Campaign Finance & Elections

What Americans Can Learn from Britain’s Vote for Brexit

Heather Conley: “For those who are unsure of what will happen in the United States over the coming weeks and months, it’s instructive to watch how the UK has fared over the five months following its shocking referendum, and draw some lessons about what to expect in America after Donald Trump’s stunning victory.”

“Real anger: As soon as they regain the ability to form words, establishment anger will kick in and it will be visceral… In the United States, there will be soul searching on polling and data-driven models; the wrong candidate; the role of the media; Russia’s suspected interference in the election and the FBI’s mismanagement of Hillary Clinton’s private email server investigation. For Clinton supporters, grief will eventually give way to anger.”

“Agents of change meet institutional reality: Members of the Leave campaign who made the case that exiting the EU would be quick and allow 350 million pounds per week ($436 million) to be diverted to the National Health Service now confront bureaucratic and institutional reality. As Trump will soon discover, he and his future administration are bound by checks and balances, laws and institutions. Brexit is entering this balancing act now as parliament seeks to have greater say on the government’s EU negotiations.”

The Stages of Grief in One Chart

Quartz: “In the aftermath of bad news, we struggle to make sense of what we’ve just learned.”

“The chart below is based on a diagram in the foreword by Allan Kellehear, PhD – a scholar on dying and cultural influences – in the book’s 40th anniversary edition. It’s based on a chart by Kübler-Ross and expands on the stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This chart has seven stages: It starts with shock and ends with hope.”

Trump Promises to Bring Back Manufacturing Jobs, but Robots Won’t Let Him

Tech Crunch: “For Americans struggling with stagnant wages, under- or un-employment, one of Donald Trump’s most appealing campaign promises was to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.”

” But technology will make this promise nearly impossible to fulfill. Why? Because manufacturing jobs are increasingly done by robots, not people.”

“…when manufacturing returns to the states, jobs aren’t coming with it in high numbers. Automation has left workers in developing nations without employment, the report notes, and the U.S. faces the same prospect.”

This Proposal Calls for Popular Vote to Determine Presidential Elections

Hari Sreenivasan for PBS Newshour: “It’s called ‘The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact,’ and it would allocate participating state’s electoral votes to whomever wins the national popular vote. For example, if Donald Trump were to win the most votes nationally, New York, and every other state in the compact, would pledge its electors to him, even if he didn’t win those states.”

“So, the pact leaves the Electoral College in place — no constitutional amendment required — but essentially circumvents it and creates a direct national popular vote for the presidency.”

The Politics of Resentment

On PBS’ The Open Mind, Alexander Heffner interviewed Katherine Cramer, author of The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. Click here for the full interview.

Cramer: “Unfortunately, the thing about resentment is that it perpetuates itself, right?… And I think that a lot of the kind of anti-liberal elite resentment that we see is actually a part of that cycle in that people know that there’s a stereotype of people in small-town America, that they’re less-educated, that they’re racist, that they are making choices against their interests. Well that’s not gonna sit very well with people, of course they’re not gonna feel warmly towards the people who are saying those types of things, right? And whoever gets into office, there’s enough of this resentment going around that suddenly we’re all not gonna be kind to one another and think now we understand one another. I think the only way to make it end is for some people to take the high road…”

Something Has Been Going Badly Wrong in the Neighborhoods That Support Trump

Washington Post: “An updated analysis from Gallup this week has revealed another factor that could be behind Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s popularity: expensive mortgage-interest payments.”

“According to the analysis, respondents in hundreds of surveys were more likely to view Trump favorably if they lived in Zip codes with heavy mortgage-interest burdens relative to local incomes, after taking into account a range of socioeconomic factors.”

“Even if Trump’s supporters have not themselves fallen on hard times, they often live in places where economic opportunity is scarce… Whatever the explanation, Rothwell’s previous analysis rebutted a widespread theory that Trump’s supporters live in areas where globalization’s costs have exceeded its benefits. Rothwell found that among voters who were demographically similar, those who lived in areas where the economy was negatively affected by Chinese imports were no more likely to view Trump favorably.”

Want to Understand Trump’s Rise? Head to the Farm.

Siena Chrisman: “Rural America is mad. We’re hearing from people in places like West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania who are fed up with the government, the economy, the ‘establishment,’ and taking out their anger at Trump rallies.”

“But what has too long been overlooked is how much of that economic dysfunction—and the anger it has caused—goes back to the dissolution of the family farm.”

