An unprecedentedly diverse Democratic presidential primary field is bringing “identity politics” back into the lexicon as candidates — and voters — grapple over what a candidate’s race, class, gender, or sexuality actually means (if anything!).

This week in OtherWords, Joshua Adams has an extremely helpful explanation of how the term “identity politics” gets used to shut down important perspectives — and how its most ardent practitioners are often those who condemn it the most.

Another big theme in this cycle’s field? Inequality. Chuck Collins offers an idea this week to address America’s “excessive wealth disorder” — and to tell which politicians have caught it themselves.

Also this week, Jill Richardson reports on a disturbing Supreme Court ruling on the death penalty. Jim Hightower documents the role of super villains in drafting White House policy papers. And Khalil Bendib imagines Facebook as a grim reaper (of data).

Finally, Lori Teresa Yearwood shares a moving recollection about an often overlooked misery of homelessness: how hard it is to get a good night’s sleep. And former OtherWords columnist (and founding editor!) William Collins returns with a dispatch from his travels to an unlikely vacation destination: Iran.

New This Week…

We All Practice ‘Identity Politics’ | Joshua Adams
Communities have a right to say what they need. Why is it only a problem when certain communities speak up?

The Death Penalty Is Getting Crueler | Jill Richardson
A horrific new ruling would let states execute people in more painful ways, even when alternatives are available.

A Cure for Excessive Wealth Disorder | Chuck Collins
Here’s a simple test to determine whether politicians are carrying water for the richest 0.1 percent.

What I Learned in Iran | William A. Collins
The U.S. and Iran are more alike than not, but for one troubling difference: sanctions.

The Right to a Good Night’s Sleep | Lori Teresa Yearwood
One of the worst parts of experiencing homelessness is the utter exhaustion. But getting rest can be transformative.

Supervillain Economics | Jim Hightower
A new White House report proposes cutting regulations to protect workers and children, while piling on yet more tax cuts for billionaires.

Facebook: The Grim Reaper (of Data) | Khalil Bendib
Undertaker of democracy and innovation.

In Case You Missed It…

Russia Was Never the Real Scandal | Peter Certo
Collusion with corporations has always been hiding in plain sight. It takes real people to fight that — not an elite prosecutor.

Rural America Needs Medicare for All, and Fast | Barb Kalbach
I’m a registered nurse from rural Iowa. In communities like mine, privatized care is an extractive industry — and it’s drying up.

What Health Care Means for Families Like Mine | Katy Moreno
With help from Medicaid, my newborn got life-saving care — and I got a GED.

Everyone Deserves Full Protection Under the Law | Jen Herrick
It’s time to update our nation’s civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ+ people.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of

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