By Brennan Sullivan
David Faris, chair of the political science department, will soon be releasing his second book, titled “It’s Time To Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build A Lasting Majority In Democratic Politics.”
The book will be released Tuesday, April 10. “It should, in theory, have a copy in every book store in the city,” Faris said. The book will be published by Melville House Publishing.
Faris started writing the book in April 2017 and finished it in August 2017. “I had to turn in a draft by the end of August, so I wrote the thing in four months,” Faris said. Faris said the publishers wanted to release the book before the 2018 midterm elections.
“It’s Time To Fight Dirty” ultimately aims to demonstrate how the Constitution inherently favors the current Republican party, and advocates for initiatives that would level the playing field for Democrats.
Faris’ last book, “Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age: Social Media, Blogging, and Activism in Egypt,” was published in 2013. Faris said he shifted his studies onto American politics after no longer being able to continue studying safely in the Middle East. “I decided to kind of pivot to study American politics. I enjoyed writing both of these books… I spent almost two years in Egypt all together,” Faris said.
Among some of these suggestions are to add Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico to the Union, enact a major voting reform, break up California into multiple states and abolish the electoral college.
Another tactic in Faris’s playbook of “procedural warfare” is to pack the Supreme Court with Democrat judges. FDR attempted to do this during his presidency but was criticized by the public for playing bad politics.
Faris highlighted why maneuvers like that might be necessary in today’s political climate.
“Up until recently, the president was supposed to be able to fill an opening on the Supreme Court when one came during their term. The Republicans not approving Merrick Garland is an example of precisely the kind of hard ball that Democrats are just submitting to,” Faris said.
Although Hillary Clinton lost the electoral election, she did win 2.9 million votes more than her opponent, according to the New York Times.
Faris said Democrats have won the popular vote six out of the seven last presidential elections. Regardless, six out of those seven past inaugural addresses have not been given by whom the majority of the country voted for.
“Play hard ball. Do it. They’re doing it to you and you need to do it right back,” Faris said.
Roosevelt political science professor and Director of the Loundy Human Rights Project, Bethany Barratt, has worked with Dr. Faris for almost ten years. “It doesn’t seem like most academic books, in the way that most are pretty dry,” Barratt said. “It takes a stance. He has an opinion and he’s not afraid to say it.”
Barratt said she agreed with the book’s overall message. “I want to be an optimist and think that our Constitution is resilient. However, the silver lining in the 2016 election was that it’s made some of these constitutional flaws so starkly evident,” Barratt said.
“I’ve had an amazing experience having Professor Faris in class,” political science major Alan Rojas. “He showed me that political science can be fun.”
Rojas also agreed with Faris’ point about amending out the electoral college. “It is an outdated system. I think that it’s important that everybody has a voice and gets a fair vote,” Rojas said.
Faris said that in the end one of the most important things is for elections to be fair.
“I don’t know, in the long-run, it might not help Democrats. But I do think that having a fair electoral system is in the broad interest of American democracy… I’d feel better about losing an election that was fought fairly,” Faris said.
Professor Faris will discuss his book at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore at 5751 S. Woodlawn in Chicago on April 11 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.