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Jim Verhulst - Deputy Editor of Editorials
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 President Donald Trump works the crowd after Trump announces his bid for the presidency from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Tuesday.
Former President Donald Trump works the crowd after Trump announces his bid for the presidency from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Tuesday. [ AL DIAZ/ADIAZ@MIAMIHERALD.COM | Miami Herald ]
Published Nov. 19

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 THE LEFT

From “How the Story of Soccer Became the Story of Everything,” by Tim Murphy in Mother Jones at tinyurl.com/4nk8ces7.

The context, from the author: Oligarchs, private-equity moguls and petro states took over the sport — and the world.

The excerpt: Soccer is undergoing a financial and geopolitical shake-up that has ushered in a gilded age of excess, dirty money, and inequality. Fueled by Wall Street and petrostates, the sport is more profitable than ever. But the consequences of consolidation and unchecked money have become clearer, too. The story of how teams like Newcastle win is also about what fans, institutions and governments lose to get there. To watch the Premier League on Saturdays, or the World Cup this November, is to experience a crash course in capitalism and power today.

From “Was This Professor Fired for Having Tourette Syndrome?” by Barry Yeoman in The Nation at tinyurl.com/yh5nrf7x.

The context, from the author: We want to ensure harassment-free climates in schools and workplaces, and we want to protect the rights of people with disabilities. What happens when these imperatives collide?

The excerpt: Just as people with mobility issues can’t suddenly decide to walk, people with Tourette can’t decide not to have tics. “These are very much involuntary movements and sounds,” said pediatric neurologist Jaclyn Martindale, director of the Tourette Syndrome Specialty Clinic at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in North Carolina. (She is not involved in the case.) “The way I like to describe it to families is: Can you prevent yourself from blushing? It’s not something that’s in your control, even if you don’t want it to happen.” Still, knowing (Dutchess Community College photography professor Lowell) Handler’s diagnosis didn’t always change how students experienced his conduct. The initial accuser told campus investigators that she froze and felt scared when Handler reached across the desk. “I understand he has Tourette’s,” she said. “But this shouldn’t be an excuse for students to be constantly made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe in the school environment.” That’s what makes the case so complicated.

From “To Make Sense of Modern China, Look to Mao Zedong’s Long March to Power,” by Kap Seol in Jacobin at tinyurl.com/mrwnuhm3.

The context, from the author: In the 1920s, China’s Communist Party retreated from the cities to the countryside to wage a protracted guerrilla war. This long separation from the Chinese working class fostered an autocratic culture that went on to shape the party’s rule over China.

The excerpt: Mao knew little about Marxism beyond its rudimentary principles at that point in his life (in the late 1920s). It was only in the late 1930s that he began to study Marxist literature properly.

FROM THE RIGHT

From “No,” by the editors of the National Review at tinyurl.com/ya3r9sw8.

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The context, from the authors: To paraphrase Voltaire after he attended an orgy, once was an experiment, twice would be perverse. A bruised Donald Trump announced a new presidential bid on Tuesday night, an invitation to double down on the outrages and failures of the last several years that Republicans should reject without hesitation or doubt.

The excerpt: Trump is a magnetic political figure who has managed to bond countless millions of Republicans to him. Many GOP voters appreciate his combativeness and hate his enemies, who so often engaged in excesses in pursuit of him. Once he won the nomination in 2016, they understandably voted for him in 2016 and 2020, given the alternatives. But the primaries won’t present a choice between Trump and progressives with calamitous priorities for the nation, but other Republicans who aren’t, in contrast to him, monumentally selfish or morally and electorally compromised. (And it should be added, won’t be 78 years old if elected and ineligible to serve two terms.) It’s too early to know what the rest of the field will look like, except it will offer much better alternatives than Trump.

From “Trump Shocks the World — by Nearly Putting Us to Sleep,” by Bob Hoge in RedState at tinyurl.com/2p8ddwus.

The context, from the author: This was not a rally; (former President Donald Trump) was delivering prepared remarks, and he was attempting to address serious matters. Nevertheless, he appeared less vibrant than we’re used to, there was very little humor, and I sensed that the crowd wanted more and was just waiting to explode with applause and cheers at one of his famous one-liners. Didn’t happen.

The excerpt: While I have strongly supported Trump in the past and am still extremely grateful for all that he was able to accomplish during his term (and am truthfully still nostalgic for those hope-filled days), I was hoping for more from this speech. It won’t deliver a “thrill up the leg” to his base, and it won’t change a single opinion on the other side. The conventional wisdom is that rallies don’t move the needle with voters. My friend Jeff Charles thought the speech struck just the right tone, but it left me wanting. I think Trump would be better offer sticking to his rallies than delivering yawners like this. What’s the end game here?

From “The Virtues of Smoke-Filled Rooms,” by Frank DeVito in The American Conservative at tinyurl.com/yc8mtfws.

The context, from the author: Stronger parties would give us better candidates.

The excerpt: There is a massive downside to the evolution of the modern primary system. There are many factors that ought to influence the selection of a candidate: substantive policy positions, ability to navigate the political process, personality, style. In the modern age, our primary elections consist of vicious attack ads, shallow stage debates, and quite a bit of pandering to the party base. It’s hardly a recipe to get the best overall candidate for a general election.

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