Author Archives: olneyce

The three-body problem: why presidential elections are a pretty bad place to fight the two-party system

I’m currently reading The Three-Body Problem, and it got me thinking about third parties. Here’s the analogy: the problem with third parties in US politics is that the law of physics under which they operate create impenetrable barriers for a three-party equilibrium. … Continue reading

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Why media coverage of the election is so terrible: a grand unified theory

To criticize the media is to tread into disputed territory, even before the content of one’s criticism is unfurled. There is no such thing as ‘the media’ in the sense of a monolithic entity. But to the extent that anything … Continue reading

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The domestication of racial protest

“He’s not anti-American; he’s just against the bad parts of America.” “They’re not attacking white people, just attacking the systems of racial exclusion.” “Patriotism means criticizing the bad just as much as it means celebrating the good.” “Of course all lives … Continue reading

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Why it’s so hard for Republicans to disavow Trump (but they should do it anyways)

It’s easy for those on one half of the political divide to call on the other side to abandon their terrible candidates. After all, you already disagree with the basic ideological commitments they represent! But for those who share a … Continue reading

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The politics of legitimacy in the age of Hillary Clinton

This weekend, Dara Lind at Vox wrote an excellent piece on the persistent left-wing critics of Hillary Clinton. Its hook is a question that is deceptively simple: “is there anything Hillary Clinton can do to redeem herself to you?” The … Continue reading

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Tactics are principles: on ‘voting your conscience’

Every four years, the same conversation repeats itself: whether to vote tactically, for the ‘lesser evil,’ for the person who doesn’t represent your values but can at least be a bulwark against someone even worse. You saw this at the … Continue reading

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50 songs for 50 states: Michigan

There are, of course, a ton of great songs about Michigan. And in another world, I might have been writing about Motown or 8 Mile or something along those lines. But we don’t live in that world; we live in … Continue reading

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On Frederick Douglass and the meaning of July Fourth

It’s never a bad idea to spend some time with Frederick Douglass, and I’m taking the opportunity today to remind myself of his brilliance by re-reading his speech on The Meaning of July Fourth to the Negro. It’s a blistering speech, full … Continue reading

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A win on abortion rights – but what comes next?

For the first time in almost 25 years, the Supreme Court has encountered an abortion restriction that goes too far. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court found that Texas’s regulations constituted an ‘undue burden’ and therefore violated the … Continue reading

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50 songs for 50 states: Massachusetts

It’s hard to turn down “Roadrunner.” And I do love “They Came to Boston” by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, particularly for the way it captures the strange mix of cultures that make up Boston. And speaking of that weird mash of cultures, … Continue reading

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