Two Views on the Secession Petitions

The following are two opinions of the petition drive for Secession by Widener University American Government Students Danny Griffin and Erica Sharp:

A Divided America

Danny Griffin

A surprising amount of Americans have signed petitions to secede from the United States in recent weeks. The online proposition has found the most popularity in Texas, attaining over 100,000 signatures. The petition has versions founded by supporters in all 50 states, however. Some people feel that those who have signed the petition should be stripped of their citizenship and deported, while others assert that these people should be allowed to secede as long as they pay their share of the national debt.

In my opinion, I find the statements about stripping citizenship of the political dissenters to be outrageous. How can such harsh treatment for free speech be justified? If such a course of action was ever taken, what kind of example would it serve as to others? People would be terrified to speak out against government. This nation was founded on the principle that the people should be able to voice their opinions without fear of any repercussions from the government.

As for the statement about paying a share of the national debt, I also find it to be deluded. Many of these people are probably signing the petition simply to voice their disgust at President Obama winning a second term. Therefore, they most likely voted for Romney, which in their eyes would have significantly helped reduce debt. In effect, these people would feel that they did their part already in attempting to negate national debt.

In regard to the entire situation, I see nothing wrong. I am doubtful that many of these people are serious about seceding from the US; they just hope to see a change in the way the country is being run. If these citizens especially did not want to be a part of America anymore, they move and relinquish citizenship. I see the acts as perfectly valid executions of free speech.

Will We Secede Again?

Erica Sharp

Throughout an election there are some that are in full support of either their candidate or their political party. It seems some people have taken this idea to the extreme, most people have heard or seen someone state that, “if so and so doesn’t win the election I’m moving to Canada.” This idea is completely irrelevant and is just some people’s simplistic way of showing how they feel when their candidate does not win. Unfortunately, this was not the case this presidential election period. Citizens have returned back to the old idea of if we don’t agree with who’s running the government and his ideas we should have our state secede from the Union. As we know this idea worked extremely well the last time it was implemented, leading our nation into a Civil War.

So which states feel this way and what do they want to happen and why? The list of states continues to rise, now consisting of, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Their idea is that they want to withdraw formally from the membership of our federal union. People from these states have begun supporting petitions to secede from the U.S. right after the President was announced to win himself a second term in office. They need to gain at least 25,000 signatures in 30 days or less for the administration to grant a formal review. As of right now Texas seems to be the closest to its goal with 23,000 signatures already. But then getting back to it why do they want to secede in the first place? It seems these people that are petitioning truly believe that this government has become in their mind “destructive,” and they see it as there right as American citizens to alter or abolish it and create a new form of government.

This idea and the large support being shown towards it is beginning to scare some of the other citizens of this nations. The fears should really be put to rest right now because as it is seen these states are very reliant, probably more than they know, on the government and what it does for them. Without this help these states wouldn’t survive. So although there is always that slim chance of a state seceding it shouldn’t be a main concern for now.

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The Billy Beane of Politics?

By Ryan Devine

Widener University American Government Student

As an individual who has read “Moneyball” 13 times, and counting, I am very familiar with the undeniable benefits that saber metrics provided over the traditional methods of scouting and forming a baseball team.  Thankfully, sabermetrics and classical baseball evaluation seem to have merged in a harmonic balance that keeps the purity of the game with the advances in statistics.  However, one man has decided to take what he learned from baseball and has become a force of nature in the world of political science.

Nate Silver, who started off working for Baseballprospectus.com, has taken his specially developed talents for looking beyond the face numbers to deliver two simply stellar performances in predicting the 2008 and 2012 elections.  He began the 2008 campaign by predicting the number of super delegates within a dozen of President Obama’s actual count.  He then followed up his early predictions by throwing a gem, correctly predicting 49 of the 50 states in the Electoral College and correctly predicted every senatorial seat that was up for grabs.  However, Silver was not done there; he decided that he would follow up his 08 election with an even better performance. He did by throwing a perfect game in this election.

While Silver begun his career of political analyzing after just a year of focusing on politics, he has clearly brought a validity and popularity to the world of political science, registering 5 million web hits the day of the election alone.  Nate has effectively taken the science of voter research and developed a method to predict the winner independent of the biases of the conventional media markets that are simply looking to spin polling information one way or another in order to fit their agenda.

