In the buildup to the midterm elections, nothing garnered more attention than the much-ballyhooed “blue wave” being sold by many politicos. It was hard to tell whether they truly believed this prediction or it was a tactical move, a self-fulfilling prophecy, as if the more they talked it up, the more the masses would get on board and make it a reality. As human nature would lead us to expect after any competition that lacks a definite winner and loser, both sides rushed to claim victory. They also applauded the high voter turnout rate. Unfortunately, this phenomenon often has an effect opposite to the outcome they are trying to elicit -- overinterpreting the strength of one or the other party’s performance after the election will discourage turnout the next time.Read More
Coming into the school year, I was only somewhat aware of the immigration and refugee crisis spreading all over Europe. It was not until my Introduction to Public Policy class that I really got a grasp of the surrounding issues. The class focuses on immigration and refugee policy. A major group project in it is a policy brief on the immigration and refugee practices of a country of our choice. Many are part of the European Union (EU), which has an open borders policy. Open borders across Europe were enacted in 1985 as part of the Schengen Agreement, which did away with border checks. By now, 26 European countries have open borders. Although the idea was good in theory, EU countries could not have predicted its outcome in the years to come.Read More
Last week, Florida voted to restore voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people with felony records, a number which includes 500,000 African-Americans. According to the New York Times, Amendment 4 passed with more than the required 60 percent threshold (and 766, 200 signatures were needed to place it on the ballot). Thus, an overwhelming share of voters supported it. The amendment restores voting rights to felons who have completed their prison sentences, parole, and probation, except for those convicted of murder or sexual assault. In fact, many people said it was the proposed amendment that prompted them to vote. Most Floridians who voted for the amendment were from Democratic counties, but a considerable amount of support came from Republican-leaning counties.Read More
This week, Americans go to the polls to decide the composition of the next Congress. President Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton two years ago generated a surge of political engagement on both sides. Because this political fervor continues, the 2018 election has been perhaps the most highly anticipated midterm of our lifetimes.Read More
This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed at least 50 million people worldwide. In 2014, there was an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that killed about 11,000 people in less than three years. In the United States, we seem to have a cultural fascination with infectious diseases. Box office hits like “Contagion” and “Outbreak” evidence the hold they have on our collective imagination.Read More
Last week, The Monitor published “The Inherent Immorality of the Republican Party.” I urge my readers−Democratic, Republican, and otherwise−to look over that article, if they have not already. In it, Evan Weinstein argues that Republicans or at least conservatives “have always been morally deficient.” Unable to comprehend how Republicans can hold views that he feels are morally debased while being seemingly kind and caring, Mr. Weinstein is left puzzled.
Mr. Weinstein and I, and likely many others, agree that President Trump is amoral. The president’s infamously repugnant attitude toward women alone is enough to corrode his moral credibility. It is, however, an unsubstantiated overgeneralization to claim that “Republicans tend to be less friendly and empathetic to those with racial or economic or gender differences.” Such a logical leap seems based more on feeling than serious consideration of Republican or conservative principles.Read More