Hip-Hop Republicans

Michael Steele sounds clownish, and merits some mockery, but he isn't entirely wrong: Symbolism matters in politics, and there are almost certainly some votes to be gained for the GOP simply by easing the party's optics and rhetoric in a more youth-oriented, multicultural, self-aware direction. (As Mike Huckabee has demonstrated, just being less crabby and more self-deprecating can make a difference in how the media covers you.) But the basic dynamic that Daniel Larison identifies is still the most important one: Policy choices matter most, and for a losing political party whose current raft of policy proposals are deeply unpopular, better communication strategies and candidate recruitment only make sense as a supplement to a message adjustment, not as a substitute for it.

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her middle school. Then Humans of New York told her story to the Internet—and everything changed.

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