Yesterday Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his much-battered social media platform will institute new verification requirements for popular pages and for anyone wishing to run political advertisements. This comes on the back of public outrage over Facebook’s failure to shut down Russian bot accounts during the 2016 election and public ire following the revelation that user data was obtained and used, in some cases illegally, by advertising firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook is not culpable in…View More Social Media Shouldn’t Police the Content of Speech
It is one of the great ironies of modern politics that vague, colloquial conceptions of democracy understood simply as the moral authority of the people’s will promulgate the view that partisan ideological labels have meanings which fluctuate with different forms of self-identification in the polity. In other words, the semantics of modern ideology is rooted in a self-affirming loop of populist efficacy whereby the people’s conception of words matters because it is the people who…View More How “America First” Rhetoric Reconfigures Classic Political Theory
The aftermath of the 2016 election is a tale of two separate and competing definitions of equality. To those lobbying for the abolition of the electoral college, egalitarianism is expressed directly through the popular vote, which embodies the will of the simple majority—the only gauge necessary for determining what is “fair.” To those who remain staunchly behind the electoral college, egalitarianism is slightly more nuanced. There is no moral mandate behind a majority by numbers.…View More Defining equality in the American political system
The 2016 election represented a fundamental shift in American politics. Donald Trump’s ability to successfully position himself as a Republican who publicly repudiated traditional right-wing ideas such as free trade and limited government reconfigured the traditional two-party divide. America now has two parties that embrace a strong, managerial federal government. This is not a phenomenon solely dependent on Trump; he simply spearheaded the movement. An observation of Congressional Republican opposition to Obamacare—which slowly morphed from…View More Intraparty GOP Opposition Should Be Touted in New Administration
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…View More The Electoral College Is Not Democratic. And That’s Just Fine.
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…View More 2016 and the New Populism
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…View More National Elections Don’t Occur in a Vacuum