During 2014, FixGov blog looked at a variety of areas of public policy and politics in examining the function and dysfunction in the Republic. FixGov’s readers have also shown a diverse range of tastes in content and topics. To highlight, we’ve put together a rundown of the 10 best performing blog posts of the year.
1. Republicans and the Diversity Problem
- In “Live from CPAC: The Most Important Panel Everyone Missed,” John Hudak discusses the poor attendance at a panel focused on diversity and outreach at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference and explains what such challenges mean for the party’s big picture.
2. Executive Orders & A Controversial Infographic
- In “Obama’s Executive Orders: A Reality Check,” John Hudak responds to claims that President Obama issued more executive orders than his predecessors, outlining in an infographic that the issuance rate is actually far lower than most. This piece highlights an important distinction that generated discussion in other media outlets that the number of executive orders does not necessarily reflect the substantive effects of such actions.
3. Republicans Fence Off Comprehensive Immigration Reform
- In “The (Real) Reason Why the House Won’t Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” Christopher Parker uses new public polling to show the differences between Tea Party and non-Tea Party Republicans’ views on immigration policy. The rift in the party is substantial and the result was that a powerful faction of Tea Party-affiliated House members, fueled by the views of their constituents, blocked the House from moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform.
4. Young Voters Threaten the Status Quo on Wall Street
- In “New Paper: How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America,” Elaine Kamack discusses a new paper from Morley Winograd and Mike Hais. The findings are stark and argue that “the banking industry [is] number one on a list of industries likely to experience severe disruption in its business model in the future,” as millennials’ values oppose the types of behaviors they see on Wall Street.
5. A Safe and Traditional State of the Union
- In “SOTU 2014: Reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union,” Bill Galston discusses the president’s biggest speech of the year and the challenge he faced from the outset. Galston explains the president needed to address three key issues, and despite media reaction, “the president is betting that a steady-as-you-go strategy with modest incremental adjustments will be enough to restore rising wages and opportunity for all.”
6. A Bold Response to a Bold Executive Action
- In “Obama’s Immigration Order Isn’t a Power Grab,” Tom Mann issues a powerful response to claims that President Obama’s November action on immigration was an unconstitutional power grab. Mann calls out Republican “crocodile tears” over what he labels, “well documented constitutional and statutory authority to ease temporarily one of the most difficult and painful problems facing the country.”
7. Marijuana Legalization Grows Like a Weed
- In “2014 ‘Marijuana Midterms’ to Establish 2016 as Most Crucial Year for Cannabis in America,” John Hudak and Philip Wallach discuss the three recreational marijuana ballot initiatives this year—in Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia—each of which ultimately passed. Hudak and Wallach outline what the ballot initiatives do (and don’t do) and what they mean for cannabis policy in those jurisdictions and into the future.
8. Birth Control, Religion, and Craft Stores
- In “What Does the Hobby Lobby Ruling Mean for Religious Freedom?,” FixGov crossposted an interview from Moment Magazine with Jon Rauch. In it Rauch responds to questions about what the Hobby Lobby case means in the broader context. Rauch encourages people to think calmly about the impact of the ruling—arguing that it is narrower than some initially believed.
9. Kansas & the Curious Case of a Democratic Dropout
- As part of FixGov’s 2014 Midterm Elections Series, University of Kansas’ Patrick Miller penned, “2014 Midterms: Key Issues in the Kansas Senate Race.” He profiles one of the most unique races of the cycle in which incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts lost his Democratic challenger and faced a serious challenge from independent Greg Orman. Miller writes that the race was largely devoid of a policy discussion and focused more on candidate image.
10. A Big Election That Means Little Change
- As part of FixGov’s 2014 Midterm Elections Series, Tom Mann penned, “2014 Midterms: Why the Election Will Matter…and Why It Won’t.” In this piece, Mann argues that the stars were aligned quite well for resounding GOP success in the midterms—particularly in Senate races. He explains, however, that despite the likely (and ultimate) Republican takeover of the Senate, gridlock would remain alive and well, and little substantive policy change would happen in the 114th Congress.
After an exciting year at FixGov, we’re looking to another compelling year in 2015. With a new Republican majority in the US Senate, a lame duck president dealing with fully divided government, and the start of the presidential campaign, next year will give our blog and its contributors plenty to write about. In the meantime, a huge thank you to the hundreds of thousands of readers who have visited FixGov over the past year!
Happy Holidays from FixGov, the Center for Effective Public Management, Governance Studies, and the Brookings Institution.