There has been much rigamarole about the convention process being fairly undemocratic. Many stories have popped up of Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz slurping up delegates even as they didn't win the popular vote of a given state. The practice brings to mind the image of fat deal-makers sitting about in a smoke-filled room, deciding who the nominee will be. A reader asked whether it was the democratization of primaries that actually lead to greater political polarization.Read More
A paper from 2014 by Martin Gilens and Bejamin Page shook the bedrock of the American democracy by showing quite decisively that the likelihood of a policy being adopted in Congress is almost entirely unrelated to the amount of preference that citizens have for the policy. The preferences of economic elites (rich folks) and special interest groups (generally representing businesses) are far more likely to be enacted by Congress. The wedge in American politics may explain this perfectly.Read More
One thing we've observed is that folks are very excited about the proposed policies of each candidate. This is a great thing: it adds some substance to a debate that can often be dominated by more superficial stuff.
But there's an opportunity to consider the candidates at a higher level of sophistication: how will they accomplish their goals?Read More
Step one, then, of ending gerrymandering, is to remove the arbitrary power of legislators to draw lines however they please. Therefore, we need some objective principle or system that draws the lines, rather than people. We can bemoan gerrymandering all we want, but to stop it, we need an alternative.
What is such a system that we can agree on?Read More
A very interesting--and probably quite manipulative--infographic on gerrymandering got us thinking about our biases when looking at data, but then got us asking an increasingly-perplexing question: what the heck _isn't_ gerrymandering, anyway? How do we create a "fair" districting?Read More
US voters identifying as Independents recently hit a record of 43%: this trend has been growing quickly and steadily since 2008, at the cost of both Republican and Democratic voters.
One might assume that this means more Americans are identifying as moderate rather than liberal or conservative, but it’s not true. What's going on out there?Read More