Monday, May 11, 2015

Pocketbook Voting, Sociotropic Politics and the Psychological Framing of Voters

“People vote their pocketbook” seems like a rule of physics in political campaigns, as evident as the law of gravity. From breadlines folding out their pockets to make “Hoover flags” in the 1929 to Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign slogan that “it’s the economy, stupid,” common wisdom suggests that voters cast ballots based on what's going on with their wallets.

Scholars, however, have long wrestled with whether voter psychology can be reduced to “dull science” of economics when the thrills of electoral politics suggest something so more complex, unpredictable, and exciting. Studying election returns, particularly at the presidential level, provides fodder for the debate about how individual, sociotropic, and aggregate attitudes of voters reflect this kind of retrospective voting.

Though pocketbook-voting theory proves effective for predicting the outcomes of elections, it does not tell the whole story about how the country’s economic well being translates to voters’ choices. A successful economy enables candidates to frame successful messages about the economy at large that resonate with voters regardless of their personal economic circumstances. Even as economic considerations largely shape how voters weigh whether to reward or punish incumbents, an analysis of this phenomenon shows that how national economic conditions are framed in media and campaigns can effect how much these factors can influence voters.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Socratic Virtue: Education as Aristotelian Happiness



"Education in our times must try to find whatever there is in students that might yearn for completion, and to reconstruct the learning that would enable them autonomously to seek that completion."
                                                                        - Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rookie's Guide to Political Forecasting


You don’t need to be a whiz kid like Nate Silver to predict the next election.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act: Public Policy Analysis



I. Introduction
In 1993, Congress passed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, named for an assistant to President Ronald Reagan, James Brady. Brady had been critically wounded in an assassination attempt on the president in 1981 near the current location of Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C. The injury left Brady partially paralyzed and made it difficult for him to speak.[1] This event, combined with a successful effort in 1986 to eliminate many of the regulations from the 1968 Gun Control Act, politicized members of Brady’s family. It motivated his wife, Sarah, to push for a “Brady Bill” restricting access to handguns for the better part of a decade beginning with a bill proposed in 1987.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Ballot or the Bullet: Black Nationalism, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks

Fifty years ago on April 12, Malcolm X declared that 1964 would be the year of “The Ballot or the Bullet.”   

“As long as you got a sit-down philosophy you'll have a sit-down thought pattern," he said. "And as long as you think that old sit-down thought, you'll be in some kind of sit-down action. They'll have you sitting in everywhere.”

One person sitting in that church was Rosa Parks.

Friday, April 11, 2014

National Public Radio Internship Clips



Highlighted pieces from my National Desk internship

Why The Race Of The New Football Coach At University Of Texas Matters
by WADE GOODWYN 
 | January 14, 2014 | 4:00 PM

Storm And Stress Visit The East Coast
by ALLISON KEYES | January 21, 2014 | 4:00 PM

Shorter Lines? For Elections Commission, It's Common Sense
by PAM FESSLER | January 22, 2014  | 4:00 PM


An Alleged 'Goodfella' Gets Indicted, Decades Later
by JOEL ROSE | January 23, 2014 
| 4:00 PM

After 20 Years, Transgender Inmate Is A Step Closer To Surgery
by TOVIA SMITH | January 23, 2014 | 4:00 PM

String Of Oil Train Crashes Prompts Push For Safety Rules
by DAVID SCHAPER | January 24, 2014 | 6:20 PM

Military Budget Marks A Major Shift — Why This, Why Now?
by AUDIE CORNISH  |  March 05, 2014 | 4:00 PM


Maryland Transportation Bill Held Up Over War Reparations
by ALLISON KEYES | March 11, 2014 | 6:34 AM

For A New View On The West Virginia Spill, Follow The Elk River
by NOAH ADAMS  | March 13, 2014 | 4:13 PM

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fantasy Congress: The INSTALL Act (Internet Neutrality, Stability, and Telecom Allowance Act)


            The Internet Neutrality, Stability, and Telecom Allowance Act (INSTALL Act) would establish rules for net neutrality, build network infrastructure, and codify parts of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan into law.[1] The bill would restrict government regulation of Internet content but a bill of rights for consumers. The bill would give states, cities and towns the right to build broadband networks and use taxes and funds to help expand broadband.
            By identifying the Internet as a “common carrier” of telecommunications, the bill could protect the rights of content creators to distribute their products on the Internet. While expanding access to consumers with the Universal Service Fund and the Connect America National Broadband Plan, the bill could garner support by expanding infrastructure to promote economic growth.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

House of Cards: Immigration Reform Subsystems

Immigration as an issue stirs passions because people have to pick between American principles. Reform requires negotiating beliefs about liberty and security, law and morality, and opportunity and inclusiveness. Immigration reform impacts central duties of the federal government in both domestic and foreign policy.

Politicians crafting public policy have to construct coalitions to create a comprehensive bill. Negotiations over such a bill can breakdown in an instant. While the President and Congress can agree to certain goals, passing a bill with such a variety of interested parties calls for a legislative sleight of hand to prevent micro policy decisions from becoming macro political problems.