Tag Archives: 2012 election

Progressive students must push Obama now: a post-election interview with Clayborne Carson

by Kristian Davis Bailey, ’14

This week the United States made history by re-electing Barack Obama as its first African-American president. While the political climate of our country may have had a sobering effect on the national mood, the overall tone of campus seemed to be one of celebration. Cheers of excitement rang from the lounge of my dorm in Ujamaa House, Stanford’s African and African American themed dorm. The larger campus as a whole seemed to echo this enthusiasm–88% of students voted for Obama in the 2012 elections, according to The Stanford Daily.

In the midst of this environment, I had the chance to speak with Dr. Clayborne Carson for fifteen minutes on his responses and reactions to President Obama’s reelection. Carson has been tasked with editing and publishing the complete papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. and directs the Martin Luther King Research Institute at Stanford.

I am currently a student in Carson’s introduction to African American history course “The Modern African American Freedom Struggle,” where we are trying to figure out what gains blacks have made in our modern freedom struggle since 1968. Our comparative discussions framed my conversation with Carson.

‘Act on your own, force Obama to follow your will’
It is necessary for students to create their own progressive pressure on the political system, Carson told me Tuesday night.

“If [people] believe that Obama was the best choice, they shouldn’t just leave it to Obama to carry out any kind of progressive agenda,” Carson said, adding that grassroots support is a necessary factor in creating effective policy.

Continue reading

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YES on Prop 37

by Maria Deloso, ’15

Proposition 37, which would mandate the labeling of genetically modified (GMO) food, is a topic that I had been avoiding for a while now. Most of the soy, corn, and other foods we eat are genetically modified anyway, so wouldn’t labeling be a waste? I kept on ignoring the topic until I met some YES on 37 volunteers and decided to actually educate myself on the proposition. I found it slightly disturbing  that big agri-businesses including Monsanto, Dow Chemicals, Bayer and Coca-Cola have donated over $40 million to shut the proposition down. Those in favor of Proposition 37 include the Environmental Working Group, United Farm Workers, and Sierra Club. If you check out the list of those in favor of Proposition 37, you can find most major environmentally and consumer-focused organizations giving public support to the cause. In contrast, the funding for the TV advertising we’re seeing comes from huge multinational corporations. That $40 million seems to have made a dent in public opinion. At the beginning of the Proposition 37 campaign (which needed 1, 000,000 signatures to get on the ballot), support was 2-1 in favor of passing the law. After these huge corporations used their money to “inform” the public with misleading statistics, polls show that Yes on Prop 37 is now losing. The Yes on 37 campaign barely has money to put on a single advertisement on tv, whereas No on 37 adverts hound me at the TV screens at Arrillaga and the internet. The truth is, labeling matters.

Many students seem to be on the fence about where to vote on this issue, so here’s a summary of the main points. Continue reading

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Stanford perspectives on California propositions

by Elizabeth S. Q. Goodman, PhD candidate in Mathematics + Leslie Wu, PhD candidate in Computer Science

Eleven different propositions are on the California ballot this Tuesday, November 6th, ranging from tax hikes for education to GMO labeling and the death penalty. Here are a select few Stanford perspectives on these 2012 CA propositions.

For a summary, see the matching vote listing on ipolitic.com and a detailed ballot comparison.

Prop. 34: Repeal Death Penalty (more on Prop. 34 at ballotpedia)

“Regardless of your opinion on the death penalty itself,” writes Stanford undergraduate Lindsay Lamont of the Stanford Democrats, “it is clear that the current implementation of this policy in California is an ineffective waste of taxpayer dollars. Since 1978, about 900 people have been sentenced to death and only 14 have actually been executed. Prop 34 would change this sentence to life in prison without parole, saving potentially innocent people who have been convicted and saving CA $130 million annually. YES.”

Similarly, Stanford Amnesty International say yes: “not only the financially responsible choice for Californians, but also the only morally responsible option to protect human rights.” Continue reading

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Dismantling the Myths Behind Planned Parenthood

by Kelsey Dayton, ’15

On October 10th, the Stanford Democrats hosted a discussion with Lupe Rodriguez, Director of Public Affairs Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.

Planned Parenthood is a non-profit health services provider that should be an obvious beneficiary of public gratitude and federal funding. Instead, for the past three decades it has symbolized the partisan debate over abortion. As such, the very phrase “Planned Parenthood” has come to connote every possible stereotype, prejudice, and caricature that pro-choice advocates in the fierce abortion debate can think of. This treatment is unqualified and unjust for an organization that helps the young people that society neglects and never talks about. While the brand name gets assaulted in the political arena, those it seeks to help remain silent or, if they choose to speak out, unheeded.

