A Quick Break…

I’m taking a break for the next couple of weeks but will be back with regularly scheduled posts on July 1st. I’d love to get your feedback on the purpose, content, and future of the site. Take the short survey here.

Until then, here’s a collection of some recent content:

Again, I’d like to hear what you want to see on this site! Let me know here. For your participation, you can win a $25 Amazon gift-card.

Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 25)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. This handy tool tells you where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on the issues (The Washington Post)
  2. Pay attention to Gary Johnson; He’s Pulling 10% vs. Trump and Clinton (FiveThirtyEight)
  3. What the new inspector general report on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails actually says (Vox)
    1. Further Reading: Hillary Clinton’s e-mail problems just got much worse (The Washington Post)
  4. The Humbling of Paul Ryan (The Atlantic)
  5. Campaign money in 2016 has become meaningless (Vox)
  6. Racial prejudice, not populism or authoritarianism, predicts support for Trump over Clinton (The Washington Post)
  7. What Bernie Sanders gets right when he says the system is rigged against him (Vox)
  8. Opinion: Do Sanders Supporters Favor his Policies? (The New York Times)
  9. Sheryl Sandberg Commencement Speech, UC Berkeley (May 2016)

Like this series? Sign-up here to receive it in your e-mail inbox every Friday (and only on Fridays)!


What the President Can and Cannot Do

When you go to the ballot box to vote for a presidential candidate, it is important to understand what you are electing them to do. Article II of the United States Constitution details presidential eligibility and responsibilities. As with most political power, power is checked by another branch of government. The separation of powers and checks and balances on that power ensures that one branch of government cannot become too powerful. As you will see, most presidential power is checked by another branch of the government – the legislative or judicial branches. However, there are some key areas in which the president possesses more unilateral power.

To be clear before moving on, it is important to acknowledge the distinction between the president (the individual who occupies the presidency) and the presidency (the institution/role governed by rules set forward in Constitution). A president’s strengths, character, and abilities are often instrumental to their success or failure in the presidency.

When you elect a President, what can he/she do?

Before taking office, the President takes the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” (Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution).

When talking about presidential powers, scholars usually distinguish between expressed and implied powers. Expressed powers are the powers explicitly granted to the President in the Constitution. Implied powers are powers not expressly stated in the Constitution, but have been interpreted by presidents as necessary to faithfully execute laws and defend the Constitution. I detail expressed and implied powers below.

Expressed Powers

  • Executive Powers (Article II, Section 2 & 3)
    • Execute laws (via the federal bureaucracy)
    • Appoint officers of the federal government: Most of these appointments require Senate approval.
  • Legislative Powers (Article II, Section 3)
    • Veto legislation passed by Congress: This veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate (Article I, Section 7). Rather than use the veto power, presidents often threaten to use it – to success. For some context:
      • President F. Roosevelt: 635 vetoes, 9 overridden
      • President Reagan: 78 vetoes, 9 overridden
      • President Clinton: 37 vetoes, 2 overridden
      • President Bush: 12 vetoes, 4 overridden
      • President Obama: 12 vetoes, 1 overridden
    • Deliver State of the Union Address: This power serves agenda-setting and persuasive purposes.
    • Make policy recommendations: Of course, these recommendations require cooperation from and approval by Congress.
    • Convene and adjourn Congress: The president may do so only under extreme circumstances – President Lincoln did so after the outbreak of the Civil War; President George W. Bush did so in the aftermath of Katrina.
  • Judicial Powers (Article II, Section 2)
    • Appoint justices to the Supreme Court: A simple majority of Senators must approve the president’s appointments.
      • Here is a great resource on the nomination and appointment process
    • Appoint judges to federal courts: The president’s appointments must be approved in the Senate.
    • Grant pardons and reprieves: This power is limited by prospect of reelection; thus, they largely occur during the President’s last days in office.
  • Diplomatic and Military Powers (Article II, Section 2)
    • Appoint ambassadors: The Senate must approve the president’s appointments.
    • Receive ambassadors and other public ministers (Article II, Section 3): Receiving and appointing ambassadors effectively gives the president power to recognize the legitimacy of other nations. By withdrawing its Cuban ambassador, for example, the United States effectively ended their diplomatic recognition of Cuba.
    • Enter into treaties with other nations: These treaties require ratification by two-thirds of the Senate.
    • Serves as commander in chief: While the president cannot declare war (Congress does that), they can engage troops in military conflict in the interest of protecting and preserving the Constitution. This power has expanded over time, and Congress has attempted to restrain this power. Despite congressional efforts (i.e., the War Powers Resolution of 1973), this power is one of the most historically controversial powers.

