Elizabeth Drew, a regular contributor to The New York Review, is writing a continuing series on the 2016 election for the NYR Daily. (August 2016)


Party of Rage

Chris Christie, Donald Trump, and Rudy Giuliani, Cleveland, Ohio, 2016

The strategy and tone that lay behind this week’s Republican convention in Cleveland, and that have lain behind Donald Trump’s campaign from its outset, reflect a strain that has existed in the Republican Party for nearly fifty years. That is, to play on the politics of fear, hatred, and race.

Can the Candidates Change?

Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2015.

The week that began with our annual national celebration ended in a cacophony of charges and misdirected attacks and the prospect of more ugliness as the two most disliked candidates in our history seek an acceptance that keeps eluding them. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both came face to face with their deepest and possibly fatal flaws.


A Country Breaking Down

Rescue workers gathered below the Interstate 35W bridge in downtown Minneapolis after it collapsed and fell into the Mississippi River and onto its banks during evening rush hour, August 2007

2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

by the American Society of Civil Engineers

Rust: The Longest War

by Jonathan Waldman
The near-total failure of our political institutions to invest for the future, eschewing what doesn’t yield the quick payoff, political and physical, has left us with hopelessly clogged traffic, at risk of being on a bridge that collapses, or on a train that flies off defective rails, or with rusted pipes carrying our drinking water.

Can They Undermine the Deal?

Senators Ron Wyden, Ben Cardin, Charles Schumer, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, and Chris Coons (seated) before a news conference on Capitol Hill to introduce the Iran Policy Oversight Act, October 1, 2015
The Republican Congress’s failure in September to pass a resolution disapproving the nuclear agreement with Iran didn’t mean that the deal was safe.* The president won a major victory when its supporters managed to bottle up the resolution disapproving the deal in the Senate, thus protecting him from having …


Trump: The Descent

Donald Trump on video screen, Bismarck, North Dakota, May 26, 2016

The tipping point on whether to try to deny Trump the nomination could occur if his poll numbers threaten to take down members of Congress. “There’s a direct correlation between tolerance for the insane things Trump does…and good poll numbers,” Dan Senor, a confidante of House Speaker Paul Ryan, said last week. “The moment those poll numbers drop tolerance goes down.”

Trump: The Haunting Question

Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Albany, New York, April 11, 2016

It’s by now clear that the presidential election of 2016 is something larger than and apart from just another quadrennial contest for the highest office; it’s a national crisis. The crisis will last as long as there’s a possibility that someone totally unsuited for that office could win it.

Red and Blue Agony

Protesters heckle Hillary Clinton as she speaks, Riverside, California, May 24, 2016

The agonies this country’s two major political parties are going through were foreshadowed last fall, but in both cases it’s worse than anyone expected. The rebellions by anti-establishment populists on both sides have produced two divided parties. And in the case of the all-but-official nominees, Trump and Hillary Clinton, we have the unusual situation of two imperiled candidates.

Trump’s Long Game

Donald Trump with a poster advertising his book, Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life, New York City, October 16, 2007

The long arc of Trump’s thinking makes it less surprising that a reality television star and wealthy businessman is a nominee for the presidency. Trump’s pasting his name on everything he can get his hands on has had a long-term political as well as economic purpose. Trump is the first brand to run for president.