The most interesting Web sites, books, and magazines about American politics.

What Slate writers are reading.
May 3 2008 7:32 AM

Three A.M. Reading

Still can't get enough of the campaign? Here are the most interesting Web sites, books, and magazines about American politics.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Click image to expand.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

When CBS broadcast this year's NCAA basketball tournament over the Internet, businesses supposedly lost an estimated $1.7 billion as an entire nation paid attention to the office pool instead of customers. If sports junkies could cost the country that much during a few days of March Madness, imagine the productivity we political junkies in the nation's capital must be losing to the distractions of a primary campaign that has been in overtime for months.

How best to turn productivity lost into perspective gained? In a primary season defined by sharp demographic divides, the most unconventional wisdom can be found on Jay Cost's HorseRaceBlog on Cost, a doctoral student at the University of Chicago, devised an ingenious project-your-own-popular-vote tabulator for the remaining primaries. Don't expect to outguess Cost, whose March estimate for Pennsylvania—a month before the actual primary—missed Hillary Clinton's 214,000-vote margin by just 3,000 votes.


Of course, pearls of exit-poll wisdom won't do you much good on the cocktail-party circuit unless you know which candidate your host is backing. Thanks to new mash-ups like HuffingtonPost's Fundrace 2008, you can avoid a faux pas—or prepare for fisticuffs—by looking up whether your friends and neighbors have given to McCain, Clinton, or Obama.

If the 2008 race goes to the convention, bring along Senate historian Donald Ritchie's entertaining Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932. This year isn't the first Democratic contest to turn on whiskey shots and calls at 3 a.m. That's what time it was when FDR's campaign decided to ask for the first of three roll calls at  the 1932 convention in Chicago. FDR came up short each time, as many delegates wandered off to nearby speakeasies. He eventually prevailed on the fourth ballot, and won big applause for promising to repeal Prohibition.

The longer the race goes on, the more time we have to pore over the numbers at stake in this election. Bipartisan budget analyst Charles S. Konigsberg's paperback America's Priorities: How the U.S. Government Raises and Spends $3,000,000,000,000 (Trillion) per Year could be called Deficits for Dummies, if that niche weren't already filled by the Bush administration budget.

It's never too early to start worrying about 2010. The latest issue of Politics, a slick makeover of Campaigns & Elections, says redistricting after the next census will alter the political landscape—but the key battlegrounds will be awfully familiar: Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Michigan.

Where can political junkies turn when the primaries end June 3? An Australian site called Adam Carr's Election Archive tracks every political contest on the planet, with detailed electoral maps from some 60 countries. While we may tire of staring at red and blue, mapping the February elections in Pakistan took seven colors—a real political spectrum.

Across the other pond, we can picture elections yet to come at the official blog of British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. It's hard to see Condi Rice engaging in blog diplomacy, and certainly nothing like Miliband's recent post blaming his favorite soccer team's defeat on an inept Swiss defender and a "dodgy" Swedish referee. While the post caused a minor diplomatic flap on the Continent, Brits make Miliband the heavy favorite to be the next Labor prime minister after Gordon Brown. Miliband's team lost 4-2, but London bookies now put his odds at 3-1.

A version of this article also appears in the Washington Post's "Outlook" section.

Bruce Reed, who was President Clinton's domestic policy adviser, is CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council and co-author with Rahm Emanuel of The Plan: Big Ideas for Change in America.E-mail him at Read his disclosure here.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.