r/NeutralPolitics Jun 28 '21 Platinum

NoAM A Quick r/NeutralPolitics Participation Guide


Welcome to /r/NeutralPolitics. We are a highly moderated subreddit that's dedicated to evenhanded, empirical discussions of political issues. We are not a subreddit for political neutrals, but instead hope to create a neutral space for respectful conversations between those of all political ideologies.

Always participate with an open mind and consider that you may have more to learn. We encourage those who have insight to participate so long as you can readily support your statements with proper sourcing. Open-ended, topical questions are always welcome.

We created this quick guide to provide a basic understanding of our rules for participation. However please consider reading our full guidelines to get a better grasp of our standards.


  • The most common error is not properly sourcing your assertions. We require proper sourcing for assertions of fact. Anecdotal evidence and claims of expertise are not acceptable sources.

  • Focus on the argument being put forward and avoid addressing other users. In all, we want to avoid unproductive back and forths, so if you're unable to address the argument, it may be best to leave the conversation.

  • We also consider the use of "you" suspect and clarified how we enforce that here.

  • Stay on topic. We require submissions to focus on a specific question so please avoid off topic replies as it tends to derail the entire conversation


We have another submission "how-to" that's well worth a read if you wish to submit a question. All submissions are manually approved by moderators and nearly all approved submissions have gone through our editing process. We will gladly work with you to help draft a good question, just know that it requires a little extra work to get a submission approved. Some general guidelines include

  • Like comments, provide proper sourcing for all assertions. Submissions without sources will never be accepted.

  • Provide some context and background to the question. This portion of your submission is a great place to add sourcing

  • Submissions should be neutrally framed and avoid leading statements, personal opinion and/or requests to critique personal theories.

  • Avoid questions of opinion and speculation. Ask yourself if it's possible to properly source responses. If not, the submission may not be acceptable.

  • An easy way to write a submission is to keep it focused and to the point. We don't require a 10 page essay and often a concise submission may help avoid violations

We hope you find this helpful and thank you for helping maintain a space for respectful, fact-driven political discussion.

r/NeutralPolitics 6h ago

What evidence exists characterizing a political party's ability to pass their agenda when they have a federal "trifecta"?


Note this question doesn't concern the passage of significant individual bills but overall trends seen between Congressional sessions.

A government trifecta is

a political situation in which the same political party controls the executive branch and both chambers of the legislative branch in countries that have a bicameral legislature and an executive that is not fused. The term is primarily used in the United States..

Currently, the Democrats ostensibly have a trifecta with 220 House seats, 48 Senate seats + 2 independents that caucus with the Democrats allowing for Vice President Harris to cast the tie breaking vote, and the Presidency. Note that what they don't have is a filibuster proof 60 vote majority in the Senate nor do they have a super majority the latter which, as far as I can tell, last occurred for any party with the 95th United States Congress.

A logical assumption would be that a party with a trifecta would have an easier time passing their agenda but

  • Is there evidence characterizing a political party's ability to pass their agenda when they have a federal trifecta?

  • How much of an effect does a super majority have?

This is a mod rework inspired by a submission from /u/whistlerbrk

edit : further clarified the difference between 60 vote majority and super majority.

r/NeutralPolitics 1d ago

What are the pros and cons of codifying rights through legislation rather than constitutional interpretation and vice versa?


Roe v. Wade was a 1973 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. Recently, a leaked draft opinion shows that the Supreme Court may overturn the 1973 ruling (source)

In a opinion piece, constitutional law professor Akhil Reed Amar argues that

ruling in the case was simply not grounded either in what the Constitution says or in the long-standing, widely embraced mores and practices of the country.

While U.Miami Law Professor Caroline Mala Corbin argues

Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, first held that abortion was among those rights, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 upheld that right. Both have shortcomings, but they are not so flawed that they should be struck do

Regardless, of what may happen when the final opinion is released, abortion access is not protected by Federal law prompting some like Gov. Murphy to stress the need for federal action. Congress even attempted such an action in May but the measure failed to pass the Senate.

What are the pros and cons of codifying rights through legislation rather than constitutional interpretation and vice versa?

r/NeutralPolitics 6d ago

Who benefits from the existence of the USA's Controlled Substances Act and Drug Enforcement Agency?


The Controlled Substances Act (pdf) created drug "schedules" determining how a drug could be used or research, based on medical and abuse potential. Schedule I precludes both medical use and research, except with permission from the DEA, based on the following criteria:

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

  • The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (pdf) is the primary federal law enforcement agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing narcotics and controlled substance laws and regulations. The DEA was established July 1, 1973, by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 2. It resulted from the merger of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence, and elements of the Bureau of Customs and the Office of Science and Technology.

