Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

Tom SchallerIn his latest column for The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s political future and possible presidential bid in 2016. He argues that an O’Malley presidential campaign could benefit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should she decide to run.

“What possible benefit is there for Mr. O’Malley to play the role of primary sparring partner? That’s pretty obvious: the vice presidential slot on the Clinton ticket. He is ideally suited for that role, too,” Schaller writes.

He notes if chosen to be a vice presidential candidate, O’Malley would help balance the ticket and would receive support based on his record as governor.

“Progressives will also be cheered by Mr. O’Malley’s successful efforts to move Maryland leftward on issues ranging from gay marriage to college tuition to the death penalty.

To read the full column titled, “Your move, governor,” click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in Sabato’s Crystal Ball

A new guest column in Sabato’s Crystal Ball by Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller argues that future ratification of constitutional amendments will become increasingly unlikely as state legislatures and the national government become more divided.

Tom SchallerSchaller writes as this year marks the centennial anniversary of the 17th Amendment, several former and current Republican members of Congress are moving to repeal the amendment, which mandates the popular election of U.S. Senators.

“Although the movement to repeal the 17th Amendment is likely to fizzle, the fact is plans to amend the Constitution are mostly a waste of time because, other than a widely popular and highly-unifying suggested change, it is probably almost impossible to ratify or even propose amendments in our highly-polarized nation and divided national government,” Schaller writes.

“The bottom line? America hasn’t adopted an amendment in the traditional, proposed-then-ratified-soon-thereafter fashion in more than 40 years, and it may be a long time before it happens again,” he adds.

To read the full column in Sabato’s Crystal Ball, click here.

Brian Grodsky, Political Science, Op-Ed in Al Jazeera America

As Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a bill that completes Russia’s annexation of Crimea, nearby Poland is keeping a watchful eye on the developing situation.

Brian Grodsky

Brian Grodsky, an associate professor of political science, wrote an op-ed for Al Jazeera America that explores Polish perspective on the most recent developments. Grodsky is currently a visiting professor at the University of Warsaw, where he teaches classes on democratization and comparative politics. 

“Poles are watching the latest developments in their next-door neighbor with a mix of quiet anxiety and resignation,” Grodsky writes in his column titled, “Poles jittery over Russia’s expansion.” In the article, Grodsky argues Poland has cause for concern.

“For starters, Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to protect ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. Securing Kiev, the source of the problems in Ukraine, would be a logical and easy next step for him. Putin has also warned “meddlers” farther west, including Poland and Lithuania, that they are under watch,” he writes.

Grodsky adds, “the West’s halfhearted reaction to Russia’s takeover of Crimea has made it clear to a growing number of Poles that they will be, at the end of the day, largely on their own in the face of a Russian threat.”

To read the full column in Al Jazeera Americaclick here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

In his latest column published in The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about growing political polarization at the national level at the same time forces are eliminating divided government on the state level.

Tom Schaller

“The American states have cleaved into red and blue subsets. In all but three — yes, three — of the 49 states with bicameral, partisan state legislatures (Nebraska is unicameral and non-partisan), one party controls both chambers,” Schaller writes.

As the balance of power between parties is becoming more even at the state level, Schaller writes divided government continues to prevail on the national stage.

“The first two years of Mr. Obama’s presidency saw unified Democratic control, but the next four have been divided and the last two almost certainly will be — the same pattern during his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton’s term.”

To read the full op-ed titled, “Adapting to a politically divided nation,” click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in The Daily Beast

An article published in the politics section of The Daily Beast on March 11 focuses on Maryland State Del. Heather Mizeur and her chances of winning the race for governor. With the Democratic primary nearing in June, the article outlines steps Mizeur and her campaign have taken to spread her message and meet with voters.

Tom Schaller

Many political experts have said Mizeur has a difficult path towards the nomination because her two opponents in the race, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Attorney General Douglas Gansler have greater name recognition and more campaign cash on hand.

Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller was interviewed for the article and said Mizeur has a bright political future even if she is unsuccessful with this year’s gubernatorial campaign.

“Mizeur is a strong candidate with an even stronger future in the party. I expect her to be a statewide nominee at some point down the line,” Schaller said.

“But she’s at least one cycle ahead of her time: Not because she lacks the skills or a natural constituency among Maryland liberals—she has both, in fact. But because, as is almost always the case, statewide Democratic primaries in blue Maryland are crowded affairs and tough to win. And frankly, the difficulties facing House Delegates in their effort to win a Democratic gubernatorial nomination are similar to those of U.S. House members trying to win presidential nominations: Their platform is too small,” he added.

