The Best President: John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy’s official presidential portrait

The presidency of John F. Kennedy was perhaps the strongest one America has ever seen. It was defined by, and will forever be associated with, the Cuban Missile Crisis, an international calamity in the fall of 1962 that brought the world dangerously close to nuclear annihilation. As the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war, President Kennedy demonstrated that he possessed the courage which he so admired and wrote about as “Grace under pressure.”  He did this by being decisive in standing up against his military leaders who all were urging him to launch an invasion of Cuba, and his willingness to reach out to the Soviets and negotiate a win-win solution to the crisis (i.e., U.S. missiles out of Turkey in exchange for Russian missiles out of Cuba), all while following and upholding the U.S. Constitution that he had sworn to protect.

President Kennedy was born in Massachusetts on May 29, 1917. He was the second-oldest of nine children, and two of his younger brothers also became high-ranking government officials, with Robert F. Kennedy as his Attorney General at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis being the most noteworthy.  President and Attorney General Kennedy’s had a close and trusting working relationship which was perhaps never better displayed than during the Crisis. President Kennedy implicitly acknowledged this truth when he was overheard by his aide David Powers during the Cuban Missile Crisis saying to himself, “Thank God for Bobby!”

On October 16, 1962, the American government learned that Soviet missile bases were being built in Cuba. The Soviets wanted a tactical leverage to hold over the U.S., and their new ally Cuba–which was strategically just 90 miles from the Floridian coast–offered them that opportunity. The close proximity would enable Soviet nuclear missiles positioned there to hit major U.S. cities on the East Coast within minutes.

 

John F. Kennedy’s presidential cabinet during the Cuban Missile Crisis

 

After learning of this, President Kennedy immediately convened a group of trusted advisors–known as the ExComm–to debate

different strategies and offer recommendations for how he should handle the crisis. While some on the ExComm continued to urge an immediate attack on the missile bases, Attorney General Kennedy threw his support behind those who championed first using the option of a naval blockade or quarantine to stop further Russian supplies from entering Cuba. What the quarantine option also offered was much needed time for U.S.-Soviet negotiations to be conducted in order for a possible resolution of the crisis to be reached. Despite the relentless and ongoing pressure to attack Cuba from his military leaders, President Kennedy opted for the quarantine and for negotiations. This showed his courage and decisiveness, as President Kennedy had to take in all the data that his team was giving him and make an informed decision entirely on his own about the safety of his country that went against what many of his advisors were telling him to do. He made the important and risky decision to seek further negotiations, and thus, properly used his power as president to seek a peaceful resolution.

President John F. Kennedy conversing with Attorney General–and brother–Robert F. Kennedy

As the crisis escalated, however, the generals continued to urge the president to invade, much like they did the year earlier with the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Deciding not to invade was the best decision President Kennedy could have made because, although no one at the time knew, the missiles in Cuba were already active and in place.  It was only learned years later that if President Kennedy had in fact authorized an invasion during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuba was thoroughly prepared to launch the nuclear missiles on America in retaliation, which would in turn open the door to nuclear annihilation.

The generals, just like at the Bay of Pigs, were once again wrong during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The only thing that saved America was the young president’s ability to learn from his past experience, to lead, to be courageous and decisive, and to use his presidential power constitutionally to protect the safety of the American people and the world.

President Kennedy was tragically assassinated on November 22, 1963, only a little over a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Those that knew President Kennedy the best, who worked by his side during his years in the White House, Senate, and Congress, had much to say about his leadership. House speaker John William McCormack once said, “Surely no country ever faced more gigantic problems than ours in the last few years. And surely no country could have obtained a more able leader in a time of such crisis.” House Speaker McCormack was referring to the fact that The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the most terrifying events to happen to any country at the time, and the U.S. would not have been able to get through it if they had anyone other than President Kennedy in the White House. As well, Senator Everett Dirksen, his long time colleague, had much to say to remember him by, “We saw him come to the Senate at age thirty-five. We saw him grow, we saw him rise. We saw him elevated to become the chief magistrate of this nation. And we saw him as the leader of both branches of this Republic, assembled to deliberate over common problems… He had vision that went beyond our own. His determination to effectuate a test-ban treaty is a living example. He was his own profile in courage, his unrelenting devotion to equality and civil rights attests that fact. He was devoted to our system of constitutional government.” Senator Dirksen acknowledged that President Kennedy was courageous and constitutional throughout all his years in politics, not just in the White House.

Ultimately, what President Kennedy brought to bear during the missile crisis was true presidential leadership. Because of his steady hand and his willingness to search for and achieve a peaceful resolution through negotiation, which included his secret agreement to withdraw US missiles from Turkey if the Russians would follow suit in Cuba, he is rightfully remembered and honored for his presidential leadership in protecting the lives of millions of people all over the world, while still upholding the Constitution. Surely the country that is so beloved today would be completely different, if it were even still standing, if someone else was in the White House at the time of the Crisis. President Kennedy is rightfully beloved and remembered largely because he was his own description of courage: he had grace under pressure.

