Professors tackle 2016 election in classrooms


Professor Charlie Madigan’s “The Election” class

By Adam Schalke, Staff Reporter
Photo by Lauren Grimaldi

In comparison to previous years, the upcoming election in November will mark the end to a campaign cycle that has been a departure from the traditional and orthodox behavior seen from candidates in the past.

Much of the campaign has been marked by the antics of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has been condemned by progressive and conservative leaders alike for his far-right platform. Many also argue that the businessman lacks the decorum to be President of the United States and say he would not fare well if faced with times of trouble.

The Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, has also had her own troubles during the campaign. Her relationship with the Democratic National Committee has come under scrutiny, as public opinion of the DNC was hindered during the primary campaign. Likewise, the recent investigation of the Clinton Foundation by the Associated Press added to the wide public distrust of the former Secretary of State as well.

These issues are what makes the two nominees the least popular in recent history.

To make sense of such a bizarre election, Paul Green and Charles Madigan, professors of political science and journalism respectively, have created courses for the fall semester that focus specifically on this election.

Professor Green’s course, “Electing a President, 2016” focuses on the political perspective of the campaign, discussing topics such as swing states, policy proposals and demographics that the candidates need to court in order to win in November.

Professor Madigan’s course, simply titled “The Election,” focuses on the media’s role in the campaign, taking into account topics such as polling, rhetoric and other fields of political reporting.

“The class is very event-driven instead of lecture-driven,” Professor Madigan said. “That can mean getting very involved depending on the event.”
When asked about the importance of courses like this, both professors explained that this election is very different than ones before it.

“This election is different because of Donald Trump,” Professor Green said. “You have a guy who has no connection to politics and no history of public service running for the presidency, so what you’re going to have in this election is a battle of personalities between him and Mrs. Clinton, which is what Trump has to do because he has no policy or party loyalty to run on.”

Professor Madigan echoed his political science counterpart’s sentiment, suggesting that Trump is what particularly makes this election unique. “Hillary’s press is on a following plane and Trump’s events are so scattered it would make no point to do that,” he said. “Historically, a big gaggle of reporters would follow each candidate to every event, which would mean hearing the same speech over and over and trying to find something to say about it.”

The Presidential Election takes place nationwide on November 8th.

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