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Democracy in Crisis: A prominent conservative signs on for an attempt to change the Constitution

In the early years of the Obama era, then-Senator Jim DeMint embodied a series of contradictions in the American character. The hard-jawed and bitter-faced sandlapper was simultaneously a theocrat, a cynic and a salesman. What he sold, as salvation, was hate and fear. He realized before the rest of us that it does not matter what politicians say or do as long as they can demonize their enemies, turning them into villains that the American people can love to hate. […]

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Democracy in Crisis: A queer dance party descends on McConnell’s house following anger over health care bill

A swanky stretch of C Street near the Capitol in Washington D.C. is blocked by a raucous crowd dancing in front of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s house on an unseasonably cool summer evening. As music blasts from loudspeakers, the scene resembles a Pride block party as about 50 members of the LGBTQ community and their allies attempt to dance away their fears and anger over McConnell’s so-called health care bill, which was negotiated in secret. […]

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Democracy in Crisis: Press Briefs — Sad little scenes from the White House briefing room

1. The White House briefing room feels like a mansion’s pool house, but with the carpet of a church basement. On the eve of the summer solstice, after a week without an on-camera press briefing, the room smells like a grill doused with too much lighter fluid. Cameramen and techies move around in loose clothes […]

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Democracy in Crisis: The indictment of journalist Aaron Cantú portends grim future for First Amendment

Dozens of defendants, each sitting with their own lawyer, fill a Washington, D.C. courtroom, looking like college students wearing their nicest clothes for a job interview. It is far more serious than that. They are all facing charges of felony rioting, conspiracy to riot and destruction of property on the morning of Donald Trump’s inauguration, when they were scooped up en masse by police with a controversial crowd-control technique which corrals protesters in a “kettle.” […]

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Democracy in Crisis: I took my Trump-loving father to Mar-A-Lago

A couple of weeks ago, my dad and I stood on a Palm Beach sandbar staring at President Trump’s Mar-A-Lago golf club and resort. Even though my dad and I were standing on the same sandbar, looking through the same zoomed phone screen, squinting in the same midday sun and turned away by the same security guard, we saw totally different things. […]

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Democracy in Crisis Podcast: Maryland Attorney General on why he’s suing Trump

On this week’s episode co-host Marc Steiner interviews Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who, along with District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, filed a lawsuit Monday against President Donald Trump. The lawsuit argues that Trump is violating the emoluments clause (an anti-corruption clause in the Constitution) by accepting payments from foreign governments. […]

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Democracy in Crisis: Amid Comey chaos, lessons from the history of America’s secret police

Hundreds of people lined up in the marble hallways of a Senate office building, hoping to get one of the 88 public seats in Room 216, where James Comey, the FBI director Trump fired over the Russia investigation, was scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. That was at 8:30 a.m. More came. Some of the […]

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Democracy in Crisis: Reinventing the underground part 1 — A countercultural exorcism

Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, poet and provocateur Ed Sanders shouts “Out demons, out!,” his arms raised in clenched fists above his head, a computer bag hanging from the shoulder of his powder-blue sports coat. With a wild halo of white hair exploding from his balding pate, small glasses perched upon his crinkled button nose and a drooping mustache, Sanders looks like a wild elder statesmen, the Benjamin Franklin of an alternate United States. […]

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Democracy in Crisis: Trump, Erdoğan and populist oppression

What we can learn from Turkey’s populist regime I fucked up on Twitter last week when sending out a story I wrote about Kurds and other activists who were attacked by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security forces outside of the Turkish ambassador’s Washington, D.C. residence. Instead of typing “Turkish security forces,” I inadvertently wrote “Trump security […]

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