‘Trumpism’ May Be Temporary Setback

Ruy Teixeira is optimistic about a progressive triumph against Trump and the Republicans. "Liberals Will Beat Trump in the End," he wrote in Washington Post: "The dominant ideology in the United States is one that combines 'symbolic conservatism' (honoring tradition, distrusting novelty, embracing the conservative label) with “operational liberalism” (wanting government to take more action in... Continue Reading →


Freedoms Depend On Public Opinion

“The point is that the relative freedom which we enjoy depends on public opinion,” George Orwell wrote in “Freedom of the Park.” “The law is no protection. Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are... Continue Reading →

Are Trump Voters Rational?

Robert Kurzban and Jason Weeden say "yes" in regard to Trump voters. On issues like abortion, immigration, trade, and white male privilege, certain voters are acting in their perceived best interests, they write. Kurban and Weeden are authors of “The Hidden Agenda of the Political Mind: How Self-Interest Shapes Our Opinions and Why We Won’t Admit... Continue Reading →

A Miracle That A Demagogue Wasn’t Elected President Before 2016

http://video-api.wsj.com/api-video/player/iframe.html?guid=A4EF5C5C-D8E9-4BB1-9E1D-99D50B014AF6 Given that nearly 73 percent of Americans in 2016 do not have college degrees, it is amazing that a Trump-like demagogue has not won the presidency before, and that our democracy has not degraded long before now. Most voters in the past never took a college-level course in history, politics, persuasion, argumentation, sociology, economics,... Continue Reading →

‘Democracy for Realists’

"Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government," by Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels, two political scientists, bursts the idealists' dream of democracy as well-informed citizens thoughtfully "steering the ship of state from the voting booth." They demonstrate that voters--even those who are well informed and politically engaged--mostly choose parties and candidates on... Continue Reading →

‘Deplorable’ Trump Supporters

Was Hillary Clinton wrong to put half of Trump supporters in "a basket of deplorables"? She later amended her statement that she shouldn't say "half," but stood by the general thrust of her remark. The (UK) Economist, generally even-handed, points out that 58% of Trump supporters score high in racial resentment; 51.8% of Mr Trump’s... Continue Reading →

54% of Voters Could NEVER Vote for Trump

Key Points: The most important question pollsters ask undecided or "leaning" voters is, "Is there a major-party candidate you can NEVER vote for, no matter the circumstances?" Trump's support peaked at about 46% because 54% of voters said they could NEVER vote for him. Post-Election update: Polls indicating 55% of voters saying they could never... Continue Reading →

Liberal Facebook, Conservative Facebook

Maybe this is one reason Americans are so divided. We seem to feel increasingly entitled to our own set of facts, not simply our own opinions, and unable to distinguish fact-based reporting from propaganda, fraudulent "news sites" and even deliberate lies. This is a very dangerous trend. None of us and no ideology is ever... Continue Reading →

Americans Might Abandon Democracy

Using Prolific Academic, two political scientists in late 2015 discovered that 24 percent, or one out of four Americans lack a basic commitment to democratic governance -- a belief in debate, compromise and elected officials making public decisions. They wrote a book about this phenomenon in 2001, called “Stealth Democracy,” when they found a slightly larger... Continue Reading →

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