Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Category: Politics

Suburban Decay: A Theory of Decline in Towns

Some years before I was born, my parents lived in Michigan City, Indiana. But this was only briefly–before too long, they ended up in Valparaiso, the town I grew up in. Since 1970, Michigan City’s population has fallen by a quarter, while Valparaiso’s has increased by a third. Today Valparaiso has more people than Michigan City does, and nearby Chesterton’s population has doubled its 1970 level. Another nearby town, LaPorte, has stagnated:

Why do Valparaiso and Chesterton grow while Michigan City and LaPorte decline or stagnate? I’ve been thinking about it, and I have a theory.

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How Similar are Trump and Caesar?

Many of President Trump’s supporters are aggrieved about a New York production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar which features a Caesar that looks rather Trump-like. This has produced some discussion of how far this comparison should really go, and whether having a Trump-like Caesar encourages political violence. Much of the arguments surrounding this are a bit muddled because many folks only have a surface-level understanding of Caesar’s historical role. So let’s unpack it.

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Teach for America Tricks Young People into Being Scabs

Last month, we talked about how Mike Pence ran down the schools in Indiana while he was governor, slashing state educating spending by about 11.5% (relative to GDP) and creating a massive teacher shortage as good teachers defected to neighboring states and fewer Hoosiers elected to go into education. Today I want to talk about the pivotal role programs likes Teach for America play in aiding and abetting these efforts to annihilate the public schools.

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How the Lib-Dems and the SNP Failed the Progressive Movement in Britain

The Labour Party was able to increase its vote share to about 40%, a level which has often historically been enough for Labour to form governments on its own.

But Labour was unable to form a government because the Conservatives also increased their vote share, albeit by a smaller amount:

This large Tory vote share enabled the Conservatives to prevent the assembly of a grand coalition of the left. Much of the turnover came from the collapsing UKIP vote, which fell more than 10 points from 2015 levels. But some of it came from the SNP, which dropped 1.7 points and 12 seats to the Tories. And some of it even came from the Lib-Dems, who lost 0.5 points and failed to win over many anti-Brexit Tory voters. Labour took care of business, but the junior partners came up short. What went wrong?

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The DUP is Not Okay

Not to be discouraged by a hung parliament, British Prime Minister Theresa May now intends to govern with the aid of the DUP, the “Democratic Unionist Party” of Northern Ireland. This is unbelievably reckless and puts the security and future of the British people at risk.

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