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Five Pieces Worth Reading

5 pieces worth reading

Following the good example of our colleagues at the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation, VTIPG will share five articles each week that we find timely, meaningful, and that address critical concerns related to the state of our democracy and civil society. We hope to offer pieces that illuminate the varied dimensions of our governance challenges and the status of social norms that sustain the possibility of addressing these issues successfully.

If you’d like to share an article - and we encourage all to do so - please send it to Billy Parvatam.

June 14: These pieces focus on Good Samaritan Hospice opening the first freestanding hospice house in Roanoke Valley, Americans are frustrated as continued high interest rates and prices start to impact their spending habits, a recent Pew Research Center poll that expresses a higher confidence in President Joe Biden handling of world affairs than Donald Trump while positive views on American democracy overall have declined, the European Parliament election results and the rightward shift in leadership, and how the Indian national election results have been seen as a defeat for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party despite securing him a third term.

May 24: These articles focus on how the decision of the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden and Donald Trump to pull out of the Commission on Presidential Debate proposed debates and venues prevents Virginia State University from hosting, the guardrails of democracy that prevented Trump from becoming more authoritarian in his first term would be significantly weaker in a second term, what is next for the Iranian goernment following the deaths of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahlan and two others in a helicopter crash, Indian citizens are voting in their country's national election despite a remarkable heat wave, and highlighting Rwanda's growth in the 30 years since its infamous genocide while also paying the price of one-party rule under President Paul Kagame.

May 17: These commentaries focus on a new Virginia law to ensure deployment of high-speed broadband to the Commonwealth's rural areas, the pro-democracy wing of the GOP will not prevail in the 2024 election, a proposed bill in Vermont to hold high-emission companies financially responsible for climate change-related disasters, how disability is still not welcomed in politics and public service, and how the hotel business has recovered in the years following the Covid-19 pandemic.

May 10: These pieces focus on the Town of Blacksburg hiring a consulting group to craft a plan that balances the community's growing housing needs with the conservation of critical aggricultural assets of the Toms Creek Basin, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz's new book un which he contends neoliberalism has led to the rise of authoritarianism globally, former President and presumptive 2024 Republican nominee Donald Trump's history of employing Nazi/Neo-Nazi rhetoric, how funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law passed under the Biden administration is benefiting red states like Montana, and a profile of the Yuturi Warmi, an all-female Ecuadorian patrol group that protects the portion of the Amazon rainforest where they reside from illicit mining activities.

May 3: These articles all focus on the campus protests at universities across the country regarding the Israel-Gaza conflict. They discuss the protests and arrests that occurred at Virginia Tech, how universities in general are handling protests, how they compare to the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s and the South African apartheid protests of the 1980s, Senator Bernie Sanders's criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments on the protests, and how they might impact President Joe Biden's prospects for reelection. 

April 26: These pieces focus on the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program which could affect internet access for 346,000 Virginians, the history of care for mental illness and disability, why Americans should stand up for public libraries, what reforms Americans appear to desire in government, and the ongoing national election in India.

March 15: These commentaries focus on the main takeways from President Joe Biden's 2024 State of the Union Address, how Russia, China, and Israel may have reacted to Biden's speech, why the American people should take former President Donald Trump's ourageous statements literally, the case for increasing Virginia's minimum wage to $15 an hour, and how Native-American reservation tribal police are unable to prosecute non-Natives for drug trafficking crimes.

February 19: These pieces focus on how the tentative agreement to move the Washington Wizards and Capitals to Alexandria would benefit Southwest Virginia economically, how former President Donald Trump goes lower in his vile behavior by attacking active-duty service member Major Michael Haley, how the U.S. economy has fared better than European economies despite inflation and higher energy costs, a moral and strategic case for continued American military aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia, and how climate change is contributing to frequent poor air quality in the U.S.

February 2: These commentaries focus on Virginia public universities working with community colleges to help students pursue meaningful professional careers, fears that former President Donald Trump becoming a dictator in a second term are overblown, a recent World Economic Forum Report suggesting misinformation now constitutes a critical threat to democracy and public health, a conflict between a Bryan, Ohio church and the local government over religious freedom, and how planting trees in the Dominican Republic is helping provide water for that country's population.

