political science

Are We Living in a Post-Poll World?

They wrong. They’re rigged. They’re partisan. They’re worthless.

Polls took as vicious a drubbing as civility and real news in the latest election. And they’re still drawing withering abuse from Donald Trump and his supporters, who maintain that surveys showing that he is highly unpopular are lies, perfidious lies. Trump, in fact, continues to promote a narrative that we are living in a post-poll world, that polls are not only inaccurate but passé; nobody cares about them. Read more about Are We Living in a Post-Poll World? »

Why We Get a More Conservative Congress If It’s Raining on Election Day

The weather has typically been the go-to form of small talk—what you bring up when you want to avoid the weighty subject of say, politics. But no more!

Politicos have long known that the weather, and rain in particular, affects voter turnout. But a new study takes it even further, suggesting that the weather on election day actually influences what the winners do after they take office.

It may sound bizarre, but here’s the logic: Read more about Why We Get a More Conservative Congress If It's Raining on Election Day »

Mattering, at Last: How Californians Will Determine If the GOP Is Truly Trumped

Some political analysts are showing laudable restraint by deeming the current election year anomalous, or unprecedented, but many are just saying the hell with it, and calling it as they see it—crazy. Or deeply, savagely weird, as Hunter S. Thompson might have characterized it. (And if ever there were an election cycle that needed the late gonzo journalist’s deft touch, it’s the current one.) That weirdness is all-pervading, of course, but its clearest manifestation is the insurgent candidacies of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Read more about Mattering, at Last: How Californians Will Determine If the GOP Is Truly Trumped »

Angels, Protesters and Patriots: What a Long-Ago Skirmish Says About Love of Country

Lately, I’ve been thinking about an incident that happened in 1965, seven years before I was born. It centered on an antiwar protest in Berkeley, one of the first of countless such protests to come. Though just a blip in the grand scheme of Vietnam era turmoil, it seems to point to something important about America and the nature of patriotism.

It starts with a guy named “Tiny.” Tiny was 6’7” and 300 pounds. And he really liked to fight. Read more about Angels, Protesters and Patriots: What a Long-Ago Skirmish Says About Love of Country »

From the Spring 2016 War Stories issue of California.

Performance Trumps Policy: Is The Donald’s Media Presence Enough for Nomination?

Since Donald Trump announced that he was running for president this past June, he’s spread through news headlines like the Resident Evil t-Virus. Judging by the number of readers he’s attracting and supporters he’s gaining, we now appear to be a nation of Trump zombies with an insatiable hunger for his next sapid statement or offhand comment. Read more about Performance Trumps Policy: Is The Donald's Media Presence Enough for Nomination? »

Researching Discontent: Here’s Why a Regime May Need—and Secretly Want—Protests

“Do you really want to have secret informants in every single village?”

It’s a question Peter L. Lorentzen has pondered quite a bit. After all, he’s an expert in uncovering discontent among the masses within authoritarian regimes. Secret informants, he asserts, are expensive and not always accurate. So the world’s dictators are likely using other tactics. Read more about Researching Discontent: Here's Why a Regime May Need—and Secretly Want—Protests »

From the Spring 2015 Dropouts and Drop-ins issue of California.
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