University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Raymond J. La Raja, comments in a story about the lack of diversity in the Massachusetts legislature: “It’s a bigger hill to climb for a challenge in Massachusetts than other places,” La Raja says.

Brian F. Schaffner, political science, commenting in a news story about how progressive Democrats are working to boost voter turnout in the upcoming mid-term elections, says voter participation is one of the keys to success. “If 2016 had happened with the same voter turnout patterns as 2012 then [Hillary] Clinton would have won. Clearly turnout can influence outcomes,” Schaffner says. 

Paul Musgrave writes an op-ed in The Washington Post where he argues that conspiracy theories, including the QAnon theory that has recently been getting a lot of media attention, are for losers. He says the fact that people who support Donald Trump are believing in this conspiracy theory show that Trumpism is built on the politics of resentment. (8/2/18)

Musgrave also comments in a story about how President Donald J. Trump’s willingness to meet with other foreign leaders without strict preconditions is emerging as one of his better instincts. (7/31/18)

Paul Musgrave is interviewed on Connecting Point about The North Atlantic Treaty Organization—or NATO. But what caused the formation of this nearly 70-year-old alliance and why is it so important to world affairs? (7/8/18)

Rebecca E. Hamlin, political science, is interviewed on Connecting Point about efforts by some politicians and immigrant advocates to defund the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Hamlin says the agency was created in response to the 9/11 attacks but the federal government has had such an enforcement arm for much of its history. 

Sheldon Goldman, political science, says President Donald J. Trump has been very successful in getting conservative judges appointed to the federal courts. “From the conservative perspective, it is a great triumph, a great victory,” Goldman says. “Trump may talk about great success with North Korea or Russia and the like. We know that’s not credible, but when he talks about the judiciary, that credible. He has made a great difference. It’s an absolute phenomenon, really.”

A news story looking at the lack of diversity in the field of candidates running for the newly created Amherst Town Council cites data from a study of the town’s voters and members of Town Meeting conducted in 2014 by Ray La Raja, political science, and Wouter Van Erve, a doctoral student in political science. One of the few renters and young people running for the council is Amherst native John Page, 21, who will be a UMass Amherst senior next year. (Gazette, 7/17/18)

Political Science major wins 2nd prize in Foreign Policy Association’s student essay competition

Clara Silverstein, a political science major, has been awarded 2nd prize in the Foreign Policy Association’s (FPA) 2018 Student Essay and Video competition. Students from all around the country were invited by the FPA to submit an essay or video on the topic: “What is America’s biggest challenge in the world?”

Paul Collins, director of legal studies, comments on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and what lies ahead for the nomination and confirmation procedures of his successor on the court.

Basileus Zeno, Ph.D. student is quoted in an article published by Al-Bawaba News (which is one of the largest independent news outlets in the Middle East/based in Jordan). 

Paul Musgrave, political science, cited in several news outlets about questioning comments by Secretary of Defense James Mattis and on the recent travel ban!