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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

How Race and Religion is Affecting the American Electorate.

October 6th, 2014 No comments

By: Lauren Zrillo

Blog Category: Religion & Race

There has been recent debate within the American electorate regarding the cause of the stark divide between coalitions who support the two major parties. This debate is centered on why the Republican Party has been unable to win a presidential election in the past two elections. The answer can be boiled down to two crucial factors—race and religion.

Over the past several decades there has been an increase in racial diversity and a shift in moral values. Today, Democratic and Republican voters are far more divided by race, moral beliefs, and policy preferences than in the past fifty years. It is well known that the Republican Party has a major demographic problem—the party is struggling to attract growing demographic groups in America, these groups include young and minority voters.

One problem the Republican Party is having with attracting voters between the ages of 18-33 (young voters) is the shift in moral and religious views the American culture has had in past decades. There has been a drastic decrease among voters who would classify themselves as being religiously observant and most voters between the ages of 18-33 are more likely to vote democratic when it comes to social policies. For example, the dramatic shift in American culture has prided itself on individual autonomy. Therefore, unless the Republican Party changes its outdated views on religious and moral issues young voters will continue to join the Democratic coalition.

Today, American society would like to believe that racial segregation is no longer a crucial problem and all men are treated equal. However, American society remains deeply divided among racial lines especially when it comes to political affiliation. Historically minorities collate with the Democratic Party, while whites collate with the Republican Party and the same is true today. This creates a twofold problem for the Republican Party moving forward. First, African American and Latinos continue to face an uphill battle when it comes to equality with white Americans. These minorities continue to experience poorer education, inferior housing, higher unemployment, and a higher incarceration rate than white Americans. The experiences that minority voters have with these issues sculpt their beliefs about the role the government should have in helping citizens, spending on social services, and taxation. The Democratic Party caters to these issues, which is why minorities continue to join the Democratic coalition. Second, This creates a future problem for the Republican Party because the demographic make-up of the United States is changing. There are more minorities voting then ever before. This is largely due to the large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia, in addition to the fertility rate being higher among African Americans and Latin Americans. This boils down to a simple realization for the Republican Party—minorities collate with the Democratic Party and the number of minorities voting is growing with each presidential election.

In order to lessen the stark divide between the two coalitions and have a shot at a Presidential seat in the future, the Republican Party must “re-brand” themselves with the issues of race and religion in mind.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

Sources:

Alan I. Abramowitz, How race and religion have polarized American voters, The Washington Post  (Jan. 20, 2014, 12:27 PM), available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/01/20/how-race-and-religion-have-polarized-american-voters/.

Katie Glueck, Report: How the GOP lost young voters, Politico (Jun. 3, 2013, 6:00 PM), available at  http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/gop-youth-vote-report-92119.html.

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The Influence of Race and Religion on Voting Trends in the United States

August 11th, 2014 No comments

By: Olivia Italiano

Blog Category: Religion & Race

Over the past several decades, the United States has seen significant cultural and societal shift of increased racial and ethnic diversity, as well as a stark divide of moral and religious values.  In the political sphere, Democrat and Republican supporters are drastically more divided by religious beliefs, ideological orientations, and race than in the past.  Since the 1960s, the racial and ethnic population of the United States has changed drastically, resulting in more non-white voters, including African American, Asian American, and Hispanic voters.

Despite significant improvement in race relations over the last 50 years, American society continues to reflect racial inequality with respect to economic, educational, and employment opportunities. For example, minorities overwhelmingly subjected to inferior housing, higher unemployment rates, and dramatically lower incomes than white Americans.  Unfortunately, minority voters are far more likely to experience prejudice and discrimination on behalf of public and private bureaucracies.

Differing life experiences and disproportionate opportunities are demonstrated through contrasting views on political issues, party identification, and voting behavior.  Morality based issues including abortion and same-sex marriage are frequently rooted in deeply held religious beliefs.  However, religion is not the sole or even primary factor that racial and minority groups rely on when voting.  For example, in the 2012 Presidential Election, the majority of Latino registered voters favored Obama, and stated that they identify with or lean towards the Democratic Party, regardless of their religious beliefs.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. 

