Magazine April 30, 2012, Issue

Trend Is Not Destiny

Bill Clinton during an event in Houston, Tex., September 26, 1997 (Brian Dear/Reuters)
The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs — and Who Will Take It, by Sean Trende (Palgrave Macmillan, 240 pp., $27)

When the time arrives to draw up the curriculum for the Walter Lippmann Pundit Training Academy — think clown college, but less amusing — Sean Trende’s book ought to be at the top of the reading list.

This is a remarkably informative and insightful primer on American elections, chockablock with trivia, charts, and historical tables. Most important, the young pundit who reads it will learn the risks inherent in his profession’s most dangerous activity: predicting the future. If he’s not careful, our pundit might end up like Herbert Hoover’s Treasury secretary, Ogden Mills, who told his former boss in 1936 that

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