Last Week, Today: The Kasich Conundrum

Last Week's Roundup on Faith, Culture & Politics

1. The Kasich Conundrum

For most of the campaign, John Kasich had the highest favorable rating and lowest unfavorable rating of any candidate of either party. He was beloved by many evangelicals. And yet he lost. Why? Michael argues that "at a time when incivility is perceived as courage, and a lack of anger equated to a lack of understanding... Kasich was the most offensive candidate running." 

2. The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru

David Samuels profiles the rise of Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, and his strategic efforts to promote the Iran deal (Rhodes has since responded in a Medium post). The exchange raises important questions about modern American foreign policy and the ethics of policy advocacy.   

3. Donald Trump and the Authoritarian Temptation

Shadi Hamid, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, argues that Americans are now getting a sense of what politics can be like in the Middle East -- that is, how illiberal candidates can be democratically elected. As context, Michael tweeted about Hamid, "I don't agree with him all the time, but there is no more vital voice on int'l affairs right now than @shadihamid."

4. Few Americans Turn to Religious Leaders for Advice When Making Major Life Decisions

When faced with a major decision, religious Americans are more likely to "rely a lot" on research, prayer, advice from family and professional experts than advice from religious leaders. Only evangelicals and historically black Christians are more likely to rely on counsel from religious leaders than professional experts, but they still would rely more on research, prayer and advice from family. 

5. The Present

"The Present," a three-minute short animation about a boy and a dog, has garnered 59 festival awards. Since it was published on Vimeo, it's been watched 9.5 million times. Watch to find out why and to warm your heart. 

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Michael’s book, Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America is available for pre-order now on Amazon.