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Analysis and perspective about what's happening in the political realm.

Foreign Hackers May Be Targeting U.S. Presidential Candidates

As presidential candidates tack and weave through their primary races and toward their upcoming party conventions, the eyes of voters—and indeed, the eyes of the world—are on them. But a few groups are watching especially closely.

Hackers have been spying on candidates and their campaigns, said James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, during an event at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Wednesday. And the hackers may be on foreign governments’ payroll.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have met with campaigns to educate them about the threats and help counter them. There have already been signs of hacking attempts, Clapper said, and “we’ll probably have more.”

Hackers and spies have targeted campaigns since at least 2008. Earlier this month, the Office of the Director of National Security declassified a slide deck that was presented to the Obama Administration shortly after he was first elected, entitled “How to Use the Intelligence Community.” That deck included a warning that foreign intelligence services “have been tracking this election cycle like no other.”

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Spies overseas “exploited technology to get otherwise sensitive data,” the...

Here's How a Clinton-Warren Ticket Might Just Work

Conventional wisdom holds that the two candidates on a presidential ticket should balance one another out. A young senator pairs well with a seasoned veteran. A longtime politician might look for a running mate who can carry a swing state or coveted demographic; in the 21st century, a white guy might even choose a minority or a woman.

But let’s not get too crazy: you won’t see two minorities on a ticket. And definitely not two women. Even Barack Obama, the candidate of change, opted for an older white guy as his vice president.

What if 2016 is the year that Hillary Clinton starts breaking the rules?

As recently as a year ago, the idea that Clinton might choose another woman as her vice-presidential pick seemed to be a non-starter. Americans have a hard enough time voting for a ticket with one woman on it; two would be overkill, and a death wish for Clinton’s campaign.

But with Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, the view looks rather different. New York Magazine now reports that influential advisers in the Clinton campaign want Elizabeth Warren to be Hillary’s running mate.

"She’s been a totally good...

Donald Trump Won't Release His Tax Returns Before the Election

“This is the ultimate reality show—it’s the presidency of the United States,” Paul Manafort, a top adviser to Donald Trump, said on MSNBC Tuesday. Manafort’s comment was intended as both a defensive measure—a reply to those who mock Trump as a lightweight who thinks he’s still on The Apprentice—and a rebuke to President Obama, one of those who voiced the critique, sniping last week, “We are in serious times; this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show.”

But Manafort’s statement is also a useful key to explaining how Trump is approaching the general election. One of the rules of reality shows—right after not being there to make friends—is to break the rules. In an interview with the Associated Press released Wednesday morning, Trump said he will not release his tax returns before the general election in November. Here’s the AP report:

"There's nothing to learn from them," Trump told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. He also has said he doesn't believe voters are interested.

This being Trump, it’s unwise to wager much on him sticking to that...

Polls: Tight Race Developing Between Clinton, Trump

Warning: Candidates in this election may be closer than they appear.

To listen to the handwringing from despondent Republicans and the self-assurance from exultant Democrats over the last week, a Hillary Clinton landslide defeat of Donald Trump in November seemed a fait accompli. On Tuesday morning, however, the release of a group of polls put a damper on that forecast—at least for a few hours until the next ones come out.

The swing-state surveys from Quinnipiac University and a national snapshot from Public Policy Polling, a left-leaning firm, show a surprisingly close general-election race. The PPP survey found Clinton leading Trump by just four points nationally, 42 percent to 38 percent, while Quinnipiac found the two essentially tied in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Trump edged Clinton by four points in the Buckeye State, and Clinton led him by a point in Florida and Pennsylvania. As with any poll taken six months before the election, these require a couple grains of salt, and in the case of Quinnipiac, perhaps a few more. Other political forecasters pointed out that its sample of voters in the three states was more white than in 2012 exit polls, while the electorate is expected to...

Trump Culture: Threat, Fear and the Tightening of the American Mind

  • By Michele Gelfand, Joshua Conrad Jackson and Jesse R. Harrington
  • May 7, 2016
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For the past 10 months, Donald Trump has been a political enigma. Against the predictions of journalists, policy wonks and odds makers, a tabloid darling with no political experience and few coherent policies is now poised to be the Republican nominee for president.

Hundreds of journalists and political scientists have tried to explain Trump’s appeal, suggesting reasons that range from the decline of White America to the rise of authoritarianism. Yet even with these insights, the current dialogue around Trump’s ascendancy seems to have hit a “wall.” Every article describes a single piece of the Trump puzzle, but none seems to capture the bigger picture: the cultural movement that has fueled Trump’s success.

What is “Trump culture,” and where is it coming from?

As it turns out, our group at the University of Maryland has been studying the basis for Trump culture for the last 10 years, something that we call “cultural tightness-looseness.”

How threat tightens culture

To understand tightness-looseness, we need to step away from the current election cycle and consider the history of human culture, particularly its relationship with warfare, famine and natural disasters.

Our theory – which has been supported by computer modelsinternational surveys...