Student opinion – Donald Trump vs. The Republican Party

Donald Trump vs. The Republican Party. Brokered Convention: Curse or Blessing for the Republican Party?

By: Meaghan McFall Gorman**

This past week I was fortunate enough to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington D.C. with several other college students. One of the largest conferences held annually, it was especially well-attended this year due to the looming presidential elections.

At the conference Republican Presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Donald Trump were scheduled to speak. Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio gave the typical campaign trail speech, with calls for action, promises of significant reform, improvement, and a general sense of hope for the future. Ben Carson announced he was no longer running for nomination.

Even more news-worthy however — Donald Trump rescheduled, and then ultimately cancelled his appearance. At the conference there was some confusion as to the reason why, and while Trump released an explanation stating that he needed to be campaigning in-person at key primary states, the real reason was revealed later on.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, a Walk Out had been organized to take place at Trump’s speech. This had actually occurred the year prior, only the victim was Jeb Bush, and the effects were scarring in that the video of that Walk Out was actually used by the media months later while he was campaigning for president.

A walk out is therefore quite serious, and while it may seem petty, it demonstrates a real resentment and genuine dislike for a candidate. Donald Trump was supposedly the golden child of the Republican Party – or at least that was the misconception.

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Trump: Leaving an Empty Stage at CPAC 2016

While attending this conference, at any mention of Donald Trump, outbursts of booing and heckling would erupt from the audience. Keeping in mind the haunting whispers of a potential Brokered Convention, Donald Trumps’ divisive popularity is all the more important.

To explain, a Brokered Convention takes place when no one candidate has secured the necessary amount of delegate votes to earn the Presidential nomination, and instead one of the candidates must be chosen through a process of re-voting (think of it as a do over, where all the states are able to recast their Delegate vote in hopes that people have changed their minds and a clear winner will be revealed).

However, at these conventions Vote Trading takes place also, and as the name would imply, it is not overly Democratic. The danger here is that no clear winner is proclaimed, or that the establishment will use its power to manipulate the re-vote process through vote trading to ensure that a candidate of its choice is given the nomination.

That is where Donald Trumps’ failure to win the heart of the Republican Party comes into play. A majority of Republicans seem to not like Donald Trump, and yet, he is leading in many polls.

So what is the Republican Party to do? Tactically, they must damage him in some way, and take him down a few pegs to decrease his popularity and demonstrate how another candidate would be a better choice. The dilemma is that in order to do this, another Republican figure must take it upon themselves to damage Trump – and essentially commit political suicide.

Despite his lack of popularity with the political establishment, Donald Trump has a substantial political backing from the general American populace. Any candidate that attacked Trump seriously would lose his voting base, and be woefully behind the Democratic Party nominee whoever they may be.

That is potentially why former Presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke out against Donald Trump this past week; as a former candidate, one who held a large voting populace, Mitt Romney has some political favor still, even though he is out of the lime light for the current primaries.

Donald Trump fought back against Romney in his usual fashion, but the damage is done, and the Republican Party has officially begun a dauntless war to stop Trump.

Overall, should the nominee selection be brought to a Brokered Convention, Donald Trump would (based on delegate votes) more than likely be the technical choice.

However, he is clearly not wanted. His utter lack of political experience and exorbitant ability to alienate and estrange people will not win him many swing voters.

That is what the Republican Party needs to achieve their ultimate goal of re-gaining the White House. They will compromise at nothing to ensure they have the greatest chance possible at the Presidency, and a little Vote Trading at a Brokered Convention does not intimidate them at all.

After all, as Frank Underwood said, “If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table”.

 

** Entry for the student competition Elections 2016. The views on this piece do not necessarily reflect those of the Department or the University.

Polisci student and actress Lucy Shea performs in an upcoming play based on poet Eve Merriam’s work

Pic Lucy Shea

Polisci student Lucy Shea will be part of the cast of the upcoming play “Out of Our Father’s House”, directed by Caitlin McDonough, which is part of the student director showcase POWER PLAYS!

