The Politicization of Everything: Is no part of American life safe from politics in the Age of Trump?

“All politics is local,” was famously Tip O’Neill’s favorite saying. Today, in the Age of Trump, all is politics. Tired of the election and our latest First 100 Days already? Too bad. Good luck trying to disengage. Thanks to social media, and to the nature of our new president and his administration, politics is suddenly with us always, in every aspect of our lives, including wherever we may look for diversion. I’m not just talking about trying to evade your angry, Donald Trump-loving/hating relatives and friends. Starting the day after the election, I would estimate that at least 90 percent Read More

Remembering Buddy Cianci 1941-2016

  Death came to Buddy Cianci a year too soon, for surely he would have recognized a political soulmate in our president-elect. Cianci, who died of colon cancer last January at the age of 74, was the original avatar of our new politics, a creature composed mostly of bluff and bluster, a master of the media who mesmerized both press and public throughout his record 21 years as mayor of Providence, Rhode Island. Along the way, neither press nor public ever seemed able to look away, nor to hold anything against him for very long. They weren’t turned off when Read More

Clinton Vs. Trump is Manhattan Vs. Queens

One surprising way to understand Monday night’s showdown?  An epic battle of the boroughs. In 1964, when the New York Titans first moved from Manhattan to Shea Stadium, in Flushing, Queens, many wanted to rename the team the “Borros,” a play on “Boroughs.” The name was supposedly nixed because the front office was worried the franchise would be caricatured as “jackasses,” and so the New York Jets were born. (Talk about jackasses.) More likely, the team was worried about being associated with New York’s outer boroughs, long denigrated by Manhattanites as pathetic hangers-on to the island at the center of the Read More

Is Rudy Giuliani Losing His Mind?: Even in New York, ‘America’s Mayor’ was always a lot more like Trump than people realized. Now we’re seeing it on a national stage.

All summer long, Rudy Giuliani has acted as if he’s in a contest with Donald Trump to prove who the most manic 70-something from the outer boroughs really is. It started at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where Giuliani raved and gesticulated about the podium like an Aztec priest offering up fresh beating hearts to Quetzalcoatl. He blamed President Obama for any and all racial division in the United States—“What happened to one America?!”—and Obama and Hillary Clinton for virtually every attack by Islamic terrorists over the past four years. “There’s no next election. This is it! There’s no more Read More

America’s Long History of Trashing ‘New York Values’; And why it tells us more about America Than New York

The nonsense piles up so quickly in this silliest of all political silly seasons that it’s hard to keep up with it. Nonetheless, Ted Cruz’s assertion, in the last Republican debate and again in a television ad this week, that Donald J. Trump embodies “New York values” was a little startling. From Cruz’s comment sprung a lively debate about what “New York” really stands for. The Texas senator had a ready answer: “socially liberal, pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion, focused on money and the media.” Trump, in what was undoubtedly his campaign’s finest (and maybe its only good) moment, shot back citing the city’s Read More