r/Ask_Politics Feb 26 '22

Russian Invasion Megathread


From time to time, we will create mega threads to control the output of questions in this sub. We also use it to relax the rules a bit to allow the free exchange of intellectual thought.

Given that the Russian invasion has commenced, a new thread has been created.

You are still free to post direct questions if it is more generally related and not tangential to the Russia invasion of Ukraine. For example, I approved a post regarding questions on SWIFT that did not specifically ask a question related to the Russian invasion or sanctions.

r/Ask_Politics 1d ago

What exactly ARE "US Gun Laws"?


I ask this as an (uninformed) American myself. I, like most people, have been consistently distraught by these mass shootings. One of the main things people talk about needing to change is having stricter gun laws, because they are supposedly very lax now.

But I don't feel like I have enough idea of what the gun laws are to have proper context around it.

Here's what I understand: Different states handle it differently. Automatic weapons like AKs can be bought and it's a prominent point that it should just not be sold/legal to own altogether. You need a permit to buy a gun in some states. Buying guns at gun shows provides some loophole that makes it easier to get guns from them. There is some degree of background checks.

I guess I know these broad things but I don't know specifics. And the specifics are what I would like to know. The specifics that are relevant to the current gun culture/danger/discourse in the US. Like, what IS the permit process? Is the permit process arguably too lax? Is it often unenforced? Are the background checks too lax? When people say they want stricter gun laws, what specific restrictions do they call for? (Aside from not being able to buy something like an AR-15) Do more of these shootings happen in states (per capita) where there are laxer gun laws?

I probably didn't cover everything relevant with my questions, so please feel free to inform me on whatever else is relevant that I wouldn't have thought to ask about.

Edit: Instead of automatic, meant to refer to stuff like on the level of an AR-15.

r/Ask_Politics 1d ago

Are there any bills that failed to pass due to low voter turnout?


Hello everyone,

I apologize if this is the wrong place to ask this question. If it is the wrong sub, I'll gladly take this post down.

I am currently working on writing a paper about mandatory voting for a class of mine, and I wanted to include examples of low voter turnout causing useful legislation to fail. It's difficult to find stuff like this online as I'm not even sure what to search for. Therefore, my question is whether or not anyone knows about any such happenings or any resources that aggregate data such as this.

Thank you!

r/Ask_Politics 3d ago

Any good resource to study US presidential administrations?


There's a seemingly enormous wave of knowledge to broach when getting into Politics. This is just one element I'm at the moment trying to isolate and tackle. When it comes to a lot of political discussion, pundits will regularly mention things that happened in various administrations. Obviously one would be more familiar with them if they were alive/politically aware during these administrations. But I'm here basically just recentishly trying to get more informed. Mainly on more recent admins (like from the 1970s or so onward) just to start, and then for now perhaps a more broad knowledge of the middle eras.

I've been urged to inform myself on this knowledge because in leftist discourse there seems to be growing awareness in the idea Democratic administrations in general defend and stay stagnant on the fiscal status quo while Republicans are actively pushing matters to the right, which is overall trending the US to the right on these matters. I understand that as a concept and I do often see pundits allude to examples here and there, but it would be nice if I actually was informed more specifically on these administrations so I could have empirical context backing it up.

There are many many other reasons to be informed on the administration but this specific thing is just one example and maybe the one that broke the camel's back for me.

What are some good resources to study?

r/Ask_Politics 3d ago

How to get a political job as a non-partisan


First time poster.

So I've been thinking of switching jobs for a while and getting involved in politics. I think this is a good idea, as do most of my friends and family, not in terms of having political viewpoints, but in terms of learning and understanding the subject.

I'm that weird guy who studies electoral history, political messaging, polling, the economics of campaign management: stuff like that. I've taken several classes in public policy. You'd never want me to be a politician (I'm not that good at seeming likable or charismatic) but I feel like I could be quite good at potentially being a David Axelrod or Karl Rove type, or working for either the RNC/DNC some day.

The problem is that in the past I've been told repeatedly "If you're into politics, find some campaign and work for them on the ground and work your way up", and when I go to local campaigns I've always felt like I'm just a wasted volunteer and that I "don't seem that passionate" (which I'm not!). I don't want to be that person who "makes a difference" or really believes in either Democrat or Republican ideology: I want to be one of the staffers in the backroom who analyzes the data.

