A close vote in Ohio keeps the race tough for Mitt Romney and allows the former Pennsylvania senator to stay in the delegate hunt.
STEUBENVILLE, OHIO -- Mitt Romney's people thought Mitt Romney was going to win Ohio on Super Tuesday. Rick Santorum's people thought Mitt Romney was going to win Ohio, too.
But in the end, the result was closer than anyone anticipated, with Romney pulling narrowly ahead late Tuesday night by a margin of a single percentage point. Santorum, who had led early returns for much of the evening, had clearly given Romney a bad scare, and it was enough for him to claim a moral victory.
"We've won races all over this country against the odds," Santorum told a few hundred supporters who gathered in a high-school gymnasium in this Ohio Valley steel town, not far from Pittsburgh on the other side of the Ohio River. "When they thought, 'OK, he's finally finished,' we keep coming back. We are in this thing."
Santorum nearly won this pivotal state despite having been outspent by a wide margin. In the other states that voted, Romney also underperformed somewhat. He won Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia, but Santorum took Oklahoma, Tennessee, and North Dakota, while Newt Gingrich ran away with Georgia.
Santorum's chief strategist, John Brabender, said GOP voters were sending a message to Romney: Not so fast. "He's saying, 'It's halftime, I'm winning, let's call the game.' And people aren't buying it," Brabender said.
The Republican race has taken on a Groundhog Day quality. Every state that votes seems to reset the clock from zero. Every step toward victory by the ostensible front-runner gets greeted by an equal and opposite backlash.
Santorum has proven to be an unexpectedly resilient candidate. Unlike Romney's previous chief rival, Newt Gingrich, he has declined to implode on his own, despite a penchant for regrettable statements and a slapdash campaign operation. The barrage of attacks from Romney and his super PAC do not seem to have convinced voters he's unacceptable.
"He has something you can't buy and can't make up, and that is he's got the ability to connect with people," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who switched his support from Romney to Santorum, his former Senate colleague, a couple of weeks ago. "He may mathematically lose tonight, but he has won."
Romney, meanwhile, "is not improving. He's no better a candidate than he was four years ago," DeWine said.
In his speech here Tuesday night, Santorum signaled he plans to continue his focus on Romney's health-care record, using new evidence of Romney's recent support for federal health-insurance mandates to paint him as not only a traitor to conservatism but deceptive as well. Santorum has yet to explain his own imperfect record on the issue, but it's a topic that undoubtedly resonates with primary voters.
Michael Foit, a 58-year-old delivery truck driver in Amsterdam, Ohio, who came to see Santorum in Steubenville, said he saw Romney's pursuit of health-care reform as indicative of a dangerous openness to government intrusion in people's lives. "I'm leery when it comes to people with socialistic ideas," he said. "We are not a socialistic country."
How big a setback Romney has really been dealt remains to be seen. Next on the calendar come primaries in Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi, all of which could be difficult territory for Romney. Though Gingrich remains a wild card, his failure to perform in Tennessee and Oklahoma -- he finished third, behind Romney, in both states -- doesn't bode well for his supposed strategy of doing well in the South. Santorum hopes that even if Gingrich stays in, voters will now abandon his candidacy as unviable.
Nonetheless, Romney retains a sizable advantage in terms of delegates and will get more delegates out of Ohio because Santorum failed to file delegate slates in some counties. If he does manage to pull it out, it seems clear it will be not with a bang but a whimper. As in Ohio, it will be narrowly, down to the wire, and with the maximum amount of stress and suffering.
“Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.”
Last Sunday the host of a popular news show asked me what it meant to lose my body. The host was broadcasting from Washington, D.C., and I was seated in a remote studio on the Far West Side of Manhattan. A satellite closed the miles between us, but no machinery could close the gap between her world and the world for which I had been summoned to speak. When the host asked me about my body, her face faded from the screen, and was replaced by a scroll of words, written by me earlier that week.
The host read these words for the audience, and when she finished she turned to the subject of my body, although she did not mention it specifically. But by now I am accustomed to intelligent people asking about the condition of my body without realizing the nature of their request. Specifically, the host wished to know why I felt that white America’s progress, or rather the progress of those Americans who believe that they are white, was built on looting and violence. Hearing this, I felt an old and indistinct sadness well up in me. The answer to this question is the record of the believers themselves. The answer is American history.
New data shows that students whose parents make less money pursue more “useful” subjects, such as math or physics.
In 1780, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, in which he laid out his plans for what his children and grandchildren would devote their lives to. Having himself taken the time to master “Politicks and War,” two revolutionary necessities, Adams hoped his children would go into disciplines that promoted nation-building, such as “mathematicks,” “navigation,” and “commerce.” His plan was that in turn, those practical subjects would give his children’s children room “to study painting, poetry, musick, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelaine.”
Two-hundred and thirty-five years later, this progression—“from warriors to dilettantes,” in the words of the literary scholar Geoffrey Galt Harpham—plays out much as Adams hoped it would: Once financial concerns have been covered by their parents, children have more latitude to study less pragmatic things in school. Kim Weeden, a sociologist at Cornell, looked at National Center for Education Statistics data for me after I asked her about this phenomenon, and her analysis revealed that, yes, the amount of money a college student’s parents make does correlate with what that person studies. Kids from lower-income families tend toward “useful” majors, such as computer science, math, and physics. Those whose parents make more money flock to history, English, and performing arts.
Defining common cultural literacy for an increasingly diverse nation
Is the culture war over?