Implied Powers

  • Executive Powers
    • Organize federal bureaucracy: The president can establish offices necessary to “faithfully execute the law.” Congress must approve department budgets. If the president creates a new department, Congress must approve its budget.
    • Issue executive orders and exercise executive privilege: These powers are taken both from the President’s Oath (Article II, Section 1), and Article II, Section 3, which states that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
      • Presidents use executive orders in order to meet their obligation to “faithfully execute” the laws of the nation. Executive orders are declarations issued by the President that relate to the organization of the federal bureaucracy, the execution of federal legislation, and the enforcement of federal court decisions. Executive orders do not require Congressional approval but can be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court or repealed by subsequent administrations. For example, President Nixon issued an executive order to create the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and President Eisenhower issued an executive order to enforce court-ordered desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. President Obama’s executive order, which effectively offered temporary amnesty to nearly five million undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S., (arguably) stands as the furthest reach of this power historically. It is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court.
      • Executive privilege is the act of withholding information from congressional, judicial, or public scrutiny. President Nixon claimed executive privilege during Watergate, which the Supreme Court subsequently dismissed. However, their ruling did recognize “the valid need for protection of communications between high government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties” (United States v. Nixon).
    • Diplomatic Power
      • Enter into executive agreements: Due to difficulties associated with gathering enough congressional support to ratify treaties, presidents enter into executive agreements with foreign nations. These executive agreements may or may not require congressional approval and may require federal legislation or congressional funding to execute the terms of the agreement.
      • Serves as symbolic head of state in representing the United States throughout the world

Both of the interpretations of expressed and implied presidential powers have grown substantially over time. Once power and responsibility is delegated to the President, it is not easily taken back. The modern presidency is the strongest in United States history.

When considering presidential power, here are a few other things to consider

Other Presidential Powers

  • Executive
    • Recommend department budgets (delegated)
  • Public Opinion
    • Represent the will of the public
    • Shape national agenda
  • Political Party
    • Implement party priorities
    • Shape the agenda of the party
    • Symbolic party head

Who is eligible to become President? (Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution)

  • ‘Natural born citizen’ or citizen of the United States (yes, this includes Ted Cruz)
  • At least 35 years old
  • Resided in the U.S. for at least 14 years
  • President can serve two terms (22nd Amendment)

How is a President removed from office?

  • Impeachment for conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors (Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution)
  • In case of death, resignation, or temporary disability, the vice president becomes president (25th Amendment)

Certainly, the office of the presidency is an influential one, but it is not unlimited – most presidential powers are checked by other branches of government. The President may have the appointment authority, but bitter confirmation battles over Merrick Garland and Loretta Lynch remind us that this authority is not absolute. In my opinion, the areas that present the greatest potential for presidential abuse reside in the executive order, privilege, and agreement powers. With these implied powers, presidents can act unilaterally without (initially) needing congressional approval in broad executive, legislative, and diplomatic capacities. I believe that this is where the character of a presidential candidate enters into the decision calculus.

Before you cast your vote for the next President of the United States, I think it is important to ask:

  • Who is most qualified to execute the constitutional and extra-constitutional roles and responsibilities outlined above according to my worldview?
  • Who will respect the checks and balances on presidential power? Who do I trust to not abuse this power?
Barak Obama by Jose Luis Agapito (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Barak Obama by Jose Luis Agapito (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


*I take responsibility for any and all errors in this post.

Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 24)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. Presidential Election Update
    1. Bernie and Trump win Oregon
    2. Clinton narrowly wins Kentucky
  2. Is your Facebook feed biased?
    1. Video: Could Facebook Rig the 2016 Election? (The Atlantic)
    2. Blue Feed, Red Feed: See Liberal Facebook and Conservative Facebook, Side by Side (The Wall Street Journal)
    3. Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News (Gizmodo)
    4. Inside Facebook’s meeting with conservatives (The Washington Post)
    5. The Most Disturbing Thing About My Meeting with Mark Zuckerberg (Glenn Beck)
  3. Supreme Court punts on latest Obamacare birth control challenge (Vox)
  4. Donald Trump releases list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees (The Washington Post)
    1. Further Reading: Your guide to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist (Vox)
  5. What’s in Donald Trump’s 104-Page Financial Disclosure (The New York Times)
  6. How I Acted Like a Pundit and Screwed Up on Donald Trump (FiveThirtyEight)
  7. Every latest shift in the polls is news. But it shouldn’t be. (The Washington Post)

Like this series? Sign-up here to receive it in your e-mail inbox every Friday (and only on Fridays)!

"Facebook Press Conference" by Robert Scoble (CC BY 2.0)

“Facebook Press Conference” by Robert Scoble (CC BY 2.0)

Why We Support Donald Trump

Out of the students who completed the extra credit, 33% supported John Kasich, 32% supported Bernie Sanders, 15% supported Donald Trump, 12% supported Ted Cruz, and 8% supported Hillary Clinton. Every few days, I will post some of their statements to this website in order to a) highlight their work and b) to provide some context on how today’s college students feel about the 2016 presidential candidates.

Here’s the schedule for the postings (in alphabetical order by candidate):

Today, we will hear from three students who personally support Donald Trump.

