Darryl Paulson - SaintPetersBlog

Darryl Paulson

Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at USF St. Petersburg.

Darryl Paulson: The Era of Bad Feelings

The Era of Good Feelings is the term used to describe the aftermath of the War of 1812 where the American nation sought to establish national unity during a period of one-party dominance. The Federalist Party, representing the urban and aristocratic citizens, disappeared after the disastrous Hartford Convention in 1814, leaving only the Jeffersonian Republicans as the sole political party. The Jeffersonian Republicans so dominated the political landscape that President James Monroe ran unopposed in 1820 and would have won a unanimous vote in the electoral college except for the vote of a few rouge electors.

With the death of the Federalist Party, Monroe went on a national goodwill tour in 1817. While in Boston, the former Federalist stronghold, the term Era of Good Feeling was first used in a local paper.

I am coining a new term to describe the current state of affairs of American politics: the Era of Bad Feelings.

We have two political parties and each one hates the other. While political parties, by nature, are competitive, they have had a history of working together until the 1980s. After about a half-century of Democratic Party dominance in Congress from the 1930s to the 1980s, the Republican Party decided to stop working with the Democrats and, instead, oppose them on virtually every issue. Compromise was replaced by conflict.

The end of compromise led to the collapse of ideological diversity in both political parties. Entering the 1980s, both the Republican and Democratic Parties had a mix of moderates, liberals and conservatives. Today, the Republicans have a few moderates among the mostly conservative ranks, and the Democrats have a few moderates among its liberal base. The political center is gone and the political extremes dominate both parties.

Political hatred of the other party has grown so strong, that it affects what we read, what we watch, where we live and even who we marry. A Pew Research study of 10,000 Americans found that partisans prefer living in communities of like-minded individuals. Fifty percent of conservatives and 35 percent of liberals think it is “important to live in a place where people share my political views.”

Liberals watch MSNBC and read American Prospect, the Progressive and the Daily Kos. Conservatives have Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to listen to, and they read the Drudge Report, Weekly Standard, National Review and Breitbart.

As Americans increasingly live in communities of like-minded individuals and limit their viewing and reading only to sources that support their political views, it has led to a hardening of the political arteries. They constantly have their own political views reinforced instead of challenged.

Political hatred is becoming so ingrained in Americans that parents increasingly object to their children marrying outside their faith. I’m not talking about religious faith, but their political faith. A half-century ago, only 5 percent of Americans objected if their child married a member of the opposite party. Today, that number has increased to 40 percent.

As part of the growing intolerance of those who hold opposing political views, we increasingly engage in stereotyping to justify our hatred. Instead of dealing with individuals, it is easier to ascribe negative traits to everyone who belongs to the “wrong party.”

Republicans stereotype Democrats as socialists intent on destroying the free enterprise system and encouraging individuals to go on welfare rather than work. Remember Mitt Romney‘s statement to Republican donors that he could not win the vote of 47 percent of the American voters because they were dependent on government handouts?

Democrats attack Republicans as homophobic Neanderthals who hate women and minorities, and they have no compassion for the less fortunate in society.

Stereotyping is the lazy person’s way to stop dealing with people as individuals and instead lump everyone together as a bad person. It is so much easier to dismiss the ideas of an entire group, than it is to sit down and talk about an issue and how to resolve it.

The most recent manifestation of the Era of Bad Feelings is the 2016 presidential election. Many Republicans hated Hillary Clinton. They would argue that they disliked her because of her policies, but most could not envision any circumstance under which they could support her.

Democrats hated Donald Trump because they viewed him as a racist and a womanizer, and they also believed he was unprepared to be president. To many Democrats, the billionaire Trump could never understand the burdens of poor Americans.

Sixty-three million Americans voted for Trump and, yet, somehow Democrats are convinced all of them were crazy. Clinton received 3 million more votes than Trump, but Republicans saw this as a sign of Democratic insanity.

If we spent a fraction of the time trying to understand and empathize with members of the other party, we may actually find that most of them are decent, honest people who have the same concerns that we have. We might even discover that they may have a better idea than we have.

We cannot expect more of politicians than we expect of ourselves. It is time to end the irrational hatred that is counter to our real values and is impeding our ability to solve the problems that desperately need to be solved.

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Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at USF St. Petersburg specializing in Florida politics, political parties and elections.

Darryl Paulson: The filibuster, the nuclear option and the future of American politics

What little Americans know about the filibuster is due to James Stewart‘s portrayal of Senator Jefferson Smith in the classic movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. In the movie, Senator Smith filibusters a fraudulent land deal until finally collapsing on the Senate floor. This past week, it was the filibuster that collapsed on the Senate floor as the “nuclear option” was invoked by Senate Republicans.

History of the filibuster.

The early Congress did not recognize the ability to filibuster. Senators could invoke a “previous question motion,” which meant that a simple majority could vote to end debate. Vice President Aaron Burr, as President of the Senate, streamlined the Senate rules in 1805 by persuading fellow Senators to abandon cutting off debate. That move allowed for the possibility of unlimited debate.

The first filibuster did not occur until 1837, and the filibuster was seldom used in the 19th century. It was not until 1917 that the Senate adopted Rule 22 or the Cloture Rule, to create a mechanism to halt a filibuster. Rule 22 required a vote of two-thirds of the Senate (then 64 of the 96 senators) to halt a filibuster.