January 12: These pieces focus on the Supreme Court considering whether former President Trump can appear on state ballots for the presidential primaries and the general election, Americans having low-confidence in democracy, the Brazilian government's program to provide school lunches free of charge, how Brazil has responded since rioters stormed government buildings one year ago to protest the results of the national election, and the Taiwanese national election. 

December 22: These pieces focus on national elections happening globally in 2024, the tentative agreement to bring 2 Washington D.C. sports teams to Virginia, the federal deficit, Kate Cox's abortion case in Texas, and COVID-19 Vaccine waste in Europe.  

December 8:These commentaries focus on the Virginia Community College System's efforts to provide students with resources for a share of their basic needs, Dr. Michael Harris's efforts to show how Western nations can learn from global South national health care systems, how Trump's desire to repeal Obamacare could be a political trap for GOP, Congress needs to act quickly to fund American efforts against the global security issues of the world, and a growing risk of terrorist attacks in Europe arising from social polariation created by the Israel-Hamas war.


November 16: These pieces focus on how the City of Roanoke continues to address the consequences of the flood of '85, UVA Professor Rachel Wahl's "Political Discourse" class, how prices have remained high despite inflation coming down, an increase in global emissions despite the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, and why Western businesses have stopped reinvesting their profits in China.


October 27: These articles focused on Mike Johnson's election as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, how the strategic manipulation of U.S. elections has become more prevalent, the Supreme Court's decision not to intervene in Louisiana's decision not to draw a second Black-majority district, environmental and transparency concerns related to a proposed small nuclear reactor in Wise County, VA. and how a major power plant in Uruguay is responding to that industry's high level of water pollution and consumption amidst a major drought.

October 20: These pieces addressed Jim Jordan's Speakership bid and suggested it epitomized what is wrong with the Republican Party, President Biden's visit to Israel, the legal settlement between the Biden administration and families separated at the border under the Trump administration, the Polish national elections, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's climate policy.

October 13: These articles highlighted Heather Cox Richardson's reflections on the state of American democracy, how the extended intraparty Republican conflict concerning whom to elect as Speaker of the House of Representatives could significantly delay aid to Israel to fight Hamas, how an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza could make the Israeli-Hamas war even more devastating for civilians, a better-than-expected jobs report for September, and the drought in the Brazilian Amazon.

September 22: These pieces described Roanoke and Lynchburg's new efforts to address mental and behavioral health challenges, why some economists believe the U.S. economy may enter a recession soon, how the Republican Party has become so threatening to American democracy, the worrisomely low levels of sea ice in Antarctica, and former Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico's campaign against continued aid to Ukraine by that nation. 

August 11: These articles focused on Virginia Tech studying solar farms, Ohioans overwhelmingly voting against 'Issue 1', the Federal Reserve's efforts to reduce inflation, the possible implications of prosecution of former President Donald Trump, and right-wing criticism of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team.

August 3: These stories addressed former President Trump's third indictment, how this summer's European heatwave could change future tourism, the recent trend of teachers of color leaving the profession, how western democracies have been built in part on the suffering of others, and how voting in the 2020 election could portend voting patterns in coming elections.

July 28: These pieces treated the question of how conceptions of masculinity divide Democrats and Republicans, the effects of curfews on youth crime rates in Roanoke and Lynchburg, whether Alabama will continue to defy the Supreme Court's decision in Allen v. Milligan to draw a second Black-majority congressional district in that state, the trend toward fewer public swimming pools in the U.S., and why urban areas are generally warmer than their rural counterparts.

July 21: These stories examined the role of hatred in politics, the prevalence of Alzheimer's in southern Virginia, how a second Trump term would very likely damage America's standing in the world, the rise of active club groups, and the heat wave that has affected much of Europe this summer.

July 10: These articles described the role of the Declaration of Independence in arguments for the abolition of slavery, the Supreme Court's decision to disallow President Biden's student debt forgiveness initiative, the fact that July 3, 2023 was the hottest day ever recorded, several reasons to be encouraged about the state of U.S. democracy, and why the world could be at an inflection point. 

