News & Features

How Political Conventions Went From Selecting Party Nominees to Pageantry and Partying

Barbara Norrander

Presidential primaries became somewhat more influential after World War II, when some candidates adopted a strategy of running in presidential primaries. Other candidates avoided running in primaries and relied on a traditional strategy of courting the party’s elite who would be delegates at the convention. Running in presidential primaries was a risky strategy: A candidate who lost in a primary could see their presidential bid end, but even someone who won every single primary would not earn enough delegates to secure the nomination.

A New Path Forward for the Democratic Party

Sly James and Winston C. Fisher

These questions, while separate, are indelibly intertwined. If the American people react to Donald Trump’s presidency with even a fraction of the disgust and anger the two of us feel, he’s almost sure to be a one-term president. But if we intend to sustain a Democratic governing majority over the long term, we’ll need an agenda (and an accompanying narrative) that stands on its own. Without a compelling message, we won’t be able to hold on to the power that the public’s revulsion to Trump may help us win. Then we’ll be back at square one.

In Black Lives Matter, Iraqi-Africans See Parallels With Their Own Oppression

Ibrahim Al Marashi

The movement seeks to amend Iraq’s constitution to ban discrimination against black people, and have the state improve their representation in parliament.  Most Iraqi-Africans continue to hold menial jobs, serving as cleaners or musicians and dancers. They are denied a chance to serve and advance in the army and police, as well as local bureaucracies.They continue to seek social awareness about their plight, asking for access to the national media to address their grievances.

Welcome to Mongolia: A Great Place to Die

Andrew North

Opioid medications still require a special form, as in most countries worldwide. But a much wider range of professionals can now prescribe them, including oncologists and family doctors. This has led to a 14-fold increase in their use in the country from 2000 to 2014, according to Mongolian Health Ministry figures. Khandsuren is an oncologist by training, and now oversees opioid prescriptions for all the hospital’s outpatients. The majority are still people with cancer, but non-cancer patients have become more common.Every district hospital in the country now has a pharmacy like this one.

The Latest Legal Challenge to Removing Confederate Statues in Virginia

Allison Anna Tait

To many locals, especially Black Richmond residents, the sculptures have always been colossal reminders of the South’s history of enslavement and the violence wrought on Black lives. The governor and city leaders now seemingly agree, saying that monuments glorifying the region’s white supremacist history should not be displayed on public land. Nevertheless, Richmond’s Lee statue still has its defenders.

Why Controversy Has Often Loomed Large in the History of the U.S. Census

Angelo Franco

Experts were quick to criticize this strategy, noting that the drawing of districts based on voting-age citizens would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites. This is a conclusion that the GOP’s own master strategist Thomas Hofeller arrived at during his 2015 study of gerrymandering which, in a bonkers turn of events, we only know about because his estranged daughter found thumb drives with her father’s work after he died and provided them to Common Cause, which challenged he citizenship question in federal court citing Hofeller’s own study.

How Police Use Military Tactics to Quell the Nonviolent U.S. Protests

Robert Fantina

For years now, the U.S. military has been selling surplus equipment, material designed specifically for war zones, to local police departments. In many cities, police departments have nearly all the equipment, including weaponry and armored vehicles, that the U.S. military uses when it goes to war. Police departments also have tear gas and chemical weapons, which, should the U.S. decide to use against foreign enemies abroad, would violate the terms of the Geneva Convention.

A ‘Post-Truth’ Society and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Romin W. Tafarodi

The following year, 2017, was notable for the addition of a neo-Orwellian phrase to the post-truth glossary. It began on Jan 21, with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claiming of Trump’s inaugural ceremony, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe.” The claim was promptly fact-checked and cast into doubt. Nonetheless, indefatigable Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer on television the next day, claiming he was simply providing “alternative facts.”

U.S. and China Prepare for a New Cold War

Tony Walker

America now has the worst record globally in dealing with the pandemic. Things being equal, this will constitute a significant drag on Trump’s re-election prospects, hence his flailing about in search for scapegoats. Leaving aside American domestic politics – the Democrats will not want to be accused of being soft on China in a presidential election cycle – the much bigger question is the extent to which the pandemic will disrupt, even overturn, a globalizing world.

 

The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Limits of Virtual Social Life

Romin W. Tafarodi

What is missing from these virtual farewells that makes them seem so unfair and distressing? Those who study digital media and communications talk a lot about the reduced “social presence” that characterizes virtual connections. That certainly applies here. But what does the reduction consist of in this case? What would have made the difference? Two channels of social intercourse seem especially important: touch and the opportunity to read the eyes of the other.

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