February 25, 2019 Newsletter

     Opportunities and Announcements

     for the Week of February 25, 2019


This week has been interesting, to say the least, in regard to democracy. Although “more regimes than ever before are adopting the form of electoral democracy, with regular, competitive, multiparty elections…, many of these regimes—indeed, an unprecedented proportion of the world’s countries … fail to meet the substantive test” that ensures that elections are open and fair, and that results reflect the actual votes cast (Larry Diamond, “Elections without Democracy,” Journal of Democracy, 13 (2), April 2002, 22). Although it is possible to have elections without democracy, democracy is not possible without elections. For regimes worldwide – and here in the US, “democracy requires not only free, fair, and competitive elections, but also the freedoms that make them truly meaningful (such as freedom of organization and freedom of expression), alternative sources of information, and institutions to ensure that government policies depend on the votes and preferences of citizens” (Diamond 2002, 21).

In the US, the Electoral College produced a mismatch of the popular and electoral result in the 2016 presidential election; in 2018, the midterm elections produced divided government in Congress and in several states where one party had dominated. As partisan struggle over election results has intensified and losing parties fear the possible political implications, electoral integrity has been challenged.

Reports of the results in the 2018 election for the House of Representatives seat for the North Carolina 9th Congressional district raised serious questions of electoral integrity and of democracy. Substantial election fraud in that election has resulted in its invalidation. L. McCrae Dowless Jr., described in a New York Times report as a “political operative,” has been implicated in “an absentee ballot scheme to try to sway the race in favor of Mark Harris, the Republican candidate;” Harris, testifying before the North Carolina Board of Elections, denied knowledge about the scheme and called for a new election in the district. Board of Elections Chair Robert Cordle officially called for new elections, invalidating Harris’s election; Cordle is quoted as referencing “the corruption, the absolute mess with the absentee ballots” as justification for a new election. North Carolina law will require not only a new general election, but primary elections to nominate the candidates. Further details were published in a story in the Washington Post.

The state of North Carolina has had a less than stellar recent record in regard to democracy. The state legislature, with a Republican majority, sought to remove existing powers of the governor following the election of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. The legislature has proposed an amendment to the North Carolina state constitution that would substantially limit the governor’s appointment powers; courts have been involved in challenges to the proposed amendment.

North Carolina is not the only state where a losing (or fearful) party has attempted to recast constitutional political powers for partisan gain or protection. Wisconsin and Ohio have experienced similar partisan fights over proposed changes in constitutional powers.

What does this have to do with the Department of Political Science? Several of us are involved in a pilot project with specific reference to democracy: an Institute for Democracy and Global Problems. Professor Kelly McMann is leading this project, which is part of the Provost’s Thinking Big strategic planning effort. The Institute for Democracy and Global Problems proposal involves faculty and students from multiple schools and departments, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Medicine, the Weatherhead School, and the CWRU Center for Civic Engagement and Learning. Participants at the pilot planning stage include, from Political Science, Professors Kelly McMann, Laura Tartakoff, and Karen Beckwith, current POSC/biochemistry major David McGrath (POSC 2020), and alumna Olivia Ortega (BA POSC 2016, Cleveland Foundation Fellow); Andrew Slivka (BA POSC 2013) serves as the research assistant for the project. The purpose of the pilot program is to bring cross-disciplinary skills and foci to questions of democracy, broadly understood.

This proposal for an Institute for Democracy and Global Problems is positioned in the current global context of challenging local, national, and transnational problems; democratic deterioration in Western countries; and the disappointments of the “third wave of democratization,” and the project hopes to address questions similar to the following. To what extent can democracy, compared to other forms of governance, help humankind resolve problems in these areas, such as infectious disease outbreaks, climate change, income inequality, civil conflict, ethnic and racial discrimination, and cybercrime? What role can democracy play not only in countries, but also in the workplace, neighborhoods, private associations, healthcare organizations, universities, religious institutions, and other entities in addressing these problems? Which democratic institutions and practices are most effective?     

