Elections: Engines of government power

We typically consider elections as accountability devices, the time when people can rebuke those in power and replace them with someone else. The people ultimately decide. Less understood, elections are important instruments of government power and authority. In fact the chief reason elections exist at all is because they benefit governments. This interpretation allows us to think more clearly about the role of democratic institutions and citizen participation.

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”