On the New York Times opinion page, the editors suggest (“The Stolen Supreme Court Seat,” December 24th) that President-elect Donald Trump could nominate President Obama’s choice, Judge Merrick Garland, as a gesture of goodwill. I myself suggested this on CNN last month (that was the point, you guys, not the bug – go watch). This is unlikely, to say the least…but there’s still a long-shot way to get a vote on Garland on January 3rd. It involves playing Constitutional hardball.
Update: Good comment thread. One reader quotes a former Republican Senate staffer who says that the rules prevent this. I am somewhat skeptical of the source. But if objections are raised to this aggressive approach to overcoming the GOP blockade, they will surely take the form described. Other readers give counterarguments.[Read more →]
Sometimes the Declaration of Independence is hauled out as an argument for limited government. But historian Steve Pincus points out that the Declaration was actually a complaint that the government should do more to promote and protect citizens’ welfare. Blew my mind. Julian Zelizer and I interviewed him about his new book: “Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government.” Link:http://bit.ly/PoliticsAndPolls25
Harry Enten points out that areas surrounding Ivy League schools voted predominantly for Clinton. He concludes that these are bubbles. I think there is something more in these numbers.
Undeniably, academics tilt liberal, as do the communities they live in. However, additional forces were at work in 2016. White college-educated voters swung away from the Republican Presidential nominee, by double-digit percentages. The numbers above reflect that. In addition, think of the fact that elite universities are institution-oriented. That is, they favor the existing order: meritocracy, a rule-based society, and governmental/private organizations that remain stable over time. Those values are conservative – but they also cross party lines. [Read more →]
Polarization was a strong undercurrent to the 2016 presidential election, affecting the campaign, voting, and now President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments. In an unusual *live* recording of Politics & Polls, Julian Zelizer and I discuss Trump’s recent appointments, the state of polarization today and how the polls got it wrong in the recent election. Link: http://bit.ly/PoliticsAndPolls24
In today’s NYT, two scholars of authoritarian movements, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, weigh in. It’s an important article.
Readers, recall that my main purpose in running this site was not simply to aggregate polls. I also wanted to help direct efforts and resources. Presidential polls were off (watch my entomophagy, which I made as substantive as I could), but the top six Senate races split 2-to-4, which is about right.
Now, with democratic institutions under threat, the question is: what can everyday citizens do? Recently, former Congressional staffers have prepared an excellent divide, titled Indivisible. It’s very popular! I provide a downloaded PDF here Read it, print it, save it. Also, here is a story on how the document came to be.
In addition, I offer three ideas, whose impacts range from long-term to immediate. These are meant for all Americans who want to save institutions – whether they are liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican.
1. Join your Representative’s party. This can be a tough one to do mentally, but it can potentially pay off. [Read more →]
A month after Trump’s upset victory, the aftermath is still sending shocks through the United States and the world. In addition to a hard rightward move on policy, Trump, Pence, and Company appear to be bent on uprooting many institutions. The risk to the American system of government and life has been noted by both liberals and conservatives.
Hillary Clinton’s narrow loss to Donald Trump was influenced by many causes in the home stretch: complacency driven by conventional wisdom and polls (and yes, poll aggregation), which led to the media assumption that she would win, which in turn was a likely driver of the tone of coverage. And of course there is so much to say about the candidates themselves. [Read more →]