Tag Archives: Craig Albert

5 websites to keep you up-to-date on Election 2016

 

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Political news on social media and other online sources could play a big role in the 2016 presidential elections as tech-savvy millennials outnumber baby boomers for the first time.

People born between 1982 and 2000 are the most populous generation in the country this year, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. A total of 83.1 million Americans are millennials compared to 75.4 million baby boomers, those born in 1946 through 1964.

Also, 74 percent of the news the tech-savvy generation consumes comes from online sources, according to a recent research by Media Insight Project. About 6 in 10 millennials get their political news from Facebook, according to a Pew Research Center report released in June.

“Millennials know how to use social networking applications better than baby boomers,” said Dr. Craig Albert, assistant professor of political science at Georgia Regents University. “They have a different type of access to information, and that tends to affect whether or not they are going to vote. This could also affect how they vote if they go out to vote. ”

With online sources becoming more important for political news, Albert recommends five websites where voters can get reliable information on political issues and the 2016 presidential candidates:

  • Real Clear Politics: Voters who want to know which presidential candidate is leading on the latest polls should use this website. Surveys come from different states and from different polling institutions. Some of the polls even pit Democratic candidates against GOP contenders.
  • Ballotpedia: As a nonpartisan political website, Ballotpedia offers information on all Democratic and Republican candidates, including their policy on a wide range of issues such as taxes, health care, education and immigration. Voters can also find out which politicians may join the race and which ones declined to run. Ballotpedia also has information on upcoming presidential debates.
  • Politico: Although Politico has a liberal agenda, it is a reliable source of political news. As long as voters know the website leans Democrat, they can enjoy a wide range of news including foreign affairs, environmental policy and even political scandals.
  • Conservative Review: This website is for voters who want to learn more about the Republican presidential candidates. Voters can read about the views that candidates have on issues such as government spending, civil liberties and education. The website also grades candidates on how conservative they are on those issues.
  • 270 to Win: This website, which is also an app, is useful on election day as it shows how many electoral college votes each state has, how many states and electoral college votes a candidate needs to win and which candidate is likely to win each state and overall. Voters can also play with an interactive map and create their own 2016 election forecast.

 

A Study in Terror: Lance Hunter’s examination of civil liberties under fire

At face value, there’s nothing outwardly menacing about the number 13,463. In fact, in a world obsessed with billions, it seems like an almost paltry sum. Petite. Quaint.

Last year, the U.S. State Department reported there were at least 13, 463 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2014. The report also claimed that the number of fatalities as a result of terrorism had risen more than 80 percent from 2013. Does the number still seem small?

As both political parties gear up for yet another election cycle, the spirit of democracy is once again fresh in the minds of many Americans. Unfortunately, that same spirit comes under threat from violent agents, both foreign and domestic, far too often in the new millennium.

Dr. Lance Hunter, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, is something of an expert on the subject of organized terrorism.

Recently, his article “Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and Political Rights: A Cross-National Analysis” was accepted for publication in the Jan. 2016 edition of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, a leading journal in the field of terrorism study and analysis.

Hunter’s article will focus on how terrorist activity threatens the civil liberties of modern democracies, and the answers, while surprising, are still frightening.

“I found that consolidated democracies tended to have a less drastic response to terrorist attacks in the form of infringing on civil liberties than did less consolidated democracies,” Hunter said. “That surprised me. I was expecting to see a fairly uniform drop in civil liberties across the board, but that wasn’t the case.”

The term “consolidated” in reference to Hunter’s research refers to democracies that are more “whole.” Countries like Spain, which contain regions that enjoy only a moderate level of democratic governance compared to others, are considered less consolidated, whereas countries like the United States – where all regions are subject to uniform central governance – are considered consolidated.

“More consolidated democracies tend to rally around a constitution,” Hunter explained. “They tended to show a stronger dedication to maintaining civil liberties than less consolidated states.”

In fact, Hunter said the freest nations tended to see an increase in civil liberties in the wake of terrorist attacks.

“I think after an attack, people in those nations realize their civil liberties are under attack,” he said. “In a sense, because of their awareness, that attack has the opposite effect, and they end up with an even greater level of freedom.”

But not all nations are so lucky.

Safety and security rank as two of the highest qualities in an individual’s life. That’s no secret: People yearn to feel protected. Unfortunately, that protection often comes at a terrible price.

“Less consolidated democracies tended to have a more reactive response to terrorist attacks,” Hunter said. “In those places, there was a definite hit to civil liberties.”

Some of the most prominent civil liberties affected by terrorism are the right to due process and freedom of speech, aspects of a democracy that many consider crucial to its success.

“In the wake of a major terrorist attack, you might see certain rights disappear for a time,” said Hunter. “One of the first is the right to see a judge. Sometimes, opportunistic political leaders see attacks as ways of solidifying their power, and in those cases, the entire power structure of a democracy suffers for it.”

But in the end, though civil liberties suffer in certain countries, Hunter believes the institution of democracy as a whole will carry on.

“Democracy is crucial because it provides more stability,” he said. “Especially in times of change. Authoritarian governments might provide short-term safety, but in the long run, when it comes time for power to change hands, it almost never happens without violence. ”

Hunter believes debate and conversation are invaluable to the process of preserving democracy.

“People mention the Patriot Act as a lessening of civil liberties in the United States,” he said. “But as we saw in the Republican Primary, in the debate between Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christie, we’re still having that conversation. We’re still debating its merits.. That’s an undeniably good thing.”

Dr. Craig Albert, also an assistant professor in Hunter’s department, said Hunter’s research was timely and utterly unique.

“With the rise of ISIS, this paper could not have been more timely,” said Albert. “It is an age old question: how to balance the concepts of security and liberty. Dr. Hunter’s is a piece that answers this both theoretically and practically, and will contribute to Security Studies for decades to come.”

