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Category Archives: Politics

Political speech prolongs policy difficultiles

One benefit we can expect from Tuesday’s election is that some misleading, hyperbolic, and outright fraudulent advertising will come to an end. Granted, political speech is an essential part of our form of government, so you might say it’s a cost of democracy. Unfortunately, though, campaign speech shapes the political culture, making it that much […]

Divided we live: Political, economic, racial polarization in Milwaukee metro

One concept from graduate school (political science) that has stuck with me is the benefit of cross-cutting cleavages, which has nothing to do with “wardrobe malfunctions.” (See Wikipedia for an explanation: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, however, has produced an analysis of its readership area, showing that there are plenty of “reinforcing cleavages,” or as we might […]

Selectively reading endorsements

“Buyer beware” should be a rule in life, especially in politics. For example, in July 2011, I wrote a short commentary for The Michigan View that discussed Pete Hoekstra, then one of several candidates seeking the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate. I wrote that Hoekstra had 9 victories in federal elections to his credit. I […]

The history of women in the U.S. Senate: Can Debbie Lose?

The idea that Republicans can’t find a candidate to take on Debbie “Dangerously Incompetent” Stabenow is depressing enough. But Michiganders are not alone in their reluctance to oust a non-entity of a senator, as long as that senator is a woman. Here in Minnesota, the conventional wisdom is that Sen. Amy Klobuchar is unbeatable. It’s […]

Tim Pawlenty: A pro-growth candidate, with an asterisk

The Club for Growth, a group that promotes lower tax rates, less regulation, free speech, and school choice, has issued a review of the political career of Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota. As Manny Lopez notes nearby, Gov. Pawlenty has come out against ethanol subsidies. He’s not as principled about it as I’d like; in his announcement […]

Republicans should not expect another Reagan

As Republican activists start contemplating which candidate they will support for 2012, expect to hear more complaints about how there’s no Ronald Reagan. Such despair and longing is misplaced. Why? Reagan was not uniformly embraced by conservatives even during his tenure in office, so there’s a danger of putting on some rose-colored glasses before looking […]

Can I get a competitive race?

If past performance is in any way related to future results, all of the congressional races in Minnesota–and most in the nation–are over before they even begin. (Hint: In Minnesota, all the incumbents will win.) So says the work of 538, a project of the New York Times. Of 435 seats in the House, only 37–less than 10 percent–are truly in play. Cartel, anyone?