Next Monday the US celebrates Presidents Day, a federal holiday. For a discussion of this holiday, see here.
The current US president, Donald Trump, has just completed his first year in office. President Trump entered office with 62,984,825 votes nationwide, or 46.09 percent of all votes cast. His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won 65,853,516 votes nationwide, or 48.18 percent, surpassing the president by 2,868,691 votes. This was a wider margin in the popular vote than was the case in 2000, when Vice President Al Gore won a plurality of the popular vote(50,999,897 or 48.38 percent), with a margin of 543,895 votes more than won by Texas Governor George W. Bush (50,456,002, 47.87 percent). The nationwide popular vote, as POSC students know, does not determine electoral outcomes; the winner of the majority of the electoral college vote determines the victor. In 2016, the winner was Donald Trump.
There are costs, however, to winning without nationwide support. Having been elected without a popular vote plurality, President Trump has suffered from low approval ratings, especially in comparison to recent previous presidents (see here), and he has been unable to advance several of his stated policy initiatives. Congress was unwilling (or unable) to repeal the Affordable Care Act; no formal agreements have replaced the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the Paris climate Agreement; this week yet another federal court has struck down the President’s executive order restricting entry into the US for citizens of specific nations; and despite his endorsement of a bipartisan proposal on immigration reform, yesterday the Senate was unable to act on President Trump’s reform proposal – or on any alternative. Despite Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, this Republican president has been stymied by Congress. This is not to say that President Trump has been defeated on every issue. Congress passed his tax reform bill; his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate; and the president has been able to advance some of his preferences through executive branch agencies. The president has also had difficulty staffing executive branch positions and has faced high turnover among White House staff (see here, here, and here). In short, for students of presidential-legislative relations, it has been an interesting first year and, in terms of governance, not a particularly surprising one, given that President Trump had no previous governing experience.
What is most interesting – and perhaps most often publicly discussed – are President Trump’s recurring violations of presidential convention. Presidential conventions include informal rules – but rules nonetheless – that shape expectations in the mass public about how presidents will behave, and that shape understandings of appropriate presidential behavior among political elites, and among presidents (and potential presidents) themselves. Such conventions include releasing tax returns, holding regular press conferences, putting financial investments into blind trusts, respecting the autonomy of the federal justice system, respecting (if not particularly enjoying the impact of) freedom of the press, respecting the institution of the US military (of which the president is Commander in Chief), and embodying and representing the nation as Head of State (in conjunction with being Head of Government). Some conventions come with sanctions (e.g. subsequent congressional legislation constraining specific behaviors of future presidents; electoral defeat; refusal of Congress to cooperate with the president), but all of these conventions are informal rules without serious legal sanction. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the first year of the Trump presidency has been the president’s violations of presidential convention – what Daniel Drezner refers to as “unpresidented” norm violations – and his persistent inability (or disinclination) to change his behavior.
There are several excellent analyses of presidential convention and presidential behavior worth reading as we approach President’s Day. Some of these can be found here and here (and, for a consideration of the value of violating presidential norms, see here; for a rejection of such behaviors as “norms,” see here). For an assessment of US presidents, see here and here.
Teaching and Advising. Should any student wish to nominate any of our terrific faculty for a teaching or mentoring award, please see the information concerning the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, and the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching here.
With all best wishes,
Flora Stone Mather Professor
Chair, Department of Political Science
“Remember that it is the actions, and not the commission, that make the officer, and that there is more expected from him, than the title.”
- Students are invited to apply for the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Award. The award in her honor was established to recognize an underrepresented undergraduate student for significant contributions to campus life, scholarship and community service. Applications are due March 4.
- The Career Search Guide is a book of “everything career” with content written by the CWRU Career Center staff, and it covers topics ranging from career exploration and decision making to gaining field-related experience to applying to graduate or professional school or getting a post-graduation job, plus the details in between.
- The Ohio State University’s Journal of Politics & International Affairs is accepting submissions of papers by undergraduate students for their Spring 2018 issue. For more information, POSC majors and other undergraduates should see the submission guidelines. Submissions are due March 2nd and can be submitted here.
- Stay up to date with the department by following our Twitter feed! Check it for day to day opportunities and information!
- Like us on Facebook! Our department will be regularly posting events, opportunities, and general information to our page!
State Senators Matt Dolan and John Eklund Lecture
March 1, 4:00-5:15p.m., Mandel Center Room 106
Join Professor Michael Wager’s class to hear State Senators Matt Dolan and John Eklund address urban policy from the state legislator’s perspective, with emphasis on the challenges to municipal governance within the system of U.S. federalism.
U.N. World Social Justice Day
February 20, 5:30-7:30p.m., TVUC
University of Connecticut associate professor of anthropollogy, Sarah S. Willen, Ph, MPH (CWRU ’96) presents What Makes Migrants Sick and Why Should WE Care? Anthropological Perspectives on U.N. Social Justice Day. The presentation will focus on the health effects of migrant illegalit an the difficulties in mobilizing activists on behalf of migrants.
Confronting Structural Racism: What is My Role?
February 21, 12:00-1:00p.m., Robbins Building Room E301
An interactive discussion on concrete actions and solutions to structural racism and health inequality. RSVP to email@example.com.
Women of Color Series: Intersectional Advocacy
February 21, 12:00-1:30p.m., Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, TVUC Suite 248
Participants will work to understand the connection of the two concepts of “intersectional” and “advocacy,” an discuss the implications of misapplied analysis and institutionalization. Lunch will be provided.
