Fault Lines

Donald Trump held a press conference on Thursday in which his familiar brand of narcissism clashed dramatically with the familiar setting of the East Room. In a rambling diatribe against reporters that lasted well over an hour, Trump displayed the same talent for channeling grievance that propelled him to the Republican nomination. He claimed credit for unspecified accomplishments, denied his White House is in … Read More

The Core Political Problem

Pretend for a moment you’re a Republican member of congress representing a district drawn to maximize the influence of base Republican voters. You don’t worry much about losing to a Democrat in the next general election, because your district was carefully gerrymandered to protect you from a general election challenge. But that same gerrymander boosted the influence of Republican primary … Read More

Back Soon

So I’ve heard some things have happened since the last time I posted . . . The process of revising two books—the longer being a 450,000 word government textbook—has taken more time than I anticipated, but both projects are coming to a close and I will be back shortly with some thoughts on the chaos around us and where we … Read More

Happy New Year

As the unexpected turns of 2016 give way to the unpredictability of 2017, I’d like to take a moment and send my wishes for a healthy and fulfilling year ahead. I haven’t posted much in the last month and most likely won’t write much in the next few weeks as I face January deadlines for two manuscripts. The sixth edition of my … Read More

The Electoral College Should Do Its Job

More people have asked me to explain the Electoral College over the past two weeks than at any time since I last taught the subject in my American Government course. And at no time in memory has the Electoral College been more relevant to a presidential election. For as long as anyone can remember, electors have done little more than … Read More

New Traffic Patterns Ahead (Part 5 of 5) [WARNING: LONG]

Trump voters wanted to blow up Washington. Regardless of what else they may disrupt, they have succeeded in disturbing the entrenched partisan divisions which for years have cemented our politics in a tedious and angry stalemate. The election has handed Republicans the imperative to govern and Democrats the need to regroup. These realities will place pressure on both parties and create a four-way political dynamic. Democrats … Read More

Donald Trump as Jimmy Carter (4 of 5)

One of the key analytical frameworks of my book Next Generation Netroots is derived from the work of Yale political scientist Steven Skowronek, who views presidential administrations in terms of their relationship to prevailing political coalitions rather than as isolated entities. Skowronek contends that the options available to presidents and the results they achieve are determined to a large degree by their position in what he … Read More

The Hard Path (3 of 5)

In my previous post, I compared the political climate to an intense storm and suggested that it has been building for years. The frontal boundary is the place where the portion of the electorate that supported Hillary Clinton is pushing against the portion that supported Donald Trump. The Clinton electorate—young, multicultural, progressive and connected to the 21st century economy—has been building in … Read More

Change (2 of 5)

Let’s return to the fundamental premise of this cycle: it was a change election. During the campaign, I wrote extensively about the irony that, according to available public polling, voters clamoring for a new direction were going to ratify the status quo by electing a Democratic president and a Republican congress. Even when a Democratic wave appeared to be building several weeks ago, Democrats were highly unlikely … Read More

Sorting It Out (1 of 5)

At the Democratic Convention this summer, a respected political operative told me that Hillary Clinton would win the election because Democrats have a structural advantage in the Electoral College, enough to make up for whatever weaknesses she had as a candidate. Demography drives this advantage, which remains in place despite the uprising of rural and suburban white voters that changed the electoral … Read More

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