One thing this graph doesn’t show is change over time. Over the past several years, the job market has (obviously) been pretty grim. The recession ended four and a half years ago, in June 2009. But there are still 1.3 million fewer U.S. jobs than there were in December 2007, when the recession began.

One thing this graph doesn’t show is change over time. Over the past several years, the job market has (obviously) been pretty grim. The recession ended four and a half years ago, in June 2009. But there are still 1.3 million fewer U.S. jobs than there were in December 2007, when the recession began.

If lawmakers don’t make functional elections a priority between now and 2016—at a minimum, approving a full slate of commissioners—we could see even longer lines than the ones that plagued the 2012 election in states like Florida and Wisconsin, and in counties such as Richland, South Carolina, where some waited a whopping seven hours. Why so long? Because Richland County, like so many others, had a lot more voters than in 2010—28 percent—and 12 percent fewer working machines.

There were many liberals on social media who expressed the opinion that Harris-Perry shouldn’t have apologized, mainly because it would only deliver succor to the enemies of liberalism, who are a dastardly bunch. But Harris-Perry’s words and evident sincerity made it clear that the apology wasn’t about conservatives, it was about her. She chose to do the right thing, to commit a morally righteous act even if people she doesn’t like would enjoy it.

In other words, she removed herself from the political calculation that asks of everything, “Which side is this good for?” That isn’t easy for someone involved in politics to do, because so many forces push you to see every controversy primarily from that perspective. Had Harris-Perry been focused on not giving her critics any satisfaction, or simply keeping up the fight, she might have given one of those familiar non-apology apologies. She might have said: Listen, imagining Mitt and Kanye at Thanksgiving together isn’t exactly like, say, that time during the Clinton presidency when John McCain asked the crowd at a Republican fundraiser, “Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.” That was truly despicable; what I did was a misdemeanor at best.

But she didn’t say those things; instead, she acted the way a good person would, the way most of us hope we’d act in an analogous situation in our own lives. She overcame the natural instinct to be defensive that we all share and to say that our good intentions should absolve us of blame.

Paul Waldman, on Melissa Harris-Perry
expert: “An ‘expert,’ judging not by dictionary definitions but by common usage, is a young man who is hired by a newspaper to make prophecies which are never fulfilled and to express opinions which are ultimately proved to have been all wrong.”

Check out our encyclopedia of experts (squirrel, pole, alien invasion, etc.) here.

expert“An ‘expert,’ judging not by dictionary definitions but by common usage, is a young man who is hired by a newspaper to make prophecies which are never fulfilled and to express opinions which are ultimately proved to have been all wrong.”

Check out our encyclopedia of experts (squirrel, pole, alien invasion, etc.) here.


When it comes to the things that will dominate political discussion, most of it we can’t predict. There could be unforeseen crises, natural disasters, war breaking out somewhere, or the emergence of previously unknown yet charismatic political figures. A baby might fall down a well, or a little boy could pretend to float up in a balloon, or a young singer might stick out her tongue and move her hips in a sexually suggestive manner, precipitating a national freakout.

One trend I do think will shape people’s lives this year and in years to come is the increasing divergence between the places where lots of Democrats live and the places where lots of Republicans live. Yes, it sounds trite and overdone to talk about Two Americas, but it is true, and it’s becoming more true all the time.

When it comes to the things that will dominate political discussion, most of it we can’t predict. There could be unforeseen crises, natural disasters, war breaking out somewhere, or the emergence of previously unknown yet charismatic political figures. A baby might fall down a well, or a little boy could pretend to float up in a balloon, or a young singer might stick out her tongue and move her hips in a sexually suggestive manner, precipitating a national freakout.

One trend I do think will shape people’s lives this year and in years to come is the increasing divergence between the places where lots of Democrats live and the places where lots of Republicans live. Yes, it sounds trite and overdone to talk about Two Americas, but it is true, and it’s becoming more true all the time.


Mr. Speaker, if you’re eating eggs and sausage at a greasy spoon every morning, legislation isn’t the only thing getting clogged. But how wonderful to know that just like ordinary folks, you wear “jeans and a ballcap”! Since you presumably go to work after this breakfast, do you get dressed in your jeans and ballcap, then go back home and change into the suit you’ll wear the rest of the day on Capitol Hill? Why not just put on the suit, get the breakfast, and then proceed to work? Is the costume change really necessary?”

(AP Photo)

Mr. Speaker, if you’re eating eggs and sausage at a greasy spoon every morning, legislation isn’t the only thing getting clogged. But how wonderful to know that just like ordinary folks, you wear “jeans and a ballcap”! Since you presumably go to work after this breakfast, do you get dressed in your jeans and ballcap, then go back home and change into the suit you’ll wear the rest of the day on Capitol Hill? Why not just put on the suit, get the breakfast, and then proceed to work? Is the costume change really necessary?”

(AP Photo)