The Electoral College Is Not Democratic. And That’s Just Fine.

America is not a democracy. To be precise, it is a nationally-federated constitutional republic. This distinction, however, has sadly been largely erased from the national lexicons, pointed out only by those who are immediately dismissed and scornfully labelled a pedant. Yet, that this is not an issue of semantics is all too evident in the reaction to the presidential election. Anti-Trump protestors, justifying their histrionics by babbling about “democracy!”, claim the election was stolen by…

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2016 and the New Populism

Election night confirmed a long-held suspicion. This whole electoral cycle has been a lesson in humility for pundits overconfident in the reliability of data forecasting, broadcast from the Twilight Zone. That said, the profundity of it is staggering, even for skeptics like myself. This was not a runaway victory for Trump. Yet, because the forecasts were so very wrong, it certainly feels like a mandate. In the coming days, shattered political scientists are sure to…

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National Elections Don’t Occur in a Vacuum

Today, all eyes are on the presidential race, and understandably so. But national elections don’t occur in a vacuum. Understanding the results at the top of the ticket requires interpreting the result in the context of state and local races which occur simultaneously. Elections with huge margins of victory at the top of the ticket are immediately branded as “mandates” or interpreted as a “referendum” on a particularly exigent national issue. However, all elections are…

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What Orwell Got Wrong About the Rewriting of History

George Orwell was wrong. A statist government using threat of force is not necessary to rewrite the recent past. Society is perfectly willing to censor itself of its own volition where partisan politics is concerned. In the fictional world of 1984, the ruthless efficiency of an omniscient state working to blot out all references to its past fallibility was necessary to convince the populace their own memories were wrong. In 2016 America, this kind of…

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Can Truth Be Defamatory? 2016 Will Decide

The 2016 election is a referendum, but not on any single issue. It encompasses something far larger; it is nothing less than a modern day relitigation of the Zenger trial. Can facts be defamatory? That was the question colonial New York when newspaperman John Peter Zenger printed an editorial critical of the royal governor. Though the allegations in it were true, they were also considered libelous by laws of the time, and therefore treasonous, for…

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The problem with vote-shaming elected officials

Anytime an office-holding politician expresses doubt in some other member of their party or an individual seeking to become a member of the party, the floodgates of rationalism instantly crumble and a deluge of outrage pours forth. In some regards, this is understandable. Party officials do cede some of their individual autonomy when they gain office as their power is contingent on the party’s resources and credibility with its constituents; it is only fair that,…

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The Clinton-Comey Email Scandal and Rule of Law in America

If there’s one thing the left and right can agree on in terms of what the evolving kerfuffle surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State means, it’s that America is no longer a nation governed by blind justice. In the narrative construction in which both political parties are engaging, it is not the virtue epistemology of anyone’s actions, particularly the agents of the Justice Department, which…

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