The Right Wing Surge in the States

Posted on February 22, 2015

In state legislatures, 2015 is the right wing’s best chance to enact their most extreme legislation. The right now controls more state legislatures than at any time since the 1920s. This opportunity is fleeting....


The Science of Persuasion – Part Two

Posted on February 8, 2015

Last week’s column explained the science behind political stubbornness. Essentially, our brains are hard-wired to engage in “confirmation bias.” Further, our opponents get a blast of dopamine and feel pleasure after they rebut our...


The Science of Persuasion – Part One

Posted on January 31, 2015

Why won’t people listen? They’re so irrational! You make a sensible, even irrefutable political argument and they’re still not persuaded. Cognitive science tells us that persuasion is hard. When deciding whether to agree with...


Five Progressive Wedge Issues for 2015

Posted on January 19, 2015

For years, conservatives used “wedge issues” to split moderates from progressives—measures like criminalizing flag burning, cutting “welfare,” and (until recently) banning same-sex marriage. They still do that, of course, but the Tea Party has...


The State of the States and Localities

Posted on

Due to the ghastly 2014 elections, more state legislators are Republican and the GOP controls more state legislative bodies than at any time since the 1920s. Republicans now control the governorship and both houses...


Top Ten Legislative Victories of 2014

Posted on January 5, 2015

To be a progressive is to seek new laws that advance economic and social justice for all. That endeavor was thoroughly frustrated by the last Congress, and the next one will be worse. On...


When progressives cry “freedom,” what does it mean?

Posted on December 9, 2014

Where government has no proper role, because public action would violate individual rights, progressive policy should be based on freedom. By freedom, I mean the absence of legal interference with our fundamental rights—freedom of...


How to argue over the Thanksgiving table

Posted on November 24, 2014

In the wake of the disastrous 2014 election, you might be dreading Thanksgiving a bit. Every year your loud-mouthed right-wing Uncle Mort insists on debating politics over the dinner table. This year, you expect,...


Police cameras to protect public safety

Posted on November 11, 2014

Technology is changing the business of law enforcement. Because of DNA evidence, we know that far too many innocent people have been prosecuted and imprisoned. Because of cellphone cameras, we know there is far...


It’s the media, stupid

Posted on October 28, 2014

The 2014 election has been a shameful, ignorant affair. Americans are choosing candidates based on obsolete stereotypes, phony memes, and absurdly untruthful campaign ads. Why does the mainstream media tend to repeat all the...