Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: USA

Mike Pence Really Could Be Worse Than Trump

As the talk of impeaching President Trump has ramped up, a lot of people seem to be really excited by the prospect of his removal. I’m afraid I can’t share the enthusiasm. Why? I’m a Hoosier–I grew up in Indiana, the state Vice President Pence governed from 2013 to 2017. My parents still live there. Every year I come back from grad school in the summers and over the holidays to reconnect with my roots, and even when I’m faraway I make a point to stay up to date on the happenings in my state. This means that for the last four years I’ve had a pretty detailed look at Pence. Most Americans seem to view him as some kind of serious, responsible, adult Republican. This understanding is grounded in the way Pence has presented himself on the national stage–as this taciturn, businesslike bridge between the different Republican factions. Pence has done an impressive marketing job getting people to view him this way, because when he’s in power it’s a very different story. Let me tell you some Mike Pence tales.

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Trumpcare Probably Won’t Get Past the Senate

Today a new, more conservative version of Trumpcare passed in the House, by a vote of 217-213. All the Democrats voted against it, with 20 Republican members defecting to join them. This might be concerning for some, but the changes the Republicans made to get the bill through the House will make it even harder for them to get a bloc of moderate Republican senators to cooperate with them.

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Bernie Sanders is Right to Oppose Gorsuch

Today US Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) announced his intent to support efforts to filibuster Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination:

Sanders has made the right call. Here’s why.

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We Must Normalize Trump to Beat Him

Since President Trump’s inauguration, it’s become popular to demand that we not normalize Trump’s presidency. Politically, this means constantly drawing attention to all the things that Donald Trump does that separate him from past presidents. To that end, the left has focused on a suite of character and corruption-oriented issues:

  • Trump’s tax returns
  • Trump’s possible ties to Russia
  • Trump’s tweets and style of communication (rude, bigoted, or post-fact)
  • Trump’s conflicts of interest (nepotism, lack of blind trust, Ivanka involvement)
  • Trump’s history of screwing people over (Trump University, bankruptcies, cost of Trump Tower security & Mar-a-Lago trips)
  • Trump’s untruthful or corrupt henchmen (Spicer, Kushner, Conway, Bannon, Flynn, Sessions, etc.)

This is all a mistake. To beat Trump we need precisely the opposite approach–we must treat Trump as just another establishment Republican president and attack his administration for failing to help the people it promised to protect. Here’s why.

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A Radical Proposal for Kindergarten and Pre-K

In our schools, we are often trying to accomplish two conflicting goals at once:

  1. We want our quickest students to maximize their potential–this means we want them to be in classes that move at their pace.
  2. We don’t want our slower students to be dismissed and devalued, so we are reluctant to separate them from the quicker students and put them in remedial classes where they may be given a low priority.

If we put fast students and slow students in the same age group together, the class will either move at a pace that’s too slow for the quick kids or too fast for the slow kids. If we separate them, educational resources tend to flow disproportionately to the kids who are already at an advantage, as they tend to have the most involved parents.

I have a suggestion to get around this problem while at the same time resolving public policy disputes about state support for expanding Pre-K education.

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