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.
U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. [ ANNA MONEYMAKER | Getty Images North America ]
Published Jan. 28

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 Do Republicans Want to Kill Their Voters?” by Joan Walsh in The Nation at

The context, from the author: The GOP’s pro-smoking crusade is the latest case of conservatives revolting against science to harm their followers.

The excerpt: Killing your own voters seems like a bad electoral strategy — Salon’s Amanda Marcotte calls it “getting lung cancer to own the libs.” Sadly, Republicans are mostly giving their base voters what they think they want. Expecting them to defy those voters’ wishes would presuppose a courage they’ve surrendered, especially in the Trump years. Red state voters and Fox viewers are on their own when it comes to protecting themselves.

From “Abortion Is a Matter of Economic Justice, Not Just Personal Choice,” by Anne Rumberger in Jacobin at

The context, from the author: The mainstream pro-choice movement has mounted a highly individualized defense of abortion rights, one centered on privacy and choice. But abortion rights can also also be rooted in achieving economic justice for everyone.

The excerpt: Denial of abortion care should be understood as one of many intentional state policies that economically hurt workers, not a disconnected issue of privacy or religion. The states that have banned or restricted access to abortion have also engaged in decades of economic disempowerment, policies that have especially disadvantaged poor and working-class people and people of color.

From “The Democratic Party’s Political Gift to Ron DeSantis,” by Stephania Taladrid in The New Yorker at

The context, from the author: Republicans’ sustained and successful courting of Latino voters in South Florida could be a road map for the GOP in 2024.

The excerpt: Networking has also been one of the ways that (Fabio) Andrade (a 65-year-old Colombian American executive) has drawn people to politics. For two decades, he has been at the helm of a nonprofit whose mission is to help Latino newcomers thrive in South Florida. Its members have praised Andrade’s group for helping them “rebuild their networks” in a country other than their own, and for welcoming them into a new “herd.” Many share Andrade’s views on politics in Colombia, where he supports the right-wing Democratic Center Party of the former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. He also positioned himself as a go-to person for candidates wishing to court Colombian American voters. In 2018, DeSantis named Andrade his campaign’s hispanic-coalitions coördinator, and he was seated next to Trump two years later, when the former president held a roundtable with Latino leaders in Doral. Andrade is blunt about the motivations behind these overtures. “It’s all about votes, let’s be honest,” he said. “This is not because they love my community — they want to get elected.” The Colombian community’s growing electoral weight comes with greater leverage over the political discourse. What the embargo is to Cubans, the fight against “Marxist socialism” is to Colombians. And Republicans, Andrade argued, have embraced such issues as their own.


From “The Bipartisan Accumulation of $31 Trillion in Debt,” by Veronique de Rugy in The National Review at

The context, from the author: I am sorry, but it is worth repeating that Republicans systematically fail to talk about fiscal responsibility when they are in the majority but suddenly remember that deficits matter when in the minority.

The excerpt: When Republicans stand up for fiscal responsibility, their efforts tend to fail because they are heavy on unrealistic promises (like balancing the budget in 10 years without touching defense and entitlements) and gimmicks. ... Here’s to hoping that the next bipartisan deal in Congress will result in smaller government rather than bigger government.

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From “What Must Be Done,” by Ryan P. Williams in The American Mind at

The context, from the author: As we look to the 2024 race for the presidency, it’s most useful to list the main challenges and opportunities that will face any aspirant to that esteemed office.

The excerpt: We are fighting over constitutional fundamentals — over the type of regime or way of life we are to have in America, not the normal policy give-and-take of shifting partisan majorities through time. This Cold Civil War continues to heat up, and the coming decades will determine whether American government continues its slide into woke authoritarianism or whether the anti-constitutional trends of the last decades and even century are reversed and rolled back. Self-government, the true and equal protection of natural and civil rights, even freedom of thought itself, are in danger in America and across the West, as they have been for some time.

From “Edward Snowden May Be Polarizing, but His Take on the Classified Documents Scandal Is Hilarious,” by Bonchie in RedState at

The context: The author quotes this tweet from Edward Snowden: “How is it possible that I have fewer classified documents in my house than the last few White House admins? The Espionage Act is a ‘strict liability’ crime: good intentions are no defense. Under the (dumb) law, these guys are all unindicted criminals.”

The excerpt: (Edward Snowden’s) response to Joe Biden’s (and now Mike Pence’s) classified documents scandal is pretty hilarious. It also happens to be correct in regard to the law.