This week while having a virtual chat with a colleague we got caught in the fascination of ‘build back better.’

They recalled seeing the slogan placed, rather arbitrarily, in a project document they had reviewed. It seemed it was more there as a flashy buzzword than anything else.

This is merely one example, but building back better is in fashion.

The pandemic has brought attention to the inadequacies, inefficiencies, and inequities of many systems and in fact has been a factor in the demise of some. …


Earlier this week, Quaker Foods announced that it’s Aunt Jemima brand would be undergoing a transition to rebrand their products. Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker, said that “We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype” and continued, “While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough” ().

The decision by the company has been met with a slew of feedback, both positive and negative. Who knew we had so many feelings about pancakes?

Oh, social media


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Yesterday an episode of the FiveThirtyEight podcast, “,” popped up on my podcast player and I gave it a listen. In it, Perry Bacon Jr., Julia Azari, and Galen Druke discussed the considerations that go into making a vice presidential selection.

The three compared and contrasted the pros and cons of the women considered to be on Biden’s shortlist for VP: Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Catherine Cortez Masto as well as former Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

One of the topline notes for me was…


On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act to provide assistance to American workers and families, small businesses, state and local governments, and American industry jobs amid the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Included in the are two key forms of aid for workers and families: a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment (often referred to as stimulus checks) and expanded unemployment benefits including a $600 supplement to weekly benefits as well as coverage of more types of unemployed workers.

Each of these are meant to aid workers and families during this global health crisis that is altering the shape and…


We began the 2020 Democratic Primary with the most diverse line up of candidates we have ever had. From a number of progressive proposals being adopted to record numbers of women candidates, candidates of color, younger candidates, and the first openly gay candidate, this race looked like it was finally beginning to reflect the diversity of the party.

And, for a time, it did.

We marvelled at watching six women take the debate stage in June and July, listening to candidates make statements in Spanish, watching an openly gay man win the Iowa Caucus, and observing or joining a progressive…


A Delayed Election? An Extended Term? The 2020 Presidential Election Against the Backdrop of the Coronavirus

In this time of uncertainty amid the global public health crisis of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new novel Coronavirus, and with a crucial election looming on the horizon, many questions about the 2020 presidential election are being raised.

Could the election be delayed? Could President Trump’s term in office be extended? What will happen if we don’t vote in November?

First, Congress, not the President, has sole control over setting the dates of federal elections and would need to rewrite two U.S…


Please note that this guide was originally compiled in March 2020. An updated and more comprensive version of the guide can be found .

In recent years, Americans have been frustrated by ever-growing congressional gridlock. This is a crucial election year for races from the presidency to Congress to state and local elections, but flipping the US Senate should be a priority for Democrats across the country in 2020.

The following is a reference guide to the 2020 US Senate Elections. Listed by state in alphabetical order, this guide includes the Objective of each election, The Leading Democrat in the race including relevant links to their websites, social media accounts, and ActBlue donation portals. …


This essay was originally titled Slavery and Perception of Social Hierarchy: A Consideration for American Exceptionalism and written by Kaitlynn Newcomb for a course at the LSE, Politics and Society, in November 2019. If you do choose to share or reference, please cite accordingly.

Staff Illustrator — Frank Leslie’s Weekly Illustrated Newspaper 1982 (Public Domain)

The peculiar lack of a fully developed and sustained labor-based party in the United States has been investigated by Robin Archer who both challenges prior explanations and proposes a number of new findings in his book Why Is There No Labor Party in the United States? He does this by offering a comparison between the cases…


Today I am sharing a review of the book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild. This book engages with members of the Tea Party in Louisiana and their response to proposed environmental policy. Hochschild finds their response curious, as the Tea Party opposes proposals to limit pollution and bolster environmental protection even in Louisiana where residents are among the most negatively impacted by lack of environmental regulation. The following review focuses on Hochschild’s endeavor to understand the role of emotional politics of the Tea Party.

This review was originally written…


Annie Leibovitz for

When asked about gender playing a role in people’s vote, a candidate saying yes is perceived as her making excuses or even complaining about men. But , even if she can’t say it, millions of people out there know it’s true.

It is 2020 and we are still watching women be asked, then forced, to step aside. Imagine being one of those women who after being forced aside are expected to answer questions about if your gender makes you unworthy. Imagine one of the little girls Liz pinky promised watch that. …

Kaitlynn Newcomb

Political Sociologist

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