Elections and party politics across the US

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    Primary Primers: Missouri and Iowa: The challenge facing Democrats in Obama-Trump Country 

Primary Primers: Missouri and Iowa: The challenge facing Democrats in Obama-Trump Country 

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The 2016 election was marked by the popularity of Donald Trump with voters in Midwestern states like Iowa and Minnesota, which had voted for Barack Obama in 2012.  To the south, Missouri has trended from a purple to a “deep red” Republican state since the early 2000s. Michael A. Smith takes a close look at Iowa and Missouri, states which have experienced economic shifts in recent years which […]

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    Primary Primers: Voters are generally happy to work alongside elites to choose their party’s presidential nominee

Primary Primers: Voters are generally happy to work alongside elites to choose their party’s presidential nominee

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Since 1984, party elites, both elected and DNC members, have played a role in selecting the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. While recent years have seen calls to move away from a system that includes those who some accuse of being unelected elites, in new research, Zachary Albert and Raymond La Raja find that voters are actually happy with a […]

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    Primary Primers: Why Justin Amash could be a game-changer without a chance

Primary Primers: Why Justin Amash could be a game-changer without a chance

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Late last month, former Republican Representative Justin Amash announced that he was exploring a presidential bid for the Libertarian Party. Jeffrey Michels and Olivier Lewis write that if Amash is able to gain the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, then he could find himself the kingmaker if he is able to win over Republican voters who dislike Donald Trump. Whether he […]

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    Primary Primers: Why rescheduling the Democratic National Convention is likely to benefit Trump 

Primary Primers: Why rescheduling the Democratic National Convention is likely to benefit Trump 

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The Democratic Party recently announced that it would be shifting its presidential nominating convention back by more than a month because of concerns over COVID-19. James D. King writes that party reforms of the last 50 years mean that national conventions have become an advertisement for a pre-determined candidate rather than a venue to decide on the nominee. He comments that […]

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    To counter Donald Trump’s permanent campaign Joe Biden must show what it means to govern

To counter Donald Trump’s permanent campaign Joe Biden must show what it means to govern

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Trump’s ‘permanent campaign’ mentality has affected the nation’s crisis response. Jeffrey K. Tulis argues that the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, must seek ways to look presidential while campaigning from home.

The “permanent campaign” was the title of a 1980 book by journalist and later adviser to Bill Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal. It captured the central role that experts in electoral politics had come to play in governing, not just in elections. Over the […]

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    Primary Primers: Why Minnesota is – and isn’t – a swing state 

Primary Primers: Why Minnesota is – and isn’t – a swing state 

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In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump very nearly won in Minnesota, only missing out by 45,000 votes in the state. Rubrick Biegon takes a close look at whether Minnesota should now be considered to be a swing state. He writes that despite Trump’s recent appeals there, the North Star State’s progressive history and present may make a victory for him very difficult this fall.

This article is part of our Primary Primers series […]

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    Primary Primers: Why Texas won’t be turning blue this year 

Primary Primers: Why Texas won’t be turning blue this year 

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As the second most populated state, Texas is a significant electoral prize in presidential contests. Robert Ledger, Madison Imiola and Peter Finn write that changing demographics mean that Democrats are becoming more hopeful about winning the Lone Star State, but other factors such as primary turnout and the COVID-19 pandemic point to an uphill battle this year.

This article is part of our Primary Primers series curated by […]

Covid-19: In American Governance we trust 

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“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Those much-quoted words of Plato need an update for the 21st century: “Pandemic is the mother of effective governance”, writes Johnny Miller.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US has rolled out a series of actions, with incredible speed and rare bipartisanship, to mitigate homelessness, extend access to health care, and prevent unemployment. The Federal government is using its […]

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    Primary Primers: Wisconsin’s election shows that a pivot to absentee ballots is possible at short notice – though not without problems.

Primary Primers: Wisconsin’s election shows that a pivot to absentee ballots is possible at short notice – though not without problems.

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Last week Wisconsin held its presidential primary election alongside contests for the state Supreme Court and other local offices. Wendy Scattergood reports on controversies and lawsuits in the lead up to the vote as well as the difficulties posed by a rise in the use of absentee ballots in a social distancing election. 

This article is part of our […]

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    Why switching to voting by mail for the 2020 presidential election could disenfranchise millions. 

Why switching to voting by mail for the 2020 presidential election could disenfranchise millions. 

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The Covid-19 pandemic has struck as America gears up for the 2020 presidential election. With restraints on social interactions now in place, a move to nationwide voting by mail has been suggested as a way to conduct the election fairly. Peter Miller writes that voting by mail has become more popular, especially in western states, but that this has taken time – time that we now do […]

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