Social Sciences Forum: The U.S. Constitution and the Battle Over Racial Equality Today (9/17)

Rogers SmithOn Wednesday, September 17 at 4:30 p.m. on the seventh floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library, Dr. Rogers Smith, H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, will present the Social Sciences Forum, “The U.S. Constitution and the Battle Over Racial Equality Today.”

The author of seven books on citizenship and equality in the United States, including one that was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History, Dr. Smith, H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, will address why America’s political leaders avoid discussing racial policies, even as many forms of racial inequality persist and deepen. Smith argues that the United States is profoundly divided between two rival conceptions of civic equality–but that common ground may be found in the bold views of the Constitution’s purposes advanced by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

This is a Constitution and Citizenship Day Lecture, co-sponsored with the Departments of Political Science, Africana Studies, American Studies, Philosophy and Public Policy, and the Office of Student Life. For more information, click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, on MSNBC

Tom SchallerOn Sunday, September 7, Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller appeared on MSNBC’s “Up with Steve Kornacki,” to analyze the future of the Democratic party in the South. Schaller is author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South (Simon and Schuster 2006).

Schaller participated in an engaging panel discussion with political consultant Steve Jarding, NBC News Senior Political Reporter Perry Bacon Jr., and MSNBC Political Analyst Joan Walsh. The group discussed what the 2016 presidential election could look like in the South for Hillary Clinton and how it may be different from the 2008 and 2012 elections.

“Clinton’s states are Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee…Kentucky. Obama’s states are new South states, the states with the most non-native Southerners: Florida, Virginia, North Carolina,” Schaller said. “So Democrats are going to win in the South, but they aren’t going to win in the ‘bubba’ states.” He added, “the notion that Democrats are going to win with economic populism…if they can’t win on economic populism after the greatest financial crisis in 60 years, then when are they going to win? When are white, working class Southerners going to move Democratic if not in 2007, 2008, 2009?”

To view Schaller’s main segment on the program, click here. Links to other parts of the segment can be found in the “more clips like this” section.

Laura Hussey, Political Science, in The Christian Post

Research by Laura Hussey, an associate professor of political science, and Geoffrey Layman, a professor of political science at University of Notre Dame, was the focus of a recent article published in The Christian Post about voting habits of Catholics. In their research, Hussey and Layman found that a minority of Catholics were both pro-life and pro-welfare, and those that were showed little ambivalence in their vote choice.

Laura HusseyThe following is an excerpt from the article which explains the reasoning for this that Hussey found from her research: “One reason, Hussey and Laymen found, is that PW/PL Catholics incorrectly assume that the Democratic candidates they vote for are pro-life. Forty-three percent of PW/PL Catholics believed a pro-choice Democratic candidate was pro-life, which was much higher than the rate of misperception among other Catholics. Hussey described the misperception as a psychological coping strategy to deal with the cognitive dissonance that results from being PW/PL.”

“Pro-life, pro-welfare Catholics generally seem to deal with this dissonance by projecting their church’s [views on abortion], which also happens to be their own view … onto their candidate of choice,” Hussey said during a recent panel presentation in which she presented her research. These Catholics are “not agonizing” about their vote choice, she added, because their “policy knowledge of politicians is pretty inaccurate.”

To read more about Hussey’s research and to read the full article titled, “Why Do Many Pro-Life Catholics Vote Democrat?” click here.

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun

In the wake of Horseshoe Casino opening in Baltimore last week, The Washington Post ran an article on September 3 focusing on Governor Martin O’Malley’s ambivalence toward Maryland’s slow embrace of casino gambling. Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller was interviewed for the story and commented on what the state’s soon-to-be ­$1 billion-a-year casino industry could mean for the governor as he considers a run for the White House.

Tom Schaller“It may not be something he wants to tout, but it’s absolutely part of his résumé,” said Schaller. “Maryland held out for a long time, and it’s now become a real player in the casino industry.”

Schaller also offered insight on what O’Malley’s ties to the casino industry could mean politically as he makes appearances in other states: “It’s hard to project an image as a progressive when you know that this will bankrupt some people and put a dent into some working-class families,” said Schaller. “It’s nice to have the tax revenue, but you wonder who’s picking up the tab.”

