I have 19 fans: Become a Fan. You'll get emails whenever I post articles on OpEdNews
John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.
Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers.
Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald's documentary, "Outfoxed," and in the documentaries Joan Sekler's "Unprecedented," Matt Kohn's "Call It Democracy" and Robert Pappas's "Orwell Rolls in his Grave." The keynote speaker at the 2004 Congress of the International Federation of Journalists in Athens, Nichols has been a featured presenter at conventions, conferences and public forums on media issues sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Consumers International, the Future of Music Coalition, the AFL-CIO, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Newspaper Guild [CWA] and dozens of other organizations.
Nichols is the author of the upcoming book The Genius of Impeachment (The New Press), as well as a critically-acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (The New Press) and a best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (The New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), of which historian Howard Zinn said: "At exactly the time when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift--a collection of writings, speeches, poems, and songs from throughout American history--that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country."
With Robert W. McChesney, Nichols has co-authored the books, It's the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories) and Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press). McChesney and Nichols are the co-founders of Free Press, the nation's media-reform network, which organized the 2003 and 2005 National Conferences on Media Reform.
Of Nichols, author Gore Vidal says: "Of all the giant slayers now afoot in the great American desert, John Nichols's sword is the sharpest."
Thursday, July 28, 2016(1 comments)
Why President Obama and Tim Kaine "Feel the Bern"
Most speakers at this convention, even speakers who have for many years served in the House of Representatives and the Senate with Sanders, have failed to mention his name in their speeches to the convention. That is, of course, their rhetorical right. But it is not necessarily wise politics when so many of the delegates and alternates and guests at this convention arrived as Sanders backers.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016(7 comments)
Hillary Clinton Just Made History
There are those who say they want a woman president, just not this woman. There are those who say that this woman is the most uniquely qualified contender in history. In the latter category was Bill Clinton, who on Tuesday night hailed his wife as "a natural leader," "a good organizer." the best darn change-maker I've ever met in my life."
Monday, July 25, 2016(19 comments)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz Had to Go
Replacing this DNC chair had become a priority for a growing number of Democrats -- for Sanders backers, who believed she used her position to undermine the senator's candidacy; and for many Clinton backers, who were coming to see Wasserman Schultz as a divisive figure.
Monday, June 27, 2016(6 comments)
What the Democrats Must Learn About Free-Trade Deals From Brexit
Wealth has been redistributed upward, wages stagnated, inequality has accelerated. And voters are saying "stop." They are not doing so only in Britain. In the United States, opposition to failed trade policies in general, and to the TPP in particular, played a critical role in helping Sanders secure big victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and other states where he was able to focus the debate of economic fundamentals.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016(2 comments)
Sonia Sotomayor's Epic Dissent Explains What's at Stake When the Police Don't Follow the Law
While Justice Thomas struggled to excuse unlawful behavior by the police officer, and in so doing to upend the Fourth Amendment's so-called "exclusionary rule" (which has been accepted by the High Court for more than a century and which, historically, has prevented the admission of illegally obtained evidence at trial), Justice Sotomayor was absolutely clear in her dissent.
Saturday, June 11, 2016(4 comments)
The Republican Party Just Crashed and Burned in California
GOP leaders had plenty of explanations for why they could not get their act together in California. But the fact is that the party has been in decline for a number of years. The national party's sharp right turn has not helped. But there's also a local factor with national consequences--especially in this year of Trump.
Thursday, June 9, 2016(8 comments)
For Sanders Supporters the Struggle Has Always Been About Issues -- and the Struggle Continues
Sanders supporters are weighing in -- offering proposals on everything from military spending to fracking to fundamental campaign finance reform and Middle East peace. They want a drafting committee made up of progressives, some aligned with either campaign and others unaligned, to produce what Sanders suggests can be "the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen."
Saturday, May 28, 2016(1 comments)
Sanders Has Always Wanted to Debate Trump -- or Any Other Representative of the "Billionaire Class"
It was a given that Sanders would embrace the idea of debating Trump -- after the billionaire told Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday that he would be willing to debate the dissident Democrat. Sanders, who has tried without success to get one more debate with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton before the June 7 California primary, jumped at the prospect of stirring things up with Trump.
