A More United Politics

Politics and Parenting

As a part of an interdisciplinary series looking to restore a sense of unity in the U.S. after a fractious election period I was asked to give a set of answers to the prompt, What are 5 Steps That Each Of Us Can Take To Proactively Help Heal Our Country? After giving my list of 5, this expanded into a longer interview intended for a general audience on Thrive Global. Ever the academic, I concluded that giving a list is a start, but that an expansion would be better. Over the next few weeks I plan to give a more…


Political Communication

Tax Politics

In the past 7 days alone, 10 different Republicans have begun circulating talking points in their official constituent e-newsletters about the specter of the “death tax”. This term is the Republican pejorative that refers to the federal estate tax which subjects large estates that are bequeathed upon death to a progressive tax. If history is any guide, we are in for more focus on this topic in the coming months.

Republican legislators have always emphasized that large estates ought not be subject to taxes more than Democrats; looking at official e-newsletters from 2010 through today, the patterns are clear. …


Politics and Voting

Legislating and Public Relations

In each Congress, the bill number H.R. 1 is reserved for the majority party’s top goal. In the 117th Congress, controlled by Democrats that bill is the For the People Act of 2021 which passed the House on March 3, 2021. This is an ambitious elections reform bill, which is modeled after the 116th Congress’ H.R.1 that failed by not make it through (or even really into) the Republican controlled Senate. For context, the last time Republicans controlled the House (115th Congress) H.R. …


High(er) focus for Cannabis

Once taboo, marijuana is increasingly a topic in official communications

Drug decriminalization and legalization are on the rise throughout the states. Though a handful of states had decriminalized small amounts of marijuana by the mid 1970s, it was 1996 when California became the first state to permit sales of medical marijuana and by 2009 only 12 others and DC too decided to allow medicinal marijuana consumption. All the while, federal level entities charged with drug enforcement and safety — the DEA and FDAmaintained that Cannabis is a schedule I drug, the highest possible categorizations.

In 2009 I started a living archive project made of all the official e-newsletters…


The Politics of Instagram

The attempts of politicians, entertainers, women and conservative media

On November 7, 2020 the outcome of the 2020 presidential election was called by the Associate Press. As a highly anticipated election during a fantastically challenging time, people across all mediums connected to discuss the race. In the year prior there were 560,847,710 interactions with verified accounts on Instagram that made use of the word “election”.

As a relative newcomer in the social media space, Instagram doesn’t have as much scholarly politics/influence related work as Facebook or Twitter do, but it is a medium with a decidedly younger audience and worth learning more about. What were the most influential Instagram…


Partisan Echo Chambers

New data show the media diet of members of Congress

We’ve all heard that our media diet lives in an echo chamber, or that we only ever interact with stories that match our pre-existing dispositions to the world. Some people blame this one media outlets, other on individual sorting, and some see it as a predictable end to our fractured and specialized media/entertainment world. But what about politicians themselves, how to they contribute to this confirmatory news landscape?

Legislators spend a decent amount of their time trying to convince constituents that they are good at their jobs and well respected within the government. One way that legislators signal their abilities…


A Very Upper East Side Holiday Season

After nearly a year of online shopping for everything from comfort clothes to more (and more) bourbon, shopping in a real live store and/or buying from real live humans might be the best way to end 2020. I enjoy seeing actual objects in 3D versus through my computer screen, so over the past 3 weekends I hit up as many NYC holiday gift shops and seasonal bazaars as possible. Gifting is also one of my favorite things to do, but I like to get it unique and right, versus the easier…and sometimes slightly cheaper offerings from the Jeff Bezos Marketplace.


It’s not as hard as you think

Like many others in higher education, this semester looks very different from those of the past. All of my courses are taught online via Zoom. Like all the other years I’ve taught, after midterms some students are doing well and others not so much. I know some students are thriving, but many are struggling with this new environment. After grading midterms and relating those scores to how students interact with online school I have one solid bit of advice for students: turn your cameras on during class.

The basic reason why professors of all types are pleading for students to…


2020 Election Official side taking in Congress

In the days after the election, legislators resumed their practices of sending official e-newsletters to constituents. These aren’t campaign messages, but rather are the taxpayer funded official .gov communications each member is permitted to send to constituents. Think of it like the Franking Privilege, but for email.

These messages offer us an insight into who is more committed to Trump and who is more likely to commit to the 50 state run elections still unfolding. Between November 3rd and 9 am on November on November 7th there have been 112 messages sent, with 38% coming from Republicans. For reference, in…


The contemporary rise of an insult within Congress

I think a lot about socialism. Not so much in the definitional sense, “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole”, but rather in the political pejorative sense.

In 2009 I started DCinbox.com, a living database and archive of all official e-newsletters sent by sitting members of the House and Senate. Right as I embarked on this project, the debates about what would become the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or Obamacare started in earnest. …

Lindsey Cormack

I am an assistant professor of political science and run www.dcinbox.com. I teach at Stevens Institute of Technology and reside on the Upper East Side

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