The Bane of Democracy: The Average Voter

Alexander Tytler was a historian at the University of Edinburgh, and he is attributed with claiming in 1787 that the average lifespan of a democracy is 200 years. He remarked that “a democracy is always temporary in nature, it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government,” and pursuant to his observation of Athens and Rome, he recognized the following cycle, which he posits all democracies follow: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to…

A Message to Congress: Repeal Obamacare, Then Get Out of the Way

The drama and tension surrounding the future of healthcare in the United States gives House of Cards a run for its money. To say that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, nicknamed Obamacare) is falling apart would be a great understatement. Like many issues facing our country, the disaster that is the ACA is a clear example of misguided government intervention. The solution to the healthcare fiasco is not a single-payer system nor is it “Obamacare Lite,” also known as the American Health Care Act. While some point out that the…

Where Are All the Moderates? Conservative Republicans and Moving Goalposts

In recent months, a certain narrative has taken hold in the media about Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan, it seems, was poised to counter Trump. The rumblings began near the Republican National Convention, with some Republicans hoping for a coup that would replace presumptive nominee Trump with the “moderate” Ryan. Once Trump won the election, the strength of this narrative grew. As Speaker, he was held up to be a balance, a centrist opponent who could challenge or even curb Trump’s more right-wing ideas. Paul Ryan was the moderate savior of…

The Truth Behind Phony Outrage

In July 2016, the North Carolina legislature passed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act—more commonly known as House Bill 2—which forbids individuals from using bathrooms that do not match their birth gender. The bill, which was signed into law by governor Patrick McCrory on March 23, bans local governments from enacting anti-discrimination policies or setting their own minimum wage laws, but is best known for its stipulation regarding bathroom usage. According to McCrory, it was enacted to reinforce state authority over local government and defend standards of public decency,…

How the Confirmation Process of Judge Gorsuch is Entirely Political

Following Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court on January 31, a predictably polarizing debate ensued. While the Constitution requires an independent judiciary, judicial appointments, especially to the highest Court in the nation, have become partisan battles. Judge Gorsuch undoubtedly possesses the academic and professional credentials to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Court, yet the history behind this particular vacancy ensures a hostile confirmation process. Considering President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland this past year was denied any Senate hearings due to Republican obstruction, it is…

All Joking Aside: The SNL Effect

To many Americans, the political field is dull, divisive and plain ugly. For forty-two years, Saturday Night Live (SNL) has transformed the inner workings of politics into something that Americans find relatable, humorous, and ultimately engaging. With its witty and satirical depictions of presidential politics, this season of SNL has thoroughly captured the essence of the 2016 presidential election. It has seen record-shattering viewing figures: A recent skit featured Melissa McCarthy impersonating White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on his first day. Matching Spicer’s stroppy conversational style and donning his…

The Fourth Estate Under Siege

It is no great secret that the Trump administration has focused significant attention on attacking the news media. Repeatedly and publicly, Trump and his surrogates have critiqued news outlets, kept respected sources out of the White House, refused to appear on networks, and proclaimed with growing intensity the existence of “fake news”. If the intent is to create distrust of the media, then Trump seems to be succeeding. A recent Pew Research poll found that 64% of Americans say fake news causes “a great deal of confusion.” Indeed, some of…

Is Trump the New Reagan?

America has always been a nation of narratives. From Manifest Destiny to the American Dream, the stories we tell about ourselves have come to define not simply our culture but our politics as well. Since the Jacksonian Revolution, this myth-making, this populist penchant for following a cult of personality, has been a consistent factor in American life, but perhaps never more so than in the past election. Donald Trump has created a personal brand like few presidents in history, using his celebrity status for political ends like no one else…