At a time when unions hold an ever-diminishing role in American life, Andy Stern commanded a remarkably high profile. To his supporters, the longtime head of the Service Employees International Union was the savior of organized labor, who had found a way to expand the ranks of his union when almost every other one in the private sector was shrinking.
Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. I DON’T REMEMBER the missionaries’ names, only that one was blond and one was dark, one was from Oregon and one was from Utah. They arrived at our house on secondhand bicycles carrying bundles of inspirational literature. They smelled, I remember, of witch hazel and toothpaste.
Are Republicans increasingly becoming the party of the white working class? So says Jonathan Haidt, but political scientist Larry Bartels offers up a convincing response: While the white working class has trended toward Republicans over the last few decades, the movement is exclusively a Southern phenomenon.
There was a lot of chatter last week about an eye-opening New York Times piece by Sabrina Tavernise about the growing gap between the haves and have-nots when it comes to where the country’s young college graduates are choosing to live.
“We’re Americans,” Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu told me two weeks ago in the Russell Senate building in Washington, D.C. “We don’t eat our dogs, and we don’t eat our horses.” She had just finished delivering a speech to a rapt audience of two-dozen bright-eyed teenage girls, a handful of congressmen, top members of the ASPCA and Humane Society, and Lorenzo Borghese, star of the ninth season of the reality television show The Bachelor.
London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, known simply as Boris to his ardent fans in Britain, seems all but certain to reclaim his post in the mayoral election scheduled for Thursday. But the enthusiasm Johnson inspires is only partly related to the policies he’s pursued in office; it has as much to do with his shaggy hair, quirky personality, quick wit, and idiosyncratic habits. Londoners, however, aren’t the only ones who have a quirky mayor to call their own.