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In Defense of Compulsory Voting in the United States

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In this paper, I will be arguing for the adoption of compulsory voting legislation in the United States. More specifically, for the implementation of compulsory voting in all federal elections. I begin my paper by stating essential democratic principles and

In this paper, I will be arguing for the adoption of compulsory voting legislation in the United States. More specifically, for the implementation of compulsory voting in all federal elections. I begin my paper by stating essential democratic principles and how they demand this kind of voting policy in a country that prides itself as a beacon of democracy. Secondly, I will discussing voter suppression in the United States, both in the past as well as currently. My goal with this section is to show how compulsory voting would reduce voter suppression and bring about a democratically legitimate elected government. Thirdly, I will discuss how countries across the globe have already implemented compulsory voting in their elections. Primarily, I will show how Australia and Brazil require voting in their elections, as they are the most similar in size and culture to the United States out of the nations that currently operate with it. Lastly, I will refute any arguments against compulsory voting and argue why it is imperative for the United States to implement it in their elections.

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2019-05

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Malaysian 2018 General Election: The start of a Democratic Transition?

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The overall purpose of this project was to examine a democratic transition and the factors that lead to a transition by looking at a specific country case. The Malaysian 2018 General Election saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) political party, which

The overall purpose of this project was to examine a democratic transition and the factors that lead to a transition by looking at a specific country case. The Malaysian 2018 General Election saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) political party, which had been in power since the nation’s independence, lose to the opposition party, Pakatan Harapan (PH), in a shocking turn of events. When looking at this particular case, it was important to first establish what the most common factors are, that exist in democratic transitions. By applying these factors to the Malaysian case, it allowed for a deeper understanding of whether or not this democratic transition would take root quickly or instead take several years. Along with connecting these academically studied factors to Malaysia, it was also critical at examining the major events unique to the country that helped contribute to the BN’s loss. When examining this case in particular, what became evident was that the election results and overall transition had already been building up for several years.

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2019-05

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Proportional Representation Electoral Systems and Minority Representation in the American Legislature: A Comparative Analysis of Potential Reforms

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In this paper I conduct a comparative analysis of how proportional representation electoral systems could affect the political representation of racial and ethnic minorities if adopted in America. In order to do this I first discuss the central ideas of

In this paper I conduct a comparative analysis of how proportional representation electoral systems could affect the political representation of racial and ethnic minorities if adopted in America. In order to do this I first discuss the central ideas of proportional representation in conjunction with a historical and contemporary view of the American electoral system. Using this discussion as a basic framework I enter a more in depth discussion about the pros and cons of PR systems, especially in so far as party lists, district magnitude, and links between constituent and representative. To better contextualize the American electoral system I then use case studies featuring New Zealand, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and Germany. These case studies discuss important aspects of each country's electoral system and how they have affected ethnic and racial minorities within those countries. Each case study concludes with an assessment of how a similar system might work if adopted in America which aims to inform a broader discussion about electoral reform. Finally I conclude with a discussion of my findings that recognizes how proportional representation systems open new pathways for minority representation, while still urging caution in viewing those systems as a straightforward solution to the chronic underrepresentation of America's ethnic and racial minorities in politics.

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2018-05

ERA in AZ

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This short documentary on the Equal Rights Amendment features attorney Dianne Post and State Representative Jennifer Jermaine, and it examines the fight for passage at the federal and state level. This film attempts to answer the following questions: What is

This short documentary on the Equal Rights Amendment features attorney Dianne Post and State Representative Jennifer Jermaine, and it examines the fight for passage at the federal and state level. This film attempts to answer the following questions: What is the ERA? What is its history? Why do we need it? How do we get it into the Constitution of the United States of America?

The text of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) states that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The amendment was authored by Alice Paul and was first introduced into Congress in 1923. The ERA did not make much progress until 1970, when Representative Martha Griffiths from Michigan filed a discharge petition demanding that the ERA move out of the judiciary committee to be heard by the full United States House of Representatives. The House passed it and it went on to the Senate, where it was approved and sent to the states for ratification. By 1977, 35 states had voted to ratify the ERA, but it did not reach the 38 states-threshold required for ratification before the 1982 deadline set by Congress. More recently, Nevada ratified the ERA in March 2017, and Illinois followed suit in May 2018. On January 27th, 2020, Virginia finalized its ratification, making it the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Supporters of the ERA argue that we have reached the required goal of approval by 38 states. However, opponents may have at least two legal arguments to challenge this claim by ERA advocates. First, the deadline to ratify was 1982. Second, five states have voted to rescind their ratification since their initial approval. These political and legal challenges must be addressed and resolved before the ERA can be considered part of the United States Constitution. Nevertheless, ERA advocates continue to pursue certification. There are complicated questions to untangle here, to be sure, but by listening to a variety of perspectives and critically examining the historical and legal context, it may be possible to find some answers. Indeed, Arizona, which has yet to ratify the ERA, could play a vital role in the on-going fight for the ERA.