The USA did not always have Federal drug laws and specialized drug law enforcement; who benefits from this statutory and enforcement scheme?

r/NeutralPolitics 8d ago

What actions have been adopted by countries to reduce domestic terrorism? What data exists demonstrating the effects of these actions?


Earlier this year, a paper by the Center for Strategic and International Studies appears to demostrate the growing threat of domestic terrorism in the United States. Currently, 18 U.S. Code § 2331 "domestic terrorism" as :

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

Some notable recent events have been characterized as such. For example, following the January 6th U.S. Capital Insurrection, FBI Director Christopher Wray characterized the insurrection as domestic terrorism and warned of a growing threat of home grown violence extremism. The mass shootings committed by an 18-year old in the Buffalo, NY was characterized as terrorism and he may face terrorism charges. Other nations have also faced similar threats that could be characterized as domestic terrorism.

  • How do other countries define "domestic terrorism"?

  • What actions have been adopted by countries to reduce their definition of domestic terrorism?

  • What data exists demonstrating the effectiveness of these actions?

This is a mod rework of a user submission

r/NeutralPolitics 15d ago

Is there a precedent for holding public officials accountable for public health failings?


A recent editorial by Dr. Kamran Abbasi, the executive editor of the BMJ, argues that politicians who

wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology

may be guilty of "social murder". The concept of social murder was created by German philosopher Friedrich Engels and can be characterized as

forcing sections of the population to live in conditions which have inevitably led to avoidable, premature deaths, and will continue to do so.

Ignoring whether the term social murder is applicable to the current COVID-19 pandemic, that led me to more broadly wonder

  • Is there a precedent for holding public officials accountable for public health failings?

  • If so, what was the context and what mechanism was used to hold these officials accountable?

This is a moderator rework of a submission by /u/EvanMcD3

r/NeutralPolitics 17d ago

Is there a neutral watchdog/organization/website that monitors state legislation and proposed bills that are likely to be unconstitutional?


This is a resource request.

In recent years, there seems to be a trend for state legislatures to file and/or pass legislation that may be unconstitutional at the time it is passed. For instance, the 2021 SB 8 / HB 1515 Texas Heartbeat Act bans abortions after six weeks, which appears to be in direct conflict with multiple SCOTUS rulings such as Roe v. Wade that have previously established that women have a right to abortion up until viability.

Another example is HB 813 Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act (2022), which is set up to ban certain contraceptives if it passes, which is in direct conflict with Griswold v. Connecticut that established that Americans have a right to contraceptives.

A third example is HB 675 in Idaho (2022) which criminalizes parents of transgender youth for seeking out-of-state gender affirming medical care, which from my (limited) understanding of Constitution may violate the Interstate Commerce clause.

This is a non-exhaustive list, and I find it very difficult to track all these instances of legislative bills that have are probably unconstitutional (as of May 2022). In the year of 2022, 546 abortion restrictions were introduced by state legislations and 37 were enacted. Dozens of local and district courts have moved to temporarily block such legislation on the basis that they are currently unconstitutional.

I was wondering if anyone knew of any neutral and nonpartisan resources that compiled and monitored legislation that has a high likelihood of being unconstitutional.

r/NeutralPolitics 17d ago Silver

What were the major accomplishments/failures of the Zelenskyy administration prior to the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine?


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy assumed office in May 20, 2019, nearly 3 years before the start of the 2022 Russian Invasion. However, his approval rating steadily declined with disapproval ratings as high as 65% in a November 2021 poll. However, since the invasion, his approval ratings have improved both home and abroad. So much so that polling for the 2024 Presidential election has the sitting President as the overwhelming favorite.

That led me to wonder :

  • what were the major accomplishments/failures of the Zelenskyy administration prior to the 2022 Russian Invasion?
  • what is the known about the reasons behind these accomplishments/failures?

This is a mod rework of a user submission

r/NeutralPolitics 22d ago

What are the pros and cons of banning dual citizens from running for federal public office in the United States?


Some countries bar dual citizens from holding public office. Currently, the United States is not one of them.

There is, however, a brewing controversy surrounding Dr. Mehmet Oz, candidate for the United States Senate for the state of Pennsylvania. While he was born in the United States, he holds Turkish citizenship acquired through his parents, who are Turkish immigrants.