Rule 22 came about in response to a request by President Woodrow Wilson to arm merchant marine vessels to protect them from U-boat attacks. A group of 11 progressive senators, led by Republican Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, blocked the bill.

Wilson was outraged and condemned “A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own … have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible.”

Filibuster rule changes.

From 1917 to 1970, only 58 cloture petitions were filed (about one per year), and cloture was invoked only eight times. From 1971 to 2006, the number of cloture petitions jumped to 26 per year and cloture was imposed one-quarter of the time. From 2007 to 2014, cloture petitions were filed 80 times a year and half of the cloture votes were approved.

As the use of the filibuster increased, the Senate looked at various ways to modify its use. In 1975, the Senate voted to make it easier to invoke cloture by requiring only a three-fifths vote instead of two-thirds. That would be a short-term solution with limited impact.

In 2005, Republicans controlled the Senate and were concerned that Democrats would not approve nominees of George W. Bush. Republicans argued that the use of the filibuster on judicial nominations violated the constitutional authority of the president to name judges with the “advice and consent” of a simple majority of the Senate. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi used the word “nuclear” during the debate, and the concept of the “nuclear option” developed.

Also in 2005, a “Gang of 14” senators, half Democrat and half Republican, reached a compromise to defuse the “nuclear option.” The Democrats promised not to filibuster Bush’s nominees except under “extraordinary circumstances,” and Republicans promised not to invoke the nuclear option unless they believed the Democrats used the filibuster in non-extraordinary circumstances.

On Nov. 21, 2013, the Democrats triggered the nuclear option and eliminated the filibuster for all nominees except for the Supreme Court. They accused Republicans of filibustering an extraordinary number of President Obama‘s nominees.

Republicans took back control of the Senate in the 2014 election and kept the Democratic rules in place. On April 6, 2017, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell extended the nuclear option to Supreme Court nominees after it was apparent that Democrats had the votes to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the court. The vote to change the rules to a simple majority passed 52-48 on a straight party-line vote, and the Senate then confirmed Gorsuch with 55 votes, as three Democrats joined the Republicans.

Implications of the nuclear option.

Now that the filibuster is dead in the nomination process, will it also fall by the wayside with respect to legislation?  The answer is likely yes.

The larger question is whether the filibuster is a good or bad part of the legislative process?  Many argue that the Constitution is premised on majority rights and the filibuster allows a minority to dictate public policy. In other words, it is undemocratic.

Supporters of the filibuster contend that it serves a useful purpose. Its use forces legislators to compromise in order to secure passage of major legislation. On controversial issues such as civil rights, a supermajority vote ensures that the legislation has widespread support and its passage was critical. When cloture was invoked on the 1964 Civil Rights Act after a 60-day filibuster, the first time cloture had been successful on a civil rights bill, it was a clear sign that national consensus had been achieved and a strong Civil Rights bill was needed.

Critics of the filibuster argue there is no need to mourn its death. The filibuster has been a tool to frustrate the will of the majority and to impede passage of important legislation.

Supporters counter that the death of the filibuster will lead to greater polarization, although that is hard to imagine. They argue that a simple majority vote will allow a president to appoint more extreme nominees and will allow the Senate to pass more extreme legislation. In addition, major legislation like Obamacare will be subject to “repeal and replacement” every time political control of the Senate shifts from one party to another.

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Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

Darryl Paulson: Why Donald Trump won — A review of the 2016 election

We know Donald Trump won and Hillary Clinton lost the 2018 presidential election.

What else do we need to know? We need to know why Trump won and Clinton lost.

We know that Clinton won the popular vote 65,844,954 to 62,979,879, or by 2.9 million votes. Trump’s popular vote deficit was the largest ever for someone elected president.

We all know that he popular vote does not determine the winner in a presidential election. The only thing that matters is the electoral vote, and Trump won 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227. Trump won 34 more electoral votes than was needed to win the election.

There were also seven “faithless” electors who cast their vote for neither Trump or Clinton. Three voted for former general and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ohio Governor John Kasich, former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul and Sioux anti-pipeline activist Faith Spotted Eagle each received one vote.

Ask individuals why Trump Won and Clinton lost and you will receive a variety of responses. Some Clinton supporters argue that she lost because of Russian hackers and WikiLeaks releasing her emails. Others blame FBI Director James Comey’s “October surprise” about reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails shortly before the election.

Others blame Clinton for her defeat. She was an unpopular candidate who barely defeated a little-known Vermont senator even though the Democratic National Committee seemed to do everything possible to assist Clinton in winning the primaries. Many saw Clinton’s use of a private email server, in spite of warnings, to be a self-inflicted wound, as was her comment about Trump’s supporters being a “basket of deplorables.”

Heading into election night, the election was Clinton’s to lose, and that’s exactly what she did. Clinton was not the only Democrat to lose. What was supposed to be a great election for Democrats, turned into a great election for Republicans.

Republicans lost only two senate seats, although they had to defend 24 of the 34 contested seats. Republicans lost only six seats in the House, although Democrats had hoped to win control of both chambers at one point. In addition, Republicans picked up two more governorships, raising their total to 33, and they won control of both houses in the state legislatures in two more states, giving them complete control in 32 of the 49 states with a bicameral legislature.

