Lies, Leadership and Litmus Tests

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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1. Lynn Vavreck at the Upshot on misinformation about the Clinton Foundation.

2. Theodore P. Gerber and Jane R. Zavisca at the Monkey Cage on doing social science in Russia.

3. Kevin Drum says Donald Trump is teaching “the whole world” how to lie. I’d put it this way: Politicians -- Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, pick your favorite -- lie like politicians. There’s usually some justification, or some way of seeing it so that it can be defended. Trump (and those he’s influencing) lies like the proverbial used-car salesman, except real used-car salesmen probably care far too much for their reputations to actually lie the way a used-car salesman in a 1960s sitcom would lie. It is, to be sure, a much lower standard, and Drum is correct that Trump is dragging politics there.

4. My Bloomberg View colleague Ramesh Ponnuru argues that Trump has proven that Republican litmus tests were overblown. I recommend the item, but I’m not sure I agree. What Trump proved is that it was possible for him -- perhaps others, perhaps not -- to win the Republican presidential nomination with almost no support from party actors. Given that situation, it’s absolutely true that he’s not bound by Republican policy preferences. It’s still up for grabs how much a nomination without the support of (much of) the party is worth, which in turn will inform future candidates.

5. And Dan Larison at the American Conservative on the costs of focusing on U.S. leadership and ignoring the rest of what causes world events.

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To contact the author of this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

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Brooke Sample at bsample1@bloomberg.net