Early Returns

Good Instincts and How to Get a Better Senate

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. Andrew Gelman at the Monkey Cage on the most reliable Republican voters.

2. Lara Brown on Donald Trump and the wisdom of the Framers.

3. Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels have an important new book out, "Democracy for Realists," and they preview it in an interview with Debra Liese. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m familiar with some of their thinking, and I’m not sure I agree with all their conclusions -- but this is a book to be taken seriously.

4. Remy Smith at the New West on how a more reasonably apportioned Senate would deal with the Supreme Court nomination. I’m agnostic about most of this piece, but I like the proposed Senate reform: Each state gets one senator, with the other 50 apportioned by population. It would still be malapportioned (with California getting “only” 10 senators), but in my view that would be enough to alleviate most of the problems of democratic legitimacy that the present Senate has. Of course, it’s not going to happen, and that Senate would still be severely flawed, but I like it nonetheless.

5. And Dan Larison on “good instincts” as a substitute for presidential candidates actually knowing something about foreign affairs. I strongly agree. No presidential candidate can be an expert on everything; there are a lot of nations out there, and a lot of weapons systems, and a lot of, well, everything else. But the more the president knows, the more he or she has a chance of asking the right questions at the right time, and the better the chances he or she won’t constantly be rolled by the bureaucracy. I’ll also add: If we’re talking “good instincts,” the type I’d look for in a president are political ones.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

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    Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

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