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The Homa Peninsula has been known to science since 1911, and fossil specimens from the area comprise many type specimens for common African mammalian paleospecies. Here we discuss the fauna and the paleoenvironmental information from the Homa Peninsula. The Homa Peninsula is a 200 km2 area in Homa Bay County, situated on the southern margin of the Winam Gulf of Lake Victoria in Kenya (Figure 29.1). Lake Victoria is estimated to be the third largest lake in the world, with a surface area of 68,900 km2 and a maximum length of approximately 616 km. Although its catchment is extensive, it is relatively shallow compared to any other lake of similar size, with a maximum depth of 84 m. Lake Victoria is located in a depression formed by the western and eastern branches of the East African Rift System (EARS), and is at an average elevation of 1135 m a.s.l. (Database for Hydrological Time Series of Inland Waters, 2017).
Over a month after 2020 election night had ended, the results of the presidential contest between former Vice President Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump seemed obvious to all except President Trump and his supporters in the Republican Party. Even as Biden’s victory over Trump became clear in the days following the election, a campaign unfolded to overturn the vote totals and deny Biden his victory. The most worrisome elements have involved armed supporters of President Trump threatening election officials with violence or death. No less extreme has been unprecedented litigation supported by seventeen Republican state attorneys general and more than half of House Republicans asking the US Supreme Court to reverse the election. The case is sure to lose. But in the process, broad swaths of the Republican Party leadership have indicated they are willing to use every institutional lever at their disposal to overturn public opinion as expressed in the voting booth.
The COVID-19 pandemic that struck the United States in early 2020 amplified already-stark economic and political divisions and revealed a nation unprepared to launch an immediate public health and economic response. Whether it was the fragmentation of the American federal system, the glaring racial and class disparities in economic and health outcomes, or the weaknesses of America’s tattered safety net, the crisis brought America’s distinctive mix of multi-venue governance, limited social protections, weak labor power, and loosely regulated markets prominently – and often tragically – into display.
As this group met in Cambridge in late February 2020 to discuss revised chapters for this project, we did not know that a COVID-19 super-spreader event was unfolding less than three miles away – ironically, at the conference of a major bio-technology firm. By October, estimates suggested that the strains unleashed at that single event might have infected 300,000 Americans (Wines and Harmon 2020). Well before then, of course, it was clear that a world-historical calamity was unfolding before us.
The study of American political economy requires focus on a very different set of actors than does the conventional study of American politics as practiced by contemporary scholars. In particular, the core questions surrounding the American political economy call for a deep understanding of the preferences, power, and tactics of organized actors – and the ways that those organized actors both influence, and are influenced by, economic and political institutions. And within the universe of US organized interests, producer and class interests are especially relevant, encompassing labor, business, and increasingly, wealthy Americans that are collectively constitutive of the political economy. Such a political economy perspective contrasts with other approaches that either do not center economic interests or treat such interests as relatively interchangeable with one another.
Attitudes toward social out-groups can be improved through “analogic perspective-taking,” whereby respondents are encouraged to use an analogy to take the perspective of the group. It is unclear, however, whether analogic perspective-taking can improve attitudes toward political organizations; how perspective-taking fares compared to the provision of narrative alone; and the limits of the attitude changes it creates. We report results from an experiment that tested analogic perspective-taking exercises about members of teachers’ unions. While perspective-taking improves attitudes toward unions, union members, and willingness to pay more in education taxes, it also increases support for some antiunion policies. A second study suggests that the bidirectional policy effects are attributable to subjects’ difficulty distinguishing pro- from antiunion policies. Analogic perspective-taking can improve attitudes toward social and political groups. But narrative exchange is not always superior to narrative provision, and both approaches may yield mixed effects on policy attitudes.
This volume brings together leading political scientists to explore the distinctive features of the American political economy. The introductory chapter provides a comparatively informed framework for analyzing the interplay of markets and politics in the United States, focusing on three key factors: uniquely fragmented and decentralized political institutions; an interest group landscape characterized by weak labor organizations and powerful, parochial business groups; and an entrenched legacy of ethno-racial divisions embedded in both government and markets. Subsequent chapters look at the fundamental dynamics that result, including the place of the courts in multi-venue politics, the political economy of labor, sectional conflict within and across cities and regions, the consolidation of financial markets and corporate monopoly and monopsony power, and the ongoing rise of the knowledge economy. Together, the chapters provide a revealing new map of the politics of democratic capitalism in the United States.