Response 1, Casey B.*

Almost every American knows Donald Trump. Some know him for his wealth, some know him based off of politics, and some know him as a despicable human being. Personally, I think Trump is a good candidate to run our country. While what he says can be questionable at times, some of the things he says raises good points, and he has a plan to make America better. Specifically, I agree with his views on abortion and immigration.

Trump is pro-life when it comes to his views on abortion, with the exception of a woman being raped or if the woman’s life is in danger if she were to give birth. I agree with these reasons because if a woman is forced into having sex with another man that she did not want to have sex with, she should have a right to an abortion. Also, if a woman is on the brink of dying due to a childbirth, she should have a right to have an abortion so she can continue her life. Any other reason should not be applicable when seeking an abortion, and Trump supports abortion restrictions in most situations.

I also support Trump on his views on immigration. Besides the obvious and somewhat farfetched idea of building a wall on the U.S. border, Trump has good points in explaining why illegal immigrants should be deported immediately. Trump says he will deport at least 50,000 illegal immigrants if elected because they are selling drugs, raising crime rates, and stealing jobs from American citizens. I agree with Trump on this position. Illegal immigrants should have to earn their citizenship like the rest of American citizens.

Trump can become a great leader of the United States if he is elected president. He will need to watch how he says things during speeches and meetings. If he is able to get help in being professional with the way he speaks, he can be a very good president and leader of our country.

Response 2, Darren E.*

This primary year has been a long and difficult one for Republicans in our quest to find the right candidate to stop Hillary Clinton and re-establish conservative viewpoints to a hurting nation. After studying each candidate, I found that I wanted a change – no more establishment politicians. Doctor Ben Carson drew my support at first, but he withdrew from the race and announced his support for Donald Trump. I support Donald Trump because of his positions on gun control and immigration.

I support Donald Trump because he opposes gun control. Specifically, he wants to uphold the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. I support Donald Trump’s position on this issue because he believes politicians are trying to take away our Second Amendment rights. The right to bear arms protects all of our rights and ensures self-defense not only against others, but also against the government, as set forth by the Founders. As a Columbus police officer for 15 years, I have seen many criminals get a slap on the hand for violent offenses. Strict enforcement of punishment for violent crimes and implementation of common sense programs, like Project Exile, are some of Donald Trump’s proposed ideas. Under Project Exile violent felon’s that used a gun to commit a crime were sent to federal court instead of crowding local courts and given a five year prison term with no parole or early release.

Another reason I support Donald Trump is because of his position on immigration. Specifically, he wants to stop illegal immigration and find better ways to allow legal immigration to continue. I support Donald Trump’s position on this issue because immigration reform needs to put the American worker first and not the wealthy looking for cheaper labor. Mr. Trump’s core principles of real immigration from his website are 1) a nation without borders is not a nation; 2) a nation without laws is not a nation; 3) a nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. As a police officer, I have arrested numerous illegal immigrants who are sent to jail and deported by the ICE. Later, I see them again on the streets of Columbus. When questioned about our borders, they say that our borders are a joke – anyone can cross and get to any U.S. city within days. Putting American workers first and making E-verify mandatory for hiring are solutions to improve America. Securing our borders needs to be a priority to ensure the safety of each American.

I support Donald Trump as my candidate for President of the United States because America needs an outsider that will not be paid by the special interests to make America great again!

Response 3, Loni S.*

The presidential candidate that I support most in the 2016 presidential election is Donald Trump. Although he is very harsh and aggressive, a lot of his values and opinions on certain issues align with mine. One of the opinions Trump is most known for is his views on immigration. Trump opposes immigration and wants to build a wall to eliminate the threat of illegal immigrants coming into the United States. I support Trump’s position on this issue because as I have been studying economics at Ohio State I have seen that if America continues to allow immigrants to enter the country, it will only be harmful to the citizens who already live here. Illegal immigrants often work for less money and take available jobs and leave American citizens unemployed. Although Trump’s way of expressing his beliefs may sound heartless and mean, he truly is only looking out for Americans. Also, his way of separating his emotions from what’s best for the country shows me that he can be a strong leader and truly make decisions fully in favor of his citizens.

Another view that I agree with is Trump’s stance on gun control. He has stated in several interviews and even his kick-off speech for presidential candidate that he fully supports the Second Amendment and wants to protect it. I support his belief because I have been raised in a family of concealed carriers and have always viewed guns as protection rather than evil. Trump drew me even more towards his view in several of his speeches where he mentioned events that could have turned out differently, or how even been prevented, if the victims were carrying weapons as well. Trump’s loyalty to the Constitution makes me view him as a very strong candidate for president because that is what our government was built on from the beginning. Although many citizens might think badly of Trump for his belligerent, ruthless behavior I can see through his loyalty to both American citizens and the Constitution that he is the best candidate to “Make America Great Again”.


What about you? Why (or why not) do you support Donald Trump?

