I hope the unofficial arrival of summer has been good where you are. This year, May was an unusually busy, but interesting, month for me. I’m just back from two weeks in Estonia, Denmark, and Sweden on business travel I mentioned in a previous post.

Siim Sikkut, policy advisor to Estonia’s Prime Minister.

With Siim Sikkut, policy advisor to Estonia’s Prime Minister.

Meeting with communications consultants in Sweden.

Meeting with communications consultants in Sweden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be reporting on these in a series of articles over the next several weeks — the first of which just appeared yesterday.

Politics Are Not Recession-Proof provides the Cliff Notes version of my presentation at the annual conference of European political consultants in Copenhagen:

[T]he upheaval today – not just in the US, but across the globe – has to be understood as a direct result of the Great Recession and its aftermath. Up until 2008, there was a widely understood social compact: … The Great Recession shattered that consensus for good, destroying the idea that the elites earned their disparate control of the world’s wealth and power…. The aftermath laid bare that the elites not only weren’t all-knowing: They also didn’t have our welfare in mind at all….

In fairness to the clueless elites, today’s dislocations actually are ripples on the surface caused by deeper underlying issues reflected in the technology-driven collapsing of borders, the nation-state, and governments as we know them: These predate the global financial crisis and, while manifested in current upheavals over the economy and immigration, extend far beyond the immediate issues and will be shaping our politics for the next twenty to thirty years.

Just before my trip, I had two other pieces published. How a Third-Party Candidate Can Win surveyed the many bizarre scenarios under the Constitution under which “Republicans determined to stop Trump don’t need to run a national third-party campaign – they just need to run a one-state campaign. Maybe not even that.” My favorite:

In such a crazy environment, the House could actually deadlock in selecting a new president. What would happen then? … The Senate would decide – choosing between … Trump’s and Clinton’s designated running mates…. What if Clinton’s is a centrist senator – Tim Kaine or Mark Warner? What if Trump chooses … someone of potential breakthrough appeal like, say, Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada? Members of Congress across chambers and party aisles might agree the Republic is better served by one of them heading a government of national unity and the House, intentionally, just never reaching agreement.

On a more serious note, the Aspen Institute asked me to address the role of think tanks in American politics. Here’s the nub of the piece:

[T]he reality is that liberal think tanks have done nowhere near as much to move the debate as their conservative models. In large part, this is because Democrats viewed their challenge after each disastrous defeat as figuring out how to adjust their positions better to comport with a more conservative political climate; conservatives, in contrast, have viewed the challenge as changing public attitudes to comport with their agenda – and have largely succeeded. Looking at the current presidential campaign, there has been no real attempt by Democrats to challenge, for example, anti-tax “orthodoxy”….

As always, I would love to know your thoughts.  Feel free to comment below!

My presentation in Copenhagen at the conference, "Is Europe ready for the future?"

My presentation in Copenhagen at the conference, “Is Europe ready for the future?”

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