Category: Democracy in America

The 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates, Ranked

WHO will challenge Donald Trump in 2020?

It’s a question that Americans have been asking since before Trump even took office. The Democratic Party was in shambles after the 2016 election; it had bet the kingdom on Hillary Clinton, only to suffer a crushing and unthinkable defeat. With only one other serious contender during the primaries—one whom critics viewed as an outsider and a sore loser—Democrats were at a loss as to who would be next to take on Trump.

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As the World Berns: Six International Perspectives on Bernie

IN AMERICAN politics, Bernie is something of  an anomaly: a socialist above the age of thirty. In other parts of the world, politicians like Bernie fall closer to the political center—and, in a few notable cases, surprisingly far from the political center. So we asked the Sphere’s international writers (and Jacob Kuppermann) to answer the question, “Where would Bernie fall on the political spectrum of [Country X]?”

These are their responses.

Continue reading “As the World Berns: Six International Perspectives on Bernie”

The Cure for Climate Catastrophe

WE’RE all going to die and no one is doing anything about it. The response from our political leaders in the face of impending climate catastrophe has amounted to little more than cursory acknowledgement. Never mind the deniers—the 2018 midterm elections ended up running a large fraction of the true climate deniers in Congress out of office as part of an overall shift towards Democratic control of the House. It’s the rest of the political system we have to worry about. Even the politicians who believe in anthropogenic climate change have not made it a priority—they put out gravely-worded statements on the latest UN report, joked about the President’s misreadings of it, and went back to their signature issues. Climate change, if left unopposed, will transform the totality of life on earth. And no one really seems to care.

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This Is How They Win

“FAIR and balanced.” This, infamously, was Fox News’s slogan until June 2017, but if you put aside the obvious jokes about Fox’s conservative bias, “fair and balanced” sums up what journalism, ideally, should be. The concept of journalistic objectivity—that the facts of a story should be presented fairly and impartially—is among the first things taught in any introductory journalism class. It’s been the cardinal rule of journalism for about a century, which has been enough time for conservatives to figure out how to outsmart it.

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Against Epistocracy: Why ‘Rule of the Informed’ Will Not Fix Democracy, Pt. II

This is second part of a two-part essay on “epistocracy,” defined by political philosopher and Georgetown University professor Jason Brennan as a system where the most politically-informed citizens have the most voting power. You can read the first part here.

There’s a lot of evidence that the United States isn’t nearly as democratic as it likes to think it is. Continue reading “Against Epistocracy: Why ‘Rule of the Informed’ Will Not Fix Democracy, Pt. II”