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2020-05

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Colin Kaepernick, Ethnocentrism, and Multiculturalism: Redefining Nationalism in the United States

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This paper explores whether American football player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ refusal in 2016 to acknowledge the national anthem symbolizes a form of nationalism in the United States. At first glance, the rising support of “un-American” acts that reject

This paper explores whether American football player Colin Kaepernick and other athletes’ refusal in 2016 to acknowledge the national anthem symbolizes a form of nationalism in the United States. At first glance, the rising support of “un-American” acts that reject traditional patriotism would imply that American nationalism is faltering. If one observes the colloquial understanding of nationalism as extreme commitment to a country, this may be true. But after closer examination, the pattern instead depicts a polarization of two distinct forms of nationalism — ethnocentric nationalism and what I call multicultural nationalism, both intensifying away from each other.
As opposed to colloquial understanding, there is no standard scholarly definition of nationalism, but it is widely seen as zeal over an identity that strives to manifest into an organized state. Despite this minimal consensus, nationalism is usually equated with an ethnocentric conception of the nation-state, what I recognize to be ethnocentric nationalism, the commitment to a linguistically, racially, and culturally likeminded nation. I argue that this traditional, ethnocentric understanding of nationalism is only one interpretation of nationalism. Ethnocentric nationalism has and continues to be in tension with a more recently established interpretation of the nation, which I call multicultural nationalism: the commitment to a country’s principles rather than to its racial, cultural, and religious ties.

A common acceptance of difference is growing in the United States as shown by Kaepernick’s public support in the face of patriotic conformity. This perspective draws from the United States’ ideological roots that argue for one nation made up of many, e pluribus unum, so that foreign backgrounds should not just be accepted but also embraced to form a more diverse nation. The passion for a progressive, multicultural America can be translated into its own movement of multicultural nationalism. In this context, the support for Kaepernick’s actions no longer appears to represent increased dissent from the United States, but instead seems to be an attempt to challenge ethnocentric nationalism’s claim to the nation.

This paper will begin by contrasting the reactions to Kaepernick’s protest and to protests before him in order to contend that nationalism is no longer characterized by only ethnocentric tradition. I will analyze theoretical studies on nationalism to dispute this common understanding that nationalism is solely ethnocentric. I will argue that nationalism, rather, is the intense manifestation of a community’s identity within a political state; the identity of which can be either ethnocentric or multicultural. The Kaepernick ordeal will be used to signify the greater division in the American public over whether a multicultural or ethnocentric conception of the nation should be supported in the United States. Lastly, this paper will observe how the Kaepernick protest suggests multicultural nationalism’s viability in today’s politically progressive environment, and how multiculturalism should embrace nationalism to advance its platform.

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2017-05

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US DRONE POLICY AND THE PROJECTION OF FORCE: AN INVESTIGATION OF DEMOCRATIC CONSTRAINTS

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This paper examines the development of United States drone policy outside of traditional battle zones. It poses the question of why do states use drones as a projection of force? In particular, the paper examines the expansion of the drone

This paper examines the development of United States drone policy outside of traditional battle zones. It poses the question of why do states use drones as a projection of force? In particular, the paper examines the expansion of the drone program within a system of democratic checks and balances. It looks at the effect that political and legal influences have had on the expansion of the drone program and hypothesizes that the presence of these constraints should increase drone use outside of traditional battle zones. In order to investigate this hypothesis, the paper looks at data on drone strikes from Yemen and Somalia. The data partially supports the hypothesis as there has not been a clear linear increase in the number of drone strikes in each of these countries. Nevertheless, an examination of the surrounding literature regarding political and legal influences within these countries seems to favorably point to the increase of drone operations. Future research, however, needs to be cognizant of the limitations in gathering specific statistics on drone operations as these operations are covert. It's also important to understand how the covert nature of the drone operations impacts issues regarding political oversight and legality. Lastly, it's important to constantly examine the broader implications drone policy has for US policy.

