It used to be easy to explain the relationship between the voting constituency of each party and the positions its politicians took in policy debates: Democrats are the party of the poor and favor big, redistributive government, while Republicans are the party of the rich and favor small, business-friendly government. But even though economic class is no longer a reliable guide to how Americans vote, party leaders remain committed to very different policy goals and visions—foreshadowing a bitter debate over the federal budget this year, as I explain today in Bloomberg Opinion. (The piece is also available via the Washington Post.)
The promise and puzzles of American politics
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Today in Bloomberg Opinion: The Parties Are Still Polarized on Economics Even Though the Class Divide Is Fading
Friday, March 03, 2023
Today in Bloomberg Opinion: Whatever Happened to the New Democrats?
Simon Rosenberg, one of the most prominent operators within the New Democrats of the 1980s and 1990s, has announced the closing of his organization NDN (formerly the New Democrat Network) and proclaimed the end of the era of the New Democrats. I wrote today about what the New Dems' rise and fall can tell us about how parties adapt to changing political times for Bloomberg Opinion (reprinted by the Washington Post).
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Today in Bloomberg Opinion: Why the Two Parties Talk So Differently About Education
In today's piece for Bloomberg Opinion, I explain why Democrats tend to view education as an economic issue, while Republicans have come to treat it as a cultural issue. This difference between the parties reflects two distinct perceptions of class conflict in America: is education a way for the economically disadvantaged to find opportunity, or is it a system by which cultural elites impose their values on regular Americans? The column is also available in the Washington Post.
Thursday, February 09, 2023
Honest Graft on the "Congress, Two Beers In" Podcast
I had a great time the other day chatting with Josh Huder of Georgetown University on the "Congress, Two Beers In" podcast sponsored by Georgetown's Government Affairs Institute. We discussed Republicans, Democrats, Biden, Trump, Congress, policy, and media as we tried to figure out the current status of American party politics and where things might go from here. The episode is available at this link or can be found on podcast apps by searching for the Government Affairs Institute.
Friday, February 03, 2023
Today in Bloomberg Opinion: Biden's Had Success with Congress, But He's No LBJ
Some Democrats, justifiably happy with the legislative productivity of the 2021–2022 session of Congress, have gotten a little carried away lately when describing its supposed transformational importance. In today's column for Bloomberg Opinion, I draw on data showing that the last Congress was not historically exceptional in its lawmaking acoomplishments, and suggest that Biden's perceived achievements were made possible by the previous success of Barack Obama in enacting major health care reform in 2010. The piece is also available on the Washington Post site.
Monday, January 23, 2023
Today in Bloomberg Opinion: Why Are Democrats More United? The Voters Did It
The Democratic Party is more unified these days than it was in the past—and is certainly less openly divided than the Republicans, who just took five days to select a Speaker of the House. The main reason for this newfound internal harmony is the evolving behavior of the American electorate: the moderate/conservative dissident bloc of Democrats representing rural constituencies has mostly disappeared from office, replaced by more ideologically orthodox Democrats from the suburbs. This change has made party leaders' job easier and has eased the chronic factionalism that is now more evident on the Republican side of the aisle, as I explain further in my latest column for Bloomberg Opinion.
Monday, January 09, 2023
Today in Bloomberg Opinion: What the Freedom Caucus Gets Right About the GOP
The extended process of electing a House speaker last week put Republicans' internal divisions on public display. Democrats and leadership-aligned Republicans had ample opportunity to attack or mock the band of holdouts, many affiliated with the House Freedom Caucus, who prevented Kevin McCarthy from becoming speaker until the 15th round of balloting. But for all their grandstanding, the holdouts have a point about how Republicans fail to deliver on their government-cutting promises—which portends more conflict ahead, as I explain in today's column for Bloomberg Opinion.