Election Day 2024 is
away from today
Check out Contrarix, the podcast co-hosted by this week's guest - Taylor Ealand
Wondering about the political makeup of Fresno?
Who Austin Petersen is? We got you.
Austin Petersen is an American writer, political activist, commentator, and broadcaster. He is currently the host of the KWOS Morning Show in Jefferson City, Missouri. He was the runner-up for the Libertarian Party's nomination for President of the United States in 2016, finishing second place to Gary Johnson with 21.9% of the vote. On August 7, 2018, he finished third in the U.S. Senate Republican primary in Missouri with 8.3% of the vote, behind winner Josh Hawley and runner-up Tony Monetti. Source: Wiki
Austin Petersen on the issues (from Ballotpedia)
Taxes - stated he would abolish the tax code and replace it with a flat tax at the lowest rate necessary to support the core functions of government
Budgets - supports reducing federal spending, forcing "Congress to live within their means", and fund public services with lotteries and tolls
Monetary policy - called for ending the Federal Reserve
International trade - wants lower barriers to trade with foreign nations
Federal assistance programs - wants to reform entitlement programs and allowing young people to opt out of Social Security
Labor and employment - wants lower barriers to international trade and more freedom for American companies to develop domestic energy production and create good paying jobs
Crime and justice - called for an end to the war on drugs and for reclassifying the war on drugs as a medical problem, not a criminal problem
First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - does not support limiting entrance to US based on religion
Natural resources - supports development of domestic energy production
Healthcare - wants to overturn the Affordable Care Act and seek market alternatives to health and wellness issues
Immigration - wants to incentivize legal immigration and make a simpler path to citizenship
Abortion - anti-abortion
Civil liberties - wants new protocols to protect national security with a focus on due process and individual rights
Congressman Duncan Hunter and his scandal
Duncan Hunter served as a U.S. Representative for California's 50th congressional district from 2013 to 2020. He is a member of the Republican Party, who was first elected to the House in 2008. He served in the U.S. Marines from 2001 through 2005 and succeeded his father, Republican Duncan Lee Hunter, a member of Congress from 1981 to 2009. Source: Wiki
Former U.S. Representative Duncan D. Hunter was sentenced March 17, 2020 to 11 months in prison for his admitted role in a years-long conspiracy to knowingly and willfully steal $250,000 in campaign funds that he and his wife used to maintain their lifestyle when their family was otherwise drowning in debt.
Source: US Department of Justice
Does college liberalize American youth when it comes to politics? Let's see.
Non-partisan data on the question
Sharp Partisan Divisions in Views of National Institutions - July 10, 2017 - Pew Research Center
A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation: Sharp Differences by Race, Gender, Generation, Education - April 7, 2015 - Pew Research Center
Opinions on the matter
The Indoctrination Myth - March 3, 2012 - New York Times
Does 4 years of college make students more liberal? - Sept 11, 2020 - Ohio State News
Why Are Highly Educated Americans Getting More Liberal? - April 30, 2016 - NPR
And what about college professors being a bunch of liberals? hmmm...
Professors and Politics: What the Research Says - Feb 27, 2017 - Inside Higher Ed
It is hotly contested how much of media is opinion-based (which is inherently biased) and what impact that has on society. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on how to recognize objective reporting and get your news from a variety of sources. Fortunately, Ad Fontes Media is catalouging sources to rate the news for bias and reliability using a rigorous methodology and a politically balanced team of analysts. Check out their work and their Media Bias Chart.
Want to see news from 'all sides' in one place? Check out AllSides! They deliver you the news from your favorite sources like Wall Street Journal and Washington Post at the same time in an easy to navigate platform so you can easily read a story from sources on the left, right, and center. They too are working to chart bias among media sources so check out how they rate your favorite news sources.
