A rebuttal to that lengthy article on Cambridge Analytica — Leonard Bershidsky at Bloomberg View registers a rebuttal to the article that claims Trump’s data operation was what swung the pendulum over to his side. Key quote:

Had she won, Clinton’s head of analytics, Elan Kriegel, would be where Cambridge Analytica is now. But in a contest of sorcerers, the loser is never truly magical.

So is Trump an authoritarian mastermind or an incompetent buffoon? — The two, apparently, look the same. A little sanity from someone who studies this stuff. Maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are not the diabolical masterminds that we’re being told they are. Time will tell. The key thing when reading these tea leaves is a political science problem called observational equivalence:

Let me explain how observational equivalence works with an example. President Trump may have brought Steve Bannon into the NSC because he is consolidating power and intends to sideline all regular establishment players in the formulation of American foreign policy. Or he might have brought Bannon into the NSC because he is so isolated that he needs someone who he believes he can trust, and everyone in the foreign policy establishment is dragging feet and dissembling. The former is a sign of strength. The latter is a sign of weakness. Both have the same observable implication.

Democracy Requires Civic Engagement — from Polyarchy, the Vox property you really should follow if you like well written poly sci posts. The article explains why civic engagement is so important.