June 29: These articles focus on Moore v. Harper, the $23 million Virginia localities will receive this year to combat the opioid crisis, the ramifications for women one year after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a recent report that found intelligence agencies downplayed threats in the days leading up to the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and the recent Canadian wildfires.

June 22: These pieces focus on how Juneteenth is gaining acceptance around the country, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official visit to the United States, the life and career of the late Daniel Ellsberg, the glacier melt in Asia's Hindu Kush Himalaya region, and a movement among consumer groups to urge government officials to investigate the algorithms that power ChatGPT.

June 15: These commentaries focus on how billions in COVID-19 relief aid has been stolen or wasted, why Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh voted to uphold the Voting Rights Act, the Inflation Reduction Act's investment into making farming more climate-friendly, the U.S.'s decision to rejoin UNESCO, and how increased flight turbulence is a result of climate change.

June 8: These pieces focus on the demographics of the nation's suburbs, President Biden's success with his bipartisan legislative achievements, how former Vice President Mike Pence has no consitituency in today's Republican Party, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's narrow path to the Republican Party presidential nomination, and independent-state-legislature theory.

June 1: These articles focused on the key provisions of the bipartisan debt ceiling deal, GOP rhetoric concerning lower taxes and limited government versus that party’s actions concerning the same, President Biden's successful record of securing bipartisan legislation, the implications of Turkish President Recep Erdogan's re-election for relations with the West, and the need for Congress to enact legislation to protect the nation’s wetlands following a recent Supreme Court decision limiting governmental capacity to oversee their use under existing law. 

May 25: These pieces addressed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's strategy to defeat former President Donald Trump to win the 2024 GOP nomination, the recent trend among young and religiously unaffiliated individuals to vote Democratic, how President Biden’s decision to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will help support that nation in its ongoing effort to defend itself from Russia’s effort to annex it, a potential political strategy that could prevent United States default, and how widespread poverty and social inequality in America has led to deep political divisions.

May 18: These stories focused on how House Republican demands to cut spending for federal social safety net programs could affect millions of low-income Americans, on the implications of that Party’s support of vigilantism against left-wing protestors, on how Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's immigration stance is negatively affecting his state's businesses, on an alarming trend of declining knowledge of history and civics among young Americans, and on recent pro-democracy party wins in Thailand's elections.

May 11: These articles argued that Republicans were putting the nation’s standard of living at risk by refusing to increase the debt ceiling, suggested that former President Trump rhetoric and activities continue to be vetted carefully in the media, outlined why former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly's contention that states with gun control legislation have more mass shootings is inaccurate and manipulative, contended that a pending Supreme Court decision could legalize assault weapons in all 50 states, and called for a 'Manhattan Project' style governmental endeavor to ensure that artificial intelligence does not threaten human existence.

May 4: These stories explored why President Biden initially refused to negotiate with Republicans to obtain an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling, why the Federal Reserve should pause interest rates instead of implementing another hike, the attraction among GOP voters of former President Trump's alpha male personality, why some Republicans have opposed continuing to provide military aid to Ukraine, and what to expect during King Charles III's coronation.

April 27: These pieces focus on President Biden's low approval ratings despite his legislative accomplishments, why he can win re-election in 2024, Tucker Carlson's firing from Fox News, The Covid Crisis Group's recent report on the U.S. governance response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the rapid decline in popular faith in the Supreme Court followng several high-profile controversial rulings. 

April 7: These commentaries focus on New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg's indictment of former President Donald Trump, why the indictment is a strong case with legal and historical precedent, Democrat Janet Protasiewicz's win in the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, why '60 Minutes' should not have given Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene a platform, and recent McDonald's layoffs despite the strong labor market. 

March 30: These pieces all focus on the tragic mass shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, including why Americand continue to expose their children to gun violence, the likely effects of an assault weapons ban, why the cycle of gun violence is predictable and unlikely to change, how states have responded to mass shootings based on their prevailing political party affiliations, and why corporate America has fallen silent on gun regulation.  

March 23: These pieces focus on the factors that led to former President Trump's Electoral College victory in 2016, the politics of a potential Trump indictment, why the Biden administration should welcome China's proposed peace deal for Ukraine as a starting point for negotiations, why the news has become so negative, and one strategy for reforming American institutions to represent the majority more accurately.  

