Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Election 2014

What do the Midterms Mean? Not Much…

In much of the media’s coverage of the US midterm elections, the focus has been on the number of races won by republican candidates. When we look exclusively at races won, it appears as if the right has scored a stunning victory. The trouble is that in the American political system, power is widely distributed. An individual congressman, senator, or even governor or president can do very little to meaningfully effect policy.  Consequently, when we evaluate what an election means, we need to evaluate whether enough power has been accumulated by one side or the other to meaningfully sway policy outcomes. When we do this at the federal level, we see that the balance of power has remained more or less consistent since 2010.

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The Case Against Voting

In the United States, the midterm elections are upon us. Every election it’s the same thing–my Facebook feed is full of messages from friends telling each other to vote. There’s 31,000 flavors of platitude on offer. “Make your voice heard.” “Every vote counts.” “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”  P-Diddy famously came up with his own slogan–vote or die:

I’m a grad student in political science. I love reading, writing, and thinking about politics. I used to be all about voting. I voted in 2010, and I called people urging them to vote in 2008. I don’t vote anymore.  Here’s why.

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Why Cantor Lost but Graham and McConnell Won

In the recent US primary elections, the trend has been for establishment republicans to beat Tea Party radicals. Or that was the trend, until the recent defeat of congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) at the hands of relative unknown Dave Brat. A sitting US majority leader has never before lost a primary election. This puts these two narratives into conflict–is the Tea Party on its last legs, or is it roaring back into prominence? Let’s take a look.

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