You can the full article in The Daily Beast here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

In an op-ed published March 4 in The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller comments on public attitudes of gay rights and efforts to allow discrimination against gays being struck down in recent years.

Tom Schaller

“Public attitudes about gay rights have changed dramatically in recent decades. Solid majorities, especially among younger Americans, now support marriage equality and other standards of equal treatment,” he writes.

In his column, Schaller cites the recent news of a bill passed by the Arizona legislature and later vetoed that would have permitted those with religious objections to deny services to gay customers:  “Consider the fact that anyone could start a new religion tomorrow and declare that their so-called moral objections allow them to deny service to groups they find repellent, including conservative evangelicals. Citing religion to justify hate sets a very dangerous precedent,” Schaller writes.

You can read the full op-ed titled “Hate if you must, just don’t act on it” in The Baltimore Sun by clicking here.

Laura Hussey, Political Science, in The Herald-Mail

Earlier this month, two Washington County Republican delegates signed on as co-sponsors of a bill that could stop the National Security Agency from operating in Maryland by cutting off utility services to the agency, among other proposals. An article published February 28 in The Herald-Mail examines why delegates Andrew Serafini and Neil Parrott initially supported the measure, titled the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, but later requested that their names be removed from it.

Laura Hussey

Laura Hussey, an assistant professor of political science, was interviewed for the article and noted the Maryland bill is similar to legislation in other states where the NSA operates and reflects anxiety about the agency and its operations.

Hussey said that 72 percent of those surveyed in a recent Gallup poll said “big government” was a bigger threat than “big business,” adding “the larger issue is the conflict within the Republican Party about the issue. This divide is not unique to Maryland.”

Hussey also predicted aggressive legislation such as the Fourth Amendment Protection Act will not be going away in the near future.

You can read the full article in The Herald-Mail here.

Roy Meyers, Political Science, in PolitiFact

A recent story published on fact-checking website PolitiFact examines a claim by the Texas Liberty PAC that a Republican congressman sponsored a bill that funded the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The claim is that Lamar Smith, a U.S. House member from San Antonio, introduced the 2014 Omnibus Spending Bill, which eventually turned into the primary vehicle through which programs in the ACA were funded.

Roy Meyers (UMBC)

PolitiFact asked Political Science Professor Roy Meyers to weigh in on the issue. He said that the omnibus bill did provide some funding to administer the ACA, but Smith’s original bill was intended to serve a different purpose.

“So it’s really a classic dirty trick by the Texas Liberty PAC to not acknowledge that the House Rules Committee made this bill the vehicle for passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act, amending the original bill to add all of the appropriations language,” Meyers said.

You can read the full article on the PolitiFact website here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes in his latest op-ed published in The Baltimore Sun that while polls show Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown with a commanding lead in the Democratic primary for governor, continuing with a mistake-free campaign will be the key to victory in June.

Tom Schaller

Schaller writes Attorney General Douglas Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur, Brown’s opponents in the race, haven’t gained traction statewide and are competing for votes in Montgomery County while Brown has gained widespread support.

“Mix in a string of union endorsements and the backing of Gov. Martin O’Malley, U.S. senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, half of the state’s U.S. House delegation, and scads of state legislators and county officials, and there’s little doubt Mr. Brown is the party establishment’s choice,” Schaller writes.

In his column titled “Slow and steady wins the race for Brown,” Schaller argues even with strong backing from the Democratic establishment, Brown should focus on not making any major missteps in the months ahead.

“That said, and given the large chunk of undecided Democrats, Mr. Brown’s task is simple: Don’t blow it. As sometimes happens, being perceived as inevitable is no guarantee of inevitability,” Schaller added.

You can read the full op-ed in The Baltimore Sun here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in Governing Magazine

In an article published last week, Governing Magazine explored participation in the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), Republican Governors Association (RGA) and National Governors Association (RGA), and how it is increasingly becoming a proving ground for governors seeking higher office.

Tom Schaller

Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller is quoted in the article when describing Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership role with the DGA. He says O’Malley “used the platform very well,” and “it gave him reason to take positions on national issues, especially inequality and poverty.”  

While leading a governors association can be a good platform to develop a policy portfolio and weigh in on key policy issues, Schaller says success “really depends upon what that chair does with the opportunity.”

You can read the full article in Governing Magazine here