March 16: These pieces focus the future of America's largest cities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, how the leadership of Vladamir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu has damaged their respective countries, how a 2018 federal law deregulating banking led to the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, President Biden's decision to allow oil drilling on some Alaskan public land, and Governor DeSantis's apparent strategy for a potential 2024 presidential bid. 

March 9: These commentaries focus on the Electoral College being the greatest threat to American democracy, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's desire to overturn New York Times v. Sullivan, a GOP-lead Congressional effort to overturn criminal justice reforms passed by D.C., how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's repressive media policies in Kashmir could soon be extended to the entire nation, and former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's decision to not seek the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. 

March 2: These pieces focus on President Biden's leadership during the Russia-Ukraine war, why that war will likely end in negotiations, the Biden Administration's student loan forgiveness, India ranked first in the world in internet shutdowns, and the decline of Humanities majors in the United States. 

February 23: These commentaries examined how President Jimmy Carter's administration marked the end of a nearly 50-year era of democratic capitalism in the United States, President Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon and how it relates to the situation now confronting former President Trump, why President Biden is not getting more credit for the nation's broadly healthy economy, Senator John Fetterman's decision to seek treatment for clinical depression, and the parallels between the warnings contained in George Washington's farewell address and Donald Trump's actions in office.

February 16: These articles addressed Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders efforts to appeal to extreme right-wing voters in her Republican response to the State of the Union, the GOP's 40-year effort to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, how former governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is not an effective alternative to former President Trump, West Virginia Public Broadcasting's battles with a state government led by officials willing to pressure it politically, and how far-right parties in Europe are preventing African immigrants from seeking refuge from climate change.

February 9: These pieces all focused on President Biden's State of the Union address discussing how his speech echoed some of the populist 2016 campaign themes of former President Trump, six main takeaways from the address, the principal economic points discussed, winners and losers, and how Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders' selection to deliver the Republican response contradicted some in the party's desire to move on from Trump. 

February 3: These commentaries focus on the shifting character of the demographic base of the Democratic Party, foreign crises that will determine President Biden's legacy, the attack on Speaker Pelosi's husband inspired by years of inflammatory GOP rhetoric towards her, how the Biden administration should address the current Israeli government's anti-democratic actions, and a Maryland state legislative proposal to encourage companies to move to a four-day week.

January 26: These essays focus on rural America as a base for the Republican Party, the fact that classified documents were found in former Vice President Mike Pence's home and how former President Donald Trump could exploit that discovery, passage of the Electoral Count Reform Act, Arizona Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego's decision to challenge Senator Krysten Sinema from the left, and a report that Africa has become less safe and democratic during the past decade.

January 19: These commentaries focused on Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin's decision to end state support to bring a Ford battery plant to Pittsylvania County, how the Republican Party has become uninterested in following Constitutional norms, how China's population decline impacts its future economic growth, how today's social and political divisions are similar to those that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and how Operation Warp Speed's success in vaccinating Americans must be considered one of the great achievements in the country's history.

January 12: These articles described why many Republicans disapprove of their party's congressional leadership, how America's gun culture leads to deadly violence, how Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could shape the GOP's foreign policy orientation, how President Biden's possession of classified documents in his personal office differs from former President Trump's custody of documents at his home in Mar-a-Lago, and a piece that argues that Biden has not reversed all of the Trump administration's inhumane immigration policies. 

January 5: These pieces focused on Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's efforts and deals to secure the Speakership and the long-term ramifications that continued GOP chaos could have on legislators' ability to address the nation's debt ceiling, factors likely to determine the course of U.S. democracy in 2023, a call on President Biden to do more to combat climate change, and the case for continued U.S. government support of Ukraine.

April 25 These pieces focus on the Republican Party’s continuing disinterest in governance and its potential ramifications for the health of U.S. democracy.

May 3 These pieces focus on inflation's effect on budgets, comparisions between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Hungarian government, Elon Musks's reported acquisition of Twitter, Emmanuel Macron's reelection as French President, and if American democracy is currently failing.

May 9 These pieces focus on the impact of the Supreme Court's leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, the danger of gaslighting COVID-19, and the role of higher education and unions in protecting democracy.

