Could a “Trigger Moment” Imperil Civil Liberties?

Surveillance, Government Secrecy, and an Unpredictable Political Landscape Raise Difficult Questions

In December 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor was the “trigger moment” that eventually led the U.S. government to herd tens of thousands of Japanese Americans into internment camps. If some explosive incident were to occur during Donald Trump’s presidency, could it provoke a similar mass round-up of Muslims, immigrants, or some other ethnic or religious group?

On Wednesday night, a standing-room-only crowd gathered to mull that possibility and other, sometimes dire scenarios, past and present, at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Little Tokyo in Los …

Inaugurations Are More Than a Hail to the (New) Chief

How This Enduring Ritual Highlights the Strengths—and Tensions—that Define the American Presidency

On Jan. 20, tens of millions of people will watch the pomp and spectacle of a uniquely American tradition. The hushed politicos in the pews of prayer service, the …

Vulnerable Voting Machines Are Putting America at Risk

How Antiquated Equipment Could Imperil Democracy Itself

Although more than half the country may be unhappy with the results, America dodged a bullet on Election Day. That is, our voting machines generally held up. The tabulations they …

California’s Not Built to Become Its Own Nation

#Calexit Distracts From the State’s Golden Opportunity to Counter American Nationalism

California may have the size and economy and independent spirit of a good-sized country. But California is not a nation. Which is precisely why it would be so self-destructive to …

Why We All Need to Leave the Country After This Election

Traveling Abroad Would Help Politicians and Voters Fix America’s Troubled Democracy

Now that the election is over, are you leaving the country? If not, you ought to reconsider.

I’m not kidding. Yes, a handful of our fellow Californians—prominent citizens from Samuel L. …

The “Revolution” of 1800

When America’s First Ruling Party Deliberately Jailed Its Opponents and Sealed Its Doom in the Process

On April 19, 1800, the administration of President John Adams brought Thomas Cooper—a lawyer, newspaper editor, and political refugee who had fled England to avoid prosecution for his democratic beliefs—to …