Thursday, May 5, 2016(2 comments)
A Contested Convention Is Exactly What the Democratic Party Needs
A muscular appearance by Sanders and his delegates at the convention doesn't have to lead to bitterness. Historically, contested conventions--not carefully choreographed coronations--have led parties and their nominees to take more audacious positions and to excite broader electoral coalitions.
Friday, April 22, 2016(8 comments)
The Most Focused and Effective Democratic Messenger We Have Is Elizabeth Warren
Of all the Democrats in positions to make their voices heard at this point, Warren is the most awake. Wide awake. And she is saying what needs to be said about the conservatives who would be president. What's important is that, while she notes their whining and their failures, Warren attacks the Republicans with a focus on the issues and the ideals that are the most effective tools for countering right-wing extremism.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016(1 comments)
New York to Ted Cruz: Drop Dead
The city's Republicans saw through the Cruz charade, and dismissed his candidacy. Bashing de Blasio got him nothing. That does not mean that New York Republicans have embraced their city's mayor -- or his progressive politics. But hating on de Blasio did nothing to advance Cruz's standing.
Saturday, April 2, 2016(3 comments)
Hillary Clinton Just Delivered the Strongest Speech of Her Campaign -- and the Media Barely Noticed
In this absurd campaign season, when media outlets devote hours of time to arguments about which Republican candidate insulted which wife, about violent and irresponsible campaign aides, about whatever soap-opera scenario comes to mind, thoughtful discussions of issues get little attention. And deep and detailed discussions of issues get even less coverage.
Monday, March 28, 2016 With 3 Wins, Bernie Sanders Claims the Momentum Is On His Side
Dan Cantor, the executive director of a labor-backed progressive party with deep roots in New York politics, says he is convinced that "The political revolution is growing. Every day, Bernie Sanders is inspiring Americans to take the brave step of voting for the future we want to see, and not just what the political and financial elite tells us we're allowed to have."
Wednesday, March 23, 2016(4 comments)
Imagine How President Donald Trump or Ted Cruz Would Respond to the Brussels Attacks
The horrific terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday morning inspired expressions of sympathy, solidarity, and, from the two leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, painfully predictable scapegoating and torture talk. Ted Cruz, the most steadily shameless of the contenders for the Republican nomination, moved immediately to his default positions: attacking President Obama and promoting himself.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016(1 comments)
Clinton Wins a Lot -- But Sanders Holds His Own
The senator can still make a case that he has a path to the nomination, but it is an uphill path. if the of young people who continue to show up for his rallies are any indication, his supporters are more than ready to fight on. If he hopes to level things out, Sanders must broaden his appeal to African-American and Latino voters, who will be a factor in many of the states where he must win in the weeks to come.
Monday, February 29, 2016 Bernie Sanders Just Won Three of His Biggest Endorsements in a Long Campaign
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich announced his support for Sanders, writing that the senator is "leading a movement to reclaim America for the many, not the few. And such a political mobilization -- a 'political revolution,' as he puts it -- is the only means by which we can get the nation back from the moneyed interests that now control so much of our economy and democracy."
Friday, February 26, 2016(1 comments)
The Hyper-Partisan Hypocrisy of Senator Chuck Grassley
The problem is with partisan hypocrites like Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who this week signed a letter (along with the other Republicans on the committee) vowing to "not hold hearings on any Supreme Court nominee until after our next president is sworn in on January 20, 2017."
Wednesday, February 17, 2016(4 comments)
Republicans Are Now Waging a War on Facts, Precedent, and the Constitution
No one expects Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to be anything less than ruthless partisans. And if the 2016 race has confirmed anything, it is that the senators from Texas and Florida are as unfamiliar with the facts about Supreme Court nominations as they are with basic premises of the Constitution.
Monday, January 18, 2016(4 comments)
Outcry Over the Austerity Crisis in Flint Grows
The first duty to Flint is immediate and thorough action to address the crisis. The second duty is a long-term commitment to care for all who have been harmed. The third duty is an allocation of federal and state resources to repair the damaged infrastructure of the city's water system. But there is a duty to hold Governor Snyder to account for choosing austerity over humanity.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016(2 comments)
Barack Obama Refuses to Be a Lame-Duck President
While Obama detailed the successes of his presidency, he also laid out a fresh vision. At the heart of this State of the Union address was an argument that America can meet the challenges posed by a technological revolution, globalization, climate change, and threats to domestic and global security by recognizing opportunities to change and grow as a nation.
