The Blue Review 

TBR 5: Moments of Politicization

Politics in the West in the run-up to the 2014 midterm election

The Blue Review is a web-native journal covering politics, cities, the environment and the media from the Boise State University College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Boise Weekly and TBR collaborate on occasional print versions on special topics.

An overview of The Blue Review No. 5, Fall 2014

Justin VaughnIt is my hope that the essays in this issue of The Blue Review, TBR 5, our second politics issue, spark inquiries for each of you. The topics and approaches of the essays included here range, but all hinge on a central theme; consider reading them something like getting a major in politics with a minor in the American West. The essays are a blend of contributions from academics and practitioners, including...


Moments of Politicization

Ken MillerFor decades, political scientists have investigated the roots of political preference and political knowledge. We have theories that work well to explain both, but we can still only see hints at why some people take a strong interest in politics while others don’t care at all. Why do some people go further still and become activists or candidates for public office?


Tea Party, Idaho and Tea Party, America

David WeaverPolitical parties ultimately must govern, not simply win elections. The Tea Party, not unlike the diminished Occupy movement, originated as first and foremost a protest movement. Unlike Occupy, however, it intentionally focused on winning elections on the basis of the passion behind the protests. Now Tea Party officials must govern, with all of the requisite compromises and policy nuances.



Talkin' Politics

Amanda StickelmanJustin VaughnUsing the text of several of the state of the state addresses delivered this spring in Western states, we analyzed the ways in which governors talk to their constituents. Doing so, we hoped, would yield insight into not only how governors talk, but if any specific factors drive the differences in their rhetorical style.


Colorado Does Marijuana Quite Well

HudakI traveled to Colorado in May to examine implementation of legalization policy. In so doing, I interviewed numerous individuals involved in implementation, including the Gov. John Hickenlooper’s staff, leadership from the Colorado Department of Revenue (the agency that regulates marijuana) and officials from law enforcement and public health communities—groups often opposed to liberalized marijuana laws. In addition, I spoke with members of the industry, including individuals working at dispensaries and grow operations, as well as leaders from industry groups. The goal was to get a broad and balanced assessment of how implementation is proceeding, what is working and what is not.


Four Things to Watch in the 2014 Midterm Elections


  1. With 36 governors up for re-election, some states could flip parties.
  2. While the national government is divided, most states are unified.
  3. More partisan involvement — and spending — in judicial races.
  4. Ballot initiatives on issues like marijuana, abortion, GMO labelling and “top-two” primaries and their effect on turnout.


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Join Boise Weekly and The Blue Review for a Post-Midterm Election Breakdown on Nov. 10, 6 pm, at Boise State's Downtown classroom in Bodo, 301 S. Capitol Blvd. RSVP on Facebook.

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