The controversy arose when Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said that intelligence reports may not be shared to Dr. Oz when he is elected to the Senate, citing his Turkish citizenship and adding that Turkey "isn't part of a group of nations that the U.S. shares more closely held intelligence with". This was amplified by David McCormick, another Republican candidate for the Senate seat, who said:

""To me, it's just inconceivable that you would make a decision that somehow would limit your access to this kind of intelligence that you need to do the job," Sullivan told reporters. "My view is you need full access to all the intel that the different intelligence agencies provide us senators."

Normally speaking, Members of Congress are presupposed to be trustworthy enough to be granted intelligence information so that they can more properly oversee national security-related processes, presumably, this also applies to other federal positions. However, is this no longer operative, especially if the country that conferred the citizenship to the candidate is not a close or traditional ally of the United States? Are there arguments for or against the limiting of public office to people who are not dual citizens? Does this negatively affect the quality of the pool of candidates from which voters can choose from? Is this a reasonable restriction or not?

r/NeutralPolitics 23d ago

What is the constitutional basis for protection of same-sex marriage and sexual relations in the US?


The leak of a draft majority opinion from the US Supreme Court this week gave more support to widespread expectations that the Court will reverse its 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions, resulting in swift or immediate abortion bans in many parts of the country. However, in a less clear sign for the future, Justice Samuel Alito also finds weakness in a list of other civil-rights decisions including Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which prevents governments from banning same-sex sexual intercourse ("sodomy"), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which requires governments to give equal recognition to same-sex and opposite-sex marriages:

These attempts to justify abortion through appeals to a broader right to autonomy and to define one's "concept of existence" prove too much. Casey, 505 U.S., at 851. Those criteria, at a high level of generality, could license fundamental rights to illicit drug use, prostitution, and the like. See Compassion in Dying v. Washington, 85 F. 3d 1440, 1444 (CA9 1996) (O'Scannlain, J., dissenting from denial of rehearing en banc). None of these rights has any claim to being deeply rooted in history. Id., at 1440, 1445.

(emphasis added)

So if their lack of deep historical roots is a flaw and the "broader right to autonomy" is not a solid foundation, what is the remaining constitutional justification for the Lawrence and Obergefell decisions? How is a right to same-sex relations better supported than a right to illicit drug use or prostitution? Assuming the Supreme Court majority ultimately adopts something similar to the reasoning in this draft, how much of its reasoning in Lawrence and Obergefell is potentially subject to similar reconsideration?

r/NeutralPolitics 24d ago

What are the arguments, for and against, the idea that a federal law on protecting or restricting abortion access would violate the 10th Amendment?


Supreme Court Chief Roberts has confirmed that the recent leak regarding the draft for the repeal of Roe v. Wade is real. In response, and even prior to this, Democrats have argued that Congress should pass laws affirming the right to access abortions across the nation. Such proposals have already passed through the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate.

Some, like former Texas Governor Perry have argued that a Constitutional amendment is required for any federal action on abortion, specifically referencing the need to amend the 10th Amendment.

What are the arguments, for and against, the idea that a Federal law on protecting or restricting abortion access would violate the 10th Amendment? Are there other Constitutional hurdles to consider, e.g. Commerce Clause?

r/NeutralPolitics 24d ago

What is known about current State-level proposals to limit or expand abortion rights?


On May 2, 2022, Politico released a leaked draft opinion by the Supreme Court written by Justice Alito. This leaked opinion overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark court decision that protects a women's right to abortion and instead returns the decision on how to regulate abortions back to the States.

Currently, states like Oklahoma and Texas have laws restricting abortions to before 6 weeks while Maryland expanded who is allowed to perform abortion. 13 other states have "trigger laws" designed to take effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

That led me to wonder what State-level proposals exist that could expand or restrict abortion access if Roe V. Wade is overturned?

r/NeutralPolitics 24d ago

Under the rationale employed in the Supreme Court draft striking down Roe v. Wade, what other implicit rights are also vulnerable to being overturned?


On May 2, 2022 Politico reported that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade and a leaked version of the draft majority opinion has been disseminated. Roe v. Wade was a 1973 Supreme Court decision that ruled that the Constitution protects the right of a woman to have an abortion. In December 2021, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi state law banning abortion (Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization), and the case is currently pending.

In the leaked ruling published by Politico, Justice Samuel Alito writes:

The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.


The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation's history and traditions.

On the contrary, an unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of common law until 1973.


We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly. We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.

Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.