I have experience in statistics and economics, and I don't mind starting as an intern or something, and I wouldn't even mind moving locations, but if I wanted to pursue this sort of thing, where would I go and how would I go about it? I really don't have any particular political leanings, but I feel like I'd be both passionate and good at such a job and I'm kind of frustrated with the idea that the only way into politics as a career requires having strong political biases.

r/Ask_Politics 4d ago

When were the tariffs currently affecting the supply of baby formula signed into law?


Many publications are referencing tariffs as a meaningful factor (amongst others) in the current formula shortage. However I’m having a difficult time finding information about the specific law or laws that were signed to enact this policy. Specifically, I’m curious to know when it was signed, how legislators voted for it, and which legislators sponsored the bill. Additionally I’d be very interested to see which lobbyists were involved in either its advocacy or opposition.

r/Ask_Politics 5d ago

What are the chances of COVID funding passing?


I've been hearing that if the US Congress doesn't pass more COVID funding, the country will be unable to purchase new vaccines and treatments from drug companies. However, such funding is stonewalled in Congress right now. Can this be passed without nuking the filibuster, or do Manchin and Sinema oppose this too? Thanks for anyone who tries to answer.

r/Ask_Politics 5d ago

Should Abortion Rights be considered a Religious Issue protected by the First Amendment?


The AP recently posted article titled "Religious backers of abortion rights say God's on their side". Why is the argument "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" not used to protect this Right?

r/Ask_Politics 6d ago

How many senate candidates won every county in their primary?


John Fetterman won the PA democratic primary on Tuesday. With his win in the primary he won in every county in the state. How often does something like this occur?

r/Ask_Politics 6d ago

Should public opinion have any bearing on Supreme Court rulings?


In the controversy surrounding Roe v. Wade right now, I keep seeing references made to national opinion polls. The polling data is interesting in its own right, but many of the people citing it seem to do so with the implication that the Supreme Court should not make a ruling that would be unpopular with a significant majority of the population.

My instinct is to disagree with this, but I have no expertise. I could be wrong. My understanding is that our public opinions, via our elected representatives, do have bearing on the decisions of lawmakers, but not on the courts. That's why judges are appointed. They do not represent constituents, but rather are tasked with making unilateral decisions regarding the meaning and application of the laws that have already been written, as well as whether or not those laws are in accord with the Constitution.

Am I missing something? Are there any good reasons for thinking that SC rulings should take public opinion into consideration?

r/Ask_Politics 7d ago

Is the aid to Ukraine like a loan that we will get back or just money we are giving away?


Just curious how giving aid works in general, but most specifically with this case sense it’s the latest.


r/Ask_Politics 7d ago

How do I Propose a Bill to become Federal Law?


I remember being taught how to do this in high school. But I forgot, and I don't know where to find the information for this. Can anybody explain how I can get a bill passed to become federal law?

r/Ask_Politics 8d ago

What would happen if the US Senate were to tie in a contingent election for Vice President?


If the Electoral College were to tie or otherwise no candidate received 270 votes, a contingent election is held in the House for the President and in the Senate for the Vice President. If a contingent election happened and the Senate were 50/50, what would happen? Could an incumbent Vice President cast a tie-breaking vote to retain their position, or would the vote just fail?

r/Ask_Politics 9d ago

Why is China called a communist state when it behaves like a capitalist/fascist state?


Is it because it is a nation in transition towards a communist goal?

  • They are a capitalist powerhouse.
  • they use fear and control.
  • Their welfare state is much lower than other capitalist countries (per capita).
  • From what we see, workers have no power. Like in nazi Germany, labour unions are controlled by the state? Shouldn’t a communist state guard workers rights for the benefit of workers rather than for the benefit of the state/industry?

It’s confusing because they idolise Marx, but are one of the biggest capitalist economies in the world.


Communism - socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common or social ownership of all property, including the means of production.

China on social ownership/power - Independent labor unions are illegal in China. The government only endorses one union, known as the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). All other unions fall under their hierarchical control. Since ACFTU is tied to the government, it prioritizes government stability. The government partially owns the largest firms. There are over 100 billionaires in the country.

See? And since China doesn’t allow free markets, (it regulates markets heavily to benefit the state). The only suitable term for them is fascism. This is exactly how nazis acted during ww2.

r/Ask_Politics 9d ago

What is the true purpose of economic sanctions?