May 16 These pieces focus on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court following its leaked draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, the importance of secretary of state elections in November, failures of autocratic governments across the globe, Presiden Biden's rhetoric to frame the Russia-Ukraine war as a struggle for democracy, and the European Union's legislation to control Big Tech.

May 23 These pieces focus on the Republican party's embrace of 'stop the steal', a growing lack of confidence in the inevitability of social progress in the United States, the failure of the U.S. government to sucessfully combat domestic terrorism, Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano's desire to embrace Donald Trump's 'stop the steal lie', and the ongoing persecution of Muslims in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. 

May 27 These pieces focus on the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, specific reforms that could solve America's problem of gun violence, the failure of our government to properly respond, the impact of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's GOP primary win on the state of our democracy, and how redistricting has led to Congress's inability to address America's most pressing needs. 

June 10 These pieces focus on the importance of the upcoming U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol televised hearings to fully repudiate the Big Lie, the executive and legislative branch's role in the decline of democracy, the failure of democratic institutions to pass legislation supported by the majority of the American people, growing job insecurity, and a fear to raise children in today's challenging times.

June 21 These pieces focus on Democratic Party officals concerns about a potential President Biden 2024 reelection campaign, a poll that shows that a majority of Democrats and Republicans believe American democracy will cease to exist in the future, how the Constitution has been a barrier of equality for Black Americans, a GOP-led comission in New Mexico has refused to certify the results of a June primary, and an opinion piece that argues how Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department should consider a criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump. 

June 28 These pieces focus on the impact of the Supreme Court's decision to officially overturn Roe v. Wade on both women and U.S. democracy, the lessons The United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has learned from televised hearings of the past, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's opinion on the state of U.S. democracy, and what authoritarian leaders like Xi Jimping and Vladamir do not understand about the benefits of democracy despite how messy it can be.  

July 7 These pieces focus on the tragic mass shooting in Highland Park, IL on Independence Day, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's billion dollar goal to improve racial equity on the road, the GOP and Supreme Court's role in limiting the United States's ability to address climate change, the Black community's views on abortion rights restrictions, and small state bias in the U.S.

July 19 These pieces focus on a new poll that shows most Democrats not wanting President Biden to run in 2024, how British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's resignation can be a lesson for Republicans, the G.O.P's lack of support for the Child Tax Credit and other pro-family policies despite promoting themselves as the pro-life party, questioning whether the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is really saving democracy, and whether or not voting by itself can preserve democracy.

July 28 These pieces focus on allies of Former President Trump's plans for a second administration should he win in 2024, the need to prosecute him for crimes he has committed, how the institutional rules of the Senate are blocking progress, how Emmett Till's tragic murder is still an unhealed wound in our nation, and a report detailing the already large gap between executive and average worker compensation.

August 4 These pieces focus on Kansas voters' decision to protect reproductive rights, a growing disconnect between citizens and a share of their legislators over certain issues, President Biden's political benefit from the passage of the CHIPS and Inflation Reduction Acts, how America's democracy is slipping in the eyes of the leaders of some African Nations, and a profile of the life of basketball hall of famer Bill Russell.

August 11 These pieces focus on Former President Trump's relationship with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, how the Republican Party continues to debase itself in defending Trump following the FBI raid at his Mar-a-Lago home, how this focus could hurt the Party in the Midterms, analyzing all aspects of the pending Inflation Reduction Act, and how some G.O.P. operatives are fighting against Trump allies and election deniers in their own Party.

August 18 These pieces focus on how President Biden's achievements have often been overshadowed by former President Trump's post-presidency antics, what Representative Liz Cheney's defeat in the Wyoming GOP primary means long-term for the Republican Party and state politics, how Trump's brazen lies and cynicism are undermining democracy, the American system of government incorporating undemocratic features, and the fact that many incarcerated people have no money despite working long hours in prison sentences in order to purchase many of life's necessary services. 

