The GOP is Breaking. It’s not Trump’s Fault.

We now have something like consensus: The rise of Donald Trump portends the end of the Republican Party as we know it. As longtime GOP operative and commentator Steve Schmidt said last week, “The Republican Party has an outstanding chance of fracturing.” Trump’s opponents, inside and outside the party, are united in the belief that he has almost single-handedly undone an institution founded on the eve of the Civil War that has lasted for more than 150 years and has immeasurably shaped the United States.

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The Leading Indicators

n today's uncertain economy, both the public and the world's leaders rely heavily on certain indicators to tell us how we are doing. Gross national product, balance of trade, unemployment figures, inflation, and the consumer price index determine whether we feel optimistic or pessimistic about our future and dictate whether businesses hire or hunker down, governments spend trillions or try to reduce debt, and individuals buy a car, get a mortgage, or look for a job. Yet few of us know where these numbers come from, what they mean, or why they rule our world.

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Cheer Up, America! The Economy (and the Country) Is Much Better Off Than You Think

Barely had the counting ceased in last week's presidential election when the news took a somber turn. Two of the next day's headlines read "Back to Work, Looming Fiscal Crisis Greets Obama" and my favorite, "America has Sown the Seeds of Its Own Demise." Politicians either celebrated or decried the results, but regardless of party affiliation most warned of formidable challenges and a perilous future.

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Big Blue Turns 100: IBM’s Anniversary is One to Celebrate

Today, IBM officially marks its 100th anniversary. But the company today bears remarkably little resemblance either to the sleepy Computer Tabulating Recording Corporation that was formed on June 16, 1911, or to the more iconic International Business Machines (renamed to one-up then rival National Cash Register in the 1920s) that was one of the dominant companies during the brief but spectacular American century.

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Washington Has Always Demonized Wall Street

'Wall Street, as we knew it, is dead. The system that allowed the U.S. economy to be a dynamic innovator has been fundamentally broken and the implications of these structural changes have yet to be fully felt." It's now commonly accepted that the economic meltdown has forever changed the nature of the financial industry. But the words above weren't written in the past weeks. They were penned by financial analyst Richard Wayman in 2003, after investigations by then New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer led to a structural shift in the relationship between research and investment banking following the stock-market collapse of 2001-02.

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Did Anyone Notice Martin Luther King Day?

Martin Luther King Day seems to have passed with even less than a whisper, which given today’s political culture is unsurprising. It’s difficult to envision a wider gulf between the principles that animated King and the civil rights movement, and the Beltway bandits of 2006. And not just King. Who today speaks, as John F. Kennedy did in June of 1963, of the pressing need for reform? Kennedy described civil rights as “a moral issue...as old as the Scriptures and as clear as the American Constitution,” he declared. What good is freedom, that president wondered, if an American citizen, whatever the color of his skin, “cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public; if he cannot send his children to the best public schools available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent him?”

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Lesser-Known U.S. Presidents

Historian Arthur Schlesinger, editor of Times Books' “American Presidents Series,” moderated a panel discussion of the lives of some of America’s lesser-known presidents. The panelists were the authors of some of the biographies in the series. Ted Widmer was the author of Martin Van Buren, Jean Baker was the author of James Buchanan, Josiah Bunting was the author of Ulysses S. Grant, and Zachary Karabell was the author of Chester Alan Arthur. All of the panelists answered questions from members of the audience following their presentations.

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