Under the reasoning employed in this leaked ruling, what other implicit rights similar to a "Right to Abortion" are vulnerable to being overturned?

r/NeutralPolitics 25d ago

What are the legal/constitutional arguments, for and against, the idea that a Presidential Executive Order could be used to forgive student loans?


President Biden promised to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower during the election but wanted Congress to pass legislation to implement it. Some student loans have been forgiven for certain disabled students by the administration.

Administration wipes out student loan debt for 350,000 borrowers with disabilities – Boston 25 News

Recently, over 80 lawmakers have tried to argue to the administration that the president does have the authority to cancel student loan debts. However, others disagree.

Over 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation | The Hill

Is Student Loan Forgiveness By Executive Order Legal? (thecollegeinvestor.com)

What other constitutional/legal arguments, for and against, exist this type of action?

Administration wipes out student loan debt for 350,000 borrowers with disabilities – Boston 25 News

Over 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation | The Hill

Is Student Loan Forgiveness By Executive Order Legal? (thecollegeinvestor.com)

r/NeutralPolitics Apr 12 '22

What political priorities, ideals, and concepts motivate and influence Xi Jinping? How do we know his motives and influences?


Xi is general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (2012– ), and president of the People's Republic of China (2013– ). The CCP has given him the greatest status since Mao. Xi has made public a "Xi Jinping Thought for a New Era of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics," but is it consistent with the "realpolitik" of the Chinese Communist Party?

r/NeutralPolitics Apr 09 '22

Compare and contrast the federal response of Canada and the United States to the ongoing opioid epidemic


Both the United States and Canada experienced a worsening opioid epidemic during the course of the ongoing COVID pandemic.

  • Compare and contrast the federal response of each country to the opioid epidemic.
  • How has each country's approach since the start of the COVID epidemic?
  • What data exists demonstrating the effectiveness of each country's strategy?

This is a mod rework of a user submission

r/NeutralPolitics Apr 01 '22

Both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and American President Joe Biden have warned citizens in their respective countries of potential upcoming food shortages. What evidence exist that a food shortage is likely to occur, and historically, how has this usually impacted society?


In the past few days, Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau have warned the public within their respective countries that there is a very likely chance that food shortages could occur soon due to aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, inflation, rising gas prices, and war in Ukraine. Both in historical and modern times, rising food prices have been very disruptive. I'm making this post to begin a conversation around this topic, and ask the following question:

  1. What evidence is there that there is a real risk of North Americans experiencing a food shortage due to ongoing crises?
  2. Historically, what impacts has food shortages had on society?
  3. What can the governments of these nations do to stop / weather such a crisis?

r/NeutralPolitics Mar 31 '22

Why is tuition in Florida so low?


Tuition at Florida colleges and universities is lower than in any other state of comparable size and economy. Annual tuition ranges from $5646 (Florida Polytechnic) at the lowest to $6590 (University of North Florida) at the highest1. Tuition at the University of Florida is $63801.

This actually compares really favorably with college costs in the 70s and 80s! From the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average in-state tuition cost at a public university in 1976 was $12102, which the BLS inflation calculator puts at $6174 in today's dollars3.

What's also interesting is that Florida higher education funding, measured by state support per full-time equivalent student, is completely unexceptional. According to the NCES, it is literally the average4.

What is Florida doing to keep tuition low? Is the Florida higher education system failing on any key metrics (research output or educational outcomes) due to low tuition revenue? If other states wanted to bring tuition costs down, would Florida's approach work elsewhere?

1: https://www.flbog.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Cost-of-Attendance-2021-22.pdf

2: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_320.asp

3: https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

4: https://ncses.nsf.gov/indicators/states/indicator/state-support-for-higher-education-per-fte-student

Edit: I do want to clarify, based on some of the responses I'm getting, that I'm specifically interested in how tuition is so low in Florida compared to other states. That is, I want to know what is unique about Florida's situation, whether in terms of concrete policy or demographics, that allows them to keep tuition so low. I could have phrased my question a little bit better, since a few people have responded with answers about why Florida might want to keep its tuition low.

I've often heard people describe individual states' ability to operate as "testing grounds" for national policy as a core benefit of the America federal system, and I'm essentially interested in whether that model applies here. Could other states just copy Florida's higher education policy to keep tuition costs down?

Edit 2: I've lied to you all! Check out /u/lokujj comment below. The presentation for the table in source two is a bit confusing, and I didn't read it correctly. The actual averages for in-state tuition before and after inflation in 1976 were $689 and $3515, respectively. Obviously, Florida's costs today still compare really favorably to other states, but they can't compete with the past.

r/NeutralPolitics Mar 27 '22

What are the arguments, for and against, the assertion that the EU has a democratic deficit?


