Today marks one year since Sam and I decided to start Politics in Theory and Practice. Blogging was something both of us had independently shown interest in for a while as a way to communicate our ideas and opinions on politics in long form, but we both lacked the motivation to go through with it on our own. After casually discussing the topic last February, we eventually convinced each other to create a joint blog, and the rest is history.
As of midnight tonight, we’ve published a combined 177 posts and accumulated a total of 14,938 views and 8,051 visitors, which is admittedly far more than either of us anticipated. I’m genuinely surprised by how much success we’ve had thus far, and I hope the next year is even more successful.
Sam already posted some very interesting reflections on blogging, so as my tribute to the blog, I decided to pick out my ten favorite post we’ve written so far (in no particular order)—five by me and five by Sam—and why they stick out to me:
1. Why I’m Voting for Gary Johnson (June 11, 2016) – At 4,586 words, this is by far my longest post to date, and I don’t see myself topping it anytime soon. It’s also one of the most thorough posts I’ve written and one of the more enjoyable ones to write. After seeing plenty of people on social media argue that voting for a third party is a wasted vote, I felt the need to write a lengthy rebuttal refuting that claim and defending my reasoning for ultimately voting for a third party candidate.
2. Why do Political Parties Exist (June 10, 2016) – I love this post because Sam does a masterful job of clearly and thoroughly answering one of the most common questions about the American political system. This post attracted a lot of viewership as election day approached, presumably because so many people were frustrated with the political environment produced by two of the most unpopular presidential nominees in history and wondered how we got here in the first place.
3. Does Political Capital Matter? (April 6, 2016) – During my time in policy debate back in high school, political capital was mentioned quite often, usually in the context of President Obama being forced to spend his finite political capital to push through a hypothetical policy instead of a more important item on his agenda. I always had trouble getting on board with this idea conceptually, so I decided to compile all the research I had done in high school and challenge the existence of political capital altogether. I was also amused to find out that this post created a mini freakout among a few coaches in the debate community.
4. Modest Proposals For Reforming the Government (November 4, 2016) – Both Sam and I have bemoaned our government’s lack of function as a result of polarization and structure, but instead of repeating the same criticisms, this post actually offers some modest solutions to those problems.
5. On Political Ideology and Pragmatism (March 3, 2016) – Like Sam did with Modest Proposals For Reforming the Government, I wrote this post out of frustration with partisanship, polarization, and gridlock in Congress. Politicians have basic ideologies and moral convictions, but for the greater good of the country, they should be able to put aside petty ideological disagreements and come to compromises that materially benefit the country. Interestingly enough, I’m taking an honors seminar on morality and politics this semester, so I plan to publish another post covering this same subject in more depth in the coming weeks.
6. Getting Democracy Right (June 29, 2016) – I especially appreciate this post because Sam addresses one of today’s biggest dichotomies—the elites vs. the people—and places the blame for many of the world’s problems on both groups. To fix democracy, both sides need to reach out and understand each other. A lot of the topics covered in this post made their way into our first podcast as well.
7. What Happened, and What Happens Next (November 9, 2016) – Following the surprising election result, I put together some thoughts and observations regarding what went down to produce a Trump victory. Maybe polling science was flawed. Maybe Clinton was a flawed candidate. Maybe third parties cost Clinton the election. Unsurprisingly, there’s still a lack of broad consensus on what exactly happened, and a number of political scientists still refute some of the explanations I cited in this post.
8. In Defense of Free Trade (February 29, 2016) – Sam and I have made our stance on trade no secret, and this post was the first in a long line of posts to defend globalization and free trade.
9. Yes, Donald Trump Wants To Take Your Rights Away (November 2, 2016) – The most viewed post on the blog to date, the view count skyrocketed following election night and Inauguration Day for obvious reasons. I hope that Trump proves me wrong, but so far he’s doing exactly what I feared he would do.
10. Voting Your Conscience is Often Unethical (September 18, 2016) – In a way, this post was Sam’s rebuttal to my Gary Johnson post, and while it didn’t change my mind, it did make me critically evaluate my reasons for voting for Johnson. Because Sam and I largely agree on most issues, it’s fun when there’s a rare point of contention between because it sparks interesting debate.
To those of you that frequently read this blog, thanks for your continued support over the past year! We look forward to writing more posts and continuing to analyze international relations and American politics.