By Rachel Suggs, Staff Writer

President Oprah: a Glamorous but Dangerous Fantasy

On Jan. 7, philanthropist and talk show host Oprah Winfrey took to the stage of the Golden Globes and delivered perhaps the most iconic speech in the award show’s history. Her words were certainly eloquent and empowering – but not, as most of the Internet has already labeled it, presidential.

The fact remains that Winfrey is not a politician and never will be. Her rhetorical prowess that night reflected decades of success in the entertainment industry, not political skill. And should she eventually concede to media pressure and announce a presidential bid, America will enter another era of crippling partisan polarization with dire consequences.

The thought of Oprah Winfrey as president in 2020 is a glamourous fantasy in contrast to our current administration, which is likely why it appeals to so many people. It’s true that Winfrey surpasses Donald Trump in everything from ethical soundness to command of the English language, but they both share something in common: utter lack of political experience.

Candidates for office should only be judged by their capabilities as a politician and leader in an increasingly complex political landscape. The world stage today is an intricate and dangerous system, and the United States is at the forefront of most political conversations. The only way a president will be able to handle leading the most powerful nation in the world in times like these is if they have had direct experience with everything from foreign policy to domestic economic issues. A good president in an era like ours, in addition to being compassionate, is necessarily a practical leader, hardened by experience, with a profound comprehension of every dimension of society and government.

Winfrey has never had to stand her ground on the Senate floor and face down dozens of livid political adversaries; she has never had to push for plausible and specific action across the world; she has never coordinated with intimidating world leaders who have the power to wipe out all known civilization. She has never been exposed to the many nuanced processes that compose the federal government, so she is not qualified to lead it.

According to a recent NPR poll, many people are drawn to Winfrey not only because of her personality, but because she would break the trend of white male presidents in office. This is not an unreasonable consideration, but there are other women of color in politics right now who are far more qualified to lead our nation.

Kamala Harris is an African-American, Indian-American senator from California with extensive experience as a district attorney, Attorney General of California and congresswoman. Her history of activism for prison reform, environmental justice and gun control has already made her a particular favorite for the 2020 election among African-Americans in California. And, according to USNews, she is already strongly considering throwing her hat in the ring when election season rolls around.

Harris has direct experience in the chaotic world of politics and would serve our nation better than Winfrey. She may not have the advantage of being a pop culture icon, but all she needs, as we saw in 2016, is one spark of media attention that will grow into a wildfire that will make her known as a Democratic candidate.

As a nation, we gave Trump the absurd amount of attention that let him win, and we are now witnessing the consequences of fueling that fire. Even disregarding his heinous morals, Trump’s political strategies have been divisive and dangerous, pushing us closer towards nuclear war and completely deconstructing the little order remaining in Washington DC. And yet, even after experiencing the damaging failures that incited by an unqualified president, Hollywood and the media are nudging another politically incompetent celebrity into the 2020 race. We can not afford to make the same mistake and allow media attention to concentrate around Oprah Winfrey instead of other capable politicians.

By Melanie Lust, Staff Writer

ZIP Codes & Unions: Education Tyrants | OP-ED

On January 21st, President Donald J. Trump issued a proclamation inaugurating National School Choice Week; school choice is the policy of allowing families, through an array of different programs, to select which public school they wish their student(s) to attend. These programs are typically offered to students who reside in school districts that are either underfunded, ridden with crime, or not equipped to provide students with an adequate education. The simple premise: families know what school is best for their children. However, most of the United States has not enacted any such policies. Many politicians, particularly those left of center, are beholden to teachers’ unions, and have refused to support legislation to afford families the choice of what school they wish to go to.

Here are the facts: school choice is beneficial for students who are snared in decrepit public schools: one improvement is within academic performance. Professors Patrick J. Wolf, M. Danish Shakeel, and Kaitlin P. Anderson of the University of Arkansas found, in a meta-analysis study they conducted analyzing eleven school choice programs in the United States, Columbia, and India, that, on average, students participating in a school choice program improved their test scores by twenty-seven percent and fifteen percent in reading and math, respectively. Wolf et al. believed this result to be “highly statistically significant”, signaling “meaningful achievement gains” in education. This is likely a result of competition within schools.

In the free market, when two entities with to compete for customers’ business, the entities will try to improve their product as much as possible in order to attract the business of said customers. The public education system typically doesn’t function like this: your zip code determines the “business” you will “buy” your service from. In effect, school districts mandating your children attend the designating school is a monopoly, and schools are given no incentive to innovate. The only option out is to opt for private schools, which are economically unfeasible for many families enrolled in the public education system.

