The 1958 Governor’s Race That Launched a Dynasty

An Internecine Fight Between Two Republicans Opened the Door to Ambitious San Francisco Democrat Pat Brown

As Jerry Brown nears the end of his record fourth term as California governor, his final months are swathed in nostalgia, superlatives, and retrospectives on a remarkable five decades in politics.

But few people look back far enough: to the pivotal election 60 years ago that unintentionally spawned his father’s governorship and the Brown family dynasty.

In 1958, two of California’s most powerful and popular Republicans tried to swap jobs—the governor ran for a U.S. Senate seat while the Senator tried to be elected governor. The epic failure of the “Big …

Why Single-Party Domination of Hawai‘i Politics Is Harmful to the Aloha State

The Democrats' Near-Monopoly Makes Voters Tune Out, Sidesteps Urgent Policy Questions, and Places Factional Infighting Above Shared Ideals

Most Americans have become accustomed to the bitter divide between Republicans and Democrats in Washington. Yet closely fought competition between the parties is the exception rather than the rule in …

The Pain of Surviving the San Fernando Valley Can Make You Powerful

In Two Memoirs, Activist Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Comedian-Actress Tiffany Haddish Reveal How ’90s L.A. Shaped Them

How can Californians rise from horrific local circumstances to national influence?

Two recent books offer one answer: It may help to have grown up amid the racism and institutional failures of …

Why America Keeps Battling to Live Up to the 14th Amendment

From Its Post-Civil War Origins to Today's Immigration Debates, the Constitutional Guarantee of Equal Protection and 'Birthright Citizenship' Has Been Bitterly Contested

The first clause of the 14th Amendment is a scant 28 words long. Yet when the amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868, it advanced the crucial task of turning …

Here Are Two Voting Reforms That Could Counter America’s Hyperpolarization

When Used Together, 'Ranked Choice' and 'Top Two' Elections Would Strengthen Major Parties and Favor Moderate Politicians

Political polarization has spread across the globe. The ensuing ideological purity might make each warring faction appear stronger, but in reality, hyperpolarization weakens parties by making them less appealing to …