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PAC trio sets new standard in early spending on a re-election

An unprecedented burst of spending by outside groups is heralding the start of President Trump's re-election campaign. "Independent expenditures for multiple hybrid-PACs advocating for Trump's candidacy totaled over $1.27 million since the start of this year," the Center for Responsive Politics reports, while at a similar point in President Obama's re-election campaign such spending totaled a few hundred thousand dollars.

And the three outside spending groups dominating this effort are all linked to Dan Backer, a prominent attorney advocating for a loosening of campaign finance rules: the Committee to Defend the President, the Great America PAC and America Fighting Back PAC.

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Thomas Main

"I think the roots of racism run deep in this country. This means that the potential audience for illiberal racialist movements is much deeper than the potential audience for anarchism and communism," said professor Thomas Main

Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation

Illiberal ideas are having a negative effect on our political culture

Berman is a distinguished fellow of practice at The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, co-editor of Vital City, and co-author of "Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age." This is the first in a series of interviews titled "The Polarization Project."

In a 2022 speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden issued a dramatic warning: Democracy in the United States is “under assault,” he announced. Biden declared that the dangers of rising extremism, particularly from “MAGA Republicans,” posed a “clear and present danger” to the country.

In making this claim, Biden was echoing the sentiments of countless pundits, think tanks, and editorial pages that have been warning of a “coming crisis.” According to Rachel Kleinfeld of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "Ideas that were once confined to fringe groups now appear in the mainstream media. White-supremacist ideas, militia fashion, and conspiracy theories spread via gaming websites, YouTube channels, and blogs, while a slippery language of memes, slang, and jokes blurs the line between posturing and provoking violence, normalizing radical ideologies and activities."

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People seated ina  large room

Attendees at the Braver Angels convention watch the presidential debate.

Jeff Sevier

Building civic hope through Braver Angels

Boyte is co-founder and senior scholar of public work philosophy at the Institute for Public Life and Work.

Last month’s Braver Angels convention in Kenosha, Wis., began with perhaps the largest debate watch party in the nation. Around 700 delegates observed the exchanges between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a giant screen in the chapel of Carthage College on the shore of Lake Michigan. Equal numbers of Republicans wearing red lanyards and Democrats wearing blue ones, roughly 300 of each, with 170 independents and “others” identified by yellow and white, mingled together.

To emphasize the BA mission of bridging America’s toxic polarization, the site for the convention was chosen because Kenosha is midway between Milwaukee, host of the Republican convention, and Chicago, where the Democratic convention will take place.

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Meat case at the grocery store
Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu via Getty Images

Soaring grocery prices are not acts of God

Hill was policy director for the Center for Humane Technology, co-founder of FairVote and political reform director at New America. You can reach him on X @StevenHill1776.

Since the pandemic, going to the grocery store has become a jarring experience. On a recent visit, I packed my purchased items into my tote bag and then gawked at the receipt in disbelief.

I’m not alone. Griping about the high cost of groceries has become a national pastime. It’s not just a figment of our imaginations: Grocery prices have soared nearly 27 percent since 2020, higher than overall inflation.

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Fifty years later, I'm still a dreamer

The American tragedy of the Trump assassination attempt

Getty Images

Fifty years later, I'm still a dreamer

Nevins is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and co-founder and board chairman of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

When I was a young man, I thought our country was more divided than it had ever been and couldn’t possibly get worse.

I was a young teen when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and a college student in 1968 when Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were senselessly assassinated. I witnessed the near-fatal shooting that almost ended the life of President Ronald Reagan just three months into his first term in 1981.

And now the attempt on former President Donald Trump's life in 2024.

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