Quick hits (part I)

1) So  this Latina student who was told “this is not your language” was a totally viral thing for about a day.  I hate that everybody jumps to the assumption of racism.  Can a professor not accuse a non-white student of plagiarism (the clear meaning of “not your language” in the full context) without it being a racial thing?  You know what, maybe it was?  But there’s just not enough information to jump to that conclusion.  Also, did the professor act like a total jerk in this episode?  Sure.  But again, we lack the evidence to show that the jerkiness was in any way motivated by prejudice.

2) Did Comey abuse his power?  Yes, says White House ethics lawyer under GWB.

3) And Krugman’s take on the Republicans successfully “working the refs” on the matter.  I think that over-simplifies, but probably is at least part of the story.

4) Seth Stevenson makes the case for approval voting.  Hell, yeah.

5) Chess Champion Gary Kasparov (I feel bad for rooting against him back in the day because he was a “Soviet,” he is awesome) on what rigged elections are really like:

Nobody in the American political establishment is happy about Mr. Trump’s wild-eyed accusations of voter fraud and media conspiracies because they understand that it undermines their own credibility as leaders in a democracy. This is exactly why my country’s leader, Vladimir V. Putin, is so delighted by Mr. Trump’s charges.

In power for 16 years now, Mr. Putin and his global propaganda machine aggressively promote the idea that democracy is a chaotic mess that only the hero Putin can save Russia from falling into. Social media is flooded by Kremlin-funded trolls ranting about the illegitimacy of the American election process and warning of the potential for violence. To have a major party nominee in America repeating this propaganda is beyond Mr. Putin’s wildest dreams. Mr. Trump even echoes Mr. Putin’s authoritarian rationales, presenting himself as the only one who can rescue America.

I know a few things about rigged elections. I know what it’s like to have the overwhelming power of the state used against me to make a mockery of the democratic process. I know what it means to have my opinion censored while every major media outlet is dedicated to vilifying me and my colleagues. I know what happens when a conspiracy of public and private interests forms to intimidate, harass, prosecute and even kill in order to preserve a monopoly on power.

I know these things well because I learned them the hard way during my years as a political opposition leader in Mr. Putin’s Russia. None of these things are happening to Donald Trump.

6) Among other insanities this election, that Trump has completely been able to get away with keeping the vast majority of his financial information secret by refusing to release tax returns.  This is not okay!

7) The founder of Chobani is awesome and uses his company to help refugees find good jobs in America.  Naturally, this has led Trump supporter types to call for a yogurt boycott.

8) Yoni Applebaum on the amazing and ahistorical asymmetry in newspaper endorsements:

But these endorsements also reflect a broader split. Those who pay the most attention to the actual functioning of American government and political institutions—elected officials of both parties, career civil servants, foreign service officers, political scientists, journalists—have been most vocal, often breaking with precedent, in their opposition to the Republican nominee. They denounce his violations of established norms, worry about the corrosive effects of his rhetoric on institutions, and profess concern for his cavalier disregard for truth. They tend not to see this election as a partisan contest, but rather, as a battle between a flawed candidate who operates within the system, and one who would jeopardize American security, prosperity, and democracy.

The great majority of voters, by contrast, seem to be approaching this election as a fairly ordinary partisan battle, with the two parties exchanging allegations of misconduct and incompetence. And they’re lining up very much as they usually do.

8) This Post piece on the “heir” to white power in America, Derek Black, who decided to actually get to know the enemy and rejected his family’s deeply-ingrained white supremacy is really, really good stuff (thanks, TL).

9) Not that anybody seems to care about such trivial matters, but another strong argument that the FBI violated the 4th amendment in pursuing Clinton’s latest emails.

10) I linked to this YouGov piece on “phantom vote swings” earlier this week, but I’m quick-hitting it, too, because it’s really important.  I think “differential non-response” may end up being the big polling story of this election

11) On how Donald Trump changed political journalism.  At least for this year.

12) As far as journalism goes, however, the accelerating demise of newspapers is a very, very bad thing.

13) WSJ profiles the “mixing bowl county” of my home Wake County, NC.  And also features my former colleague, Oliver Williams, discussing the dramatic changes in his time in Raleigh.  I suspect the graphic on the left will be even more D+ this year than 2008.

14) Chait on Trump versus conservative intellectuals:

The point is not at all to gloat at the failure of anti-Trump conservatives, but to explain the source of their error. You can’t heal an illness you’ve diagnosed improperly. Anti-Trump conservatives deluded themselves about the source of conservatism’s electoral appeal. Trump’s long list of deviations from party orthodoxy — on health care, abortion, support for the Clintons — would have destroyed a normal candidacy, the way Rick Perry’s support for humane treatment of undocumented immigrants killed his candidacy in 2012.

Why did Republican primary voters forgive Trump’s heresies? Because the power of the charge of un-conservative behavior is the implication that you are not really on our side. Trump proved to the party base he was one of them through his racism, sexism, and blunt nationalism. Those impulses are the essence of conservative political identity at the voting level. Political scientist Matt Grossman has a new poll of Michigan statewide voters. Look at the responses to the question of whether generations of slavery and discrimination have made it harder for African-Americans to rise, sorted by presidential-vote preference. People who like Clinton are the ones who acknowledge that black people face structural disadvantages, and people who like Trump are the ones who deny it…  [emphasis mine]

15) Honestly, it is truly amazing how little we’ve been talking about abortion and Roe v. Wade this election.  Dahlia Lithwick is right, it absolutely is on the ballot.

16) Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of NC GOP, takes out handcuffs for Hillary Clinton during TV appearance.  Stay classy!

17) Cohn on how evidence thus far suggests no missing white voters coming out of the woodwork for Trump.

18) Great post from Josh Barro on conservatives (falsely) whining that Democrats said just as bad things about Mitt Romney as Trump:

In fact, the Democratic attacks being leveled against Trump — that he is a self-confessed sexual abuser, that he degrades people on the basis of ethnicity and physical appearance and disability, that he is too erratic to command the world’s largest military — are categorically different from even the most vitriolic attacks against past Republican nominees.

There were no ads in 2012 warning that Romney might start a nuclear war, or suggesting that he was an inappropriate role model for children. Not only is this time different, but Democrats are also saying quite different things about their opponent than they said last time.

How does this represent crying wolf?

19) Charter Schools are not the panacea some make them out to be, but there’s increasing evidence that a particular type of charter school really works. Dave Leonhardt:

The briefest summary is this: Many charter schools fail to live up to their promise, but one type has repeatedly shown impressive results.

Hannah Larkin, the principal at Match, refers to such schools as “high expectations, high support” schools. They devote more of their resources to classroom teaching and less to almost everything else. They keep students in class for more hours. They set high standards for students and try to instill confidence in them. They focus on giving teachers feedback about their craft and helping them get better.

“My mother has been teaching forever. My father has been teaching for 10 years,” Christopher Perez, a physics teacher at Match, told me. “They don’t get observed. I get observed every week and have a meeting about it every week.”

While visiting Match, I was struck that teachers hardly seemed to notice when I ducked into their rooms, midclass, to watch them. They are obviously used to having observers. They welcome it, as a way to improve.

20) For some reason, I have found multiple occasions to impress upon my Public Opinion class this semester how Free Will is just an illusion.  This Atlantic piece is one of the best I’ve read on the matter.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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