Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Isarithmic History of the Two-Party Vote.

David Sparks , a PhD candidate in political science at Duke University, has produced a fascinating video that details the shifting two-party vote over the last century, in isarithmic form. As he explains, isarithmic maps "are essentially topographic or contour maps, wherein a third variable is represented in two dimensions by color, or by contour lines, indicating gradations." The results vividly illustrate well-known -- but key -- developments in presidential politics since 1920: A few things; as Sparks observes, the maps for 1924 and 2004 are nearly inverted, showing the South's transition from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican. What's more, we can clearly see the partisan lines shift from east/west (and to a lesser extent, north/south), to heartland/coasts, reflecting the collapse of New Deal liberalism and the 30-year dominance of movement conservatism. For now, the lines seem stable, but change is inevitable. I'll let Sparks have the last word: This video is a reminder...

War in Real Life.

If there's anything funny about modern video games, and especially war-themed "first person shooters," it's that they vastly overstate the amount of action that any given soldier experiences. "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" takes place in Afghanistan and has U.S. soldiers in constant combat with their Taliban foes. But as The New York Times notes today, war is a lot more boring in real life: For G.I.’s, life on the front lines has two sides. There are, of course, the adrenaline-fueled moments of fighting, when soldiers try to forget their fear, remember their training and watch one another’s backs. And then there is everything else, the dirty, sweaty, unglamorous and frequently tedious work of being infantrymen. Filling sandbags. Stirring caldrons of burning waste. Lying in the dirt while on guard duty. Cleaning weapons. And more than anything else, waiting — for orders, for patrols, for the chance to sleep or eat. They even wait for the fighting they know will come. It is a life of...

Zero-Sum Games.

This isn't as surprising as The Washington Post thinks: An unusual split has opened between conservative Republicans and the American military leadership over the U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty, with current and former generals urging swift passage but politicians expressing far more skepticism. [...] But five Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in a recent report that New START was "a bad deal." They added that U.S. military leaders had made assumptions about the pact -- including that Russia will honor it -- that are "optimistic in the extreme." Meanwhile, the conservative Heritage Foundation's grass-roots lobbying arm is targeting Republican senators with mailings warning that the treaty "benefits Russia's interests, not ours." As a rule, conservatives are completely supportive of military leaders, except when those military leaders disagree with conservatives. Now, this isn't much of a problem; we wouldn't actually want a political movement that took it's...

White Flight and the Tea Party.

Matthew Yglesias flags this bit from Stephanie Mencimer 's article on the Tea Party's weird opposition to sustainable-use policies: In the tea partiers’ dystopian vision, the increased density favored by planners to allow for better mass transit become compulsory “human habitation zones.” They warn of Americans being forcibly moved from their suburban dream homes into urban “hobbit homes” and required to give up their cars and instead—gasp!—take the bus to work. The enemies in this fight are hidden behind bland trade-association names like the American Planning Association or ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). Not that Yglesias tries too, but I don't think that you can separate this from the racial politics of the Tea Party. Among people who identify with the Tea Party, according to the most recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, 61 percent agree that the government "has paid too much attention to the problems of blacks and other minorities" over the...

Ignore This Poll.

The most recent poll from Quinnipiac University is silly, but that won't stop everybody from quoting it: Forty-nine percent say he doesn't deserve re-election, 43 percent say he does deserve a second term, and 9 percent are undecided. Independents say he doesn't deserve another term by 51 percent to 35 percent, with 14 percent undecided. [...] In matchups with several potential Republican nominees, Obama finds himself in close races with Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee . Romney leads him by 45 percent to 44 percent, and Obama leads Huckabee by 46 percent to 44 percent, which is within the poll's 2-point margin of error. The remainder of those surveyed preferred someone else, said they wouldn't vote or were undecided. Both Romney and Huckabee led Obama among independents. I hate to make parallels between Obama and Reagan -- their circumstances are different enough that I'm not sure that 1:1 comparisons are useful -- but this is an instance where we should take a lesson from the past...

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