Looking on the bright side, perhaps this election can teach conservatives to look on the dark side. They need a talent for pessimism, recognizing the signs that whatever remains of American exceptionalism does not immunize this nation from decay, to which all regimes are susceptible.
Here on the High Plains, where the deer and the antelope once played, Denver's suburbs roam toward the Rockies' front range and the nature of today's polyglot politics is written in the local congressman's campaign schedule.
Technology has put powerful computers in billions of pockets, but an invention much more mundane than the smartphone -- the shipping container: a rectangular steel box -- also has changed the world. Because of it, two of today's preoccupations -- infrastructure and globalization -- are connected by a chain of events that began more than 60 years ago and today runs through Congress and to the wharves of Charleston's booming port.
Documents inconvenient to the regime went into the Ministry of Truth's slits and down to "enormous furnaces." Modern tyrannies depend on state control of national memories -- retroactive truths established by government fiat. Which is why Russia's Supreme Court recently upheld the conviction of a blogger for violating Article 354.1 of Russia's criminal code.
Republican congressional leaders ardently want conservative members of the House to not force a vote on impeaching the IRS commissioner.
Because truth in labeling laws are among the laws from which Washington feels exempt, the titles of congressional legislation often take liberties with the facts (e.g., the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act, however, precisely names the ailment for which it is the remedy.
Nevada, which calls itself the "Battle Born State," actually was born prematurely because of Republicans' anxiety. Now, 152 years later, it again is a subject of their anxiety.
Seated in his office here, wearing neither a necktie nor a frown, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is remarkably relaxed for someone at the epicenter of a crisis now in its second year and with no end in sight. But, then, stress is pointless when the situation is hopeless. Besides, if you can ignore the fact that self-government is failing in the nation's fifth-most populous state, you can see real artistry in the self-dealing by the Democrats who, with veto-proof majorities in the state Legislature, have reduced this state they control to insolvency.
Like shipwrecked mariners clinging to a floating mast, many Republicans rationalize supporting Donald Trump because of "the court." This two-word incantation means: Because we care so much for the Constitution, it is supremely important to entrust to Trump the making of Supreme Court nominations. Well.
In the 1870s, when Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall controlled New York City, and in the 1950s and 1960s, when Chicago's Democratic machine was especially rampant, there was a phenomenon that can be called immunity through profusion: Fresh scandals arrived with metronomic regularity, so there was no time to concentrate on any of them. The public, bewildered by blitzkriegs of bad behavior, was enervated.