Category Archives: Politics

Mayors To Watch

Check out the dossiers on 18 of the most influential city executives.  Included are Louisville mayor Greg Fischer and his fixation on local data to solve local problems, as well as Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio, who legally challenged pharmaceutical companies for contributing to the local opioid crisis.

As Los Angeles mayor Eric Garrett most aptly put it, “I’m playing too much defense in my backyard to not get involved in the national discussion.”




Trump ≠ Conservatism

“Somehow an explanation of Donald Trump’s political success has to incorporate the fact that Trump won a higher share of the Latino vote and black vote in the presidential election of 2016 than Mitt Romney did in 2012.”

David Frum argues that Trump’s ascendancy is less about something old (racism, nativism, protectionism), than about something new (discouragement, political exploitation).  Do you agree?

Do Voter ID Laws Actually Matter?

A longtime partisan cliché is that voter identification laws (such as those that require government-issued picture IDs to prevent fraud) are designed to support Republicans, because those citizens who are more likely to not have such IDs are also more likely to vote Democrat: minorities and the poor.

However, the above groups are less likely to vote at all, and it has also been attributed to the “costs of cognitive participation.”  This refers to the time and mental energy required to stay informed on current events, and to plan for and set aside the time and resources to cast a vote, which is obviously more involved for those who lack fixed home addresses, easy transportation, or a forgiving work schedule.  But on aggregate, demand for voting is more inelastic than Dems care to admit–people who  value voting  are more likely to accomplish it.

Get Out the Vote (GOTV) is, and should continue to be, the winning strategy for Democrats.  However, there is not any evidence that voter ID laws hurt turnout.

Another thought is that Voter ID laws are correlation without causation: states more likely to institute Voter ID laws are also likely to have low minority turnout because of other cultural or economic barriers, which may, or may not, have anything to do with public policies.

ModCon believes Dems should give up the battle against Voter ID laws because the potential gains of avoiding fraud are more than offset by the victimhood mentality that can turn off swing voters.  Even when Voter ID laws are politically motivated, they are not racially motivated.

Never Think Alone

According to a recent article by the authors Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman, human knowledge is remarkable not for its individual capacity, as is commonly thought, but by the sophistication of its sharing.  We humans are at the top of the food chain because we grasp the importance of planning, division of labor, and organization creation.

“Most of what you ‘know’ — most of what anyone knows — about any topic is a placeholder for information stored elsewhere, in a long-forgotten textbook or in some expert’s head.”

There is an obvious evolutionary advantage to working together in this way and sharing in the world’s consciousness: it forces us to rely on each other for emotional and material support, and encourages growth and enhancement of the species.

In other words, our prime talents are of curation, collaboration, and association, rather than true memorization or understanding.  And the more something is understood by people in general, the more we think  we individually know.  One can see this extended to politics–we rely on others to help us put the truth together, with very little (or even no) firsthand experience with the matter at hand: poverty, abortion, corporate ethics, pollution, earned-income tax credits, food packaging.

So, always remember that your conversation partner’s irrationality is a pretty rational response to their lack of knowledge.

Univ of FL, Plaza de Americas


WaPo: “Americans have seen the last four presidents as illegitimate.”

“We talk about all this with detached regret, as victims of distant politicians’ antics, when we are in fact protagonists in this tale, helping to determine the tenor of our politics. The Internet and social media have engaged millions of Americans in politics more directly than ever before, and the results haven’t been pretty.”

Read the whole thing here:*

*Note: Digital access is unlimited through Sat in honor of the inauguration!


Why Clinton Lost in Michigan (and Elsewhere)

Michigan highlights the campaign problems that repeated all over the Midwest: an inability to react to changing facts on the ground.

“Trump won the state despite getting 30,000 fewer votes than George W. Bush did when he lost it in 2004.” Now re-read that sentence.

“(The national campaign plan) was very surgical and corporate. They had their model, this is how they’re going to do it. Their thing was, ‘We don’t have to leave [literature] at the doors, everyone knows who Hillary Clinton is,’” said one person involved in the Michigan campaign. “But in terms of activists, it seems different, it’s maybe they don’t care about us.”

Some pieces of the article sound like petty he-said/she-saids, with unverifiable anecdotes. However, the fact that TV ads in Michigan were nearly nonexistent does indicate support was taken for granted.

“Brooklyn’s theory from the start was that 2016 was going to be a purely base turnout election. Efforts were focused on voter registration and then, in the final weeks, turning out voters identified as Clinton’s, without confirmation that they were.”

Nonetheless, the official reasoning for the Dems’ loss is that key states’ numbers went south during the week leading up to the election, after FBI Dir James Comey used his position to very publicly raise suspicion about Hillary’s emails and integrity.

In either case, this chapter can serve as a lesson for what campaigns CAN control–the dangers of sole reliance on centrality and bureaucracy. The fact that liberals (who by definition more heavily favor federal control over the states)  suffered by this fallacy is perhaps poetic justice.

Renzi’s Resignation

“Italy is not only the past.” stated Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on this week’s 60 Minutes. We featured him, and fellow interviewee Virginia Raggi, on the blog a month ago.

Today, his referendum to drastically reduce the number of parliamentarians was defeated.  He will resign, as he promised to do in the event of rejection of his idea.

MC applauds his vivacity and looks forward to his future accomplishments.  All young (and old)  politicians should be so bold, principled, willing to fight for appreciation–and to keep moving if it is not forthcoming.