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Current Events

Student Blog Post: Donald Trump has legitimized a Neo-Nazi movement in America

The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.

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There has been a deep and distributing rise in hateful and discriminatory language coming from the so-called “alt right”. Many say that this rise is in direct correlation to the election of Donald Trump and it is not hard to see why this may be true. Since Donald Trump’s shocking victory on November 8th, there has been a soaring increase in reported hate crimes across the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported about 700 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation since the election. Similarly, the FBI estimates that since the election of Donald Trump, hate crimes have risen in the United States by about 67 percent, with most of the hate crimes being directed towards Muslim Americans.

Identity Politics is now once again front in center in the discussion as to how different groups of people should have the right, or not, to further their cause (whatever that cause may be). Conservatives continue to blame liberals for this, saying that Neo-Nazism is on the rise in America because the left has embraced identity politics. Nonetheless, I think it is important to note that even before the results of this election, people who believed in this type of discriminatory behavior were already in this country. The rise of Donald Trump is not responsible for creating Neo-Nazis, but it is in fact responsible for giving such groups a platform on which they can make their voices heard. Much of the rhetoric during Donald Trump’s campaign is another source at fault. Trump’s anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiment during the campaign has given a sense of legitimacy to people who desire to espouse similar beliefs. We now see that discriminatory groups are no longer scared to voice their ideology out in the open, for they believe the results of the election have given them validation that they did not have before. It is also very troubling to see how the media has handled this. The media continues to refer to Neo-Nazis and similar groups as “alt right”, which in a sense, ends up normalizing this type of behavior instead of combating it.

As discussed in class, ideological divides within the electorate stem from the IPP. Because of this, people tend to be influenced based on 3 things; region, religion, and class. In this situation, the rise of hateful groups can be attributed to the regional aspect. Much (but not all) of the people who tend to espouse an ideology similar to that of Neo-Nazism tend to reside in rural America, with less diversity, where most don’t have any meaningful relationships with people who look differently than they do. This in-group bias leads many to have negative sentiments towards people who are different.

Antonio Navarrete is a fifth year Accounting Major with a Minor in Political Science at Cal Poly Pomona. He enjoys going to music festivals, playing video games, and traveling. He plans on obtaining his CPA certification in the near future and also plans to work as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP after graduation.

Student Blog Post: Abolishing the Electoral College would lead to chaos

The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.

electoral college recount scam trump rigged

In the short history of the United States, we have had four elections where the candidate who won the popular vote did not win the presidency. One of those elections happened just two weeks ago (and the third only 16 years ago with Al Gore and George W. Bush). It has been two weeks since the shock of the 2016 election, where Donald Trump won the majority of the electoral vote. Much of the electorate was shocked due to their hope that Hillary Clinton would win. Days after the election, many people (mostly in liberal states) protested Trump’s victory. The protest went on for many days, however now that it has been two weeks since the election, people are still not happy with the election outcome and are fighting for a change.

Some of the electorate is trying to persuade their electors to be “faithless”, meaning that they won’t cast their electoral vote for Trump, even if a majority of the state voted for him. A petition has been made on Change.org to encourage faithless electors to vacate their support for Trump, claiming that president–elect Donald Trump is a “danger to the Republic”. As of right now, 4.6 million people have signed the petition. From inside the political world, California Senator Barbara Boxer proposed a bill to abolish the Electoral College in response to Clinton’s loss. She stated,

“In my lifetime, I have seen two elections where the winner of the general election did not win the popular vote…The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately. Every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts.”

Even though this bill is a long shot to actually becoming reality since the Republican Party holds the House and Senate, it demonstrates that the Electoral College is under real scrutiny since the election.

Many don’t see Donald Trump as their president simply because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. However, the Electoral College was made by the Framers to prevent the public to vote for their home state heroes and to have a fair election, but now, the College no longer deals with that issue. Now, the Electoral College is there to keep the election fair but now gives smaller states a chance to make an impact in the election. In the article, Electoral College Watch by Gary L. Gregg, the author explains why the College was made and what is the new purpose of the College. Gregg argues that keeping the College is crucial to our democracy. After the election, many are enraged with the Electoral College because the electorate does not see the College as a proper representation of the electorate.

However, since the Electoral College gives greater weight to  smaller states, it forces candidates to campaign in those states. If we think of a system without the Electoral College, candidates would just campaign in big urban cities that are already predominately liberal. The Republican Party would also struggle to win votes if the electoral process was just dependent on the popular vote. Abolishing the College, as Gregg said in his article, would “dismantle the firewalls protecting us all from a quadrennial national nightmare that would turn over our elections to lawyers and judges.” Abolishing the Electoral College would also put full dependency on the electorate, and as stated in lecture, most of the population isn’t politically knowledgeable because they don’t have time for politics. Essentially, chaos would break out.

Gracie Salazar is a fourth- year political science major who plans on pursuing a law degree and eventually work for the district attorney office someday. She enjoys her Sunday mornings being a Sunday school teacher at her local church-teaching children aged 4-6.

