Is Trump Country Really Better Off Under Trump? No. It’s Falling Further Behind.

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been working on lately, here is an excerpt of my research from my new post on the Washington Post site:

Two years have passed since Donald Trump made his famous campaign promise in disaffected regions across the country: “We are going to start winning again!” For many voters who felt that they had lost ground in recent decades, the candidate argued, a vote for him would be rewarded with renewed prosperity and prominence.

It was a classic campaign promise, overly ambitious and cleverly vague. What exactly did “winning” mean? Certainly, many reporters believed voters perceived the promise as an economic one. So let’s measure the promise’s success that way. How have Trump voters fared economically, compared with Hillary Clinton voters?

Not noticeably better, according to the data. By most measures, my latest research shows, Trump counties — and especially counties with higher proportions of Trump voters — continue to fall farther behind the rest of the country economically. The story of our economy, like the story of our politics, continues to be a story of division and divergence.

To read the rest, click here and check it out. Or if you really want to dig into the numbers, click here and read the whole paper!

Our American Discourse, Ep. 36: The End – Death, Cemeteries, and Remembering

Though we are sad to bid farewell to “Our American Discourse,” we welcome the opportunity to talk about farewells—indeed, the hardest farewells of all: those that happen after death. How do we say goodbye to the past? And what does our farewell mean for the lives gone before us and for the future that will come after them? It is time to break the “death taboo” and have one last real conversation about the one last real experience we all must confront.

In this episode, David Charles Sloane tells the history of the American cemetery, and in that story, we find the evolution of our own existential approach to life, death, and beyond.

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Our American Discourse, Ep. 35: It’s Not Just Where You’re Going, It’s Also How You Get There

If the old saying is true that “life is a journey, not a destination,” then it stands to reason that the way we travel matters a great deal. In fact, that’s what the latest evidence has shown: Transportation choices and systems play a crucial role in our economy and our environment. You may think that your car or bike or walk or train ride is only about you, but it’s really one piece of a giant moving puzzle, in which we’re all trying to access the American dream in the same urban landscape at the same time — and that means it’s imperative to do it smartly, justly, and sustainably.

In this episode, Marlon G. Boarnet weighs the pros and cons of different transportation modes and shows how the infrastructure we build now will shape our quality of life for generations to come.

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Bedrosian Book Club Podcast: “Draft No. 4”

Anyone who reads or watches the news might feel like we are in a news assault. The news happens so fast, technology helps us disseminate and consume with speed, and media outlets are in a relatively new competition: a competition for relevancy. As “papers of record” are being attacked as “fake,” the question of how to communicate with fairness about important issues has never been more relevant.

John McPhee has had a long, storied career in writing for magazines “of record” using in-depth long-form journalism. Draft No. 4 is McPhee’s 32nd book of nonfiction. It is a series of essays on his writing process.

In today’s episode, we use McPhee’s thoughts on structure and nonfiction to discuss some of the difficulties of communicating policy and research in today’s frenetic climate of news and propaganda and anti-elitism.  Policy communication should be nuanced and deep, how can we do this in an age of immediate consumption and tribalism? How do we know what we know, and how do we tell others how we know what we know?

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