Trump won, in part, by shifting six states from the Democratic to the Republican column. Trump won the key state of Ohio by 8 points and Iowa by 9 points. He also squeaked out narrow wins in Florida (1.2 percent), Wisconsin (0.8 percent), Pennsylvania (0.7 percent) and Michigan (0.2 percent). Victories in these six states added 99 electoral votes to the Trump total, more than enough to win the election.

Republicans like to point to Trump’s strengths by noting he won 30 states to 20 for Clinton, carried 230 congressional districts to 205 for Clinton and swept over 2,500 counties compared to less than 500 for Clinton. The political map of America looked very red and looked very much like a Trump landslide.

But maps often distort political reality. After all, Clinton did win 2.9 million more votes than Trump. If she had not lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than 1 percent, she would have been president and Trump would be managing his hotel chain.

The usual explanation for Clinton’s loss was that turnout was far lower than normal. That is not true. The total turnout of 136.6 million was a record turnout and represented 60 percent of the voter-eligible population.

Turnout was down slightly for black voters, but that ignores the fact that 2008 and 2012 had record black turnout due to the Barack Obama candidacy.

According to a recent analysis of the 2016 presidential vote by The New York Times, Trump’s victory was primarily due to his ability to persuade large numbers of white, working-class voters to shift their loyalty from the Democrats to the Republicans. “Almost one in four of President Obama’s 2012 white working-class supporters defected from the Democrats in 2016.”

Trump was able to convince enough working-class Americans that he was the dealmaker who would work for the little guy and Make America Great Again.

“I am your voice,” said Trump, and the America voters believed him.

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Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg specializing in Florida Politics, political parties and elections.

 

Darryl Paulson: On Neil Gorsuch; both parties should just grow up!

Until 1987, presidential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court were respectfully received and reviewed by the U.S. Senate. In 1986, Antonin Scalia, a judicial conservative and constitutional originalist, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a vacancy on the court.

He was confirmed 98 to 0 by the U.S. Senate.

The confirmation process imploded in 1987 when another Reagan nominee to the court, Robert Bork, was subject to such a vicious attack concerning his record and judicial temperament, that the word “borking” became part of the political lexicon. To be “borked” was to be the subject of a public character assassination.

Since the defeat of Judge Bork in 1987, the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees has become bitter and brutal. In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated the highly-qualified jurist Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy due to the death of Scalia. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to hold hearings on the Garland nomination, arguing that it should be left to the next president.

Democrats were outraged by the treatment of Garland and are taking out their anger by attempting to defeat President Donald Trump‘s nomination of Neil Gorsuch. Democrats contend that Gorsuch’s views are out of the mainstream and accuse him of favoring corporations over workers. They also argue that he fails to fully defend the right to vote and favors the “powerful candidate interests over the rights of all Americans.”

Republicans respond by asking how, if Gorsuch’s views were so extreme, did he win confirmation on a 98 to 0 vote 10 years ago, when he was seated on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado. Would not some of those senators have opposed his extreme views when first nominated?

Not only that, but the American Bar Association (ABA) told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Judge Gorsuch received its “well qualified” rating, the highest rating available from the ABA. Nancy Scott Dogan of the ABA said, “We do not give the “well qualified” rating lightly.” So, why does the ABA see Judge Gorsuch in such a different light than Democrats in the Senate?

Republicans want to confirm Gorsuch for several reasons. With the death of Justice Scalia, Gorsuch would likely carry on his conservative views. For quite some time, the court has been divided between four conservatives, four liberals and the swing vote of Justice Kennedy.

The Republicans and Trump also need a political victory. The Republican failure to “repeal and replace” Obamacare was a deep political blow to the party and its president.

President Trump, who promised his supporters that they would “get tired of winning,” are beginning to wonder what happened to all those promised wins.

Democrats want to defeat Gorsuch as political payback for the treatment of Garland, and also to make amends for Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton.

In addition, Democrats want a second major defeat of Trump after he failed to secure passage of the Republican health care plan. Democratic activists do not want their elective officials to give 1 inch to the Republicans.

In 2005, the “Gang of 14” senators from both parties reached an agreement to prevent an impasse over judicial nominations. The filibuster and 60 vote requirement would continue for Supreme Court nominees, but a simple majority would be needed for other nominations.

Since Republican outnumber Democrats 52 to 48 in the Senate, eight Democrats must support Gorsuch for him to be confirmed. So far, no Democrat has indicated support for Gorsuch. As a result, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to use the “nuclear option.”

The “nuclear option” would allow the Senate to approve a change in the filibuster rule to require a simple majority of the Senate, or 51 votes, to confirm a Supreme Court appointee. To change the filibuster rules only requires 51 votes.

If Democrats are successful in their filibuster against Gorsuch, it will be the first successful filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee in over 50 years when the Senate rejected President Lyndon Johnson‘s selection of Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice.

According to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a successful Democratic filibuster would mean “that qualifications no longer matter.” A candidate unanimously confirmed to the Court of Appeals a decade ago and one who has received the highest rating from the ABA is not suitable for the court.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of only three senators still left who brokered the “Gang of 14” deal, is keeping the door open to use the nuclear option. As a firm believer in the rules and traditions of the Senate, Collins argues that “it would be unfair if we cannot get a straight up-or-down vote on Judge Gorsuch.”