In terms of credibility in the field of political science and security studies, Albert said Hunter’s achievement was beyond noteworthy.

“It is rare to have a publication that merits respect from both theorists and policy makers,” he said. “This does both.”

GRU explains Republican Primary

AUGUSTA, Ga. – American voters will watch the top 10 Republican presidential candidates face off in the first GOP debate at 9 p.m. Thursday on Fox News, with the remaining candidates debating four hours earlier also on Fox News.

Dr. Craig Albert, assistant professor of political science at Georgia Regents University, teaches courses on American politics, political philosophy, war and terrorism; he also directs the Model United Nations Program. In a new video, he discusses why Republicans have so many candidates and weighs in on why Donald Trump is a problem for the GOP.

“This is the largest number of candidates for a Republican Primary in about 100 years,” Albert said. “It’s been growing since 2008 this lack of identity for the Republican Party and so many different voices. They don’t know who they are; they are so fractured right now. So everybody is trying to be the new voice, the new face, trying to show to the American voters who the Republican Party actually is.”

As a leading scholar in American politics and foreign affairs, Albert’s research interests include Islamic extremism and the rise of ISIS, the Russo-Chechen conflict and the life and work of French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville. Albert is also a political contributor to The Augusta Chronicle and a blogger for ROAR: Renaissance for American Responsibility. He’s done interviews with many different media outlets, including a live interview with Megyn Kelly for Fox News Channel about the Boston Marathon bombers. He has also testified to the U.S. Congress on Islamic Extremism.

Model UN prepares for New York City

While there’s no guarantee that any of the students participating in GRU’s Model United Nations program will end up being elected president of the United States or voted in as secretary-general of the UN, at least they stand a chance, which is more than you can say for those who aren’t a part of the program.

“I think every UN secretary-general has been in a Model UN program,” said Dr. Craig Albert, Assistant Professor of Political Science and the program’s director. “And I think something like 80 percent of modern-day U.S. presidents have been a part of it as well.”

Next week, 6,000 of these future world leaders from over 50 countries will converge on New York City to participate in the National Model United Nations, and GRU’s group will be right in the thick of it.

Run in joint partnership with the political science department and the study away program, the Model UN program is a three-credit class that runs the full 16-week semester and culminates with the trip to New York, where each program represents a particular member nation of the real UN.

This year, GRU is representing Palestine and will have a 90-minute briefing with the Palestinian Permanent Observer Mission.

Albert chooses – and gets – countries at the epicenter of world affairs. In 2012, GRU represented Iran.

“Three years ago, we met up with the Iranian embassy in New York, which was fantastic,” he said. “We went to their building, so technically, we were in the sovereign territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They gave us the whole spiel, and the students could see right through the propaganda.”

Once the students get to the conference, they have to remain in character throughout negotiations of a United Nations resolution.

“They start their session in New York at 7 a.m., and they finish at 11 p.m.,” Albert said. “It’s a full ambassadorial day – no break. In fact, they have rules that if another delegate wants to negotiate at 3 a.m. and they know your room number, that stuff’s allowed, just like in the real United Nations.”

One of the class requirements is that students attend every class in full business attire, which helps promote a sense of solidarity among the participants while preparing them for the long days in New York.

“Every time we meet, they have to be fully ‘ambassadored-up,’” he said. “Because a lot of people don’t know what it’s like to be in an eight-hour meeting with a suit on.”

The strategy seems to work. GRU has racked up 17 international awards in four years, including a few best overall delegate awards, several position paper awards, and a regular appearance in the top three of participating programs.

In October, GRU hosted its first middle school Model United Nations, creating a kind of feeder system Albert hopes will benefit both the program as well as the school.

UN middle school
Middle School Model UN

“Hopefully, the kids will develop an affinity for GRU from their experience here,” he said. “If they do the middle school Model United Nations, in three to five years we hope to roll out a high school Model United Nations, and those same kids could participate in that. And then, when they know we have a college team and a college program, why wouldn’t they just come right here, since they’re so familiar with it?”

Participating at the college level is not cheap, however. Because the program is run through the study away program, the cost is $1,800, which covers the transportation to New York and six nights at a Times Square hotel, but is still very expensive, considering that some students choose to participate more than once.

“Hopefully, in three or four years, the program can be a self-funding type of activity, which means I can really help all demographics of students,” Albert said.

Because of that, Albert is hoping to put the money raised by putting on the middle school Model UN into a scholarship to make the opportunity more affordable to all students.

Donations made out to the Center for Public Service: Foundation Account #29191 can be sent to Dr. Craig Albert, 2500 Walton Way, Department of Political Science, Augusta, GA, 30904.

Albert receives GCIS award

Craig Albert, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, is the recipient of the Junior Faculty Award in Internationalization by the Georgia Consortium for International Studies (GCIS). The award honors outstanding faculty in supporting, developing, and researching in international studies.

According to Debra Denzer, Chair of the Consortium for International Studies, it was because of Albert’s dedication to the National Model United Nations program, study abroad, and the internationalization of his curriculum that he was selected to receive the award.

“His understanding of the nature of comprehensive internationalization for his college is evident, and his colleagues clearly appreciate the work he does for both the campus and the university system,” added Denzer.

Each year, GCIS recognizes and rewards a junior and senior faculty member who has made significant contributions to internationalization at their university or elsewhere. The junior faculty member award is presented to an individual who has no more than seven years of full time teaching experience with at least three years of service at a GCIS member institution. The senior faculty member award is presented an individual who has more than seven years of full time teaching experience with at least five years of service at a GCIS member institution.

GCIS Inc. is a collaborative partnership of 17 Georgia institutions of higher education aimed at promoting intercultural understanding and fostering faculty international development.