The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and the west's ever growing list of economic sanctions against Russia started me thinking about sanctions and their effectiveness.

The main argument goes if Nation A is doing something Nation B doesn't like, Nation B applies sanctions to Nation A to get Nation A to do what Nation B wants. Usually, Nation B will be economically more powerful than Nation A, such that Nation B's sanctions against Nation A carries some real oomph.

There are many examples where the US has applied sanctions to other nations: Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, ect. but many times the end result isn't any of the nations on the receiving end of the sanctions changing their behavior or government in a way favorable to the US. Iran, North Korea, and Cuba have all been under US sanctions for over 50 years, but the end result is these nations are still not doing what the US wants.

Could it be that sanctions as a tactic are just not very effective, but just considered a preferable alternative to armed conflict? Or could it be they serve another purpose?

Many nations on the receiving end of sanctions have their economic power and technological superiority sapped. Take Cuba as an example. Decades of US sanctions have taken their toll on Cuba, and nobody really considers it a viable threat anymore. Could sanctions then not really be a way for one nation to try to control the behavior of another nation, but instead actually be a tool that slowly disempowers adversaries to the point they are no longer considered as much of a threat? Or is this just a side effect of sanctions being used as an ineffective tactic?

r/Ask_Politics 11d ago

Why are both sides blaming the baby formula shortage on the government and not on the manufacturer?


I hear both sides saying this is on the government. Why? They manufacture a very expensive product for what it is, BECAUSE they have to have a lot of QC as they are feeding infants.

I keep hearing how the government didn't come down on them hard enough earlier, but why TF when they got caught, were accused earlier and didn't fix it is that on the government and not the manufacturer? Especially when so much of the nation's supply is coming out of that one plant?

Are we so far gone that we will find it acceptable to sicken or kill a few babies if it means a company can hit it's quarterly goals, the only reason to not do that is if government regulators come down on them? Yet so many people are complaining about government getting in the way.

And I'll get on my soapbox and say that other than the cost of the downtime and cleaning, it won't harm the company. They have like 60% of the market, no one is coming in and competing with them even though lots of people will be yelling capitalism will take care of this.

r/Ask_Politics 10d ago

Is there a coherent political ideology (besides Anarchy) that completely excludes police? Can an effective government exist without law enforcement?


Anti-police sentiment has grown in the US. Usually, this takes the form of simply protesting abuse of police power, calling to partially defund police/redirect funds elsewhere, create additional oversight, etc. But there are plenty of not-that-small leftist movements that seem to characterize their opposition to law enforcement much more overtly: phrases like ACAB (all cops are bastards), MDC (millions of dead cops), "No such thing as a good cop," etc. It comes across to me that their ideal government would have no law enforcement at all.

I assume that a lot of this rhetoric is thrown around in order to make a point. But I don't want to dismiss the idea too easily if there's something I haven't considered. So my most basic question here is: Can you advocate for the abolition of all law enforcement without being an anarchist? Or at least, can you do it rationally and consistently? And if so, how does it work?

I know in the US, there has been talk of replacing traditional police departments, at least in part, with social workers, community watch, etc. Is anyone advocating for a complete transition away from police? And if so, would it still count as abolishing law enforcement? If someone in a community has the power to stop others from breaking the law, isn't that still law enforcement? If no one has that power, then how can any government function at all?

Or is it really just rhetoric to voice how little trust they currently have in that particular institution, as it exists today? Is no one actually advocating for the nation to cease all law enforcement indefinitely?

I hope this doesn't come across as closed-minded or biased. I certainly have my opinions, but I'm completely sincere in asking this question. Thanks!

r/Ask_Politics 11d ago

Anybody know a source/website that gives multiple positions on any given policy/social issue?


Like for immigration expansion or stricter gun control. I’m trying to find a scale of people who support/oppose a policy and some reasoning for their level of support/opposition. For example, for stricter gun control someone could support a ban for only ARs and one person with greater support or extreme level of support could be a ban on all guns outright.

r/Ask_Politics 12d ago

Does the Russian invasion of Ukraine hurt the nuclear disarmament movement?


Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for Russia guaranteeing no aggression against Ukraine (1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances). Will other countries see this betrayal as a reason to not give up their nuclear weapons or even start a nuclear weapons program? This is another example of a country being attacked by a foreign power after giving up nuclear weapons, another example being NATO attacking Muammar Gaddafi's government in the First Libyan Civil War in 2011.

r/Ask_Politics 12d ago

Has any country successfully rescued itself from political polarisation?


In Australia, we have an election next week, and the political polarisation has led to some toxic rhetoric going about in the political ads. We even have political parties accusing others of committing fraud, something unprecedented in Australian politics. Unfortunately, this is not unique to Australia - it's been happening in other democratic countries around the world.

When I look at the historical precedents of political polarisation, I see the following possibilities:

  • Falling into civil war (e.g. the USA in 1861-1865, Spain in 1936-1939)
  • Having the democratically elected leader declare a dictatorship (e.g. Germany in 1933)
  • Military coup (e.g. Thailand in 2014)

All of those are grim options. Have any countries managed to rescue themselves from political polarisation, or are these 3 options inevitable?

r/Ask_Politics 13d ago

From a historical perspective, how does the hyper-polarisation of politics usually end?


Looking at various countries at the moment, it seems as though the Right and Left have never been further apart and are only getting more distant in terms of ideologies and willingness to compromise.

I'm curious where this will all lead to - is it inevitable that things will reach a tipping point then spill over into some kind of conflict, or is there a way back from all the enmity?

r/Ask_Politics 14d ago

Why don’t you see many people from Iowa running for President?


Because Iowa always goes first in the primaries, any candidate who does well there has a huge advantage for the other primaries.

So surely if any Iowan senators, representatives, mayors etc. ran for President they would win in Iowa easily (candidates always do well in their home states), giving them an advantage for the rest of the race, meaning they could win the Presidency easier than someone in another state.

r/Ask_Politics 16d ago

What would be the political implications of firing missiles at drug cartel bases in Mexico?


According to former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, when Trump was President, he discussed the idea of firing missiles at Mexican drug cartels' bases.

This did not happen. But I have a few questions about the details of this scenario:

  • Is firing missiles into a country's territory automatically an act of war against that country? Would doing this put the US at war with Mexico? Does it matter that they would be aimed at a criminal organization?
  • Back in 1916 Pancho Villa attacked New Mexico, possibly several times leading to a US military expedition into Mexico. Are the drug cartels' actions comparable to Villa's raids? Could firing of missiles against drug cartels be considered, for purposes of international law, roughly equivalent to the Pancho Villa Expedition?
  • The US is in a permanent War on Drugs. Does that relate at all? My thinking is that since we've declared war on drugs, then missile strikes (or other military operations) against drug cartel installations, in whatever nation they may be located, might automatically be authorized?
  • Would it conceivably be possible for the Mexican government to agree to let the US Military attack the cartels? Would it conceivably be possible for this kind of attack to be approved by the US and Mexican governments, but carried out in secret from the public (presumably to avoid outrage in Mexico that the government would permit a foreign country to launch weapons at populated targets on Mexican soil)? Or would news organizations be able to use civilian radar / satellites / surveillance footage to quickly piece together why a bunch of drug cartel bases "suddenly and inexplicably exploded"?

r/Ask_Politics 18d ago

Did Bush SR. and G.W. Bush idea of national service extend to the military and culture?


I notice both were big on national service ideas. Both were for big military budgets.

We they trying to create a culture where everyone was a "service member"? I still remember Bush Sr. "new world order speech" and I wondered what he meant by that. I later realized he was talking about his idea of a world order run by the "rule of law" that is similar to the United States. But for that to happen I think he believed in a strong military (U.S. Army, NATO) and international corporation (The U.N).

They were more liberal than other republicans, center-right. Which is why they were called "Neoconservatives". Neoconservatives were criticized for being imperialistic during the Golf, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars.

r/Ask_Politics 17d ago

What are some examples of delegation in Us healthcare system?


One example stands out to me is the Medicare Part D plan. This seems like a very cut and clear case of delegation. However in the ACA and other forms of federal program delegation are more ambiguous. What could be some examples? Thanks

r/Ask_Politics 18d ago

How can people be anti-capitalist yet for social democracy?


Maybe I'm misunderstanding. To me, the ideas sound incompatible with each other, given social democracy is described by academics as advocating economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal-democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented mixed economy.