But then, it was only a year ago, that Obama and the Democrats were making the same argument on behalf of Merrick Garland.

If only one of the two parties could grow up!

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Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at USF St. Petersburg.

Darryl Paulson: Do universities discriminate? Promoting ideological diversity, free speech in U.S. universities

In the previous three pieces, I have written about how university hiring policies have led to the virtual exclusion of conservatives on college faculties. We have seen how universities have wrapped students in a protective cocoon to prevent them from hearing speech that might be offensive with the use of speech codes, safe spaces, and micro-aggressions. Finally, we have seen how the academy has abandoned its mission of exposing students to diverse views and it some cases has actually encouraged students to shout down speakers with unpopular views.

Can anything be done to encourage universities to fulfill their mission of fostering diversity in all areas, including ideological diversity? This will not be easy, especially in the age of Trump. Liberal college campuses are more likely to dig in their heels and protect the academy from the evils of Trumpism. The situation will probably grow worse, not better in most campuses.

We need to foster ideological diversity for the same reasons we need racial and gender diversity. Universities should reflect the communities they represent, and this is clearly not the case today.

Former Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell argued in a 1978 case that diversity was essential to a universities mission. The more diverse the faculty and student body, the more robust will be the exchange of ideas.

Yale University law professor Peter Schuck, in his book Diversity in America, contends that faculty have a “higher responsibility to our standards, ourselves and our disciplines that our preferences for ideological homogeneity and faculty-lounge echo chambers betray.”

Echoing that sentiment, John McGinnis of Northwestern Law School writes that “liberal ideas might well be strengthened and made more effective if liberals had to run a more conservative gauntlet among their own colleagues when developing them.”

The growing conservative attack on higher education by state legislators should come as no surprise. Decades of liberal orthodoxy have led conservative legislators to cut university funding and impose more programmatic controls. Why would any group provide financial support to another institution that constantly demeans conservative ideas and values and refuses to hire them on their faculty?

It is in the best interest of universities to improve ideological diversity for two primary reasons: it is the right thing to do, and the university will reap financial benefits.

Approaches to ideological Diversity

Some universities, including Harvard, Penn State, the University of Texas and others have adopted “conservative coming out days.” I am not sure if this means that faculty who have not come out as conservatives should declare their philosophy, or that universities should seek out conservative faculty through affirmative action. Most conservatives would reject an affirmative action approach.

Other universities are showcasing their commitment to ideological diversity by creating a specific faculty line for conservatives. The University of Colorado created an endowed chair in Conservative Thought and Policy.

One or two conservative hires hardly indicates a commitment to a diversified faculty. I am not sure that any faculty member wants to be viewed as the “conservative hire.” Will students and faculty come to his or her office to see what a conservative looks like?

Some conservatives have pushed for the adoption of the Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR) created by conservative activist David Horowitz and his Center for the Study of Popular Culture. The Bill of Rights contains eight provisions relating to faculty recruitment and hiring, free speech, research and campus speakers.

A number of state legislatures have adopted the Academic Bill of Rights over the opposition of the American Association of University Professors, the American Federation of Teachers and several other groups. Critics argue that ABOR “infringes academic freedom in the very act of purporting to protect it.”

Money, or the lack of money, is the lifeblood of a university. Some conservatives have urged alumna should withhold financial support for their university until it supports ideological diversity.

Universities must end their policies of Groupthink which excludes conservative students and faculty from meaningful participation in university life. Speech codes and safe spaces must end, as well as the coddling of easily offended students. Safe places do not foster education, but create an unreal scenario of what students will face in the real world.

Too often, universities have smothered free speech rather than fostering it. When students demand safe places, they often mean I disagree with your ideas, so shut up!

Too often, universities have become home to Orwellian offices such as the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. That is fine for groups and ideas that have the universities seal of approval, but it often means the “not welcome” sign is posted for unpopular and undesirable groups.

The election of Donald Trump has led to a surge in the sale of George Orwell’s 1984. New print runs have occurred to keep up with the growing demand for the book. I would just remind readers that Orwell’s book was not directed at any specific individual or philosophy, but at authoritarianism in all of its forms.

The clash of ideas is the real mission of a university. How can the clash of ideas be heard if not all of the parties are allowed to express their views? How can universities promote diversity in race, gender and sexual orientation, but neglect ideological diversity?

Ideological diversity will benefit the university intellectually, as well as financially. We must end the ideological homogeneity that dominates higher education and put an end to what Orwell called “smelly little orthodoxies.”

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Darryl Paulson is Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

Darryl Paulson: Do universities discriminate? The assault on conservative speakers at American universities

Free speech is an essential element for vibrant intellectual discourse and discovery at American universities. Part of that speech requires the students and faculty to be exposed to competing ideas. Too often, one side, the conservative side is missing in action not by choice, but by exclusion.

Since 2000, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has found over 300 cases where speakers were disinvited or shouted down on college campuses. The vast majority of these were conservatives.

Increasingly on university campuses, the prevailing view is that you are free to share your views as long as they do not offend or challenge existing orthodoxy. We do not want to give a platform to those who do not share our views on race, gender, ethnicity or political issues. In other words, the “not welcome” sign applies to conservative speakers, as well as those whose politics offends the sensibilities of students.

