Does High Voter Turnout Help One Party?

Daron R. Shaw & John R. Petrocik

When it comes to election administration, Republicans around the country tend to emphasize concerns about fraud, while Democrats fret over voter suppression. Though we should take these public officials at their word when it comes to their primary motivations, it's clear that there is a coincident partisan rationale for the parties' respective positions: Both are convinced that higher turnout will help Democrats and hurt Republicans. This widely shared conviction is mistaken. Put simply, there is no evidence that turnout is correlated with partisan vote choice.

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How to Think about Patriotism

Wilfred M. McClay

Patriotism in the American context has always involved both a devotion to an intricate latticework of ideals, sentiments, and overlapping loyalties, and also a commitment to our unique traditions, culture, history, people, and land. These two types of American patriotism are undeniably in tension, but the tension has been a healthy one throughout our history. Since its founding, our nation's universal ideals have meshed with, and derived strength from, Americans' local and particular sentiments.

the public interest

Up and down with ecology—the "issue-attention cycle"

Anthony Downs


The Public Interest was a quarterly public policy journal founded by Irving Kristol and Daniel Bell in 1965. Throughout its four decades of publication, ending in 2005, it offered incomparable insight and wisdom on a vast range of challenges at the intersection of public affairs, culture, and political economy—helping America better understand and govern itself in a tumultuous time. National Affairs now hosts its archives, free of charge.

Putting Regulators on a Budget

Jeff Rosen

The spending undertaken by federal appropriators — just like private businesses and households — is restrained by a budget. But federal regulators face no such constraints. They can impose costs on the economy without limit, as long as they can somehow claim sufficient benefits connected to their rules. It is time for Congress to establish a regulatory budget to contain the cost of our administrative state.

Religion and the American Republic

George F. Will

America has generally marked out a division of labor between the institutions of politics and those of civil society, including and especially those of religion. It is as the foremost of our civil-society institutions that religious organizations play a crucial role in sustaining our distinctive system of government — as shapers of citizens, and as limiting counterparts to the state. That is why citizens concerned for our tradition of limited, constitutional government should be friendly to the cause of American religion — even if they are not believers themselves.

The First American Founder

James W. Ceaser

Americans revere the nation's founders, and it seems perfectly natural that we should. But we are never quite clear about exactly who counts as a founder, and exactly for what. Our country had more than one beginning, and has several uses for its several foundings. In fact, the idea of a national founding needed to be introduced into our political vocabulary and developed into the core of our self-understanding. The concept of the American founding itself had a founder. 

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