“Joe the Plumber” has gotten a lot of media attention over the past week. Depending on which side of the political fence you’re on, he is either a phony who is not even a registered plumber or a symbol for the unintended consequences of wealth redistribution policies. A Rasmussen survey taken on October 19th showed “Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Democrats think [Obama] is right on [spreading the wealth], but 78% of Republicans disagree.” read more »
Unless something completely unexpected occurs, the presidential election has been settled, with Barack Obama the clear winner. Yet, except for the Republican Party’s demise, the most important issue of this era — the future of the middle class — remains largely unaddressed.
Indeed, even as social polarization has diminished — a change that is reflected in Obama’s electoral success — economic polarization has intensified. Globalization and the securitization of almost everything have created arguably the greatest concentration of wealth since before the Great Depression. read more »
Have you heard about the current election season in Los Angeles?
Sure, we’ve all gotten word about the presidential campaign. But how much have you heard about races for the U.S. Congress or State Legislature?
The member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents my neighborhood is up for re-election, along with his 434 colleagues. So is the fellow who represents me in the California State Assembly—and his 79 colleagues. read more »
Senator Barack Obama has run the first campaign of the information age, and win or lose he has set the standard for how campaigns will be run from this point forward.
He has parlayed his inspirational speeches and personal appeal to the millennial generation into a base of small donors likely unequaled in modern election history. His campaign understood the power of the Internet and social networking and successfully used it as a resource to create political buzz about him and build a fundraising juggernaut. read more »
When the Presidential and vice-Presidential hopefuls talk foreign policy, they look every which way --- towards the Middle East, Russia, Europe, Asia or Africa, but they largely ignore our own backyard.
In the next decades of the 21st Century, our policymakers will need different priorities. When looking for our closest allies, we may well need to look away from current entanglements in unfortunate, far away places and towards a stronger relationship with countries --- notably Canada --- with whom we share so much. read more »
In 1869 L. U. Reavis spoke for many when he made the case for moving the nation’s capital from, as he put it, “the banks of the Potomac to the banks of the Mississippi.” Citing St. Louis’s location in the exact center of the nation, the growing population of the Mississippi Valley, the presumably temporary expediency that had led leaders to place the capital in Washington in the first place, and the commercial advantages of a capital city on the Mississippi River, read more »
Pennsylvania, as with most states, can be analyzed politically by looking at a few key counties and how they break in a political campaign.
Historically, the four collar counties of Philadelphia broke heavily Republican and neutralized the advantage Democrats had coming out of Philadelphia. Over the past decade this trend has reversed itself --- and with it the political balance in the state. read more »
Suburbs may not have cooked up the mortgage crisis, but they absorbed much of initial damage. Now that Wall Street and the big cities are also taking the fall, suburbanites might feel a bit better — but there’s still lots of room for anger out in the land of picket fences, decent schools and shopping malls. read more »
Consider the following two apparently contradictory sets of statistics:
From the Republican convention and much of the media, you’d get the impression that class voting has turned upside down—that the Democrats are the party of the “elite” and the Republicans the new friends of the “working class”. read more »
Perhaps no geography in America is as misunderstood as small towns and rural areas. Home to no more than one in five Americans, these areas barely register with the national media except for occasional reports about the towns’ general decrepitude, cultural backwardness and inexorable decline.
Yet in reality this part of America is far more diverse, and in many areas infinitely more vital, than the big-city-dominated media suspects. In fact, there are many demographic and economic dynamics that make this part of America far more competitive this year than in the recent past. read more »