*Responses shared with written permission from the authors. Replication in any form, without permission from the author, is prohibited

"Donald Trump" by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Why We Support Bernie Sanders

Students in my spring course were given the opportunity to complete a candidate statement for extra credit where they were asked to write a 300-500 word statement about which candidate they supported and why. They were required to focus on two to three policy issues on which they agreed with the candidate on.

Out of the students who completed the extra credit, 33% supported John Kasich, 32% supported Bernie Sanders, 15% supported Donald Trump, 12% supported Ted Cruz, and 8% supported Hillary Clinton. Every few days, I will post some of their statements to this website in order to a) highlight their work and b) to provide some context on how today’s college students feel about the 2016 presidential candidates.

Here’s the schedule for the postings (in alphabetical order by candidate):

Today, we will hear from three students who personally support Bernie Sanders.

Response 1, Flint C.*

The candidate I believe would make the best President and whom I support is Bernie Sanders. I support Sanders because he believes that when it comes to foreign policy, the measure of how great a country is comes from how they can solve problems diplomatically, rather than with force. Sanders believes war should be an absolute last resort; however, he believes it is sometimes necessary when America’s vital interests are at stake. Sanders was one of the few congressmen to vote against the war in Iraq. I support Sanders on foreign policy because I believe that under most circumstances, war is the worst way to solve problems and is only detrimental to the human race. Specifically, the war in Iraq destabilized an entire region and only fueled the fire of anti-western world radical terrorism. When it comes to dealing with radical terrorist attacks that seem to increase in frequency every year, Sanders advocates for addressing the causes of radicalization rather than responding to radical acts with military force. Specifically, Sanders believes that stopping online radicalization and terrorist funding networks is better for the future than just responding solely with force. On this issue of radical terrorism, I believe that broad aggressive forms of foreign policy only serve to radicalize and recruit potential terrorists. The solution I support for radical terrorism involves more calculated and less hawkish responses to attacks, which aligns with Sanders’ position.

On criminal justice, Sanders believes that the war on drugs has failed. He believes that imprisoning non-violent offenders costs taxpayers money, ruins families, and doesn’t solve the underlying problems. Sanders believes drug related imprisonment should be dealt with rehab rather than imprisonment. I support Sanders on this issue because I, and most psychologists, see drug addiction as a mental illness, and it should be treated as such. Nonviolent drug related offenders should be sent to rehab until they can integrate back into society and contribute to society instead of draining resources in an overcrowded prison system. Sanders also believes that the death penalty should be abolished, except in rare circumstances. I support his stance on this because killing someone for killing others is redundant. The death penalty does not work as a deterrent, and very often, it costs taxpayers more than life in prison.

Response 2, Aaron S.*

Historically, I have identified as a Republican; I supported John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. As of late, the Republican Party has lost track of what’s important. The GOP doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge the true issues at hand. This has made it attractive for me to change parties, because of the Democratic Parties’ ability to make necessary changes that are good for Americans. I support Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate for president. He embodies the moral and political views that I look for in a presidential candidate.

Bernie Sanders believes that abortion is women’s choice. He has always been a feminist, and he displays it by fighting for women’s rights, especially equal pay for women. I agree with his views for gender equality. I think we have an ethical obligation to ensure gender equality so that our daughters can have the same opportunities as our sons. Bernie Sanders also supports same-sex marriage. This stance goes along with his stance on women’s rights. He not only believes in gender equality, but he believes in equality for all. This is very important to me because I believe that all are created equal.

When it comes to foreign policy, Bernie Sanders believes in creating a coalition with middle-eastern countries in order to stop the terrorist group ISIS. He believes that working with surrounding countries will not only help the U.S. financially, but it will create better opportunity for peace with the Middle East. I agree that we should have a coalition with Middle Eastern countries in order to help stabilize the area. Tactically, this makes the most sense because diverse pressure will result in better outcomes. For almost my whole life, I have lived in a country that is at war. Because of this, I am cautious when deciding on whether or not to get involved in global issues. We need a President that will fight for gender equality, same-sex marriage, and smart foreign policy. This is why we need to elect Senator Bernie Sanders as our next President.

Response 3, Karlis T.*

I support Bernie Sanders because he supports the Equality Act as well as other measures regarding LGBT equality. Senator Sanders is a cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would add new sections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include those with different sexual orientations or gender identities. Not only does he cosponsor this specific act, but he also wants to get rid of legislation that puts other rights in jeopardy. I support Bernie Sanders position on this issue because I believe that even those with different sexual orientations or gender identities than me deserve to have the same rights given to me by this country. Growing up in the 21st century, it has been very clear that the United States of America have become much more progressive. During this time I have accepted that my religious ideals shouldn’t affect others rights.

