Politics

On the Outside, Looking In

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The urban political base that was the foundation of African-American politics since the Civil Rights Movement is slowly eroding. Because of large-scale demographic trends at work in our metro areas, black political influence is in decline. Unless blacks become more inclusive (or intersectional) in our political approach, or better at building coalitions, we risk having our political concerns relegated to the margins, by virtue of where we live.  read more »

Why the Greens Lost, and Trump Won

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When President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accords, embraced coal, and stacked his administration from people from fossil-fuel producing states, the environmental movement reacted with near-apocalyptic fear and fury. They would have been better off beginning to understand precisely why the country has become so indifferent to their cause, as evidenced by the victory not only of Trump but of unsympathetic Republicans at every level of government.  read more »

Capitalism Did Not Win the Cold War

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When the Soviet Union collapsed 26 years ago, it was generally agreed that the West had won the Cold War. This was affirmed by the prosperity and possibilities awaiting citizens of Western countries, as opposed to the political and economic stagnation experienced by those in Communist states.  read more »

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High-Flying California Charts Its Own Path -- Is A Cliff Ahead?

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As its economy bounced back from the Great Recession, California emerged as a progressive role model, with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman arguing that the state’s “success” was proof of the superiority of a high tax, high regulation economy.  read more »

Is Anybody Really Listening: Pizza with Perez in Youngstown

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Ohio has long been seen as a battleground state, up for grabs in most Presidential elections. The state supported winning candidates of both parties for decades. But as the state shifted back and forth, the Mahoning Valley (Mahoning and Trumbull Counties) in Northeastern Ohio remained a Democratic stronghold. If Democratic candidates could garner more than 62% of the vote in this region – as they often did -- they would win the state. In years when Republicans won, the Mahoning Valley still voted for the Democrats, but with less enthusiasm.  read more »

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Inequality and the 2016 Election Outcome: A Dirty Secret and a Dilemma

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The presidential election of 2016 occurred at the crest of a national debate over economic inequality,  deeply researched by economists and sociologists since the 1990s, widely perceived to have risen sharply since the 1970s, and a focus of the first serious left-wing insurgency the Democratic Party in four decades, that of Bernie Sanders. Can class and inequality help explain the election result?  The answer appears to be that they can, quite strongly, but in ways that may seem surprising.  read more »

Ten American Experiences: A Fourth of July Meditation

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The Fourth of July is a good time to ask the question: what exactly are we celebrating when we celebrate “America?” Is it a set of ideals and principles rooted in the Enlightenment? Is it a blood-and-soil nation on the American continent, with unique institutions and culture? Is it an idea that happens to have a nation, a nation that happens to have an idea, or something else entirely?

Another way to define it might be an empirical account of various American experiences. What follows, then, is a narrative litany of what this writer believes to have been the most influential historical experiences shaping Americanism in every epoch of our existence as a nation, from colonial days to the present.  read more »

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Why Socialism Is Back

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Even as Venezuela falls deeper into crisis, and the former Soviet bloc nations groan under its legacy, socialism is coming back, and in a big way. Its key supporters are not grizzled pensioners yearning for Marxist security, but a whole new generation, most of whom have little memory of socialist failure.  read more »

Canada Turns 150 – Time to Celebrate – But Only in Moderation

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Canada is one of the world’s most successful countries on quality of life and income indicators.  Among the reasons for its success are its foundation of laws, vast natural resources, access to the huge American market, and law abiding citizens.

Canada was founded by the British Government at the height of the British Empire. French-speaking and English-speaking colonies agreed to join, and then spread west along the 49th parallel border with America.  read more »

Want to be Green? Forget Mass Transit. Work at Home.

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Expanding mass-transit systems is a pillar of green and “new urbanist” thinking, but with few exceptions, the idea of ever-larger numbers of people commuting into an urban core ignores a major shift in the labor economy: More people are working from home.  read more »