Through the Eisenhower Institute’s Women and Leadership program, I had the opportunity to listen and learn from accomplished women leaders. Though each speaker contributed their knowledge from vastly different career areas and personal experiences, they all praised the value of authentic leadership. Women and Leadership tasked me with finding my hypothetical tie as a woman entering the professional world. The phrase “finding my tie” evolves from the hyper-gendered professional dress code that deems men professional once they lace up their tie—but what is a woman’s “tie?”
As a member of the Fielding Fellows program through the Eisenhower Institute, I traveled to Boston with the other fellows in early October to visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
We spent less than 48 hours in Boston, but saw and learned so many things in our brief time there. On the first day, we went sightseeing, and it was honestly just remarkable walking down regular streets and passing the cemetery where Paul Revere and other famous early Americans are buried. As someone from California, I’m not so used to seeing such rich history so easily.
Most Americans are aware of the Plessy V. Ferguson Supreme Court case, however many are not familiar with the Insular cases, which were decided by the same Supreme Court justices. The Insular cases were a series of Supreme Court cases from the early 20th century which determined the constitutional rights of those who live in United States territories. Currently, the United States territories are composed of Puerto Rico, the American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S Virgin Islands. In these cases, the courts concluded that Americans living in American territories are not granted automatic citizenship and that Congress has the authority to grant citizenship to these territories. Although there have been several improvements to their conditions, these cases have yet to be overturned; in some of the American territories, citizenship continues to not be an automatic right.
From the third of November to the sixth, I had the privilege of attending West Point’s Student Conference on United States Affairs. This annual gathering grants students from across America the opportunity to get together and draft memos for future policy initiatives. Each year, there is an overarching theme, with this years’ being Disruptive Technology. This broad theme is split into more specific topics, which vary table-to-table. From the impacts of social media to space technology, students gathered to discuss varying matters; my table was assigned the concern of China.
As the general election approaches, most eyes lay on the key battleground states in the U.S. to predict who will be the next United States President. Pennsylvania is notorious for being a toss-up red or blue state in the general election. Joe Biden and Donald Trump have spent much of their campaign directed toward winning Pennsylvania to sway their twenty electoral votes. For the previous six elections, Pennsylvania voted for the Democratic Party, but in 2016, they turned red and supported Donald Trump leading him to a victory campaign. Each year, the race was a close call with almost a fifty-fifty split in electoral votes for each political party. This year, Pennsylvania is seen as a tipping point in the election and it is said by most that the fate of who wins the election will be entirely dependent on the winner of Pennsylvania.
President Donald Trump cast his ballot in Palm Beach County, Florida, on October 24. As we know, winning Florida is crucial for a presidential candidate in the election, yet it has always been difficult to determine how Florida will vote. The state does not typically show a strong loyalty to either political party and has often been called the “bellwether state” for accurately predicting the national moods of the presidential elections. In fact, since 1928, Florida has only twice voted against the winner of the presidential race.
The state of North Carolina can pride itself on their barbecues, their beaches within the Outer Banks and their status as an election battleground. The future of the presidency of Donald Trump will be on the ballot tomorrow: whether voters approve of his unorthodox handling of key issues enough to give him a second term may be decided by North Carolina, a must-win state for the Republican incumbent. If judging his chances based on past elections – including in 2016 when he carried North Carolina by 3.7 percentage points – this shouldn’t be an extremely difficult task. In the last 50 years, only two Democrats have managed to carry the Tar Heel State on the presidential level – Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Barack Obama in 2008. That said, even as the President carried this state four years ago, it is not a guarantee that he can hold onto this state again.
The Virginia 2nd Congressional District encompasses Accomack, Northampton, and York counties and is considered one of the most competitive congressional districts in Virginia. As a district, it has traditionally held conservative representatives in office, with 8 in 10 being Republican in the past ten elections. The district is 67% white and has an average income of $70K, about $15K higher than the average, giving some reason behind a Republican history and reason to the district being R+3. Moreover, there was redistricting in 2012 that was deemed unconstitutional in 2016 and had no effect on the party that held office the year the redistricting was changed.
I have been following the Jeff Van Drew vs. Amy Kennedy U.S. Congressional race for the New Jersey 2nd District. This race is being impacted by local issues, the Presidential race, and a difference in campaign money. Right now, the race is considered a “toss-up,” but a recent poll shows Kennedy in the lead by 6 percentage points. Will the incumbent, Jeff Van Drew, changing parties and becoming Republican help him, or will it show him as a traitor to the Democratic party, and possibly even “pull him down” because of President Trump’s low favorability ratings in the district?
The presidential battleground state of Arizona has been a highly contested swing state in this upcoming election. Republicans have been the state’s dominant party as residents align with more conservative ideologies; every Republican candidate since Dwight D. Eisenhower, except for Bob Dole, has won the state of Arizona. In 1996, Bill Clinton won Arizona over Dole. The state has had over 72 years of Republican voting. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump beat Hillary Clinton with 48.1 percent of the votes. In the current election, Biden is leading with 48.2 percentage points over Trump, who has 45.5 percent. Biden could be the first Democratic candidate to win this state since 1996. The change in this voting most likely has to do with the demographic of voters. It has been reported that more people have moved in and out of Arizona, either due to professions or other reasons. There is also a growth in the Hispanic population, which leans more democratic. There are more democratic residents moving to Arizona as well. Republican voters are also shifting more democratic as they are not pleased with Trump’s current administration. The result of this election will be tough for Arizona. Political scientists predict that the state could go blue, but it could go either way.