August 25 These pieces focus on former President Trump's continuing impact on the decline of American democracy, race as a central issue of the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack hearings, mass surveillance on citizens as a potential threat to democracy, Dr. Anthony Fauci's legacy in light of his upcoming retirement, and how India's democracy is in decline due to the authoritarian politics and policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

September 1 These pieces focus on how a potential re-election for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could mean for a future presidential bid and American democracy long-term, President Biden's successful August, the legacy of the last leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, the arguments for and against President Biden's decision to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loans for select higher education students, and why a Harvard economist now supports targeted student loan forgiveness.

September 12 These pieces focus on complicity from Christian Evangelicals towards former President Donald Trump, how Jackson, Mississippi ran out of water, Republican Party state legislatures impact on Trump's rise, how the unveiling of the Obamas' official White House portraits is no longer a bipartisan ceremony, and how the Covid pandemic impacted two decades of progress in math and reading for America's school children.

September 22 These pieces focus on Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin's decision to campaign for election deniers within the GOP, Republican Governors Abbot and DeSantis's ploy to send innocent migrants to locations in the northeast, Democrats letting Republicans off the hook by postponing a vote to codify same-sex and interracial marriage until after the midterm election, why longtime journalist Dan Rather continues to speak out forcefully on the danger that former President Donald Trump poses to United States governance and democracy, and examining the popularity and impact of Queen Elizabeth II and the long-term questions her passing poses for the United Kingdom. 

September 29 These pieces focus on former President Donald Trump and GOP voters embrace of conspiracy theories and how that impacts the midterm elections and beyond, Congresswoman Liz Cheney's forthright criticisms of Trump, Democratic Party voters believing the state of the democracy is the most important issue on the ballot this November, The United States losing sight of its traditional humanitarian commitments especially in the wake of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's decision to use asylum applicants as a political gambit, and how conservatives tied social-emotional learning to critical race theory as part of a series of orchestrated attacks on educators.

October 20 These pieces focus on Senator Catherine Cortez Masto's reelection campaign in Nevada, how the U.S. political culture has long evidenced a strand of authoritarianism, the GOP shift from traditional figures such as Congresswoman Liz Cheney and towards extremists such as Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Democrats not doing enough to make democracy a central issue in the midterm election, and Christian Livermore describing growing up in poverty and the lingering effects the experience has on her identity. For the first time, we also share a podcast former President Barack Obama participated in to discuss the state of the country as the elections approach. 

October 27 These pieces focus on the radicalization of rural voters, economists stating that Republican policies will not reduce inflation, the critical gubernatorial and senatorial races in Pennsylvania, Democrats needing to tie democracy and the economy together as midterm campaign issues, and how the peaceful transition of power in the United Kingdom shows governance in democracies is far superior than that of autocracies.

November 3 These pieces focus on the upcoming midterm elections. They discuss today's "swing voters" who are not interested in politics and their importance in the election, President Obama's comments that Democrats protecting reproductive and same-sex marriage rights serves as the Party's best closing message, state election ballot measures that could impact the conduct of the 2024 national elections, Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter and it's impact on the spread of disinformation, and analyzing the potential outcomes of the elections on President Biden's legislative agenda. 

November 10 These pieces focus on the aftermath of the midterm elections, although votes are still being counted. They discuss Democrats enjoying a much better than expected showing, Ron DeSantis as the GOP frontunner in 2024, the challenges that leaders of both parties will have to address when the new Congress convenes in January, possible warning signs for President Biden as he ponders a potential 2024 reelection bid, and the historic character of Governor-elect Wes Moore's victory in Maryland.

November 17 These pieces focus on former President Trump being politically finished despite announcing a 2024 run for the White House, a former administration official declaring he will not support Trump in 2024, President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent meeting, systematic racial bias in home appraisals found in a recent national study, and the groundbreaking efforts of the Freedom House Ambulance Service. 

December 15: These pieces focus on the Respect for Marriage Act, the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, Senator Kyrsten Sinema's decision to switch her party affiliation from Democratic to Independent, the number of election deniers still in Congress, and the many reasons why there are not enough teachers in America. 

December 22: These pieces focus on the state of democracies around the world, the Jan. 6 committee's decision to refer former President Trump for criminal prosecution, the continued vacancy of the U.S. Ambassadorship to India, former Speaker John Boehner's role in the radicalization of the Republican Party, and the U.S.'s decision to ban TikTok from government devices.