But let’s look at a study conducted by Wolf and Anna J. Egalite (North Carolina State University), in which they analyze the effects competition had on voucher school (schools that one may attend outside of their school district as a part of a school choice program). In the study, Wolf and Egalite found that schools made adjustments to the functions of their schools to attract families–or, the customers–to their business–or, their school. This study found that 28.7% of voucher schools added tutoring services, or other accommodations, and 72.4% encouraged parental involvement in school activities. Furthermore, thirty of the forty-two evaluations analyzed in the study found that, when competition spices “improvement in the performance of district schools appear to be especially large”, reporting that the “test scores of all or some public-school students increase when schools are faced with competition”. As an added bonus, 12.6% of schools inaugurated classes not otherwise offered to attract news students.

But the benefits don’t stop there: graduation rates are bolstered as a result of school choice, particularly among groups who are, statistically, less likely to graduate. In 2003, Congress mandated that the U.S. Department of Education evaluate the D.C. Opportunity Scholar Program’s (DCOSP) impact. The result: there was a twenty-one percent–statistically significant–increase in graduation rate among DCOSP participants, all of whom were from low-income families. Less extreme, but still impressive, results were replicated in the Milwaukee Parent Choice Program (MPCP), which it was found that low-income students enrolled in the program were between four and seven percent more likely to both graduate and enroll in college.

The second benefit to school choice is the impact it has on students with disabilities, or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Low-income families are disproportionately concentrated within urban areas, which are also the areas with the most derelict schools, and through allowing these families–of which are disproportionately black and Hispanic–students can be lifted out of generational poverty. Black and Hispanic students and low-income students, all of whom are marginalized to receive inadequate education, are, through voucher programs, given the opportunity to succeed. In a video made by Prager University, a conservative outlet that works, partially, to promote school choice, Denisha Merriweather, a beneficiary of this voucher program, proclaimed, “None of us deserve to be imprisoned by our ZIP codes.”

But there exist many opponents to school choice, one of which was the Obama administration, who instead opted to increase funding to failing public schools–and it failed to produce meaningful results. The Obama administration inaugurated the School Improvement Grants program (SIG), a program in which underperforming schools who allocated grants to improve their education, but the Department of Education’s analysis on SIG found that “across all grades…SIG-funded model had no significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.” Furthermore, in another video conducted by PragerU, Rebecca Friedrichs attests to how public schools misuse their funds, stating that “public school attendance in the U.S. has gone up by just five percent, while public school employment has gone up ninety-five percent…[California] ranks forty-fifth in the nation in reading and math, despite spending $55 billion year on education.” Why is this?

It’s because schools have a monopoly on their district’s education, and have no incentive to want to improve, while schools involved in competitive models are incentivized to do so, and, as we have seen, improvement actually occurs. They are incentivized because, through school choice, the money follows the student: when a family decided to send its students to a given school, the money follows, and goes to that school.

This is fairly simple: simply funneling money into schools does not produce meaningful results, but school choice does. Education is the United States is increasingly failing to measure up to international competition, and is, more importantly, failing our students. But why is school choice so hard to enact? The short answer: teachers’ unions.

The teachers’ unions’ jobs have, historically, been to secure the professional positions of teachers: that is why they require dues from all public-school teachers–so they can lobby the government for more money. This money is then invested in hiring more teachers, whether it be necessary or not. However, as students, and their money, flock to voucher schools, the power of the union is threatened, as teachers at these schools typically are not bound by union rules, and they drain union pockets. The goal of the unions is not to better public education: never has been, never will be. Rather, their aim is to secure positions for its members. Teachers’ unions, and the politicians beholden to them, are not education’s friends. The solution to our deteriorating public education system is choice.

By Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

Why I’m Pro-Life

I used to be pro-choice: I supported federal funding of Planned Parenthood, I subscribed to the rhetoric that abortion is a “woman’s right”, and I believed that abortion should be legal. That was a year ago: today, I believe that abortion is one of the greatest evils of the modern world, and, in most instances, should be illegal.

First and foremost, the reason I’m pro-life is because human life begins at conception. Upon the fertilization of the ovum by the sperm, the membrane of these two cells fuse, and create a zygote, in which elements of the paternal and maternal DNA begin to interact, forming its own DNA. The DNA, then, begins to immediately replicate, and the cells begin to duplicate. The overall process in which mitosis–the duplication of the cells–occurs is what is known as syngamy.

An organism, by scientific definition, is “a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole, and an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent.”

Let’s break this down: the paternal and maternal DNA, both of which are present within the zygote, work interdependently to carry out the process of mitosis, which qualifies this zygote as an organism. The maternal and paternal DNA are interdependent elements whose relation are determined by their function within the entirety of the zygote. Furthermore, these two elements independently carry out the activities of the zygote, and are mutually dependent. According to the criteria of an organism, the zygote–upon the ovum being fertilized by the sperm–is a living organism. Thus, zygotes are an organism, qualifying them as human life.

Many have tried to argue that the inception of human life cannot be determined, but Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth of Harvard Medical School contests this claim, arguing “It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.”

That is why I’m pro-life: it is a human life. But often times, I met with the same question: if you are conservative–which I am–why do you want the government to regulate abortion? The assumption here is that, as a conservative, I am supposed to support every small government measure. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of conservatism. Conservatism, while supporting small government, also believes in the institution of a government that has a clear directive: protecting the unalienable rights of its citizens. And one of these rights is the right to life. To say that abortion is a matter of the scope of government is to say that the government has no intrinsic duty to protect the right to life.

