About Julie VanDusky-Allen

Julie VanDusky-Allen is at Boise State University and received her PhD in Political Science from Binghamton University in 2011. Her research focuses on institutional choice and development, political parties, the legislative process, and Latin American politics.

Who Won the Hispanic Vote in Nevada?

The 2016 Democratic Presidential nominating process has become in part a competition over who can win over non-white voters. This is not surprising given that the Democratic Party is associated with representing the interests of minority voters. The Democratic Party needs these voters to turn out in November to defeat the Republicans. Heading into Nevada this weekend, Clinton and Sanders debated over whether Sanders could attract non-white voters in subsequent caucuses/primaries. After the Nevada caucuses, the results of a CBS entrance/exit poll suggested that Sanders won the Hispanic vote in Nevada. According to the poll, 53% of Hispanics voted for Continue reading Who Won the Hispanic Vote in Nevada?

Faking a Prisoners’ Dilemma to Get Out of Trouble

Imagine you committed a crime alone and the police eventually figure out that you did it. You believe there is enough evidence against you for you to be convicted of the crime, and you will serve a long sentence. You have nothing to offer the police to reduce your sentence or avoid getting in trouble at all. So what could you do? You could make up an accomplice to reduce your sentence. In other words, you could create a prisoners’ dilemma. In the fake prisoners’ dilemma, as long as you confess, no matter what the fake accomplice does (stay silent Continue reading Faking a Prisoners’ Dilemma to Get Out of Trouble

The 2014 Election by the Numbers

Note: I acquired the data for this post on November 5th, 2014 at 1:00 pm. A handful of election results were still not fully updated. In this post, I briefly describe the outcome of the House of Representatives elections. I only analyze elections where there was one Democrat on the ballot and one Republican on the ballot. In total, I analyze 355 House elections. Republicans won about 53.4% of the nationwide popular vote in the 355 House elections and won 59.7% of the seats. Republicans won 210 of the House seats. If the results were proportional to the Republican vote share, they would Continue reading The 2014 Election by the Numbers

Should the Decisions of Administrative Law Judges Be Subject to Public Opinion?

In the United States, if a citizen has a dispute with an executive agency, they can take the dispute in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). The judge is supposed to act as a neutral arbiter in resolving the dispute. For example, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies someone disabilities benefits, that person can appeal the decision, and an ALJ is supposed to either award or deny the claim based solely on the facts of the case. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has tried to ensure ALJs remain neutral agents. The OPM has established rules and procedures Continue reading Should the Decisions of Administrative Law Judges Be Subject to Public Opinion?

Term Limits, Polarization, and Party Leaders

I recently published an article about the effects of US state legislative term limits on legislators’ behavior. The findings of the article suggest that in the presence of term limits, state legislators in more professionalized legislatures spend less time on constituency service and more time fundraising with their caucus. In the article, I argued that since term limited legislators do not rely on their constituents to maintain a long term career in politics, they are less likely to spend time on constituency service than their peers in non-term limited legislatures. Instead, term limited legislators spend more time on fundraising since it helps them get Continue reading Term Limits, Polarization, and Party Leaders

Cantor’s Trojan Horse?

I have a question for someone who is an expert in election law in Virginia. Eric Cantor announced that he will be stepping down from his Congressional seat on August 18. He asked Governor McAuliffe to hold a special election in November so that the candidate who wins his seat will automatically be able to fill the seat. Cantor stated that he wants the special election so his constituents have a representative they want in Congress. My question: Due to Virginia’s sore loser law, Cantor cannot officially run for re-election because he lost his party’s primary election. More specifically, his Continue reading Cantor’s Trojan Horse?

Reducing Infant Mortality Rates

 Infant Mortality Rates in the United States In 2010, the US had an infant mortality rate of 6.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. This was the third largest infant mortality rate among OECD countries, only less than Mexico and Turkey. In contrast, Finland had the second lowest infant mortality rate among OECD countries, with an average of 2.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. However, Finland did not always have a low infant mortality rate. Back in the 1930s, it was relatively high. As a result, the government created a program, the maternity box, in order help reduce infant Continue reading Reducing Infant Mortality Rates

Could another government shutdown be a factor in Cantor’s defeat?

Gage Skidmore via Compfight Eric Cantor’s primary loss yesterday to unknown candidate, David Brat, was quite the spectacle. A House majority leader has never lost a primary battle. Almost immediately after his loss, media outlets began reporting that Cantor lost because he had taken a pro-immigration stance on immigration reform (or failed to take a strong position on the issue either way). Given what we know about which factors influence election outcomes in the United States, I find it very hard to believe that Eric Cantor so handily lost a primary battle (56% to 44%) just because of his position Continue reading Could another government shutdown be a factor in Cantor’s defeat?

Two Lessons Voters Learned This Week

FutUndBeidl via Compfight 1. Do not take selfies in a voting booth. You could inadvertently photograph your own ballot or someone else’s ballot. You have the right to vote by secret ballot- make sure to keep it that way. 2. Voters who live in states that require voter identification cards- make sure to bring your identification cards with you to vote. Alternatively, make sure to bring a staffer with you who can run home and get your credentials for you just in case you forget them. That way voter identification laws will only cause you a “little bit of an inconvenience.”

The United States is Still a Democracy

In the last few weeks, several media outlets have reported on a new study on American democracy by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page . The headlines include: “Study: The US is an oligarchy, not a democracy” “It’s Official: America is an Oligarchy and NOT a Democracy” “Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy” “U.S. more oligarchy than democracy, study suggests” “Too Important for Clever Titles – Scientific Study Says We are an Oligarchy” “The Silver Lining to Our Oligarchy.” Gilens and Page’s article, forthcoming in Perspectives on Politics this fall, examines which types Continue reading The United States is Still a Democracy