The food fight within the Democratic Party plays out on all sorts of issues—including impeachment. Plus, Anne Applebaum on the false romance of Russia
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It’s Thursday, December 12. House Judiciary Committee members continued to spar over final tweaks to the articles of impeachment, moving closer to a final vote.

In today’s newsletter: To the left of the left. Plus, Anne Applebaum on the false romance of Russia.




To the Left of the Left

The left knows it wants to kick President Donald Trump out of the White House come Election Day. Beyond that, agreement ends. My colleague Derek Thompson has argued that the ideological split within the Democratic Party is generational: Younger voters lean far to the left of their older counterparts.

These younger Americans—facing student debt and dreary prospects when it comes to home ownership—are driving a surge in socialism*. (The number of dues-paying members of the Democratic Socialists of America has increased more than ten-fold since 2016; my colleague Elaine Godfrey has a great profile of the flourishing DSA in Iowa.)

The food fight within the Democratic Party is playing out on all sorts of issues:

1. On impeachment: House Democrats are on the verge of impeaching Trump. It’s what progressives have wanted for a while, so are they thrilled about it? Not so much. Elaine took the temperature.

2. On health care: Support for Medicare for All is a clear dividing line. My colleague Olga Khazan offers this fascinating piece on how the ideas around single-payer somehow turned into a more mainstream Democratic rallying cry.

3. On soaking the rich: Most Democrats in the 2020 race want to raise taxes in the name of tamping down on inequality, but the party’s left-most candidates are taking it a step further by proposing radical overhauls of the tax code. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s signature wealth tax has turned into a campaign chant and even a Halloween costume.

4. On climate-change policy: The Green New Deal has become the go-to climate policy in certain corners of the left. While conservatives, and some Democrats, have denounced it as an incoherent wish list of socialist climate goals, my colleague Robinson Meyer argues that the ideas animating the GND have deeper American roots than some of its detractors would have you believe.

—Saahil Desai



(Michael Owen Baker / AP)

Throughout the final month of 2019, our photo editor Alan Taylor is reviewing some of the major news events and moments from the past year.

In the photograph above, Jerry Rowe uses a garden hose to save his home on Beaufait Avenue in Granada Hills, California, during the wildfires that tore through large swaths of California in October.

See more photographs chosen by Alan here.



(Lloyd Mitchell / Reuters)

1. “The events in Jersey City are more complex than the exclusively structural theory of racism can accommodate.”

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s Jersey City shooting—which authorities are now investigating as domestic terrorism—Yascha Mounk writes:

In most important areas of American life, Jews now tend to face fewer disadvantages or forms of discrimination than members of many other ethnic or religious groups do. At the same time, they continue to attract the dedicated hatred of a small minority of the American population, and this does—especially if they can readily be identified as Jews—at times put them in serious physical danger.

This complexity defies how many powerful people—including a large number of left-leaning journalists and policy makers—perceive the world. For some, matters of racism or privilege are always and exclusively structural.

Read the rest.

2. “What are Jews? Members of a religious group? A race or an ethnicity? A nation? Some mixture of them all, or something else entirely?”

These have always been fraught questions—perhaps more so in the recent climate of fear for many American Jews.

A new executive order from the Trump administration purporting to focus on protecting Jews from anti-Semitic discrimination triggered more confusion and anxiety within the Jewish community.

The legal scholar David Schraub elucidates the bind:

Jews are being baited into taking a very dangerous position here—insisting that we must withdraw from the protection of antidiscrimination law, because it might obliquely confirm the anti-Semite’s suspicion that the Jew is different.

Read the rest of the argument.


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To Russia, With Love

Our staff writer Anne Applebaum sounds the alarm about a worrying tendency she’s seeing from American conservatives:

...[I]n the 21st century, we must also contend with a new phenomenon: right-wing intellectuals, now deeply critical of their own societies, who have begun paying court to right-wing dictators who dislike America. And their motives are curiously familiar.

Read the rest of the essay.


Today’s newsletter was written by Saahil Desai and edited by Shan Wang. You can reply directly to this newsletter with questions or comments, or send a note to

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