Election 2020

  • The Questions Matter

    I watched the Democratic primary debate from Las Vegas last night.  I don’t know if what we saw was good for Democrats, good for Republicans, or good for the country.  I know politics is fierce.  It’s bare-knuckled.  It’s theatrical.  And last night’s debate had its fair share of drama.  But there are so many issues worthy of a national discussion that I’m mystified why debate moderators don’t ask better questions, … Read More

  • http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/online/tellingstories/

    Our Republic is on the Ballot

    The most important player in a republic—including ours—is the citizen.  From our consent, leaders derive the authority to govern: to raise taxes, to declare war, to enforce laws and treaties, and to do all the things we expect of government.  From the ranks of citizens, our government draws its judges, its soldiers, its officials at every level—including our representatives in the House and Senate as well as the White House.  … Read More

  • Our North Star

    In May of 1952, John Foster Dulles, the man who would become Secretary of State to President Dwight Eisenhower, published an article in Life magazine titled “A Policy of Boldness.”  It was both a critique of the Truman administration’s conduct of foreign policy and a description of the establishment views of the Republican party as it sought to regain the White House for the first time in two decades.  I … Read More

  • It’s Up to Us

    The most important player in a republic like ours isn’t the president, it isn’t the speaker of the House, and it isn’t the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.  It’s the citizen.  The citizen.  Whether she lives in a rural, farming community, or if he’s riding the subway to work in a skyscraper, each of us possesses a spark of sovereignty that collectively determines the direction of the … Read More

  • 2020: Civic New Year Resolutions

    The start of the new year always means crowded gyms and a run on exercise gear.  I do it, too.  I have my list of resolutions, things I want to do better in the year ahead.  But as I thought about my resolutions for 2020, I went beyond the gym to focus on some broader civic resolutions I want to make real in my life this year. Make sure I … Read More

  • Pell Center Hosts Election Security Summit

    Newport, R.I. – The Pell Center hosted the second election security summit for Rhode Island (RI) Secretary of the State Nellie Gorbea on Friday, October 25th.  The event featured expert speakers from the RI Board of Elections, National Guard, RI State Police, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  RI Congressman Jim Langevin, Pell Center’s Executive Director Jim Ludes and Senior Fellow for Cyber Leadership Francesca Spidalieri also addressed state election … Read More

  • The Opportunity Costs of Today’s Politics

    I like Ike.  On April 16, 1953, five weeks after the death of Soviet premier Joseph Stalin, Eisenhower delivered the “Chance for Peace” speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.  It is a classic of cold war political warfare with the Soviet Union—but it’s also a beautiful exposition of the concept of “opportunity cost.” Eisenhower described in the most human terms how the arms race between the Soviet Union … Read More

  • The Campaign I’d Like to See

    As of this writing, there are 21 declared candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president of the United States. The challenge of breaking through the field and emerging as a major candidate is daunting, but I have a modest proposal: Tell a story.  Tell a story about where we are as a nation.  Tell a story that challenges the narrative advanced by this president and his campaign.  Tell a … Read More

  • The First Campaign Narrative of 2020

    The 2020 campaign is fully under-way. Democrats and even a few Republicans have announced campaigns and exploratory committees, and campaign narratives are beginning to emerge. Campaign narratives are central to how candidates engage with the public. They provide a framework for understanding developments because the public, once having internalized a narrative, can sort facts and new developments on their own. The narratives that emerge around campaigns are driven by the … Read More