David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a research and consulting firm specializing in politics and consumer technology.

Recent Articles

Racism Alone Doesn’t Explain Trump’s Support, Which Also Reflects Economic Anxiety

It’s become popular these days to blame Trump’s rise on bigotry and racial animus alone, but that diagnosis misses the important role played by economic anxiety.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
A curious consensus is emerging to explain the rise of Donald Trump and the loyalty of his voters. The argument seems to be that Trump’s success is due not to his apostasy from traditional Republican positions on trade and other economic policies, but rather to pure bigotry and racial animus. This position has taken hold in circles that include such prominent analysts as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman , and Matt Yglesias and Dylan Matthews , both of Vox , among others . It has even become a running joke on social media to highlight a prejudiced statement by a Trump supporter, and add the ironic caption “economic anxiety!” The contrasting view, shared by The New Republic ’s Brian Beutler (who started the joke), Mother Jones’s Kevin Drum , and Tory Newmayer , at Fortune , is that both racism and economic anxiety are at work among Trump’s base voters, and go hand in hand. So who is right, and why does it matter? Those who argue that economics is...

Hostility Awaits Clinton

Donald Trump’s increasingly conspiracy-laden rhetoric is setting the stage for an unusually antagonistic relationship between congressional Republicans and a prospective President Clinton.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
House Republicans long ago made clear that, should Hillary Clinton win the Oval Office, she would not enjoy the “honeymoon” period that Congress traditionally offers incoming presidents. If anything, GOP lawmakers seem determined to create a more hostile environment for a new administration than any in recent memory. Clinton often made the case during the primary that she would be better equipped than Sanders to work with Congress, but GOP lawmakers do not look prepared to give her much of a chance—even if she manages to win by a substantial margin in November. Congressional Republicans have already sought to block President Obama at every turn. Given the anti-Clinton acrimony that Donald Trump has ginned up among increasingly extremist GOP base voters, coupled with his unsubstantiated claims of a “rigged” election, Clinton will likely be welcomed to Washington with calls for her impeachment or even imprisonment. Clinton will clash with Republicans in...

Why Millennials Don’t Like Clinton—And What She Can Do About It

Hillary Clinton’s support from millennial voters has dropped sharply since August, a problem that she needs to address even more aggressively to hold onto this key bloc of voters.

(Photo: Sipa USA via AP/Monica Jorge)
Hillary Clinton has long struggled with younger voters, but the problem now threatens to cost her the election. Clinton’s address to millennials this week underscored her awareness of how crucial they are to her chances in November. But her support from voters ages 18 to 35 has declined by double digits since August, raising an urgent question for Democrats: Why are millennial voters so reluctant to embrace Clinton? On the surface, Clinton should do well with younger voters. Millennials are the most progressive generation in America, and Hillary Clinton’s voting record in the Senate was reliably liberal on most issues. Millennials strongly support gender equality even more strongly than they do racial equality , so backing the first female candidate for president from a major party should be a no-brainer. But millennials also grew up in the shadow of the Great Recession, and this has radicalized them in a way that is often difficult for older generations to comprehend. In...

Nothing to Lose: A President Clinton Should Take Aggressive Climate Action

Hillary Clinton’s instincts for incrementalism won’t get her far on the issue of climate change, given the urgency of the issue and the intransigence of Republicans on Capitol Hill.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File
Hillary Clinton’s well-known pragmatic streak, which was one factor in her Democratic primary win over the more idealistic Bernie Sanders, may serve her well as president in such areas as economics and foreign policy. After all, both recessions and armed conflicts come and go. But there’s one area in which Clinton, should she defeat Donald Trump in November, should squelch her impulse to take small strides and achieve incremental compromise: climate change. As global temperatures continue to rise more quickly than governments can respond, the climate crisis pits any mandate for compromise against the fierce urgency of now. Clinton has boasted that she is “a progressive who likes to get things done,” and who knows “how to find common ground.” But given the opposition she will face from climate-deniers on Capitol Hill, she will have to take a more belligerent, unilateral approach on this issue if she wants to get anything done. It’s a course...