The Electability Fallacy

During the recent boomlet of speculation about a potential Oprah Winfrey run for the presidency, rarely was the question of her electability raised. It seems we have Donald Trump to thank for that omission of narrative: His 2016 election victory changed the calculation, even the definition, of electability. And we’re […] Read more »

The Fake News Crisis That Wasn’t

The media often attributes a portion of Donald Trump’s election to fake news — as in the vintage, original meaning of that term: Macedonian teens making bank on preposterous headlines; the Islamization of Texas, Pizza-shop child-sex conspiracies, etc. Such fabrication, commentators worried, reverberated around online echo chambers so resoundingly that […] Read more »

The Television President

It’s fair to say that Donald Trump owes his political career to the medium of television. It was television that successfully sold Trump to the nation as the personification of American business success—from his frequent appearances on talk shows and newsmagazines in the 1980s and 1990s to his prime-time network […] Read more »

Does the White Working Class Really Vote Against Its Own Interests?

As his first year in the White House draws to a close, Donald J. Trump remains in almost every respect a singular character. He exists well outside the boundaries of what most observers previously judged possible, let alone respectable, in American politics. To catalogue the norms he has violated, the […] Read more »

‘Fake News’: Wide Reach but Little Impact, Study Suggests

Fake news evolved from seedy internet sideshow to serious electoral threat so quickly that behavioral scientists had little time to answer basic questions about it, like who was reading what, how much real news they also consumed and whether targeted fact-checking efforts ever hit a target. … But now the […] Read more »

What we learned about American democracy in 2017

This time last year, I was trying to figure out a year-in-review piece that would make sense of all we had seen, without knowing much about what to expect from the Trump presidency. In retrospect, this seems like nothing so much as a failure of imagination: The rapid transition from […] Read more »