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Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group


Karen Beckwith, Ph.D. - Flora Stone Mather Professor of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University

Justin Buchler, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University

Andrew Lucker, Ph.D. - Associate Director of the Center for Policy Studies and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University
Friday October 31, 2014
12:30-1:30 p.m.
***Alternative Venue: LL06 B & C at Kelvin Smith Library***
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

Tuesday's election should be very bad news for Democrats. The President's party almost always loses seats in the sixth year of a Presidency. When the President's approval rating is below 50 percent, as President Obama's has been since March of 2013, his party loses an average of 36 House seats in any off-year election. Meanwhile, the Democrats are defending 21 of the 34 Senate seats up for election; six are in states that are solidly Republican in other elections; and others are in closely divided states.

But the Democrats have to do better than the norm in the House, because too many of their current seats are safe. And Senate races are state-by-state and subject to many local factors. In 1982 the Republicans held the Senate after winning five states by a combined total of just over 80,000 votes. Can the Democrats be as lucky in 2014 as the Republicans were in 1982? Three election experts offer their perspectives and forecasts.

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

About Our Guest

Karen Beckwith is the Flora Stone Mather Professor in the Department of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University. She received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky (1972) and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University (1977, 1982). Teaching primarily in the areas of US politics, political movements, and women, gender, and politics, she has special interests in the United States and West Europe, particularly Britain and Italy.

Professor Beckwith’s current research includes projects on 1) how social movements respond to loss; 2) gendered competition in party leadership contests in parliamentary democracies; and 3) patterns of women’s appointments to cabinet posts in North America and West Europe. For the latter research she was awarded the 2012 Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics. In 2013, she was honored by the Midwest Women’s Caucus for Political Science as the Outstanding Professional Scholar.

In the spring term of 2014, Professor Beckwith was the Fulbright-Scotland Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, where she worked on her project What’s New? Institutional Transformation and Women’s Political Representation. During that time, she spoke at several British and European universities, and she concluded her Fulbright Professorship by interviewing Members of the Scottish Parliament about the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence.

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.

Andrew Lucker studies state and local government politics and policies. He also studies the relevant strengths of the two major political parties in the United States at any given point and time. He is currently researching a book on American polling pioneer Samuel Lubell. Dr. Lucker also completed a chapter on the Ohio legislative process for an edited book on Ohio politics. Additionally he is a past president and current board member of the Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists.

His first book, V. O. Key Jr., The Quintessential Political Scientist (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2001) focused on an extensive examination of the work and life of one of the most important American political scientists of the twentieth century, V. O. Key, Jr. (1908-1963). The research is based on Key's voluminous personal papers, interviews with his family, colleagues, and graduate students, plus thorough study of all of his published and unpublished writings, much of which is not readily accessible today.

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 classrooms B & C are 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.

November 7: ROTC Returns to Campus. With Lt. Colonel Donald Hazelwood, Northeast Ohio ROTC Commander and Professor of Military Science, John Carroll University. ***Alternative Venue: Mather House Room 100***

November 14: Perspectives on Human Subjects Research Requirements. With Suzanne Rivera Ph.D., M.S.W., Associate Vice President for Research and Assistant Professor of Bioethics. ***Alternative Venue: LL06 B & C at Kelvin Smith Library***

November 21: Local Government in an Age of Austerity. With David B. Miller, Associate Professor in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and Council President, City of South Euclid.

November 28: Thanksgiving Break

December 5: Godless Democrats and Pious Republicans: Party Activists and the Mythical God Gulf. With Ryan Claassen, Associate Professor of Political Science, Kent State University.

October 27, 2014

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Upcoming Events

The Protests in Hong Kong: Who? Why? What's Next?

With Paul Schroeder, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, Timothy Webster, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of East Asian Legal Studies, and Ho Ching Cheung, CWRU Student, Wednesday October 29, 4:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m., Clark Hall, Room 309, 11130 Bellflower Road,, Cleveland, OH 44106. Sponsored by the Center for Policy Studies. Free and open to the pubic.

"Disobey and Grasp Your Destiny." So read many banners on September 22, as the Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement began protests designed to shut down parts of Hong Kong's central business district as a way to demand democratic elections for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017. But what kind of future may result? How wide and deep is the protesters' support? What explains both the protests and the Chinese government's reaction? How do the protests, and China's reaction, fit into the historic patterns of Chinese politics? Three expert members of our campus community will lead discussion of these questions.

Ho Ching Cheung will give his perspective as a student from Hong Kong who has been studying the events. Paul Schroeder, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, has studied China for three decades. Before coming to CWRU, Paul worked for the National Committee on U.S. China Relations and managed a firm advising American companies on doing business in China. Timothy Webster, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of East Asian Legal Studies, has studied China's policymaking on issues including human rights, trade policy, and employment discrimination, and teaches courses about law and the legal system in China.

An Agitator for Justice: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin

With John D'Emilio, Professor of History and Gender and Women's Studies Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Thursday October30, 7:30 p.m., Ford Auditorium, Allen Medical Library, 11000 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106 Sponsored by History Associates and the Department of History . Free and open to the pubic.

A life-long agitator for peace, racial equality, and economic democracy, Bayard Rustin was one of the most important U.S. social justice activists of the 20th-Century. Yet, except for his role as organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington, Rustin's life and work are known by very few. This lecture will present a broad overview of Rustin's career and offer some reflections on what we can learn from his life.

October 2014







































About the Friday Lunch Newsletter

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