All of this writing and data analysis is a lot of work! So after more than five years of posting, I've finally launched a Patreon to help pay the bills.

12/27/19

Bonds and the burden of climate change

Climate change demands massive investment, and a simple way to deal with the financing problem is for the government to issue bonds. This approach has all kinds of political advantages: as I argued in my proposal for a Global Green New Deal, for example, you can use bonds to insulate climate finance from defunding efforts by the right. Though there are other policy mechanisms that do this as well (for example mandatory spending), in my view any effective short-to-medium term approach to the massive funding that the fight against climate change requires is probably going to demand bonds.

That said, there is also a bad policy rationale for using bonds:
I’ll propose a "Green Victory Bond," backed by the full-faith and credit of the United States by the Treasury Department, to finance the transition to a green economy. These Green Victory Bonds will be sold at levels that allow Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum the opportunity to own a piece of the climate solution, and to benefit from the new green economy that we build together.

12/17/19

How to read those second-choice polls

Since so many candidates are running for president this year, people are spending a lot of time trying to figure out who can take votes from whom. And this has created a lot of interest in polls that ask supporters of each candidate who their 2nd choice is - particular in those conducted by Morning Consult, which updates its numbers quite frequently.

But there seems to be a lot of confusion about how to read these polls.

12/14/19

Get involved and Bernie wins. Don't, and he'll lose.

I'll be direct: the Sanders campaign needs your help. Specifically, it needs you to volunteer - to make the calls, send the texts, organize events, and even travel to early states if you can. Because Bernie has a real shot at winning this, but if something doesn't change, the most likely outcome is that this campaign will end in the next seven months.

12/13/19

No significant evidence of sexism in candidate favorability scores

Research has repeatedly affirmed that systematic and institutional sexism, rather than widespread personal bias among voters, are the primary obstacles to women in politics. Nevertheless, Amanda Arnold, writing for the Cut, asks: Why Do People Really Dislike the Women Running for President?

12/7/19

Why are we calling Warrencare "Medicare for All"?

This article also appears on Jacobin.

If you asked me to create a schematic for the health care plans proposed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg, it would probably look something like this:

12/5/19

If you want to beat Trump, be honest about Biden

This article also appears on Truthdig.

I am obviously a partisan for Sanders, but six months ago if you asked me who could beat Trump I would give you two names: Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden. Everyone else has extremely shaky numbers against Trump, and some candidates in particular (Warren and Buttigieg) seem personally ill-matched for his combative reactionary populism. Biden, meanwhile, has polled well against Trump, which is why my argument against him was entirely political: I saw no reason to expect him to lose.

So when I say that I've changed my mind, please for the love of god do not read this as a cynical argument for Sanders. I was not saying this six months ago. Even now I don't have to say it for Sanders, because he doesn't need it. The case for Sanders is still that he is the best candidate who can beat Trump, and this is true even if worse candidates (like Biden) can also beat Trump.

But I don't think Biden can. Not anymore.