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

Would Hillary Clinton Appoint a 'Team of Rivals'-Style Cabinet as President?

The aggregate polls tell us that Hillary Clinton is likely to decisively beat Donald Trump on Nov. 8 and become the United States’ next president. What they—and almost all analysts—fail to prescribe is how she will govern after a quarter-century of obstructionist partisan rancor and the ugliest national election in modern American history.

As a starting point, a rationalist might suggest that Clinton (if she wins) will attempt to rise above the extraordinary political animus by convening the equivalent of a “war cabinet”: a willing coalition with members of both major parties intent on putting the nation on a healing track.

One can easily imagine, for example, former secretary of state Colin Powell, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, and maybe even senator Susan Collins of Maine serving in a Clinton administration. With their input and a bit of cooperation, Democrats and Republicans conceivably could hammer out deals on the economy, health care, climate change and gun violence, and perhaps even move on to a united strategy on the wars in the Middle East.

But such a concession by Clinton appears improbable. Neither does it seem likely that the presence of these Republicans—nor perhaps any Republican—in...

Could the World Series Help Clinton (or Trump) Win Ohio?

In the near future, two implacably opposed forces will collide in Ohio. The two sides are backed by long-suffering supporters hailing from places that have not always been served well by the last decade—or decades. Many of them have been left behind by triumphs in other parts of the country, but hope the right outcome in November could mark a change of luck. The result, either way, will be historic.

I speak not of the presidential election, but of the World Series, pitting the Cleveland Indians against the Chicago Cubs. But what if the outcome on the baseball field could influence the results at the voting booth?

Sure, coverage of elections increasingly resembles SportsCenter, but that’s not the issue at hand. Because social scientists have too much free time on their hands or because they are sports fans—but we repeat ourselves—there’s some research into the connection between the results of sporting contests and the results of elections. 

Political scientists often counterpose pocketbook voting—am I better off than I was four years ago?—and sociotropic voting: Are things better in general than they were four years ago? Sports seems to affect sociotropic voting patterns, making...

Hillary Clinton’s Potential Senate GOP Partners

Set aside, for a mo­ment, the last sev­er­al years of Wash­ing­ton his­tory, and en­vi­sion a Demo­crat­ic pres­id­ent and Re­pub­lic­ans in the Sen­ate who can ac­tu­ally forge a halfway de­cent re­la­tion­ship.

The case for why Hil­lary Clin­ton might be able to make pro­gress on Cap­it­ol Hill is that she has a his­tory of work­ing with Re­pub­lic­ans and would be open to for­ging new re­la­tion­ships. And her run­ning mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Vir­gin­ia, says he could help. “I have very good re­la­tions with Re­pub­lic­ans in the Sen­ate,” Kaine told the As­so­ci­ated Press re­cently. “There’s some people who really want to get some good work done.”

The trick for Clin­ton would be identi­fy­ing the small hand­ful of Re­pub­lic­ans will­ing to col­lab­or­ate, and the key is­sues where com­prom­ise is pos­sible. Some of the ob­vi­ous choices are...

Fixing U.S. Elections

Experts rate the performance of recent American elections as the worst among two dozen Western democracies. Why?

Some longstanding practices are to blame. Partisan gerrymandering insulates incumbents. Infotainment-dominated commercial news reduce campaigns to spectator sport. Social media amplifies angry trolls. Ballot access laws restrict third-party challengers. Women and minority candidates have to fight a hostile cultural backlash. Outdated technologies are vulnerable to Russian cyberhacks.

All of these problems have been heightened by the close, heated and bitterly divided 2016 contest. The result: an erosion of American confidence in the electoral process – despite the fact that voter fraud occurs very rarely.

In mid-August 2016, Gallup found that only six in 10 Americans are “very” or “fairly” confident that their vote would be accurately cast and counted. That’s down from around three-quarters of all Americans a decade earlier.

Among Republicans, the proportion who are confident drops to around half, the lowest level Gallup has ever recorded. Similarly, a Washington Post - ABC News poll of registered voters conducted between Sept. 5 and Sept. 8 found that 46 percent of all Americans believe that voter fraud occurs very or somewhat often, a figure that jumps to 69 percent among Trump supporters.

My book...

The First Broken Promise of Hillary Clinton's Presidency

Hillary Clinton said nothing on Wednesday night that should derail her considerable chances of winning the presidency on November 8. But if she wins, one simple promise she repeated over and over again could come back to haunt her reelection bid in 2020.

“I also will not add a penny to the debt,” Clinton said toward the beginning of her final presidential-debate performance. She made a similar pledge two more times that night, and it’s a line she has used before on the campaign trail. It’s a short-hand reference to the fact that although she has proposed hundreds of billions in new federal spending for infrastructure, paid family leave, education, and other items, she would pay for those investments by raising an equal or greater amount in revenue through higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

The problem for Clinton is that even if she succeeds in enacting all of her fiscal policies—a humongous “if”—the national debt will still go way up during her time in office. The national debt now stands at about $19.7 trillion, and if policymakers wanted to keep it there, they’d have to approve hundreds of billions of dollars in...

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