Politics as a Feeling

A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found something that, believe it or not, surprised nobody. The conclusion of the study found that “People vote with their party, not their personal beliefs.” As YaleNews later reported:

People vote on an issue based on the facts and their ideology, or personal beliefs, but they disregard both the facts and their personal beliefs when they are aware of their political party’s position

The premise of the study is that given a situation involving the issue of welfare, people artificially voted from their beliefs. But when informed of their party’s beliefs beforehand they often switched their own opinion to fall in line with the party. Again this is not very surprising. A simple talk with a stranger reveals how little people truly care about core issues, or when they do take an interest to them how little information they get on that subject. The worst possible outcome is someone who is not just interested, but militant and uninformed.Read More »

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Aftermath of American Politics

For anyone that’s kept up with the news on the both sides of the political spectrum, something very odd is happening. Most recently with the first democratic debate of 2016, the few moments that were most talked about were the issues of gun control, and Sanders’ health care plan. In fact one of the post-debate commentators for MSNBC stated that Sanders had flip-flopped on the issue and sounded “just life Washington.” Well I’m not here to defend Bernie, but it does raise an interesting point about the state of the Democratic Party.

This appears to mean that the candidate’s strategies is to appear most liberal or most conservative, according to the direction of their party. It’s no secret that politicians will pamper their message to fit an agenda, and therefore they will all largely sound the same. For instance it wasn’t that long ago when the GOP wasn’t as fervent about gun deregulation. With Reagan being the Idol of the republican party, many forget his oped piece with Carter and Ford about the regulation of assault rifles. Yet, if any serious GOP candidate were to propose measures such as those it would be political suicide. Read More »

Restructuring Education

A popular opinion nowadays is that “The teacher always knows best.” In a sense, this phrase is used to justify keeping the government out of the teaching curriculum, giving the teachers more room to teach what they want. People often fear that the government will impose upon schools what to teach, when to teach, and how to teach. To an amount I agree with this, however I believe we romanticize the idea of how much the teachers are actually capable of. At least in my experiences the teachers that spout “The teacher always knows best” were never that good of teachers.

I understand that teachers do have to go through a good amount of training and education before they are able to be in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean they’ve learned everything. Some teachers will create a strict system to abide by, using that same method every year to teach new sets of students. There is nothing wrong with a curriculum, but it is the flexibility of the curriculum that determines it’s strength. For instance, let’s take a history class. Every year the content will be mostly the same, but the way the students ingest information will fluctuate from year to year. One year students may be informed best by looking off a Powerpoint presentation and taking notes from a lecture; another year students may prefer to do book work at home at reconvene on everything in class. Some students like to do a lot of presentations, some like to do skits or projects, or whatever it may be. It is the social conditions of the class that determines how they learn best.Read More »

Criticism of the Sanders Campaign

The 2nd Democratic debate last night revealed some interesting things about the Democratic Party. Each candidate had their own moment, for Sanders it was the quote “I’m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower“, and for O’Malley it was calling Trump an “Immigrant-Bashing carnival barker” and oddly enough for Clinton, it was using 9/11 to justify taking corporate donations. But it was about all that was expected.

Many of the  internet polls after the debate showed Sanders to have won the debate by at least 70%-90%, but many still proclaim for the average viewer that Clinton won the debate. This comes at an unfortunate time, the latest poll shows that in the early voting state of New Hampshire Clinton leads by 21 points, just last months Sanders was leading. The results are similar in Iowa, while Sanders and Clinton were tied at one point, Clinton now leads by over 18 points.Read More »

Participating in a democracy

With election season underway and the first debate for the democrats tonight, people are paying more attention to politics. Obviously this has been an odd election due to the non-establishment politicians running for president, and even becoming the front runners. What a lot people tend to forget is that politics is not just relevant every four years. Political activism is an important part of our lives because the way the country is governed impacts not only ourselves, but the entire country for generations to come.

The reason I feel a lot of people are turned off politics is for two reasons. 1) That politics is boring and takes too much effort to learn, or 2) What the individual does will not have an effect on the outcome.

I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of politics is boring. Most people couldn’t care less about the legislative process our the power plays that go on in congress. But while those parts are boring the actual issues that politics focuses on are interesting. Since people are naturally very opinionated, as long as they aren’t completely self-centered, it’s difficult to have absolutely no feelings for an issue. Chances are they feel very strongly for at least on topic, whether it is gay rights, veterans benefits, helping the poor, healthcare, abortion, or any other topic, there is something political that resonates with their personality. You don’t have to know everything about politics to still fight for these issues.Read More »

The Impact of Biden’s Presidential Candidacy

There’s been a lot of rumors lately about the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden running for President in the upcoming election. First of all it is worth noting the political atmosphere right now. A recent study came out that now shows that Bernie Sanders is leading by +7 points in New Hampshire (Page 2). In the same state it was reported that favorability for Sanders was 78% with Clinton’s at 63% and rapidly dropping due to the whole email scandal surrounding her.

With this happening the rumors about Biden begin circulating again, and this time with more coverage. There is still some time before the first Democratic debate in October, but if this is going to happen Biden needs to get moving. Of course he may not have time to, depending if Hillary bounces back or not.Read More »

Analysis of Political Rhetoric Pt. 2

In my previous post I focused on analyzing the different techniques politicians will make when giving speeches. It’s fairly easy to spot the speaker when they are avoiding the question or using shady techniques, as long as you know what those techniques are at least. But one way that people are commonly influenced by that we don’t think about as much is our source of news. If it is a talk show then it’s a little easier, if it is a news anchor it becomes trickier, and if it is a written text it is even more difficult. This first article will be from Reuters about the plane that recently crashed in the Papua region of Indonesia.

One reason that I like Reuters is because they readily give a list of facts about the initial incident, gives quotes from various sources to better explain the incident, and then go into background information about the story. That’s the basic structure I’ve noticed from their articles. It is usually a paragraph such as this that are a give away:

The airline has been on the EU’s list of banned carriers since 2007. Airlines on the list are barred from operating in European airspace due to either concerns about safety standards or the regulatory environment in their country of registration.

This occurs midway through the article. This isn’t part of the immediate story because it isn’t about the plane crash, but it is relevant to why the plane crashed in the first place. The article noticeably gets more political when shortly after it follows up with:Read More »