Elections Are Only The Tip Of The Iceberg: When Interest Groups And Direct Action Groups Are More Effective Than Political Parties

In every democratic country, languishing behind every proud parliament, there are groups who feel ignored by their national governments. They claim that an important issue (immigration, environmentalism, civil rights, self-determination) is being ignored by mainstream politicians, and they grow disaffected as a result. Some of these groups are targets of systematic oppression, whereas others – despite their relative privilege – simply find that politicians are not talking about their issue. But whilst the contexts and the issues may differ, these under-represented groups share at least one problem: they all find their concerns being ignored. Some groups have solved this problem, Continue reading Elections Are Only The Tip Of The Iceberg: When Interest Groups And Direct Action Groups Are More Effective Than Political Parties

Aid in space: Regional conflict and US aid allocation

This post is based on the article “Before the dominos fall: Regional conflict, donor interests, and US foreign aid“, forthcoming at Conflict Management and Peace Science. From the initial uprisings in 2011 through the present, the civil conflict in Syria has been one of the most complex and pressing international crises in recent memory. The United Nations estimates there are 13.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, with recent reports indicating that over 5 million people have fled Syria, with another 6.3 million internally displaced people. Ultimately much of the media coverage of the conflict has focused largely on 1) violence within Continue reading Aid in space: Regional conflict and US aid allocation

The Trump Administration’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers

On Wednesday, July 26, the President Trump issued the following series of tweets announcing a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military: After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017 ….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming….. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017 ….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Continue reading The Trump Administration’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers

The 2018 Budget Proposal: Less State, More Defense

News outlets have been reviewing the Trump administration’s proposed budget for FY 2018. The proposal makes deep cuts to several federal agencies and spending categories, while also increasing funding to a select few agencies. The article linked above discusses the budget breakdown in greater depth, comparing different programs and agencies to see where the cuts fall. Notably, some programs and agencies associated with foreign policymaking receive deep cuts. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Post’s report concerning some of the key agencies and programs that deal with foreign affairs. The State Department, USAID, and various international programs housed within Treasury receive Continue reading The 2018 Budget Proposal: Less State, More Defense

On Michael Flynn’s Tenure as National Security Advisor

News broke late last night that President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor (NSA), retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, resigned his position amidst mounting concerns that he had improper and possibly illegal exchanges with Russia’s ambassador, and concerns that he was possibly compromised and vulnerable to blackmail. I’m not going to wade into these weightier issues. Flynn’s appointment to be President Trump’s NSA has long been controversial for a number of reasons, and I doubt that we’ve heard the last of this particular case as investigations into his relations with Russian officials appear to be ongoing. Instead, I was curious as to Continue reading On Michael Flynn’s Tenure as National Security Advisor

Ways To Make Your Voice Heard After An Election

Since the surprising results of the US presidential election, a lot of websites and blogs have asked how ordinary citizens should react. What is the best way to allocate your participation, if you want to have an actual impact? One of my favourite examples was here, but other examples were here, here, and here. So – what does political science say is the best way to get involved?

Why an Economically Conservative Republican Party is No Longer Tenable

Donald Trump is not is an economic conservative. He sometimes pays lip service to conservative ideas and has come out in favor of cutting taxes, but these are not the central tenets of his campaign. This is both a stark departure from previous Republican presidential candidates and a large part of why Trump was able to defeat the 16 other candidates during the primary. The Republican Party rode a platform based on cutting taxes and government expenditures as far as they could, but electorally this strategy is played out. It no longer works and the reason why it no longer works is Continue reading Why an Economically Conservative Republican Party is No Longer Tenable

Regions of disparity and how they influence liberalization

Troop deployments in 2000

A recent Journal of Conflict Resolution piece of mine is now available online. While that by itself may not warrant a blog post, I had the opportunity to chat with Paul Huth on the JCR podcast a few months ago and that podcast is now also available online. In my short academic career, this article has taken the longest from initiation to completion and I am happy to see it in print. You can download the podcast here. The other JCR podcasts are available through their website here. Abstract for the article: Political economy debates about the influence of power configurations in expanding and Continue reading Regions of disparity and how they influence liberalization

How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

This post is based on the article “Regions of Hierarchy and Security: US Troop Deployments, Spatial Relations, and Defense Burdens”, by Michael Allen (Boise State University), Michael Flynn (Kansas State University), and Julie VanDusky–Allen (Boise State University), which is forthcoming in International Interactions. Since the end of World War II, the United States has deployed tens-of-thousands of military personnel overseas. In spite of their importance to foreign policy, relatively little research has focused on understanding the effects of these deployments. However, recent years have seen an increase in research on the effects of such deployments on a wide range of Continue reading How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

Constitutional Courts and the Dissolution of Political Parties

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Mert Moral and Efe Tokdemir for their forthcoming article in the International Political Science Review entitled, “Justices ‘en Garde’: ideological determinants of the dissolution of anti-establishment parties”. Mert is currently a doctoral candidate in political science at Binghamton University. Efe is a doctoral candidate in political science at Binghamton University and is currently a visiting scholar at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at the Ohio State University.  The Constitutional Court of Turkey (CCT), the counterpart of the Supreme Court in the U.S., has long been an influential actor in Turkish politics. Continue reading Constitutional Courts and the Dissolution of Political Parties