Planned Parenthood addresses a critical problem in America, a problem inflated by a modern ideological culture war. Some people believe that by not addressing anything related to sex— protection options, possible diseases, pregnancy risk— all sex-related issues in the country will magically disappear. This is, not surprisingly, untrue. Continue reading

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The Strength of Obama’s Foreign Policy

by Nick Ahamed, ’14


I am not here to make excuses. I recognize that my beloved President Obama has arguably struggled in addressing many difficult, complex issues facing the United States throughout the past 4 years. However, on at least one issue, foreign policy, he has done the best we can expect of a president. As I outline the last 12 years of foreign policy, I would like you to keep two things in mind. First, Obama was not given a mandate to govern. Though he won overwhelmingly in the Electoral College, only 53% of the country voted for him. Presidents represent the whole nation to the world, not just their own party. Second, context is everything. As a student of economics, I view everything as a series of trade-offs. And so while the outcome that occurred may not be our optimal policy preference, we have to ask if it was better than the practical alternative. With these two premises acknowledged, I argue that it is vitally important to reelect President Barack Obama in the context of foreign policy.

The Bush years were a period of militant American unilateralism. In those 8 years, we were not afraid to use our Armed Forces, regardless of international opinion. The most notable cases are obviously Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading

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Introducing Students for Reproductive Justice!

by Simone Hudson, ’16, + Miranda Mammen, ’14

Artwork by Favianna Rodriguez

We are so excited to introduce Students for Reproductive Justice, reignited and renamed from Stanford Students for Choice.

We reactivated this student group because we crave a more sophisticated dialogue about reproductive autonomy, choice, and access than our current political discourse has to offer – and because we’re scared and disgusted by the recent flood of anti-choice rhetoric and legislation. (It seems the Republican party can’t go a week without an outrageous comment defending an abortion ban with no exception for rape – oops, we meant “legitimate rape”. Or maybe just “the rape thing” in general? Remember, these aren’t gaffes – they represent actual political doctrine!)

We renamed the group to signal a shift in our approach to these issues. The reproductive justice framework moves beyond the pro-choice narrative to ask how reproductive decisions are impacted by access and identity, even when legal rights are in place. Continue reading

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Stanford: Get Out The Vote!

WHEN:  Friday, November 2nd. 12-1 PM.

WHERE: White Plaza.

WHAT:  A rally to get out the vote in support of President Obama!  Come join us to get FIRED UP and watch speeches from the likes of STEVE WESTLY, MICHAEL TUBBS ’12, ERIC SMALLS ’16 and many more!  Also, there will be FREE OBAMA GEAR.  Come early for music from Andy Stuhl and to grab the OBAMA SWAG before it disappears!!  Come and bring your friends!

BE THERE OR BE… A REPUBLICAN. Continue reading
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The United States is the greatest threat to its own national security

by Kristian Davis Bailey, ’14

This post originally published at Kristian’s personal website, “With a ‘K.’”

After yesterday’s presidential debate on foreign policy, can we talk about how the United States is its own greatest threat to national security?

This might have something to do with the fact that America’s been “cheating” the past hundred years or so and manipulating the economic and military affairs of the world to its favor–and often to the detriment of all but a few allies, who also benefit from standing on the rest of the world.

Iran is not a threat to the security of the people of the United States, even if it obtains nuclear weapons.  Iran’s major threat is becoming a nation that can defend its own sovereignty without posturing to American hegemony. It is part of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which features the majority of the countries in our world and which are not part of any major power blocs. The countries in NAM are struggling for a new world order* that is not dictated and/or dominated by the aforementioned “cheating” Western policies. Continue reading

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Republican Party: The Official Sponsor of Hate

by Holly Fetter, ’13


I recently had the pleasure of accidentally attending the 2012 Values Voter Summit. Midway through a school-sponsored trip to the nation’s capital, our hotel was overrun by perky people holding signs that advertised the conference’s host, FRC Action. This organization is the lobbyist branch of the Family Research Council (FRC), a right-wing hate group. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, FRC “richly deserves” such a designation because it “engages in baseless, incendiery name-calling and spreads demonizing lies about the LGBT community.” Other hate groups include the Ku Klux Klan and Stormfront, Wade Page’s favorite website. The FRC is also anti-choice, anti-tax, anti-welfare, anti-pornography, anti-gambling, pro-school prayer, and they question the validity of global warming. Basically, they hate everyone who isn’t a middle-class White heterosexual Christian Republican that dresses modestly. Which is a lot of people.

I couldn’t gain access to the actual events during the conference, but my friends and I were permitted to browse the multiple rooms of organizations passing out propaganda for their various causes. We’re greeted by a large painting of Jesus kissing the Liberty Bell as we begin to make our way through the right-wing extremist version of a Stanford Activities Fair. Continue reading

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The 2012 Project: Don’t Get Mad. Get Elected.

by Sam Storey, ’13

Our country needs more women to run for office.

Many of us have heard the facts before, but they bear repeating. Of the 535 members in congress, only 90, or 16.6%, are women. Of the 7,382 state legislature seats throughout the country, only 1,740, or 23.6%, are filled by women. Indeed, despite the massive press coverage that women such as Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley, and Michelle Bachmann might receive and the increasingly common portrayal of strong, politically-minded women on television, the United States still ranks an embarrassing 71st out of 186 countries in our representation of women in government.

It is important to point out from where the gender discrepancy in representation originates. Interestingly, it is not mainly the result of any sexist prejudice by the electorate or any difference in how women and men may campaign; rather, women simply aren’t running for office. Continue reading

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