There has been much attempt to circumvent this argument by maintaining that the ability of a woman to acquire an abortion is a constitutional right, as per the Supreme Court decision: Roe v. Wade. Roe was the landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled state bans on abortion are unconstitutional due to the “right to privacy” indicated in the Ninth Amendment. Let us not forget that “separate but equal” was ruled constitutional in Plessy v. Ferguson and slaves were ruled to be property in Dred Scott v. Sandford, rendering judicial decisions susceptible to imperfection.

This imperfection is rampant in Roe, as this “right to privacy” does not exist within the Constitution, but instead, was derived from the Ninth Amendment, which establishes that American citizens have rights beyond what is enumerated in the Constitution. The “right to privacy” exists on a shaky legal basis. Additionally, Chief Justice Harry Blackmun maintained that “the word ‘person’, as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn”. In summary: the right to privacy is not present anywhere in the Constitution, and, if it did, it wouldn’t be able to subvert the right to life, but this right to life was undermined by Blackmun set the precedent that the unborn weren’t “people”.

But they are people. The rhetoric that has dehumanized the unborn was a strategy to make abortion acceptable in the public eye, despite most science confirming the personhood of a fetus. However, through this, abortion has shifted from a matter of rights to a matter of “choice”. I used to be of the persuasion that abortion was a woman’s choice, and that it should be left to the individual to choose, because it was not the government’s job. I soon came to realize this was wrong. The rhetoric espoused by the pro-choice camp exists typically in the vein of “my body, my choice”, but a zygote, as established earlier, has distinct DNA from both the mother and father, and fulfills the criteria of personhood. In every instance, the zygote is an entity separate from the mother–the only thing connecting them is that the mother provides the nutrients for the fetus. It is, by all means, an independent entity. Being unable to survive independently does not negate its personhood: many people–of all ages–are entirely dependent on medicine.

Thus, abortion is not merely about a woman’s choice, because the zygote is not an extension of the woman, is just dependent upon the woman. For all intents and purposes, it is a human life that lives as a separate entity. It was president Ronald Reagan who said, “I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” Pro-choice does not afford the child any choice, and abortion makes the unilateral decision while ignoring the most vulnerable in society. The Constitution does not exist to protect those able to protect themselves, but to protect those who cannot help themselves.

The final argument I am faced with is that abortion is always going to happen, so there should exist a safe environment in which to conduct them–but this is to assume that a violation of unalienable human rights is acceptable. One would not say the same thing about the murder of a person outside the womb, or robbery. Just because something happens does mean it should be facilitated. Rather, society should act to assist struggling women through their pregnancies.

That is why I’m pro-life: I believe in the sanctity of human life, and through denying the right to life to certain sects of our society jeopardizes the existence of the rest of our rights.

By Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief       

 

Trump Administration Should Keep TPS for El Salvadorans

The Department of Homeland Security announced on January 8th that the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of Salvadorans has ended and that citizens of El Salvador that hold this status must leave the country by September 9, 2019. Temporary Protected Status is a legal status that the US government grants to applicants who come from countries struck by natural disaster or an ongoing armed conflict. This decision comes after last year’s official termination of TPS status for Nicaraguan and Sudanese immigrants. It also trails President Trump’s repeal of  President Obama’s policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allowed children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the US and have the opportunity to work without fear of deportation.

 

The Trump Administration does not fail to make immigrants question why they chose America as their country of choice. The granting of TPS status to Salvadorans came after the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that rattled the small Central American country of El Salvador in 2001 and left 20% of the population displaced. The initial action was to allow TPS-holding immigrants to stay in the US for 18 months, but because of repetitive declarations that the country had not fully recovered and was not safe enough for its citizens to return, many of the TPS-holding Salvadorans have lived in America for more than a decade. As of now, CNN and Vox both estimate that 260,000 Salvadorans are currently living in the US with TPS protection. After 17 years of protection, Salvadorans have been here for too long to be deported to a country in which they would have to start again from nothing.

 

El Salvador has a higher homicide rate than any other country in the world. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, its homicide rate was 108.6 homicides per 100,000 people in 2015, which is 42 more homicides (per 100,000 people) than the second highest homicide rate, which belongs to Honduras. A majority of this violence comes from gang rivalries and severed peace agreements between gangs and local police. The extensive presence of gangs leave parents fearful of their children joining a gang one day. It makes no sense to repeal Salvadoran TPS status briefly after the new year because no dip in the country’s homicide rate conveys that the country is in any safer conditions to welcome back its citizens. Since 17% of El Salvador’s GDP is derived from financial support that Salvadoran immigrants in America send back home, the termination of TPS status for Salvadorans could potentially cause economic instability and segue into a larger extent of crime and violence.

