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Steve Chapman


Trump’s Orgy of Irresponsibility

Jimmy Carter knew that one way to win the trust of the citizenry was to appeal to their moral vanity. He was elected president in 1976 promising “a government that is as good and honest and decent and competent and compassionate and as filled with love as are the American people.”

The Illusions of Trump and Sanders

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the antithesis of the conventional politician. They are not programmed, their lines are not focus-group tested, and they take positions far outside the mainstream. But the victory speeches they gave in New Hampshire Tuesday night showed they have mastered the oldest political trick of all: promising things they can’t deliver.

Economic growth is missing ingredient

This year’s Republican presidential race has generated an unusual number of unusually bad ideas — Donald Trump on Muslims, Ted Cruz on carpet bombing, Marco Rubio on male footwear. It has also has produced one of the best: Jeb Bush’s 4 percent plan.

Cruz, Rubio and God

If you attend a Republican presidential event on the campaign trail, you may come to wonder if you made a wrong turn and ended up in church. If you are not a believer — an evangelical Christian believer, that is — you may feel ever so slightly unwelcome.

Could Ted Cruz be disqualified?

If you attend a presidential campaign event, you may come across someone wearing colonial garb or an Uncle Sam costume or body paint. But a Ted Cruz rally in Iowa last weekend featured something possibly unprecedented: guys dressed up as Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Why would Cruz insult New Yorkers?

When it comes to votes, the state of New York is a gold mine. In the 2012 presidential election, more than 11 million New Yorkers were registered. By itself, New York accounted for half of Barack Obama’s margin of victory in the popular vote over Mitt Romney.

The fiction behind Sanders’ health plan

Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist who thinks the United States needs a “political revolution.” His plan to replace our health insurance system with “Medicare for All” is in some ways a dramatic break with the status quo. But it rests on an old and thoroughly conventional formula: Promise voters they will get more and better health care without paying for it.

The divided State of the Union

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama lamented the deep divisions of our time and expressed regret that he hasn’t done more to overcome them. His words had a nostalgic air, cloaked in memories of times when Americans were more united and less angry.

El Chapo Got Caught. So What?

All across America last weekend, panicked drug users rushed to their dealers to stock up on marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine for fear of running out. The arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the biggest drug cartel in Mexico, was sure to cause a sudden shortage of illegal substances in this country.

Realism in fighting the Islamic State

After a bloody series of terrorist attacks, the natural impulse is to respond with overwhelming force to make sure they never happen again. The 9/11 carnage prompted a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to smash al-Qaida, which carried out the attacks, and remove the Taliban, which furnished the plotters a safe refuge.

Republican tax fantasies

The Republican presidential candidates have not rallied behind Ben Carson in his clash with the news media, but they should be grateful to him. His misrepresentation of reality on matters concerning his past has distracted attention from his rivals’ misrepresentations of reality on a matter concerning the nation’s future: tax policy.

On pot, can we keep up with the neighbors?

Canada was recently ranked the freest country in the world, but newly installed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t about to let it rest on its maple leaves. He won the October national elections after proposing something no major American presidential nominee has ever dared to endorse: legalizing marijuana.

Transgender students in the locker room

High school locker rooms are not places kids go to feel comfortable and relaxed. Baring your entire body to classmates and adults — friends, enemies, strangers, coaches — is a disagreeable obligation for most students. But for decades, the desire of adolescents for privacy has been deemed irrelevant.

Hillary Clinton and gun buybacks

Barack Obama promised he wouldn’t take away anyone’s guns, but gun rights alarmists have spent seven years incessantly predicting he will. From his experience, Hillary Clinton seems to have decided to skip the part of the campaign that involves placating the National Rifle Association.

The surprising disappearance of inflation

In a world in which the Cold War is a fading memory, North Korea and Cuba endure as museums of communism, so no one will forget how criminally insane it always was. In a world haunted by the specter of persistently falling prices, some countries are creating severe inflation, so we can be grateful for its virtual disappearance.

Sanders and Clinton vs. Capitalism

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, along with other Democratic presidential candidates, were in Las Vegas, a city that does not believe in stifling commercialism, at the Wynn hotel, where suites go for as much as $900 per night. They came to deplore the evils of capitalism.

Putin will find appearances can deceive

It’s now a tenet of conventional wisdom that our policy in Syria is an embarrassment as well as a flop. Washington insiders place great importance on “optics,” and the sight of Russian President Vladimir Putin flexing his muscles is making their eyes sting.

Ben Carson and the Politics of Fantasy

If only Ben Carson had been in that classroom at Umpqua Community College, the outcome might have been different. The gunman reportedly asked several people their religion, only to be shot regardless of the answer. Carson said he would have been braver than they were.

Putin in Syria: So what?

Vladimir Putin is having a field day in the Middle East. He has sent Russian planes to bomb rebels in Syria. He has reached an intelligence-sharing agreement with Syria, Iran and Iraq. At the U.N. Monday, he reaffirmed his commitment to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He seems determined to fill the regional vacuum allegedly left by the United States.