What Does Divided Government Mean for the Future of Politics?

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, there was some lively debate among journalists and political scientists about what voters were trying to say when they split their tickets and gave themselves divided state government.

It was an important issue back then because most of the country was actually doing this -- electing a governor from one party and a legislature from the opposing side, or voting for a Democratic majority in one legislative chamber and a Republican majority in the other. Both the 1988 and 1996 elections produced 31 states with divided government of one sort or the other. READ MORE

Urban Acupuncture Is Coming to America

A little more than 100 years ago, the celebrated architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham offered his famously bombastic advice to those who wished to change the face of America’s cities. “Make no little plans,” he said. “They have no magic to stir men’s blood. ... Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”

MORE: Read the rest of the December issue. READ MORE

Liquor Dealers Leading Arkansas’ Fight to Keep Prohibition

ELECTION 2014: This article is part of our coverage of ballot measures to watch.

This is a hectic political season in Arkansas. There are close, hotly contested elections for governor and U.S. senator. All of the most sensitive questions facing the country are playing out in TV commercials hitting every corner of the state. But the most intriguing issue in Arkansas this year hasn’t been immigration, or schools, or the use of military force in the Middle East. The most intriguing issue has been Prohibition. READ MORE

The Evolution of State Legislatures Has Driven Some to Flee

On the surface, there’s nothing unusual about Mary Liz Holberg’s decision to retire from the Minnesota House after 16 years of service. Sixteen years is a long time in any legislative body, and Holberg’s Republicans are in the minority in the House -- and likely to stay there for now.

What’s interesting is Holberg’s choice of a career move. She is running to be a commissioner in her home county of Dakota, located on the southern outskirts of metropolitan Minneapolis. If she wins, she will join another former legislator, Republican Chris Gerlach, who left the state Senate to become a Dakota County commissioner in 2013. READ MORE

Goodbye Gayborhood?

Twenty years ago this spring, I had a long, candid conversation with Timuel Black, one of the lions of the civil rights movement in Chicago, a man whose activist career dates all the way back to his youth in the 1940s.

We were discussing the challenges and opportunities that black people had dealt with in the years since segregation, when all of a sudden Black sighed and said something that startled me. "You know," he said, "sometimes I think we made a mistake leaving the ghetto." READ MORE