The Pandemic is now political – Part 1

This work was written by Mark Joslyn and Louis Joslyn . Louis is a PhD candidate in computational medicine and bioinformatics at the University of Michigan. Over the past two months, Americans have relied on the recommendations of scientists and other respected professionals.  Public health officials recommended social distancing and government lockdowns as a meansContinue reading “The Pandemic is now political – Part 1”

Polling Locations: Yes, a Partisan Advantage

Several days before the special congressional election in California’s 25th Congressional District, Los Angeles County election officials decided to add an in-person voting center in Lancaster, one of the more diverse cities in the district.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are very few in-person polling sites and the election is largely a mail-in ballotContinue reading “Polling Locations: Yes, a Partisan Advantage”

Social Capital and Social Distancing – Part 2

In Part 1, we introduced the concept of social capital, which refers to connections between people that generate trust, norms of reciprocity, and participation in civic life.  In general, people that join groups and interact regularly in social networks are cooperative, obliging, and inclined to do things for others.   We suggested this community-mindedness would beContinue reading “Social Capital and Social Distancing – Part 2”

Social Capital and Social Distancing – Part 1

Post by Alexandra Middlewood and Mark Joslyn Professor Middlewood teaches American government, political behavior and gender politics at  Wichita State University.  She recently published a paper on Gun Ownership and Women’s Political Participation.  In the classic, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam described the decline of social capital in the United States.  He defined social capital as, “…features ofContinue reading “Social Capital and Social Distancing – Part 1”

Gun Sales and Voter Choice – A Potential Connection?

Coronavirus fears have emptied supermarkets.  Now, they are depleting gun stores.  Gun buyers anticipate civil unrest caused by the extended health crisis and a looming economic collapse.  Amid the uncertainty, they turn to guns.  According to FBI figures, 3.7 million background checks were conducted last month, which translated to roughly 2 million guns sold.  TheContinue reading “Gun Sales and Voter Choice – A Potential Connection?”

Loathing and Leadership

“As the president fiddles, people are dying. The president, his denial at the beginning, was deadly.  The truth is a weak person, a poor leader, takes no responsibility.  A weak person blames others.”  Speaker of the House Pelosi commenting on President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Crazy Nancy Pelosi, you are a weak person. Continue reading “Loathing and Leadership”

Obama and Trump. Different but Similar – Part 2

As demonstrated in the last post, the grip of partisan politics seemed to take hold of the Obama administration near the completion of his first year.  Obama’s monthly approval ratings crept down toward 50%, and by years end dropped below majority support.  That trend continued, and in the subsequent months Obama established several records forContinue reading “Obama and Trump. Different but Similar – Part 2”

Obama and Trump. Different but Similar – Part 1

Barack Obama, a youthful 47-year-old former constitutional law professor and community organizer, campaigned on hope and change, and in 2008 became the first African American elected president.  His speeches were persuasive, eloquent and at times inspiring.  Obama charmed audiences, large and small, and his demeanor projected poise and stability.   His inauguration, held in the depthsContinue reading “Obama and Trump. Different but Similar – Part 1”

Trump Celebrates 49% Public Approval

In the final Gallup poll of March, President Trump’s public approval tied his previous high of 49% and improved 5-points from another Gallup survey fielded two weeks before.  Trump quickly highlighted the achievement.  He also touted a 60% public approval of his handling of the pandemic.  And on twitter, Trump bragged about the lofty televisionContinue reading “Trump Celebrates 49% Public Approval”

From a “Do Nothing” to a “Can Do” Congress

Why does nothing happen in Congress?  With legitimate frustration, people regularly ask me this question.     It does seem we frequently have a “Do Nothing Congress”, a phrase made popular by Harry Truman during his successful 1948 campaign.   In fact, observers noted late last year the lapses of the current Congress, distinguishing itself as oneContinue reading “From a “Do Nothing” to a “Can Do” Congress”