caucus

Democratic [and Republican] caucuses are not very democratic.

What’s so [small-d] democratic about this year’s [capital D] Democratic and Republican caucuses? Not much. The first time I caucused–back in 1972, in Missouri–I thought we had started a wonderful, participatory, democratic revolution. Smoke-filled back rooms were out. We the people were in. The format back then was essentially the same as what I saw…

Why-rich-a

Survey: Does our economic system favor the rich?

Conventional wisdom holds that Republicans are the party of the wealthy. But as Donald Trump’s campaign has clearly revealed, there are plenty of Republicans out there who are not particularly wealthy. In a recent Occasional Planet poll*, we asked, “In your opinion, what do you think is the primary reason that some people in America…

Primary2016

We need a new presidential primary system, ASAP

The 2016 presidential primary season has started for real–kicked off by the Iowa caucuses. But our current presidential primary system is a disaster for political discourse, for serious candidates, and for our democracy. Just listen to what passes for political debate—particularly among the 2016 crop of Republican primary candidates—and you have all the evidence you…

Hunger and charity

Addressing hunger: Republicans say charity; Dems say government

If charity was the answer to our problems, then there would be no homelessness in America, no poverty in general. We would have a much better health care system and school systems that truly met the needs of children and society’s common good. But this is not the way that it is, much to the…

bernie bull moose

Bernie Sanders is the new Teddy Roosevelt

Is Bernie Sanders channeling Teddy Roosevelt? Having recently re-watched Ken Burns’ in-depth biography, The Roosevelts, I am struck by the similarities—both in substance and in style. I started thinking about this comparison as I watched Burns’ old-time film snippets of Teddy Roosevelt—particularly those documenting him on the campaign stump. Roosevelt, known affectionately as TR, was…

political-correctness-610x400-z

For Republicans, it may not be about being conservative

Surprise, surprise, those Republican candidates who drone on about Donald Trump not really being a conservative may be right. But the perplexing question for them becomes, “So what if Republican voters really don’t care about that?” Trump is popular, much more popular that any of the candidates pleading for conservative purity in their nominee. This…