As the year comes to a close, I figured it was time to make another short post reflecting on this blog. Last year, Evan wrote this piece, and he published it on February 14th, the one year anniversary of Politics in Theory and Practice‘s founding. However, because WordPress tracks statistics on a yearly basis, I figured it made more sense to move this post to December.
As of today, the blog hosts 261 posts (including this one), has been viewed 27,684 times, and has attracted 16,716 unique viewers. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority (about 70%) of our views comes from the United States. However, Politics in Theory and Practice has also developed a robust international audience, with the U.K., Canada, India, Australia, Germany, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, and the Netherlands rounding out the top ten. I’ve also begun to notice a cyclical trend in viewership, with the autumn and spring seeing huge spikes and the summer and winter lagging behind. This pattern is clear in the 2016 data as well, and I wonder if this is a phenomenon experienced by other bloggers or merely a quirk of our blog. Finally, it’s important to note that we have introduced new kinds of content this year, including podcasts and weekly links. I have enjoyed both of these new additions immensely because they are both fun to make and not very difficult to put together.
In his review article last year, Evan listed his favorite blog posts of 2016. But in sticking with the more data-driven approach to this post, and in an effort to represent reader preferences, I’ve decided to simply list the top five most viewed posts since January 1, 2017. So, without further ado, here they are.
1. Yes, Donald Trump Wants to Take Your Rights Away – Unsurprisingly, Evan’s dire warnings about Trump remain incredibly poignant and popular a year into the Trump presidency. In many ways, Trump has been far less damaging than I initially feared. However, he is still a historically bad president whose ability to consistently land own goals is second to none.
2. Why do Political Parties Exist – This has proven to be by far the most successful post I’ve ever written, and, ironically, it would never have been published had I not found myself in a random gchat discussing party formation with an old high school friend. I think the party system is confusing for many and frustrating for all, and it therefore remains a topic of enduring interest. This is especially the case now given the party infighting we are currently seeing in the U.S. and certain European countries that shall remain unnamed.
3. The Impact of Divided Government on Legislative Output – This is another classic post by Evan examining how cohabitation impacts legislative output and efficiency. Ironically, this piece may need supplementing given how poor President Trump’s legislative record has been despite total GOP control over all branches of the federal government. It certainly makes one wonder about what might happen if 2018 is a wave election for the Democrats.
4. Plato’s Critique of Democracy and Contemporary Politics – This piece has received a massive amount of interest, and it is the only guest post we’ve had that has garnered close to 1,000 views. Santul, the author of the piece, contends that the popularity of his post is attributable in no small part to the provocative image I chose to accompany the text. I think there is certainly a grain of truth to this. However, I also believe that the post demonstrates both the enduring interest that exists in ancient Greek thought and the increasing frustration voters are feeling toward the exceptionally dysfunctional governments of the democratic world.
5. On Political Ideology and Pragmatism – In an ever more polarized America, it is reassuring to see that so many readers find Evan’s appeal for pragmatic politics compelling. I’m not sure how we will break free of the vitriolic and hate-filled partisan divide that continues to damage American civil society, but I am convinced that little progress can be made until the demagogues and extremists are vanquished from office.