Free Speech on College Campuses
In this episode, our guest mentioned that liberals shield themselves on college campuses and that events like the response from campus liberals to Ben Shapiro's planned speech at UC Berkeley demonstrate that effort to self-shield. That was September 2017 and the university's response led to a lawsuit that was eventually settled in favor of the Berkeley College Republicans and the Young America's Foundation (source). Shapiro wasn't the first to receive such a visceral response from students at UC Berkeley. In February 2017 jackass Milo Yiannopolous' visit resulted in some $100,000 in damage from the resulting protests. The right to free speech is a central tenet of American culture and the debate about its use on public college campuses is endless. To learn more, check out:
Speech on Campus - American Civil Liberties Union
The Free Speech Center - Middle Tennessee State University
Free Speech on College Campuses: Considerations for Congress - April 2, 2020 - Congressional Research Service
Trump's Plan to Allow Interstate Sales of Health Insurance Plans
Among other actions, the Trump Administration looked to allow health insurance companies to sell plans across state borders. The idea was met with a lukewarm response from insurance groups and state health officials. It wasn't the first time the idea had been raised and ultimately, nothing came of the idea and as our guest said, the legal hurdles to the idea were never really surmountable. Learn more below:
Trump administration proposes interstate sale of health insurance - Jan 4, 2018 - PBS News Hour
Federal policy on healthcare, 2017-2020 - Ballotpedia
Trump Administration Looks to Jump Start Interstate Health-Insurance Sales - March 6, 2019 - Wall Street Journal
Trump Administration Impact on Drug Prices
Turns out, Trump didn't really lower drug prices. To learn about the actions the administration took with respect to prescription drug prices, check out:
Trump’s Executive Orders on Prescription Drugs - July 31, 2020 - FactCheck.org
Fact-checking Donald Trump's claim that drug prices are going down - PolitiFact
AP FACT CHECK: Trump hype on drug costs, hydroxychloroquine - August 2, 2020 - Associated Press
Explainer: Trump's plan to cut drug prices - July 27, 2020 - Reuters
With respect to Trump's claims that he lowered insulin prices
Trump says he brought down the cost of insulin. But that’s not true for all Americans - Oct 1, 2020 - Tampa Bay Times
Fact check: Biden administration delays implementation of Trump rule on insulin, EpiPens - Jan 30, 2021 - USA Today
On the Trump Administration negotiation of Arab-Israel Peace Agreements
The Trump Administration did help broker new peace/normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab countries - UAE, Sudan, Morocco, & Bahrain. While not the first time agreements like this have been struck between Israel and Arab nations (Egypt and Jordan made agreements with Israel decades ago), these new agreements still stand as a testament to the Trump Administration cooperation with Israel. Read more to learn how these new agreements have been applauded and lauded:
How Arab Ties With Israel Became the Middle East’s New Normal - Dec 21, 2020 - Foreign Policy (magazine)
Five reasons why Israel's peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain matter - Sept 15, 2020 - BBC
Israel–Arab peace accord fuels hope for surge in scientific collaboration - Sept 21, 2020 - Nature
Explainer: Where do Arab states stand on normalising Israel ties? - Sept 22, 2020 - Al Jazeera
Political Machines and Political Parties
Political parties yield influence in direct and indirect means at all levels of government. Per Wikipedia, "[i]n the politics of representative democracies, a political machine is a political group in which an authoritative leader or small group command the support of a corps of supporters and businesses (usually campaign workers), who receive patronage as reward for their efforts. The machine's power is based on the ability of the boss or group to get out the vote for their candidates on election day."
The Role of National and State Parties - Dec 15, 2003 - PBS News Hour
The Soul of a New Machine - Aug 17, 2016 - The New Republic
The year the party machines broke - Sept 8, 2018 - The Hill
A Flood Of Outside Money Is Pouring Into 2020 Races, Alarming Transparency Advocates - Oct 27, 2020 - NPR
2020 election to cost $14 billion, blowing away spending records - Oct 28, 2020 - Center for Responsive Politics
Unprecedented donations poured into 2020 state and federal races - Nov 19, 2020 - Center for Responsive Politics
REDMAP (REDistricting Majority Project) is/was a program of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) dedicated to winning state legislative seats that have/had a critical impact on congressional redistricting in 2011 after the 2010 Census. This Republican strategy proved successful and as a result Republicans have held a large presence in the US House of Representatives despite typically receiving a smaller percent of the vote. The project has made effective use of partisan gerrymandering, by relying on previously unavailable mapping software such as Maptitude for Redistricting to improve the precision with which district lines are strategically drawn. The strategy was focused on swing blue states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin where there was a Democratic majority but which they could swing towards Republican with appropriate redistricting. The project was launched in 2010 and estimated to have cost the Republican party around US$30 million. (Source: Wiki)
Political Bias in Law Schools
Taylor chose to attend law school in Washington state. Being more conservative than average, he didn't let that influence his choice of law school. But we couldn't help but wonder, do law schools have a political bent or bias? Luckily, there's been a lot written on that.
The Most Conservative And Most Liberal Elite Law Schools - Dec 5, 2014 - FiveThirtyEight
The Law Schools With The Most Conservative And Liberal Students (2020) - Nov 8, 2019 - Above the Law
Political Ideology and Law School Rankings - Aug 30, 2020 - University of Illinios Law Review
The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers - August 2015 - Harvard Kennedy School
The 2020 US Presidential Election
It's been stated by numerous media outlets, state election boards, and the federal government - there was no widepsread or systematic fraud in the 2020 US Presidential Election. Yes, there were some individual instances of fraud, but not at a scale that would have swayed the results. Here are just a part of the articles on the topic.
