As sophomores settle in at Tufts, many are already thinking about off-campus housing for next year. This happens for a reason: Housing in the Medford and Somerville area has gotten increasingly expensive, while still being difficult to find. There is no doubt that Tufts University and its students play some role in this, but this trend isn’t just occurring in Medford and Somerville — it’s occurring in many cities across the country.
For many Americans, politics aren’t that interesting. A 2021 poll found that only 36% of Americans aged 18–29 consider themselves politically engaged, while only around 45% of eligible voters voted in the 2022 midterm elections. It’s understandable that this is the case: With politics as divided as they are today, many might see politics as an unproductive screaming match. Others might be disillusioned at the amount of lying that occurs in politics. In many cases, politics are simply sidelined in comparison to other responsibilities. All of these are sensible reasons, so much so that even I myself didn’t follow politics until a few years ago. Now, however, I would like to make the case that unfashionable as it may be, we should care about politics, at least a little bit.
As Ron DeSantis has risen to fame as the governor of Florida, many moderates and centrists have urged “Never Trumpers” and Democrats to support him in his bid to win the Republican nomination. Some Never Trumpers are indeed backing Ron DeSantis, including prominent ones like David French. Conor Friedersdorf, another moderate conservative, summed up the reasoning behind this well in an Atlanticarticle:he believes Ron DeSantis is not immoral or authoritarian, unlike Trump. The reasoning goes that while DeSantis might do objectionable things or he might support bad policies, he isn’t a bad person or anti-democracy like Donald Trump is. However, the Lincoln Project, a prominent group of anti-Trumpers, doesn’t support DeSantis. They’re right to do so and other Never Trumpers should follow their lead. While DeSantis has a more respectable veneer, a close examination of his record shows he is just as authoritarian and immoral as Donald Trump is.
As President Joe Biden campaigned to defeat former President Donald Trump, he was unequivocal in his support for immigrants and immigration. Biden called America a “nation of immigrants” and promised to reform the temporary visa system to make it easier for highly skilled immigrants to stay in the United States. Over two years into his term, this has not happened. Despite attempts in his proposed budget, Biden has not yet increased funding for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes green cards and visas for immigrants, leading to a mounting backlog and longer wait times. He also hasn’t prioritized legislation to raise the national green card caps that restrict skilled immigration, nor has he pressured Congress to increase the H-1B visa cap for high-tech workers or reformed the program as he promised in his campaign.
In January 2017, ConocoPhillips, the largest crude oil company in Alaska, proposed the Willow Project — an oil drilling project in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska that will take decades to complete and could produce up to 600 million barrels of oil. Since the proposition, the project has been seeking government consent, and President Joe Biden’s administration recently approved the project on a smaller scale than what was proposed. While Alaska’s Congressional delegation argues that the project will create jobs, boost domestic energy production and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil, environmentalist politicians such as Al Gore described the project as “recklessly irresponsible.”
For years, Fox News, reported by Forbes as the most-watched cable news network in the United States, has attracted criticism. This stretches as far back as 2009 when the Obama administration controversially refused to refer to Fox News as a “legitimate news organization.” We now know they were right to do so. A few weeks ago, Dominion Voting Systems, as part of their defamation lawsuit against Fox News, released a trove of texts showing Fox News stars had expressed very different sentiments in private than the ones they displayed on air. For example, Sean Hannity, who called on his radio show for a special prosecutor to investigate claims of election fraud, said off air that Rudy Giuliani, who spread claims of election fraud, was “acting like an insane person.” Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, wrote that after the 2020 election, Hannity was “privately disgusted by Trump for weeks, but was scared to lose viewers.” Perhaps the most revealing text from the Dominion lawsuit though was from Tucker Carlson, who — after a Fox reporter fact-checked a false claim about election fraud — wrote, “Please get her fired. … The stock price is down. Not a joke.” These are just a few examples of many, but they showcase how Fox knowingly spread false information about the 2020 election to maintain viewership and increase profits.
On Nov. 30, 2022, the artificial intelligence company OpenAI unveiled its brand new chatbot, ChatGPT, to the world. ChatGPT instantly gained popularity — it was the fastest new app to 100 million active users, beating out apps like Instagram, Snapchat and even TikTok — and it’s easy to see why. ChatGPT can write everything from articulate essays on any topic under the sun to songs in the style of the user’s favorite artists to slam poetry to fiction. It can also explain complex concepts to various audiences, often much more concisely and crisply than humans are capable of, to the point where ChatGPT is being floated as an alternative to tutoring for students. ChatGPT is so advanced that it is now being used by businesses, with firms using it to refine their writing and assist them with content marketing. With all the praise and popularity ChatGPT received in the months since its inception, it's easy to see why Microsoft, a significant investor in OpenAI, announced it would begin integrating ChatGPT’s technology into its search engine Bing on Feb. 7. Google, clearly worried that a modified Bing might pose a threat to their search engine, promptly announced it would soon be releasing its AI bot competitor Bard, integrating AI technology into its own search engine. While both Microsoft and Google’s moves are understandable and can be seen as exciting, the emerging race to integrate AI into search engines could have harmful societal impacts.
Joe Biden is on top of the world. Or at least he should be. Throughout his presidency, Biden has been quietly making changes popular with the American people. Yet, polls show Republicans are highly likely to win back the House from Democratic control and are more likely than not to win the Senate. Given the popularity of Biden’s policies, our electoral system ought to be altered to better reflect the will of the people.