The list of rejected speakers is far too long to detail, but I will provide a listing of a small percentage of individuals who were deemed persona non grata at universities.

Christian LaGarde, head of the International Monetary Fund and one of the most influential persons in the world, was rejected by Smith College after students accused her of being connected to “global capitalism.” How could one of the leading women’s university’s reject LaGarde, one of the most powerful woman in the world. Being too close to capitalism overrode any gender sympathy. If only she had been a Marxist, or at least a socialist.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a leading academic as well as Bill Clinton‘s Secretary of State, was rejected by Scripps College because she was a “genocide enabler.”

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, was booed off the stage at Brown University primarily for being the police commissioner of New York City. Students and faculty protested his aggressive policing and racial and ethnic insensitivities.

Condoleeza Rice, one of the leading Soviet scholars in the world, former provost at Stanford University, the national security adviser to George W. Bush (2001-05) and Bush’s Secretary of State (2005-09), was deemed unfit to speak at Rutger’s after students attacked her role in the Iraq War.

Human rights advocate Ayana Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Muslim, has become a leading critic of female genital mutilation in Africa, as well as a critic of the oppression of women under Islam. The author of three best-selling books, Hirsi Ali was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential women in the world.

It would seem that students and faculty would welcome the opportunity to hear the views of Hirsi Ali. Not so. Brandeis rejected Hirsi Ali because of her association with the conservative American Enterprise Institute and her criticism of radical Islam.

The most recent conservative to be booed and assaulted by students was Charles Murray. No one denies that Murray’s views are controversial, but does that mean his views should not be heard. It does on college campuses.

Murray was invited to speak at Middlebury College in March 2017 by the schools American Enterprise Club, a conservative student organization. Murray was to discuss his latest book, The State of White America, 1960-2010.

Murray’s book explored the growing cultural gap between the white elite and the white middle-class, an issue of growing significance in light of the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump‘s victory.

When his appearance was announced, 450 Middlebury alumni protested his talk and criticized the university for giving him a platform. Better to remain in the darkness then open up anyone’s views to the light. Opponents argued their opposition had nothing to do with “free speech.” It seems to me it had everything to do with free speech.

Although most conservative speakers are automatically suspect on American campuses, Murray is hardly a provocateur. His views may be controversial, but they have stimulated intellectual debate for decades. Murray is a prolific writer and social critic and he currently is The Bradley Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Before facing the packed audience, Middlebury’s vice president for communication, opened the forum by telling students “You’re going to love this part.” He then proceeded to tell students about respecting Middlebury’s policy of respecting the rights of speakers.

University president Laurie Patton began her remarks by declaring: “Let me state the obvious. We are a left-leaning campus.” She then made it abundantly clear that no one should interpret her presence as an endorsement of Murray’s views. I wonder how many liberal speakers receive the same warm welcome.

As soon as Murray began to talk, the students turned their backs to him and then spent the next 20 minutes chanting slogans. No one asked the students to stop disrupting Murray or asked the students to leave as Middlebury policy requires.

After chanting such catchy slogans for 20 minutes, including “Who is the enemy. White Supremacy,” and “Your message is hatred. We cannot tol-er-ate it.” Never mind they had not heard one word from Murray because of their great intolerance.

The university announced that Murray and Middlebury professor Allison Stanger, who was selected to pose questions to Murray, would be taken to an undisclosed location where their discussion would be live-streamed.

On their way to the undisclosed facility, Murray and Stanger were assaulted by the mob. Stranger’s hair was pulled in one direction by a protester, as another protester pulled her in the opposite direction. Stanger was taken to a hospital and fitted with a neck brace.

Did Middlebury students feel remorse for their actions? Absolutely not. In fact, they blamed the university security personnel for the disruption and said that Stanger’s hair was “inadvertently caught” during the chaos. This is a little like children telling their parents, “It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do it'”

The student newspaper was filled with comments justifying what transpired. To many of the students, some ideas are so illegitimate that they should not be heard. So much for free speech.

One student, Nic Valenti, wrote that allowing Murray’s views to be heard was “grossly disrespectful,” “a waste of time,” and an insult to “young people with their perceptiveness of realizing that this whole situation is f—ing bull—-.”

Universities have failed in their responsibility to allow alternative viewpoints to be heard. Murray never spoke to the hundreds of students, faculty and general community who attended his talk and hoped to be informed. Not a single student was disciplined, even though university policy stipulates it should be done.

The real loser in the Middlebury fiasco? Students, faculty, Middlebury College and, most importantly, free speech.

Look for Part 4 of “Do universities discriminate” Friday, March 24. The closing piece will focus on promoting ideological diversity and free speech on college campuses.

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Darryl Paulson is Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

Darryl Paulson: Do universities discriminate? The assault on free speech

Most universities recruit students by offering specialized curricula, top quality faculty and promising to expose students to diverse views which will stimulate creative thinking and prepare the student for life after their university experience.

Universities may be partially successful on the first two items, but dramatically fail in exposing students to diverse viewpoints. It is hard to think of a more close-minded institution than the American university. Groupthink and ideological orthodoxy are the standard practices on campuses.

