2019年11月22日 星期五

Holiday, oh, a holiday

and the best one of the year.
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By Jamelle Bouie

Opinion Columnist

Thanksgiving is next week, and with a little time off, I’ll be able to read a few of the books on my list. I want to mention two in particular, one already available and one forthcoming.

Regular readers will know that I’m a little … strident about the Electoral College, or rather, ending the Electoral College and adopting “one person, one vote” for our presidential elections. My colleague Jesse Wegman of the editorial board shares my preoccupation and has a book coming out on the subject, “Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College.”

He goes through the history of the Electoral College — debunking the popular notion that it was designed to protect “small” states — and makes a powerful argument for finally ending its stranglehold on our politics. He also makes an important, underappreciated point: that “red/blue” maps obscure the fact that most places have plenty of red and plenty of blue, and that it’s the Electoral College that effectively nullifies the votes of millions of Americans, urban, suburban and rural.

The other book is a new release by the historian Kevin Levin, “Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth.” The title says it all: The idea that there were black Confederate soldiers is one of the most common claims in popular Civil War discourse, almost always brought out to challenge and downplay the Confederacy’s commitment to slavery and white supremacy. As Levin writes in his introduction:

Stories of black Confederate soldiers and loyal slaves were embraced as a means to defend the memory of the Confederacy as well as in response to deteriorating race relations at the end of the twentieth century and beginning of the twenty-first.

As a big Civil War nerd, I’m fascinated by the staying power of this myth and how it has made its way into popular consciousness. I look forward to tackling Levin’s investigation.

Oh, and the holidays also mean I won’t have a newsletter next Friday. Stay tuned for the Friday after next.


What I Wrote

Looking at impeachment, I argued Democrats should not be afraid to pursue a long investigation, both on the merits and because they have a direct political interest in keeping Mitch McConnell out of the process for as long as possible.

But just because no one ran on impeachment doesn’t mean it wasn’t in the air. Voters could have shown they were tired of Democratic investigations. They could have elevated the president’s allies. Instead, voters handed Trump an unambiguous defeat. And that is much more than just a blow to the president’s immediate political fortunes.

And, jumping off a new investigation of housing discrimination in Long Island, I made the point that ordinary racism and discrimination are still big problems in American society.

There are still racist individuals. They still act in racist ways. And in the aggregate, their actions still work to disadvantage entire groups on the basis of race. It’s not as visible as it once was, but it is real, and it still weighs on the lives — and the livelihoods — of millions of people.

Currently Reading

Kim Phillips-Fein on Generation X in Dissent magazine.

Sean Illing on American nationalism in Vox.

John Hendrickson on Joe Biden’s stutter in The Atlantic.

Alex Pareene on the Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg campaigns in The New Republic.

Jay Caspian Kang on the historian Noel Ignatiev in The New Yorker.



If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please consider recommending it to friends. They can sign up here. If you want to share your thoughts on an item in this week’s newsletter or on the newsletter in general, please email me at jamelle-newsletter@nytimes.com.

Photo of the Week

Chiles Peach Orchard in Crozet, Va.Jamelle Bouie

I said I would occasionally share a photo of my toddler, and here’s one for this month. It’s Carter at his first pumpkin patch, just after eating a little dirt. It was very exciting. Photo taken with a digital Leica range finder using a Voigtlander lens.


Now Eating: Balsamic Roasted Winter Squash and Wild Rice Salad

I’m not actually cooking this now, but I will be making it for Thanksgiving! Light, sweet and acidic, this is a perfect side for a holiday meal. It’s also very pretty if, like me, you care about the aesthetics of a dish. Recipe comes from The New York Times Cooking section. The original recipe calls for celery, but I don’t like celery as its own thing, so I use shallots instead, for a little sharpness.


  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 3½ cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut in small dice (about 3 cups peeled and diced, weighing 1½ to 1¾ pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (more to taste)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or puréed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil, or substitute extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, chives, tarragon
  • ½ cup diced shallots
  • 1 5- or 6-ounce bag baby arugula or spinach


Rinse the wild rice. Bring the water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, add salt to taste and the rice. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, until the rice is tender and has begun to splay. Drain through a strainer, return to the pot and cover the pot with a clean dish towel. Return the lid to the pot and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the squash in a bowl or directly on the baking sheet and toss with salt to taste, the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread on the baking sheet in an even layer and make sure to tip all of the liquid remaining in the bowl over the squash. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so that the squash browns evenly. The squash should be tender all the way through. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt to taste and mustard. Whisk in the remaining olive oil and the walnut oil.

Combine the wild rice, squash, herbs and shallots in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Line a platter, individual plates or a wide salad bowl with the baby spinach or arugula. Top with the salad and serve.

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