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

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

How Legislator Professionalization Constrains Executive Decree Issuance in Latin America

This is a guest post by Alissandra T. Stoyan (Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Kansas State University) and Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (Assistant Professor, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University). This post is based on their article, “Constraining Executive Action: The Role of Legislator Professionalization in Latin America,” forthcoming at Governance and now available through Early View online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gove.12210/abstract Traditionally Latin American presidents have been viewed as excessively powerful, given both their constitutionally-endowed authority as well as their tendency to ignore the rule of law. Yet, across the region today, legislatures are asserting themselves and challenging executives. Brazilian Continue reading How Legislator Professionalization Constrains Executive Decree Issuance in Latin America

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

Happy Medium, Happy Citizens: Presidential Power & Democratic Regime Support

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Shane P. Singh, Assistant Professor of International Affairs at the University of Georgia, and Ryan E. Carlin, Associate Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University.  Their article, “Happy Medium, Happy Citizens: Presidential Power and Democratic Regime Support,” is forthcoming at Political Research Quarterly. The presidential model of democracy is famously associated with democratic instability, as presidents are prone to usurping power beyond their mandates and clashing with the legislature, which is elected separately and can also claim to speak for the people. Nevertheless, newly (re-)emerged democracies in Latin America have chosen to Continue reading Happy Medium, Happy Citizens: Presidential Power & Democratic Regime Support

Explaining A Party System by Looking at the Alternatives to Parties

The most recent issue of Party Politics (July 2014) includes my article on why political activists choose to form different types of political organizations (you can find the version of record and abstract here). This work was a core part of my dissertation, and so I’d like to take this opportunity to give an informal overview of it, and particularly some of the more general implications. I think this work is most relevant to people interested in party system size, emerging issues such as environmentalism, and activist behaviour. The basic idea is about how different political organizations can substitute for each Continue reading Explaining A Party System by Looking at the Alternatives to Parties

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.”

Military Deployments, Human Development, and Growth

Guatemalan families wait in line outside a Medical Readiness Training Exercise during Beyond the Horizon 2014, Zacapa, Guatemala, April 21, 2014.

The deployment of US military forces has received a bump in attention over the past year or two. Most recently, as Michael Allen has discussed, US military forces were deployed to Poland in response to the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. In 2011 President Obama sent 100 US military personnel to Uganda to help track Joseph Kony, bolstering forces that were already deployed to the region. Obama recently moved to strengthen the presence of US forces in Uganda, sending aircraft and an additional 150 Air Force personnel in mid-March. According to the Washington Post article linked above, the total number of Continue reading Military Deployments, Human Development, and Growth

While the IR people are away, the Americanists will play.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Joshua N. Zingher, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. The content of this post is based on Josh’s paper, ‘An Analysis of the Changing Social Bases of America’s Political Parties: 1952-2008’, appearing in Electoral Studies. This piece is cross-posted at the London School of Economics’ USAPP Blog, which can be found here.    Demographic changes mean that traditional Republican constituencies are shrinking as the Democrats’ grow. It is difficult to discuss electoral politics in the United States without talking in terms of social groups.  Journalistic accounts of party Continue reading While the IR people are away, the Americanists will play.