Home >> Author Archives: Katherine Revello

Author Archives: Katherine Revello

What does an electoral mandate mean in a democratic system?

Whenever an election result heavily favors one party or candidate, the commentariat class—those members of the media and political elite who feel qualified to act as final arbiters in determining the meaning of political and cultural events—brand that victory a “mandate.” This term is used as if the degree of victory somehow gives the winner greater legitimacy to act, lending ...

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What the Tillerson Hearing Got Wrong About Economic Sanctions

Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin - premier.gov.ru

The viability of sanctions as a major part of U.S. foreign policy played a prominent role in the back and forth between members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s during today’s confirmation hearing. As the former CEO of oil giant ExxonMobil, Tillerson’s recalcitrance to testify to the positives of sanctions was perhaps understandable. ...

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As Trump tweets, so goes the market

To paraphrase a famous cliché, “As Trump tweets, so goes the stock market.” Last Thursday, Japanese car maker Toyota’s stock plummeted following a Donald Trump tweet critical of the company’s announcement it was opening a plant in Mexico which would produce Corollas to be sold in the U.S. This was only the latest incidence of various companies’ stocks rising or ...

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The American Political System Should Be Divisive

Modern political ideology has devolved into a form of sectarianism. Party identification now serves as nothing short of an intellectual brand. If an individual claims to be a Democrat or a Republican, or to have a deep ideological connection to a sect of either party, all sorts of assumptions are encouraged. To some degrees this is logical; the point of ...

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Defining equality in the American political system

The aftermath of the 2016 election is a tale of two separate and competing definitions of equality. To those lobbying for the abolition of the electoral college, egalitarianism is expressed directly through the popular vote, which embodies the will of the simple majority—the only gauge necessary for determining what is “fair.” To those who remain staunchly behind the electoral college, ...

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Only free trade is truly fair

The current dichotomy which is being promoted between “fair trade” and “free trade” is utterly nonsensical. Free trade is the only type of fair trade. Free trade empowers the actors considering entering into a business relationship to set their own standards of what constitutes “fairness.” If all parties can come to a consensus where their individual ideas of what is ...

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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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