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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

Update on the Presidential Campaign

Justin Buchler, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University
Friday February 26, 2016
12:30-1:30 p.m.

***Alternate Location: Room LL06***
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

Trump to Political Scientists: "Drop Dead" Or something of the sort… This is how Justin Buchler satirizes the political science discipline's continual expectation that Donald Trump's campaign would collapse. And while Trump (so far) has not in fact copied the New York Daily News' paraphrase of President Ford's response to New York City's troubles in 1975, it's easy to imagine him using that language.

The whole pundit community – perhaps in part because (shhhh!) many read the political science literature - has kept waiting for party "elites" to unite behind an opponent and crush The Donald. Or have assumed the Trump balloon would lose altitude once the press turned critical attention on his record and statements (see: Cain, Herman; Gingrich, Newt; Perry, Rick). Meanwhile Trump has led in the national Republican polls for a very long time, and easily won the two primaries, in very different states, conducted so far.

So what's going on? Can Trump be stopped? By whom, or what? And meanwhile, is Hillary Clinton still a lock for the Democratic nomination, as many Democrats "feel the Bern?" And, what, if anything, does the campaign so far tell us about which party will win in November? Join us as Professor Buchler shares his take on the campaign. And you might check out his blog, at

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest

Justin Buchler studies elections, with an emphasis on legislative elections. He has written extensively about the effects of competitive elections on political institutions. His recently published book, Hiring and Firing Public Officials: Rethinking the Purpose of Elections (Oxford University Press), argues that we should think of elections as employment decisions rather than as markets. Thus, competitive elections do not indicate a healthy democracy, as market analogies suggest. Instead, they indicate a failure of democracy because competitive elections are a poor method of making employment decisions regarding public officials. Consequently, they create perverse incentives and unrepresentative outcomes. His published papers on the topic include “The Social Sub-Optimality of Competitive Elections” (in Public Choice), which received the 2007 Gordon Tullock Prize. His other papers on the topic focus on redistricting.

Currently, Justin Buchler writes about the use of spatial models to study elections. His papers address the role of party influence on candidate position-taking, as well as the impact of valence characteristics, such as competence and honesty.

Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The lower level LL06 classroom is located in the basement of Kelvin Smith Library directly across the lobby from the main elevators.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Schedule of Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

March 4: Why Is There a Heroin Epidemic? With Lee Hoffer, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University.

March 11: Spring Break

March 18: E-Cigarettes: Problem or Solution? With Scott H. Frank MD MS, Associate Professor and Director, Master of Public Health Program, and Director of Health for the City of Shaker Heights.

March 25: Hosting the Super B**l of Politics. With Brittany Williams, Senior Project Manager, Cleveland 2016 Host Committee.

April 1: The Obama Administration and the Future of U.S. Manufacturing. With Susan Helper, Frank Tracy Carlton Professor of Economics and, former Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce.

April 8: Citizenship in a Divided America. With Mary Romero, Professor of Justice Studies and Social Inquiry, Arizona State University. Cosponsored by Academic Careers in Engineering and Science (ACES) program. Room to be determined.

April 15: Money, Happiness, and Redistribution. With David Clingingsmith, Associate Professor of Economics. ***Alternate Location: Baker-Nord Center, Room 206, Clark Hall***

April 22: Germany, Asylum and the Future of Europe. With Kenneth F. Ledford, Associate Professor of History and Law and Chair, Department of History at Case Western Reserve University.
February 22, 2016

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Upcoming Events

Hungarian Foreign Policy – Renewed and Adjusted to Today’s Challenges

The Joseph and Violet Magyar Lecture in Hungarian Studies, a discussion with H.E. Dr. Réka Szemerkényi, the Ambassador of Hungary to the United States, Tuesday March 1, 2016, 5:00-6:00 p.m., Clark Hall-Room 309, 11130 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University. Free and open to the public. Registration recommended.

H.E. Dr. Réka Szemerkényi will discuss current developments in the foreign policy of her country in light of recent events that have unsettled Europe and the international community. In the last few years we have witnessed major changes and developments in international politics which have challenged the architecture of international system we have known since the 1990 system changes in Europe. On the one hand, Russia’s annexation of the Crimea has violated, and the crisis in Eastern Ukraine has tested, the frames of international law. On the other hand, the pillars and the very foundations of statehood have been questioned in the Middle East and North Africa. In the midst of these parallel challenges, the European Union has experienced two crises with a magnitude never known before.

Foreign Policy and the 2016 Election

A Global Currents lecture discussion with James M. Lindsay, Ph.D. - Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations, Monday March 14, 2016, 4:30-6:00 p.m. This program is made possible by the generosity of Ms. Eloise Briskin and sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies. Refreshments will be provided.

2015 was a tumultuous year for world politics. China built islands in the South China Sea and devalued its currency. Nations struck a deal on climate change and Iran's nuclear program. The EU rebuffed Greece's demands for austerity relief, faced a wave of refugees and was struck by ISIS terrorism. Russia intervened in Syria and Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Then there was North Korea…

2016 may not even have as much good news. How will world affairs influence the U.S. election, what challenges will the next president face, and how is U.S. policy likely to differ depending on who wins?

Jim Lindsay combines rare expertise on international issues, the U.S. foreign policy process, and electoral politics. His own research has covered topics from the George W. Bush revolution in foreign policy to how Congress influenced nuclear weapons policy, and he tracks events in his blog, The Water's Edge. Join us for a wide-ranging review and discussion.

February 2016





































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