Molly Ball
Molly Ball
Molly Ball is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers U.S. politics.
  • Yuri Gripas / Reuters

    Why D.C. Hates Ted Cruz

    Cruz’s fans say it’s because he stands on principle. But his critics say he’s never achieved anything—except burnishing his own brand.

  • Brian Snyder / Reuters

    Ted Cruz's Revolution

    The Texas senator has convinced Washington to hate him; can he use that to convince America to love him?

  • Matt Rourke / AP

    Is the Republican Establishment Ganging Up on Ted Cruz?

    Beltway Republicans say they consider Donald Trump the lesser of two evils. Cruz wears their loathing as a badge of honor.

  • Mary Altaffer / AP

    How Sarah Palin Created Donald Trump

    The rabble-rousing former Alaska governor pioneered the rhetorical style now powering the frontrunner's rise.

  • Joshua Roberts / Reuters

    The Religious Right's Donald Trump Dilemma

    The Republican candidate’s speech at Liberty University divides evangelical leaders, revealing a split in the so-called values vote.

  • Jim Young / Reuters

    Portrait of a Party on the Verge of Coming Apart

    With the Iowa caucuses just two weeks away, can Republicans reconcile themselves to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz? Or will the GOP break into pieces?

  • WFP / Connecticut State Senate Democrats / Andrew ...

    The Pugnacious, Relentless Progressive Party That Wants to Remake America

    The Working Families Party has pushed the political debate to the left in the states where it’s already active. Now—in the era of Occupy and Bernie Sanders—it’s ready to take that fight nationwide.

  • What Trump and Sanders Have in Common

    Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the two most surprising candidates to emerge as major factors in the 2016 presidential race. They draw the biggest crowds. They’re shouty. But there the resemblance ends, Adele M. Stan insists, in an American Prospect column that calls the comparison “the latest stupidity from Punditville.”

    Far be it from me to reflexively defend my hometown. (In my defense, I’m a transplant from Boise!) But Stan is not the only one making this point; I’ve heard it from others on the left, who shudder at any likeness being drawn between their populist hero and the other side’s. The thing is, they’re wrong, and the pundits are right.

    Trump and Sanders share an angry tone and a raw, un-politician-like affect that their supporters find refreshingly authentic. But the similarities don’t end there by any means. Trump and Sanders have a remarkable number of policy stances in common. Here’s a quick list:

  • John Cuneo

    A Plutocrat's Case for Raising the Minimum Wage

    Nick Hanauer is on an unusual mission.

  • Are GMO Labels Coming to Vermont?

    Last year, Vermont became the first U.S. state to pass a law requiring labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. The mandate was scheduled to take effect in July 2016. The Vermont law was the tip of the spear for an aggressive and passionate—if scientifically dubious—grassroots political movement against GMOs, as I wrote at the time.

    Ever since the Vermont law passed, the processed-food industry has been fighting hard to stop it before it takes effect. A lawsuit is ongoing, but the judge on the case refused the industry’s request to halt implementation of the law in the meantime. A bill in Congress that would prohibit states from requiring GMO labeling has stalled. Last week, industry lobbyists pushed to get such a prohibition added to the grab-bag of random policy provisions buried in the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill—but failed.

    The food industry fears that GMO labels will scare consumers away from food that’s perfectly safe. But more than that, manufacturers fear a 50-state patchwork of different labeling laws, so that the same bag of chips, for example, might have to look different depending on where it was being sold—an expensive hassle for the industry. They’re desperate to keep Vermont’s law from going into effect because of the risk that, if it does, more states will go that route and enact their own labeling requirements. But labeling proponents say this is a case of big business blocking people’s right to know what’s in their food.

    Last week’s failed omnibus provision was seen as one of the industry’s last chances to preempt the Vermont law. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is generally pro-GMO, plans to bring together the various sides of the debate next month, in hopes of finding a compromise federal solution.

  • AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana

    Lindsey Graham's Futile Campaign

    The South Carolina senator ran on more war, less Social Security, and immigration reform—the opposite of frontrunner Donald Trump.

  • Jim Cole / AP

    A Debate Reveals the Dilemma Facing Democratic Voters

    When the presidential candidates met for the third time on Saturday, their distinct approaches were on full display.

  • Sheldon Adelson's Business Interests

    A few astute readers pointed out a significant omission from my piece yesterday about Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal: In looking at the transaction solely through a political lens, I completely neglected to consider its potential effects on his business interests. It’s an angle that potentially sheds more light on Adelson’s still-mysterious motivations.

  • Gary Cameron / Reuters

    Why Did Sheldon Adelson Buy Nevada's Largest Newspaper?

    The right-wing billionaire now owns the top source of news in a politically important state—and no one knows what he plans to do with it.

  • Mark J. Terrill / AP

    A Fractious, Fragmented Republican Debate

    The GOP candidates shared a stage in Vegas, but seemed locked in their own, only occasionally intersecting conflicts.

  • Charlie Neibergall / AP

    ‘I’m Against the Muslims’: Trump’s Supporters and the Republican Divide

    What if the populist, nativist bloc of the party turns out to be larger than the intellectual conservative movement?

  • Joseph Kaczmarek / AP

    Lanny Davis's Caribbean Adventure

    What is the Clintons’ longtime consigliere doing hawking passports to tiny island nations? Inside the exotic, paranoid world of the rich and powerful.

  • "Yellow Teeth" and Descriptive Journalism

    In my recent dispatch from a Donald Trump rally in South Carolina, I described one of Trump’s supporters, Michael Barnhill, as “a 67-year-old factory supervisor with a leathery complexion and yellow teeth.” A lot of readers wrote or tweeted to complain about this description. The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto also took issue with it, comparing it to Trump’s mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski:

    Media types are not above the sort of bullying they find so abhorrent when Trump does it…. Michael Barnhill is an ordinary citizen taking part in politics. Unlike Serge Kovaleski, he does not have the benefit of spokesmen to express institutional outrage when somebody publicly ridicules his appearance. Ball’s nasty treatment of Barnhill, of course, does not excuse the ugly aspects of Trump’s behavior. But it does help demonstrate why Trump and his supporters—as well as conservatives who don’t care for Trump—often feel put upon by the media.

    I am sorry so many people felt I was picking on Barnhill, a genial man who kindly posed for a picture with his wonderful new button (“TRUMP 2016: FINALLY SOMEONE WITH BALLS”) and talked to me at length about his support for Trump. In retrospect, I can see why my description struck people as a gratuitous attempt to caricature Trump supporters. But my intent was only to describe him frankly, in order to give readers a visual entry into the scene. I frequently use these little details to bring a story to life, and if you read on in the Trump piece you’ll find that I describe people’s clothes, eyes, and stature, in ways intended to be vivid but nonjudgmental.

  • Randall Hill / Reuters

    The Ecstasy of Donald Trump

    As the public’s fear and loathing surge, the front-runner’s durable candidacy has taken a dark turn.

  • Mike McQuade / Demetrius Freeman / Mayoral Photography ...

    The Equalizer: Bill de Blasio vs. Inequality

    The New York City mayor has some big ideas, but they may be too much too fast.