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These were our 10 most popular posts of 2019

You were very interested in evidence that could be used in the fierce partisan battles in the U.S.

President Trump turns to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in February 2019. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Happy new decade to all! TMC presents an annual tradition: our 10 most popular posts of 2019. This year, dear readers, you especially devoured any piece indicating that one side was correct in America’s fierce partisan battle. Here were your favorites.

10. Opposing Trump is making Nancy Pelosi more popular.

In January, TMC editor Michael Tesler reported that, during the government shutdown that began in late 2018, Trump’s approval was sinking — but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s was rising. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that in October, Tesler was similarly able to report that the impeachment inquiry, too, was making Pelosi more popular. Apparently, leading the opposition is a good look for the speaker.

9. Why are Republicans silent about the Ukraine whistleblower scandal? This one chart explains.

And in September, Tesler showed us exactly why congressional Republicans were, to a person, standing by their man. He could probably run the same chart again today to explain the impeachment vote.

8. White evangelicals fear atheists and Democrats would strip away their rights. Why?

Just last week, Paul A. Djupe took a look at how right-wing media stars have been threatening civil war if Trump is removed from office through impeachment. He went on to examine white evangelicals’ deep fears that they would lose their rights under a more secular government — noting that that’s what those evangelicals say they would do to Democrats and atheists, if they could.

7. Why the shutdown ended — and what to watch for now

TMC editor and Congress-watcher-in-chief Sarah Binder explained why the standoff ended with a win for Democrats and why we shouldn’t expect Republicans to let that happen again soon. (And don’t miss her four takeaways from 2019’s congressional roller coaster ride, with clues about what’s to come in 2020.)

6. Americans don’t want Trump’s border wall. This is what they want instead.

Steven Kull reported on his survey showing that only 4 in 10 Americans favored a border wall. More surprising, he reported that:

The public at large, including Democrats, Republicans and independents, agrees on many immigration reforms that amount to an alternative strategy. Bipartisan majorities favor current proposals in Congress that aim to prevent the hiring of undocumented workers, alongside proposals that would create more opportunities to hire immigrants legally.

5. We checked 100 years of protests in 150 countries. Here’s what we learned about the working class and democracy.

Many of you couldn’t stop discussing Sirianne Dahlum, Carl Henrik Knutsen and Tore Wig’s findings that the success of protests depends on who’s doing the protesting. (We saw those r/socialist threads!) As the authors put it:

Industrial workers have been key agents of democratization and, if anything, are even more important than the urban middle classes. When industrial workers mobilize mass opposition against a dictatorship, democratization is very likely to follow.

4. Did India shoot down a Pakistani F-16 in February? This just became a big deal.

In April, with India’s parliamentary elections coming up, India and Pakistan vehemently disagreed over what had happened in February, when Pakistan downed an Indian MiG-21 warplane. Had India gotten one of Pakistan’s fighter planes first — or not? Sameer Lalwani and Emily Tallo explained why the dispute was significant for both sides.

3. Terrorism does increase with immigration — but only homegrown, right-wing terrorism

Richard J. McAlexander examined data for eight Western European countries and found that “when immigration levels to a country increase, the total number of terrorist attacks increased in that country as well.” He wrote that political rhetoric condemning immigrants might stoke the kind of cultural grievances that lead to such attacks, noting that:

My findings suggest some forms of terrorism may simply be the product of cultural grievances on the part of people who have been radicalized politically, as in the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack, Quebec City mosque attack and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Perhaps that would apply to the attacks this week on a Hasidic Hanukkah celebration and this summer at an El Paso Walmart.

2. The smash success of Captain Marvel shows us that conservatives are ignoring the alt-right

Bethany Lacina found that superheroes who are women or people of color attract new audiences — without losing the old ones, despite Twitter attacks and right-wing calls for boycotts.

1. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes

But our most popular post, by far — boosted by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ilhan Omar, and doubted by others — was one in which Ayal Feinberg, Regina Branton and Valerie Martinez-Ebers “examined whether there was a correlation between the counties that hosted one of Trump’s 275 presidential campaign rallies in 2016 and increased incidents of hate crimes in subsequent months.” In brief: Yes, compared with counties that did not host such rallies, they did. Read their evidence for yourself.

Happy new decade — and stay with us into the 2020s for more!

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