When John Quincy Adams was informed by a committee that he was elected president by the House of Representatives, for the first and only time through the procedure set by the 12th Amendment of the Constitution, he responded in writing. "The answer was not very gracious," writes historian George Dangerfield. "If it were possible, wrote Mr. Adams,...Read more
Unsure of what to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Here's a suggestion of something to be thankful for: the Northwest Ordinance.
You might ask, what is the Northwest Ordinance? The answer: It's a law passed by the Confederation Congress meeting openly in New York in July 1787, even as the Constitutional Convention was meeting behind ...Read more
A funny thing happened as I was looking at the political map of this year's presidential election: It began to look like the map of the presidential election of 2004.
I'm not talking about the superficial similarity, the fact that in both elections an incumbent president beat a challenger from Massachusetts by a 51 to 48 percent popular vote ...Read more
One of the puzzles in this year's surprising and unpredicted (including by me) off-year election results is why the Republicans' 51% to 47% win in the popular vote for House of Representatives did not produce a majority bigger than the apparent 221-214 result. (All numbers here are subject to revision in line with final returns.)
That 51% to 47...Read more
One way to look at this election is as a repudiation of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Democrats held 235 seats in the House in 2018 as Biden launched his campaign for president. To the surprise of prognosticators, they won just a bare majority, 222, on the day he was elected in 2020. As this is written, it looks like they will win about 211 this ...Read more
When you look around at the political scene, less than a week from the 2022 midterm elections, what do you see?
You see poll numbers trending toward a wave victory for Republicans. They now lead by 3 points in the generic vote for the House among likely voters, while FiveThirtyEight has flipped to show them with a 53% chance for a Senate ...Read more
What issues are the candidates and the parties not talking about? It's worth asking, because sometimes these issues turn out to be important.
I don't remember any candidates talking about Islamic terrorism in the midterm elections of 1998 or about the risk of investing in mortgage-backed securities in 2006. Going back a ways, I can't recall ...Read more
If Democrats take a drubbing in the off-year elections -- and it seems increasingly likely, but not certain, that they will -- it will be because they lost their moorings when the country seemed to go crazy with excessive COVID closedowns and irrational obsessions about systemic racism.
Schools were closed down despite the minuscule risk to ...Read more
Human beings differ in how much risk they will accept. Thus, as an analyst I quoted in a recent column concluded, Russian President Vladimir Putin "was too risk-acceptant" in invading Ukraine and Chinese leader Xi Jinping "has been too risk-averse" in imposing "zero-COVID" lockdowns.
Differences in accepting and averting risk appear between the...Read more
Will 2022 turn out be a hinge year, as a moment when long-standing trends in geopolitics suddenly shifted in a different direction? This week, two important writers, one a long-established and prolific historian, the other a provocative presence on the internet, have argued persuasively that the answer is yes. But there's one other interesting ...Read more
Over the last three months, political journalists have been reporting a trend toward Democrats. The Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade, they have reported, has provided increased motivation for Democrats to turn out and vote. The easing of gas prices from their springtime peak has reduced concern about out-of-control inflation. Biden ...Read more
The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and the praise pouring in from almost all quarters for her 70 years of service make a powerful case, even for small-r republican and small-d democratic Americans, for the institution of constitutional monarchy. There is much to be said for having a head of state who is politically neutral, culturally traditional...Read more
Morale matters more than materiel.
Again and again, experts' predictions, based on readily quantifiable data and logical extrapolations, have proved disastrously wrong. The phenomenon is seen in apparently unrelated areas in foreign affairs and domestic policy. Examples: Ukraine and welfare.
The U.S. intelligence experts who accurately ...Read more