Home >> Author Archives: Katherine Revello

Author Archives: Katherine Revello

The Fake Controversy Over Fake News

Like so many other things in today’s culture, the controversy over “fake news” is a didactic battle between two camps whose polar-opposite positions are largely driven by outrage over the opposing camp’s position. And, again, like so many other things in today’s culture, this venial division completely misses the point. The left, which is all for democratic expressions of will ...

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Even Under One-Party Rule, There Should Be Friction Between Congress and President

The 2016 election represented a fundamental shift in American politics. Donald Trump’s ability to successfully position himself as a Republican who publicly repudiated traditional right-wing ideas such as free trade and limited government reconfigured the traditional two-party divide. America now has two parties that embrace a strong, managerial federal government. This is not a phenomenon solely dependent on Trump; he ...

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There’s Nothing Wrong With the Electoral College

America is not a democracy. To be precise, it is a nationally-federated constitutional republic. This distinction, however, has sadly been largely erased from the national lexicons, pointed out only by those who are immediately dismissed and scornfully labelled a pedant. Yet, that this is not an issue of semantics is all too evident in the reaction to the presidential election. ...

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Donald Trump Ushers In A New Era of Populism

Election night confirmed a long-held suspicion. This whole electoral cycle has been a lesson in humility for pundits overconfident in the reliability of data forecasting, broadcast from the Twilight Zone. That said, the profundity of it is staggering, even for skeptics like myself. This was not a runaway victory for Trump. Yet, because the forecasts were so very wrong, it ...

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National Elections Don’t Occur in a Vacuum

Today, all eyes are on the presidential race, and understandably so. But national elections don’t occur in a vacuum. Understanding the results at the top of the ticket requires interpreting the result in the context of state and local races which occur simultaneously. Elections with huge margins of victory at the top of the ticket are immediately branded as “mandates” ...

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The Emailgate Fallout: Orwellian Censorship Without State Coercion

George Orwell was wrong. A statist government using threat of force is not necessary to rewrite the recent past. Society is perfectly willing to censor itself of its own volition where partisan politics is concerned. In the fictional world of 1984, the ruthless efficiency of an omniscient state working to blot out all references to its past fallibility was necessary ...

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2016: A Referendum on Whether the Truth is Defamatory

The 2016 election is a referendum, but not on any single issue. It encompasses something far larger; it is nothing less than a modern day relitigation of the Zenger trial. Can facts be defamatory? That was the question colonial New York when newspaperman John Peter Zenger printed an editorial critical of the royal governor. Though the allegations in it were ...

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Trump: Populism’s First National Victory?

Trump Rally Austin TX

When the Tea Party first rose up in the 2010 midterm election, the last vestiges of left-wing populist agitation which had influenced the political landscape from the late-1800s through the mid-1900s seemed poised to emerge on the right. Fast forward through half a decade of right-wing anti-establishmentarianism fighting in vain against party elites and their inexplicable inability to stand up ...

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Is 2016 the year of the agitprop election?

Civility has never been a guiding precept on the campaign trail. Histrionics and sensationalism have always been used to paint elections as a scenario between impending doom and a white knight savior. All the ghoulish attack ads of the past and present are all designed to push this narrative in context of the most pressing issues of the day. Some ...

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Separating dissent and disavowal

This is the era of outrage politics. Dissent from the popular opinion and, no matter how eloquent or meritorious the argument, prepare to be swept up in a deluge of outrage. Complain of the injustice of such treatment and the opprobrium is doubled by those who condemn self-defense as a violation of free speech rights. The end result of such ...

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If 2016 is a choice between the worst options, the people bear some responsibility

A mere four years ago, pundits were bemoaning the death of the Lincoln-Douglas style debate. In an election cycle defined by quips about “binders full of women” and where the most serious dismantling of ideology involved repeatedly calling it “malarkey,” the staid deliberation of 19th century campaigning seemed the height of rhetorical finesse. If the clamoring for such gravitas seems ...

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The Trump-Ryan Feud and Intraparty Loyalty

The fast-eroding relationship between Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Donald Trump is about as friendly as the one which existed between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Many have been quick to descry Ryan, who has seemingly gone through more positions on Trump than a ballerina, and other party members for disavowing the nominee so close to an ...

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Why the “GOP is out to destroy Trump” line is ludicrous

The structure of the American political landscape is such that the president is the head of his or her party. This is true in both a literal and symbolic capacity. Obviously, the president is the chief executive, meaning he not only commands the greatest degree of functional power, but he also is the most visible and identifiable member of the ...

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What the vice presidential debate revealed about Hillary Clinton’s power lust

kaine-pence-coat-pins

In Federalist 70, Alexander Hamilton, not exactly reticent in his support for a powerful, proactive president, wrote, “The ingredients which constitute energy in the executive are unity; duration; an adequate provision for its support; and competent powers. The ingredients which constitute safety in the republican sense are a due dependence on the people, and a due responsibility.” This latter understanding ...

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What Comey’s Testimony Reveals About the Culture of Modern Government

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As is usually the case in any proceeding where Trey Gowdy is present, an exchange between the South Carolina representative and FBI director James Comey, testifying in an oversight hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, stands out of the hours of futile verbal sparring as one moment of clarity and consequence. Asked by Gowdy what Hillary Clinton would have had ...

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