Academic “Neutrality” and the Future of Our Democracy: One Political Scientist’s Two Cents

I really did not want to open the semi-annual survey invitation from Bright Line Watch when I found it in my inbox this past August. This was the eleventh time since 2017 that this team of political scientists surveyed colleagues about the state of the U.S. government, to “monitor democratic Read more…

Why Ruth Bader Ginsburg was Right to Speak Out in 2016

This opinion essay was originally published in the Times-Herald Record during the 2016 presidential campaign. Gerald Benjamin is no longer an enrolled Republican. Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been widely and wrongly condemned for her critical remarks about Donald Trump’s fitness to be president. “Partisan.” “Inappropriate for Read more…

Ruling Paves Way for Massive Voting Rights Change to School Board Elections Across New York

On May 25 in White Plains, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel ruled that the at-large system used for electing the nine members of the East Ramapo School Board denied the district’s Black and Latino voters effective choice in its elections, violating §2 of the Federal Voting Rights Act (VRA). Under an at-large system every voter votes to fill each board position, allowing a disciplined majority to control all seats. A majority of the East Ramapo district’s voting population is Hasidic Jews. The School Board has long been dominated by members recruited and endorsed by the leaders of this religious community and elected at-large through the use of block voting.

Gerald Benjamin’s Message to Political Science Grads: Do Good Work

In a curious way, college professors are like major league starting pitchers. Our work is discontinuous. Over and over we start anew, each time with a chance of achieving perfection. Pitchers do this about thirty times a season. We do it six or so an academic year. As I think about it, the same goes for college students; ten starts a year, ten chances to excel.

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