UCDI student researchers act as journalists and political scientists to publish two main types of writing on this website, under the Publications tab:
Informative articles, which describe the history and politics of issues harming American democracy, why they exist, and potential solutions
Academic inquiries, which aim to answer tough questions about our democracy in a formal, scholarly fashion
With the purposes of:
Educating readers about threats—and existing solutions—to our democratic state
Proposing new ideas about fair, nonpartisan solutions
Giving students the opportunities to learn through researching and writing, and to experience serious academic research
Research topics we’re pursuing:
Money in politics [SEE ARTICLE BELOW]
What is the state of campaign finance law? How does campaign finance affect democracy? Is the current system acceptable, fair, and sustainable?
How have electoral districts been redrawn? How does gerrymandering affect democracy? Do states need to change the process of redistricting?
Do people actually vote in federal, state, and local elections? “Should” more people be voting? How do we citizens persuade others to vote?
Trust/confidence in government
Do people trust the government? How about different levels of government? Is that a problem for democracy? What makes people trust and not trust government? How can we citizens increase trust in government?
Incentives of politicians
Is the current political infrastructure best for democracy? Do politicians spend too much time fundraising? Do they actually act in the interest of the “common good”? Are there ways to improve the incentives of politicians to better benefit the public?
One way in which we students can argue and advocate for the improvement of American democracy is through understanding and analyzing current problems, and proposing new solutions. Political scientists have amassed a vast body of research on representation, voting, public opinion, and more. We aim to understand the current challenges facing democracy, elucidate them to our readers, and build on existing research to propose novel answers to these challenges.
American democracy is at war with political forces created by us citizens. It’s up to us—not just us students, but all of us Americans—to solve our issues, and asking critical questions while offering solutions is a necessary step. New ideas, those driven by idealism, yet tempered by pragmatism, must be at the forefront of solving our democratic challenges.