 

Although 95% of crimes in El Salvador are left ignored by the police, the country’s Catholic-institutionalized rigid anti-abortion policies punish women who are under suspicion of having an abortion. Women who have miscarriages are often suspected of aborting their children by the end of their treatment. Such suspicion can land a woman in jail for 40 years, which is the sentence given to those convicted of murder. Again, no striking, or even subtle improvement is evident in Salvadoran abortion policy that proves an increase in personal securities for the country’s women. The only viable explanation to this sudden decision by the Trump Administration is that President Trump is still caught up in countering policies supported by President Obama and the Democrats, such as laissez-faire immigration policy.

 

Numerous TPS-holding Salvadorans have had children in the US or married US citizens. In fact, Vox estimates that 192,000 US-born children will be affected by having to bid farewell to at least one Salvadoran parent. Many Salvadorans also own businesses in the US and their deportation could harm local economic climates. A 2017 report by the Center for Migration Studies also found that 34% of TPS-holding Salvadorans are homeowners who pay mortgages. These people are practically fully-immersed Americans who are burdened with the fear of exclusion because of their distant pasts. If Congress does not take advantage of this 20-month window to push back on this anti-immigration act, then there is no reason for Salvadorans to stay hopeful that they can keep pursuing the American Dream.

By Aditya Acharya, Staff Writer

The Party Switch: A False Narrative (Part One)

It’s treated like a historical and political axiom: During the 1960’s and 1970’s, the American racists, once loyal to the Democratic Party, switched allegiances in favor of the Republicans, and the socially tolerant and progressive Republicans switched their allegiance, to the Democratic Party. And thus, the Republican Party, the former party of Lincoln, devolved into a conglomerate of racism, intolerance, and prejudice, while the Democratic Party, the former party of Davis, became the party of acceptance. This is not merely a myth, but rather, a false narrative constituted of an amalgamation of myths.

For the purpose of this article, “the South” will refer to: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The first of these myths is that of the “Southern Strategy”: the electoral strategy used by the Republican Party through appealing to prejudiced southerners to poach their partisan loyalty from the Democrats. Most proponents of this theory attribute the conception of this strategy to then-former Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

However, the Republican Party began competitive in the South as early as 1928 during that year’s presidential election and the subsequent election of then-Secretary Herbert Hoover. For the first time in American history, a Republican came close to winning a majority of the former-Confederate states. Republicans, previously, were able to win a small number of southern states,

Electoral map from the 1928 United States presidential election

typically Confederacy-Union border states, such as Missouri, Kentucky, and West Virginia, but in 1928, President Hoover won nearly half of the states, capturing Texas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida, making substantial inroads into the Democratic South.

From there, Republicans and Democrats fought for the political loyalty of the South, with neither party coming to decisively dominate the region during presidential elections until the 2000 presidential election. In fact, during the 1976 presidential election, President Gerald Ford, vice president to Richard Nixon, the supposed architect of the alleged “Southern Strategy” who succeeded him upon his resignation, won only Virginia, with the rest of the South won by then-Governor Jimmy Carter.

 

Electoral map from the 1976 United States presidential election

In fact, Virginia, today, remains a safely Democratic state, while North Carolina and Florida are swing states in presidential elections. However, it is undeniable that, beginning in 1928, the Republican Party became noticeably competitive in a region impenetrable by the party decades prior. However, this did not occur during the 1960’s and 1970’s, as promulgated by proponents of the “Party Switch” and “South Strategy” narrative, which already  casts doubt upon the Party Switch Theory–but it doesn’t explain why the South, a Democratic bulwark, reversed its political alignment to become largely Republican.

Economic issues consistently dominate American concerns when voting for elected officials, and, as Byron Shafer, a political scientist as the University of Wisconsin, stated: “But when folks [Southerners] went to the polling booths, they didn’t shoot off their own toes. They voted by their economic preferences, not racial preferences.” And, as the South’s economy modernized itself from a once poor and rural region into a heavily suburban and economically developed region, and, simultaneously, grew less racist, the South grew more Republican.

However, once-Democrats did not make an exodus from their party, but rather, successive generations of Southerners, as their economic conditions improved and they moved into the suburbs, they came to vote Republican, who largely concerned themselves with the economic state of the country. As documented in the New York Times, 53% of the high-income tercile voted Republican during the 1950’s, while, three decades later, 77% of the same demographic voted Republican. As the South evolved from poor and rural to wealthier and suburban, allegiance to the Republican Party grew, transforming much of the South into a solidly Republican region.

This shift to the Republican Party came largely due to the GOP’s focus on business, a position in maintained since the Gilded Age: an age of business-bolstering and small government conservatism. During this period was the 1896 presidential election, a realigning election during which then-Ohio Governor William McKinley ran a campaign advocating for the interests of business. During this campaign, McKinley advocated for high tariffs, in order to protect American business, and the Gold Standard, to protect against inflation. This positioned the Republican Party as the defenders against big business, attracting the Southerners, concerned with their economic prospects.

