- Research Paper Topics (Spring 2014)
Choose one topic only on which to research and write on from the list below:
1. The Tea Party in Texas: The Tea Party in Texas (which is made up of different groups such as Tea Party Patriots, Texas Tea Party; Texas Patriots, Freedom Works, et al.) was the driving force in getting Texas Senator Ted Cruz elected to Congress in 2012. Now, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn is up for reelection and he’s concerned that the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party may be out to defeat him, saying that he’s too moderate for them. Research the Tea Party in Texas and describe its structure. Do the different factions of the Tea Party in Texas quarrel as they do elsewhere? What do they stand for? Is it possible for a Republican to win public office without their support? Why is the Tea Party so popular in Texas?
2. Photo ID restrictions on voters in Texas (If you choose this topic, you’ll also need to research the topic of voting fraud in Texas and how widespread it actually is.) Some right wing groups in Texas such as True the Vote claim that hundreds if not thousands of people in Texas are voting illegally in any given election, and as you read their literature you can easily picture felons, illegal aliens, transients or troublemakers voting repeatedly in an election for the Democrat candidate to the defeat of the Republican candidate. However, newspapers and other sources (including an official investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s office of a recent statewide election) say that only one or two dozen instances of voter fraud exist in any given statewide election more specifically the election they studied), and most of these cases are people who moved across town or married and changed their name but did not report that change to the County Clerk’s Office. Still others on the liberal side of the spectrum see the law requiring photo identification to vote as not being concerned primarily with voter fraud, but rather designed to make it difficult for certain groups in society to exercise their right to vote. Based on your research, include your own option in the conclusion of your paper.
3. Regulation in Texas. Government regulates an industry when there is the potential for fraud (i.e., banking) or when some activity is potentially dangerous (i.e., the consumption of alcohol by minors.) Citizens tend to view regulation with a skeptical eye, but yet they expect government to keep them safe, so they don’t get food poisoning or hepatitis when they eat in a restaurant or so some company does not dump hazardous waste behind their home. One reason Texas prospers more so than other states is because we have a comfortable relationship with business; Corporate taxes are low, the Governor has a fund available to provide financial rewards for companies who move to Texas, and community colleges provide a skilled workforce in terms of a local labor pool. Just how comfortable is that relationship however? Critics say that the widespread destruction and loss of life in West, Texas last year was caused by a company which repeatedly violated the rules on the storage of dangerous chemicals, and state inspectors either looked the other way or gave the company only very minor sanctions. The swarms of minor earthquakes we’ve had over the last few years are said by some groups to be related to fracking, an petroleum industry procedure to extract oil from shale under pressure. Yet, studies by Texas government agencies claim there is no relationship while studies from the private sector in some cases disagree. Other critics say that the huge amount of water necessary to extract oil through hydraulic fracturing (fracking) make Texas–a drought prone state–and Texans even worse off as far as securing fresh water to sustain our population. Should state government in that case step up and establish some form of regulation?
4. The Democratic Party in Texas. For twenty years they Democratic Party in Texas has been in a state of catastrophic collapse. The number of politicians leaving the Democratic Party to join the Republican Party has been nothing less than humiliating to the Democrats. But now Democrats are starting to feel invigorated. Over the past four years they have won their share of offices at the local level, and as the Hispanic population swells yearly, and more Hispanics become citizens and then voters in many cases, the Democrats see an opportunity for them to return to power. During last spring’s session of the legislature, a Democratic state senator named Wendy Davis gained national attention as she filibustered an anti-abortion law and now she is running for Governor. If you choose this topic on which to write, research and discuss the demise of the Democrats in Texas since 1990 and then report on their present day circumstances and whether their hopes for a return to power are realistic or just a pipe dream.