Based on Eve Merriam’s Growing Up Female in America, this moving play is drawn from the diaries, journals and letters of women: founder of the Women’s Suffrage Movement Elizabeth Cady Stanton, astronomer Maria Mitchell, labor organizer Mary Jones, minister and doctor Anna Howard Shaw, and Eliza Southgate. They are seen as they grow up, marry, bear children and face being ostracized for wanting careers.

April 14 – 18, 2016
Thursday-Monday at 7:30pm
in the Fine Arts Instructional Center Studio Theater

Growing up female in AmericaTickets: Free for Eastern students; $5 for students other than Eastern, senior citizens, and groups of 10 or more; $10 for Eastern faculty, staff, and alumni; $15 for the general public.

The “Krassas Challenge” to support efforts to raise awareness about poverty in the U.S.

Pic Nicole and Martin

Professors Krassas and Mendoza-Botelho at Eastern’s annual poverty awareness marathon.

At the end of the 2015 Fall semester, several faculty, staff and students rose to the “Krassas Challenge” to run some laps as part of Eastern’s annual poverty awareness marathon. Professor Charlie Chatterton runs the marathon in 1.2 mile laps around campus and those of us lesser athletes run as much as we can. Starting at 7 a.m., I was joined by senior Sabreena Croteau and sophomore Alexander Eitland. A little bit later in the morning, sophomore Emily Becher joined the group. Only Sabreena lapped me and she was gracious enough not to mock me, however several dedicated long distance runners lapped me multiple times!   By 8:15, as I was leaving the run to get ready for class at 9, Professor Mendoza-Botelho arrived to “pick up the torch” for the political science program. It was a beautiful morning for a run! Also, senior Sarah Howard, who was unable to run, dropped off a donation of canned goods to support the cause as did department secretary Brenda Schiavetti who brought an awesome 40 cans to go to the food pantry! If I have missed anyone who participated today, my apologies. Thanks to everyone who did participate and please remember the point of today’s event. As we move through our lives, we should stop to remember that approximately 15% of the U.S. population, over 46 million people, lives below the poverty line. Poverty affects children in the U.S. the most. 21% of children in the United States live below the poverty line. Have you thought about the impact that poverty has on people from inadequate housing, food insecurity, inadequate health care and inadequate transportation (just to name a few)? Aside from moral consideration, as political scientists poverty is an important subject to consider as poverty relief drives a fair amount of government policy and political rhetoric in this country and around the world.

Wings over politics – The Republican Presidential Candidates and the Syrian Crisis

By Meaghan McFall Gorman

The Republican Presidential Candidates and the Syrian Crisis: A Millennial Perspective

All too often the millennial generation is not considered or taken for granted. This is understandable, seeing as that a vast majority of us, despite being avid re-tweeters of social issues or political trends, do not actually vote. However, this doesn’t mean that we lack opinions, thoughts, or ideas when it comes to the future of our nation and those directly tied to us. Quite the opposite, we seem to have an abundance of opinions which span many spectrums and ideologies.

As the current President of Eastern’s Conservative Libertarian Club, I see this political involvement every time our club hosts one of our “Wings over Politics” events. We pick topics ahead of time which are not only recent political events, but are significant in the sense that they go beyond their immediate results, and have long term effects that cannot quite yet be accurately hypothesized. The purpose of these events is to discuss them so that fellow students can not only better understand them, but gain confidence in their own ability to understand and spread awareness.

During the most recent ‘Wings over Politics’ event the topics included the Republican Presidential candidates, the Syrian Crisis, and inevitably the Paris Attacks which occurred on November 14th. While the mood was somber, it did not stop the group of nearly two dozen students, of mixed ideologies, years, and disciplines, from voicing their opinions and thoughts not only on the topics themselves, but on how they interplayed.