I also support Bernie Sanders because he supports increasing access to higher education. Senator Sanders has talked about six steps that would make college tuition virtually free, as well as help many to be debt free after going to school. One of the six part plan is to fully pay for college by imposing a tax on an incredibly small percentage on Wall Street speculators. I support Bernie Sanders position on this issue because as an accounting major at Fisher College of Business, I have paid attention to Wall Street and understand how much a small percentage would mean in tax revenues. Seeing how much my parents have paid for my schooling makes me support equal access to higher education. Neither students nor their parents should not go into debt just to send themselves to college.

Finally, I support Bernie Sanders because he supports fair immigration policy. His plan outlines many aspects of our regulation policies as well as the inhumane deportation programs, and his ideas to change them are fair and built around the way our nation is supposed to work. Senator Sanders is the son of an immigrant and argues that our nation is built around immigration. I support Bernie Sanders position on this issue because I believe our country should work in this way with immigrants. As the grandson of immigrants on both sides of my family, I truly think we should be doing this in a much more sensible and fair way.

All in all, I support Senator Bernie Sanders to be the next President of the United States, for many reasons more than the three topics outlined above.


What about you? Why (or why not) did you support Bernie Sanders?

*Responses shared with written permission from the authors. Replication in any form, without permission from the author, is prohibited

"Bernie Sanders 104 03/04/2016" by Todd Church (CC BY 2.0)

“Bernie Sanders 104 03/04/2016” by Todd Church (CC BY 2.0)


Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 23)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. Presidential Election Update
    1. Bernie wins West Virginia
    2. Trump wins West Virginia and Nebraska
  2. Only 4.7% of eligible voters have so far cast a vote for Donald Trump (Vox)
  3. The controversy over Donald Trump’s tax returns, explained (Vox)
    1. Further Reading: What We Can Learn from Donald Trump’s Unreleased Tax Returns (The Upshot)
  4. Who does (and does not) support Trump
    1. Conventional Wisdom: Donald Trump’s Messy GOP (FiveThirtyEight)
    2. GOP voters picked Trump. Party leaders aren’t falling in line. Here’s why that’s surprising. (The Washington Post)
    3. Paul Ryan Signals His Surrender (The Atlantic)
    4. A Republican Truce in the Making? (The Atlantic)
  5. A Legal Victory Against Obamacare – For Now (The Atlantic)
  6. Wonder why prisons stay full when crime goes down? Here’s the real reason. (The Washington Post)
  7. The 21 greatest graduation speeches of the last 60 years (Vox)
  8. Would Clinton really appoint a cabinet that’s half women and half men? (The Washington Post)
  9. Can Trump Win a Data-Free Campaign? (The Atlantic)

Like this series? Sign-up here to receive it in your e-mail inbox every Friday (and only on Fridays)!

"Paul Ryan..." by WisPolitics.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Paul Ryan…” by WisPolitics.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Why We Support John Kasich

Before John Kasich dropped out of the Republican presidential race, students in my spring course shared why they supported his candidacy. Students were given the opportunity to complete a candidate statement for extra credit where they were asked to write a 300-500 word statement about which candidate they supported and why. They were required to focus on two to three policy issues on which they agreed with the candidate on.

Out of the students who completed the extra credit, 33% supported John Kasich, 32% supported Bernie Sanders, 15% supported Donald Trump, 12% supported Ted Cruz, and 8% supported Hillary Clinton. Every few days, I will post some of their statements to this website in order to a) highlight their work and b) to provide some context on how today’s college students feel about the 2016 presidential candidates.

Here’s the schedule for the postings (in alphabetical order by candidate):

Today, we will hear from four students who personally support John Kasich.

Response 1, Garth R. 

Out of the five remaining choices for president, the candidate I support is Governor John Kasich because he supports changing the Social Security system. Governor Kasich has specifically supported reducing the amount of benefits that are taxable from 85% to 50%. I support this because there are a lot of problems with the system right now and many believe the system will go bankrupt in the near future. If there are less taxes on the benefits, this would obviously give people more money to use and soften the blow of any cuts made on the system. Money from the general trust fund would be used to replace funds that are no longer available for the Medicare trust fund due to the tax cut.

Another change to the Social Security system Kasich has proposed is establishing Personal Retirement Savings Accounts. This plan proposes the ability to put two percent of an individual’s payroll taxes into the private sector. This will give Americans options with their money. The plan does not replace Social Security, but it gives people a choice to diversify their payroll taxes. Many people believe that they will never receive Social Security checks; this plan would provide safety for Americans in case the system goes bankrupt.

I also support Governor Kasich because of his fiscal policy: specifically, his policies on the U.S. budget deficit and corporate taxes. Kasich has a proven record of reducing budget deficits on the federal level and in Ohio. He has been the only presidential candidate to propose solutions that do not increase the deficit level. Kasich will make spending cuts and return a lot of power regarding spending of transportation, education, and other programs back to the states to eliminate wasteful resources spent on bureaucratic agencies. This will allow states to spend resources in a more innovative and useful way tailored to the individual state’s needs. For over 15 years now, presidential administrations have increased government spending and just passed it along to the next administration. Other candidates have only introduced spending plans that will continue to dig America into a bigger hole.