By Louis Gleason, Staff Writer

The Republican Party Must Discard Steve Bannon

To those who think this is preaching to the choir: The choir is becoming increasingly small, distracted and quiet. There must be a strong rejection of Bannon and the direction he aims to move the Republican Party and the country. I write this not as a snowflake, a liberal, or an ignorant blogger, but as a conservative activist who feels increasingly the black sheep in a party that is losing its roots and values.

The Senate Special Election in Alabama to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions seat is the just the most recent installment in a string of electoral losses for the GOP. The fault for the loss lies not with the Republican Party, it’s voters, the President, or even the Democrat who won the election. While some have pointed to the loss of a Senate seat in ruby red Alabama as evidence of an energized liberal mass, to credit Democrats with the defeat of Roy Moore would be very misleading and incorrect. The sole individual who is responsible is Steve Bannon, former special advisor to the President and executive chairman of Breitbart.

No democrat has won a statewide race in Alabama since 1992 when former Democrat, now Republican, Richard Shelby was re-elected to the U.S. Senate. To point to Doug Jones as a unique candidate that overcame tremendous political odds to win election to the Senate is not accurate. Jones did not so much win, as his opposition lost. And to be clear, Jones’ opposition consisted not of the GOP, but of the Alt-Right and its crown Prince, Steve Bannon. The Republican Senate Election arm, the NSRC fought hard to defend incumbent Luther Strange who had been appointed to fill the seat after President Trump appointed then-Senator Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general. But Steve Bannon, seeing an opening to begin his war against the Republican Party, gave perennial candidate and State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore a tremendous amount of financial and public support. Under the guise of helping enact President Trump’s populist agenda, Steve Bannon sought to increase his influence by trying to elect someone in his own image. Intent on waging a war with establishment Republicans over control of the party, Steve Bannon’s reckless actions have led to an accused child molestor being nominated, a Democrat winning in Alabama and a more divided party than ever.

While Bannon’s many disciples agree with the rhetoric that he spews, those who backed Bannon’s Moore ticket in the Alabama Primary are in the dark on the Alt-Right’s true intentions. What the primary voters who delivered Moore the nomination didn’t know is that Bannon is not concerned with advancing policy, but rather elevating himself. He is unconcerned with promoting good governance, American values, or a more unified country.

If Republicans can take one lesson away from Alabama, it should not be that their party is doomed in 2018, it should be that Steve Bannon is wrong for Republicans, wrong for decency, and wrong for America. If he continues to peddle influence and be trusted by conservatives, than far more will be at stake than control of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. The very institutions themselves could be irreparably damaged by the Bannonites who the Alt-Right are desperately trying to push over the finish line in primaries across the country.

With that, I urge fellow Republicans to reject Bannon’s bigotry and nationalism, and instead embrace American values and Conservative Values.

By Patrick Burland, Staff Writer

President Nikki Haley

The Republican Party is at one of its strongest points in its history: controlling the White House, both houses of Congress, thirty-three governorships, and full control of thirty-two legislatures, and maintain partial control over another five. But before McConnell and Ryan get cocky, it’s important to realize this: this power won’t last for much longer.

Aside of Democratic galvanization, millennials have reached voting age, and they lean heavily to the left, with 51% identifying as Democrats, as opposed to only 35% identifying as Republicans. And this is largely due to Republicans abandoning primary the concerns of millennials, namely LGBT rights and climate change. The solution? President Nikki Haley.

Not only would elevating United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley to a higher position, potentially secretary of state, and eventually president, provide some diversity the GOP, which has earned the reputation of being hostile to minorities and women, but her policies, if her past tenure is any indication, would attract millennial voters.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Survey of 207, 30.8% of millennials believe human rights and equality were “concerning issues”, making it the third most important issues to millennials. The Republican Party’s hard stance against same-sex marriage, as well refusal to address LGBT issues has alienated millennial voters who have come to believe the GOP is hostile to sexual and gender minorities. However, Ambassador Haley, while serving as governor of South Carolina, expressed opposition to the transgender bathroom laws, which may signal a warmer attitude towards LGBT citizens, necessary to better the GOP’s image amongst young people.

More important to millennials is climate change, with 48.8% identifying it as a “concerning issue”, making it the issue of foremost concern among millennials. Serving as governor, then-Governor Haley signed into law an overhaul of solar power regulation in the state of South Carolina, and implemented incentives to draw solar power to the state. At the same time, Haley opposed the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to impose carbon taxation. If her tenure as governor is any indication of a Haley administration’s environmental policy, it wouldn’t be an abandonment of conservatism, but rather addressing an issue important to their constituents in a way that aligns with their free-market values.

Finally, as ambassador, Haley has repeatedly demonstrated a strong, principled approach to international affairs. Diverging from President Obama, Ambassador Haley has taken a hard stance against both Iran, Hezbollah, and North Korea, and strong support of Israel, as well as Russia, in contrast to President Trump.

If the GOP wants to remain solvent in the coming elections, it will redefine itself from the populist, opportunist party of Trump, to the principled, responsive party of Haley.

By Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

Two Sides of the Net Neutrality Story

On Thursday, December 14th, the Federal Communications Committee (FCC), the federal agency responsible for regulating interstate communications, will vote on whether to remove regulations on the Internet from Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which were applied back in 2015. This set of regulation has been named “net neutrality”.

Under Title II, “It shall be unlawful for any common carrier to make any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services,” of which includes telecommunication services such as broadband internet access. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were determined to be legally subjectable to these regulations by the FCC in 2015.

Come January 2017, Ajit Pai was nominated, and confirmed, as Chairman of the FCC by President Donald Trump. An advocate for the free market, Pai wishes to make broadband internet access an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act, which would no longer allow the FCC to protect Internet users against “unjust or unreasonable” actions of the ISPs.

Pro-net neutrality protestors outside of the FCC headquarters

Why We Need Net Neutrality

By Emily Meng, Staff Writer

Sorry, you can no longer access this article. This site has been blocked by your ISP.

Not quite yet, but this will be the future of your Internet experience if the FCC votes to repeal net neutrality.

Infographic of hypothetical ISP business model that requires consumers to purchase certain packages for what they wish to access

Net neutrality prevents ISPs from preventing users from accessing websites or apps. For example, in a world without net neutrality, your midnight Netflix binges would no longer be feasible unless you purchased the website package that granted you access to video streaming websites. Social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter would be unaccessible or unbearingly slow without the social media package. Similar to how television is now controlled, a world without net neutrality means that free internet would be a thing of the past.

Repealing net neutrality would promote competition between companies to see who would offer the lowest prices. By having a free market, the ISPs would be motivated to outprice their competitors for different websites – Comcast could charge $5 for Netflix, but Verizon $7, and, if they are both the same speed, then customers would gravitate towards Comcast to save $2 on watching their favorite shows and movies. It’s argued that, by removing net neutrality, companies would be encouraged to increase their bandwidth to encourage more customers to buy from their company.

Perhaps that is the case, but the main issue remains: forcing customers to pay more in order to access certain websites. The Internet has always been, and should remain, a free platform for anyone to express their opinions. Small businesses are able to reach a greater audience and promote their products through the Internet. By forcing potential entrepreneurs to pay more in order to simply publish their website, innovation is no longer encouraged. Instead, whoever has the most money will become the most likely to succeed. Having an ingenious product is no longer the means to success, and the Internet then becomes another simulation of the stereotypes of capitalism: the more money you have, the more likely you’ll succeed, regardless of how much talent you actually have.

Pro-net neutrality graphics urging people to contact their representatives

Many of the websites we now use on a daily basis, such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Netflix, have become as successful as they are because of net neutrality. Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerberg because, at the time, “There was no tool where you could go and learn about other people. I didn’t know how to build that so instead I started building little tools,” he told Mathias Döpfner from “Die Welt am Sonntag”. He was able to utilize the privileges of a free Internet to create a network now used daily by people all over the world to do things such as keep up with old friends, sell sneakers, or update a community on current events. In a world where the Internet is regulated by ISPs, Facebook would not have succeeded unless Zuckerberg had a secret stash of money stored somewhere so that he could pay corporations to allow consumers to access his site. Without net neutrality, Zuckerberg would’ve been forced to implement Facebook into the “slow” lane, meaning that consumers would have to wait excessive amounts of time in order to access the website.

This concept of the “slow” and “fast” lanes is one of the main drivers behind cable companies pushing to end net neutrality. In doing so, they can lobby websites into paying exorbitant fees in order to escape the “slow lane”. Because each site would need to pay big cable in order to be in the “fast lane”, each site would cost more to the consumer, both in time and in money. If they didn’t purchase the package granting them website privileges, the website would be completely unavailable. If they purchased the package, but not the increased bandwidth package, they would be stuck for ages looking at a loading screen.

The only winners of a world without net neutrality are the ISPs. The FCC is willing to take the power of free Internet away from consumers and right into the hands of ISPs, who already charge high prices coupled with poor service. Without net neutrality, Googling the answers to your biology homework you don’t want to finish will end with a black screen. Stalking your favorite celebrity on Instagram would result in your ISP encouraging you to purchase the “Social Media” package to load those photos just a little faster. Cramming for that history test by bingeing Crash Course videos? Not unless you have the video streaming package.

Everything that makes the Internet what it is – a place of innovation, information, and communication – would be a thing of the past. The world of free Internet is something you don’t realize you needed until it’s gone. By December 14th, those blank screens you’re only used to seeing when your Internet is down may be all your Internet experience will become.

We Don’t Need Net Neutrality

By Louis Gleason, Editor-in-Chief

Fear is a rampant factor in contemporary politics–and it’s an effective one at that, and, during the debate over net neutrality, Democrats, and much of the left, have capitalized on both it, and ignorance, to push their regulatory agenda. The idea of net neutrality, admittedly, sounds good to the average reader, but it is far from it. Not only does America not need net neutrality, but should embrace its de facto repeal.

