From the moment the first scribe etched a paean of praise to Nebuchadnezzar into a stone tablet, it’s reasonable to conclude that never in history has the media covered a single human being as it has Donald Trump. For more than a year now, unless... Read More
Think of American politics today as a tale of two Donalds. First, there’s Donald Trump, political provocateur, a man with his eye on the Oval Office who’s ready to say just about anything to get into it. That includes insisting, in his “America First” campaign, that he -- and he alone -- will bring back... Read More
You might not care to admit it, but there’s a little bit of Donald Trump in all of us. Yes, his curiously insinuating, allusive, and always inflammatory comments -- from his invocation of gun owners as the force to deal with a Hillary Clinton presidential victory to his dubbing of “Barack Hussein Obama” as the... Read More
Imagine that across the planet, back in the early months of 2003, millions of people marchedin the streets of global cities and small towns, protesting, toting handmade signs, making their voices heard in every way they could to indicate that the prospective Bush administration invasion of Iraq would be an immoral disaster (and no matter... Read More
How Billions of Words, Tweets, Insults, and Polls Blot Out Reality in Campaign 2016
Yep, it finally happened. In early May, after a long, long run, the elephants of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were ushered into retirement in Florida where they will finish their days aiding cancer research. The Greatest Show on Earth was done with its pachyderms. The same might be said about the... Read More
If you’re of a certain age (as I am), there’s something that should have startled you recently and yet, as far as I know, no one has bothered to mention it: anytime in the last seven decades, any American politician running for any position from dogcatcher to president who had called on Russia’s leaders for... Read More
Give the guy credit. Donald Trump makes perspective -- on him at least -- almost inconceivable, and that’s no small accomplishment. Is he heading up or down? Polling well or poorly? Going to win or lose? Who knows? Take Nate Silver whose FiveThirtyEight website recently launched its poll of polls with The Donald having only... Read More
Circus, carnival, comedy hour, joke: it’s been a festival of insults, charges, racist slams,bizarre proposals, and raging narcissism. I’m talking, of course, about the season of Trump in American politics. When no one gave him a second thought or a chance in hell, he soared and a Trump presidency came into view. As he reached... Read More
What is it with casinos and the presidency these days? I’m thinking, of course, about the version of casino capitalism being played out in American politics at the moment by two men who made fortunes in the casino business. One is running for president on the Republican ticket as the Billionaire Populist, while the other,... Read More
Class of 2016, Tell Us Who We Are
Graduates of 2016, don’t be fooled by this glorious day. As you leave campus for the last time, many of you already deeply in debt and with a lifetime of payments to look forward to, you head into a world that’s anything but sunny. In fact, through those gates that have done little enough to... Read More
Someday, these may be seen as the decades when the United States started hollowing out. First, good working-class jobs fled the country, while the “rust” spread through belts of industrial production, towns emptied, and the good times headed elsewhere. Then,infrastructure -- from bridges and highways to subways and dams -- began to fray. More recently,... Read More
Here’s a riddle for you: What do Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have in common? And no, it’s not that if Donald Trump were a woman he’d garner less than 5% of the vote. And it’s not that Hillary rolls her eyes just like Mary Pat Christie when she hears The Donald going after women.... Read More
Olya Steckel /
He’s a Sign of American Decline (Just Not in the Way You Think)
"Low-energy Jeb." "Little Marco." "Lyin’ Ted." "Crooked Hillary." Give Donald Trump credit. He has a memorable way with insults. His have a way of etching themselves on the brain. And they’ve garnered media coverage, analysis, and commentary almost beyond imagining. Memorable as they might be, however, they won’t be what last of Trump’s 2016 election... Read More
(And If You Believe That, You’ll Believe Anything)
Think of the 2016 presidential campaign as the political equivalent of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s loud; there are plenty of abusive special effects; the critics hate it, but the crowds turn out; a media company or three rake in the dough; and foreigners can’t get enough of this new vision of the... Read More
There had never been a “concession” statement like it. It was short, to the point, and in addition to the usual accusations of “lyin’” leveled at Ted Cruz, compared his victorious measures to the ruse the Greeks used to destroy Troy, accused him of outright illegal acts, as well as election thievery, and claimed that... Read More
Reading Thomas Frank's new book, Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, I was reminded of the snapshot that Oxfam offered us early this year: 62 billionaires now have more wealth than the bottom 50% of the global population, while the richest 1% own more than the other 99% combined.... Read More
Christopher Halloran /
Are We in a New American World?
The other week, feeling sick, I spent a day on my couch with the TV on and was reminded of an odd fact of American life. More than seven months before Election Day, you can watch the 2016 campaign for the presidency at any moment of your choosing, and that’s been true since at least... Read More
You must have noticed the Hitler comparisons, right? Amid the recent “Nazi” controversy(over whether those right hands raised in a pledge to vote for Donald Trump at his “movement” rallies are actually copycat Sieg Heils), a bevy of pundits, commentators, and other figures, including the Mexican president and Anne Frank’s stepsister, have been comparing The... Read More
Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up. How do you respond to a rampaging bull of a billionaire in the political arena? In America in 2016, the answer is obvious. You send in not the clowns, but the matador: another billionaire, of course. So Michael Bloomberg is now threatening to enter the race as a... Read More
Here is what’s grimly fascinating in this year’s dystopian carnival of a Republican presidential primary. When it comes to what can be said in America, all bets are off. These days, the concept of “beyond the pale” couldn’t look more wan. All of a sudden, there’s nothing, no matter how jingoistic or xenophobic, extreme or... Read More
The Demobilization of the American People and the Spectacle of Election 2016
ou may not know it, but you’re living in a futuristic science fiction novel. And that’s a fact. If you were to read about our American world in such a novel, you would be amazed by its strangeness. Since you exist right smack in the middle of it, it seems like normal life (Donald Trump... Read More
Sometimes when I look at the increasingly bizarre, never-ending campaign for the White House and the staggering fundraising that goes with it, I think to myself: if we were in Kabul, Afghanistan, we would know what this was. We would recognize warlord politics. We would understand that (Bernie Sanders aside) politicians running for the presidency... Read More
Every election needs an organizing catchphrase and that goes doubly for the Republican presidential race, with 16 candidates having entered the fray and more on the way. I think I have the perfect one for the moment: “You’ve been Trumped!” After all, one striking thing about the Republicans, now that they’ve morphed into the party... Read More
Money, they say, makes the world go round. So how’s $10 billion for you? That’s a top-end estimate for the record-breaking spending in this 1% presidential election campaign season. But is “season” even the right word, now that such campaigns are essentially four-year events that seem always to be underway? In a political world stuffed... Read More
Tom Engelhardt
About Tom Engelhardt

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. is the sideline that ate his life. Before that he worked as an editor at Pacific News Service in the early 1970s, and, these last three decades, as an editor in book publishing. For 15 years, he was Senior Editor at Pantheon Books where he edited and published award-winning works ranging from Art Spiegelman's Maus and John Dower's War Without Mercy to Eduardo Galeano's Memory of Fire trilogy. He is now Consulting Editor at Metropolitan Books, as well as co-founder and co-editor of Metropolitan's The American Empire Project. Many of the authors whose books he has edited and published over the years now write for He is married to Nancy J. Garrity, a therapist, and has two children, Maggie and Will.

His new book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (Haymarket Books), has just been published.

Personal Classics
Eight Exceptional(ly Dumb) American Achievements of the Twenty-First Century
How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create You
Delusional Thinking in the Age of the Single Superpower