NPR Politics Podcast: Live from Cleveland
February 23, 12:00-1:00p.m., Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square
The NPR Politics Podcast: Live from Cleveland, is coming up and Cleveland college students have access to a special discount code when purchasing tickets. Please note there are a limited number of student tickets available.
Friday Lunch: Gill v. Whitford: The Supreme Court and Partisan Redistricting
February 23, 12:30-1:30p.m., Clark Hall 206
For decades the federal courts rejected claims that districts were unconstitutionally partisan. But in November of 2016 a federal district court invalidated Wisconsin’s map. On October 3, the Supreme Court heard the case, Gill v. Whitford, on direct appeal. Join Jonathan L. Entin, J.D., David L. Brennan Professor Emeritus of Law, to discuss the arguments, prospects, and possible consequences.
February 24, 11:00a.m.-3:00p.m., TVUC Flora Stone Mather Center
This training program is for students who identify as women who are interested in running for a student government or a leadership position in which advocacy is a critical component.
February 26, 6:00p.m., Clark Hall 206
Panelists working in the non-profit sector will discuss how studying the humanities influenced their careers and answer questions from the audience.
Legal Perspectives on the Opioid Crisis
February 27, 4:30-5:30p.m., Moot Courtroom
Abbe R. Gluck, Professor of law from the Yale Law School, will discuss the current litifation adressing the opioid crisis, the legislative response, and the interaction of law and medicine.
The Women’s Fund Statehouse Day
March 1, Ohio Statehouse, Columbus
Join women and men from across the state for The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s Statehouse Day. You will spend the morning with hearing from policy makers and community leaders on how women’s economic empowerment benefits society. During lunch, you will hear from Lilly Ledbetter and hear her courageous story on how she became a champion in the equal pay movement. Equipped and ready; you will spend the afternoon meeting with elected officials as change-makers influencing policy. More information and registration details can be found by visiting here.
Ohio Department of Transportation
Have you always wanted to work for a long-term, reliable, professional, highly-productive organization? ODOT is hiring! New positions were recently added to their Statewide job board.
Matriots Executive Director
The Matriots PAC is seeking a savvy professional who can translate the founders’ vision into a sustainable, vibrant organization
Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics Program Coordinator
The Program Coordinator will assist the associate director and senior program coordinator with all aspects of CAWP’s education and training programs, specifically Ready to Run® and NEW Leadership™, as well as with the national networks developed to extend the reach of these programs.
National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations Internship
May 29-August 3
The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ Washington, DC Summer Internship Program offers undergraduate and graduate students a ten-week professional, academic, and career opportunity internship in the Nation’s Capital. The program features an energizing and demanding mix of professional involvement, intellectual challenge, career exploration, and cultural encounter designed to provide interns with a rich and varied experience during their time in Washington. Applications are due February 23.
U.S. Department of State Internships
Gain valuable experience working in U.S. embassies and consulates either in the U.S. or abroad. Applications are due March 2.
The Rumi Forum is offering research and project internship opportunities. The research intern will assist with preparation of our publications that include topics such as peace, conflict resolution, community cohesion, multiculturalism, pluralism, social justice and interfaith issues. The responsibility of these interns will be centered around general projects of the Rumi Forum, most of which include event planning and organization of our various conferences, seminars, international trips, evening events, community events, and social responsibility projects.
Peter Witt Scholarship
This scholarship was established to give financial aid to deserving students of the College of Arts an Sciences with interests in social work, city planning, or community involvement. Scholarship amount varies, but may be as much as $5,000. Applications are due March 1.
Public Service Scholarship
This scholarship supports female undergraduate students who are applying to or have secured an unpaid internship in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Internships in Maryland and Virginia are fine, as long as they are generally near Washington, D.C. Applications are accepted Feburary 1-April 11.
NEW Leadership Ohio
May 21-25, The Ohio State University
NEW Leadership Ohio brings together a group of like-minded women participants and community leaders to educate and empower and make an impact in our community.
An intensive, non-partisan, five-day residential program, NEW Leadership educates Ohio college women about politics and policy-making to actively engage them in the political process. Participants will learn the history of women’s involvement in public life, gain leadership skills in public speaking, advocacy and diversity and form a network of their peers as well as current women leaders.
The Left Forum Conference and Scholarships
Undergraduate students are encouraged to apply to attend this year’s Left Forum. The Left Forum is the largest gathering of leftist scholars in North America, with a history that extends back to the 1960s. This year’s conference theme is “Toward a Winning Strategy for the Left.” (Click here for full conference details.) Volunteer and internship opportunities are also available. Scholarships to attend will be up to $1000. All applications should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org as a PDF before Thursday, March 1, 2018.
ICPSR Summer School
These institutes are held at universities across the country, and improve participants’ ability to advance science and serve society. Participants emerge from EITM summer institutes better able to leverage interactions between theoretical models that clarify relevant logical relationships and empirical endeavors that clarify critical implications of observation and data. A number of scholarshipsare available for this program.
Ohio Congressional Candidate Grant Goodrich
Grant Goodrich, CWRU Director of The Great Lakes Energy Institute, is running for Congress in Ohio’s 16th District. Marine Corps veteran, farm-owner, and energy leader, Grant is running on a platform of better governance and more responsible politics, and he is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to support his efforts. Please visit his website: https://www.goodrichforcongress.com. There you can volunteer using the “Take Action” button.
- CWRU Law Professor Jonathan Adler weighed in on a recent article about overturning Supreme Court decisions.