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Ballot Box 2020: The US Election

All summer, as protests raged over the United States, fears grew that an increasingly polarised United States was heading for another civil war. There was great worry over violence erupting across the land, and a distinct sense that there were at least two rival and distinct Americas in the country: Red America and Blue America. Political movements such as the Lincoln Project and the Wide Awake Boys explicitly made comparisons between the present time and the Civil War-era. Almost two thirds of Americans, in May 2020, believed that the country was close to civil war. The 2020 presidential election might therefore have the same effect as that of 1860 election: then, the election of Abraham Lincoln as President persuaded the …
"Cyber Security at MoD" by Defence Images

Since January 20th, the Biden administration has been focused above all else on tackling Covid-19 and passing a landmark economic relief bill. This is unsurprising. In the context of a global pandemic, with an urgent vaccine rollout taking place, the US government must prioritise tackling Covid-19 and its economic consequences. However, President Biden has a raft of additional problems waiting at his doorstep. In particular, the US faces a two-pronged cybersecurity crisis: the impact of a vast cybersecurity breach known as the SolarWinds attack that was likely perpetrated by Russian intelligence, coupled with the fallout from Trump’s ‘legacy of cyber confusion’.   This leaves Biden with three tasks. First, he must deal with the immediate consequences of SolarWinds: identifying what data has been compromised and doing everything possible to patch exploited systems. Next, he must hold Russia accountable …
Marihuana plants

Welcome to the OxPol Blogcast, a podcast where we will be sharing research, analysis, and experiences from members of the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations. On each, episode we will talk to a guest about a piece they’ve written for the OxPol Blog. Then, we’ll discuss their larger research agenda, their insights on conducting political science, and their time at Oxford. On the 3rd episode of the OxPol BlogCast, host Chase Harrison talks to recent DPhil graduate Jonas von Hoffman about the results of recent drug legalisation referendums in the United States. We compare those to legalisation movements across the Americas before chatting about his experience studying a more taboo topic in academia.  
Rubble in front of a wall/fence with graffiti reading "V+XO Peace + Love". Over the fence, three different wall structure prototypes are visible.

Joe Biden’s presidential victory has brought temporary relief for many undocumented and mixed-status families in the US. Biden promised to reverse several of Trump’s executive orders on immigration and refugee policy within his first 100 days in office including reinstating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ending the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) also known as “Remain in Mexico,” and creating a “road map” to citizenship for the approximate 10.5 million undocumented immigrants in the US. While Biden’s immigration agenda contains federal and local level priorities, little emphasis has yet been placed on the bilateral scale with the US’s southern neighbour, Mexico. Yet, bilateral immigration negotiations should be a priority for administrations on both sides of the border. In …
Marihuana plants

Election day 2020 was another big moment for drug policy reform in the US as voters across diverse states rejected the status quo and endorsed liberalizing drug laws. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota legalized marijuana for recreational purposes as the news proclaimed voters had “just said no to America’s war on drugs,” calling it “a banner year for drug decriminalization.” That election day brought significant wins for drug policy reform is not new. Beginning in 2012 with Colorado and Washington state, 13 out of the 15 states that have legalized recreational cannabis thus far have done so through ballot measures.[1] In 2014, Alaska and Oregon followed suit along with Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine and California in 2016 and Michigan …
Mural of postal workers sorting mail

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States, questions concerning American voters’ ability to cast their ballots safely in person on 3 November became increasingly urgent this election season. Despite his own record of voting by mail, President Trump has frequently attacked mail-in voting, making unfounded claims about the potential for fraud and playing favorites to suggest its validity only in states with Republican governors like Florida. Depicting vote by mail as a Democratic tactic to steal his re-election, Trump’s campaign even filed an ultimately dismissed suit in battleground Nevada to stop the state from sending absentee ballots out to all active voters. However, mail-in voting has historically not been such a partisan issue. Even now, Fox News …
Photograph of old presidential campaign buttons

The president’s recent diagnosis with Covid-19 sent the US presidential election race into a tailspin. As Donald Trump and Joe Biden jockey to regain control of the media narrative at a crucial phase of the campaign, speculation about a possible “October surprise” is widespread. Today, the term refers to any news story that breaks late in an election cycle and has the potential to affect the outcome of the election. Yet its origins are firmly rooted in foreign policy. In particular, the phrase describes a sitting president’s alleged propensity to manipulate events to boost their electoral prospects. The president’s recent tweet calling for all remaining US forces in Afghanistan to return home by Christmas has fueled suspicions that Trump is playing politics …
Image of stethoscope tugged in one direction by red strings and in other by blue strings.

Since the 2018 midterm election, Democratic socialists have been leading voices in the Democratic Party, a trend that was all the more evidenced by Bernie Sanders’ resounding primary victories in states like Nevada, Colorado, and among others California. If anything, these voices have successfully brought poverty and social justice to the forefront of the Party’s politics as issues like child poverty, wages, housing and education dominated the primary debates. This was especially the case in Iowa on 14 January as protests by the Poor People’s Campaign took place outside the debate venue. The organisation represents the interests of the poor with a name referencing a series of demonstrations for economic justice organized in 1968 under the leadership of Martin Luther …