As Professor McMann and the project team advance the project to its conclusion at the end of the semester, we will share with you some of the results and discussion, with the hope that it will encourage further discussion of what democracy means – in elections, in the workplace, and in the university.


Karen Beckwith
Flora Stone Mather Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science

General Announcements


Let’s Talk About It, A Discussion on Black Men’s Mental Health
February 23, 11am, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party
Studies show Black men are particularly concerned about the stigma of mental illness, and apprehensive about seeking help. Join Northeast Ohio Young Black Democrats and 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland for a panel discussion on Black mental health.

Mommy Dearest: Myths and Realities of Women in Prison
February 25, 12-1pm, 
Moot Courtroom (A59)
Rates of female incarceration are rising around the world. This talk will analyze how women prisoners are a special population that differs significantly from male prisoners. What challenges do they face in prison and how can the system address their needs? 

I Am Not Your Negro Film Screening
February 25, 6-9pm, Strosacker Auditorium
This documentary was inspired by James Baldwin, a powerful voice of Black thought and activism. Join Dr. Joy BosticDr. Rob Spadoni, and Dr. Marilyn S. Mobley, for a panel discussion after the film.

Cleveland Area “How Things Work at the Statehouse” Training
February 25, 7-9pm, The Dealership

Join current/former Statehouse staffers for a free presentation that will teach you how to find your representatives, testify in committee, impact legislation, and understand policy.

Disparities in the Diagnosis and Care of Children with Autism
February 26, 11:30am-1pm, TVUC, Ballroom A
Almost two decades of research demonstrates that autism is diagnosed later in children of color than white children, and that service experiences and outcomes often are worse as well. Dr. David Mandell will review these disparities and how they have changed (or not over time), discuss the causes of these disparities, and offer some policy and practice solutions to ameliorate them. Event is free, registration recommended. 

The “Tiny Horrors” of Cultural Genocide: Indigenous Children in Residential and Boarding Schools, 1870-1970
February 26, 11:30am-12:45pm, Crawford Hall, Room A13
A century of North American federal policy ripped children from families and inflicted tortuous cruelties for years at a time, creating conditions of PTSD and genetically embedded intergenerational trauma. 
RSVP to socialjustice@case.edu.

Public Policy Forum: How Can We Reduce Gun Violence in Cleveland
February 26, 7-8:30pm Tinkham Veale University Center
This forum takes a non-political perspective and asks a variety of panelists for advice on reducing gun violence and gun deaths in Northeast Ohio. 

How the U.S. Debt Disrupts Our Politics and the International Economic System
February 27, 8-9:30am, City Club of Cleveland
Paul Stebbins, a founding member of the Fix U.S. initiative with the Campaign to Fix the Debt, argues that the political environment surrounding our debt and federal budget have come to symbolize the brokenness of our political system. Stebbins will explain how the debt- and our political dysfunction- makes us less competitive, hurts our economy, and challenges our global economic leadership. 

Meet and Greet with Cleveland Council on World Affairs
February 27, 3-5pm, Caxton Building
Learn more about CCWA volunteer and internship opportunities. To register, call Andrea Bender at 216-282-1041,  email ccwa@ccwa.org, or register online.

Tacking into the Wind: Achieving Justice for Mass Atrocities in Difficult Times
February 27, 4:30-5:30pm, Moot Courtroom (A59)

This lecture examines how the “third wave” serves as a mechanism to sail into the global headwinds that are currently pushing against international justice and human rights.

Clearing the Weeds: Marijuana and the Law
February 27, 5-7pm, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Speakers will discuss the impact that the legalization of marijuana will have on the legal profession and discuss the history of legalization in Ohio and in the nation. 

