Is North Carolina the Future of American Politics?

What really distinguishes North Carolina is that it is a quintessentially purple state, with voters almost evenly split between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliateds. “That’s what contributes to the meanness and paralysis of North Carolina politics,” says public policy professor Mac McCorkle, a former Democratic political consultant. “… We’re so closely pitted, everything’s a battle.”

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The Architect of the Radical Right

Historian Nancy MacLean’s new book, “Democracy in Chains,” examines the Southern roots of modern conservatism. A reviewer notes that what sets it apart from other recent books on this topic, “is that it begins in the South and emphasizes a genuinely original and very influential political thinker, the economist James M. Buchanan.”

Read More in The Atlantic

Religious Liberals Want Back In Political Game

Liberal religious leaders who used to shun the political arena are getting involved to fight back against President Trump’s policies on immigration, health care, poverty and the environment. Imam Abdullah Antepli says he had hesitated to march alongside gay pastors until he realized their struggles were linked. “We can’t have only Jews cry for anti-Semitism, and Muslims cry for Islamophobia,” Imam Antepli says. “We can only win this if we see it as one big fight.”

Read More in The New York Times

Most Trump Voters Were Not Working Class

“In short, the narrative that attributes Trump’s victory to a ‘coalition of mostly blue-collar white and working-class voters’ just doesn’t square with the 2016 election data,” writes public policy professor Nicholas Carnes and a colleague. “According to the election study, white non-Hispanic voters without college degrees making below the median household income made up only 25 percent of Trump voters. That’s a far cry from the working-class-fueled victory many journalists have imagined.”

Read More in The Washington Post

Impact of Supreme Court Rejecting NC Redistricting

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday struck down North Carolina’s 1st and 12th congressional district lines drawn by state legislators in 2011. A three-judge federal court ruling had previously found that lawmakers relied too heavily on race when drawing the boundaries. “You’re likely to see state legislature be extremely careful in using race in redistricting, because uses of race are likely to be struck down by a federal court,” says law professor Guy Charles.

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What Herman Melville Can Teach Us About Trump Era

I can think of no other American author who can so inform the perilous moment we are currently living. …  (Though) “The Confidence-Man” … was published 160 years ago, on April Fool’s Day, 1857, Melville could have been presciently forecasting today’s America when he imagined his country as a Mississippi steamer (ironically called the Fidèle) filled with ‘a flock of fools, under this captain of fools, in this ship of fools!’” writes Ariel Dorfman, English professor emeritus.

Read More in The Nation

In Congress, Even Lawmakers’ Degrees are a Partisan Issue

Does going to an elite college make for a more effective legislator? That’s what research scientist Jonathan Wai and co-authors argue in a forthcoming paper. However, political scientist Nicholas Carnes (not one of the co-authors) notes that we shouldn’t overstate the extent to which education alone affects policy makers’ decisions. It’s important to also consider factors, he says, like the regions of the country elite-educated members represent and the ideologies of their constituents, Carnes says.

Read More in The Chronicle of Higher Education

What Will Kill Neoliberalism?

 Economist William Darity contributes to a commentary on the future of neoliberalism. Suppose, indeed, that the age of capitalism is actually reaching its conclusion — but one that doesn’t involve the ascension of the working class. Suppose, instead, that we consider the existence of a third great social class vying with the other two for social dominance. …”

Read More in The Nation

An Increase in Women Legislators Is Linked to Fewer Infant Deaths

A study led by Patricia Homan, a doctoral candidate in sociology, finds that American states with higher percentages of women in their legislatures enjoy lower infant mortality rates. She found this relationship both when making state-to-state comparisons, and when looking at the same state’s statistics over the years. “These findings underscore the importance of women’s political representation for population health,” Homan writes in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

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Seven States May Provide a Window Into Taxes Under Trump

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are promising one of the biggest tax cuts since the days of Ronald Reagan, similar to what North Carolinians have already experienced through state legislation. The poor would be especially hard hit, critics contend. For example, a border adjustment tax “would be passed through to people based on what they consume,” says tax law professor Lawrence Zelenak.

Read More in USA Today

Activists Try to Turn Anti-Trump Protests Toward Nine Companies

Liberal activists groups are hoping to turn the wave of anti-Trump outrage against nine corporations they say are enabling Trump’s agenda. “Whether we like it or not, everything is political now, including business,” says Aaron Chatterji, associate professor at The Fuqua School of Business. “We can leverage the way people interact with campaigns to the way they interact with companies.”

Read More in TIME

White-Collar Government

Trump’s cabinet is the wealthiest in U.S. history. In light of this news, this podcast revisits Sanford School of Public Policy professor Nicholas Carnes‘ interview on the effects of a government run by the rich, for the rich, and ways to get working class Americans a seat at the table.

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