Michael Tomasky is a Special Correspondent for The Daily Beast, the Editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times.
 (December 2018)

Follow Michael Tomasky on Twitter: @mtomasky.


The Midterms: So Close, So Far Apart

Newly elected Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Florida), Abby Finkenauer (Iowa), and Sharice Davids (Kansas) at the US Capitol, Washington, D.C., November 2018
Political opponents of President Trump found much to cheer in this year’s elections: the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, most obviously; the elevation to Congress of so many women of diverse backgrounds (an ex-CIA officer, a Native American former mixed martial arts fighter); the capture by Democrats of …

Fighting to Vote

The crowd at a get-out-the-vote rally during a speech by Michelle Obama, Miami, Florida, September 2018

The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present

by Allan J. Lichtman
If the current third wave of voter-suppression techniques is halted, history suggests that there will be a fourth and a fifth. Today’s Republican Party is not simply trying to win elections. It is simultaneously trying to rewrite the rules—gerrymandering and voter suppression are crucial to this effort—so that it never loses a federal election again. Too many liberals can’t bring themselves to acknowledge this.

Hail to the Chief

Donald Trump delivering the State of the Union address, Washington, D.C., January 2018
The Republican Party has essentially ceased to be a political party in our normal understanding of the term and has instead become an instrument of one man’s will.

Ratfucked Again

Anti-gerrymandering activists in costume as Maryland district 5 (left) and district 1 (right) in front of the Supreme Court, March 2018
The party that wins the right to draw the legislative maps of the 2020s will have enormous power to shape future Congresses and state legislatures—to determine, for example, whether districts are drawn in such a way that Republicans need only worry about winning conservative votes and Democrats liberal ones, or in a way that might push candidates toward the center; and whether districts comply with the Voting Rights Act, in a decade when much demographic change is expected, enough to perhaps turn the crucial state of Texas at least purple, if not blue. Much is at stake.


Obama’s Second Act?

Lately, Barack Obama doesn’t look like such a bad poker player. Roundly criticized for “negotiating with himself” before the Republicans even got to the table on the tax compromise—and for the Democrats’ abysmal showing in the midterm elections—the president can now claim a head-turning sequence of out-of-nowhere legislative victories: the long-sought repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, the approval of the New Start treaty with Russia, and, on Wednesday afternoon, a bill extending health coverage benefits for rescue workers and others who got sick in the 9/11 aftermath. Republicans had invested much time and energy in blocking all of them, and very few Democrats in Washington would have been willing to predict two weeks ago that any of these measures would pass.

The Senate’s Energy Failure

Oil spews from a wellhead in Barataria Bay on the coast of Louisiana after it was struck by a tugboat, July 27, 2010

Many reasons have been served up to explain the Democrats’ dismal withdrawal of the energy bill last week: the President was too reticent about fighting climate change; they failed to drum up sufficient public support; they let too many other things take precedence on the legislative agenda. But one reason towers above all others—the dysfunctionality of the Senate.

Suddenly a Political Mastermind?

The speed and certainty with which the conventional wisdom in Washington flips can be a comical thing to watch. A mere forty-eight hours ago, Barack Obama was a struggling president, even a likely one-termer. Today, in the wake of the House’s narrow passage of the health-reform bill—which is to say, on the strength of a grand total of four votes, which if cast the other way would have ensured reform’s defeat—he’s suddenly once again a political mastermind and one of the most consequential presidents of the last half-century!