The problem with comparing Trump to Hitler

Published: MSNBC (November 30, 2015)

Pundits and candidates alike are now accusing Donald Trump of being a fascist or neo-Nazi. Some are even comparing him to Adolf Hitler. This is a serious problem – not for Trump, mind you, but for our collective intelligence as Americans. When we imply that the sinister Trump phenomenon represents something new on the American scene, we gloss over the ugliest parts of our political history, and in the process make it more likely that those mistakes will be repeated. read more

5 reasons why modern wing-nuts would’ve hated the founding fathers

Published: Alternet (November 29, 2015), Salon (November 27, 2015)

If you’re a Democrat (or, for that matter, a progressive of any stripe) the chances are you’ve heard conservatives evoke the founding fathers when dismissing your beliefs on economic issues. The term “socialist” has become such a toxic epithet in our political culture that the two chief candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have spent considerable time confronting the term – with Hillary Clinton correctly pointing out that it doesn’t apply to her center-left views, even as Bernie Sanders valiantly strives to remove its stigma by self-identifying as a “democratic socialist.” read more

The real reason many Americans don’t vote

Published: Salon (November 28, 2015), The Daily Dot (November 11, 2015)

Earlier this week, the Nation declared its support for an online petition urging President Obama to declare Election Day 2016 a national holiday. In doing so, they have joined forces with presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has already introduced a bill to do the same thing. Not surprisingly, the movement has also caught fire on Twitter.

But to understand the issue, it’s important to realize why many Americans don’t vote. While the popular notions are that non-voters are lazy and unmotivated or they “just don’t care,” some voters just can’t afford to. read more

Campus protests can go viral in no time–so can the backlash

Published: The Daily Dot (November 27, 2015)

It’s hard to follow the recent flurry of college protests without being reminded of President Harry S. Truman, who famously said that “there is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

As the media continues to fete attention on high-profile student demonstrations at Yale, Wesleyan, Princeton, and the University of Missouri, one could be forgiven for thinking there is something novel about the state of American universities today. read more

Autistic Reflections on Thanksgiving

Published: The Good Men Project (November 26, 2015)

On Thanksgiving Day 2015, I am thankful for the following.

Growing up, it seemed like everyone rejected me as an oddball. If I didn’t correctly read the thoughts and emotions people attempted to communicate through their facial expressions and body language, I was weird and rude. When I talked too much about subjects that the people around me didn’t find interesting, it was because I was “Motormouth Matthew.” Anytime I drew attention to how I was being bullied because of my unorthodox mannerisms and tics, I was admonished for being a “tattle” and told that I should “just ignore” my tormentors. read more

If Donald Trump becomes president, it’ll be our fault for treating him like a celebrity

Published: The Good Men Project (November 24, 2015) – co-authored with Jill Di Donato

Donald Trump’s ascent as a presidential frontrunner is, without question, one of the major political events of our lifetime. Even if he doesn’t ultimately win the Republican nomination next year, he has already dominated in the polls long past the time when most experts believed his star would wane. As a result, Republican leaders are already beginning to panic that he may actually become their candidate, with some even turning to a reluctant Mitt Romney as their potential savior. read more

An aggressive military response is precisely what ISIS wants

Published: Salon (November 20, 2015), The Daily Dot (November 18, 2015)

As the world reels from the last Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris, millions of people have taken to Twitter to share their grief and outrage… and many echoed Donald Trump’s call to “bomb the shit” out of them.

The desire to immediately strike back at ISIS with overwhelming force is understandable. It took under 48 hours for the French military to retaliate for the attack with air strikes against targets in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria. However, it’s important to remember why groups like ISIS mount large-scale spectacle terrorist attacks against Western targets in the first place: to provoke a dramatic military reaction that brings moderate Muslims around the world into agreeing with its worldview. Retaliatory strikes against ISIS will certainly weaken the group, maybe even destroy it, but that type of response is precisely what ISIS is hoping to elicit. read more

Why no one watched the Democratic debate

Published: The Good Men Project (November 17, 2015)

The most recent Democratic presidential debate was the lowest rated of the six held by either party this election cycle, drawing in only 8.55 million viewers. This may seem like bad news for the Democrats, but the truth is actually more disturbing – in all likelihood, they planned it this way.

We can start our analysis with the day on which it was held. As Alvin Chang of Vox explained in a recent article, only seven of the 100 debates held since the 2000 presidential election cycle were held on a Saturday. All of those took place during the primaries, after the voters had already been introduced to and at least partially cast judgment on the wider field of candidates. “TV ratings are generally lower on Friday and Saturday, which probably explains why there has never been a general election debate on a Saturday night,” Chang points out. He adds that Thursday seems to be prime real estate when it comes to attracting TV audiences—a detail the Republican National Committee noticed when scheduling its series of debates. read more