You’ve likely heard this dichotomy perpetuated by net neutrality supporters: Either we have net neutrality, and the Internet remains free, open, and untouched by monopolistic influences, or we don’t have net neutrality, and every Internet user will be forced to pay exorbitant prices to access Google, will have to purchase separate packages to access what they wish, and will experience incredibly slow speeds unless they upgrade to another package, otherwise known as “throttling”.

But this is extremely unlikely to happen, particularly for the reasons net neutrality advocates stipulate. ISPs throttle internet access on very rare occasions, and for good reason: it’s bad for business. In our capitalist society, people seek the best possible product for the lowest possible price, and, if companies wish to make a profit, that is what they will try to provide. For example, if Comcast were to restrict access to news sites other than MSNBC, which it has a business relationship with, the market would react. If people want access to a broad array of news sites, consumers will leave Comcast in favor of another ISP that meets their demands. The same goes for throttling Internet speeds: if people are unsatisfied, they will leave the ISP that doesn’t provide them with proper service.

These rules were only implemented in 2015–two years ago, during which the Internet operated just fine, without the extrapolated armageddon that many have “predicted”. Throttling only occurred in order to keep ISPs’ servers running during times of extreme stress.

While on the topic of history, let’s go back to pre-2015 and pre-net neutrality rules. These doomsday predictions don’t hold true in an era prior to these regulations. Under the free market, private network operators in the United States spent over, according to Harvard Business Review, $1.4 trillion, voluntarily, on Internet investments, which has allowed for the U.S. to acquire a multitude of high speed networks, including fiber optics, high-speed cable, VDSL, 4G LTE, and satellite, much of which is the some of the cheapest in the world. The Internet has gotten faster, cheaper, and more available when left to the market. No armageddon, no apocalypse, just progress. That’s because the market operates to keep these apocalyptic predictions from rearing their head.

Furthermore, when regulating the Internet as a public utility, the government relegates ISPs’ business models to the exact same design, not allowing for experimentation within the market. All ISPs, within the Title II regulations, are required to provide all data at the same speed for all people, eliminating experimentation with different types of services that some people may prefer.

For instance, online video games, particularly of the multiplayer variety, consume massive amounts of data. Some people, in this instance, people who play a lot of video games, may prefer to purchase a service from an ISP that allocates better bandwidth to online video games.

Or take this: it’s Saturday night and you’re binge watching Netflix, as are millions of other people at the same time, putting immense strain on Netflix’s servers, causing your show or movie to buffer constantly. To prevent this, shouldn’t people be able to purchase better bandwidth if they wanted to? Take a more dire situation: hospitals that rely on Internet access, they should be able to have faster Internet speeds for the necessary equipment they use for the livelihood of people.

Through allowing ISPs to compete with each other, they can create new and better business models that better serve the needs of their customers. And should consumers prefer neutrality, then companies will provide an option for that. Ultimately, this boils down to choice: do you want to be able to choose what service you buy, depending on your needs, or do you want to be forced to purchase one product? Armageddon isn’t on the horizon, but rather, the Internet may prove to be even better once net neutrality is repealed.

No Such Thing

Cyntoia Brown was a victim of child sex trafficking. Against her will, she was forced into sex with a man who paid her captor to do so. When she feared the man would kill her for refusing sex, she shot and killed him in self-defense. She was 16. And she was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison.

Her conviction was handed down in 2006 but her story has spread like wildfire these past few weeks on social media. Kim Kardashian of all people has offered to pay her legal fees. In my school, the day before Thanksgiving we all wrote on a big sheet of paper what we were hoping for. I can’t count how many “justice for Cyntoia Brown”s I saw.

But every single time I read about her case the same phrase irks me: child prostitute. Countless retellings of her story refer to her as a “child prostitute.” I’ve heard people mumble “well what was she expecting, she was a prostitute.” Cyntoia was no prostitute. She was simply a child.

The term prostitute implies some sort of autonomy over one’s decisions. There are many healthy and happy sex workers who operate with clear parameters about what they are and are not comfortable with. A child in any situation cannot consent. She was a sex slave who was raped for the profit of her captors.

The nonprofit Rights4Girls wrote an open letter to journalists and editors to refrain from using the phrase child prostitute. The letter states that “there is no such thing as a child prostitute. There is no difference between paying to rape a child and raping a child; all victims of child sex abuse should be treated the same way.”

When we refer to Cyntoia Brown and other victims like her as “child prostitutes” we are engaging in victim blaming. The term implies that they made an illegal decision and should be forced to reckon with the consequences. Cyntoia Brown is not a criminal but instead someone who has suffered immensely at the hands of criminals.

According to the Department of Justice, over 1000 children were arrested for sex work last year. These children were essentially punished for being victims of sexual abuse.

A true fair justice system is one that protects the innocent and punishes the guilty. Not the other way around. Eliminating phrases like child prostitute from our vernacular may seem trivial at first but changing the narrative around sex abuse will have massive ripple effects throughout society.

Kate Dario, Editor-In-Chief