Will column: Progressives are all too willing to cut constitutional corners

WASHINGTON — Presidential aspirant Beto O’Rourke, thrashing about in an attempt to be noticed, says tax exemptions should be denied to churches and other institutions that oppose same-sex marriage. O’Rourke’s suggestion, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to tax the “excessive” exercise of a First Amendment right, and the NBA’s painful lesson about the perils of moral grandstanding illustrate how progressivism has become a compound of self-satisfied moral preening and a thirst for coercion.

Gerson column: O’Rourke’s proposal would hand victory to Trump

WASHINGTON — Beto O’Rourke, innovative for interpreting a failed Senate campaign as a steppingstone to the presidency, is now famous for (1) his use of profanity on the campaign trail, (2) his pledge that “hell, yes” he wants to confiscate AR-15s and (3) his proposal to tax religious institutions that don’t approve of gay marriage.

Bruni column: Democrats have a politeness problem

Twice near the start of the last Democratic presidential debate, George Stephanopoulos of ABC News tried to pin Elizabeth Warren down on whether her vision for Medicare for All would require a middle-class tax increase. Twice she didn’t answer him. It was the perfect opening for one of the other contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination to charge her with evasiveness and force her to reckon fully with the costs of her ambitious plans and the profound difficulty of enacting them.

Will column: College diversity tinkering: What a tangled web

WASHINGTON — The judge took 130 pages to explain that Harvard’s “holistic review” admissions policies — which include ascribing particular attributes to certain ethnicities, such as Asian Americans, and assessing the value to Harvard of those attributes — are, considering 41 years of Supreme Court precedents, permissibly race-conscious.

Gerson column: What follows Trump’s menacing rhetoric?

The rhetorical intensity of Donald Trump’s anti-impeachment campaign, measured on a scale of one to 10, has begun at 11.25. The whistleblower is “almost a spy” who may be guilty of “treason.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., should be arrested for “treason.” Both are part of a “COUP” which — if successful — could provoke a “civil war.”

Bouie column: Trump can’t take a punch

There are observers, including critics of President Donald Trump, who are skeptical of the push for impeachment. Not because he hasn’t earned the contempt and sanction of Congress, but because the politics are too risky. Will the public support an impeachment investigation in an election year, or will it turn away in disgust over “dysfunction” in Washington? Does Trump, who thrives on attention and chaos, want impeachment? Does he want his opponents to devote their time and energy to something that can only divide and polarize the public?

Parker column: Democrats, show me the message

We long ago established that Donald Trump is a bad guy. We’ve multiple times said, “This is it. They’ve got to get rid of him.” So what’s so new and awful that the president of the United States must now be impeached?

Cohen column: The bygone baggage of Joe Biden

The genius of Barack Obama lay in the fact that Americans looked at him and could believe in almost anything. The left of the Democratic Party saw the revolutionary incarnation of hope, the promise of sweeping social change, and, in a black president, the overturning of America’s original sin. The center saw a measured product of Harvard Law School, a prudent reformer, a man of mixed identity and the middle ground.

Will column: Hong Kong’s resistance offers lessons for Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan — What happens on Hong Kong Island does not stay there. The ongoing tsunami of discontent washes over this island, which, like Hong Kong, is navigating the choppy waters of relations with the same large and menacing mainland neighbor. This nation — which is such psychologically, if not in diplomatic nomenclature — has a presidential election in January that seems certain to be influenced by alarm about Hong Kong’s current unhappy experience with the legalistic fudge of “one country, two systems,” which the incumbent president, Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female president, rejects.