Elections and party politics across the US

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    Evidence from Oregon shows that Citizens’ Initiative Reviews can improve voters’ decision-making about ballot measures

Evidence from Oregon shows that Citizens’ Initiative Reviews can improve voters’ decision-making about ballot measures

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Citizens in many US states practice direct democracy through voting on statewide ballot measures. But do voters actually have all the information they need to make judgments about a measure’s likely effects? In 2011, Oregon adopted a Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) process, where randomly-selected citizen review boards evaluate ballot proposals to improve their fellow voters’ decision-making. In new research, […]

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    In Alabama’s deeply divided Senate election, Democrat Doug Jones faces an uphill battle

In Alabama’s deeply divided Senate election, Democrat Doug Jones faces an uphill battle

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Voters in the Yellowhammer State go to the polls tomorrow in a Special Election for one of the state’s US Senate seats. Andrée Reeves gives an overview of the state of the race, and argues that despite the controversies surrounding the Republican candidate, Judge Roy Moore, the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, is a long shot to win in deeply […]

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    Even city councils with non-partisan elections can’t escape party politics

Even city councils with non-partisan elections can’t escape party politics

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While the American political party system seems entrenched at the national level, can other parts of government escape it?  In order to encourage elected officials to pursue policies in the public, rather than partisan, interest, some local governments have adopted non-partisan elections. In new research, Craig Burnett, examines the partisanship of votes made by nonpartisan lawmakers in San Diego’s […]

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    Why it’s unfair to tar all party activists with the same brush of extremism

Why it’s unfair to tar all party activists with the same brush of extremism

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Party activists play an important role in contemporary US politics; they attend rallies, campaign, fundraise, vote, and donate money to candidates. But we should not think of party activists as one homogeneous group of like-minded people with extreme views write Nathaniel Birkhead and Marjorie Randon Hershey. In their analysis of political participation and ideology, they find that different forms of political […]

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    Why Republicans and Democrats can no longer ‘just get along’

Why Republicans and Democrats can no longer ‘just get along’

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Americans who identify with one political party increasingly dislike those in the opposing party – but is this down to political rhetoric, or are there sincere differences between partisans over issues such as social welfare and government spending? In new research, Steven W. Webster examines how people’s policy preferences shape how they view the opposing political party. He finds […]

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    How the ‘ESPN effect’ of framing politics as a conflict benefits more combative candidates like Trump and Sanders

How the ‘ESPN effect’ of framing politics as a conflict benefits more combative candidates like Trump and Sanders

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For many observers, how we discuss politics is beginning to have more and more common with the rhetoric of sports. In the 2016 election, candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders adopted a more adversarial style. Lori Cox Han and Brian Calfano examine how a more head-to-head campaign style influences voters, finding that both Trump and Sanders benefit if […]

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    Long Read: Why the Alabama Senate race is now everyone’s problem.

Long Read: Why the Alabama Senate race is now everyone’s problem.

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On November 9th, the Washington Post reported that allegations of past sexual misconduct had been levelled against former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had been widely tipped to win the state’s election for the US Senate on December 12th. Andrée Reeves writes that many in the GOP establishment have condemned or distanced themselves from the already controversial Moore, […]

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    Taking unilateral action can improve a president’s re-election chances, but it may not be good for the country

Taking unilateral action can improve a president’s re-election chances, but it may not be good for the country

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With Congressional gridlock a now omnipresent force in US politics, recent presidents have often turned to unilateral measures, such as executive orders, to enact policies without Congress. But is taking unilateral action good for a president, and for the country? In new research, Gleason Judd finds that as a form of “showing-off”, taking unilateral action can signal a president’s […]

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    How Democrats can build on their 2017 victories to win in 2018

How Democrats can build on their 2017 victories to win in 2018

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Democrats met with resounding success this week in elections across the country, including retaining the governorship of Virginia and gaining it in New Jersey. But what do these victories mean for the Congressional mid-term and state elections in November 2018? Jaclyn J. Kettler writes that President Trump’s poor approval rating has mobilized more Democrats to run for office, campaign […]

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    How playing on public concerns about crime became Republicans’ electoral Trump card

How playing on public concerns about crime became Republicans’ electoral Trump card

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Journalists, scholars, and other observers of politics have claimed for decades that the Republican Party has focused on crime as an electoral issue. In new research, Ethan D. Boldt finds that Republican congressional candidates have, in fact, shared a special relationship with the public on the issue of crime, electorally benefiting from its significance and by the party focusing […]

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