Elections and party politics across the US

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    How the dozens of likely candidates in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary will be winnowed down to one.  

How the dozens of likely candidates in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary will be winnowed down to one.  

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 Almost a year before any primary or caucuses take place, there are dozens of potential candidates for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination. In his first of two articles focusing on the Democratic contest, David Wise sorts through the potential contenders, classifying them as Establishment, Progressive or Midland candidates. He argues that changes to the primary process mean that we […]

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    Primary Primers: This is how Americans will choose their presidential candidates in 2020

Primary Primers: This is how Americans will choose their presidential candidates in 2020

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In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, all 50 states will hold either primaries or caucuses to select the presidential nominees for the Republican and Democratic parties. Barbara Norrander outlines how presidential primaries and caucuses operate, who can vote in them, and how they may be different in 2020 compared to past elections. 

This article is part of […]

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    Interest groups’ influence on policy comes through the presence of faithful legislative allies – not gifts to their campaigns.

Interest groups’ influence on policy comes through the presence of faithful legislative allies – not gifts to their campaigns.

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There is a growing tendency to link the policymaking preferences and decisions of elected representatives with the influence of interest groups, usually in the form of campaign contributions or lobbying. Using teachers’ unions as a case study, Leslie K. Finger finds that campaign donations are actually less important to the success of interest groups gaining influence than is widely […]

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    US statewide elections have become nationalized contests – especially for the Senate

US statewide elections have become nationalized contests – especially for the Senate

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In past decades, senate and gubernatorial elections were determined more by the candidate and the state’s local politics than the national political climate. Joel Sievert looks at the continuing trend for statewide elections to become more nationalized, finding that in 2016, 90 percent of Senate contests and 74 percent of gubernatorial elections were won by the party that also […]

Donald Trump: openness, secrets and lies

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Many politicians use the rhetoric of open government, but operate with a lack of transparency. Ben Worthy and Marlen Heide consider the Trump presidency in these terms, and find that, for all the lies, there is also an unintentional openness – and it is not yet clear which of these tendencies will weaken the presidency most.

Most politicians promise to […]

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    Why we should be paying more attention to lawmakers’ occupational backgrounds

Why we should be paying more attention to lawmakers’ occupational backgrounds

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While the US Congress and state legislatures are charged with representing their constituents, the characteristics of those who are elected often do not reflect those of their voters. In new research Eric R. Hansen explores whether these differences affect which interests they represent. Studying bills regulating the insurance industry from across the states, they find that bills put […]

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    Unfolding evidence of election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District shows the urgent need for reform of state election systems

Unfolding evidence of election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District shows the urgent need for reform of state election systems

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This week an evidentiary hearing began in the North Carolina state capital over allegations of election fraud in last November’s US House election for the 9th District. Mary Jo Shepherd writes that the apparent ‘harvesting’ of absentee by mail ballots by a Republican campaign consultant may have been spotted and dealt with had the election directors in the local […]

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    In politics, dysfunctionality has always been the American way

In politics, dysfunctionality has always been the American way

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“Dysfunctional” has become an inescapable adjective in discussions of American government in the Age of Trump – for good reason. Ron Pruessen suggests that dysfunctionality has deep roots in American history. As both an operational reality and an often-unappreciated intellectual current, it has staying power that will still be in play when a 46th president (hopefully sooner, perhaps later) […]

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    Why the US’ complex federal system will blunt the worst aspects of Trump’s transgressive presidency.

Why the US’ complex federal system will blunt the worst aspects of Trump’s transgressive presidency.

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For 230 years federalism, as set out in the Constitution, has been the bedrock of the US system of government. John Kincaid writes that American federalism has evolved to become a mixture of dual powers and responsibilities, and cooperation and coercion between the federal government and the states. He argues that it is these facets of federalism which are […]

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    Paradoxically, stricter lobbying laws can actually hurt transparency. Here’s how to improve them.

Paradoxically, stricter lobbying laws can actually hurt transparency. Here’s how to improve them.

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Like it or not, lobbying has become a major part of the American political process. And while laws have been passed by both the federal and state governments to regulate lobbyists’ activities, James Strickland finds that in some cases, they may actually hurt transparency. He writes that US states with more regulations on lobbyists see lower registration rates than […]

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