friday odds and ends

John Sides explains why political science research suggests California’s new “jungle primary” probably won’t change anthing, but an anonymous political scientist writes in to Andrew Sullivan to explain why he voted for it anyway. I’m a bit confused by the contradictory logic seemingly inherent to simultaneous arguments that the new system will both decrease ideological polarization and remove the institutional incentives for strategic voting faced by supporters of third parties. But at the very least, if this new system passes legal wrangling, it will be an interesting topic of study for Americanist political science.

Jamelle Bouie describes the southern Christian identity politics of Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal:

Bobby Jindal’s persona is probably authentic — I have no reason to think otherwise — but it’s clear that his Christianity, his unassuming name and his recognizable accent are all part of his appeal to white Southerners. It’s hard to imagine a Piyush Jindal rising as rapidly through the ranks of Southern conservative politics. The same goes for Nikki Haley, whose birth name is distinctively South Asian, and who repeatedly stressed her Christianity in order to dispel rumors about her religious beliefs. This doesn’t make her any less authentic, but it does suggest that it might be difficult to succeed in Southern conservative politics if you insist on retaining the cultural markers of your ethnic heritage.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s relatively new “Talk To Me Like I’m Stupid” segment is pretty great. This week he explores hunting in the 19th century; naturally, at least one reader has been just waiting to unload his encyclopedic knowledge of this obscure topic.

Ezra Klein notes that U.S. inequality is back at record highs and, via Jonathan Bernstein and Richard Neustadt’s classic work of scholarship on the presidency, U.S. presidents actually aren’t as powerful as everyone seems to assume.

Finally, Matthew Yglesias discusses the problems of interest group pluralism when business is more powerful than other players.


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