Adele M. Stan

Adele M. Stan is a columnist for The American Prospect. She is research director of People for the American Way, and a winner of the Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism. Opinions expressed here are her own.

Recent Articles

The State of the Union Is Unknown

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
If you watched Tuesday’s State of the Union address on cable television, you were likely treated afterward to the results of instant polls measuring how well the speech was received. Pundits parsed the rhetoric and what it portended. Others evaluated the quality of the speechwriting, or how strongly the special guests highlighted in the president’s remarks plucked at viewers’ heartstrings. This is how State of the Union addresses are routinely treated, which is why we should not entertain such treatment. We are in a new time, a time in which the president of the United States defies the norms of civilized society , not to mention democracy. To use the normal instruments of evaluation to assess an event presided over by the face of the right wing’s Plunder Project™ is to take part in the normalization of a president, administration, and congressional majority who are dismantling the institutions of the republic, whether to shield the president from reaping...

How Freaked Out Are Republicans About Mueller? Ask the Russian Bots.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The Russians are back, big time. The Russian bots, that is. And that means something big is happening in the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. We all know who reaped the rewards of that intrusion. Over the course of the last 48 hours, bots linked to the Russian Federation have gone viral on a Twitter hashtag created by Republican lawmakers who claim the Obama administration illegally spied on Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign during FBI surveillance of Russian diplomats and figures linked to the Kremlin. Never mind the problematic fact that Kremlin-linked figures under surveillance were chit-chatting with a presidential campaign that stood to gain from a Russian influence operation. In Age of Trump, such facts are easily overlooked, especially where the nation’s first black president is concerned. The hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo refers to a memorandum kept secret by...

America in the Age of Shitholiness

(Anthony Behar/Sipa USA via AP Images)
On my way out the door on January 11, I caught a glimpse of CNN on the TV, noting the news of the day: The text banner at the bottom of the screen said the president of the United States had called Haiti, El Salvador, and the nations of Africa “shithole countries.” I rolled my eyes and went on my way. Always knew the dude was racist; who didn’t? It took hours before I realized that I had never seen an expletive spelled out in full on a television news chyron . Because, really, we’ve been in the Age of Shitholiness for a while now. Like since January 20, 2017. The following morning brought the out-of-body experience of hearing the word uttered by the very precise Korva Coleman of NPR. It was a quote from the president, after all, as reported by senators who had attended the meeting at which he uttered it. But it was also a cultural turning point, a moment at which the mainstream media determined that the old norms of propriety could no longer apply in a world...

Bannon’s Breitbart Exit Changes Nothing

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
You’d hardly be human if you didn’t feel a twinge of glee at the fall of Steve Bannon. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, you might say. Bannon’s resignation from Breitbart News might even restore your faith in the resilience of democracy—but it shouldn’t. However delicious the ignominious fate of the man who painted himself as Svengali to the dummy in the Oval, Bannon’s fast descent from savior to pariah illustrates structural rot in the machinery of the republic, wrought by a Supreme Court whose majority acts in the favor of aspiring oligarchs. Sure, Bannon set his fate in motion through his own hubris. But ultimately his crash stemmed from the whims of a single donor family, as did his rise. Without Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, Bannon would never have secured his top spot on the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. Without Mercer, Bannon might never have been granted his role as the guiding...

A Hostile Foreign Power and the End of the Republic

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
When the history of America’s final days as a republic is written, it may be fairly said that a hostile foreign power helped elect an authoritarian president with no agenda other than plunder, that the majority of America’s white people took the plunderer’s racist, misogynist bait—and that the Congress of the United States helped him loot the public commons and cover up his likely crimes. And that’s just the CliffsNotes version. As the president sets about destroying the nation’s public institutions, Congress is launching investigations of the president’s investigators: the FBI, career Justice Department employees, and the special counsel appointed to investigate the president’s ties to Russian government agents during the 2016 presidential election. The Republican Congress, it seems, would rather investigate the president’s electoral opponent, who is not in power, and not wrecking such institutions as the Environmental Protection...

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