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Kushner’s Newest Mission


He is supposed to help make the government run more like a business.

A PoliSci Perspective on the AHCA’s Demise


Worth a read at the Monkey Cage:  President Trump couldn’t pass Obamacare repeal. This is why.

Another Remarkable POTUS Utterance


“We had no Democratic support. They weren’t going to give us a single vote.” — President Donald J. Trump. Indeed:  when one tries to repeal a major piece of Democratic legislation, and one’s party does so without any attempt to negotiate before the vote, one tends not to get Democratic votes. Further, when the Republicans […]

A Remarkable Legislative Debacle

Capitol Daytime

This was one for the history books.

That’s the Main Point, isn’t it?


Via the NYT:  Wealthy Would Get Billions in Tax Cuts Under Obamacare Repeal Plan It is not unusual for tax cuts to benefit mostly the wealthiest, but still save some money for a majority of Americans. But the benefits of these reductions would be aimed squarely at the top. […] People making $200,000 to $999,999 a […]

More on Megaprojects


Megaprojects are not a partisan thing. Megaprojects are large projects typically costing more than $1 billion and often tens of billions of dollars and impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people if not millions.

The New Trump Tax


Yet more incoherent economic policy from the Tweeter in Chief. A border tax will mean that Americans will undoubtedly pay for at least part of the Great Wall of Trump™.

A “Republic v. Democracy” Lexicon


Concepts, basic applications, and even a bibliography! Merry Festivus, everyone.

Term Limits Only A Partial Solution To The Problems Plaguing Congress

United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Aerial

Congressional term limits are a good idea, but they are only a partial solution at best and may not be the best solution to the problems facing our political system.

Gratitude for the Art of Losing Graciously


Democracy produces good rulers, right?  Sometimes.  What good democracies actually produce best is good losers. Let us then be grateful for gracious losers, for our losers no less than our winners carry forward the American experiment in self-rule.  

No, The Democratic Party Is Not ‘Decimated’


Reports of the demise of the Democratic Party have been greatly exaggerated.

Bill Maher’s Mea Culpa

Bill Maher

With Donald Trump on the ballot, Bill Maher regrets some past words. He shouldn’t be the only one.

Is Nuance Still Possible in American Politics?


Damon Linker writes, “Millions of people disagree with your political views. That doesn’t make them moral monsters.”

This Election May Not be as Weird as we Think

Trump Clinton

Political Science research suggests that the election is, in basic ways, about what we would expect.

Trump’s Dangerous ‘Rigged Election’ Nonsense

2016 Election Buttons

The Republican nominee is threatening our fragile democracy.

Trump was Right


Giving credit where credit is due, via NPR: Mic Check: There Was Something Up With Donald Trump’s Debate Mic “Regarding the first debate,” the commission said in a statement, “there were issues regarding Donald Trump’s audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall.” NPR has reached out to the commission for more information but […]

Libertarians Are to Blame for Donald Trump’s Racialized Rhetoric?


The idea that Donald Trump has gotten his racialized rhetoric from libertarians is simply errant nonsense. The libertarian view, broadly speaking, is not defined by Murray Rothbard, Llewellyn Rockwell, and Ron Paul and those who share their views. This is but a small and even fringe group of what could be called the libertarian community.

A Lesson In Polling


One result from the new NBC News poll shows us how important it is to pay attention to how poll questions are phrased.

Why Didn’t The Brexit Vote Require A Supermajority For ‘Leave’ To Win?

Brexit Puzzle Pieces

Given the consequences of a Brexit, one wonders why the referendum didn’t require more than just a simple majority to pass.

Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, and the ‘Libertarian Party’


With two former Republican governors running under its banner, is there such a thing as a “Libertarian Party”?

Regulatory Capture and the Revolving Door


Top officials of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have taken jobs in the industry they were regulating.

Democracy, Demagogues, and Populist Pandering


The rise of Trump and Sanders has resurrected a debate as old as Western civilization.

Bernie Sanders Exposed?

Meet the Press - Season 67

How much command of detail should we demand of presidential candidates?

Primary Turnout does not Predict November Outcomes

Vote Here Vote Aqui

Primary turnout is not predictive of general election outcomes.

The New GOP Shuffle? (or, Dancing around Trump and Islam)


So, there is this (via CNN):  Donald Trump: ‘I think Islam hates us’ Donald Trump said Wednesday that he thinks “Islam hates us,” drawing little distinction between the religion and radical Islamic terrorism. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, deploring the “tremendous hatred” that he said partly defined the religion. He […]

The Revolt Against Politics


David Brooks has articulated a frustration many of us share.

