Marquette Warrior: Anti-Trump Screed on Syllabus of Ken Mayer, University of Wisconsin Professor

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Anti-Trump Screed on Syllabus of Ken Mayer, University of Wisconsin Professor

UW Madison Political Scientist Kenneth Mayer has been a tolerably reputable political scientist, but has lately gone off the deep end with Democratic partisanship.

First, there was a very badly conducted study of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which claimed it has disenfranchised 2,400 voters in Milwaukee and Dane counties.

When subjected to scrutiny, it was torn apart.

And now we have an anti-Trump screed on Kenneth Mayer’s course syllabus on the presidency. See below.

Trump derangement syndrome has deeply corrupted the mainstream media. Is it now corrupting political science, which has traditionally been a bit more “professional” than disciplines like sociology, which tend to attract undisciplined leftists? It’s not that political scientists don’t have, on average, leftist biases. They do. But they also usually seek to keep their biases in check.

Is Kenneth Mayer a bellwether, merely the forerunner of an increasingly corrupted discipline, or an outlier?

The full syllabus is here.

A lot is conventional, but several random swipes at Trump are inserted. For example:
Can Trump pardon himself? Can a sitting president be indicted? Nobody knows, in part because the questions have never seriously arisen. But we may find out.

Trump is contemptuous of traditional governing practices and famously uninterested in policy details. From what we can observe, there are no policy processes in the White House and what emerges seems largely the result of presidential whims. Trump’s leadership of public opinion is a combination of tweets (many of which can, quite fairly, be characterized as unhinged) and campaign-like rallies in front of enthusiastic supporters. Is this the new standard?

And, finally, we must consider the question of how presidencies end (or are ended). Two presidents have been impeached but not convicted (Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton), and one forced from office (Richard Nixon). Impeachment is an extraordinary remedy. Are we in that territory?
Then there are readings such as:
“Hostile Sexism, Racism Denial, and the Historic Education Gap in Support for Trump.”

“How Rural Resentment Helps Explain the Surprising Victory of Donald Trump.”

“Will Donald Trump Destroy the Presidency?”

“Russia Won”

“For Trump, ‘a War Every Day’,” Waged Increasingly Alone.”
And finally a single reading favorable to Trump:
“Breaking Norms Will Renew Democracy, Not Ruin It — Most of President Trump’s alleged transgressions offend against the etiquette of modern liberal governance, not the Constitution.”
Mayer, certainly, can structure his course as he wants. But other people can point out that he’s becoming unhinged about Donald Trump.

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