There are many professors, both liberals and conservatives, who excel at awakening students to new ideas and who maintain neutrality in expressing those views. Too many professors, dominated by the political left, push their political agenda as the correct approach to the exclusion of alternative viewpoints.

Alan Dershowitz, one of the leading liberal law professors in America, argues that the last thing university students want is diversity. Most students want universities to provide complete freedom and “safe places.” Few of them understand that those two concepts are mutually exclusive. Dershowitz observes that students want “free speech for me, not for thee.”

Grey Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in their article, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” contend that too many college students engage in “catastrophizing,” which is to say, they turn common events into nightmarish trials or claim that easily bearable events have become unbearable.

Students believe that speech that offends others should be punished. Who will judge what is offensive? Unpopular speech should be challenged, not censored.

At least 271 universities have established “speech codes” which impinge on the free speech rights of students and faculty. I taught Southern politics for 35 years. One segment of the course was on the Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens Council, two extremist groups focused on suppressing blacks.

At one point, I told students that I was going to use the actual words of Klan leaders at some of their rallies. I thought this was important so that the students could see how extreme their views were. I used the term “nigger” several time because that was always how the Klan referred to blacks. I thought it was important for students to see the impact of speech. The Klan did not call them blacks, Negroes or African-Americans; it was always “nigger.”

Most students realized the impact of words, but on more than one occasion someone complained to the Dean that I was using an offensive term. Yes, I was, but I was simply quoting verbatim Klan comments and I believed the historical and political lesson justified its limited use in this class. I was asked on one occasion to not use the offensive term. I refused to do so.

In addition to speech codes, many universities have established safe spaces, trigger warnings and microaggressions to “warn and protect” students from offensive speech. This coddling of the student is, in my view, one of the most corrupting aspects of the modern university.

At the University of California, the expression that “America is a land of opportunity” and “everyone can succeed in society if they work hard enough” are microaggressions which may not be uttered. “America is a melting pot” is another common microaggression on campuses.

A Washington State University professor told students she would lower their grade if they used the term “illegal immigrant.” Another professor at the same university warned students in her “Women and Popular Culture” course that they risked failure if they referred to “women/men as males and females.” So much for free speech.

The University of Tennessee Office of Diversity, worried that students might be offended with gender-specific pronouns (he, she, him, her), and suggested substituting ze, hir, xem and xyr. Really, I didn’t make this up.

Not only is certain speech taboo on college campuses, but increasing numbers of students believe that it is the proper role of government to stop offensive speech. 40 percent of millennial (18-34-year-olds) told the Pew Research Center that “government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups.”

Since when did not offending individuals supersede the First Amendment? On college campuses, it is usually conservative speech that students find offensive. Are not speech codes a means of stifling such speech?

The 1975 Woodward Report, named after Yale University’s pre-eminent historian C. Vann Woodward, noted that a university “cannot make its primary and dominant value the fostering of friendships, solidarity, harmony, civility or mutual respect … “

A special faculty committee of the University of Chicago argued that “debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought to be by some or even most of the university community to9 be offensive, unwise, immoral or wrongheaded.”

Frederick Douglass, the famous abolitionist, writer and statesmen, wrote that “to suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

Former University of Chicago president Robert M. Hutchins commented that “without a vibrant commitment to free and open inquiry, a university ceases to exist.”

Another former University of Chicago president, Hanna Holborn Gray, noted that the purpose of a university is not to make young adults feel comfortable, it is to make them think.”

How can we encourage young adults to think and examine different ideas, when so many of them are suppressed for fear of offending someone’s feelings?

Speech may offend certain individuals, but that does not mean it harms them. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Speech, even if offensive, is the spark that is often needed to light our intellectual fires. We cannot afford to let the flames die out as they have on so many university campuses.

Look for Part 3 of “Do universities discriminate” Wednesday, March 22. The focus will be on the assault on conservative speakers on campuses.

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Darryl Paulson is Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

Darryl Paulson: Do universities discriminate in hiring?

Universities are touted as bastions of diversity whose prime role is to encourage students to engage in critical thinking, ask tough questions and expose themselves to a diversity of ideas and opinions.

If that is the mission of the university, they have dismally failed. Diversity is respected, up to a point, as long as it doesn’t include ideological diversity.

As liberal commentator Nicholas Kristof observed in a recent New York Times op-ed, “We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservative.”

Welcome to the modern American university, where almost every type of diversity is encouraged, except for ideological diversity. Try challenging liberal dogma as a student or professor, and you will likely find yourself facing counseling and academic discipline.

Where are all the conservative faculty?

How many conservative faculty did you, your children or grandchildren encounter as part of their university education? If you are like most, the answer is very few. In fact, two scholars recently found that there were twice as many Marxists in the humanities and social sciences than Republicans.

Most university will have their token conservative professor. Harvard has Harvey Mansfield, Princeton has Robert George, and Yale has Donald Kagan.

I was one of the few conservative professors at the University of South Florida, and doubt that I would have been hired if my conservative views were known. I believe I was hired because I had spent the prior year as a National Teaching Fellow at Florida A & M University.

Anyone who taught at a historically black university had to be a liberal.

In addition, my doctoral dissertation was on the emergence of the black mayor in America in the aftermath of the civil rights movement. Only a liberal would be interested in writing about African-American politicians.

