Julian Zelizer Profile picture
Historian at Princeton University and a CNN Political Analyst. Contributor, NPR’s Here and Now. Co-host of Politics & Polls. 20 books on American politics.
Cathy Marie Michael Profile picture MJP Profile picture dys·pep·tic Profile picture chaucersbud✍️ Profile picture 4 added to My Authors
30 May
In 1968, LBJ's Kerner Commission reported that police officers were not "merely a spark factor" in the 1967 riots, but that in the cities they had come to symbolize "white power, white racism, and white oppression."/1
The commission, made up of high level establishment figures from the political center, warned of “ominous consequences” if nothing changed./2
The report came out on February 29, 1968. Though the Kerner dropped many radical ideas staffers had proposed, it was still bold for the times./3
Read 14 tweets
16 May
Tonight, @BarackObama will speak to the High School Seniors who are graduating this year, the Great Class of 2020./1
Everyone, Democrats and Republicans, should tune in. These young people have been doing an amazing job. Rather than pics of bad haircuts or videos complaining about their parents, most have been working, staying engaged, and figuring out life--while social distancing./2
And yes, making some silly Tik Tok videos./3
Read 7 tweets
23 Mar
Listening to @NYGovCuomo today made me think about my late grandfather, an immigrant from Eastern Europe who arrived to the U.S. in the early 20th century, survived the Great Depression, and then served in WWII before becoming a rabbi.
I remember how he always used to make sure that his grandchildren ate every piece of food in front of them and he never wanted to spend too much. If the "early bird" special was offered, he would take it. He always warned that you can lose everything with the blink of an eye.
As someone growing up in the 1980s, an era of excess and abundance for many Americans, I never could understand his fears. They seemed excessive or irrational given the context of the times.
Read 8 tweets
16 Feb
@realDonaldTrump is set to be the grand marshal at the Daytona 500. He’ll give the “start your engines” command, take a lap around the track in an armed limo, and tout his claim to be a populist president./1

@realDonaldTrump Democrats need to work harder to respond to this claim, which contradicts his policy record of supply side tax cuts and deregulations./2

@realDonaldTrump This reminds me of a story that I discovered in the archives while researching my biography of Jimmy Carter./3
Read 20 tweets
15 Jan
Correction to House Republicans. Democrats did not have a strong partisan interest in moving forward with impeachment. This is why it took @SpeakerPelosi so long to reach this decision.
@SpeakerPelosi It was clear from the start that Democrats would go through this entire process with almost no chance of the Senate removing @realDonaldTrump from office./2
@SpeakerPelosi @realDonaldTrump Impeachment has divided the House Democrats from the start, especially with new members from swing districts fearing that this could cost them their jobs—and majority./3
Read 9 tweets
8 Oct 19
At least for now, polls suggest that the @realDonaldTrump impeachment is not playing out like the Clinton impeachment/1
@realDonaldTrump The predictions that the two would unfold the same way were based on several misleading comparisons/2
@realDonaldTrump Trump is not Clinton. The substance of the charges being leveled against Trump are far more serious. Furthermore, the record of how Trump has abused presidential power is greater than his predecessor. Peeling back the onion on this one keeps making things infinitely worse/3
Read 12 tweets
7 Oct 19
Several people have asked me about this smart @CNNOpinion piece by my esteemed colleagues. Years ago, I wrote a book on the history of politics and foreign policy, Arsenal of Democracy, which examined how politics rarely stops at the water’s edge./1 cnn.com/2019/10/02/opi…
@CNNOpinion So how do we think of Trump’s scandal in historical context?/2
@CNNOpinion It is true, as some of the article’s critics say, that foreign policy decisions are rarely made in a political vacuum. But that doesn’t mean that Trump’s actions are not shocking, unprecedented, and dangerous./3
Read 11 tweets
28 Sep 19
Though the odds of Republicans breaking with POTUS remain low, I don’t think the cw about this being "impossible" is correct given the dramatic information being revealed on an hourly basis./1
Let’s remember, though party polarization was not as strong in 1973-1974, it took a long time before Republicans broke ranks with President Richard Nixon—and they eventually did./2
Right now there are several concerns about the Trump presidency, all central to the impeachment investigation, which could move Republicans to see beyond their short-term partisan interests./3
Read 10 tweets
24 Sep 19
As the formal impeachment process gets underway, here are a few suggestions for journalists on all media platforms so that we obtain the best coverage that is possible in this atmosphere/1
Impeachment is the big story of the moment—treat it like that: Impeaching the President is a huge process. Give the investigation focused attention, cover the evidence in sustained fashion, and let the American people see and learn what is being presented/2
Don't let POTUS set the goalposts: The statements/claims of Trump officials should not go unchallenged. The administration will offer bits and pieces of evidence which are misleading. Question, follow-up, offer contradictory evidence and arguments to hold their feet to the fire/3
Read 12 tweets
24 Sep 19
Based on Trump playbook during most important decision-making moments for Democrats, we can expect several things from POTUS/1
First, provocative tweets and statements intended to distract the news media and redirect the conversation away from impeachment and toward his latest outrageous act/2
Second, a flurry of statements calling impeachment "radical" in an effort to scare moderate Democrats away from giving Pelosi the 218 votes she wants before moving forward/3
Read 7 tweets
15 Aug 19
The media needs to be cautious when using the term “culture wars.” This is a politically loaded concept that frames issues in very particular ways./1
The term became popular in the 1980s-1990s when the Right used this as a rallying cry. Here is Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Republican convention. @kevinkusatsu and I covered this history in #FaultLines./2
@kevinkusatsu But these issues can be discussed in very different ways.
