Michael A. Smith

U.S. States are Trying Political Scientist-Approved Voting Reforms. How's It Going?

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Most U.S. elections use plurality voting, in which the single candidate winning the most votes is elected, even if they fall short of a majority.  If the election is partisan, chances are that the finalists were chosen in…


What’s the Matter with Thomas Frank?

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Earlier this month, Ohio voters voted to amend their state constitution to protect abortion rights, overturning a state law that banned abortion under most circumstances.  Voters have also affirmed abortion rights in…


Fighting to Preserve the College Experience

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Where have all the posters gone? This past academic year, my colleagues and I experienced a major restructuring at Emporia State University.  I have strong opinions on these events, but this is not the place for a…


Is This the Post-Trump Era? Nope, Not Yet

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Every year, the MPSA Annual Meetings convene at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago.  Just a few blocks away, the Trump International Hotel and Tower looms, the former President’s name clearly visible from down…


Direct Democracy: Still Mad as Hell After 45 Years

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Author’s Note  The following passage is an excerpt from the project “Political Science Undercover” by Chapman Rackaway, Kevin Anderson, and me.  The first iteration of this project will be presented at the upcoming…


The Trump-Biden Era in U.S.-China Relations

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Are we in the midst of the Trump-Biden era? This question seems absurd at first glance.  The antipathy that the current and former President have for one another, and that their supporters have for one another, are…


From Soaking and Poking to Breaching Empathy Walls: Qualitative Research after Fenno

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University It is hard to say goodbye to Richard Fenno (1926-2020).  He was truly one of a kind. Fenno called his style of qualitative research “soaking and poking.”  More formally, it is known as participant observation.  Many…


No, we are not More Divided Than Ever

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University The other day, I was grading a student project when I noticed that they had written something that seems widely believed these days.  The student argued that Americans are more divided along party lines than ever before.…


Thoughts on the Future of Political Science

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University Well, #MPSA2022 is in the books. From my perspective, the first in-person MPSA conference since 2019 was a success. As I noted in my previous blog post, the political science conference is likely to see permanent changes…


The Future of the Political Science Conference

by Michael A. Smith, Professor of Political Science, Emporia State University The MPSA’s in-person conference is back!  After being canceled entirely in 2020 and held virtually in 2021, this year’s conference has returned to Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton.  Old haunts like the Parlor, State and…