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

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

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

Why Don’t We See Party Organizations In Faculty Senates?

What kinds of features would a legislative or pseudo-legislative situation need to have before would we expect the emergence of parties (or pseudo-parties)? The organization of political parties is usually argued to be a response to the collective action problem inside legislatures (Aldrich 1995) or outside legislatures (Cox and McCubbins 1997). But is the mere presence of one or both of these problems enough to trigger the development of organizations that look like parties? I’m thinking particularly of a setting that many of us are probably familiar with – faculty governance. Different colleges and universities have different institutions, but are Continue reading Why Don’t We See Party Organizations In Faculty Senates?

What Can Dollar-Store Candy Teach Us About Voting? A Rational Choice Argument For Casting A Wasted Vote

You’re probably familiar with the idea that voting is ‘irrational’. Your one vote doesn’t matter. Sure, there’s some tiny probability that after you vote, your preferred candidate will end up winning by one vote – and in that scenario your vote truly did matter. But outside of that Hollywood script, your vote probably won’t decide the outcome. So why bother with the whole rigmarole of voting? Worse still, imagine that your preferred candidate isn’t even one of the frontrunners. If you support the Greens or the Libertarians, then your tiny probability of deciding the election just got a whole lot Continue reading What Can Dollar-Store Candy Teach Us About Voting? A Rational Choice Argument For Casting A Wasted Vote

Is America in Decline?

There are a lot of political pundits and observers that are amazed by the success of the Trump campaign. I am not one of them. The reason why I am not surprised is the subtext that is defining the 2016 campaign. There is a very real perception that the U.S. is a county in decline. The Trump campaign has embraced this perception head on, and I argue performing well because of it. The campaign slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again” does not leave any doubt about the country’s perceived trajectory. Ben Carson, among others, has successfully channeled this narrative too, Continue reading Is America in Decline?

Voting Rights in the Wake of Shelby County v. Holder

In June 2013, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, where the Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. The contentious 5-4 decision eliminated the Justice department’s mandatory oversight of the electoral process in the Deep South. As a result, many individuals have openly expressed fear that the repeal of Section 4 will lead to the return of Jim Crow and new wave of voter suppression. Broadly speaking the Voting Rights Act was designed to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment, Continue reading Voting Rights in the Wake of Shelby County v. Holder