Governor Kasich has also proposed reducing the corporate tax from 35% to 25%. I support this plan because a lot of people, regardless of their political identity, are angry that U.S. companies are moving jobs overseas. Some candidates have proposed setting up trade restrictions and tariffs to try and make it more expensive for companies moving jobs overseas. However, this may only hurt consumers by forcing companies to raise prices to counter the tariffs. A better way to incentivize keeping jobs in the U.S. would be to reduce the corporate tax. A big reason companies try to move facilities and jobs overseas is because the U.S. has one of the world’s highest corporate tax rates. Instead of increasing tax rates and making it harder for companies to hire, we need tax cuts so companies can hire workers and stimulate economic growth.

Response 2, Nick S. 

The candidate I choose to support in the 2016 presidential election is John Kasich. I have multiple reasons for wanting to support him; however, two of my strongest reasons are a result of his stances on energy and education. Kasich addresses multiple points with respect to energy in a speech documented by WMUR 9 ABC news station [1]. First, he stated that he believes that man has impacted climate change, but he’s not sure to what extent. Second, in terms of energy resources, he believes that we need everything that is available, including traditional sources of energy such as oil, gas, and coal as well as renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind energy. I agree with Kasich on both of these points. I think that climate change is a course of nature that will inevitably take place; however, I agree with Kasich in that I believe we have had a strong impact on our climate. I don’t believe this impact is a positive one but I also believe it is hard to find the truth due to the politicization of scientific results. Additionally, I agree that all current sources of energy should be utilized. I think that the oil, gas, and coal industries are necessary to continue serving our needs as we are heavily dependent on energy, but I also feel that continuously working to ensure that these industries are being clean and efficient is important to leave as little of a ‘footprint’ on our environment as possible. I think that renewable resources are a great investment of time and research but are not developed enough to support our needs entirely right now.

Kasich also has firm beliefs about education. In an education summit reported on by The Columbus Dispatch [2], Kasich stated that he believes in local control and high standards for education. I agree with Kasich on this point because I feel that non-local control of education results in a physical and emotional gap between the policy makers and the ones who follow their policies. Someone hundreds of miles away making decisions for a specific school district doesn’t have the time to focus on problems that are faced by students and their families in those districts. If the decision is left to someone who is local to the area, they will be much better equipped to handle the situation properly because they would already be familiar with local education conditions. Additionally, I believe that high standards must be set so that our students can achieve the greatest of their abilities.

Response 3, Meghan S.

In today’s climate, I believe that Social Security and foreign policy are the most important issues to be tackled in the 2016 elections. I will support John Kasich in this cycle because of his common sense approach to these issues.

Social Security as we know it is broken; the current model is unsustainable because of system abuse and the simple fact that people are living longer. In 2015, Social Security payments accounted for 24% of our total operating budget. As the former Chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, Kasich led the effort to balance the federal budget and cut taxes to allow us to begin to pay down some of our national debt. Upon being elected Governor of Ohio in 2010, the state faced an $8 billion dollar deficit and $0.89 cents in the rainy day fund. Kasich made hard decisions, balanced our budget, and grew our rainy day fund to over $2 billion dollars. He did this by restructuring government programs, which I believe needs to start with inflated government assistance programs.

With the rise of violent non-state actors, our country faces a kind of enemy we have never experienced before, most notably with ISIS. Many candidates have talked about cutting defense spending which is the exact opposite of what I believe we need to be doing when facing such an aggressive threat. Kasich is the only candidate to have laid out a spending plan for the next eight years in office, by calling for an increase of $102 billion dollars in defense spending. Last February, he took a bold approach and called for the creation of a combat coalition to fight ISIS. It is important to note that this plan was formulated before it was politically advantageous to wade into a policy war without yet being a presidential contender. Kasich, relying upon the 18 years he spent serving on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, recognized a growing threat and crafted a plan before it was politically safe to do so. It is this brand of bold leadership we need to eradicate an even bolder enemy.

I support current Governor John Kasich for President because I have personally seen what he has accomplished in Ohio and believe he can bring this change to our other 49 states.

Response 4, Zoe W.

I value the lack of drama in governor Kasich’s campaign as compared to those of some of the other candidates. I especially support his stance on immigration because he has taken a relatively progressive stance on this controversial topic without being too bold. I agree that immigrants are viewed extremely negatively in this country and not necessarily for good reasons. He publicly rejects the demonization of law-abiding and hard-working individuals and differentiates between people breaking laws and living off of the resources of others and those looking for opportunity and willing to pull their own weight. He talks about the generalization of all immigrants as the former and has worked on humanizing the issue – it is not immigrants but human beings that people hear about and see in the media. I support this position because while I do not support people evading taxes and cheating the system created in this country, I believe there are good, honest people immigrating to this country who for whatever reason are not able to obtain legal citizenship immediately. I don’t think it’s fair that these people should be deported to impoverished countries where they have no chance at improving their quality of life, simply because American’s have a skewed view of how immigrants interact with our system.

