Jonathan Tilove

Jonathan Tilove writes about race for Newhouse News Service.

Recent Articles

The New Map of American Politics

The Pacific coast is becoming more Democratic, the Mountain States more Republican—and the South is back up for grabs. Migration is changing America’s electoral geography, and Democrats may yet come out the winners.

In 1964 an Orange County man by the name of Ron Rankin helped mastermind the conservative takeover of the California Republican Party. But, after Barry Goldwater's electoral debacle that fall, Rankin says he looked homeward and realized that his devotion to right-wing politics had exacted a cost: "My family life was zilch." So Rankin decided to move with his wife and five children to a quieter place. He wanted a rural community—albeit one within driving distance of an orthodontist. And he also wanted a place that was politically ripe for the hard-right gospel he still intended to be his life's work. "We looked at the constitutions of the various states along the Rockies, from Idaho to New Mexico, and Idaho's constitution was so far backwards by contemporary comparison as to be, in our estimation, ahead of the others." So in 1965 the Rankins left California for Idaho, and within two years Rankin was among the leaders of an effort to recall Idaho's antiwar Democratic Senator Frank...

Checking Pandora's Box

C ensus Director Kenneth Prewitt officially launched the 2000 Census effort in January by riding a dog sled into Unalakleet, Alaska, where he was feted by residents of this tiny fishing village on the Bering Sea with a potluck dinner of moose liver and muktuk (whale skin) and entertained by enumeration-minded cheerleaders who chanted, "Census, census, count us first!" The next morning Prewitt obliged, knocking on the door of an aged Inuit couple and filling out the very first census form. It was a bright beginning for America's demographic Iditarod, but the singular clarity and good cheer of that moment may seem quite quaint by the time the government reports to America the final census outcome. Clouding the horizon are two large questions, both centering on race: First, the Census Bureau right now is on track to produce two separate and different counts of the American people. One will be the actual head count it makes of census day, April 1, the day in the life of the American...