Political science

Beneath the Top Line Poll Numbers

Featured image The first thing to understand about the Democratic Party today is that its shift to the left has occurred chiefly among white Democrats. This may be the hidden weakness that delivers the election to Trump. Let’s start with a new chart from Zach Goldberg, who notes survey data from the spring about Democratic voters in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Texas. What it shows is revealing: white Democrats are the most »

Failed States, Failed Cities, Failed Parties?

Featured image We’re familiar with the designation of places like Somalia as “failed states,” but can’t we equally recognize failed cities when we see them? New York City in the 1970s, when it needed a federal bailout, was one example from our past, and New York’s fiscal woes were closely connected with its larger social problems of crime, welfare dependency, and all the other factors that diminished the shine of the Big »

Our Orwellian Nightmare Come True

Featured image The Cato Institute has released a poll on self-censorship conducted by the highly respected YouGov survey unit that finds 62 percent of Americans say they have political opinions they are afraid to speak because they fear giving offense or losing their jobs. Moreover, as the reports notes, this represents an increase from the last such poll taken in 2017: “The share of Americans who self‐​censor has risen several points since 2017 »

Feeling the Bern in California

Featured image My pals at the Institute of Governmental Studies here at UC Berkeley (where I remain a fellow against all odds—story to follow some day soon) today released their latest poll on the state of the presidential race here in the once Golden State ahead of the March primary. I know the IGS pollster, Mark DiCamilo, quite well (in fact we shared an office for a time), and I think he »

New Social Science of Note

Featured image I try to keep up with some social science, partly for the amusement value, and partly because social science is sometimes useful for proving the obvious (which is also amusing). But I’ve been falling behind in posting highlights, so it is time to catch up. First up, do you think it is really necessary to prove that good looking people enjoy a lot of advantages in life? Apparently this proposition »

Getting Populism Right

Featured image Modern democracies are said to be in the grip of “populism” that the dictionary defines as “a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.” Most of the learned commentary from academia and the news media describe populism as a harbinger of the apocalypse, a threat to democracy, and the second coming of fascism, all stemming from racism and »

Rewriting Tony Bennett

Featured image The Wall Street Journal has adapted Charles Kesler’s editorial in the forthcoming issue of the Claremont Review of Books — we’ll be getting to a few highlights ourselves next week — into the column “California’s biggest cities confront a ‘defecation crisis'” (subhead: “Lawmakers ban plastic straws as a far worse kind of waste covers the streets of San Francisco and L.A.”). Having turned one of the most beautiful cities in »

Found: The Stupidest Political Science Study Ever

Featured image You know how the left is obsessed with proving that Trump’s election is entirely owing to Russian Kallusion. Now we have empirical social science to prove it! At last! From the “peer-reviewed” internet journal First Monday (I’ve never heard of it either) comes this new study from several academics at the University of Tennessee: “Internet Research Agency Twitter Activity Predicted 2016 Election Polls.” The Internet Research Agency (IRA) is the »

Do We Still “Hold These Truths”?

Featured image On the first page of Natural Right and History (1953) Leo Strauss asks: Does this nation in its maturity still cherish the faith in which it was conceived and raised? Does it still hold those “truths to be self-evident”? About a generation ago, an American diplomat could still say that “the natural and the divine foundation of the rights of man . . . is self-evident to all Americans.” Well what »

The Hard Lasch the Left Deserves

Featured image Don’t ask me to explain why just now, but lately I reread Christopher Lasch’s last book, The Revolt of the Elites, published in 1995 shortly after his death. I recall disliking the book somewhat back then, in part because I had a bias against Lasch, who not only sympathized with the New Left in the 1960s, but whose 1978 book The Culture of Narcissism was said to be one of »

Uhlmann’s Conquest

Featured image A week or ten days back we linked to Michael Uhlmann’s speech to the Claremont Institute on “The Struggle Ahead“—the “struggle” being the ongoing political battle to preserve our constitutional order from the predations of the contemporary left that hates the Constitution and its principles. But we were remiss in not including an excerpt from Claremont Institute president Ryan Williams’ introduction of Michael, which offered a summary of some of Michael’s »

The Democrats’ Leftward March

Featured image Years ago, back in the early 1980s, I had a conservative friend in England who liked to say, “The great thing about America is that you either vote Tory or you vote Tory,” meaning that the Carter-Mondale Democratic Party of that time wasn’t very far to the left at all. I tried to explain why American conservatives didn’t see it that way, but you have to understand that from his »

Did Russia Waste Its Money on the 2016 Election?

Featured image There’s an old joke that half of all advertising spending is wasted; the problem for the marketing department is determining which half. The Madison Avenue ad agencies depend on no one ever being able to figure this puzzle out because their business model would collapse. A similar controversy has been going on in political science for some time; namely, whether political campaigns (and presidential debates, etc) actually change or affect »

Introduction to the Federalist

Featured image Hillsdale College’s John Miller hosts a series of podcasts on the great books for National Review. NR compiles the podcasts on this page (including access and subscription to the podcasts in the various podcast forms). There is a wealth of riches here. You will want to scroll through the list to find those you want to take in, such as Assumption College’s Professor Dan Mahoney on The Gulag Archipelago. In »

Today’s Classroom Lesson: Demystifying Opinion Polls

Featured image Between now and November we’ll be awash in opinion polls, and partisans on both sides will be deploying them chiefly as a tactic of vote suppression—trying to discourage the other side that all is lost. Now, I could give a classroom style treatise here on the tricks and defects of opinion polling, or I could just enlist another scene from Yes, Prime Minister, which explains the problem much more effectively: »

A Turning Point for Trump In Sight?

Featured image My sense is the intransigence of the Democratic “resistance” mentality is going to make this present “government shutdown” the longest ever, with unpredictable political effects at this early point. It comes amidst evidence that Trump’s position might be improving. According to the most recent CBS News poll, Trump’s overall numbers continue to be underwater. His best numbers—still below 50 percent—are for his handling of the economy and his handling of »

Jonah and Me, Unplugged

Featured image Late last week on a whirlwind visit to Washington DC I sat down with Jonah Goldberg to tape an episode of his new podcast, “The Remnant,” which title was inspired by Albert Jay Nock’s classic essay “Isaiah’s Job.” Nock was a wonderful stylist, and an early libertarian (William F. Buckley’s earliest informal tutor in many ways), and if you’ve never read his Memoirs of a Superfluous Man, add it to »