I support John Kasich’s stance on higher education. He would like to see more students graduate from the higher education system and has initiated a 100 percent performance-based funding formula in Ohio that promotes keeping college costs low and strengthening Ohio’s workforce. I support these actions toward making higher education more accessible because although I don’t think college and graduate school are necessarily for everyone, I think equal access is extremely important. Being educated beyond the high school level is becoming increasingly important in the workforce today, and his actions thus far have shown a trend toward a more inclusive system starting at the state-level, which can be more faithfully regulated.


What about you? Why (or why not) did you support John Kasich?

*Responses shared with written permission from the authors. Replication in any form, without permission from the author, is prohibited

"John Kasich" by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“John Kasich” by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)


[1] DiStaso, John. “Kasich: ‘I Think We’ve Lost Some of Our Spirit’.” WMUR.com. WMUR 9 ABC, 23 Oct. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.

[2] Rowl, Darrel. “Kasich Talks at Education Summit in New Hampshire.” Dipatch.com. The Columbus Dispatch, 19 Aug. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2016.

Why We Support Ted Cruz

Before Ted Cruz dropped out of the Republican presidential race, students in my spring course shared why they supported his candidacy. Students were given the opportunity to complete a candidate statement for extra credit where they were asked to write a 300-500 word statement about which candidate they supported and why. They were required to focus on two to three policy issues on which they agreed with the candidate on.

Out of the students who completed the extra credit, 33% supported John Kasich, 32% supported Bernie Sanders, 15% supported Donald Trump, 12% supported Ted Cruz, and 8% supported Hillary Clinton. Every few days, I will post some of their statements to this website in order to a) highlight their work and b) to provide some context on how today’s college students feel about the 2016 presidential candidates.

Here’s the schedule for the postings (in alphabetical order by candidate):

Today, we will hear from three students who personally support Ted Cruz.

Response 1, Jacob B.*

I support Ted Cruz because he has demonstrated time and time again that he will fight for the Constitution, limited government, and free market capitalism. First and foremost, Senator Cruz supports a pro growth flat tax that is projected to raise incomes exponentially, end loopholes that connect millionaires, stop massive corporations abuse, and is border-adjustable. Currently, the United States is one of the only countries that double-taxes its foreign companies when they attempt to repatriate money back into the US. It is estimated American companies have anywhere from $2 to $5 trillion dollars overseas, and Ted Cruz’s tax plan substantially reduces the repatriation tax burden. As a result, companies will repatriate their earnings back into the U.S., and the result will be cash and investment flowing into the United States. Also, Senator Cruz is a big supporter of ending the cronyism that exists in Washington, D.C. and he, like me, believes the way to end government cronyism and corruption is making the government smaller and taking control away from unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

Another issue that Ted Cruz and I agree on is marijuana. Senator Cruz has taken a wait-and-see approach with recreational legalization in Washington and Colorado and believes in leaving the legalization decision to the states and enabling “laboratories of democracy.” I wholeheartedly agree with those stances because they both utilize our federalist system and empower the states.

On immigration, Ted Cruz is a strong supporter of legal immigration and believes that legal immigration is a fundamental pillar of our nation’s heritage. On illegal immigration, Senator Cruz believes in building a wall, tripling border security, and that border security is national security. He argues that, illegal immigration costs the federal government and the American taxpayers billions each year, hurts American low-wage workers, and has strong ties with our nation’s drug epidemic. A wall may be farfetched, but they have been proven to work in other countries. Personally, I’m in favor of any policy that helps the American worker, taxpayer, and keeps the American people safe. Ted Cruz also strongly opposes amnesty, a view that I agree with him on, and believes in enforcing our laws. I also support Cruz’s proposed defunding of sanctuary cities because, as he says, they defy federal immigration laws.

On foreign policy, Senator Cruz takes a Reagan-eque approach in the sense that he believes peace can be achieved through American strength. I agree with this stance wholeheartedly. Cruz has been a sharp critic of the current administration’s strategy, citing the failures in Iran, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and the South China Sea, and has declared that America and the rest of the world are at war with ISIS. Cruz also pledges to tear up the “catastrophic” Iran Deal on day one of his presidency and says America will stand unapologetically with Israel.