US election 2020: Fact-checking Trump team's main fraud claims - Nov 23, 2020 - BBC News
Fact check: What's true about the 2020 election, vote counting, Electoral College - Nov 17, 2020 - USA Today
No Evidence For Voter Fraud: A Guide To Statistical Claims About The 2020 Election - Feb 3, 2021 - Hoover Institute at Standord University
Nine Election Fraud Claims, None Credible - Dec 11, 2020 - FactCheck.org
On the show, Taylor claimed that Pennsylvannia violated its own state constitution by expanding mail-in voting for the 2020 US Presidential Election. This claim was then repeated by a number of individuals, including Senator Josh Hawley. These claims have been disproven and a lawsuit brought before the US Supreme Court to challenge the changes (after the election had occurred) were denied.
Supreme Court Rejects GOP Bid To Reverse Pennsylvania Election Results - Dec 8, 2020 - NPR
Fact-checking Hawley’s claim about Pennsylvania’s election law - Jan 8, 2021 - Politifact.org
There are five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington – that conduct all-mail elections (Source: Ballotpedia). The COVID pandemic caused many states to change their requirements regarding mail-in or absentee voting. Like the case with Pennsylvannia above, these changes were the target of conservative backlash after President Trump's loss to now-President Biden in the 2020 election. States that allow all-mail voting often also provide voters with a pamphlet or booklet that educates them on the candidates' positions and measures up for consideration. In this episode we specifically discuss the Washington state voter's pamphlet. You can find an example of this pamphlet from the 2020 election here.
Did the 2020 election come down to 40,000 votes?
Joe Biden bested Trump by some 7 million individual votes and 74 electoral votes. NPR's Domenico Montanaro said "just 44,000 votes in Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin separated Biden and Trump from a tie in the Electoral College."
An informed electorate is key to the success of a democracy. This is an area that continues to be studied and we hope to learn more about.
Low information voter - Wiki
The political consequences of uninformed voters - Sept 2012 - Electoral Studies (peer-reviewed journal)
Is it pointless to vote in states that are heavily favored to vote for one party or the other?
What is the probability your vote will make a difference? - April 2012 - Economic Inquiry
What Are the Chances Your Vote Matters? - Nov 17, 2016 - Slate
H.R. 1 - The For the People Act
Our guest this week raised concerns about federalizing elections with H.R. 1. The Washington Post has a great review of what is in the bill that has since cleared the House of Representatives. However, since the bill was first introduced in 2019, organizations have come forward to highlight specific provisions for improvement, most prominently the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Check out these sources below to learn more about suggested improvements to the bill.
ACLU LETTER OPPOSING H.R. 1 (FOR THE PEOPLE ACT OF 2019) - March 6, 2019 - ACLU
Opinion: H.R. 1 could restore our democracy. As it’s written now, it could hurt it, too. - March 3, 2021 - Washington Post
How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ck - March 20, 2021 - The Daily Beast
Impacts of Trump Administration 'Muslim Ban'
In this episode our host shared a personal story about the impacts Trump's 'Muslim Ban' had on his family. There were of impacts from the ban and you can learn more about some of them below.
A Muslim Travel Ban and the U.S. Economy - March 8, 2017 - Council on Foreign Relations
The Effects of the Muslim Ban One Year Later - Dec 4, 2018 - ACLU
ONE YEAR AFTER THE SCOTUS RULING: Understanding the Muslim Ban and How We’ll Keep Fighting It - June 2019 - National Immigration Law Center
The Enduring Harms of Trump’s Muslim Ban - Jan 19, 2021 - ACLU
'Psychological trauma and stress': The lasting impact of the 'Muslim ban' - Jan 20, 2021 - NBC News
Effects of Trump-Era Travel Ban Expected to Linger - Jan 28, 2021 - Voice of America
Would You Rather...?
How about some thinkers to cleanse the palate? Enjoy!
Kanye OR Roseanne receive a major party nomination in 2024?
Marjorie Taylor Greene be on the 2024 republican ticket OR Hillary Clinton win the presidency in 2024?
See the end of corporate tax loopholes like we see now with corporations being able to use foreign subsidiaries to receive income in tax havens OR a zero percent personal income tax rate balanced with a 35% corporate tax rate? (1)
Be a roommate with AOC OR Ben Shapiro?
DC gain statehood before 2024 OR HR 1 The For The People Act be signed into law (2)
(1) Taylor mentioned that he believed income tax is the predominant driver of tax income for the US government. He was right! Check out the data from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)
(2) Taylor mentioned that he thought DC should be absorbed by another state. That is one of the proposals that has been considered - it's called retrocession. Learn more on Wiki.
Nikki Haley and the Removal of the Confederate Flag at the South Carolina State Capital
In December 2019, the former ambassador published an op-ed discussing her removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State Capital in 2015. Read it here for yourself. You can compare it to her statements at the time of the flag's removal here.