John Judis

John B. Judis is an editor at large at Talking Points Memo and the author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.

Recent Articles

Did Labor Jump the Gun?

If Vice President Al Gore wins the Democratic nomination for president, he will have John Sweeney and the AFL-CIO to thank. The AFL-CIO boosted Gore's flagging campaign in October when it endorsed him over former Senator Bill Bradley. And in the primaries and caucuses, the labor movement could provide the winning margin in key states like New York, California, Ohio, and Michigan, where it commands about 30 percent of the likely Democratic voters. But will labor's endorsement of Gore help labor itself? That may seem like a stupid question, but there are dis- turbing parallels between the AFL- CIO's endorsement of Gore and its unfortunate endorsement of former Vice President Walter Mondale in October 1983. Join the conversation! Discuss this article in Political Prospects , part of The American Prospect's Online Forums . The late Lane Kirkland is now seen through the prism of his last...

Below the Beltway: The China Hawks

S ince the end of the Cold War, the main challenge to those who favor a "constructive engagement" with China has come from human rights advocates and labor leaders. But in the last year, a new opposition voice has been heard, arguing for a return to the containment strategy used against the Soviet Union. This new strategy has very little support at the Brookings Institution or the Council on Foreign Relations, but it is well represented in the Weekly Standard , Commentary , and the New Republic , and in the columns of George Will , William Safire , and A.M. Rosenthal . Some of the loudest voices are former Cold War conservatives who were exiled from inner policy circles in the last revisionist years of the Reagan administration. These include Michael Ledeen (who helped broker the first arms-for-hostages deal with Iran), Frank Gaffney (who was deputy to Defense Department official Richard Perle), and Robert Kagan (former aide to State Department official Elliot Abrams). These advocates...

My Heart Belongs to Daddy

Y ou can't judge most presidential candidates simply by their retinue of advisers and fundraisers, but Texas Governor George W. Bush may be a special case. Neither major party has nominated a candidate with so little national experience since the Republicans sent Kansas Governor and former oilman Alf Landon up against Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan were governors when they ran, but they had also participated for decades in national political debates and had accumulated their own opinions and experts and advisers. Except for minor posts in his father's presidential campaigns, George W. Bush has had no experience in national politics. If he is elected, he will be unusually dependent on those who have this kind of experience. And guess whose administration these men and women will come from. The clearest sign yet of the young Bush's lack of self-reliance came in his choice of former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney as...

Chiang Kai-shek Is Dead

P resident George W. Bush's first major foreign-policy decision will come at the end of April when he will have to decide what kind of military hardware to sell Taiwan. The debate will be somewhat technical, but very important: It involves America's stance toward a region of the world where the fate of democracy is at stake and where a major war could eventually occur. And American liberals, who usually have something to say about almost any foreign-policy issue, from East Timor to Northern Ireland, have been almost entirely absent from this debate. The Taiwanese want, among other things, Patriot 3 antimissile systems and four Aegis destroyers that could be used to counter the Chinese missile buildup and to prevent a naval blockade. But the Chinese government does not want the U.S. to sell any arms to Taiwan. Addressing the United States in a press conference, Sha Zhukang, head of arms control in China's Foreign Ministry, said, "Taiwan is part of China... . Arms sales to a part of a...

Shut Down the College

E ven the best political systems cannot eliminate corruption, venality, and civil strife, but they are supposed to limit their sway. Enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the American electoral system was designed to do that, yet the recent presidential election has revealed serious weaknesses in the way a president is chosen. The country appears to have escaped lasting damage--except perhaps to the reputation of the Supreme Court--but if these structural flaws are not addressed, we could face a much more profound political crisis in the coming decades. Two assumptions that formed the basis of our original electoral system have become dangerously outdated: first, the need to provide small states with an incentive, through added electoral votes, to remain within the federal union; second, the need to check popular democracy with the power of disinterested elites. These assumptions informed the electoral college at its creation and the rules that have governed...

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