Donald Trump Is Living In My Closet

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

I have a confession to make: Donald Trump is imprisoned in my closet. He’s been in there for months, and I haven’t dared to let him out, for fear that his presence might be discovered. What’s worse, now that he’s president I’ve come to realize that my treatment of Trump does not conform with the […]

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Touchdown, San Diego

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

San Diego is being portrayed as having lost a football team—when in fact, it just won the opportunity to build an even brighter future. Pro football isn’t a good business for a major American city. Having a team mostly just takes money from other entertainment businesses. And dramas over stadiums and stadium financing – and […]

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Brown’s Tiny Projected Budget Deficit Doesn’t Matter

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Gov. Brown projects a $1.6 billion budget deficit, and that’s being treated as news. It isn’t. That’s less than 1 percent of the overall state budget, which is volatile because of a broken governing system that Brown declines to fix, on the grounds that fixes are unreasonable. But the deficit is treated as though it […]

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The Slaves of La La Land—and South Los Angeles

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

The brilliant new film musical La La Land is being celebrated as a love letter to Los Angeles. But the darker heart of the movie lies in a brief and devastating critique of Southern California, delivered by the jazz pianist played by Ryan Gosling. “That’s L.A.,” he tells his lover, an aspiring actress played by […]

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Schwarzenegger Suggests a Way to Battle Trump

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Has Arnold figured out how to counter The Donald? Trump, via Twitter, went after the Governator last week—dissing him for the low ratings of the first episode in which Schwarzenegger took over for Trump on “Celebrity Apprentice.” “Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got “swamped” (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, […]

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My Pasadena Homie, Obama

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

I recently learned that, in the second grade, I was part of presidential history. Every morning during the 1980-1981 school year, I walked the five blocks between my family’s home in southwest Pasadena and Allendale Elementary School, where I was in Beverly Thomas’ class. Sometimes I went back in the evening to play in the […]

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Is California About to Pick a Governor? Or a President?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California needs to take its next governor’s race more seriously. 2014’s contest between Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari felt like an experiment in voter suppression—no one followed it, and few bothered to cast ballots. 2010’s race turned on meaningless issues around the wealth and housekeeper of Republican Meg Whitman. In 2018, the stakes are much […]

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How California Can Survive the U.S.-China War

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California is trapped—caught in the dangerous space between two menacingly authoritarian regimes that want to fight each other. One regime is headquartered in Beijing, and the other is about to take power in Washington D.C. But when viewed from the Golden State, it’s striking how much they have in common. Both are fervently nationalist, full […]

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Overcaution in Sacramento vs. Overreach in Washington

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

In one American capital, the party in power is making big plans to overturn decades worth of policies, and boldly pursue controversial policies that change fundamental systems, from public safety to health care, despite fierce opposition. In another American capital, the party in power is preaching caution, noting that just winning elections isn’t any kind […]

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California Office Pool 2017

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

This marks the eight annual version of the California Office Pool. It was inspired by the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire, who made a habit of writing an annual column he called Office Pool. In it, Safire offered, multiple-choice style, a series of possible news events that could take place in the […]

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