Bernie Sanders is (by far!) the most popular politician in America

As the approval ratings for Trump, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party and Congress circle the drain, one politician remains trusted by a shockingly large number of politicians: Bernie Sanders, who is polling +41% with independents, +28% with Democrats, and whose approval rating has steadily climbed since he hit the national stage in 2015. Read the rest

Three wealthy Americans are the major financial backers of Geert Wilders' Islamophobic election campaign

Virtually every cent raised by Geert Wilders, a notorious Islamophobic candidate in the upcoming Dutch elections, has come from a clutch of secretive American millionaires, led by David Horowitz, who calls Wilders "the Paul Revere of Europe." Read the rest

Political theater: swapping gender roles in recreations of the Trump/Clinton debates

NYU poli sci/econ professor Maria Guadalupe and educational theater prof Joe Salvatore collaborated to stage a recreation of the Trump/Clinton debates with the gender roles reversed, starring actors who played Brenda King, "a female version of Trump" and Jonathan Gordon, "a male version of Hillary Clinton." Read the rest

Breitbart was a unique driver of hyper-partisan, trumpist news that shifted the 2016 election

A team of esteemed scholars including Yochai "Wealth of Networks" Benkler and Ethan Zuckerman (co-founder of Global Voices) analyzed 1.25 million media stories published between April 1, 2015 and election day, finding "a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world." Read the rest

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson threatens legal retaliation against constituent who won't give up trying to talk to him

Senator Ron Johnson [R-WI/Twitter/email/DC office (202) 224-5323] is one of the many Republican lawmakers who've chosen not to meet with their own constituents during the Congressional recess; Earl Good, a Vietnam veteran and Milwaukee constituent who called Johnson's office hundreds of times because the Senator won't meet with the people he represents has now been sent a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal retaliation if he doesn't stop contacting his elected official. Read the rest

How to find out what Trump's favorite big data machine knows about you

Cambridge Analytica is a dirty, Dementor-focused big data research outfit that provided the analysis and psych profiles that the Trump campaign used in its electioneering; because its parent company is in the UK, it is required (under EU law) to send you its dossier on you for £10. Read the rest

House Republicans just voted to defund the agency that fights election hacking

All of the GOP's bluster about election fraud couldn't save the budget for the Election Administration Commission, the federal agency that deals with software security risks in America's creating, Windows-2000-based voting machines. Read the rest

Trump's big data "secret sauce" sorcery - a much-needed reality check

An article that went viral last week attributed Trump's Electoral College victory to the dark big data sorcery of Cambridge Analytica, a dirty, dementor-focused big data company that specializes in political campaigns. Read the rest

Scenes from the inauguration of President Zuckerberg

Quartz editor Gideon Lichfield has published a science fictional vignette depicting the final backstage moments before the 2025 inauguration of President Mark Zuckerberg's second term. Read the rest

The secret to success in local politics: steal from the people, but not too much

In a new paper in Progress, Oxford economist Vuk Vukovic argues that the key to re-election in local politics is to be just corrupt enough: giving lucrative contracts and other benefits to special interests who'll fund your next campaign, but not so much that the people refuse to vote for you. Read the rest

Political leaks disrupt Ecuadoran election

Opponents of Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa -- himself a prolific and shrewd social media campaigner -- have had their social media accounts hacked and used to dump embarrassing transcripts purporting to show their party in disarray and romantic scandals in their personal lives. Read the rest

Webcomic explains how weakening the Voting Rights Act led to voter suppression in 2016

On The Nib, Andy Warner posts a quick primer on the Voting Rights Act, which was weakened in a 2013 Supreme Court case that struck down the requirement for districts with a history of racist voter suppression to get federal oversight for changes to their voting procedures; of note is the section on Jeff Sessions, whose Attorney General confirmation hearing is underway right now. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Registered Democrats (mostly young and/or racialised) who didn't vote cost Hillary the election

Fivethirtyeight's analysis of a Surveymonkey data-set shows that Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 election if registered Democrats had turned out and voted in larger numbers -- in other words, Hillary's failure to convince registered Democrats to vote, rather than abstain, lost her the election. Read the rest

€9m Russian loan to French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is called in

The Russian Bank Deposit Insurance Agency has demanded repayment by French National Front leader Marine Le Pen -- daughter of open neo-Nazi and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen -- of €9m borrowed from the First Czech-Russian Bank, which is now defunct. Read the rest

Around the world, old, rural voters count more than young people in cities

In The Value of a Vote: Malapportionment in Comparative Perspective, published in the British Journal of Political Science, two scholars from the University of Minnesota Department of Political Science document more than 20 industrial democracies where the votes of rural citizens -- who skew older and more conservative than their urban counterparts -- carry more weight than city-dwellers' votes. Read the rest

Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky's annual State of the World wrangle on The WELL

It's January, which means that Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky have returned to the WELL for their annual State of the World wrangle, in which, as Sterling puts it, we see who's "gonna collapse first: us pundits, or the World?" Read the rest

Haldeman's papers show Nixon conspired to extend the Vietnam war to improve his presidential chances

A newly discovered collection of notes written by Nixon aide HR Haldeman reveals that during Nixon's 68 presidential campaign, he illegally conspired to convince the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to scuttle the peace talks run by Nixon's political rival, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Read the rest

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