Tuesday Edition



President Biden and former President Trump, who will likely face off in the 2024 presidential election, are both selling populist visions to American voters. (Bloomberg)

An excerpt from Bloomberg reporter Joshua Green’s new book, “The Rebels”: “Biden has broken dramatically with the laissez-faire approach to trade and industrial policy taken by the last two Democratic presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Instead, he’s embraced the populist ideals advocated by Democrats to his left, such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, by having the federal government take a direct role in shaping the economy.”

Clinton and Obama signed free trade deals that opened up the country with the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Biden has pushed a “made in America” message – his signature economic plan requires that manufacturing in key industries and infrastructure projects happen in the U.S.

Trump’s protectionist tariff policies have sparked criticism from traditional pro-tax cut Republicans, including his own former vice president Mike Pence. He also killed Obama’s TPP and replaced NAFTA. Trump vowed with his “Make America Great Again” platform to “put American workers first” and reshore U.S. manufacturing.

Biden during his latest State of the Union address in February: “You remember the jobs that went away. You remember them, don’t you? The folks at home remember them. You wonder whether the path even exists anymore for your children to get ahead without having to move away.”

Trump in Aug. 2020: “Globalization has made the financial elites who donate to politicians very wealthy, but it’s left millions and millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache—and our towns and cities with empty factories and plants. … We’re fighting for Main Street, not Wall Street. We have rejected globalism and embraced patriotism.”


A new study found the vast majority of political jokes on late night TV last year came at conservatives’ expense. (Media Research Center)

81% of the nearly 8,000 political jokes told by late night comedians in 2023 targeted the right. Former President Trump was the most joked-about individual with 2,440 jokes, while President Biden was on the receiving end of 912 jokes. Aside from Biden, no Democrat ranked in the top 25 joked-about individuals.

The Media Research Center study is the latest data point suggesting American institutions are becoming less aligned with conservative viewpoints:

  • A 2018 Morning Consult poll found a plurality (49%) of Americans think Hollywood is out of touch with the general public.

  • According to a study released last month by Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, just 3.4% of journalists identify as conservative.

  • An analysis published last month found conservatives are disappearing from a range of professions, including academia, tech, engineering and medicine.


A Business Insider estimate has pegged the cost of caring for one child in 2024 at $25,714, a 41.5% increase from 2016. (Business Insider)

The 2024 estimate (which includes expenses like rent, food, apparel, transportation, childcare, and health insurance) is 19% higher than in 2021 and 42% higher than in 2016. Raising a child to the age of 18 could total $462,852 in today's dollars. The biggest driver of the increase is the skyrocketing cost of American childcare.

Another new Business Insider report looks into how American government lags behind other developed countries when it comes to supporting parents and children.

For instance, Sweden offers 480 days of paid parental leave and preschool costs are capped at 3% of family income. In contrast, the U.S. lacks universal childcare and paid parental leave. Only one-third of American families can afford childcare, which costs 27% of their income on average. The U.S. infant mortality rate rose 3% in 2022 and ranks among the highest of all wealthy nations.

The share of Americans who don’t expect to have kids is growing. According to a 2021 Pew Research Center poll, 44% of non-parents aged 18 to 49 say they probably won't have children, up 7% from 2018. Meanwhile, the U.S. birth rate has been on a long-term decline.


Evangelicals, a key constituency for former President Trump, are arguably becoming defined less by their faith and more by culture and politics. (NYT)

New York Times reporters Ruth Graham and Charles Homans: “Being evangelical once suggested regular church attendance, a focus on salvation and conversion and strongly held views on specific issues such as abortion. Today, it is as often used to describe a cultural and political identity: one in which Christians are considered a persecuted minority, traditional institutions are viewed skeptically and Mr. Trump looms large.”

16% of white Trump supporters who didn't consider themselves evangelical in 2016 began identifying as evangelical by 2020, per a 2021 Pew Research Center poll. According to Cooperative Election Study data from Harvard University, more than half of Republicans went to church monthly in 2008, but by 2022, most only went once a year or less. A HarrisX poll last year showed that over half of Republicans view Trump as a "person of faith," more than any other 2024 Republican candidate.

Political science professor Ryan Burge on who makes up Trump’s base: “[Culturally] conservative, non-practicing Christians, at this point.”


References to worry and caution have increased in Western literature over the past 60 years, according to a new analysis of millions of books written in English, French and German. (Financial Times)

Since the 1960s, mentions of progress, improvement, and the future have decreased by 25%, while words about threats, risks, and worries have multiplied, per the analysis by Financial Times journalist John Burn-Murdoch. A Pew Research Center poll from April revealed a majority of Americans are pessimistic about where the country will be in 2050. A similar sentiment exists in many European nations.

A study published last month, which provided the groundwork for Burn-Murdoch’s analysis, looked at 173,031 books printed in England between 1500 and 1900. Researchers found that terms related to progress and improvement increased about a century before Britain’s Industrial Revolution kicked off. According to the study, the data supports “the idea that a cultural evolution in the attitudes towards the potential of science accounts in some part for the British Industrial Revolution and its economic takeoff.”

Burn-Murdoch: “The finding that language and culture can play important roles in triggering economic development has major implications for the west today. … If we are to avoid backsliding, advocates for innovation, growth and abundance must defeat the doomers.”

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