The real American exceptionalism

Loved this recent Pew post charting some ways on which America really is quite the outlier.  Americans’ individualism and belief in hard work is certainly unique:

Americans Stand Out on Individualism

We also stand out for being really, really religious, for a wealthy country:

US stands out as rich nation highly religious

Need to make sure to stick these charts into my next US Political Culture lecture in my Intro class.

Closed primaries redux

First, this interview with Elaine Kamarck, heartily endorsed on FB by some of the smarter Political Scientists I know.  Damn, you gotta love how Kamarck does not pull her punches:

What do you think of Trump’s complaint that the system is corrupt and unfair?
Trump’s out of his f***ing mind. Every single presidential candidate except for him knows what this system is. It’s not corrupt. It’s the system by which the parties pick their nominee. Parties are protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of assembly. No American is forced to participate.

Parties are institutions. They have an interest in preserving their brand. Coca-Cola doesn’t let Pepsi participate in their brand. Republicans don’t let Democrats participate in their brand. This is a party decision, and parties make these decisions based on their institutional health. Meaning, if you put someone at the top of the ticket that is so unpopular that you lose the House of Representatives, you’re not doing the right thing for your party.

The voters have been included to keep parties from getting really out of touch. In 1968, Democrats did not understand the depths of the antiwar sentiment in their party and cut [Vietnam War opponents] out of their convention. This time, the Republican Party didn’t understand the anger of voters for Trump. But the bottom line is, this is not a public decision — it’s a party decision.

Do you want that on the record, that Trump is out of his f***ing mind?

Yes. He’s out of his f***ing mind. He’s an a******. No other candidate has ever run for president so unprepared.

And Will Saletan:

Everything that’s wrong with the party system? Dude, that is the party system. A party is an organization. It has every right to award clout based on how much work you’ve put in over the years. Why should drive-by independents get more say than party bosses? I should know: I was one of those independents. In 2000, the Maryland Republican Party allowed people like me to vote in its presidential primary. I voted for John McCain over George W. Bush. McCain was a better fit for people like me. But was he a better fit for the party? And isn’t that the point of a Republican primary—to choose a candidate who will represent the GOP?

Can’t participate? Sure they can. Registering as an independent is a choice. In many states, that choice comes with a price: You don’t get to vote in primaries. If you want to vote in a primary, join a party. That’s what I did two weeks ago: I saw that the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Maryland was really close and that my vote might matter. So after 16 years, I changed my registration. On Monday, I got my new registration letter in the mail. It’s that simple…

Why should the Democratic Party cater to a candidate who won’t commit to the party? And why should the Republican Party support a candidate who doesn’t support half of its platform? In choosing a nominee, a party has two logical priorities. One is to pick someone who can get elected. The other is to make sure that the nominee is loyal to the party and its beliefs. Otherwise, the party becomes just a vehicle for personal ambition. The party has no obligation to make its nomination process unbiased, democratic, or open to all voters. That’s the job of the general election.

Yep, all that. A party is not there to include you.  A party is there to win elections under a semi-coherent set of shared political ideals.

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