Select Page

Author: TheConversation

American Rage: Political anger boosts election campaigns but sabotages democracy

By Steven Webster, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Indiana University As the 2020 presidential election draws near, one thing is clear: America is an angry nation. From protests over persistent racial injustice to white nationalist counter-protests, anger is on display across the country. The national ire relates to inequality, the government’s coronavirus response, economic concerns, race and policing. It’s also due, in large part, to deliberate and strategic choices made by American politicians to stoke voter anger for their own electoral advantage. Donald Trump’s attempts to enrage his base are so plentiful that progressive magazine The Nation called him...

Read More

Republican’s “ballot security” has historically relied on armed poll watchers and white vigilantism

By Mark Krasovic, Associate Professor of History and American Studies, Rutgers University Newark Even after segregation and Jim Crow voting laws came to a formal end in the south, modern politicians remained susceptible to the temptations of racist dog-whistles as a way of mustering the support of white voters and justifying the restriction of minority voting rights. Many southern states have persisted with segregation-era laws banning felons and ex-felons from voting – a restriction that disenfranchised an estimated 6 million voters in 2016, a vastly disproportionate number of them black men. The Republicans have been especially prone to such...

Read More

Knowing Who Won: The formalities of declaring the 2020 presidential election

By Amy Dacey, Executive Director of the Sine Institute of Policy and Politics, American University With the U.S. presidential election rapidly approaching at a time of extraordinary political and social disruption, the possibility of an unclear or contested result is coming under scrutiny. Unlike many other countries, where the president or prime minister is chosen by direct popular vote, in the U.S., a candidate may win the popular vote and still not be elected to the nation’s highest office. The U.S. also differs from most other democracies in that it has no independent electoral commission to certify the final...

Read More

Quarantine Envy: It took a pandemic to wake people up to the systematic inequalities of life in America

By Jessica Rosenfeld, Associate Professor of English Literature, Washington University in St Louis In recent months, mental health experts have been drawing attention to what they have dubbed “quarantine envy.” Many people, they note, have been sizing up the extent to which they’ve been affected by lockdowns and economic hardship. Who still has a job? Who gets to work from home? Whose home is spacious, light-filled and Instagram-worthy? The start of the school year adds another layer of comparison. Parents stuck in a small apartment with two kids forced to learn remotely might feel pangs about the fact that...

Read More

Everybody’s Racist: Deprogramming the bias teaching and negative stereotypes rooted in White society

By Benjamin Waddell, Associate Professor of Sociology, Fort Lewis College; R. Nathan Pipitone, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Florida Gulf Coast University Progress toward a more just and equitable society may be on the horizon. Since the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in May, around the United States, millions of people have taken to the streets, statues have been felled, leaders have been fired and pressured to resign, and activists-turned-politicians have gained traction in prominent political races. But until people recognize that racism is wired into the American mind, we believe that few of these efforts...

Read More

Principle-Policy Gap: How White Americans previously failed to support systemic change to end racism

By Candis Watts Smith, Associate Professor of Political Science & African American Studies, Pennsylvania State University The first wave of the Black Lives Matter movement, which crested after the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, had the support of less than half of white Americans. Given that Americans tend to have a very narrow definition of racism, many at that time were likely confused by the juxtaposition of Black-led protests, implying that racism was persistent, alongside the presence of a Black family in the White House. Barack Obama’s presidency was seen as evidence that racism was in...

Read More