After weeks of uncertainty, incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski was certified as winner of the U.S. Senate race in Alaska. Her election victory is astonishing considering she originally lost to “tea party” favorite Joe Miller in the Republican primary in August but returned for the general election as a write-in candidate. In fact, Lisa Murkowski will become the first senator to be elected in a write-in campaign since Strom Thurmond in 1954.
Miller’s supporters view Sen. Lisa Murkowski as a spoiler and someone who should not have run for re-election considering her defeat in the Republican primary. However, political parties, as well as their primary elections, play no official role in elections as far as the U.S. Constitution is concerned. Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for the U.S. Senate: 1) each senator must be at least 30 years old, 2) must have been a citizen of the United States for at least the past nine years, and 3) must be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state he or she seeks to represent. Anyone who meets the above qualification can run for the U.S. Senate and that is exactly what Sen. Lisa Murkowski did.
We must remember that “political parties” did not exist at the time of the constitutional convention nor was the U.S. government designed with political parties in mind. Losing a primary election, an election by which a political party nominates its candidates, does not disqualify a constitutionally qualified person from running in the general election. Sen. Murkowski may be a spoiler, but she had the legal right to do so. Maybe more people who are exhausted by the political minutiae inherent in party politics should follow her example.
The census is taken every ten years, and subsequently congressional districts as well as state legislative districts are redrawn. This process is known as redistricting. What are the political consequences of redistricting? Professor Gaffaney explains.
The controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy that blocked homosexuals from openly serving in the U.S. military was officially repealed by Congress and signed by President Obama. The repeal can be equated to other historic civil rights achievements including the desegregation of U.S. military in the 1950s. Ironically, many of the same arguments made against the repeal of DADT were similarly used to justify the continuation of race and gender discrimination in the US armed forces. “Allowing them to serve would only degrade the quality of service” was the exact position expressed by people against racial and gender integration of the armed forces.
We must never forget that civil rights are fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and by subsequent acts of Congress, including due process, equal protection of the laws, equal treatment, and freedom from discrimination. Since the controversial DADT policy was introduced in 1993, the military has discharged over 13,000 troops from the military simply for being gay. The end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a victory not just for gay-rights; it is a victory for civil rights. The question remains whether the repeal of DADT will have any significant implications for other gay-rights issues including same-sex marriage and the rights of partners to share health-care benefits. Only time will tell, but we may already know the inevitable answer considering what’s past is prologue
Facebook and texting are like food and water for modern-day teenagers. They think in status updates, check e-mail before brushing their teeth and fall asleep while texting. But can they live without social networking for a full week? This article reveals how some high school teenagers faced the challenge of going cold turkey on “a trip back to 1995: no Facebook, no texting, no e-mail, no Instant Messaging.” (12/10/10 ABCNews, Ki Mae Heussner and Neal Karlinsky) … Read Article
1. What event inspired the “Social Experiment”? What did Nicholi Wytovicz say about “paper-and-ink book” during the experiment?
2. What is the relationship between video production teacher Trent Mitchell and the teacher from the rival high school, Shorewood?
Chinese students made international headlines this week when Shanghai high school kids outscored their counterparts on PISA, an international standardized test. China came out on top and the U.S. was buried somewhere in the middle. Read this article for the secret behind Chinese students’ high performance. (12/9/10 ABC News, Sherisse Pham) … Read article
1. In what way do Chinese students get a better foundation in all subject area than students in the U.S., according to Shijing Xu?
2. In spite of the high test scores by Chinese students, Professor Yasheng Huang of MIT claims that there is a flaw in China’s education system. What is the flaw in China’s education system alluded to by the professor?
2. What is the significance of “gaokao” in China’s education system?
President Barack Obama’s plan to cut payroll taxes for a year would provide big savings for many workers, but makes Social Security advocates nervous that it could jeopardize the retirement program’s finances. This article provides an analysis of the plan to give workers a break from social security taxes for one year. (12/12/10 Associated Press in ABCNews, Stephen Ohlemacher) … Read Article
1. On the social security tax cut proposal, compare the opinion of Earl Pomeroy and Obama administration officials. What effect does the social security tax cut have on opinion of the solvency of the social security trust fund?
2. Compare the benefits to workers from Obama’s Making Work Pay tax cut and the proposed social security tax cut. Which one pays more?
House Democratic leaders seek small victories as lame-duck session winds down. And following the tax deal the President made with the Republicans the White House will need to find a way for House Democrats to save some face. (12/12/10 ABC News, Rick Klein) … Read Article
1. What, according to the article, is “the potent force inside his own party” that the president has to deal with? And what is at the heart of the anger that erupted on Capitol Hill last week?
2. According to the article, what is the “conspicuous potential casualty” of the rest of the lame-duck session?
Look beyond today’s headlines with our analysis of American politics! This blog is a feature of Pearson’s MyPoliSciLab, the most popular online learning solution for American government courses. To learn more about MyPoliSciLab, visit www.mypoliscilab.com.