We’ve come to the end of our second calendar year at The Washington Post. We thank our many readers and contributors for making this our most successful year by far. As usual, we featured research-based analyses of domestic and international politics as well as sports and popular culture. Below are the 10 most widely read of posts of 2015.
10. Nepal is in crisis, and it has nothing to do with the earthquake. Nirabh Koirala and Geoffrey Macdonald wrote this incisive explainer of the political crisis that has shook Nepal since the devastating earthquake in April 2015.
9. How does the NFL’s Roger Goodell stay in power? By acting like a dictator. Political scientist and completely unbiased Patriots fan Michael Horowitz used political science research on the behavior of dictators to analyze Goodell’s controversial response to the “Deflategate” scandal (or, as Horowitz would undoubtedly say, “scandal”).
8. Everything you need to know about how the presidential primary works. Joshua Putnam of the excellent Frontloading HQ blog explained how we nominate presidential candidates, the difference between primaries and caucuses, why Iowa and New Hampshire get to go first, and the much-misunderstood rules about the winner-take-all and proportional allocation of delegates.
7. Born that way? ‘Scientific’ racism is creeping back into our thinking. Here’s what to watch out for. W. Carson Boyd and Matthew Hughey summarized new research showing the pernicious persistence of genetic explanations for the behavior of African-Americans.
6. Why Asian Americans don’t vote Republican. Vanderbilt University political scientist Cecilia Hyunjung Mo discussed the striking migration of Asian-Americans to the Democratic Party, and how even seemingly minor racial microaggressions can increase Asian-Americans’ loyalty to Democrats.
5. The North Korean government is getting weaker and more vulnerable. That should scare you. Samuel Ramani argued that, although the North Korean regime isn’t on the brink of collapse, several signs point to its weakness. And any weakness or instability poses important security challenges for the United States as well as China and other powers in the region.
4. Why are working-class kids less likely to get elite jobs? Because they study too hard in college. Henry Farrell interviewed Lauren Rivera about her new book Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs. In it, she argues that by forgoing extracurricular activities to focus on academics or hold a job, working-class students end up putting themselves at a disadvantage when elite colleges and employers use those activities to screen applicants.
3. New ranking of U.S. presidents puts Lincoln at No. 1, Obama at 18; Kennedy judged most overrated. Brandon Rottinghaus and Justin Vaughn discussed a new survey of political scientists who study the presidency. In this survey, political scientists ranked the presidents — sometimes in surprising ways. Views of Obama were distinctly mixed.
2. This is why the Paris attacks have gotten more news coverage than other terrorist attacks. Brian Phillips breaks down why the Paris attacks garnered so much more attention than other recent terrorist attacks, even those that were far more deadly.
1. “House of Cards” is the worst show about American politics. Ever. Seth Masket speaks the truth.
Happy New Year!