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2015-05

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CHAOS THEORY AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE

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Since the start of U.S. hostilities against Iraq in 2003, International Relations scholars have begun to characterize the U.S. as potentially an empire. This is because the traditional notion of sovereignty under the Westphalian nation-state system is held as a

Since the start of U.S. hostilities against Iraq in 2003, International Relations scholars have begun to characterize the U.S. as potentially an empire. This is because the traditional notion of sovereignty under the Westphalian nation-state system is held as a constant in the prominent theories that govern how it is thought how nation-states interact with each other. The blatant violation of international laws and norms with impunity by the U.S. have led to a re-questioning of the true dynamics underlying this system. Some scholars have characterized the recent research as a popular fad, but most of the research is aimed at just attempting to show how the U.S. could be an empire. What the current research is missing is how the U.S. became an empire, with that analysis anchored in an historical comparison. A complete chronological review of each system in its entirety is required, with all of its components, to more fully understand these phenomena. This has required researchers to devise a new methodological process of qualitatively and quantitatively analyzing macro structures. We believe the implications of the insights that can be obtained with this new method could be of use to many fields and can generate many new hypotheses to test in the future.

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2014-12

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ESOPs and the Need towards Democratic Governance in the Workplace

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If democracy is the best way to rule why then is it limited only to the political sphere? This question is central to economic democracy which is the theory that economic activities should be governed by democratic principles. In America,

If democracy is the best way to rule why then is it limited only to the political sphere? This question is central to economic democracy which is the theory that economic activities should be governed by democratic principles. In America, ESOPs are used for a variety of reasons, and I believe that they can be used for the development of democratic firms. My thesis looks at current ESOPs to see if they are democratic, and suggests how they can be used to develop democratic firms.

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2014-05

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Techne and Virtue - Plato's Understanding of Moral Truth

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I will examine the relation between techne and virtue as it appears in Plato‘s dialogues and suggest that in order to adequately confront our greatest political and social challenges our understanding must move beyond mere scientific and technical knowledge and

I will examine the relation between techne and virtue as it appears in Plato‘s dialogues and suggest that in order to adequately confront our greatest political and social challenges our understanding must move beyond mere scientific and technical knowledge and our practices must move beyond the political art taught by Gorgias and Protagoras. It is my belief that the Platonic conception of virtue and the political art that aims toward that conception of virtue offer a paradigm that can help remedy today‘s arguably technocratic political condition. I begin this work by exploring the nature of techne as it was understood in ancient Greece, and arguing (contra Irwin) that Plato did not hold a technical conception of justice. Whereas each techne establishes an eidos (idea, form, blueprint) in advance, which can be clearly known and uniformly applied in each particular case, I argue that Plato‘s conception of justice leaves all substantive content to be filled out in each concrete situation, precluding the possibility of the anticipatory disposition that techne affords and demanding a certain degree of deliberation in each situation, with attention paid to the unique aspects of each particular set of circumstances. I argue that this conception of justice informs Plato's notion of a "political art" and suggest that this art requires constant attention to the unique attributes of each particular situation in which we find ourselves, and that the pre-interpretive prejudice of many modern ideologies and political-economic perspectives hinders our ability to see the particularity in each situation and thereby reduces our capacity for achieving justice in the historically-situated, concrete moment within which we always must act.

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2015-05

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Is the "Special Relationship" Still Special? The Politics and Role of Anglo-American Relations since 1980

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This research looks at the state of Anglo-American political relations since 1980. By examining the political partnerships between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher and George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown,

This research looks at the state of Anglo-American political relations since 1980. By examining the political partnerships between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher and George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Tony Blair, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, and Barack Obama and David Cameron, it explores if the so called ‘special relationship’ remains so special today in a world of growing political animosity and challenges. The thesis argues that the success of the ‘special relationship’ between the United States and United Kingdom has not been just due to similar political ideologies or goals, but also personal friendships which often overcame national interests or immediate personal political gain. Furthermore, it is often the periods of disagreement between these sets of leaders that helped strengthen the relationship between America and Britain, evidenced by episodes like the Falklands War, policy towards the Soviet Union, the invasion of Grenada, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ultimately, the thesis explores how current relations have deteriorated due to problems on both sides of the Atlantic under the Obama, Brown, and Cameron administrations, but the research concludes that the special relationship is, while damaged, alive and fixable.

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2015-12