Sunday, January 10, 2016 Chris Christie Needs to Renounce the Endorsement of Maine's "Overtly Racist" Governor
A presidential candidate cannot be held responsible for every word said by every one of his or her supporters. But overtly racist remarks by a candidate's most prominent supporters must be rejected. If Christie wants to be taken seriously as an alternative to Trump, he should start by rejecting Paul LePage's comments -- and Paul LePage's endorsement.
Thursday, January 7, 2016(4 comments)
MoveOn Members Are Voting on a Presidential Endorsement That Matters
In 2008, MoveOn backed Barack Obama. Will the group endorse in the 2016 Democratic race? Now MoveOn members are voting again, in online balloting that began Thursday and will extend through Sunday. Because the MoveOn endorsement is a consequential one, the threshold to secure it is high.
Monday, January 4, 2016(1 comments)
What Do the Bundy Brothers Have Against Wildlife?
The faux "patriots" who have invaded Oregon are confronting not merely the government but the rule of law, and they have as their stated goal an extreme restructuring of the approach of the United States to the physical environment, to western lands and to nature itself.
Saturday, January 2, 2016(1 comments)
Resolution for 2016: Let's Have Lots More Presidential Debates
The Commission on Presidential Debates, a joint project of Democratic and Republican party insiders, currently has control of the fall presidential debates -- along with the television networks. The commission has a history of narrowing the number of debates, limiting the number of candidates who can participate and selecting moderators and panelists who constrain rather than expand the range of debate.
Thursday, December 31, 2015(1 comments)
And the Most Disturbing Presidential Candidate of 2015 Award Goes to...
When inquisitors such as ABC's Martha Raddatz asked basic questions, the Scott Walker's lack of background and preparation became painfully obvious. Yet it was not just ignorance that damaged this "mainstream" Republican. It was his bizarre and unrelenting disdain for public employees in particular and union members in general.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015(3 comments)
Russ Feingold Warns Against "Yet Another Rush Toward a Full-Scale Ground Invasion" of Syria and Iraq
It is possible to respond in rational and effective ways to even the most daunting of global challenges. It is possible to keep Americans safe while maintaining basic liberties. Feingold has always recognized this reality. The key is to bring this recognition to the fore -- not just in the 2016 campaign but in the policies that must be about a lot more than repeating old fantasies and making old mistakes.
Saturday, December 26, 2015(7 comments)
The Dickensian Politics of Trump and His Fellow Scrooges
Dickens imagined that spirited prodding from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future would change Scrooge -- just as there are those today who imagine that a bit more enlightenment might cause even the most rigid Republican to reconsider his disdain for the unemployed, the underemployed, and the never-employed.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015(1 comments)
With Lindsey Graham's Exit, a Dismal Republican Race Is Diminished Further Still
Lindsey Graham was the loudest -- and often the loneliest -- Republican challenger to the absolute absurdity of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and to the willingness of other candidates, congressional leaders, and party bureaucrats to aid and abet the blowhard billionaire's vile rhetoric. Graham dared to say what other Republicans would not, ripping Trump as a "race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot."
Monday, December 21, 2015(1 comments)
Democrats Debate in the Shadows of a Saturday Night Before Christmas
The Democratic debates do not have to be as theatrical as the Trump-dominated Republican debates. Democrats have proven they can disagree without being overly disagreeable. But they have not proven it on nights when viewership is robust and coverage is serious. Saturday-night debates are rarely, if ever, a good idea. The DNC needs to schedule more debates on more nights when more Americans are watching.
Thursday, December 17, 2015(2 comments)
"The Politics of Higher Purpose": An Interview With Martin O'Malley
As one of three remaining Democratic contenders -- with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders -- O'Malley gets good reviews for debate performances and speeches. Yet the former Maryland governor's poll numbers are modest. Undaunted, he tells John Nichols that "the politics of higher purpose" can prevail."
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Rand Paul Got It Right: Trump "Would Defy Every Norm That Is America"
Paul, the senator from Kentucky whose candidacy has never quite gotten off the ground, used his time on the debate stage to focus on the fundamental threat posed by Trump's disregard for civil liberties. Paul said "the basic liberties that define America, the truth is still as Benjamin Franklin described it: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Tuesday, December 15, 2015 A Brave GOP Congressman Refuses to Back Trump and Sets an Example for Tonight's Debaters
Wisconsin Republican Reid Ribble is saying absolutely and unapologetically that he does not back Trump -- and, more importantly, that he will not back Trump. "I am not obligated to support a bad candidate from any party," says Ribble. "I will not support Donald Trump for president of the United States, no matter what the circumstances."
