From Politico, big donors ready to reward Republicans for tax cuts: The checkbooks are open again, just in time for a challenging midterm election cycle. “The Republican Party in Washington in 2018 is a gangster capitalist enterprise operating for the financial benefit of its patrons”. “The Republican Party is a threat to democratic values and the rule of law”: If conservatives want to save the GOP from itself, they need to vote mindlessly and mechanically against its nominees. Anti-Trump Republicans refuse to wake from their dream of a third party. Bill Kristol thinks “people are just too unhappy with the status quo”. Bill Kristol wanders the wilderness of Trump world.

Jonathan Chait on conservatives and the cult of Trump. Donald Trump attacks Democrats not clapping at State of the Union as “treasonous”. Trump takes aim at public trust in democratic institutions. “Cultivating distrust in institutions that are designed to play a neutral, mediating role is one of the central functions of conservative politics. It is a game that conservatives know how to win, because they are waging asymmetric warfare. There is no good way for an institution to withstand partisan attack when its existence relies upon maintaining some distance from partisanship”. Russell Muirhead and Nancy Rosenblum on the new conspiracists: Conspiracism has traveled from the margins to the mainstream, infusing public life and altering the bounds of what is acceptable in democratic politics.

Under Trump, the United States has joined the sad roster of backsliding democracies. How wobbly is our democracy? Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt wonder (and more and more). The problems in American democracy run far deeper than Trump: Ezra Klein reviews How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. When you strip away the details, there’s not much to say about Trump. Trump’s corruption of the American republic: Roger Cohen on the danger of lowered expectations and the ever more frequent shrug. The Trump Show is addling our brains and blinding us to what matters. Fix this democracy — now: 38 ideas for repairing our badly broken civic life.

How do we explain this national tragedy? T.J. Stiles on 400 years of tribalism, genocide, expulsion, and imprisonment. America’s crisis of courage: Character remains the issue that confronts us in almost every story about national politics today. How America lost its mind: The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. Is America in a period of moral decline? John Biguenet on summoning the resolve to call out evil wherever it lives. Is America (really) collapsing? Umair Haque on the essence of prosperity and decline. Is the American idea doomed? Not yet — but it has precious few supporters on either the Left or the Right. Is this our moment of decline? Lessons from Rome before the fall.

From Literary Hub, Alison B. Hart on how to write a #MeToo story. Congress needs a reckoning: Lawmakers own up to the need for change in their sexual harassment complaint process. The legal difference between sexual misconduct, assault, and harassment, explained: Sometimes it all depends on where you live. The end of men’s “freedom to bother”: We’re on the verge of a new normal in the workplace — that’s a good thing. Men and women view the seriousness of sexual assault about the same. #MeToo isn’t enough — now women need to get ugly. Where to for #MeToo? Slavenka Drakulic, Ann Ighe, Reka Kinga Papp, and Claire Potter assess the movement’s impact in the US and Europe.

“For my generation, we thought, ‘We can handle it’”: Feminist thinkers Elizabeth Velez, April Sizemore-Barber, and Hanna Chan discuss whether and how generational differences are driving debate within the current movement. “Where do they think they got these ideas?”: Isaac Chotiner interviews Katha Pollitt on the younger generation’s misunderstanding of second-wave feminism.

How New York Times editor Bari Weiss found herself at the center of the #MeToo debate. Katie Herzog on why call-out culture is a toxic garbage dumpster fire of trash. The other whisper network: Katie Roiphe on how Twitter feminism is bad for women. The #MeToo conversation is making people uncomfortable — that’s okay. “Everyone’s issues are everyone’s issues”: Jia Tolentino dissects the critiques of #MeToo.

The inaugural issue of Behavioural Public Policy is free online. Donald Paul Sullins (Catholic): “No Wedding’s a Wedding Without a Cake”: The History and Significance of the Wedding Cake. Katherine Miller on Donald Trump, #MeToo, Facebook, and the breakdown of institutional power. The CDC is about to fall off a funding cliff: It’s already planning to pull back on work that protects the world from pandemics. Sarah Jones reviews Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials by Malcolm Harris. Social organicism in the service of power: Assad Asil Companioni and Kurtis Brade on the sinister side of unity discourse. Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered House map was struck down — with huge implications for 2018.

Allegations and counter-allegations: The propagation of allegations is now taking place under the pretense of official congressional business, and without apology. “I hope this is an instance of fake news”: FBI messages show the Bureau’s real reaction to Trump firing James Comey. Sessions silent as Trump attacks his department, risking independence and morale. Nunes memo gets Rightbloggers even more convinced FBI is a liberal plot. Is the Nunes memo backfiring? Republicans sold their credibility to defend an obvious Russian agent. Bob Mueller’s investigation is larger — and further along — than you think.

From LARB, Martijn Konings, author of Capital and Time: For a New Critique of Neoliberal Reason, on the time of finance. The finance industry gambles with human lives: Laura Flanders interviews Ivan Ascher, author of Portfolio Society: On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction. Stuart Banner on his book Speculation: A History of the Fine Line between Gambling and Investing. “The markets have pretty much put on blinders”: Emily Stewart on how Wall Street learned to stop worrying and love Trump. Has Trumphoria finally hit a wall? The market isn’t the economy; still, it looks as if reality is breaking in. Why it’s going to take another financial catastrophe to fix Wall Street. Republicans gearing up for third financial crash in 3 tries. Who is to blame for the 2008 financial crisis?

From State of Nature, are we heading for another economic crash? Leading thinkers to give a brief answer to a single question. Pardon James Galbraith if he sits out the celebration of Dow 25,000 — Galbraith used his latest book The End of Normal to lay out his case that the 2007-08 financial crisis wasn’t just a brief interruption in the life of an otherwise healthy economy but instead the latest crisis for an economy that lost its footing back in the 1980s. If we are racing to the pre-crisis bubble, here are 12 charts to watch.

The Dow is tumbling as wages rise — good.

Andrew Whitehead (Clemson), Samuel Perry (Oklahoma), and Joseph Baker (East Tennessee State): Make America Christian Again: Christian Nationalism and Voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. Millions of Americans believe God made Trump president: Amy Sullivan reviews God and Donald Trump by Stephen Strang. Why Christian conservatives supported Trump — and why they might regret it: Sean Illing interviews Stephen Mansfield, author of Choosing Donald Trump: God, Anger, Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him. The Christian Right’s willful faith in Trump: Ed Kilgore reviews The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography by David Brody and Scott Lamb.

Marc O. DeGirolami (St. John’s): On the Uses of Anti-Christian Identity Politics. Adrian Vermeule on a Christian strategy: The problem is the relentless aggression of liberalism, driven by an internal mechanism that causes ever more radical demands for political conformism, particularly targeting the Church. No, Christians do not face looming persecution in America. Christianity is political — but America’s politically active Christians seem to be forgetting that. White Christianity is in big trouble — and it’s its own biggest threat. Scott McLemee reviews Paranoid Science: The Christian Right’s War on Reality by Antony Alumkal.

The introduction to Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby by Candida R. Moss and Joel S. Baden. The prosperity gospel, explained: Why Joel Osteen believes that prayer can make you rich. Understanding David Barton, the fake historian behind America’s religious right. Fox isn’t the only White House cable news ally: Meet the Christian Broadcasting Network. Is your god dead? Building walls, banning refugees and ignoring the poor are the social expressions of bankrupt theologies. “We’re not the ‘nice’ faith people”: Faith leaders are battling white supremacy, Trump.