Just Go Away Romney

by Frank Heleniak

Widener University American Government Student

Before the election Mitt Romney was “the man,” “America’s comeback team,” and the next president. The GOP suddenly and blindly stood behind their candidate as the answer to the Obama question. Well now they just want him to go away. Post-Election sounds like the primaries all over again. Republican strategists will liken Romney to that of McCain who never established a strong foothold in the party and not seen by Republicans as one of their own. So why did those who did vote Romney ever vote for him in the first place?

Maybe 2012 wasn’t much unlike 2008. Another lame duck candidate? Or that the GOP is at fault and is too extreme and needs to change? Honestly, I think the real issue might be the general Republicans. It’s fair to say the Rs threw away the election in 2008. So 2012 could have been different, instead we allowed the candidates to destroy each other giving fuel for the Democrats. I’m sure some of the moderates like myself even hated the idea of voting for Romney then come election time offered our full support. That’s why it’ll be so easy to forget this election and Romney. Does the GOP need to rethink strategy and campaigning? Sure. But without regular Republicans demanding more from the party itself, the presidency is going to stay blue.

Who Needs an Election?

By Ryan Devine

Widener University American Government Student

A fundamental principle in American culture has always been our ability and responsibility to vote in elections, especially the Presidential election.  For just as long, “experts” have attempted to predict the winner’s ahead of time through mock polls, demographic studies, political trends and other methods of taking the pulse of the nation.  However, it appears that all of the professional polling companies might need to look elsewhere.  There have been a few surprising elements that have an uncanny ability to predict the outcome of elections.

The first indicator that should be looked at is the sale of presidential 7-11 cups.  Since 2000, the candidate whose cup created a higher profit for the convenience chain has also gone on to occupy the White House.  While admittedly a short sample, going 3 for 3 in all of the elections the gimmick has been around is still impressive.

For a trend with a little bigger sample size, we can look at the most iconic team in sports today, the New York Yankees. Of the last 15 elections, the Bronx Bombers have made the playoffs 9 times.  With the exception of 1996, every year that the Yankees have won the World Series, the Republican candidate has won the election and every time the Yankees make the playoffs but loose, the Democrats have won.

While the Yankees have one incorrect year over the 9 elections that their trend has been eligible, Halloween masks have an uncanny ability to be right.  Since 1980 the candidate who has had the most replicas of his face sold as a costume for Halloween has won every election (which means Obama can stop working now and take a few days off according to several reports.)

The most popular and accurate best indicator is none other than the District of Columbia’s own Washington Redskins.  The franchise that has had exactly two winning years in the last 12 years, and on pace for another regardless of RGIII’s heroics, is still the best in the world at predicting elections.  Since 1937 there have been 18 elections.  Anytime the Redskins win their last home game before the election, the incumbent has won the election 17 times.  The lone exception was the 2004 election when the Redskins lost but President Bush retained the office.  While some argue that since Bush didn’t win the popular vote in 2000 the rule could be tweaked so that the party that previously won the popular vote and not the Electoral College was the one actually being predicted by the Redskins which would make them a perfect 18 for 18 it is kind of irrelevant since 17 for 18 is still a 94 percent accuracy rate.

With President Obama selling more masks and the Yankees bowing out to the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS, it appears Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans will all be sporting brand new Cam Newton jerseys come Sunday when the Redskins host the Carolina Panthers in a game that Vegas currently has the Redskins as a 3 and a half point favorite.

Postscript: The Redskins lost their final home game before the election to the Panthers yesterday.

Youngsters Not So Fired Up

By Amanda Raimer

Widener University American Government Student

In the New York Times article, “Idealism Harder to Find From Younger Voters”, it talks about reasons why the younger generation does not seem as excited about this election as the last. What the article found is that this demographic is focusing more on the details and facts behind each candidate rather than just their feel-good message as they promise prosperity and success in the future. At the same time, others are having a hard time connecting to either candidate and either find a trivial reason to back one of the candidates or choose not to vote at all. More or less what I got from this article is that young voters are having a hard time finding a reason to stand behind one candidate or the other, and this is leading to confusion.