Sources:

Alan I. Abramowitz, How Race and Religion Have Polarized American Voters, (Jan. 20, 2014), available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/01/20/how-race-and-religion-have-polarized-american-voters.

Additional Factors: Gender, Age, Religion, Race, and Ethnicity, available at https://www.boundless.com/political-science/political-participation-and-voting/why-people-vote/additional-factors-gender-age-religion-race-and-ethnicity.

Latinos, Religion, and Campaign 2012, (Oct. 12, 2012), available at http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/18/latinos-religion-and-campaign-2012.

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Immigration Reform: The Corker-Hoeven Amendment

July 7th, 2014 No comments

By: Carla Arias

Blog Category: International Law & Race

“The plight of undocumented immigrants in the United States, notably the substantial number of migrants who crossed the border from Mexico, is a major political issue south of the Rio Grande.”[1]

In an attempt to decrease illegal immigration and border disputes, which have plagued the United States for decades, the Obama administration dedicated time and resources to comprehensive immigration reform.[2] In June 2013, the U.S. Senate approved the Corker-Hoeven amendment, which involves a doubling of U.S. border patrol agents to approximately 40,000 agents. Of the 40,000 agents, 38,405 agents are to be stationed in the U.S-Mexico borderlands.[3] Additionally, the amendment entails the use of military-like surveillance in the borderlands, including the use of drones for aerial surveillance.[4] Along with an increase in border patrol agents and military-like surveillance, the amendment calls for fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. [5] Although the amendment will increase safety along the border, it fails to address the root cause of why immigrants leave home and migrate to the United States. As a result, “[t]he passage of the Corker-Hoeven amendment is a stark reminder of the need to put an end to an insatiable boundary and immigration policing, one whose feeding is strongly tied to the state’s ability to provide for true human needs.” [6]

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  


[1] Nick Parker and Jim Acosta, U.S. , Canada, Mexico agree to streamline border controls, CNN (Feb 19, 2014), available at http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/09/politics/us-mexico-canada.

[2] Joseph Nevins, The Impossible, Costly Dream: Border Security, Northern American Congress on Latin America (June 26, 2013), available at http://nacla.org/blog/2013/6/26/impossible-costly-dream-border-security

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

Women of Color and the “Gender Gap” Troubling for Republicans

May 26th, 2014 No comments

By: Stephen McLendon

Blog Category: Race & Religion

Women of color have recently been nicknamed the “gender gap” and have been a source of trouble for conservative Republicans.  This title has been derived from their alleged swing vote resulting from differing candidates’ stance on religious issues, such as abortion and birth control.  However, this “gender gap” ideal assumes that women of color vote solely based on issues dealing with their reproductive rights.   The truth is that their vote extends past issues solely of race and religion.

Women of color, single, and low-income women are directly affected by Republican policies extending beyond race and religion.  The largest issue for these groups of women is healthcare and what the new Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has to offer.  These groups of women also vote based on education and job policies.  So, the next time Republicans alter their policies based on this “swing vote” group, they will need to change their stance on more than just issues of race and religion.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  

Source:

Zerlina Maxwell, Black Voters, Not the ‘Gender Gap,’ Won Virginia for McAuliffe, TheNation.com (November 1, 2013), available at http://www.thenation.com/article/177064/black-voters-not-gender-gap-won-virginia-mcauliffe.

Government Land Grab

May 19th, 2014 No comments

By: Jason Gibson

Blog Category: The Economics of Environmental Regulation

The Clean Water Act (CWA) was enacted in 1972 to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters by preventing point and nonpoint pollution sources, providing assistance to publicly owned treatment works for the improvement of wastewater treatment, and maintaining the integrity of wetlands.”  The law is designed to protect waters with a “significant nexus” to “navigable waters.”  However, the scope of the statute has remained unclear since its inception and often defines navigable waters as “waters of the United States.”

