Monthly Archives: September 2014

Explain the Difference: From An Ideological Perspective

For this post, let’s try to understand what the difference is between anarchism and libertarianism.

Start with the premise that anarchism or anarchy is the disorder caused by a fundamental indifference to authority.  You could also say that it is a society without an authority.

Look at this description of libertarianism:

Libertarianism, or classical liberalism as it was called during the American Revolution, supports a federal government that has very limited powers. The definition of limited powers would be derived from the United States Constitution. Simply put, if there was a question on the size and scope of the federal government, then the Constitution would be final arbiter in settling a governmental dispute between the federal government and the states. Only that which is written specifically for the federal government in the Constitution can belong to the federal government. That which is not a federal government power would then belong to the states.

For this post, I want you to consider that possibility that some individuals equate anarchy with libertarianism.  Do you agree that the two are the same?  (You can also find similar posts regarding political ideologies on the Politics Matters blog from previous years.)

Evaluating the Ads — Hickenlooper vs. Beauprez

In this week’s installment of Evaluating the Ads, we’ll look at a race for Governor.  The state?  Colorado.  Governor John Hickenlooper (D) is finishing up his first term.  His opponent is former Congressman Bob Beauprez (R).  This race is a close one.

Here is Hickenlooper’s first ad from a few weeks ago.

Hickenlooper mentions that he will not run any negative ads.  Do you believe that this is a good strategy?

Here is an ad from Beauprez’s campaign:

Images matter in political ads.  What images are used in this ad and why are they used?

What Title Do You Look For In A Presidential Candidate?

Lowering the Voting Age

With the recent vote regarding Scottish Independence, it came to my attention that the minimum voting age for that referendum was 16 years old.  About 100,000 16 year olds voted in that election.  It is unknown how many, of those who participated, voted for or against independence.  It is also unknown if Scotland will maintain the 16 year old threshold for future elections.  At this moment, this experiment is a one-shot deal.

In the United States, the minimum voting age is 18 years old.  The 26th Amendment, which passed in 1971, made this happen.  It was a time of social protests and unrest on many college campuses and cities.  Young people, protesting the Vietnam War, were angry with the fact that they could not vote, but yet they could still be drafted into the nation’s military.  Thus, lowering the voting age had a social and political motive to it.

What would it take for the United States to lower the voting age to 16?  Do you foresee this ever happening?

Voting in the Midterm

The 18th Amendment

Enacted in 1920, the 18th Amendment (or the Prohibition Amendment as it is referred to) is only a mere 111 words long.  It reads:

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

With the ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933, Prohibition was repealed.  Since then, issues related to the enforcement of/regulation of social mores and values have not been added to the Constitution.  That is not say that attempts have not been proposed to the Constitution with regards to social issues.  Proposed amendments related to abortion, marriage, flag burning, and school prayer, for example have all failed.

Do you believe that any issue related to values will be added to the United States Constitution?  (Remember — it takes 2/3 of both Houses of Congress and 3/4 of the states to pass an Amendment to the Constitution.)


Presidential Approval Ratings

RCP Data




F rom the Real Clear Politics website, here are the latest polling results in relation to President Obama’s job approval.  Under the “Sample” heading, ‘LV’ means ‘Likely Voters’, ‘RV’ means ‘Registered Voters’, and ‘A’ means ‘Adults’.  Do you foresee his numbers going up any time soon?  For more polling data, please visit the RCP site.  You can also click on the chart for a larger view of the data.

Evaluating the Ads — Enyart vs. Bost

There is a lot going on here in this week’s “Evaluating the Ads” post.  For some perspective on the Congressional race in the 12th District of Illinois between first term Congressman Bill Enyart (D) and Illinois State Representative Mike Bost (R), please watch this video on an outburst Rep. Bost made in 2012 regarding the rules set forth by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Fast forward to 2014.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running this ad targeting Bost.

Here is the response by Bost.

Please notice the difference in the two ads.  An ad that was paid for by the candidate’s team has to say, “I approve this message.”  This was a provision from the Bipartisan Campaign Act (McCain-Feingold) of 2002.  Any organization outside of a political campaign must declare that they are not affiliated with a campaign team.  Therefore, the ad that was run against Bost was not run by the Enyart campaign.  Bost’s ad was paid for by the Bost campaign.

If you were a voter in this race, how would you rate each ad?  Do you believe the DCCC’s ad is effective?  Do you believe Bost’s response was a strong one?

Polling Problems

Polling, the act of measuring public opinion, is not a flawless way of measuring said opinion.  There is always error found in a scientifically conducted poll.  We recognize this as the margin of error.  But what about errors that you can find within the poll’s questions or responses?  Below are three polls that have errors/potential errors within each.  Once you find the error(s), ask yourself, what adjustments could be made to eliminate those errors?

I.  If the election for President were held today, who would you vote for?

Person A (Democrat) 52%
Person B (Republican) 48%

II.  If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for?

Person A (Democrat) 35%
Person B (Republican) 45%
Person C (Independent) 20%
Number of People Polled:  1000 Adults
Poll Conducted via landline phone

III.  If the election for Senator were held today, who would you vote for?

Person A (Democrat) 45%
Person B (Republican) 35%
Person C (Independent) 20%
Number of People Polled:  1000 Registered Voters
Margin of Error:  +/- 3%



The Politics of Celebrity