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With the defeat of Initiative 1631 carbon fee, High Country News takes a look at why it went down. Highlighted midway in the article is Political Science Professor Aseem Prakash and fellow UW Professor Nives Dolšak. The Professors mostly agree but did have a divergence of view as the whether I-1631 would pass. Prof. Prakash lays a lot of blame on environmentalists themselves because they concentrate too much on their own base to turn out and not others. And, it was not just the money that oil and gas industry had put in to defeat I-1631, it was also questions about the initiative's... Read more
On KUOW Radio’s The Record, Aseem Prakash and colleague Nives Dolšak are interviewed on the environmental issues in election choices. They make the point that in order to get climate and environmental policies in place, first elections of politicians sympathetic to the cause must be elected. And this in not strictly a partisan issue. Prakash and Dolšak remind listeners that many environmental laws made in the 1970s were implemented under the Nixon administration. An important aspect that should be emphasized is to frame the message in the idea that environment policies are good for... Read more
John Wilkerson, Department Chair
When I tell someone that I teach Political Science at the University of Washington, the response is usually along the lines of “You must have a lot to talk about!” or “These must be very interesting times for a Political Scientist!” Both are observations are true of course. There is always something to talk about and I have learned a lot from the ‘politics of unusual’ that we are currently experiencing. As an American politics scholar, much of what I have observed has only reinforced the importance of what we currently teach our students. Other things have challenged my worldview. Count me... Read more
Caitlin Ainsley, Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor Caitlin Ainsley recently joined our department after receiving her Ph.D (and M.A. and B.A.) from Emory University. She grew up in Santa Barbara, California, spending much of her time surfing and playing volleyball before moving to Atlanta, Georgia, for college and graduate school.  Forced to find new hobbies with the closest beach now hundreds of miles away, she developed a fascination with states’ management of currency and after a one-year stint at the London School of Economics, returned to Emory for graduate school.  Caitlin is a Comparative Political Economy scholar... Read more
France faced a widespread "yellow vest' protest against President Macron's new climate proposal for “green” levies on transportation fuel. The reason behind it was that ordinary French citizens were being targeted instead of big companies that pollute more but pay no tax. This doesn't mean that citizens don't care about climate change at all, they see it as an elite priority compared to other issues such as dissatisfaction with the government. To solve this, the climate movement needs to connect with ordinary people. One way to do it is to frame this issue in a way that relates to ordinary... Read more
In a Review Symposium,"A Discussion of Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die," UW Political Science Professor, Christopher Sebastian Parker, contributes to the discussion of the above titled best-selling book on how democracies can slide into authoritarianism. The core argument of the book suggests that the turn toward authoritarianism does not always occur by coups or revolution, but by the erosion of democratic norms. The authors of the book make a few suggestions of how to remedy the situation, including the Scandanavian model of social welfare. Prof. Parker, however,... Read more
In order for the Democrats to win, Prof. Christopher Parker and colleagues Christopher Frederico and Rafael Aguilera find that any gains for the Democrats will need to come from both Democrat voters and independents. While many on the Democrat side want to emphasize economic issues, some independent political groups go for warning about the Trump administration's assault on democraic norms and threats to democracy. Prof. Parker and colleagues conducted a survey, half reading a passge about economics and the Trump administration and half about the threat to democracy. For the results,... Read more
In 2016, state of Washington tried to enact a carbon tax through initiative 732 but failed with 41 percent vote. Initiative 732 failed because environmental, labor and social justice group opposed the design of policy that tax revenues go back to citizen and business instead of climate action. As of Nov. 8, I-1631, a “revenue positive” proposal that would generate new tax revenue annually and allocate the revenue to various climate project, has secured only 43.67 percent of the vote. The reason for failure is straightforward: Washingtonians do not like new taxes, especially when they perceive... Read more
Due to the Electoral College, both George W. Bush (2000) and Donald Trump (2016) lost the popular vote but won the presidency. There are only two Senates for each state regardless the size of the state. This has important implications for political representation. The current demographic groups that tend to support Democrats are likely reside in populated states such as California and our current system strongly favors white voters. There is a democratic deficit in our system and it is almost impossible to amend the Constitution to change how the Senate or the president is elected. There is a... Read more
There was a debate organized by the UW Center for Environmental Politics about Initiative 1631 on Tuesday, October 16th 2018 in Gowen Hall 301 and was reported by Leslie Fisher for the UW Daily newspaper. "The debate featured Nature Conservancy government relations director Mo McBroom and Washington State Labor Council representative April Sims supporting the initiative versus “No on I-1631” campaign spokesperson Dana Bieber and former executive secretary of the Washington Building Trades Council Lee Newgent from the opposition." The initiative is mainly about a carbon emission fee that will... Read more