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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

This may be hard for some of you to stomach, but it's worth grappling with — it captures a rising dynamic in American politics.

What they're saying: Andrew Sullivan, once influential but now on an island, writes in his Substack newsletter, "The Weekly Dish," of a "sudden, rapid, stunning shift in the belief system of the American elites" — a "moral panic," he calls it.

  • Democrats, this Trump opponent argues, have taken "a sudden, giant swerve" left from their own recent past — "the left's war on liberalism."

Sullivan, 57, made a "A (Conservative) Case for Gay Marriage" in The New Republic in 1989 (32 years ag0), then was booted from New York Magazine last summer for what he calls "unacceptable politics." He writes that he keeps getting asked on Twitter: "What happened to you?"

  • "It’s trolling, mainly," he says. "And it’s a weapon for some in the elite to wield against others in the kind of emotional blackmail spiral that was first pioneered on elite college campuses."
  • Sullivan, an early supporter of Barack Obama, claims to have "exactly the same principles and support most of the same policies" that he did then: "In fact, I've moved left on economic and foreign policy."

"The real question," Sullivan continues, "is: what happened to you?"

  • "We all know it’s happened. The elites [are] increasingly sequestered within one political party and one media monoculture, educated by colleges and private schools that have become hermetically sealed against any non-left dissent."
  • "There is no neutrality. No space for skepticism. No room for debate. No space even for staying silent."

Sullivan's bottom line: "[L]iberalism is no longer enough."

Go deeper: Rise of the anti-'woke' Democrat

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Go deeper

Jake Sullivan: Biden didn't think it was "inevitable" Taliban would take control

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that President Biden did not believe it was "inevitable" that the Taliban would take control of Afghanistan, laying the blame at the feet of the Afghan security forces who "decided not to step up and fight for their country."

Why it matters: Biden is under fire for comments he made just over a month ago, when he dismissed comparisons to the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam and said it was "highly unlikely" that the Taliban would control the entire country.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.

4 hours ago - World

Hong Kong holds first "patriots only" elections

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a news conference last Monday. Photo: Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images

Hong Kong's elections to choose the city's Election Committee members opened to a select group of voters on Sunday, under a new "patriots only" system imposed by China's government.

Why it matters: All candidates running to be members of the electoral college have been "vetted" by Beijing, per Reuters. They will go on to choose the Asian financial hub's next leader, approved by China's government, and some of its legislature.