Impeaching Rousseff

Who is Rousseff? She is the president of Brazil and both she and her government are currently mired in a corruption scandal. Yesterday a parliamentary committee voted in favour of proceeding with impeachment, the first step in a lengthy process. What is that process? Thankfully, we have a BBC graphic to explain it all.

Brazil's impeachment process
Brazil’s impeachment process

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

How Trump Could Get to 270

Trump won Arizona last night. And that is a big deal, despite losing Utah. He was never expected to win Utah. And while he Arizona was expected, the magnitude of his victory there was…big. If you replicate even something close to that in a demographically similar state like California, he can rack up some big delegate numbers.

But the big story these days is the anti-Trump movement, largely centred upon either Ted Cruz or tactical, state-by-state voting to force a contested convention (which as a political nerd would be just fantastic). Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, however, wrote an article that I largely agree with that a Trump nomination might actually give the Republicans a better shot at the White House than Ted Cruz. The whole article is worth a read.

285 votes
285 votes

Credit for the piece goes to Chris Cillizza.

Party Demographics

Alas, these are not the fun type of parties, but the two main US political ones. But overall, before some more primary and caucus votes tomorrow, I think this Wall Street Journal piece nicely captures and illustrates the changes in and the differences between the bases of the two parties.

The makeup of the two large US political parties
The makeup of the two large US political parties

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.

How Moderate is John Kasich

Last night contained one victory for John Kasich. The Ohio governor outlasted all but Trump and Cruz and therefore represents the only establishment candidate. He also supposedly represents the moderate wing of the Republican Party. But within an article on FiveThirtyEight is a map showing how he may not be as moderate as he claims. Kasich has signed legislation creating difficult conditions for clinics and so many have closed.

Abortions and clinics
Abortions and clinics

Credit for the piece goes to Ella Koeze.

Another Tuesday Another Election Day

Well, here’s another Tuesday so here’s another election day. Today we have an animation from the Wall Street Journal that succinctly shows how important this evening’s results are for Donald Trump. If he wins everything, his path to the nomination is easier, if not, it is doable, but far from easy. That sounds obvious, but it contrasts with other candidates who, if they lose, no longer have a chance.

Trump's route to the nomination
Trump’s route to the nomination

The really nice bit about this piece, however, is that at the end you can make your own predictions for each state and see how that impacts the delegate count.

Credit for the piece goes to Randy Yeip and Stuart Thompson.

A Timeline of Supreme Court Nominations

Beyond Donald Trump, Capitol Hill finds itself consumed by the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia. Democrats insist President Obama’s eventual nomination should be considered by the Senate. Senate Republicans rebut saying that a vote should not happen until the next presidential term. That would be the longest, by nearly a factor of three, the Supreme Court has had a vacant seat.

The New York Times put together a graphic article exploring the timeline of Supreme Court nominations: when the seat became vacant; when the successor was nominated; and whether the nominee was accepted or rejected.

Recent history
Recent history

What I really enjoy is the reversed convention of a timeline. I have made timelines myself on a few occasions and placed recent events at the top, as like here, or to the left in a horizontal format. The idea being recent data and history is more relevant than distant historic information. But placing the relevant data at the bottom or far right makes it more difficult to access.

The timeline bit I like also finds itself in the representation of presidential terms, which the designers chose to display as a countdown from four years from left-to-right. That works very well given the narrative.

And it goes without saying that the annotations add invaluable context.

Overall, a very solid piece.

Credit for the piece goes to Gregor Aisch, Josh Keller, K.K. Rebecca Lai, and Karen Yourish.

Trump Conservatism

Another Tuesday, more primary and caucus victories for Donald Trump in his quest to become the Republican nominee. However one of the refrains you hear from the right is that he is not a true conservative. How true is that? Well the BBC put together an article comparing Trump to the other candidates and some previous Republican presidents on various issues like foreign policy.

Republicans on foreign policy
Republicans on foreign policy

Okay, so it sort of works with cutout photos of people pasted onto an American flag background. But I cannot quite take the piece seriously because of its amateurish design. Maybe the American flag makes sense as a background graphic? But the heads? Surely not.

So what happens if we take a more serious approach—though I admit originally the idea of a Trump candidacy seemed farcical—to this graphic? Well I took a quick stab this morning.

My take
My take

Credit for the original goes to the BBC graphics department.

Irish Coalition Government

As I alluded to yesterday, in addition to visualising Irish election results the Irish Times built a coalition builder.

The current coalition is far from a majority in the new Dáil
The current coalition is far from a majority in the new Dáil

The principle behind the visualisation is sound: how could a government be created? And so the user goes away and creates his or her fantasy government. From a design perspective, the piece is nice with bold, party-related colours and clear controls. The Irish Times also included a nice subtlety with independent TDs (members of the Dáil) as clicking the plus button does not add all ten, but one person at a time. That reflects the fact the independents are not a whole party but ten individuals.

But I personally keep returning to a single question: how realistic are these fantasies? I think an addition that would benefit the story-telling element of the piece would be a guided narrative. Start with the screenshot above, which presents the coalition from the previous Dáil. Clearly they are far from a majority. A guided narrative could explain the likelihood and possible priorities of a various number of plausible coalitions. It would also be able to exclude the more ridiculous pairings.

Credit for the piece goes to the Irish Times’ graphics department.

The Shape of the 32nd Dáil

Ireland calls its lower-house of parliament the Dáil and its prime minister taoiseach. When I visited Dublin, election season was in full swing and upon the first Friday of my return to Chicago, Ireland went to the polls to elect the 32nd Dáil. The vote resulted in a hung parliament, i.e. with no single party in control—there are more than two political parties. The Irish Times put together an interactive piece looking at the makeup of the new assembly. (There is also a coalition builder, but we will take a look at that separately.)

The Dáil by age
The Dáil by age

Credit for the piece goes to the Irish Times’ graphics department.

Tracking Super Tuesday

On Tuesday I tracked the results primarily with the New York Times and the Washington Post. I really enjoyed the Post’s coverage as they designed a homepage for the night’s results. The results were placed at the centre of the content, as you can see in the screenshot below. Below the map and table, content updated on the right with links to more static content on the left.

The results hub Tuesday night
The results hub Tuesday night

The map and table above naturally updated throughout the course of evening. I found their decision to move states from one table to the other when the race was declared a brilliant little decision. When reinforced with a small checkmark, the movement from the lower table to the final table at the top gave a real sense of progress—maybe momentum—to the victories of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Final results table and map
Final results table and map

Overall, this was a very helpful site for me to follow the results streaming in Tuesday night.

Credit for the piece goes to the Washington Post graphics department.