23 February 2016

Freedom: Three Varieties and a Caveat

Peter Dorman

I'm from New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire primary has to go

By putting Iowa and New Hampshire first, the Democratic and Republican parties are effectively saying that disproportionate power and influence should go to a small group of overwhelmingly white people in rural areas and small cities. That influence shouldn't go to a state or region with a large Hispanic population. It shouldn't go to a state or region with a large black population. It shouldn't go to a state with large cities and a strong interest in urban issues. It should go to these people instead.

That does a profound disservice to the millions of Americans living in diverse, densely populated areas. Or, to put it more bluntly, it gives white people outsized power in determining nominees, and disenfranchises black, Hispanic, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans relatively speaking.

Dylan Matthews

America’s Long History of Trashing ‘New York Values’

And why it tells us more about America than New York.

Kevin Baker

17 February 2016

The Constitution was designed to weed out demagogues. Now it encourages them.

Andrew Sabl

Hillary Clinton and the audacity of political realism

What Clinton is relearning in the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire is that there's nothing audacious about hope. Hope is the one commodity every voter wants to buy. It's pragmatism that you can't sell.

Ezra Klein

16 February 2016

The Republican establishment can fix its problems by picking a name out of a hat

In the language of game theory, this is a focal point problem. If all the establishment voters/donors could agree on one of the “establishment four” candidates, that candidate could be a viable competitor to Trump and Cruz. But establishment voters/donors are uncertain about which one of the four that will be — and so votes and money get split.

Joshua Tucker

Potemkin Ideologies

Paul Krugman

12 February 2016

Book Review: "Economics Rules"

Noah Smith

City Upon A Hill: A History Of American Exceptionalism [audio]

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama called America "the most powerful nation on Earth," saying, "When it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead—they call us." President Obama is hardly the first leader to talk about American exceptionalism. But just how "exceptional" is America? And why does it matter? In this episode of BackStory, we'll go behind the rhetoric to unpack the history and meaning of the term and assess the changing meanings of "American exceptionalism" over time.


05 February 2016


Noah Smith

The Theory of Everything and Then Some

In complexity theory, physicists try to understand economics while sociologists think like biologists. Can they bring us any closer to universal knowledge?

David Auerbach