Student Blog Post: Moving to Canada after the election might not be the most rational choice

The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.


The focus of this article is on one of the key events that took place shortly after the election of President Donald Trump. Not long after Trump took the presidency, the Canadian Immigration website crashed due to a larger than normal volume of inquiries. It was suggested that the crash occurred when US citizens looked to move to Canada after Trump became president.

Some claimed that Canada took the immigration site offline, but later on, media outlets regularly reported that the website crashed because of the influx of web traffic. Canada wasn’t alone. Two US states, Colorado and North Carolina, both experienced similar technical problems due to the Internet being used in such a large volume at one time.

Officials were unable to access Colorado’s voter registration database for about half an hour on election Tuesday afternoon. This held up the voting in the state, as the clerks receiving mail-in ballots could not verify the signatures in their database. Lynn Bartel went on to explain that in-person votes also had to temporarily be treated as being “provisional” while the website was down. North Carolina’s State Board of Elections was also forced to switch from using an electronic voting check-in system to a paper-based one at several of its precincts after experiencing technical problems.

I believe a critical question to ask concerning the two cases found in the US is: do we rely too heavily upon technology to do a proper job of representing the American people during an election year? What we saw in these instances was a system failure due to a large flux of Internet usage during the polling process. It is dangerous to think whatever amount of votes could have been lost in the process. It was fortunate that the problem occurred early on Election Day and not 30 minutes before the polls closed. A lot of voters may not have had their vote counted if the problem occurred too late in the day. It isn’t always a technical error that prohibits us from voting.

Let’s say it wasn’t a matter of the website crashing, we should still think about if the country relies too much on technology to be and stay engaged in our political system. We should think about the opportunity and ability of American voters when asking this question. If I can’t find the time to make it to a polling center for my vote to count, I lose that opportunity. Yes, mail-in ballots are an option, but most Americans don’t know that mail-in ballot signatures must be verified in the state’s database before they can be counted, thus adding to the list of dependencies on technology. Some citizens can’t make it to the polling station to vote, so mail-in ballots really matter a lot to some people.

We discussed if voters are rational beings, and a lot of evidence suggests that we are. We weigh the costs and benefits of our decisions and choose who and what we think will maximize the benefits. We try to select representatives and issues we find important. But do voters take action they think that benefits them, but leaves them worse off than they were? When it comes to moving to Canada after the election, I started to wonder if the American voters were indeed as rational as we’d like to believe. With a little bit of research, it is easy to see why moving would not be a good idea for the average citizen. First, Canada’s unemployment rate is two percent higher than the United States. That being said, those who move need to consider who they know in Canada to network and get a job.

I think the American people need to think a little more about their decision to move to Canada if they plan to do so. Reweigh the costs and benefits of the effect Trump’s presidency will actually have but also how the move affects your life, not just monetarily but physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Kristopher Freeman is a second-year transfer student in his fourth-year of his political science college career, which is projected to conclude end of the fall quarter. He enjoys cooking, arts and crafts, playing computer games, and learning about political science. He plans on having a long-term career in political science with an emphasis in international relations.

Student Blog Post: The Silent Voters of 2016 may have influenced the election outcome

The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events. 

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An article titled “How the polls got it wrong” in the Economist shed some light on the polls that were conducted during this election cycle and proposed reasons for why the polls were so far off this year. One of the main reasons behind errors with these types of polls is that “Every survey result is made up of a combination of two variables: the demographic composition of the electorate, and how each group is expected to vote.” (D.R.) This fails to account for an unrepresentative sample, too small of a sample size, and having bias when inputting how some groups are expected to vote. This year, the biggest thing people failed to account for was the “silent voter” group, or what some people are calling the “shy Trump” (D.R.) phenomenon this year. What this means is that many of those who voted or were planning on voting for Trump did not want to openly admit to doing so for a variety of reasons (being labeled a racist, harassment, fear). It is this group of voters that ended up heavily contradicting the polls that had Hillary Clinton as the front runner by several points in states that she either lost or that ended much closer than expected.

As discussed in class, this group of voters ended up being a significant factor in the outcome of the election, but these polls could have added a false sense of security for many people who were disillusioned by the nominees and were on the fence about voting in general. These polls predicted Hillary Clinton would win historically “blue” states, such as Michigan, that would ultimately secure her the presidency, as we know now, this was not the final result. In my opinion, these overly confident/biased polls significantly affected voter turnout by creating an overly optimistic atmosphere around Hillary Clinton’s campaign, causing many to assume she had this race “in the bag”. The 2016 polls portrayed a biased view of voters in the United States and may have failed to accurately represent “shy Trump” voters who were angry with the system and wanted change.

Ivan Sanchez is a transfer student at Cal Poly Pomona, currently working on his third year. He is a political science major, undecided on a minor, but possibly wants to pursue a law degree (immigration) in the future. In his free time, he likes to start political arguments with strangers, play the keyboard, go out with friends, and binge watch shows on Netflix.