Everything in this world is connected, as our generation certainly knows through use of social media, and what older generations fail to recognize is how this ability to connect transcends electronic devices, and manifests itself in our capacity to relate subjects and interpret their effects on one another.

A Parisian article was reviewed at the beginning of our event, to provoke thought in the group, and it presented the interesting concept that the Paris Attacks could be a deciding factor in the US Presidential elections. The group as a whole made keen observations on how the ability of a Presidential candidate, regardless of political orientation, to appear strong and resolute, and able to defend the nation, would make an impression on voters. The Paris Attacks are therefore not to be underestimated in their ability to promote fear of not only of further attacks, but of the unknown in general.

That is where the Syrian Crisis comes into play. The number of refugees fleeing Syria is astronomical, and the number of nations agreeing to take them in after the attacks is minimal. Why? Because people are afraid of the unknown, they fear that which they cannot decisively combat. The genuine likelihood of an Islamic terrorist disguising themselves as a refugee, attempting to enter the US, getting past border security, establishing themselves, and then committing an act of terrorism, are extremely unlikely. However, as the general rule unfortunately goes, it only takes one to ruin it for the many.

Understandably, there were mixed feelings and opinions about border control, and while these differing opinions were not wrong, they demonstrated the varied levels of reactionary impulse in people, which is in itself a representation of the mixed reactions that the United States and Western world as a whole will experience.

There were some students unfamiliar with the origins of the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and to supplement explanations given by attending students, an explanatory video was played, which included the Assad regime, Hezbollah, the Kurdish ethnic resistance, the Syrian revolutionary group, and the subsequent rise of the ISIS militant Islam group. Also included were the relative involvements of not only the Obama administration, but also the Arab emirate states and Russia under the direction of Putin.

Students in the group were somewhat amazed by the complexity of the issue, but rather than feel overwhelmed by the conflicts’ intricacies, students were able to appreciate the multifaceted nature of the issue. The Syrian Refugee Crisis is not going to end any time soon, the numbers of refugees seeking asylum in Europe and the United States is only increasing as the months continue, despite many countries reducing their acceptance rates or naval presence in areas where refugees are drowning en route to a better life.

This sparked much debate in the group, because the issue was seen along lines of morality; to let people suffer and die as they attempt to find a better life, or close borders and tighten security measures in order to protect our own people? These questions are now quite prominent in the Presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle, and now the issue has sufficiently been divided by party lines. However, it was posed by students that this issue is not one of red and blue, nor right and wrong, but rather an issue of not being able to fix the root of a problem: Syria. That is not to say that the country of Syria is the problem, but rather that the inherent conflict in Syria, fomented by the Assad regime and the struggling revolutionary forces (resultant of the Arab Spring movement), is what is causing this mass exodus and all problems thereafter.

Is there a simple answer? Of course not, but it is not up to us to find the right answer, for that is an abstract and unrealistically idealist outcome for this base and depressing situation. To be human is to err, but to be human is also to do what is within ones’ own power to make a conscious effort and difference in whatever way you can. Whether that is believing in a single Presidential candidate and voting for the policies they represent, or holding true that inalienable human rights should overrule any fear of an unknown, a responsible citizenry needs to take a personal stand. As the newest generation to enter the political arena, myself and fellow millennials are not afraid to voice our opinions. While many of us seem altruistic to a fault, we understand the seriousness of recent world events and are prepared to consider their long term effects since we are the generation that will have to face those repercussions, for better or for worse.

 

Reflections on Cuba

By Quanece Williams

Cuba is a country that is stigmatized with being a communist country, in which the rights of citizens are suppressed. However, apart from that, it is a country that is often overlooked when learning about world history. Thus, the presentation of Cuban Educator Ariel Dacal Díaz was extremely informative. Diaz not only discussed the advantages and the shortcomings of the country as a whole, he also analyzed the bilateral relations between Cuba and the United States.

