Category Archives: Social Movements and Elections

Dysfunctional Politics in the Digital Age

By Deana Rohlinger

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From Pinterest                                                                         From Propcott

Something has changed in American politics. The chasm between progressives and conservatives has grown and, according to research by Shanto Iyengar and Sean Westwood, Americans have become more tribal in their politics. Americans feel a deep commitment to their ideological positions and a great deal of hostility toward their political opponents. This is bad news for social movements. Progressive and conservative causes, as well as the movements that organize around them, are caught up in this antagonism, making it more difficult than ever to capture the hearts and minds of the citizenry. Political consensus seems to be a thing of the past and reasoned conversations about important political issues virtually extinct. Continue reading


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Where are the Social Movements in the 2016 Election?

By Fabio Rojas

If a social movement were a person and you asked that person to describe their relationship with elections, the social movement would say “it’s complicated.” Sometimes, social movements really love elections. They help bring people to the rally and force candidates to pay attention to them. At other times, politicians and the public drift away from movements. Even when you win, involvement in an election can be a mixed blessing. The demands of power often mean that a movement might have to curtail its goals. As one activist told me, “the issue isn’t what we’ll do in the election, the issue is how to avoid being damaged by elections.” You can’t live with elections, you can’t live without them. Continue reading

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Bernie Sanders and the Occupy Wall Street Wing of the Democratic Party


Philadelphia, PA, July 27, 2016.  Photo by Michael T. Heaney

By Michael T. Heaney

The 2016 presidential election has been unusual in the extent to which it has generated mobilization from social movements across the ideological spectrum that objected to the basic fairness and legitimacy of the nomination process as it was managed by both major parties. Movements such as Black Lives Matter, the prolife movement, and the Tea Party have openly challenged Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and others. An important question to consider is, what are the potential long-term political consequences likely to result from this short-term spike in mobilization? Continue reading

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