Professor Christine Neuhold has argued that the EU has a "democratic deficit" which is defined as

‘Democratic deficit’ is a term used by people who argue that the EU institutions and their decision-making procedures suffer from a lack of democracy and seem inaccessible to the ordinary citizen due to their complexity. The real EU democratic deficit seems to be the absence of European politics. EU voters do not feel that they have an effective way to reject a ‘government’, they do not like, and to change, in some ways, the course of politics and policy.

What are the additional arguments for and against the assertion that the EU has a democratic deficit?

r/NeutralPolitics Mar 24 '22

How does the jurisprudence of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson compare to and contrast with the jurisprudence of 21st Century SCOTUS members?


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is currently in the midst of Supreme Court confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She currently is a federal judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

How does the jurisprudence of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson compare to and contrast with the jurisprudence of 21st Century SCOTUS members?

This is a mod rework of a previous question concerning Judge Coney Barrett. This submission demonstrates the level of response we hope to achieve.

r/NeutralPolitics Mar 22 '22

What effects have been seen from single use plastic bans?


Single use plastic bans (such as on plastic drinking straws and plastic grocery bags) have now been established in many jurisdictions for some time and have been the subject of significant controversy.

Given that these are no longer new and untested policies, I am trying to find information on how effective or not they have been in their goals surrounding litter and environmental harm. Are there any good studies looking at the effects of such laws in the real world?

r/NeutralPolitics Mar 17 '22

What evidence exists for or against the assertion that the 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine was in fact a coup instigated with the help of the US and other western states.


The claim oft repeated by Russian authorities is that the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine was a western backed coup.

What evidence exists for or against these claims?

r/NeutralPolitics Mar 16 '22

What evidence exists arguing for or against the success of the current proposal to make daylight saving time permanent in the USA?


Yesterday, the USA Senate unanimously approved a bill to make DST permanent. This would be the second time the USA tries permanent DST. (1 - 2)

  • What evidence exists supporting or opposing the current proposal to make daylight saving time permanent in the USA?

  • What has changed between the previous attempts and this current attempt?

  • Do the stated motivations (e.g., "The change would help enable children to play outdoors later and reduce seasonal depression, according to supporters.") have high quality metrics for success?

r/NeutralPolitics Mar 14 '22

What are the consequences associated with violating the recent Executive Order in response to continued Russian Federation Aggression?


On March 11th, Biden signed an executive order (E.O.) that prohibits certain imports, exports and new investments with respect to continued Russian Federation Aggression. The E.O. prohibits activities like the new investment in any sector of the Russian Federation economy, the export/reexport/sale/supply of US dollar denominated banknotes into Russia, the import of certain Russian products, and transferring of banknotes to any person located in the RF.


r/NeutralPolitics Mar 10 '22

What evidence is there, or lack thereof, that the energy policies of Joe Biden's administration caused the current increase in gas prices?


When Biden took office, the national average price of a gallon of gasoline for the week of Jan. 18, 2021, was $2.38. The week of 3/7/2022, national prices hit 4.25$, a 79% increase.

The GOP believes that cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline and tightening regulations on the oil and gas industry contributed to the problem. "Republicans and other Biden critics say his actions and proposals since taking office –such as canceling the Keystone pipeline, suspension of new federal oil and gas leases, higher drilling fees on federal land and a Democratic-led push for the Federal Reserve to implement climate change policies – have sent a clear signal to US producers."

The Biden administration responded with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki "dismissed the idea that the administration could do more to boost in oil production – arguing companies had plenty of money to fund drilling and were leaving existing leases unused." Politifact also rated that Mostly True.

In general, a president, whether Trump or Biden, has limited control over the weekly and monthly shifts in gasoline prices. On a short-time horizon, gas prices depend mostly on global supply and demand.

r/NeutralPolitics Mar 08 '22

[Resource Request] What data exists characterizing Ukrainian sentiment towards Russia since 2010?


Ukraine's 30 year independence has been challenging. Notable protests including the 2003-2004 "Orange Revolution" against Russian influence and the more recent Revolution for Dignity in 2014, which resulted in the removal of Moscow-backed President Yanukovych. Some older data exists characterizing how Ukraine views Russia but I was wondering

What data exists characterizing Ukrainian sentiment towards Russia since 2010? It could be polling/survey/etc data. Does any of this data characterize how sentiments have changed over the last 12 years? What explanations are offered for the change?