Civil rights are about racial justice.
Abortion is about reproductive rights.
Same sex couple rights are about equality./3
Read 8 tweets
30 Jul 19
As Democrats ponder the benefits and risks of "going bold," it’s worth remembering that on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the law creating Medicare and Medicaid./1
With many Democrats still reeling from the AMA's devastating campaign to defeat President Truman’s national health care plan, some liberals started pushing for a narrower alternative, hospital insurance for the elderly, built into Social Security./2
Even though liberals limited their objectives, conservatives still attacked the proposal as “socialistic.” The AMA warned that "extreme" plans to provide health insurance for the elderly would open the door to a government takeover--of everything./3
Read 15 tweets
24 Jul 19
Now that the Mueller hearings are over and everyone is having their take, it time to see whether there is any substantive political impact on Capitol Hill./1
Some concrete developments to look for./2
Does the number of Democrats formally calling for impeachment go up from 88?/3
Read 14 tweets
22 Jun 19
Discussing the devastating impact that the congressional conservative coalition (1930s-1970s) had on racial equality is not being hysterical, "politically correct," histrionic, or uncivil. Rather, debating the issue is the responsible thing to do./1
Historians have traced how the alliance between Southern Democrats—of which Senator Eastland was a key member--and Midwestern Republicans protected white supremacy and forced every legislator to live with the racism that was baked into the nation’s institutions and policies./2
Northern Democrats were unable to dismantle this racial system if they wanted the votes needed to pass any domestic legislation. The situation was more akin to conservative legislators demanding ransom than to working together./3
Read 14 tweets
11 Jun 19
There is no shortage of commentary about why impeachment could hurt Democrats. The arguments are plausible, sound, and reasonable. There are huge political risks for Democrats if they undertake the process. But the picture which this viewpoint paints is incomplete./1
In general, starting an impeachment process should not be made based on political calculations. The process is too important and too traumatic to become a political tool. Normalizing impeachment as a partisan weapon would be a terrible idea./2
In the case of @realDonaldTrump, however, there is more than enough evidence to justify an impeachment inquiry. Most Democrats seem to agree. So too does one Republican, @justinamash./3
Read 14 tweets
2 Jun 19
If the polls are accurate, support for impeachment is about the same today as it was for Nixon in March 1974 (42-43 percent). This suggests that majority support for impeachment might not the best guide for House Democrats in 2019./1
Just to fill in some of the context for March 1974—a case that culminated with the House Judiciary Committee voting for articles of impeachment, President Nixon resigning, and a moment in American history widely considered to be an example of when the system worked./2
By March 1974, the nation had lived through the traumatic and explosive events of the Saturday Night Massacre (October 1973)./3
Read 12 tweets
30 May 19
As House Democrats try to figure out what to do next with impeachment, there are many assumptions being made about what happens if the party chooses to go down that path. There are also a few basic realities that Democrats should consider./1
Regardless of whether Senate Republicans ever get to vote against removing the president from office, Trump and the GOP will claim that he was exonerated either way. /2
Regardless of what House Democrats decide about impeachment, the president’s base will be mobilized and energized for 2020. Most likely, the rest of the party will end up voting for him as well./3
Read 9 tweets
23 May 19
A few random responses to this week's news stories, in no particular order./1
Yes, Congress can legislate and investigate at the same time. See 1973-1974 and 1997-1998./2
With the current economic numbers, the advantages of incumbency, and the passion @realDonaldTrump draws from his base, Democrats are engaging in wishful thinking if they believe it will be easy to defeat Trump in 2020./3
Read 16 tweets
21 May 19
House Democrats are having a difficult debate about impeachment./1
There is one argument against voting on impeachment proceedings that doesn’t make sense. That is--because the nation has not experienced its equivalent of the 1973 Watergate Committee, we need more of an "educational process" before Congress can act./2
But that argument is misleading. For over two years, there has been extensive reporting on the conduct of the president--before, during, and after the Mueller investigation. As @brianstelter argued, most of it was spot on./3
Read 13 tweets
19 May 19
Ever since the Mueller report came out, more political leaders have said that @realDonaldTrump committed impeachable offenses. The administration’s response to the report has made things worse./1
Top Democrats like @TeamPelosi and @RepJerryNadler have publicly spoken about the president's impeachable behavior./2
Prominent Republican pundits like @gtconway3d have said this as well./3
Read 17 tweets
30 Apr 19
Democrats are struggling to find good candidates for the 2020 Senate races. @staceyabrams announcement that she will not run in Georgia constitutes another major blow to the party's effort to retake control of the upper chamber./1
The Senate has been a bastion of Republican power. When @BarackObama was in office, @senatemajldr stifled the administration’s efforts on almost every front. @KevinMKruse and I cover this in #FaultLines. Everyone remembers this clip./2
The Senate has been crucial to most of @realDonaldTrump's biggest political victories, such as pushing through federal court appointments that have energized the Right. Senate Republicans have also been a powerful check against efforts to conduct oversight and investigations./3
Read 9 tweets