That seems an absurd question. This is an age when Confederate monuments still stand; when white-privilege denialism is surging on social media; when legislators and educators in Arizona and Texas propose banning ethnic studies in public schools and assign textbooks euphemizing the slave trade; when fear of Hispanic and Asian immigrants remains strong enough to prevent immigration reform in Congress; when the simple assertion that #BlackLivesMatter cannot be accepted by all but is instead contested petulantly by many non-blacks as divisive, even discriminatory.
And that’s looking only at race. Add gender, guns, gays, and God to the mix and the culture war seems to be raging along quite nicely.
Most adults can’t remember much of what happened to them before age 3 or so. What happens to the memories formed in those earliest years?
My first memory is of the day my brother was born: November 14, 1991. I can remember my father driving my grandparents and me over to the hospital in Highland Park, Illinois, that night to see my newborn brother. I can remember being taken to my mother’s hospital room, and going to gaze upon my only sibling in his bedside cot. But mostly, I remember what was on the television. It was the final two minutes of a Thomas the Tank Engine episode. I can even remember the precise story: “Percy Takes the Plunge,” which feels appropriate, given that I too was about to recklessly throw myself into the adventure of being a big brother.
In sentimental moments, I’m tempted to say my brother’s birth is my first memory because it was the first thing in my life worth remembering. There could be a sliver of truth to that: Research into the formation and retention of our earliest memories suggests that people’s memories often begin with significant personal events, and the birth of a sibling is a textbook example. But it was also good timing. Most people’s first memories date to when they were about 3.5 years old, and that was my age, almost to the day, when my brother was born.
In 1992, the neuroscientist Richard Davidson got a challenge from the Dalai Lama. By that point, he’d spent his career asking why people respond to, in his words, “life’s slings and arrows” in different ways. Why are some people more resilient than others in the face of tragedy? And is resilience something you can gain through practice?
The Dalai Lama had a different question for Davidson when he visited the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader at his residence in Dharamsala, India. “He said: ‘You’ve been using the tools of modern neuroscience to study depression, and anxiety, and fear. Why can’t you use those same tools to study kindness and compassion?’ … I did not have a very good answer. I said it was hard.”
Gentrification is pushing long-term residents out of urban neighborhoods. Can collective land ownership keep prices down permanently?
AUSTIN, Tex.—Not long ago, inner cities were riddled with crime and blight and affluent white residents high-tailed it to the suburbs, seeking better schools, safer streets, and, in some cases, fewer minority neighbors.
But today, as affluent white residents return to center cities, people who have lived there for years are finding they can’t afford to stay.
Take the case of the capital city of Texas, where parts of East Austin, right next to downtown, are in the process of becoming whiter, and hip restaurants, coffee shops, and even a barcatering to bicyclists are opening. Much of Austin’s minority population, meanwhile, is priced out, and so they’re moving to far-out suburbs such as Pflugerville and Round Rock, where rents are affordable and commutes are long.
Chicago has seen a double-digit increase in the percentage of kids graduating from high school. Skeptics say educators and kids are manipulating the numbers—but does that even matter?
Desiree Cintron’s name used to come up a lot during “kid talk,” a weekly meeting at Chicago’s North-Grand High School at which teachers mull over a short list of freshmen in trouble.
No shock there, says Desiree now, nearly three years later.
“I was gangbanging and fighting a lot,” she says, describing her first few months of high school. “I didn’t care about school. No one cared, so I didn’t care.”
Had Desiree continued to fail in her freshman year, she would have dropped out. She is sure of that. It was only because of a strong program of academic and social supports put together by her teachers that she stuck it out. Desiree pulled up a failing grade and several Ds. She gave up gangbanging and later started playing softball. She connected with a school determined to connect with her.
One reason for the continued resistance to the Affordable Care Act is a badly distorted narrative of how it became law.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s remarkable 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell saves the Affordable Care Act from evisceration, although Obamacare will undoubtedly face a continuing pattern of guerrilla attacks from Congress, the courts, and Republican governors and state legislatures. Still, as many observers have pointed out, the core elements of the plan, including the exchanges, the subsidies, the individual mandate, the expansion of coverage in family plans to children 26 and under, and the elimination of lifetime limits and of preexisting conditions as bars to coverage, are almost certainly here to stay.
This is, of course, a huge victory for President Obama. But the passage, implementation, and ratification of Obamacare continue to be plagued by a widespread belief that it was tarnished by the way it was proposed and debated. A raft of reporters, commentators, and politicians argue that the president made a huge mistake in taking up healthcare at the beginning of his term, before building relationships of trust with Republicans, and then compounded that error by jamming it through quickly without any Republican input or efforts to find common ground.
The unwillingness of the former secretary of state to take questions from the press contrasts sharply with Jeb Bush’s marked affinity for public disclosure.
Howard Kurtz reported on Sunday night that the Hillary Clinton campaign has decided to open itself to more press interviews. Kurtz quoted the campaign’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri: “By not doing national interviews until now, Palmieri concedes, ‘we’re sacrificing the coverage. We’re paying a price for it.’”
Meanwhile Jeb Bush chatted July 2 with the conservative website, the Daily Caller. The Daily Caller interview broke an unusually protracted no-interview period for Bush. It had been more than two weeks since he appeared on the Tonight show with Jimmy Fallon. Bush spoke that same day, June 17, to Sean Hannity’s radio show and ABC News. Five days earlier, he’d spoken to Germany’s Der Spiegel—altogether, five interviews in the month of June. That brought his total, since the beginning of February, to 39, according to the Bush campaign.*