This new poll shows that populism doesn’t stem from people’s economic distress

The potency of right-wing populism was visible again last week in the success of right-wing parties in the Austrian election. Conventional wisdom has a ready explanation for populism’s success: the declining economic fortunes of the working class. As the story goes, people who are frustrated with modern economies that require […] Read more »

The Health of American Democracy: Comparing Perceptions of Experts and the American Public

Given widespread concern about the possible erosion of democracy in the United States, Bright Line Watch has conducted expert surveys since early 2017 asking thousands of professional political scientists to identify the dimensions of democracy they see as most important and to rate how well the U.S. is performing on […] Read more »

Authoritarian Warning Survey: In U.S., consistently high threat levels across all categories

Our September 2017 survey results demonstrate consistently strong concerns about American democracy over the past month, although slightly lessened compared to August. From August to September, ratings improved on every dimension except civil liberties. However, democracy experts still see American political behavior in 2017 as firmly outside the norm for […] Read more »

Why Trump’s Softening on Immigration Is Unlikely to Splinter His Base

In a matter of weeks, President Trump has twice struck deals with Democrats in Congress that have left many of his supporters flummoxed. … But the informal DACA agreement with Democrats is unlikely to be the move that splinters his re-election coalition. Partnering with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on […] Read more »

Why the wiring of our brains makes it hard to stop climate change

… Humans aren’t well wired to act on complex statistical risks. We care a lot more about the tangible present than the distant future. Many of us do that to the extreme — what behavioral scientists call hyperbolic discounting — which makes it particularly hard to grapple with something like […] Read more »

The Asymmetric Politics of Trump’s Dreamers Deal

Late last night, Democratic congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi triumphantly announced that they had reached an agreement with President Trump over dinner at the White House under which Trump would support legislation shielding the “Dreamers,” immigrants brought unlawfully to the U.S. as children, from deportation in exchange for […] Read more »

Trump Says Jump. His Supporters Ask, How High?

… Michael Barber and Jeremy C. Pope, political scientists at Brigham Young University, reported in their recent paper “Does Party Trump Ideology? Disentangling Party and Ideology in America,” that many Republican voters are: malleable to the point of innocence, and self-reported expressions of ideological fealty are quickly abandoned for policies […] Read more »