Posts Tagged

US Elections

Photograph of George Bush sitting at a table with advisors including Dick Cheney and Colin Powell surrounding him.

U.S. presidents have powerful political incentives to think twice before escalating a conflict in the lead-up to an election. Recent events in the Gulf suggest that President Trump is no exception when it comes to avoiding the commitment of “boots on the ground” in an election year. As both commander-in-chief and holder of the highest elected office, presidents must carefully weigh the political consequences of any decision regarding military strategy. Since voters tend to bear the brunt of the human and financial costs of war, decisions to send additional U.S. forces into combat are often fraught with risk of consequent reprisal at the ballot box.  In my recent article in International Security, I explore how these electoral pressures affected decision-making during the Iraq War. …

“Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals.”  [Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal] If history is any guide, there is reason to hope that President Trump belatedly takes up painting this campaign season. Over the next 18 months or so, as always seems to be the case in American politics, the looming presence of a presidential election will throw up a whole host of impediments to the pursuit of optimal diplomatic agreements abroad, including with China, Afghanistan and North Korea. A brief look back at critical negotiations during the wars in Vietnam and Iraq suggests a crucial lesson: electoral politics and diplomacy do not mix …

Donald Trump’s success in the US elections came as a surprise to both pollsters and political pundits. And since November, both have peddled numerous theories to explain their mistakes. Yet, one aspect of his electoral victory remains underappreciated: labour mobility. Labour mobility across regions is much higher in the United States compared to many other countries in the world, including the European Union members, allocating individuals into the jobs where they are the most productive. As such, mobility is an important factor for upward social mobility for middle class Americans, where they can increase their earnings and their life standards by moving to higher-earning jobs in dynamic regions. [1] But economic mobility has been declining over the last two decades.[2] …

Four decades ago the concurrent Thatcher and Reagan governments heralded the arrival of the “New Right” political agenda, which prioritised market forces over the primacy of “the state” in their respective countries.  New Right policies followed in the 1980s, including reducing income and corporate taxes, deregulating labour and financial markets, and the promotion of market mechanisms of consumer choice into public sector services such as health and schools. “Market over state” was the mantra of the New Right but as many commentators noted, making markets requires state action (not least in public order maintenance), resulting in a redeployment of state power rather than its diminishment. Having seized power through the electoral college used to elect the President of the United …

Recent weeks witnessed renewed debate about the viability of the United States Electoral College, but few offered viable alternatives to the current system. While much of the vexation has arisen in part due to partisan frustrations, there are many reasons to both criticize and praise the current system without succumbing to arguments rooted in political dogma. While I am not a politician, or policy expert, I am a concerned citizen who cares deeply about this country and the voice of the American people, which is why I propose we explore the possibility of a proportional Electoral College, which I will argue will boost turnout and citizen representation. The Electoral College Today The Electoral College was written into the American Constitution …

Donald Trump’s victory came as a surprise and/or shock to most pollsters, journalists, scientists, and citizens all over the world. And ever since Trump became the president-elect one question seems to be on many people’s minds: ‘who (or what) is to blame?’ The answers to this question ranges from the electoral system to international influence but one particular scapegoat is more prominent than others: the Internet. Indeed, not short after Trump’s victory Buzzfeed had identified the first villain: fake news. In their analysis they suggested ‘that top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook than top election stories’ from other serious outlets. The threat of fake news was born. And other mass media outlets followed. We have probably all …

The US election result came as an absolute shock to many, but it was the pollsters that took the biggest hit. The major poll-based forecasts, a lot of models, the prediction markets, even the superforecaster crowd all got it wrong. They estimated high probabilities for a Clinton victory, even though some were more careful than others in claiming that the race would be very tight. Our prediction survey, however, was spot on thanks to the method we used for Oraclum Intelligence Systems, a start-up developed out of our academic work. We predicted a Trump victory, and we called all the major swing states in his favour: Pennsylvania (which no single pollster gave to him), Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio. We gave Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, and …

The election of Donald Trump is a political earthquake with few direct precedents. Andrew Jackson’s election as a populist in 1832 is one possibility. As a novice to elected office, President Eisenhower’s election in 1952 has that in common but little else. Ideologically, Trump’s radical reforms permit a loose analogy with Ronald Reagan’s agenda in 1980, but President Reagan was an outward-looking and internationally engaged White House incumbent. Trump is decidedly inward looking and isolationist. His conversion into a normal presidential candidate has been remarkable. Trump’s intelligence and knowledge of the world of social media and TV entertainment gave him a major advantage during the Republican presidential primaries and then the election campaign. Both in the state primary appearances and …