The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Poll finds plurality of respondents say Trump is most responsible for the violence at the Capitol, while a majority supports continuing federal efforts to find, arrest and prosecute the day’s participants. As federal law enforcement officials continue to announce charges and arrests related to the invasion of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, a new nationwide University of Massachusetts Amherst/WCVB poll released today finds that while a plurality of Americans hold former President Trump responsible for the violence and destruction that day, Republicans are more likely to pin the blame for the day’s events on Democrats. (Press Release, April 27, 2021)

The president receives high marks on his handling of the COVID vaccine rollout and overseeing the economic rebound, while concerns exist over gun violence and immigration at the Mexican border. The full press release is posted below and can be found at the UMass Amherst Office of News & Media relations.

Poll also finds majority support for many police reform measures and doubts among Trump voters over the fairness of Chauvin’s trial and the justification of its outcome.

Results of a new nationwide University of Massachusetts Amherst / WCVB poll released today show that a wide majority of Americans polled in the days immediately following the Derek Chauvin trial believe that the guilty verdict against the former Minneapolis police officer in the murder of George Floyd was justified and that he received a fair trial. A plurality of the poll’s respondents also believes an appropriate sentence for Chauvin would be the maximum length he faces – 40 years in prison. (Press Release, UMass Amherst, 4/24/2021)

Paul Collins, Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at UMass Amherst, is quoted in a news article exploring the history of “court packing” and calls to expand the Supreme Court from its current roster of nine justices. “I’m not sure that the purpose of introducing the legislation is to actually pass it,” Collins said of the proposal to expand the court. “Instead, I think congressional Democrats are putting Supreme Court justices on notice as they deliberate over controversial cases involving Obamacare, religious liberty, abortion and immigration.” (Newsweek, 4/21/21)

Ray La Raja, Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, is quoted in an article about the effect of a decrease in donations from political action committees and a concurrent increase in small donations to former President Trump’s political allies in Congress.  La Raja says increased fundraising from small donors is a “double-edged sword” because “politicians are relying on donors who are more extreme, and to reach those donors, the politicians have to message in more extreme ways.” (CNN, 4/17/21)

Rebecca Hamlin Publishes A New Book: "Crossing: How We Label and React to People on the Move" with Stanford University Press. 

Today, the concept of "the refugee" as distinct from other migrants looms large. Immigration laws have developed to reinforce a dichotomy between those viewed as voluntary, often economically motivated, migrants who can be legitimately excluded by potential host states, and those viewed as forced, often politically motivated, refugees who should be let in. In Crossing, Rebecca Hamlin argues against advocacy positions that cling to this distinction. Everything we know about people who decide to move suggests that border crossing is far more complicated than any binary, or even a continuum, can encompass. (Stanford University Press, April 2021)


Sid Issar Publishes An Article On Anti-Black Racism, Settler Colonialism & Racial Capitalism. This article reconceptualises the Marxist notion of ‘primitive accumulation’, examining how settler colonialism and anti-Black racial domination structure American capitalism. The analysis intervenes in theorisations of primitive accumulation in both critiques of neoliberalism and the growing literature on racial capitalism. It shows how particular appropriations of primitive accumulation in the context of neoliberalism not only treat the concept as, ultimately, external to the core logic of capitalism, but also ignore the ways racial domination and colonisation configure capital’s violence. 

Alexander Theodoridis, Associate Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, is quoted in an opinion piece titled “The Fear That is Shaping American Politics,” arguing that the current polarization in politics has led to weaponizing the filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Theodoridis says, “The prospect of the filibuster thwarting efforts to reduce democratic backsliding amounts to the use of a minoritarian legislative tactic to enable a minoritarian electoral strategy.” (New York Times, 4/7/21)

Ray La Raja, Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, is quoted in a column about how a recently proposed provision in voting rights legislation risks favoring candidates from either party who hold polarizing views, thereby widening ideological divisions. The provision, proposed by Congressional Democrats, offers an incentive for candidates to opt-in to public financing.  La Raja’s research has shown that small-dollar donors tend to be wealthier, better educated, and more partisan than average Americans. “They are as ideological, if not more so on several issues, than large donors,” he says. (Bloomberg, 4/7/20)

Charli Carpenter, Professor of Political Science at UMass Amherst, has written an opinion column calling on the U.S. government to end counterterrorism programs and nation-building efforts abroad. “The U.S. military has been asked to take on tasks to which it is ill-suited, affecting mission readiness for its primary role: winning wars,” she writes. “The solution, however, is not to water down the laws of war as they pertain to counterterrorism operations or to diminish the role of civilian agencies in peace building. Instead, the U.S. military should get out of the counterterrorism and nation-building business and stick to the battlefield where it belongs.” (World Politics Review, 3/26/21)