Monday, December 14, 2015(4 comments)
The Discourse Suffers When Trump Gets 23 Times As Much Coverage as Sanders
Trump feeds the beast. With calculated and constant outrageousness, he dominates news coverage not just of the race for the Republican nomination but of the entire 2016 presidential competition. As veteran political observer Larry Sabato says, "It's Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump and Trump." All Trump all the time lets Trump define the discussion.
Friday, December 11, 2015(1 comments)
Cowardly and Inept Republican Elites Play Into Trump's Hands
If Trump is not what the Republican Party is about, then Republicans should be saying, publicly rather than in the backrooms of swank DC restaurants, that they do not want him as their party's nominee. And that, if Trump is nominated, they will not back him. Yes, Trump will threaten to run as an independent. But that threat has always existed, and it will always exist unless the party nominates Trump.
Thursday, December 10, 2015(1 comments)
How Paul Ryan Aids and Abets Donald Trump
Ryan does not think that Trump is advocating for conservatism. And Ryan does not think that Trump represents what the Republican Party stands for. But Ryan would back Trump for president of the United States. That mixed message, criticism followed by a commitment to support a "not what this party stands for" nominee, aids and abets Trump.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015(4 comments)
Obama Is Right: This Unauthorized War Needs to Be Debated by Congress
Obama presumes he will get the authorization he seeks. And he may be right. But no matter what the decision by the House and Senate, Congress must take up this issue. The US Constitution is clear: The power to declare wars rests with Congress, not the president. Yet this president, like his predecessors, has waged war without adequate congressional authorization.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015(3 comments)
It Is Time for Responsible Republicans to Say They Won't Back a Trump-Led GOP
There are points where Republicans can and must reject extremist candidates and extremist politics. That standard is not met when Republicans call Trump "unhinged" or suggest that they are prepared to offer Americans a kinder, gentler version of Trumpism. That standard is met when Republican presidential candidates and party leaders declare that they cannot and will not support a national party ticket led by Donald Trump.
Friday, December 4, 2015(1 comments)
The Importance of Saying "No" to Donald Trump
When they should be calling Trump out, the other Republican candidates instead embrace the worst of his politics. Trump's fantasies are facilitated by supposedly "mainstream" Republicans, who seek to advance themselves by being even more outrageous than the man who continually sets new standards for political outrageousness.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015 An Accountability Moment for Chicago
No matter how things play out for Mayor Emanuel in the current crisis, Illinois officials should recognize the inadequacy of existing election laws and provide Illinoisans with a clearly defined power (similar to that which is afforded citizens in states across the country) to recall state, county, and local elected officials--including the mayor of Chicago.
Monday, November 30, 2015(2 comments)
Which Democrat Will Pass the Working Families Test?
The Working Families Party is preparing to endorse a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. Because the party is closely aligned with labor, environmental, and community groups in a number of key states, and because it is building grassroots operations in 2016 background states such as Wisconsin, the WFP endorsement is coveted by Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley.
Sunday, November 29, 2015 The Deafening Silence of the Republican Field in the Wake of the Planned Parenthood Shooting
What of the Republican contenders who have had so very much to say against Planned Parenthood? Billionaire Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and the rest of the conservative crew that is usually jostling to be first and loudest went suddenly silent Friday night. For the most part, they remained silent into Saturday -- at least with regard to a violent incident that dominated the national news and kitchen-table discussions.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015(1 comments)
On "the Preponderance of the Evidence," Bernie Sanders Is a Democrat
Sanders ran and won his races for mayor of Burlington, Vermont, for the US House and for the US Senate as an independent. And though he has caucused with Democrats in the House and Senate since arriving in Washington in 1991, he has always identified as an "I" rather than a "D." Even as he began to ponder a president run, the senator weighed whether to campaign as an independent or a Democrat.
