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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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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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An analysis of how narcocorridos portray the political sociology of the Mexican Drug cartels in Mexican society

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Since the collapse of the Medellin Cartel in Colombia in 1993, the Mexican drug cartels have been increasing in strength and international presence. Along with the organization's political and economic involvement, a deeply rooted culture has been developing. Three distinct

Since the collapse of the Medellin Cartel in Colombia in 1993, the Mexican drug cartels have been increasing in strength and international presence. Along with the organization's political and economic involvement, a deeply rooted culture has been developing. Three distinct time periods define this culture: pre-Medellin Cartel collapse (1970s-1993), post-Medellin Cartel Collapse (1993-2006) and post-President Calderon's Drug War announcement (2006-present day). More specifically, the history and fascination with the cartel is documented in songs, known as narcocorridos, which celebrate and support the drug cartels. The science of political sociology addresses the power relationship that exists between a state, its citizens, and the state's social groups. This study investigates the political sociology of each period, specifically how society viewed the cartel and their roles within the cartel. I argue that the narcocorridos accurately describe the evolution of narcoculture in Mexican society. This study consists of analyses of narcocorrido song lyrics, the political sociology of each time period, and finally, the societal perception of the drug cartel. First, I will evaluate the most popular songs' lyrics of the three defining time periods in the Mexican Drug Cartel history. Next, I will analyze the lyrics and determine whether or not they accurately reflect the political sociological features of the time period. Last, I will discuss what the societal perceptions of being associated with the cartel were during each time period. This study concludes by hypothesizing what the future of narcocorriodos will be. This prediction will demonstrate how the songs will continue to reflect the political sociology of the time period, including the societal attitudes towards the cartel.

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2016-05

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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

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Fidel Castro: Controversies Over his Political Vision- What American Political Elites Should Know About the Shaping of Cuban Politics

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The purpose of this thesis is to outline the different and often contentious arguments that surround the ideological outcome of the Cuban Revolution. Especially now that United States policy makers and diplomats are considering renegotiating trade and political agreements with

The purpose of this thesis is to outline the different and often contentious arguments that surround the ideological outcome of the Cuban Revolution. Especially now that United States policy makers and diplomats are considering renegotiating trade and political agreements with Cuba, it is important to have a clearer idea as to whether Fidel Castro was an idealist or opportunist, and which of these profiles American diplomats should base their assumptions of Cuban leadership on. My thesis proposes the following argument: That much of the controversy surrounding Castro's personality is contentious and falls within extremes. He is neither devil nor angel; that is, he is neither purely idealistic nor wholly opportunistic. Assessments of his personality fall somewhere in between these two positions. Further, diplomatic strategies formulated by American policy makers should take into account the subtleties in determining whom the figure Fidel Castro really is. And, any proposed changes in policy must take into account the complexities of Castro's leadership style and of the way this style forms the legacy and context in what current and future Cuban leadership will approach negotiations between the United States over political and trade relations.

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2014-05

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French Jewish Emigration, the United States, and the Second World War

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At odds with the Axis powers in the Second World War, the American government
began the task of dealing with an influx of Europeans seeking refugee status stateside, even before the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. American

At odds with the Axis powers in the Second World War, the American government
began the task of dealing with an influx of Europeans seeking refugee status stateside, even before the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. American interest in the global situation, nevertheless, did not officially begin after the initial attack on the 7th of December. Before that date, the United States government had to address refugees seeking asylum from European countries. Often studied, German emigration to the United States at times took center stage in terms of the refugee situation after the Nazi regime enacted anti- Semitic legislation in Germany and its occupied nations, prior to the American declaration of war. France, however, had a crisis of its own after the Germans invaded in the summer of 1940, and the fall of France led to a large portion of France occupied by Germany and the formation of a new government in the non-occupied zone, the Vichy regime.
France had an extensive history of Jewish culture and citizenship culture prior to 1940, and xenophobia, especially common after the 1941 National Revolution in France, led to a “France for the French” mentality championed by Marshal Philippe Pétain, Chief of State of Vichy France. The need for the French Jewish population to seek emigration became a reality in the face of the collaborationist Vichy government and anti-Semitic statutes enacted in 1940 and 1941. French anti-Semitic policies and practices led many Jews to seek asylum in the United States, though American policy was divided between a small segment of government officials, politicians, individuals, and Jewish relief groups who wanted to aid European Jews, and a more powerful nativist faction, led by Breckenridge Long which did not support immigration. President Roosevelt, and the American government, fully aware of the situation of French Jews, did little concrete to aid their asylum in the United States.

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2014-05

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Russia's War on Democracy: Analyzing Disinformation in the United States, Latvia, and Colombia

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Disinformation has long been a tactic used by the Russian government to achieve its goals. Today, Vladimir Putin aims to achieve several things: weaken the United States’ strength on the world stage, relieve Western sanctions on himself and his inner

Disinformation has long been a tactic used by the Russian government to achieve its goals. Today, Vladimir Putin aims to achieve several things: weaken the United States’ strength on the world stage, relieve Western sanctions on himself and his inner circle, and reassert dominant influence over Russia’s near abroad (the Baltics, Ukraine, etc.). This research analyzed disinformation in English, Spanish, and Russian; noting the dominant narratives and geopolitical goals Russia hoped to achieve by destabilizing democracy in each country/region.

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2021-05

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Money or Mercy? What Really Drives US/Middle Eastern Relationships?

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"The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened".
- John F Kennedy

For over a century now, the United States has publicly professed a commitment to upholding human rights around the world, yet to

"The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened".
- John F Kennedy

For over a century now, the United States has publicly professed a commitment to upholding human rights around the world, yet to this day economically supports numerous dictatorships and undemocratic regimes that flout human rights on a daily basis. The rhetoric of American politicians would imply that human rights and democracy are a priority in America's foreign policy, yet given US support for autocracies, both of these principles seem forgotten. If not respect for democracy and human rights, what is truly influencing America's relationship with these countries? I hypothesize that a country's resource availability will be the best predictive factor for its economic relationship with the US, followed by its military involvement with the US, and finally, human rights records will be the least predictive factor. The study found that a country's military cooperation with the US is the best predictive factor regarding our economic relationship, resource availability comes with a weak correlation, and human rights abuses very rarely substantively impact our economic relationships.

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2020-05