Looking Forward, Looking Back: Views on Black History Across the Generations
February 28, 11:45am-1pm, Roberta Steinbacher Atrium, Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University
A lively panel discussion with participants from 5 generations: Mature/Silents (1927-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Generation Y/Millennium (1981-2000), Generation Z/Boomlets (after 2001). Panelists will be asked to respond to questions about the significance of Black History Month, political, social, and economic indicators of progress, and thoughts toward the future. Register online.

How French are Frances Problems?
February 28, 5-6:30pm Mandel Center, Room 115
Join Patrick Chamorel, Senior Resident Scholar at the Stanford University Center in Washington DC, for a discussion on the uniqueness of the issues France is facing.

Fragmented Nation or the Anglophone/Francophone Problem in Cameroon
March 1, 9am-2:30pm, TVUC, Suite 280
Since 2016, Cameroon has been plagued by bloody conflict and unrest, which threatens to escalate into a civil war in this strategically located nation in Central Africa. Gilbert Doho, associate professor of French, is organizing a working conference titled “Fragmented Nation or The Anglophone/Francophone Problem in Cameroon” to be held Friday, March 1, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Tinkham Veale University Center, Suite 280 (Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence).

Check out our Political Science Events page for additional events happening on and around campus!

Summer Opportunities
Hoover Institution Summer Policy Boot Camp
HISPBC is an intensive, one week residential immersion program in the essentials of today’s national and international United States policy. The goal is to teach students how to think critically about public policy formulation and its results. Registration & Letters of Recommendation are due March 4, 2019 ($100 application fee).

Scholars Strategy Network
SSN is an organization of university-based scholars who are committed to using research to improve policy and strengthen democracy. Paid Data Entry and Communications internships are available.

American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Honors Program
This fully funded program offers top undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in discussion-based seminars led by AEI scholars and other experts in public policy, participate in policy briefings, and connect with the ideas and research of AEI. Applications are due March 11, 2019. 

American Enterprise Institute Internships
AEI offers a number of spring, summer and fall internship opportunities in various policy fields.  

Women’s Foreign Policy Group
It is crucial to ensure that women’s voices are heard and women leaders are fully engaged on policy decisions. At WFPG, we advance women’s leadership and highlight their contributions through international issues and mentoring programs. Summer 2019 applications are due March 25, 2019.

University of North Texas NSF REU program on Conflict Management and Peace Science
This program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in graduate-level research in conflict management and peace science in a senior faculty-mentored, in-residence, eight-week, Summer Research Experience that integrates training in civil conflict management with training in Geographic Information Systems, and training in research ethics. Contact Dr. John Ishiyama at john.ishiyama@unt.edu for any questions. Applications are due April 5, 2019.

Previously posted opportunities can be found on the department webpage. Please make sure to check regularly as to not miss approaching deadlines!

Employment Opportunities
Research Project Coordinator II
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is seeking a Research Project Coordinator II for the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. In consultation and collaboration with their direct supervisor and senior Center leadership, the Research Project Coordinator II conducts research and data collection/analysis.

Funding Opportunities

Peter Witt Scholarship
This scholarship provides financial assistance to deserving students of The College of Arts and Sciences whose interests are in social work, city planning, or community involvement. Students applying for this scholarship should have demonstrated leadership and engagement in activities on and off campus. Applications are due March 1, 2019.

Social Justice Institute Research Funding
Students with research ideas connected to social justice are invited to apply for fellowships. Applications are due by 5pm on March 1, 2019.

2019 Stephanie Tubbs Jones Award
This monetary award was established to honor an underrepresented, undergraduate CWRU student who significantly contributes to campus life, excels in academics, and makes a difference in the community. Applications must be submitted by March 8, 2019 at 5:00 PM. For questions, contact Leah Shaw by email, les130@case.edu.


Please note that the Department of Political Science alerts our students to a range of opportunities, including internships, fellowships, and jobs.  We do not endorse or sponsor these, and leave it to the judgment of our students what is most useful and appropriate to them.

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