Jonathan Freedland is an editorial-page columnist for The Guardian. His latest novel is To Kill the President, published under the pseudonym Sam Bourne. (February 2018)

Follow Jonathan Freedland on Twitter: @Freedland.

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Reality TV in Cleveland

Delegates at the Republican National Convention after the announcement that there would not be a roll-call vote on the Convention Rules Committee's report and proposed rules changes, Cleveland, Ohio, July 18, 2016

Trump’s candidacy rests on his experience as a business leader, on the notion that he is the CEO ready to run America, Inc. What he has demonstrated so far at the Republican convention in Cleveland is not deviation from an ideological norm, but simple ineptitude. And for a would-be chief executive to the nation, that’s not a good look.

IN THE REVIEW

Ultra-Orthodox ‘Friends’

Doval’e Glickman as Shulem Shtisel (left) in a scene from the Israeli TV show Shtisel

Shtisel

a television series created by Yehonatan Indursky and Ori Elon
As a pitch, it would have sounded unpromising. A TV drama set entirely among the ultra-Orthodox Jews of Jerusalem, the men black-hatted, bearded with side curls, most of the women bewigged, their sleeves long and their skin covered up; the action centered on one family, specifically a widowed father and …

Theresa May’s Losing Gamble

Theresa May
On June 8, British Prime Minister Theresa May learned one of politics’ cruelest lessons: that it is possible to win an election and still lose. Technically speaking, she was the victor, as her Conservative Party won fifty-six more seats in Parliament than its Labour opponents. But May lost her overall …

Dover and Out

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May at a European Union summit, Valletta, Malta, February 2017
How did Theresa May, who campaigned, albeit in lukewarm fashion, for the Remain side in last summer’s referendum, end up pushing for such a hard-core version of Leave? Any explanation has to begin with the parlous state of the official opposition to the Conservatives now in power. In its postwar history, the Labour Party has rarely been weaker.

A Great Family Business

Claire Foy as Princess Elizabeth and Matt Smith as Prince Philip on a visit to Kenya in 1952, shortly before she became queen, in The Crown

The Crown

a Netflix television series created by Peter Morgan
The first season of The Crown tells a story that has a universal appeal, equally absorbing whether one is among those who are reigned over or merely a curious onlooker. It is essentially the Godfather narrative, with Elizabeth as Michael Corleone.

NYR DAILY

Say Goodbye, It’s Independence Day

An Americana house marking Independence Day, Ojai, California, July 4, 2016

In the Obama era, discrimination and prejudice persisted, of course, not least in the criminal justice system. Still, Supreme Court rulings in favor of affirmative action and equal marriage suggested that my faith in the Constitution’s ability to protect minorities remained sound. Now, though, it is being shaken to its foundations. We’ve seen hideous US presidencies before, but what is happening under Trump goes further. What the Trump presidency has confirmed is something I overlooked in 1998: that the Constitution may boast endlessly ingenious powers, but they count for nothing if the men and women charged with deploying those powers refuse to do their duty. 

Year One: Trump’s Foreign Affairs

Saudi King Salman presenting President Donald Trump with the highest civilian honor, the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud, at the Royal Court Palace, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017

Until a year ago, the US was setting a lead of a very different sort. America’s first black president seemed about to make way for the first woman president. Once again, the US was offering an example to the world, affording a glimpse of what twenty-first century democracy might look like. Instead, Trump has provided a glimpse into a gloomier future, one of lies, ethnic division, authoritarianism, and the ever-looming prospect of war. It’s fair to say that most outside the US are counting down the days, like a prisoner scratching marks onto the wall, waiting for Trump to be gone, so that the world might feel steadier, and safer, again. 

A World in Doubt

Rota naval base, Spain, July 10, 2016

Europe’s most strident populists and chauvinists are thrilled by the Trump victory. But the overwhelming sentiment animating European and global responses to the US election is fear. In the chancelleries of Europe, it already has two distinct forms: fear over what Trump will do and fear over what his victory might mean closer to home.