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a rule that would expand the authority of the CWA to include over a million acres of wetlands and 2 million miles of streams.  The EPA justifies this expansion by arguing that many of these areas are where people get drinking water and also where they hunt, despite the fact that some of these are dry for parts of the year.  This new proposal is meeting intense opposition from those claiming that the new rule will damage the economy by placing unnecessary burdens on farmers and developers who will need to obtain federal permits to conduct their routine activities.  Several governors in the western United States, including Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, are also worried about the impact this new rule would have on drought management, an often serious and costly issue in states such as California.

Sen. Pat Toomey and other politicians have called on the EPA to withdraw this proposal or expand the public review period to six months.  Currently, the rule is only opened for public review for 90 days; despite the fact that the government’s own peer reviewed scientific assessment will not be completed until the end of the year.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  

Sources:

Hope Yen, Clean Water Act Expansion Draws Ire from GOP as White House Prepares to Regulate Waterways, The Huffington Post (Apr. 4, 2014, 8:50 AM), available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/04/clean-water-act-expansion_n_5088723.html.

Juliet Eilperin & Darryl Fears, EPA Proposes Greater Protections for Streams, Wetlands Under Clean Water Act, The Washington Post (Mar. 25, 2014), available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/epa-proposes-greater-protections-for-streams-wetlands-under-clean-water-act/2014/03/25/4811cd36-b42c-11e3-b899-20667de76985_story.html.

 

Immigration Reform Now Promising

March 31st, 2014 No comments

By: Alicia Emili
Blog Category: Immigration Reform

With more than 11 million individuals living illegally within US borders, it is clear our immigration system is in need of reform.  The US is currently faced with this enormous task and the only way to ensure a proper execution of such expansive reform is for Congress to carefully address each part of the plan before unleashing it.

The highly complex comprehensive set of reforms supported by President Obama focus on strengthening border security, strengthening enforcement, streamlining legal immigration, and creating an earned path to citizenship. Core pieces of the comprehensive bill include things such as: improving infrastructure at ports of entry, improving partnerships with border communities and law enforcement, stepping up surveillance, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers, phasing in electronic employment verification, deporting convicted criminals, creating a “startup visa” for entrepreneurs, and launching a Citizenship Resource Center to centralize the information and tools needed for the entire process.  The reform also requires illegal immigrants to pass national security and criminal background checks, learn the English language, and pay taxes with penalties before they can earn their citizenship.

While President Obama originally pushed his set of reform acts through the Senate as a single, comprehensive bill, it does not appear that the bill will survive the House in the same comprehensive form.  President Obama has said that he will now accept a piecemeal version of the plan with the stipulation that the main values remain. The possibility of carving out the simple issues and leaving the complex issues on the back burner is one, he stated, that he will not support.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that immigration reform is “absolutely not” a dead issue, but has not offered a time table for a scheduled vote.  Advocates remain concerned as the passing of an immigration bill in 2014 with midterm elections on the horizon is complicated at best.  However, Boehner insists on addressing the intricacies of the reform one step at a time to ensure that the issues are being dealt with in a calculated manner.  Boehner is encouraged by President Obama’s recent decision to support a piecemeal approach to the reform, especially since the American people have become skeptical of large, comprehensive bills.

Overall, this gives confidence to the American people that the House is making a valiant effort to produce the most efficient reform possible, especially with the financial implications the reform could have on the blight economy.  Executives of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council believe immigration reform will provide “an instant jolt to the U.S. economy,” and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that a reform would increase the revenue of the Unites States by roughly $700 billion within 10 years. With the American people’s best interest in mind, and a strict step-by-step approach to reforming the system, the US appears to be on a bright path to an effective and efficient immigration reform system.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. 

Sources:

David Nakamura, Boehner:  Immigration reform ‘absolutely not’ dead in House, Washington Post (Nov. 21, 2013), available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/11/21/boehner-immigration-reform-absolutely-not-dead-in-house/.

Obama would accept piecemeal immigration reform, UPI (Nov. 22, 2013), available at http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/11/20/Obama-would-accept-piecemeal-immigration-reform/UPI-43991384929000/.

Immigration, The White House (Nov. 23, 2013), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration.

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