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 …

How the South Made Hubert Humphrey Care About Race

The Minnesota Liberal's Louisiana School Years Turned His 'Abstract Commitment' to Civil Rights Into 'Flesh and Blood'

It is one of the great ironies of 20th-century American history: Hubert Humphrey, the foremost proponent of civil rights among American politicians, had little contact with African Americans until age …

Make the Supreme Court’s 4-4 Split Permanent

An Equal Number of Conservative and Liberal Justices Would Promote Compromise, Not Stalemate

Since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year, the U.S. has obsessed over how and when to fill his sizable void on the Supreme Court. Much is at …