What are some current questions that face political scientists today?
Political science is a vast field that covers everything from international relations to the workings of interest groups and city governments. This means that there is an almost infinite number of questions that face political scientists today. I will look at a few questions that would be of interest to political scientists in the United States.
One question is how the ability of “Super PACs” to spend unlimited amounts on elections will affect America’s democracy. Will it allow fringe candidates to survive longer in presidential primaries as long as they have a rich backer or two? Will it make elected officials more beholden to the people who provide the tremendous amounts of money that get put into elections? Will it anger people and make them more cynical about government?
A second question has to do with the partisanship that is making it so hard for the US government to accomplish anything today. What are the causes of this partisanship? Has it really caused government to become less effective? What, if anything can be done to change the current situation? Is there a need to do so?
Finally, let us look at international relations. Political scientists could ask whether sanctions can possibly bring about changes in the behavior of states such as Iran or North Korea. They could ask whether the threat of military action is more effective in causing such changes. They could ask how much China is challenging/will challenge American dominance in various parts of the world and they could ask how this would affect the international order.
All of these things (and many, many more) are questions that face political scientists today.