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GOP 2016: Blue state, blue state

Democrats have successfully branded conservative candidates as being special interest representatives with antiquated social policies. Consider the fact that during the 2012 election, Republican pundits all believed that Romney was going to win. It may be far in the future but barring any extreme disaster in the Democratic Party that would makes its general election candidate unpalatable to the American people, I give the 2016 race to the Democrats by a large electoral college majority. America’s leading conservative party is just not sufficiently adaptive or nimble enough to navigate the enormous challenges it faces in competing for the White House.

Convergence

We have seen enormous progress in America. However, when you think back to the men who laid their lives down for this nation – the men whose blind hope and faith in the future of this country led them into battle against what was then the most formidable empire in human history – you cannot help but feel that they would be disappointed. That perhaps we owe it to them, if not to ourselves, to try to bring about a convergence between the reality of this nation and the ideal it was made to embody. And we must approach this goal actively – we must not simply wait and hope that it will be achieved for us.

Rights and responsibility

Stereotype threat can cause minority groups with negative stereotypes to perform worse on tests. More importantly, however, there is psychological evidence to support the representation of intelligence as an entity that can grow, as opposed to a fixed quantity. Intelligence is something that is cultivated, and the academic, social and economic environment of a student matters. Students should be evaluated with reference to their origins and environments for a system to be truly meritocratic.

Domino theory in the 21st century

The short-termism that has plagued our economic decision making and has led our leaders to burden our generation with historic amounts of debt can now be seen in a much more dangerous context. The world is so vastly transparent and fast moving that we cannot afford to miss opportunities to demonstrate that we stand for something greater than geopolitics – or, in the case of Crimea, domestic politics – as a nation. We stand for a way of life – of freedom, democracy and free exchange – and these concepts are worth standing up for.

Hope and government

Immigration reform is going to go totally unrealized unless the Republican majority gets unseated in the midterm elections, or the Democrats agree to support Boehner in any Speaker election – and they would rather wait for the next midterms and watch the Republicans embarrass themselves in the meantime. The reality is that the reason the law will not be passed has almost nothing to do with the law and everything to do with political divisions in Washington. Millions of men and women who came to this country pursuing freedom and happiness, but their chance at getting a real shot at being American has been pulled away by the hard reality of political dysfunction. It such a shame that this has become a normal political expectation for Americans.

On Senate and SAFE Reform

During the Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate of 1960, then-Vice President Richard Nixon emphatically stated, “I know Senator Kennedy feels as deeply about these problems as I do, but our disagreement is not about the goals for America but only about the means to reach those goals.” This type of amicable rhetoric has been for the most part absent in recent American history. To draw a parallel ahead of 2014’s midterm elections, we must be able to overcome hurdles like SAFE Reform as a community if we expect our national leadership to do the same.

On drones and foreign policy

There was a time when Americans could believe in the exceptional nature of our nation and in the unique and “self-evident” protections of our constitution. From the sea of authoritarianism and monarchy emerged a community founded on revolutionary principles of the rule of law and justice, one that held the government accountable to the people and not the other way around. The more I learn about the true state of our nation and our foreign policy, the more I begin to feel that dark moment of clarity in which one realizes that reality is far uglier than one hoped.

Financing the World

In 2002, William Kamkwamba used bicycle parts, blue gum tree and scraps to build a windmill in his village in Malawi. Only fifteen, William nevertheless managed to use the windmill to power several electrical appliances in his village. What is striking is that despite William’s lack of money, if William had applied to Stanford he would have been ineligible for financial aid. Despite our $18 billion endowment, we still do not provide financial aid to international students, even though other top-tier universities such as Harvard do. It is genuinely surprising that despite the fact that Stanford has yet to open itself up to financing opportunities for international students without Social Security numbers.