John Hasnas, a Georgetown University professor recently explained the faculty recruitment process to the Wall Street Journal. Every recruitment meeting, wrote Hasnas, begins with a strong exhortation from the administration about diversity and the need for more woman and minority faculty.

No recruitment committee has ever been instructed about the need to have a more ideologically diverse faculty.

How rare are conservative professors? Where the nation is fairly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, a recent study found that only 13 percent of law school faculty are Republicans. A similar study by the Georgetown Law Journal found that 81 percent of law professors at the top 21 law schools donated money to Democrats and 15 percent to Republican candidates.

Daniel Klein, an economist at George Mason University, studied 1,000 professors around the nation and found Democrats outnumbered Republicans seven to one in the humanities and social sciences. In anthropology and sociology, the margin was 30 to 1.

Johnathan Haidt, a renowned social psychiatrist at New York University, was so startled by the lack of conservative academics that he started a website, Heterodox, to foster more ideological diversity. In his own profession, 96 percent of social psychiatrists were left of center, 3.7 percent were centrist, and 0.03% were right of center. How would you like to be that sole right-of-center social psychiatrist?

In one of the largest studies of ideological diversity on college campuses, the North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS) examined 1,643 faculty from 183 universities in 1999. 72 percent of faculty described themselves as liberals and 15 percent as conservatives.

The same year as the NAASS study, the Harris Poll found that 18 percent of Americans described themselves as liberals and 37 percent called themselves conservative.

Clearly, academia does not mirror the nation.

Even in supposedly conservative academic enclaves, liberals outnumbered conservatives by 51 to 19 percent in engineering and 49 to 39 percent in business.

Why are there so few conservative faculty on college campuses?

Alan Kors, a conservative professor at Penn, argues that conservatives face a “hostile and discriminatory” environment. Conservatives seeking academic jobs are “outed” by their group associations, major professors, or dissertation topic.

Not long ago, Harvard University found that only two of its doctoral students in the Government Department failed to get an academic placement. Harvey Mansfield advised both students, widely recognized for his conservative views.

Liberals argue that there is no discrimination against conservatives. George Lakoff, a liberal linguistics professor at Berkeley, argues that liberals seek academic careers because “unlike conservatives, they believe in working for the public good and social justice.” In other words, conservatives are simply out for the money while liberals seek the betterment of society.

Lakoff is proof positive of why we need more conservatives in academia.

Look for Part II: Do universities discriminate? – The attack on free speech

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Darryl Paulson is Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

Repeal and replace — The end of traditional conservatism

As a lifelong Republican and a former Fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, I have always preferred voting for the Republican and conservative candidate.

Preferably, the candidate is both Republican and conservative, although that is not always the case.

For only the second time in my life, I did not vote for the Republican presidential nominee:  I found him neither Republican nor conservative. I know there are different strands of conservatism: classical, neo-cons, libertarians, religious and economic conservatives. I found Donald Trump to be none of the above.

Trump did appeal to conservatives by supporting regulatory reform, lower taxes, unleashing the private sector and rolling back the administrative state. At the same time, Trump supported existing entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, which he called untouchable, and backed new entitlements like a paid family leave program.

Until the election of Trump, Republicans venerated Ronald Reagan and his brand of conservatism. This included support for free trade, a centerpiece of conservative economic policy. Trump has denounced free trade by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership which conservatives uniformly backed. Trump also plans to end the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which Republicans helped to pass.

Another litmus test for modern conservatism was for America to play a major role in world affairs. Reagan addressed the first Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting in 1974 and argued that America “cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so.”

Reagan cited Pope Pius XII’s remarks after World War II that “Into the hands of America, God has placed the destinies of mankind.” Under Trump, American First has become the guiding philosophy.

Republicans and conservatives have generally opposed entitlements and big government. Trump has made Social Security and Medicare untouchable, even though most conservatives believe these programs are not sustainable given the demographic changes in American society.

Trump has called for a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, in addition to an expansive family leave policy. How do you pay for these entitlements and increase defense spending while cutting taxes?

Shortly after being elected president, Trump helped negotiate a deal with Carrier in Indiana that promised government benefits to Carrier in exchange for keeping jobs in Indiana. That deal struck many conservatives as another example of “crony capitalism.”

The government picks and chooses winners and losers instead of letting market forces work their will.

Where most presidents have had a shaky relationship with the press, Trump is the first to call the press “enemies of the American public.” Where Reagan called the Soviets the “evil empire,” Trump has praised Vladimir Putin and asserted the moral equivalency between American and Soviet policy.

Trump clearly has flip-flopped back and forth between the Democratic and Republican Party, but has actually spent more time as a Democrat. He only registered as a Republican a couple of years before announcing his candidacy. Trump may or not be a lifetime member of the GOP, but has he held consistent conservative values?  Let’s look at his own words and actions.

At the 2016 CPAC meeting, delegates threatened to walk out if Trump appeared. He was viewed as a false prophet of conservatism and he eventually withdrew as a speaker.

At the 2017 CPAC meeting, Trump was hailed as the conquering hero. A full 86 percent of the delegates approved of Trump’s job performance and 80 percent believed Trump was “realigning the conservative movement.” As presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway observed, “well, I think by tomorrow this might be TPAC.”

