Politics

Studying the Wrong Cities Will Lead to Repeating Their Mistakes

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The junket factor must be the only logical criteria by which various industry “study tours” overseas are planned. How else to explain how entirely inappropriate the choices are? The list of cities identified for “study” by Australian development and planning industry bodies reads like the pages of a glossy weekend travel magazine: we’ve seen study tours to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Copenhagen, London, Vancouver and (of course) Portland. The purpose? One recent blurb promises it is “to expand our horizons and bring new ideas back to Aussie shores.”  read more »

Democrats Risk Blowback with Leftward Turn

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With progressive Democrats in almost total control of California, and easily winning the money race, there’s no compelling reason to expect that they will face much opposition soon. Yet at a hearing I attended last month, I may have gotten a glimpse of potential blowback against the party’s ever accelerating leftward lurch.  read more »

Subjects:

The Two Middle Classes

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Politicians across the Western world like to speak fondly of the “middle class” as if it is one large constituency with common interests and aspirations. But, as Karl Marx observed, the middle class has always been divided by sources of wealth and worldview. Today, it is split into two distinct, and often opposing, middle classes.  read more »

WSDOT Wants Lawmakers to Remove Congestion Relief as a Transportation Policy Goal

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This week, WSDOT leadership testified before the House Committee on Transportation in support of House Bill 2688, which removes the goal of congestion relief from the state’s transportation policy goals and replaces the rest. The agency said the bill supports its strategic plan, pictured in the diagram.  read more »

Hypocrites Preaching Green

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If you don’t know who Tom Steyer is, you should. He’s the guy riding in the internal combustion powered limousine that drops Al Gore off at his speaking engagements.

Mr. Steyer, a billionaire former hedge fund manager, who has become the most influential environmentalist in American politics, made his billions from the coal-related projects his firm bankrolled that have and will generate tens of millions of tons of carbon pollution for years, if not decades, to come.  read more »

The West Turns Red?

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Adam Smith, the philosophical father of modern capitalism, may have been Scottish, but his ideas have long found their muse in America. Smith’s “voice has been ringing in the world’s ears for sixty years”, wrote one observer in 1838, “but it is only in the United States that he is listened to, reverenced, and followed.”  read more »

Why Can't California Create Viable National Leaders Anymore?

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Once upon a time, Hollywood and California seemed to be leading the country, for better or worse, with outsized public figures and sometimes compelling, or at least entertaining, ideas.

California politicians like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan achieved national power, establishing the primary strands of conservative thought.  read more »

How Cities Lost Control of the Urban Revolution (or, Three Generations of Smart Cities)

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I was a columnist in the print edition of Governing magazine for about five years. Sadly, the publication closed last year. But the company who owned it has relaunched Governing as an online only publication focused on the intersection of technology and public policy.  read more »

2020 Election: Democrats Heading Toward a Brokered Convention

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Today, President’s Day, is as good as any to draw some lessons from the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Crowded Field

FIRST, the Democrats do not yet have a candidate with proven national appeal.  read more »

Subjects:

How Different Generations are Influencing Our Politics

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Race, gender and class may be shaping our society, but increasingly generational change drives our politics.

Over time this suggests a major realignment of America’s party system that could create either whole new parties or transform the current, and failing, political duopoly.

One must look just at the results in New Hampshire. Bernie Sanders won by winning roughly half of voters under 30, according to exit polls, almost twice the percentage he gained among the rest of the electorate.  read more »