“46 million Americans still live in the countryside, with many hollowed out towns, few job prospects, and the near impossibility of making a living off the land for all but the biggest farm operators. They’re not reaping the benefits of so-called efficiency, and they still feel abandoned. Joel Dyer writes, ‘The government’s lack of concern about rural America’s future made it possible for anyone to walk in and set up shop.’ In the 1990s, it was anti-government and militia groups; today it’s Donald Trump.”

Why Are US Presidential Elections So Close?

Nautilus: “There is another candidate explanation, and it is one that nearly every expert that I talked to zeroed in on: the median voter theorem.”

“The model dates to the work of the mathematician Harold Hotelling, later formalized by the economist Duncan Black and popularized by the economist Anthony Downs. Hotelling’s brief aside in 1929 was the paragraph that launched a thousand political science careers:”

The competition for votes between the Republican and Democratic parties does not lead to a clear drawing of issues, an adoption of two strongly contrasted positions between which the voter may choose. Instead, each party strives to make its platform as much like the other’s as possible. Any radical departure would lose many votes, even though it might lead to stronger commendation of the party by some who would vote for it anyhow.

Three Charts Make Painfully Simple How American Politics Became So Messed Up

Washington Post: “With less than a week to go until the election, the country seems to have descended into full partisan battle mode. It’s not just your imagination. The United States is more divided politically than it has been in years, and the gulf between the parties has surged since 2004, as seen in fascinating graphics created by Robert Rouse, an analytics consultant at data consulting company InterWorks.”

“Rouse has become increasingly turned off by the intense partisan divisions of the presidential campaign this year, and wondered how it compared to the past. So he used more than two decades’ worth of data on political polarization by the Pew Research Center to create graphics that were recently nominated for Kantar’s Information is Beautiful awards.”

If Most Voters Are Uninformed, Who Should Make Decisions About the Public’s Welfare?

Caleb Crain: “Roughly a third of American voters think that the Marxist slogan “From each according to his ability to each according to his need” appears in the Constitution. About as many are incapable of naming even one of the three branches of the United States government. Fewer than a quarter know who their senators are, and only half are aware that their state has two of them.”

“…democracy is far from perfect—’the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time,’ as Churchill famously said. So, if we value its power to make good decisions, why not try a system that’s a little less fair but makes good decisions even more often?”

Jay Faison’s Expensive, Maddening Quest to Save the Planet (And the GOP)

Bloomberg Politics: “The year before, Faison had arrived in Washington as a political nobody, flush with cash from the sale of his Charlotte-based electronics company. He hoped that, by dedicating his time and $175 million to the cause, he could show Republicans they had a role to play in saving the planet. Others have attempted this mission, but few have been as determined as Faison — and no one has invested as much money. Yet he’s encountered such indifference and hostility that he’s been forced to scale back his ambitions and shift sharply to the right. It’s been a lesson in what happens in politics when the irresistible force of cash meets the immovable object of dogma.”

Stocks Slide After the FBI Says It’s Investigating Clinton’s Emails Again

Washington Post: “Investors rushed to sell their assets in equity and currency markets Friday afternoon after the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was looking into Hillary Clinton’s emails again. The revelation seemed to cause fluctuations in prices for a range of securities and commodities in the United States and overseas.”

“Shares in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index declined about 1 percent immediately after 1 p.m., when a letter from FBI Director James B. Comey to lawmakers detailing the continuing investigation became public. Comey had previously said that the FBI had completed its investigation.”

“Prices in the Nasdaq Composite index gave up 0.9 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average declined 0.8 percent.”

Democracy Turns Off Millennials. It Doesn’t Have To.

Leonid Bershidsky: “More than two thirds of American millennials do not consider it essential to live in a country that is governed democratically. About a quarter of them consider a democratic political system a ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ way to run the country. At the same time, support for authoritarian alternatives is rising. In 1996, only 1 in 16 Americans said it would be good if the military ruled the country. By 2014, it was 1 in 6. Only 19 percent of millennials say it wouldn’t be legitimate for the military to take over if the government proved incompetent or unable to do its job. A growing share of young people is in favor of a ‘strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with parliament and elections’ and a government of ‘experts’ rather than politicians.”

“It may be that all that’s needed to revive faith in democracy is to reform the electoral systems to be both more inclusive and more meritocratic, shifting attention from candidates’ personalities and private lives to policies and issues. The rule changes needed for that don’t have to be particularly drastic: something as simple as ranked-choice voting could lead to progress.”