Jay Barth

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2022, here we come!

2022 might well be the most energized election year in the state since 1978.

It's time for civics education reform

There is little doubt that efforts to better educate students about the workings of the government and how to be an effective, engaged citizen have been sharply deprioritized across the country.
Picture of Joe Biden onstage

Racial past, racial present

Congressional hearings regarding reparations for the descendants of enslaved Americans, a Supreme Court decision that emphatically reminds us of racism’s permeation of our criminal justice system and Joe Biden’s fond remembrance of his years of Senate service with segregationists all converged last week, which marked the 154th anniversary of Juneteenth.

Arkansas's moderate millennials

We rarely get a deep dive into the thinking of any generation of the state’s voters, much less this generation that will shape the future of Arkansas politics following an era of dramatic political change in the state. But a new Hendrix College/Talk Business & Politics survey designed and analyzed by four Hendrix students from said generation does just that.
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Can the NRA survive?

Make no mistake: Advocacy for the expansion of gun rights will remain vibrant in the United States. The suddenly relevant question is whether the National Rifle Association — the nation's largest and politically potent gun rights group for decades — will be at the head of that movement, thanks to the NRA's increasingly visible role in the relationship between the Russian government and the 2016 Trump campaign.

Cotton and crime

The debate over what would be the sole consequential, bipartisan legislation of the first two years of the Trump presidency is underway in the U.S. Senate, and Arkansas's high-profile junior Sen. Tom Cotton has placed himself at the center of it.

2018: Complicated

The last two election cycles redefined Arkansas politics. In 2014, the three distinguishing elements of Arkansas's politics — provincialism, personalism and populism — with roots back to the McMath era of the middle of the 20th century, died simultaneously as a Tom Cotton-style Republicanism roared into dominance in the state.

Campaign takeaways

The accident of journalistic deadlines means that as I write this column, having just cast my vote at Dunbar Recreation Center, it's hours before election results begin arriving from across the city, state and nation.
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Tough choice for Little Rock mayor

To date, I've remained neutral in the Little Rock mayor's race for a number of reasons. As I was involved in both independent survey work in the race and in the planning for a series of five mayoral forums, I wanted to wait until after those activities were complete to take any stance. More importantly, I really wanted to watch the campaign play itself out. I wanted to see how the candidates that I know well performed through the pressure of a campaign. In the end, I've decided that Warwick Sabin is best positioned to be the kind of mayor that Little Rock needs at this vital time in our city's history.

Doubling up the gender gaps

National Democrats who are focused on retaking control of the U.S. House of Representatives are banking on not one, but two gender gaps to propel them to control of that body.

Casual corruption

To date, I'd remained relatively unemotional about the overlapping corruption scandals that have permeated the Arkansas legislature and have slowly been brought to light by prosecutors.

Superdelegate demise

It was done so quietly that it would likely have gone unnoticed even without the news cacophony of the Trump White House, but over the weekend the Democratic National Committee took steps that will impact who will win the 2020 nomination.
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Having the abortion conversation

One potential game-changer on attitudes regarding abortion is a clear change in its legal status.

Term limits on steroids

Are the most rigid legislative term limits in the country about to destabilize the Arkansas General Assembly and disrupt the balance of power across all of state government?

Love vs. womp, womp

I sense that former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's response to the separation of a girl with Down's syndrome from her parent at our southern border will pop up on documentaries about the Trump era for decades.

The battle over Issue 1

The odds are that the most spending in a statewide campaign in Arkansas this year will not be for a constitutional office, but instead in a battle over a proposed state constitutional amendment.

Kennedy's half-baked ruling

In his majority opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with Jack Phillips, the Colorado cake shop owner who refused to bake a cake for a reception for the wedding of two men.

Primary thoughts

While results from Arkansas's primary elections last week are still not final, they are cemented enough for some analysis of the numbers.

Ways to serve

Last Friday, the statewide newspaper included two prominent headlines about former Arkansas state senators. On the front page was the story of former Sen. Jon Woods' conviction on 15 of 17 counts in a federal public corruption case in Fayetteville, a trial masterfully reported throughout by the veteran Arkansas journalist Doug Thompson. On the front of the Arkansas section was a celebratory obituary observing the death of former Sen. Jim Argue (D-Little Rock) from an aggressive kidney cancer. Two very different headlines about two very different men who happened to hold the same public office.

Medicaid favor

Arkansas's distinctive form of Medicaid expansion has been precarious since its creation in 2013 by a bipartisan coalition.
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