Cuban Educator Ariel Ducal Diaz speaks to the audience with help from his translator.

Díaz’s history of the country was vital and ranged from topics including the social system, the economic system, sports, political participation, democratization, and bilateral Cuba-U.S. relations. Cuba’s social system is particularly interesting because although the country is primarily poor, education and health care are free and universal. Furthermore, both are offered to every citizen from birth to death. Diaz declared this one of the country’s greatest attributes because according to him, “in many countries health care, housing, and education are commercializing but it should be a human right”.

The complex economic system was then analyzed and a timeline was provided to explain the current system that is implemented today. He shared that in 1959, Cuba had 80% of its market dominated by the U.S. and then in 1989, 85% of Cuba’s market was connected to the economy of the Soviet Union, which would eventually dissolve, leaving the country economically crippled. This significantly shaped their economic system, as illustrated in the policy that is currently implemented in regard to foreign investment, which establishes the limits (30%) of foreign capital investment.

An entertaining part of his presentation was when Diaz went into depth on the role of sports in their society. He stated that the country decided that sports are not a commodity, although the country is small and poor. He was also excited to share that the country placed 5th in the Olympics in 1992. The countries economy is intrinsically linked to the sports world because equipment was often not provided so athletes used their teammates as weights. Additionally, the poor economy is also the motivation for sports players to leave the country in search for a contract that will provide the most benefits, which further exacerbates the economic status of the country.

Political participation, one of the tenets of democracy, was another salient issue Diaz examined. He stated that the MLK Center seeks to educate the polity and outlined the requirements for participation as followed: (1) that persons want to participate (2) that people can participate (3) that people know how to participate. In addition, he shared that the Cuban culture is now dependent upon the government because of communism. Diaz also shared his notion of democracy and stated that it needs to be grassroots and comprehensible. Other tenets for democracy outlined by Diaz are the acknowledgment of another person’s rights and that democracy will not occur with just one person. Additionally, he shared that democracy must alter the perception of liberty and quoted “I am free if you are free”, highlighting that one individuals liberty is conditioned on another’s liberty (a valuable lesson for the U.S. to learn especially with the views on minorities).

The last issue important issue that was discussed was the U.S., as Cuba’s largest neighbor, exerting dominance in their country. He introduced the analogy of the levee that was intended to provide support in New Orleans with Katrina, and questioned how strong the country was to withstand the flood of the United States.

Overall, the presentation was useful because it provided me with information about the country that I was unfamiliar with. I was unaware that an embassy was opened in D.C., as well as Havana and still believed that the relationship between both countries was tenuous. However, after attending the presentation I realize as Diaz stated, “Cuba is not a paradise but Cuba is not hell”.

 

ECSU Professors Martin Mendoza-Botelho and Ricardo Perez (Sociology) pose with the Cuban guest Ariel Ducal Diaz (middle) and his translator.

 

Eastern Students visit Connecticut’s Supreme Court

Professor Broscious and the students from PSC 341 Judicial Process visited the Connecticut State Supreme Court in Hartford on October 15, 2015.  The class observed proceedings in two cases: State of Connecticut v. Kenneth Jamison and Standard Oil of CT, Inc. v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act. The purpose of this trip was to allow students to experience the judicial process in practice in the state’s highest court.

Eastern students at the majestic entrance of the Connecticut State Supreme Court in Hartford

After the observing oral arguments, the class returned to Eastern for lunch and discussion.  Discussion focused on unpacking the arguments made by the attorneys, evaluating the questions posed by the justices, and differentiating between the processes of a trial court and an appellate court.

