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Reads & Reactions

In this edition of Reads & Reactions: Palin vs. Trump, swimming vs. Governor Christie, the debt limit vs. catastrophe, and the the gender divide on same-sex marriage.


As evidenced by Slate’s David Weigel — who rounded up the posts from Twitter — Sarah Palin’s staff has apparently noticed what we noticed: the media is no longer in all-Palin, all-the-time mode, and Donald Trump is now receiving the plurality of attention among potential Republican candidates for president.

There’s more bad news for Ms. Palin. As Neil King Jr. at The Wall Street Journal notes, Mr. Trump may also supplant her in another 2012 barometer: filling ballrooms in Iowa.

At The Moderate Voice, Joe Gandelman fit Nate’s examination of Ms. Palin, Mr. Trump and media coverage into a larger look at a Trump candidacy and so-called birthers.

Salon’s Steve Kornacki wrote an interesting piece on the risks and rewards awaiting Gov. Chris Christie, of New Jersey, should he decide to enter the 2012 race. Pointing to Nate’s take on the weaknesses of the current Republican field, Mr. Kornacki wrote, “the water keeps getting warmer. And [Mr. Christie] still has time to jump in.”

Also at Salon, Peter Finocchiaro put together an overview of what would happen if the federal debt limit wasn’t raised. The post is packed with informative links on the economic consequences, and for the political calculations, Mr. Finocchiaro cites FiveThirtyEight’s post on debt-ceiling brinkmanship.

In another budget-related debate, Ironman, at The Next Right, disagrees with Nate on the politics of the House’s approval of the Ryan budget.

Now that opponents of gay marriage seem to be a minority in America, Matt Yglesias, at Think Progress, suggests that it’s time that President Obama flip-flop on the issue.

Nate’s post on same-sex marriage was also home to our comment-of-the-half-month, from “Another Susan” in Del Mar, Calif., who, after examining the details of the CNN poll featured in Nate’s post, concluded that “the most dramatic finding hasn’t been discussed, namely the gender gap: 57 percent of women and only 45 percent of men support gay marriage; opposed are 40 percent of women and 54 percent of men. Given that women are under-represented in legislatures, it is understandable that Congress and state legislatures would be slow to pass any laws permitting gays and lesbians to marry.”


The Economist looks at Chinese investment in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At RealClearPolitics, Sean Trende evaluates Mr. Obama’s re-election odds, concluding: “Right now I believe his chances of success are roughly 50-50, with perhaps more upside on the losing end. But none of the arguments for why he should be considered a strong favorite withstand scrutiny.” Mr. Trende tackles three of those arguments in Part 1 and three more in Part 2.

Micah Cohen is FiveThirtyEight’s former managing editor.