Not to Get Political But ...

Season 1, Episode 9

Not to Get Political But ...

Things Get Political with Mark Rush

The Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law and Director of W&L’s Center for International Education joins the podcast to discuss the importance of understanding our political system ahead of the 2020 election (and any election). With host Ruth Candler, Professor Rush also explores his career in international education, from W&L to Dubai and beyond.
Recorded September 29, 2020
Aired October 13, 2020

"The existing legal rules don’t apply well in cyberspace—they apply well on terra firma. And so, in the same way as the courts came to deal with notions of the telephone, and privacy, and how it could be breached electronically 100 years ago, now they have to deal with those same questions, but on warp speed in cyberspace, which is infinitely big."
Mark Rush, Professor of Politics

Covering the Full Spectrum

Journal Articles/Book Chapters

"The Efficiency Gap After Gill V. Whitford"
Social Science Quarterly
by Mark Rush

"The Law: Presidential Signing Statements and Coordinate Constitutional Interpretation"
Presidential Studies Quarterly
by Mark Rush


"Congress Needs to Fix Plenty of Things, but Not the Supreme Court"
The Fulcrum, 2020
by Mark Rush

"Congress--Not the Supreme Court--Is the Problem"
Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2020
by Mark Rush

"Saving the Voting Rights Act: Virginia as a Case Study for Reform"
The Fulcrum, 2020
by Mark Rush

"If the Electors Can be Faithless, Why Have an Electoral College?"
The Fulcrum, 2020
by Mark Rush

"The Importance of Women's Representation and why it will have a Vital Impact on Public Policy"
Virginia Capitol Connections, 2020
by Mark Rush

"The Electoral College will Never Make Everyone Happy"
The Fulcrum, 2019
by Mark Rush

"Here's a Solution to Partisan Gerrymandering"
Fox News, 13 July 2020
by Mark Rush

"The Last Thing We Need Right Now is a Constitutional Convention"
Richmond Times Dispatch, 2018
by Mark Rush

"The Most Important Gerrymandering Case No One is Talking About"
The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 2018
by Mark Rush

"A Thanksgiving Prayer"
Roanoke Times, 2016
by Mark Rush

"Higher Ed is Opportunity for Innovation"
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
by Mark Rush with Bryan Alexander

Get to Know Mark Rush

The Red Sox - ESPN's 30 for 30: Four Days in October
Fans might not want to admit it, but this will cure any Sox fan's worst day.

Lexington, VA's version, courtesy of NPR. Thanks to Fred Echols for organizing and Sean Tubbs for recording and editing. There has always been a big chapter of the Red Sox nation in the Valley. A subchapter gathered on 27 October 2004… I did frequent shows on Politics on WVTF in Roanoke with Fred. In the summer of 2004, I offered to bring several W&L colleagues down to have a show on baseball misery. Fred laughed and said that when the Sox get into the World Series, he'd organize a show. So, a couple of months later, I picked up the phone.

Recommended Reading

David Fromkin. 1989, 2009. A Peace to End all Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: Henry Holt and Co.

  • Mark's remarks: This is not exactly bedtime reading. It can get dense in parts. But, it lays out imperial overreach and imperial collapse, the politics of oil, and the complexity of a part of the world that has been complex for millennia. It is not too difficult to draw lines from any current geopolitical situation that connect to this book in about seven steps.

Wittes, Benjamin and Gabriella Blum. 2015 The Future of Violence: Robots, Germs and Hackers. New York: Basic Books.

  • Mark's remarks: Science and Technology are changing every aspect of human interaction. Humans have barely begun to embrace the scope of the challenges these changes present. Wittes and Blum offer a tremendous—and frightening—overview.

Franks, Mary Anne. 2019. The Cult of the Constitution

  • Mark's remarks: This is a very important and insightful analysis of the impact of technology and power on the manner in which Americans interpret and exercise our constitutional liberties. The analysis touches upon and critiques some of the foundations of western liberalism. It will test the patience of some readers. But, the underlying argument and analysis are spot on.

O'Connor, Edwin. 1956. The Last Hurrah.

  • Mark's remarks: Boston: Little, Brown. I know…it's BOSTON. But, still…all politics is local. Great stuff. Nuf sed…

Rauch, Jonathan. 2016. "How American Politics Went Insane." The Atlantic.

  • Mark's remarks: This is as good a piece on "how we got into this situation" as you will find. It asks and answers the question: "Can there be too much democracy?"

Additional Recommendations

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. 2015. Between the World and Me. New York/London: One World

Vance, J.D. 2016. Hillbilly Elegy. New York: Harper

Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 2018. Strangers in Their Own Land. New York: The New Press

Zito, Salena and Brad Todd. 2018. The Great Revolt. New York Crown

Toot Your Own Horn

"W&L Celebrates Reversal of ICE Guidelines"
The Columns
By Lindsey Nair


The two most important words in my life: "I do."

The next five, "Fine. Buy the g*dd*m dog." I resisted buying any pet whatsoever for 54 years. I told our sons that we didn't need pets. We had two boys. (I thought it was funny). My older son told me that I'd love the dog because (unlike either kid), "the dog will listen to everything I say, not disagree, and laugh at all my jokes." I caved in. The pup now runs my life and the neighbors are still laughing.

I'm a Leo.

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