A letter sent to our esteemed colleagues in Macalester College’s Communications and Public Relations Office in 2015. Now I share it here, excerpted, for those interested.

Person looking down at their shoes as they stand on wooden walkway over cloudy water.
Person looking down at their shoes as they stand on wooden walkway over cloudy water.
Photo by Nicholas Kampouris on Unsplash

The Pronoun Problem

Pronouns have vexed careful writers of English at least since the 1970s when feminist thinkers first had a go at dislodging the universal he/him/his. Later gender and sexuality rights movements have similarly put pressure on the question of the gendered English pronoun. But well before these cultural issues arose, writers of English wrestled with another pronoun matter, the vernacular tendency to slide between singular and plural. Thus even the much beloved English writer C.S. …


Amy Klobuchar at campaign rally on front lawn of a residence.
Amy Klobuchar at campaign rally on front lawn of a residence.
“Amy Klobuchar” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I agree with my senator, Amy Klobuchar, that it is her job as a candidate to argue why she is the best choice in the field. Yet in an effort to highlight her achievements, as well as gender bias in the media, she problematically invoked Midwestern swing voters while throwing a bit of shade at the qualifications of South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Sen. Klobuchar commented during her November 10 appearance on CNN’s State of the Union program (transcript):

I’m the one from the Midwest that’s actually won in a statewide race over and over again, including bringing in those voters that just voted in Kentucky, those kind of voters, just voted in Virginia, brought them over the edge, so that we had strong leaders that were able to win those elections. …


As I am writing an article discussing rhetoric 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, I want to disclose to whom I have made financial contributions. I’m not a person of much financial means, so none of the candidates listed have received much from me, but they have received something.

Buttigieg. As a gay man, I am very interested in a top-tier gay candidate for President — something I doubted I would live to see (and I’m just 37).

Castro. During early appearances, I felt Castro needed to be heard from more, both because of the stand-alone virtue of his policy stances, but also because I was curious about his greater viability as a candidate. …


The Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) evaluates partisan entrenchment in each state by considering the past two presidential elections as a proxy.

It looks at the nationwide preference for major party candidates in the two most recent presidential races and then looks at how many percentage points the state deviates from the national outcome. In the 2017 report, Minnesota preferred Democratic candidates by 1% (PVI was D+1), while Indiana preferred Republican candidates by 9% (PVI was R+9).

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