Friday, November 20, 2015(2 comments)
Can Democratic Socialism Pass the Electability Test? It Already Has
Roosevelt did not win on the Socialist Party line, however -- he won as a Democrat. And so we still face the question that Cooper was raising about whether democratic socialists can be elected in the United States. It's a fair one. And it has an answer: Yes.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015(3 comments)
Bush and Cruz Want to Use Religious Tests to Bar Refugees From the US
More than two dozen Republican governors (and at least one Democrat) are now saying that their states do not want to accept Syrian refugees. Top congressional Republicans want to upend programs that have been developed to assist in the resettlement of refugees. And Republican presidential contenders are openly calling for an official policy of discrimination.
Friday, November 13, 2015 Postal Workers Endorse Austerity-Foe Bernie Sanders
Sanders has for years been an ardent congressional advocate for postal workers and the United States Postal Service. Long before he considered presidential politics, the senator from Vermont was arguing against the austerity economics that seeks to balance the books by cutting public services.
Thursday, November 12, 2015(3 comments)
A Billionaire, Some Millionaires, and a No-Show Senator Debate How Best to Block Wage Hikes
Several of the contenders grumbled about the absolutely worst excesses of crony capitalism and too-big-to-fail banking. Yet, for the most part, it was a night of billionaires, millionaires, and no-show senators refusing to even imagine that America might be a fair and functional nation where all citizens share in the promise of the future.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 Rand Paul Should Make Tuesday's Debate About US Troops in Syria and Undeclared Wars
It is not necessary that Americans be enthusiastic about Rand Paul or his candidacy--and he has certainly taken plenty of positions that will argue against that candidacy--to recognize that there is a need for more debate on war issues. The growing US presence in Syria ought to be a central issue when Republicans debate, just as it ought to be a central issue when Democrats debate.
Sunday, November 8, 2015 The Republican Debate Fiasco Is About to Get Dumb and Dumber
The networks want debates with fewer candidates on stage. They want a good visual image, and perhaps better theater, not the clash of ideas that should determine the direction of a nomination contest. The Republican National Committee and television networks that have shown no respect for the idea that real debates have a role to play in shaping real democracy.
Monday, November 2, 2015(3 comments)
"Make No Mistake About It, This Is a War"
Americans should be brought into this discussion, and the way to do that is by raising the issue in Congress. The House and Senate should reject the flimsy excuse of a 14-year-old AUMF and vote on whether to authorize the growing intervention that the administration is now implementing across Iraq and Syria.
Friday, October 30, 2015(1 comments)
Paul Ryan, R-Wall Street
In 2008, Ryan rounded up Republican votes for the Wall Street bailout, which responsible conservatives recognized as crony capitalism at its worst. Ryan begged Republicans to back the bailout, warning that the United States might be "standing at the edge of this abyss" if Congress did not immediately steer tax dollars to the bankers who were crashing the economy.
Thursday, October 29, 2015(1 comments)
A GOP Debate Without a Winner -- Or Much of a Point
Donald Trump lost interest mid-way through the third Republican presidential debate. It's a bad night for Trump when his most memorable line is a closing-statement claim of credit for negotiating a shorter debate: I got it down to two hours so we can get the hell out of here.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015(2 comments)
Please, John Kasich, Make This Debate Matter by Calling Out Trump and Carson
if Kasich were to call Carson, Trump, Bush and, yes, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and former CEO Carly Fiorina and the rest, out for their extreme stances, if he were to say bluntly and without apology that what the other contenders propose is bad craziness, he would not just help his own candidacy. He would restore a measure of common sense to a race for the Republican nomination.
Monday, October 26, 2015 Bernie Sanders Is Actually Quite Serious About This "Political Revolution" Thing
Most pundits saw evidence that Sanders is finally engaging in some compare-and-contrast campaigning with Clinton -- and there was some of that. But the fight in Iowa (and the rest of the country) is not so much against other candidates, says Sanders, as it is for "a political revolution" that engages citizens who would not otherwise participate in caucuses, primaries or even the 2016 general election.
Friday, October 23, 2015(4 comments)
Not Everyone on the Benghazi Committee Was an Embarrassment
The Republicans, Cummings said, "are squandering millions of taxpayer dollars on this abusive effort to derail Secretary Clinton's presidential campaign." And to confirm his point, the congressman recalled the admissions of partisan intent and manipulation by Republican majority leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Congressman Richard Hanna, and the conservative Republican investigator for the committee.