As I was filling out my absentee ballot I had the same kind of feeling; I thought I knew who I was going to vote for but I was surprised to find that I was doubting myself because I didn’t really feel passionate about either candidate like I thought I would. I started to wonder why I and other young Americans like myself were running into this uncertainty, especially so close to the election. I think what has happened is this election is less focused on social issues, which most young people know a lot about, and more on financial and policy issues. These issues are important but they’re very hard to understand for a generation whom a majority of them are just starting to become independent and fiscally responsible. Trying to wade through all the jargon and facts and background to understand exactly what the candidates are supporting in their campaign is quite a task, one that many younger people don’t feel the need to do or give up on. Also, at this time in their lives, young people are still developing their ideals and values and trying to pick a candidate based on their principles when you are not sure of your own is difficult. So while I think that it is important to vote and be heard, I can understand how this confusion and uncertainty could lead a person to not vote at all.

Where is Obama’s Charisma?

By Ryan Devine

Widener University American Government Student

Jim Rutenberg recently penned an article depicting President Obama’s current campaign headquarters, strategy and enthusiasm.  Rutenberg’s article paints a picture of a very methodical, down to earth campaign committee that is working feverishly and with a slight air of desperation due to the recent surge by Governor Romney.  This stands in stark contrast to his 2008 campaign that became as much a pop-culture movement as it did a political one.  The boardwalks up and down the coast were littered with “Yes We Can” t-shirts and the iconic “Change” posters of Obama infiltrated every walk of life.  These gimmicks that then Senator Obama employed fueled him to a convincing win that never really seemed all that close in the waning weeks of the 2008 election.  However, this time around the possibility of defeat appears to be very real.  President Obama lived and died with the charismatic showman persona throughout his first run at presidency and, due to his natural talents, beat Senator John McCain.

President Obama seems to have abandoned that approach for the most part though and I have to believe it is a major factor in his inability to put Romney away before the debates and played a key role in his embarrassing performance in the first debate.  Essentially, he is playing a game that suits Mitt Romney’s strengths.  This year’s election seems to be a more classical campaign from both sides without the fanfare that Obama drew in ’08.  This has been a he advantage for Mitt Romney who comedian and political talking head John Stewart described as what you would get if you asked for a president to be shipped to you in a box, in terms of his appearance and his actions, while speaking with Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly factor” in 2011.  Barack Obama’s inability to make himself the biggest celebrity in the world for a second time has clearly held back his ability to take control of this election.  Unless he can turn back the clock and really energize the nation around his image in the next two weeks, he is going have a very difficult time beating out Mitt Romney.

The Impact of Images in 2012 Presidential Advertising

by Amanda Raimer

Widener University American Government Student

A New York Times article, “Images, Themes and Props in Presidential Campaign Ads”, listed statistics about the kinds of subjects that were contained in the different ads for each party and how they were used in the ads. While many of the statistics were similar between the parties, there were a few that were glaringly different. For instance, only 1% of Obama’s campaign ads show “tears or visually sad” subjects, while 21% of Romney’s ads focused on this pertaining mostly to unemployment and taxes. This makes sense in that Obama is attempting to focus on the positive parts of his past four years and reminding people of their hardships will remind them that it was under during his presidency that these things happened; Romney is using these hardships against Obama to convince voters they don’t want another four years like the past four.

Another drastic difference showed in the number of ads that focused on the elderly, with Obama having 38 ads and Romney only having two. I thought this was interesting because senior citizens are normally thought to be majority Republicans, so then why didn’t seniors appear in more of those ads? It is possible that the Romney campaign believes they have already secured the vote of the elderly and don’t want to waste money, but the Obama campaign is trying to sway more elderly to vote Democrat and so includes more seniors in their ads so that this population feels included under the Obama administration.

One statistic that I thought was interesting was that Obama not only used the American flag in his ads 5 times as much as Romney, but he also made the flag appear in a positive light, while Romney sometimes showed the flag as damaged or burning. In this case I think that Obama has the right idea on this strategy. Romney is trying to show that under Obama we are not safe and the country is disintegrating, but at the same time he should try to also use the flag in a positive light while talking about the American future under his presidency. I feel like positive and progressive outlooks are more effective than just looking at the past and only talking about what went wrong in the past.

Overall these statistics showed me how the candidates use different subjects to evoke certain emotions in their audiences. Even the same subject matter can be utilized to provoke very different reactions depending on the context. This article gave me insight into what the candidates are most concerned about and their strategies for dealing with those issues.