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Shikha Dalmia



Articles by Shikha Dalmia

Heeding the Lessons of Weimar

28 days ago

To say that Donald J. Trump has transformed the Republican party in the last five years would be an understatement. Before he came to office, the GOP defended American traditions—including constitutionally limited government, free enterprise, and faith. By the time he left, it had abandoned many of its high-minded commitments and become a cult of personality pushing a crude populist nationalism to redress majoritarian grievances.
Even Trump’s parting act of political vandalism—siccing a mob on the Capitol to prevent the peaceful transfer of power—hasn’t dimmed his appeal to his party. A majority of Republicans believe that left-wing agitators, and not Trump, deserve most of the blame for the violence of January 6. Delivering his first post-presidential speech, Trump received a hero’s

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Biden's Lose-Lose Immigration Strategy

28 days ago

President Joe Biden is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with the border mess. If he rolls back former President Trump’s draconian border policies without first scaling up the asylum infrastructure that Trump gutted, the right will accuse him of losing control of the border. If he waits, the left will accuse him of continuing Trump’s awful policies.Since he’s going to be damned either way, he might as well do the right thing and throw out all of Trump’s awful anti-asylum policies, including Title 42, an emergency executive order that used COVID-19 as an excuse to give authorities carte blanche to turn away migrants.At Biden’s first presidential press conference last week, the allegedly liberal press pushed a line of questioning borrowed straight from the playbook of

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How Biden's Immigration Bill Would Empower Future Trumps

28 days ago

President Joe Biden has undone some of his predecessor’s malevolent immigration legacy with executive authority. But accomplishing the rest of his immigration agenda will require legislative action, which is why he has worked with congressional Democrats to craft the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. There is much to like in the bill, which was unveiled in February and is being pushed in Congress. However, thanks to labor pressures, there are some unfortunate elements pertaining to guest worker programs for both low and high-skilled immigration that will sow the seeds for mischief by future Trumps.Biden needs to rethink them pronto.Within his first few days in office, Biden used executive means to scrap some of Trump’s worst anti-immigration actions. He ended the "Muslim" travel ban,

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A Demographic Mosaic

28 days ago

The fundamental task of liberal democracy is to manage conflict in societies whose members disagree about the summum bonum, life’s highest good. At this, it has succeeded brilliantly, as Francis Fukuyama’s learned essay notes. So why are its polities in trouble all over the world as populist demagogues, particularly on the right, take aim at them?Fukuyama’s answer is that liberal democracies have been blind to the discontents they’ve generated, particularly rising income inequality and the loss of identity due to weakening social bonds. Hence, what’s needed, he says, is “a strong state that seeks social protections for populations left behind by globalization” and neoliberalism run amok. In his 2018 book Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, Fukuyama also

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Beware the Insurrectionist Whataboutists

28 days ago

Capitol Hill literally looked like a war zone for President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Thanks to the storming of the Capitol by a MAGA mob on January 6, over 20,000 armed troops guarded federal buildings. The entire perimeter of the Capitol was barricaded. Checkpoints went up on every road leading to the National Mall.
Nothing similar has ever been necessary before. So one would have thought this ignominious break from the country’s long history of the peaceful—and dignified—transfer of power would generate a collective “yuck” from conservatives against the outgoing president whose baseless claims of election fraud mobilized the marauders.
One would be wrong.
In the immediate aftermath of the violence, some conservative outlets and writers did indeed condemn Trump. But as the shock of

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How Biden Can Future-Proof America's Immigration System

28 days ago

America’s immigration system was broken even before President Donald Trump’s white nationalist aide Stephen Miller took his hammer to it.It is hard to remember, but four short years before Trump assumed office, the national conversation was focused on rolling back the red tape and bureaucratic obstacles that were preventing too many worthy immigrants from coming into the country. Yet far from deregulating the system, as would have behooved an administration allegedly dedicated to cutting bureaucracy, Trump, with Miller’s help, systematically exploited every flaw in every part of the system to radically cut back immigration beyond anything anyone outside of ultra-restrictionist circles had ever imagined.So President-elect Joe Biden will have to rebuild it brick-by-brick on a priority basis.

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Greg Abbott turns Republican Rage into Law

28 days ago

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott wants everyone to believe he is a champion of personal freedom and public health. To advance the first he has banned mask requirements by local governments and proof of vaccination mandates by local governments and many private businesses. To advance the second he has ordered state troopers to stop private vehicles suspected of transporting duly admitted migrants "who pose a risk of carrying COVID-19 into Texas communities." He issued executive orders to accomplish both ends.But if his actions prove anything, it is his rather lopsided populism that doesn’t respect any limits on his powers.Abbott initially banned local mask mandates in May, threatening to impose a $1,000 fine on counties, cities, and public schools that violated his order. And now just as

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Tucker Carlson’s Unpatriotic Nationalism

August 23, 2021

A strange spectacle has been unfolding among some factions of the American right in recent years: The more Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán suspends liberal democracy and turns autocratic, the more they admire him. But Fox News’s top-rated host, Tucker Carlson, took matters to a whole new level earlier this month when he declared that he found it “embarrassing to be an American” during a trip to Hungary.
In 2008 when Michelle Obama, stumping for her husband’s bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee, noted that she was, “for the first time in my adult life . . . really proud of my country,” many conservatives went berserk. Rush Limbaugh called her comment “unhinged.” The Tennessee Republican Party took out ads featuring Michelle’s remark interspersed with interviews with

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Who Has the Cure for America's Declining Birthrate? Canada.

August 20, 2021

This essay is part of a series exploring bold ideas to revitalize and renew the American experiment. Read more about this project in a note from Ezekiel Kweku, Opinion’s politics editor.

Over the last century, two moments that transformed America and positioned it as the global economic leader were the post-World War II economic boom and the I.T. revolution of the 1990s. In both cases, America tore down many forms of discrimination and other barriers to harness the talents of marginalized groups in the country and to welcome new ones, injecting demographic vitality into the economy.To continue America’s upward trajectory in the 21st century, the country must reverse its current demographic decline. As the Census Bureau reported last week, in the past decade, the U.S. population

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