Category Archives: U.S. Politics

What Worries a Political Scientist

Edge.org recently published an edited volume, What Should We Be Worried About: Real Scenarios that Keep Scientists Up at Night. Using that volume as inspiration let me offer three things that especially worry this political scientist: money in politics, environmental degradation, and privacy.

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Another tactical mistake by Brown or ill-advised Sununu ad lib?

Has Scott Brown’s hired the same folks for his latest senate bid who counseled him to mock Elizabeth Warren at every opportunity by calling her “professor?” It sure looks that way.

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Immigrants and the Human Mind

Immigration is an important issue but three of the last five posts here at MassPoliticsProfs have touched on the topic. Is it that important? Are there more important issues we could be discussing but aren’t noticing for some reason? Last week I was obsessed by the Massachusetts Republican Party Convention; this week, nothing.

This phenomenon and some of the comments we’ve had here at MPP have me thinking about politics and the human mind; a fascinating topic that I am curious about but I warn you, I am “undocumented” in the field; so these are musings.

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Politics in the Blogosphere, 4/9/2014 Edition

How about a quick visit to the blogosphere on the topic of money in politics? UMass Boston’s Black Student Center hosted a forum on the topic yesterday featuring Senator Jamie Eldridge, who was somewhat more optimistic than me on the topic. So what are the best academics saying about the Supreme Court’s recent decision on campaign finance, and does plutocracy bring any policy consequences – like government subsidies for too big to fail banks, for instance?

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The Comeback Cardinal

Once upon a time the Catholic Church played a major role in Massachusetts politics, so big that as historian Thomas O’Connor remarked “When Cardinal O’Connell spoke, the State House shook.”  It’s been awhile; and the Church not only lost its grip on the legislature but upon the laity, Cardinal Sean O’Malley once remarking that the willingness of Catholics to vote for pro-choice Democrats “borders on scandal.”

There are signs of life though: a more sophisticated political approach, better relations with politicians, and Cardinal O’Malley’s leadership on social justice issues like poverty and immigration. Some but not all of this relates to the popularity of Pope Francis. As the Boston Globe’s John L. Allen, Jr. wrote Sunday, Cardinal O’Malley projects as the “American Francis.” Let’s take a closer look.

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Immigrants: The Stranger Who Resides with You

I suppose that the immigration issue will come up this year and as Prof. Duquette noted recently, the Boston Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has already encouraged the Republican Party to exploit the issue of driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants in Massachusetts. Prof. Duquette’s much wiser advice is to leave the issue alone. Some recent news from the Pew Center for Religion and Public Life supports my colleague’s counsel.

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Brown’s misstep might show Democrats the way forward

Public opinion polling data indicates that the American people have quite a few misgivings about the law known as “Obamacare.” So much so that the Republicans have decided to make opposition to what is actually called the Affordable Care Act the linchpin of their national strategy to take control of the US Senate. What Scott Brown is quickly finding out is that this tactic is not going to be quite as useful in New Hampshire as it figures to be in Louisiana, for example. What national Republicans are finding out is that Scott Brown may not be quite as useful for their purposes either.

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Let’s Have a War! The Cowardly and Immoral Bill Kristol

In his column today urging the Obama administration to show some spine on Russia, the Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby writes that “No one expects or wants the United States to go to war over Crimea.” But that isn’t quite right. We can always count on the epically unheroic Bill Kristol to raise a lonely voice in favor of war; the only possible exception being when Kristol himself might be exposed to the dangers and miseries of combat. Then, he’s exempt.

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Gamble would hurt Baker, but would it pay off for Brown?

If an increasingly partisan electorate, motivated by national partisan cues, is “bad news” for Charlie Baker’s campaign, then I suppose it must be good news for Scott Brown’s fledgling Senate bid in New Hampshire. Of course, I also suppose that Brown’s good news makes Baker’s bad news even worse. Keeping the good news and bad news straight is getting tricky.

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Scott the Explorer

Scott Brown has formed an exploratory committee and has discovered that his chances of winning a non-special US Senate election in New Hampshire, while better than they were in Massachusetts, are still pretty slim.

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