Commentary, Politics and Current Events

The Race to November 4

jacket imageA Monday Morning Political News Round-Up
Today is the last day to register to vote in the November election in many states, so if you haven’t yet, consider this another gentle reminder that the time to do so is now. Check out this handy Google maps application that allows you to access everything you need to know to register and cast your ballot in four weeks.
Yesterday’s front page feature in the New York Times on the shifting electoral battlegrounds reminded us of the continued timeliness of Daron R. Shaw’s The Race to 270: The Electoral College and the Campaign Strategies of 2000 and 2004, which explores strategies both parties have developed to win decisive electoral votes by targeting specific states and media markets. With McCain’s decision to pullout of Michigan last week and the continued fallout out from the economic crisis on Wall Street, Shaw’s book remains as relevant as ever as we approach the home stretch in a tightly contested race.
Finally, in these times of unprecedented political interest, political speech is once again in the crosshairs. Polymath and noted disability studies scholar, not to mention author of the compulsively readable forthcoming book Obsession: A History, Lennard Davis recently contributed a piece to NPR Program Day to Day regarding the University of Illinois’ recent decision to bar professors from any adornment on their vehicle, office door, or person that expresses their political views. As Davis notes, the ban could stifle fruitful classroom discussion: “The danger of the Illinois ruling isn’t so much that you have to peel off your McCain bumper sticker, it’s the chilling effect in the classroom and the corridors.… What to do in a class on Macbeth if students want to discuss the abuse of power by a national leader?” Important questions to ponder, without a doubt.