During his 48-minute address to the 2017 CPAC delegates, Trump no mention of Reagan, who has been the face of the modern conservative movement for four decades.

Trump made no mention of “liberty” or the “constitution.” Trump made no reference to keeping government small and limited, and only once uttered the word “conservative,” which seemed odd for an audience of conservatives. Trump said: “Our victory was a victory. . . for conservative values.”

The one common thread between Reagan and Trump was their appeal to working-class Americans. In 1977, Reagan told CPAC: “The New Republican Party I am speaking about is going to have room for the man and the woman in the factories, for the farmer, for the cop on the beat.”

In his 2017 CPAC address, Trump said: “The GOP will be, from now on, the Party of the American worker. … We will not answer to donors or lobbyists or special interests.” (Although, being a billionaire will be considered an asset for all cabinet nominees.)

One congressional staffer, after hearing Trump’s CPAC speech, called him “a moderate disguised as a conservative.” Conservative radio host John Ziegler described Trump’s CPAC speech as having the tone “it was written from a liberal perspective, in that greater government involvement was the foundational answer for nearly every problem.”

Another delegate described Trump as “a fairly liberal conservative,” whatever that may mean.

If CPAC is any indication, Trump is reshaping the conservative movement at breathtaking speed. Ideology is conforming to an individual, and not vice versa.

“Repeal and Replace” was the centerpiece of Trumpism. We all thought he was referring to “Obamacare.” Now we know that “repeal and replace” referred to conservatism in America.

Traditional conservative values have been abandoned and replaced by whatever Trump happens to say today.

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Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

Groundhog Day for Democrats: Selecting the Party chair

Democrats in Florida and at the national level have a similar problem. In both cases, there are more Democratic voters than Republicans, but in both cases, the Republican candidates have trounced the Democrats.

Between 2009 and 2016, which coincides with the terms of Barack Obama as president, Democratic candidates suffered heavier casualties than many military divisions. Democrats lost 11 Senate seats (-16 percent), lost 62 House seats (-24 percent) and, in the biggest surprise, lost control of the White House.

It was even worse at the state level. The numbers of Democratic governors declined from 28 to 16 (-43 percent), and Democrats lost 959 seats in the state legislatures. The only good news for the Democrats is that it can’t get much worse. The seats they still hold are mostly in strong Democratic areas.

Democrats hope that a change in party leadership will be the first step in reversing party fortunes and helping to lead the party out of the political wilderness.

Florida Democrats held their contest for a new party chair at the end of 2016. Numerous candidates came forth to replace one-term party chair Allison Tant, who had just as much success as previous party chairs.

The two leading candidates were Dwight Bullard, a black state legislator representing the liberal reform wing of the party. Stephen Bittel, a wealthy developer and leading donor to the party was supported by the establishment forces.

Bittel was backed by the teachers’ union and Sen. Bill Nelson, the only Democrat currently elected to a statewide office. Nelson, up for election in 2018, argued that Bittel would bring “professionalism” to the party and “raise money.”

Bullard was backed by Bernie Sanders and his supporters. One Revolution, a Sanders organization, believed that Bullard would stop “an extremely wealthy donor” who wants to “buy his way to lead Florida’s Democratic Party. . .”

Bittel won the required votes and is now busy raising funds for the party and is attempting to reinvigorate party fortunes.

About the time Bittel was winning his election in Florida, the race for the Chair of the Democratic National Party was heating up. The early front-runner was Keith Ellison, a Black Muslim congressman from Minnesota, who represented the Sanders and reform wing of the party. Ellison quickly won the endorsements of liberal icon Elizabeth Warren, along with incoming Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

The race was actually pushed backed a month. Some argued that it was done in order to generate more debate about the candidates. Others argued that it was done to give opponents of Ellison additional time to overcome his lead.

Critics of Ellison pointed out that he was highly critical of Israel and had supported Black Muslim Louis Farrakhan, issues that might hurt the party in elections.

The Democratic establishment found its candidate in Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who was encouraged to run by both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Like Bittel in Florida, Perez represented the establishment and wealthy donors who were concerned that Ellison would push the party too far to the left.

On Feb. 25, 2017, Perez won the post of party chair by a vote of 235-200 on the second ballot. Ellison supporters shouted “Party for the people, not big money.” Many Ellison supporters walked out.

Perez quickly appointed Ellison as Deputy Party Chair in an attempt at party unity. Whether this placates Ellison supporters or irritates them remains to be seen. What duties, if any, will Ellison be given?

In both Florida and nationally, the race to head the Democratic Party pitted a white, establishment candidate representing the moneyed interests versus a black legislator representing the reform and liberal element of the party. In both cases, the white candidate defeated the black candidate, and money prevailed over “the people.”

It appears that it is not only Donald Trump and his supporters who have issues with race and Islamophobia.

Bernie Sanders fired a warning shot across the bow of the Democratic Party after Ellison’s loss. Sanders warned that it was “imperative that the same-old, same-old is not working and that we must open the doors of the party to working people and young people in a way that has never been done before.”

The Democrats have their new party leaders in both Florida and nationally. The question is whether the new leaders will improve the party’s electoral performance, or will it lead to further divisions between an already badly fractured Democratic Party?

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Darryl Paulson is Professor Emeritus of Government at USF St. Petersburg specializing in Florida Politics and elections.

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