47,019 research outputs found

    It's the Spending, Stupid! Understanding Campaign Finance in the Big-Government Era

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    Proponents of new restrictions on campaign finance often argue that the United States spends too much money on campaigns and elections. That proposition is difficult to sustain since the nation spends so little of its wealth on campaigns. Advocates of new regulations also decry increases in overall spending on elections. Such spending has increased in nominal terms over time and especially in recent decades. However, the increases should be seen in perspective. General inflation accounts for a significant part of the rise in campaign spending; Americans now spend more on everything than they did in the past. The increase in election spending should also be seen in the light of five other "mores": more elections are held, more wealth is available for politics, more voters take part, more advertising must be bought, and more campaign finance regulations must be honored. The most important factor driving campaign finance upward is "more government." Taxes and regulations on society have increased the ambit of government at all levels. Increasing government activity leads to more efforts to influence political decisions including spending on campaigns, a relationship confirmed by scholarly studies. Efforts to restrict or ban campaign spending will be futile. The only sure way to lower campaign spending would be to restrict government to its constitutional powers

    Divided government and significant legislation: A History of Congress from 1789 to 2010

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    This article presents and analyzes the most comprehensive database to date of significant acts of Congress—from 1789 to 2010—to test whether divided party control of government affects the number of important acts Congress passes. We find that unified control corresponds with one additional significant act passed per Congress in the nineteenth century and four additional such acts in the twentieth century. However, party control of government cannot explain the broad historical trends in the rate at which Congress passes significant legislation. Nixon in 1969 was far more successful with a Democratic Congress than was McKinley in 1897 with a Republican one

    From Hanging Chads to Data Hacks: Maintaining Election Integrity in the Digital Age

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    Empowering Small Donors in Federal Elections

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    An effective new public matching funds system in which citizens direct the distribution of public funds to candidates would fundamentally change the way our campaigns are financed. The system would decrease the opportunities for corruption of federal officeholders and government decisions, and provide candidates with an alternative means for financing their elections without being obligated to special interest funders. Most importantly, the system would restore citizens to their rightful pre-eminent place in our democracy

    I Know What You Did Last Summer: The Ballot Initiative and Voter Turnout

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    “Know Thy Neighbor,” a public interest group established in 2005, has grabbed headlines in recent years for making public (or threatening to make public) the names of hundreds of thousands of registered voters who signed petitions qualifying anti-gay rights measures for state general election ballots in Massachusetts, Florida, Arkansas, Oregon, and Washington. These names, together with the mailing addresses, birthdates, and dates of signature for each signer, have long been public information in most states, but never before have they been put into a format (i.e., searchable, online databases) making them easy to access and analyze. In this pilot project, I perform multivariate analysis on a random sample of 500 registered Arkansas voters to determine the relative role of petition signing (versus vote history and age) in spurring voter turnout. This unique dataset allows an analysis, at the level of the individual voter, of the effectiveness of a relatively new tactic in American politics: using ballot measures to stimulate turnout for up-ticket candidate races. In the current study, while there was a correlation between petition signing and voter turnout, at the level of multivariate analysis, petition signing did not appear to be associated with voter turnout. However, individuals who signed petitions tended to have strong voting histories and were more likely than non-signers to cast ballots in the 2008 general election. The results of this research add to the already robust literature analyzing voter turnout in US political elections

    Voting and the Spirit of Democracy

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    This book is published in conjunction with Voting and the Spirit of Democracy, an exhibition held at the University Library, University of Rhode Island 2004

    Religion and Politics During the 2016 Presidential Election: A Stakeholder Analysis

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    While the results of the 2016 Presidential Election in the United States were shocking to many, the most shocking and complex element of President Trump’s victory was his support from the Protestants and Evangelicals. According to a Washington Post article published on November 9th of that year, 81% of evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. This paper is a stakeholder analysis for key religious groups such as Evangelicals, Catholics, and Jews during the 2016 Election that gave rise to the Trump presidency. Ranging from concepts such as “white fear” or “strongman politics,” this paper seeks to analyze the key reasons that President Trump gained a substantial following from the religious right. The paper will also give a historiography of the religion and politics in the United States that directly led to the 2016 election conclusion. Of special consideration will be the religious conservative political “playbook” orchestrated by Jerry Falwell during the 20th century. Analysis of polling data, demographic trends, and religiosity trends will all be included

    Constitutions for the 21st Century: Emerging Patterns-The EU, Iraq, Afghanistan…

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    Professor Mallat delivered the Third Annual Herbert L. Bernstein Memorial Lecture in Comparative Law in 2004 and this article is based on his remarks. The article is included in the inaugural volume of CICLOPs that collects the first six Bernstein lectures. Strong moments in constitution-making often result from traumas; the breakthroughs by the European Union and constitutional achievements by both Iraq and Afghanistan stand as modern examples. The traumas of Europe, Afghanistan, and Iraq have been typified by violent conflict over the past century, including two World Wars, the Cold War, and the ‘war on terrorism’. Efforts and successes at constructing 21st Century constitutions can largely be seen as a response to these 20th Century traumas. Looking beyond the black-letter law of the European, Afghani, and Iraqi constitutions, emerging patterns in constitution making are to be found, including the recent international drive behind constitutions and the classical Montesquieuian separation of powers. Though these are two major driving forces in constitutional design, three ‘acid tests’ are not only heavily considered in the creation of these constitutions, but they are also heavily determinative in the success of any given constitution: religion, federalism, and, most importantly, the presidency. By analyzing these considerations and the acid tests in the context of the European Union, Iraq, and Afghanistan, their overwhelming importance and the difficulties in negotiating each within varied political climates becomes apparent. The hope is that these attempts and successes at constitutional design can serve as examples for other regions suffering from intense and prolonged violent turmoil, such as the successful resolution of the Northern Ireland problem or the as yet resolved Arab-Israeli conflict concerning Palestine. Further, these shifts in constitutional design over the past century act as signposts, pointing in the direction of change as the process and needs of constitutional design evolves from old concerns of self-contained internal affairs to a new modern concern of internationalism and, eventually, to a state of depoliticisation of constitutions

    From Thomas Jefferson to Donald Trump: The Recurring Muslim Xeno-Archetype in American Politics and Government

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    This paper connects the Islamophobic discourse of the 2016 presidential primary candidates to that of past American politicians through a historical analysis of their rhetoric and policies towards Muslims. I argue that Western discourse about Islam has long appealed to what I refer to as the Muslim “xeno-archetype,” which is a recurring but unchanging understanding of Islam in the Western mind. This xeno-archetype theory is derived from Edward Said’s concept of Orientalism, but is distinct in that it explains why unique misconceptions of Islam existed long before European colonialism. The xeno-archetype consists of specific stereotypes and fears of a given ethnic or religious group that are constant in the Western conscience and recur in times of perceived crisis. I explain that the xeno-archetype specific to Muslims was passed down by Europeans to future Americans during colonization and greatly influenced the way American leaders have understood and interacted with Muslims both at home and abroad throughout the nation’s history. This analysis identifies the specific stereotypes of Islam that were held by past Americans and reveals that they are the same ones that have been expressed by the 2016 candidates, which allows Islamophobia to be understood as a recurring feature in the Euro-American tradition