Response 2, Jacob M.*

I support Ted Cruz because he supports reforming the criminal justice system. In particular, Ted Cruz wants to implement various reform policies to address specific issues. I support him on this issue because there is too much inconsistency in today’s criminal justice system, which has led to a number of issues such as overpopulation in prisons and over punishment of citizens throughout the United States. We need to get back the principals behind the creation of the criminal justice system, and I think Ted Cruz’s reform policies will help us achieve this. In Ted Cruz’s essay of reforming the system, he calls for addressing the main issues of “over criminalization, harsh mandatory minimum sentences, and the demise of jury trials” (Reduce Federal Crimes and Give Judges Flexibility, Ted Cruz, 4/27/2015). Some of Ted Cruz’s policies to address these issues require that all criminal offenses be put into one title of the Code and to pass legislation requiring courts to treat a single criminal act as one crime with one punishment, even if the act is punishable under multiple statutes. Policies like these will help eliminate the over criminalization and overpopulation in prisons, as well as make the criminal justice system more efficient and fair.

I also support Ted Cruz because he supports reforming Social Security policies in the United States. With the approaching retirement of the Baby Boomers, reform is needed to address social security payments and the generational difference in population size. There is simply not enough money to pay for the big retirement payouts that are about to occur. Ted Cruz has proposed a number of policies to reform the system that may be difficult for the younger generation in the short term but are undoubtedly necessary in the long term. Ted Cruz proposes that Social Security and Medicare payouts remain in place for retirees, while there is a gradual increase in the retirement age for younger workers, which helps ensure tax revenues. The growth in benefits will match the inflation rate, and a portion of the tax payments made by younger workers will be set aside for their own personal accounts. Even though these policies require some sacrifice for the younger generation, these policies will help ensure Social Security payments can be made and continue going forward.

Response 3, Xiaohan Y.*

I support Ted Cruz´s presidential bid because of his opposition to abortion except when it is necessary to save the life of the mother. I support Ted Cruz´s position on abortion because I likewise believe that abortion should be illegal in most cases due to my strong conviction that life begins at conception and that protecting innocent human life at all phases of its development is a legitimate function of the government. Ted Cruz has promised to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will vote to overturn its previous 7-2 decision in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. Like Ted Cruz I believe that Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided. Ted Cruz and I share a strict constructionist view of the U.S. Constitution and therefore we both believe that interpreting the constitution should be based solely on what it explicitly states. Hence, we both reject the notion that the Constitution conveys implicit rights. There is no mention of abortion and also no explicit mention of the right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, the logic on which the majority decision in Roe vs. Wade was based is faulty from the viewpoint of strict constructionists such as Ted Cruz and myself. Thus Ted Cruz´s strong pro-life stance as well as his vow to appoint conservative Supreme Court Justices who will vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade constitute a significant reason underlying my support for Ted Cruz´s 2016 Presidential bid.

Second, I support Ted Cruz because of his strong support for the Second Amendment and his concomitant opposition to gun control. Specifically, he supports the right of individuals to carry concealed guns in public to protect themselves. I concur with Ted Cruz´s position on his support for gun rights in general as well as his specific support for allowing individuals to carry concealed guns in public because I believe that people should be allowed to carry concealed guns outside of their homes, and that the public-at-large will be safer when criminals know that their potential victims might be armed. These issues positions are substantiated by the empirical evidence. States that prohibit its residents from carrying concealed guns in public have violent crime rates above the national average (¨GUN FACTS¨). According to an analysis of the data during the time span of 1980-2009, the gun homicide rate was actually 10% higher than the national average in states with stringent concealed carry statutes (¨GUN FACTS¨). All of the facts underscore my support of Ted Cruz´s position on the right-to-carry concealed gun laws as a rational means of reducing violent crime.


What about you? Why (or why not) did you support Ted Cruz?

*Responses shared with written permission from the authors. Replication in any form, without permission from the author, is prohibited

"Ted Cruz" by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Ted Cruz” by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)


  1. ¨GUN FACTS.¨ gunfacts.info. GUNFACTS, n.d. Web. 4 April 20

Informed Weekend: 10 Links I Learned From This Week (Vol. 22)

Here are the ten(ish) links I learned from this week:

  1. Presidential Election Update
    1. Ted Cruz Suspends his Campaign for President (The New York Times)
    2. John Kasich Drops Out of the Presidential Race (The New York Times)
    3. Bernie wins Indiana (The New York Post)
  2. Explaining Trump’s Supporters
    1. The Mythology of Trump’s ‘Working Class’ Support (FiveThirtyEight)
    2. A Surprising number of Americans dislike how messy democracy is. They like Trump. (The Washington Post)
    3. Why Republican Voters Decided on Trump (FiveThirtyEight)
  3. Looking forward to November
    1. Will it be Clinton or Trump in November? Here’s what’s wrong with most predictions. (The Washington Post)
    2. 2016 should be winnable for Republicans. But can they win with Trump? (The Washington Post)
    3. Americans’ Distaste for both Trump and Clinton is Record-Breaking (FiveThirtyEight)
  4. No, it’s not new that some working-class and poor whites vote Republican (The Washington Post)
  5. The clockwork rise of Donald Trump and reorganization of American parties (Vox)
  6. Think America’s terrified of Donald Trump? Check out how the rest of the world is reacting (Vox)


"John Kasich" by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“John Kasich” by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)