nytimes.com — America’s white majority just bought itself another year. According to census figures released Wednesday, 2043 is now the year that whites will no longer make up the majority of Americans. That’s one year later than previous projections. But one year is nothing in the grand sweep of things. We as a society must begin to consider now what this change will mean for a nation mired in a majority/minority swamp of privilege, expectations, historical benefits and systematic discrimination. The browning of America is very real and unrelenting. Our task is to find a way to move into this new Ecru Era with as much ease and grace as we can muster.
huffingtonpost.com — There was a headline in the Washington Post on Sunday that completely summarizes the Republicans' fondest dreams as well as the expectations of the D.C. establishment's conventional wisdom: "Debt Crisis Expected to Define Obama's Second Term." It's a reminder of something I learned when I first came to D.C.: the conventional wisdom in D.C. is almost always wrong. Indeed, it is hard to think of one big time over the last 20 years when the conventional wisdom turned out to be right. This isn't to say deficits won't continue to be an issue -- the House Republicans will make sure of that. And Democrats and progressives should certainly engage in the debate over how to bring deficits down over the long run. At the end of the day, though, it is Barack Obama who will determine whether, as the headline suggested, debt and deficits will define Obama's second term. That will only be true if he lets it be.
salon.com — Has the United States mutated from democracy into kludgeocracy? The term “kludgeocracy” is a coinage by Steven M. Teles, a professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University and a leading public intellectual in his own right. In a new paper commissioned by my colleagues and me at the New America Foundation, Teles argues that the complexity of American government is a greater long-run threat than its size. “You can’t solve a problem until you can name it,” Teles argues. The term “kludge” originated in computer programming, and means “an inelegant patch put in place to be backward compatible with the rest of a system. When you add up enough kludges, you get a very complicated program, one that is hard to understand and subject to crashes.” This sounds very much like American government — thus “kludgeocracy.” Teles finds kludgeocracy everywhere he looks.
thenation.com — American progressives and principled liberals need to face an essential truth: the Democratic Party, as now constituted, is no longer an agency for realizing their ideals. The problem is not President Obama or any other individual leader but the Democratic Party itself. Much of its establishment, from Washington to most of the state capitals, has long since become a party of “bipartisan compromise” with an increasingly right-wing Republicanism, particularly on economic issues with great social consequences—as though America’s true course now lies midway between abolishing the achievements of the New Deal and Great Society and extending them fully in our times. A new party—not a third party, but a real second party representing authentic alternatives, as befits a democracy—is therefore urgently needed. Fortunately, the nucleus of such a party already exists, however captive-like and timid, inside today’s Democratic Party.
prospect.org — We have six tasks we must perform to build the kind of country America needs to be. The single most important is to outline a clear progressive economics. People want to know what the progressive economic perspective is, particularly now when so many centrist and conservative policies are in disrepute. Our economic perspective really hasn’t permeated public consciousness yet. We have few if any candidates running on implementing such policies, and if they’re elected and do implement those policies, they don’t talk about them. Even when our candidates articulate an economic narrative, they add every other policy area to their talk. We need a much more disciplined focus on explaining our economic narrative. We need to recruit a cohort of candidates to run in 2014 on these themes: Here’s our agenda; here’s how it creates jobs. We need to bring economists, candidates, and communications people together to map this out.
dailykos.com — It should be patently clear to anyone who just went through the trauma of one of the most racially vituperative presidential elections in recent history that racism hasn't magically dissolved into the ether. Doubtful it will get better in the next four years if the millions of racists in this country have anything to say about it. It really isn't about racist politicians. They are only a symptom of the disease. They got elected by the racists who voted for them. Those same racists will be voting in the next election. We have a black president for the second time. That has done little to diminish the outpouring of racial hatred here, and in some ways it has only inflamed it. This is no time to do a victory dance where racism is concerned. It is however, time to ask a serious question. What are you doing to stop racism?
alternet.org — Have the Democrats opened up a real Electoral College advantage over the Republicans? I’m not talking about the illusion of an advantage that comes with winning consecutive elections. No, I’m talking about an Electoral College edge above and beyond the national vote. That’s not defined by which states went for which candidate; it’s found by looking at what would have happened in the Electoral College if an election had been tied in the national vote. To calculate it, assume uniform swing – that is, if swing state Ohio moves toward the Democrats, then liberal Vermont and conservative Utah will also move toward the Democrats by the same amount. In reality, the states don’t swing quite that equally, but they’re very close to it .
thedailybeast.com — Nothing validates a politician's sense of self like being reelected. Once could have been a fluke, the pol secretly thinks to himself. Especially for Obama, especially under 2008's highly unique circumstances. Did I, he had to wonder sometimes at 3 am, just somehow pull the wool over people's eyes? But then the people had four years to take his measure, four years during which the other side threw everything it had at him. Then came a campaign against an opponent who looked central-casting presidential, was obviously qualified, was well-financed, and ran a pretty good campaign all in all. And Obama beat him clearly and decisively. That can make a fella say, "All right. The people want me. They want my agenda and my ideas. So let's roll."
nymag.com — How doomed are conservatives? Pretty doomed, if you look carefully at the Pew Research Survey’s close analysis of the youth vote in the 2012 elections. The Republicans’ long-term dilemma has generally been framed in racial terms, but it’s mainly a generational one. The youngest generation of voters contains a much smaller proportion of white voters than previous generations, and those whites in that generation vote Republican by a much smaller margin than their elders. What’s more, younger voters supported President Obama during the last two election cycles for reasons that seem to go beyond the usual reasons — social issues like gay marriage and feminism, immigration policy, or Obama’s personal appeal — and suggest a deeper attachment to liberalism. The proclivities of younger voters may actually portend a full-scale sea change in American politics.