Another Chaotic Nevada Caucus Helps Make The Case For Eliminating Caucuses Altogether

Nevada Caucus

This year’s Nevada Caucuses are a good argument for why there should not be any more caucuses.

Iowa 2016 Provides Yet More Evidence For The Argument Against Caucuses

Iowa Caucus

Reports of discrepancies in the counting of ballots in the Democratic Caucus in Iowa reveal yet again why the caucus process is outdated and ought to be abandoned.

How the Iowa Caucuses Work (with Lego Minifigs)


With a tip of the hat to occasional OTB contributor Chris Lawrence.

A Photo for Friday (on Saturday)


Well, so much for getting a month into the year without for forgetting a Friday.  At any rate, this seems an appropriately themed image for the season: “Confused Democracy” June 20, 2011 Pike Road, AL

Know your Stats Terms

A useful primer:  Statistical terms used in research studies: A primer for media.

Are Polls Overstating Donald Trump’s Real Level Of Support, Or Understating It?

Donald Trump Speaking

There have been many arguments that polling has over-stated Donald Trump’s actual level of support among likely Republican voters, but there’s also a good argument that they are understating it and that Trump may do better when people start voting than many think.

It’s Apparently Time To Discuss The Brokered Convention Fantasy Again

GOP Convention

The quadrennial fantasy of a brokered convention, which American politics has not seen since 1952, is rearing its head again, and it’s no more likely now than it was when we talked about this four years ago.

Republican Primary Rules Favor Centrists


Why Republicans nominate moderates for president and not other offices.

Tuesday’s Elections Helped Solidify Republican Control Of America’s State Legislatures

State Legislature Party Breakdown

Forget about Congress, the real story going forward is likely to be Republican dominance of state legislatures nationwide.

Both Sides Do It: Voter Suppression Edition

Today, many states and municipalities are having elections that will mostly attract Democrats.

Of Course the Pope is Political

President Barack Obama bids farewell to Pope Francis following a private audience at the Vatican, March 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

When did “politics” become a dirty word?

An Important Reminder about Polling


We are still a ways from actual voting–this needs to be remembered.

The Challenge of Democracy


Or, at least, a key challenge. Via the Monkey Cage:  No, we’re not arguing from the same facts. How can democracies make good decisions if citizens are misinformed? Widely shared misinformation hampers democracy because it makes it difficult for groups of people to take effective and appropriate action on shared civic problems. Indeed. I recommend […]

The 2016 Campaign Probably Doesn’t Matter, Except That it Does

Campaign 2016

While “fundamentals” will have more impact on choosing our next president than what happens on the campaign trail, the race itself is important.

Ye Olde Amendment Ploy


One of the things that a politicians can do to immediately underscore to me their total cynicism vis-a-vis their own supporters is to propose a constitutional amendment on a highly controversial subject. To wit (via Bloomberg):  Ted Cruz Introduces Bills to Stop Gay Marriage Days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage, […]

Political Experts Who Don’t Understand Politics


49 “experts in governance and democracy” to call for nonsensical reforms to the presidential debates.

Rand Paul Wins Meaningless CPAC Straw Poll: A Family Tradition

Rand Paul

Rand Paul is carrying on a family tradition, winning the CPAC straw poll won many times by his father Ron.

Electoral Systems Matter


Decision rules matter.

Rubles and iPhones


Via the BBC:  Rouble turmoil leads to Apple halting online sales in Russia Technology giant Apple says it cannot sell products online in Russia because the rouble’s value is too volatile for it to set prices. The company stopped sales of its iPhones, iPads and other products in the country after a day in which […]

Violence, Law, and the State


Thinking about that the state, law, violence, and the Garner incident (and contributing to the tl;dr phenomenon).

How a Bill Becomes an Executive Order


The SNL cold open updates a Schoolhouse Rock classic

There’s Little Evidence That Voter ID Laws Impacted The 2014 Elections

Voter ID Required Sign

Based on the available evidence, there’s very little evidence that Voter ID laws had a significant impact on the midterm elections.

With The Midterms Done, Will Republican State Legislators Revisit Electoral College “Reforms?”


After the 2010 elections, several newly Republican state legislatures flirted with the idea of changing the way their state allocates Electoral Votes. The outcome of last weeks elections raises the possibility that this could happen again.

Hyperpartisanship Harms American Politics, And American Life


There’s more to life than politics. Unfortunately, there are many Americans who don’t seem to recognize that fact.

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