Student Comments:

This trip gave me insight on details of the courts I could never have learned from books, such as the importance of confidence and presentation. It was a great experience. Emilio Estrella

I thought it was really cool I really liked getting see all that we keep reading about in action. I also really like to get to see the attorneys and justices as people. We read about lawyers and we see them in movies but in person, they got nervous, fumbled their words, and say uhh..uhh…  Benjamin Brady

The trip to the Supreme Court was not what I expected. I thought more people showed up to hear the proceedings like in a regular trial without the jury. I was surprised by the level of interaction by some of the justices with the attorneys, I didn’t think they would have interacted as much as they did. Crystal Mayo

The trip to the CT Supreme Court was awesome. It was educational and fun at the same time, especially the political and law debates that stemmed from it on the ride home. All in all it was great! Jordan True

Going to the Supreme Court was an enjoyable experience, it was my first opportunity to be inside our Supreme Court building. The paintings on the walls, and the architecture was very interesting to see, and listening to the lawyers plead their cases reminded me of how excited I am to go to law school next year.  Raagan Wicken

I really liked the trip overall but what I liked the most was that for someone who has never been to court it was a very informational trip, being able to see it in person was much easier to put together than just learning about it! The way the court worked was very interesting to see, it’s different than seeing a court proceeding on television or like I said before learning about it through a textbook.  Shafaq Chaudhry

Life After Eastern

By Kevin Schaffner (Class of 2014)

Polisci alumnus Kevin Schaffner

After graduating back in May 2015, I thought I was going to immediately find a great job. Heck, why wouldn’t I? I had years of military experience, had two internships under my belt, and had been working in financial aid for two years. The reality is, at least it was for me, that it is hard to find a decent job with only a bachelor’s. I spent my entire summer applying, interviewing, following up, and getting rejected. Needless to say, my summer after graduation wasn’t that great. However, there was light at the end of tunnel.

With money quickly running out I knew I had to do something fast. I contemplated going back to ECSU for another degree and reap the benefits of my GI Bill but I knew that would just be a waste. Then a good friend of mine recommended that I apply to the Masters of Public Administration Program at the University of Connecticut. So in the final hour I applied and shortly after I was graciously admitted into the program. To date, applying and attending the MPA Program at UCONN has been the best decision I have ever made. Here are a few reasons why I love the program and why you should think about applying.

  1. It is a ranked Public Administration Program at one of the best public universities in the country. Not only is this a ranked program but it is also intentionally small. The faculty and administrators focus on offering the best education to students so that when students graduate, they represent the MPA Program in their workplace. This has clearly worked since many agencies hire directly from the program and the most recent graduating class has a 100% employment rate in positions related to the field.
  2. The program works directly with many agencies and businesses around the state to provide paid internships which offer a generous stipend and credits. Also, second year students who are interning are eligible to receive a tuition waiver. The purpose of internship program is to give higher level work experience to students at well-known agencies and businesses. I am currently taking advantage of this program and am interning at Newington Public Schools as a Communications Specialist. I am in charge of generating positive press about the school district and love every moment of it.
  3. The course schedule and course load per class are extremely manageable. I always feared graduate school was going to be too advanced for me, but honestly I am finding my current work load much more manageable than in my undergrad. This is primarily because I typically have one class a day and the courses are applicable to what I intend to do after graduation. Ideally I would like to work for an agency that works in either transportation or foreign policy.

Currently there are not many ECSU Political Science graduates in the MPA Program and I do not understand why. Eastern’s Political Science Department does an excellent job preparing students for the MPA program. The quantitative and qualitative courses do a wonderful job preparing students for the analytical portion of the MPA program. Also the writing intensive courses at Eastern gave me a solid background in academic writing which will help me when writing studies and memorandums. From what I have seen, Eastern’s Political Science Department better prepares students for the MPA Program than UCONN’s Political Science department.

This opportunity has given me a direct path to my dream of becoming a public servant and I can finally see my end goal in sight. The contrast between who I was during the summer while looking for a job, and who I am now is almost indistinguishable. If you are not sure what you are going to do after graduation, I highly recommend you apply to the UCONN MPA Program. This has been the best decision of my life and I’m sure it will be yours too!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at kevin.r.schaffner@gmail.com.