Jim Verhulst - Editorial Writer
Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column
Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021, in Greenville, North Carolina.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021, in Greenville, North Carolina. [ MELISSA SUE GERRITS | Getty Images North America ]
Published Jun. 12

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.


From “Why Donald Trump Doesn’t Need Facebook,” by David Corn in Mother Jones.

The context, from the author: The ex-president’s two-year ban from the social media platform won’t stop him from dominating the GOP.

The excerpt: Trump runs on revenge and spite and loves to settle scores. The Republican Party has gotten that message. And anyone within its ranks that dares cross him would encounter his wrath and, more important, that of GOP voters. (See Liz Cheney.) Trump’s dominion is now at the heart of the operating code of the party. Certainly, Trump would have an easier time bullying his fellow Republicans and disseminating his lies if he had access to Twitter and Facebook. ... But tweets and posts are not essential for him to control the party and, through that control, shape and pervert the nation’s political discourse. Money and fear go a long way in politics. And on the GOP side, Trump maintains a monopoly on both.

From “The Root Cause of Central American Migration Is US Imperialism,” by Suyapa Portillo Villeda and Miguel Tinker Salas in Jacobin.

The context, from the authors: It would be nice if the U.S. government acknowledged that its imperialist meddling in Central America drove millions to flee to the United States. Instead, Kamala Harris went to Guatemala and had the gall to tell would-be migrants, “Do not come.”

The excerpt: Migration networks from Mexico and Central America to the United States emerged alongside the opening of US corporate operations in the region. These companies — the Rosario Mining Company in the 1850s, the United Fruit and Standard Fruit Company in the 1890s, the Cananea Mining Company in the 1900s — built “American Zones,” introduced racially stratified labor systems, and created second-class citizens. Extractive industries snatched up natural resources on Indigenous and Afro-Indigenous land. Repression, disappearances, torture, and the murder of civilians and campesinos followed.

From “No Generation Without Representation,” by Jazmin Kay in The Nation.

The context, from the author: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris relied on youth support during the election. It’s time for the administration to support them back.

The excerpt: There remain no meaningful levers of representation for young Americans — that is, people under the age of 40 — in policy-making. This systemic lack of sustained, youth-specific roles across the federal government limits young people’s agency and makes them feel undervalued. Unless young people are stakeholders in federal agencies — which means going beyond simply listening to their struggles to enable them to actively shape policy — any proposal will never fully reflect their perspectives. Without youth input, it’s unlikely that our government could build systems that feel like they are truly responding to their needs.


From “What’s so Elite about our ‘Elite’ Colleges?” by George Leef in the National Review.

The context, from the author: The “elite” schools are called that because they admit such a tiny percentage of applicants, most of whom are excellent students, and not because the education they offer is superior.

The excerpt: Do students who go to our so-called elite colleges and universities receive a better education than those who go to schools that aren’t so prestigious? That is seldom the case, and often the reverse is true.

From “America’s Coming War With China,” by Douglas Macgregor in the American Conservative.

The context, from the author: Conflict is both undesirable and imprudent, but appears inevitable given our current leadership.

The excerpt: Public statements made by Washington’s publicity seekers in and out of uniform are seldom informative. They never bother to acknowledge that no one should start a war without first establishing the politically beneficial end state a war with China would achieve or how the latest Pacific war would be fought and won. But these are the questions that must be considered. If the political purpose of a new Pacific war is to change Chinese behavior externally or internally — to render China incapable of resisting American political demands — it is worth noting that China is not Imperial Japan in 1941. Japan’s economy was roughly one-tenth the size of the U.S. economy, and it still required three years of hard fighting by U.S. forces to redeem America’s ignominious defeat at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines.

From “Unlearning “Tyranny,” by Charlie Sykes in The Bulwark.

The context, from the author: Conservatives used to grasp the actual meaning of the word “tyranny.” But while you might think Stalin, or Mao, or Hitler, or Ivan the Terrible, Ben Domenech (the founder of the Federalist and newly-minted Fox News host) thinks “Google”. And newspaper reporters in cubicles.used to understand the concept.

The excerpt: College faculty members notoriously can say and write foolish things, but they do not, after all, have the ability to imprison you, seize your property, or shoot your dog without consequence. Conservatives used to understand that not very subtle distinction. But that was before our Golden Age of populism cum demagoguery.