Category Archives: politics

Josh Zingher on social group membership and the evolution of political parties

Josh Zingher has posted his paper “An Analysis of the Changing Social Bases of American Political Parties: 1952-2008” on SSRN. Josh is is a Doctoral Candidate in Political Science at Binghamton University.  His research focuses on several aspects of American politics, including mass political behavior, minority and immigrant politics and Congressional elections.  He can be reached at . Here is the abstract for the paper:

In this article I assess how the social bases of the American political parties have evolved over time. To accomplish this task, I first determine which social group memberships significantly influence individual vote choice with a multivariate analysis of ANES data. I then measure how many votes each politically relevant social group contributed to the party coalitions in each presidential election from 1952-2008. I discuss how group contributions have changed over time and establish the demographic and behavioral causes of group contribution change. I find that the party coalitions have been restructured as a result of groups’ changing voting behavior and the changing ratio of groups in the electorate.

Do Policy Messengers Matter?

If you download this paper, it will change your life — I mean, it will if you believe in the whole ‘Butterfly Effect’ phenomenon …. My co-author, Scott Boddery, recently posted our paper “Do Policy Messengers Matter? Majority Opinion Writers as Policy Ques in Public ‘Buy In’ of Supreme Court Decisions “ on SSRN. Here’s the abstract:

To what degree does the identity of the majority opinion writer affect a citizen’s level of agreement with a U.S. Supreme Court decision? Using a survey experiment, we manipulate the majority opinion authors of two Supreme Court cases between two randomly populated groups. By investigating ideological incongruence between a case’s policy output and the majority opinion author we are able to empirically test the extent to which individuals are willing to agree with a Court opinion that is authored by an ideologically similar justice even though the decision cuts against their self-identified ideological policy preferences. Our study provides insight on the extent to which policy “buy in” by citizens is affected by policy cues represented by the policy messenger of a political institution. We find that, although individuals generally give deference to the Supreme Court’s decisions, a messenger effect indeed augments the specific level of support a given case receives.

Intergenerational argument starter

Just add water …

The ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ of Losing in Court

Ben Depoorter (UC Hastings Law) has recently posted “The Upside of Losing” on SSRN (forthcoming in Columbia Law Review) — arguing that not all losses in court are necessarily a loss, politically. Here’s the abstract: Continue reading

The Congress Air Travel Advantage

Being a member of congress can be pretty cool for a number of reasons. One reason is the air travel advantages they receive – like preferred parking and a free ‘shotgun’ approach to scheduling flights. Joshua Green of Bloomberg Business Week outlines these perks in “The Pampered World of Congressional Air Travel.” Continue reading

Seinfeld now defender of coffee

If you haven’t checked out Jerry Seinfeld’s new web show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee then you should – it’s a lot of fun. But a recent article in Grub Street NY (NY Mag) reveals that he’s only a recent convert to the joys of coffee. Here are three revealing insights he provides on his new found liquid friend:

  • “When you go into 3 Guys Coffeeshop on Columbus, don’t complain that it’s not as good as Gimme! Coffee or Mudd or one of these places. Appreciate that for what that is. Know the difference, but don’t be a pain in the ass about it.”
  • “We want to do a lot of stuff. We’re not in great shape. We didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We’re a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.”
  • “Eating is annoying and difficult to arrange … meeting someone for coffee suddenly seemed like a wonderful, compact, accessible, and portable social interaction.”

Check out the rest here.


The story behind the famous Elvis/Nixon photo

Is told on Buzzfeed with a series of related photos. (Hint: there is a  War on Drugs theme). As  a side note, the photo above must be one of the most bizarre celebrity couple pictures I’ve ever seen.