You can read the full story in The Washington Post titled, “Governor O’Malley brought casinos to Maryland, but that doesn’t mean he likes them,” here.

In his latest column published in The Baltimore Sun on September 2, Schaller wrote about his view that Maryland’s Republican party has been lacking a charismatic candidate since former Governor Bob Ehrlich left office. You can read the full column titled, “The GOP needs another Ehrlich,” here.

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

Tom SchallerIn his latest column in The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller wrote about two major developments that have the potential to revolutionize collegiate athletics: an NCAA ruling that gave five major conferences greater autonomy and a federal judge ruling that stated the NCAA violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act by profiting from the images of student-athletes without compensating them.

When referring to the ruling in the federal case O’Bannon v. NCAA, Schaller wrote, “legal experts further believe that because the O’Bannon ruling vacates the NCAA’s long-cherished amateurism exception, a series of follow-up rulings may follow, including the resolution of a key case (Jenkins v. NCAA) that threatens to upend the NCAA’s current economic model.”

To read Schaller’s complete column published August 19 in The Baltimore Sun titled, “Getting their due,” click here.

Governor’s Summer Internship Program Holds Closing Ceremony Celebration

O'Malley with students 2

Gov. O’Malley meets with GSIP students after their presentations.

Another successful summer for the Shriver Center’s Governor’s Summer Internship Program (GSIP) came to a close with a celebration at the Maryland State House in Annapolis on Thursday, August 7. Student interns who participated in the program presented policy papers on significant issues in Maryland government to Governor Martin O’Malley and received feedback from the governor and his staff.

The Governor’s Summer Internship Program introduces Maryland college students to the unique challenges and rewards of working within state government. Interns work for ten weeks during the summer in state government agencies doing substantive tasks ranging from drafting speeches and correspondence to researching policy options and assisting with constituent case work. The program is led by the Shriver Center in partnership with the Office of the Governor.

O'Malley with Hannah, Michele and Roy

Gov. O’Malley with UMBC’s Roy Meyers, Hannah Schmitz and Michele Wolff

Colby “Ricci” Conley, a political science major, represented UMBC in the program and worked at the Maryland State Department of Education in the Division of Academic Policy and Innovation. At the closing ceremony, his team presented a policy paper that advocated for use of multi-tiered systems of support to address the emotional and psychological needs of students in Maryland. Other presentations from program participants included incentivizing energy efficiency in state buildings, bringing awareness to labor trafficking, improving secondary land use leasing contracts, and local growth for sustainability. UMBC Political Science Professor Roy Meyers worked with the students to develop their policy papers.

Other Shriver Center Public Service Scholars Programs came to a close at the beginning of August, including the Walter Sondheim Jr. Maryland Nonprofit Leadership Program, which offers summer internship opportunities in the nonprofit sector to college juniors, seniors and graduate students attending Maryland institutions.

Several UMBC students were participants in this year’s programs. For a complete list of UMBC students and their mentors, click here. You can learn more about the Shriver Center Scholars Programs by clicking here.

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

In his latest column in The Baltimore Sun titled, “The GOP chamber puzzle,” Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about how the Republican party holding a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives but not in the Senate is an historical anomaly.

Tom Schaller

“As I explain in ‘The Stronghold,’ my forthcoming book from Yale University Press, Republicans have been a stronger presence in the Senate in the past half century party because more of the small-population states lean Republican. Therefore, the GOP has consistently held a higher share of Senate seats than the population contained in the states the party’s senators represent,” Schaller writes.

He adds that with the Republicans’ built-in small state advantage, it is puzzling that they control the House but not the Senate and that it should be the inverse. In the column, he does offer an explanation for why this is the case.

“The short answer, of course, is gerrymandering. Thanks to a strong 2010 election cycle in which the GOP posted significant gubernatorial and state legislative wins, Republican state leaders were able to draw favorable U.S. House lines in many states. (Solidly Democratic Maryland was an exception.)”

To read the full column published on August 5, click here.